An impossible decision

I hurt my back when I was 18. I am now 33. For 15 years I have been dealing with chronic pain. From the age of 18 to 30 I was able to work with my doctors and receive opiates to keep my pain at a reasonable level. I have the whole spectrum of pain. Burning in my legs and feet, numb patches in many places below my waist and 10/10 back pain. I’ve tried every pain medicine and even got myself off opiates to make sure I could actually get off them.

My life is crap when I do not get relief. Over the past 3 years the same type of pain has started in my mid to upper back, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. My joints feel like they are twisting, white hot pain in my shoulders and spine and through my pelvis. It’s hell.

Opiates allowed me to live a life where I could actually do things like keep a job and have a somewhat normal social life. As the government started to restrict doctors from writing for opiates my world view became scary.

I can not live without some kind of relief. I find myself in the ER in many occasions and the staff thinks I’m a drug seeker. I’m sure everyone here knows that feeling of judgement from people who simply do not understand what I we are feeling. Every daily activity is made harder or impossible when there is no real help.

The one thing that makes me feel even worse is how people can’t see the disability and pain on my skin. I’m obviously just getting high or having fun on opiates in their opinions. It is amazing how I can be in so much pain and be totally invisible or untreatable because of the new opiate legislation. At this point I want to die. I’ve been able to keep my head up for 15 years but I’ve gotten to the point where living the near 2/3rds of life I have left is just too much pain. I have thought about suicide the last few months mostly because I’m being treated with medicines that don’t even touch the pain. I’ve always kept myself at the lowest levels of pain medicine like lortab and Vicodin. Now I have nothing. Nobody writes scripts for pain patients anymore because of the opoid epidemic.

What are we to do? How can we tell ourselves that life is worth living when all we feel is pain. Waking up in the middle of the night with pain, pain all day and into the evening and then getting even worse as nighttime comes around again which just feeds into the another night of trying to be comfortable enough to sleep. Like I said I’ve always been a strong person but with no relief for the pain it just takes over and twists your mind against you.

I watch my peers and family live normal lives and doing normal things while I attempt to have the normalcy I had when I was still being treated with pain meds. All of these circumstances take me to that thought of just escaping to sleep forever. I cried as I read these stories because there are so many of us who just need a little boost of relief to lead a better life and feel valuable to society. The one reason I stay on this earth is because of my mom. She has stuck with me through thick and thin and is totally aggravated just as I am. For that reason I don’t want to cause her pain due to my choice. I do feel that I am currently hurting her because she is watching her son suffer. It tears my heart up to see her upset.

This epidemic will continue because some people want and try to get high off of the only things that give me and most likely all of you relief and it is absolutely terrifying. It is impossible to have people around you understand that these drugs are not fun for us, we take them for the right reasons. As soon as your a pain patient the stigma arises and never goes away, just adding to the emotional toll.

Things look very bleak right now. I can try all I want to try and live the most normal life I can but pain simply interjects itself into every situation. At this point if I could go to sleep and never wake up i would absolutely do just that. My mom keeps me here, she is the only thread left that keeps me from actually committing suicide.

Someway, pain patients should all get together and demand empathy from the institutions that once gave us a means to not be in extreme pain all the time. The whole situation is pretty much unexplainable. Every time I see my doctors they tell me there are issues in my spine and shoulder BUT the issues shouldn’t be causing me this agony. That disconnect, where doctors no matter how good they are cannot feel what we are feeling. It feeds into the frustration and helplessness because thats exactly what we are, helpless.

I wish all of you luck in your own situations and least I can put my thoughts on this site as well. It is okay to cry, I do it all the time.

It is not okay for us to be treated like horrible people who have done something wrong. I hope everyone gets the help they need and lives their lives as pain free as possible.

4 thoughts on “An impossible decision”

  1. To- An Impossible Decision, Evan:
    I know EXACTLY how you are feeling because I have dealt with the same chronic pain, 24 hrs a day for the past 17 years. I am older than you are, have a failed spine fusion, and I too get relief from the opiates, and find that the recent deaths of substance ABUSERS, (not by legitimate pain patients), have resulted in a reduced number of doctors willing to prescribe. I personally have found a very professional pain management doctor in Florida (anesthesiologist) who is willing to prescribe necessary meds to legitimate chronic pain patients like me, and like you Evan.
    If you don’t mind me asking, what state are you in? The DEA has pressured pharmaceutical companies (i.e. Humana Pharmacy mail order co.) that were dispensing fentanyl, oxycodone, etc because of the overdoses and deaths from these drugs. However these companies AND our state and federal lawmakers MUST remember that there are thousands of chronic pain patients that depend on these meds in order to be able to function with even a minimal quality of life!
    It may take people like you and I Evan , who are willing to write Congress and/or appear before lawmakers to demand that we be served. Perhaps that’s our mission in life– to help other pain patients!
    Don’t give up Evan! There are still doctors who will help you! Suicide is not the answer, though believe me, I know pain can drive you there.
    Let me know where you live and I may be able to direct you.
    Barbara Mueller

  2. What they fail to mention every time someone overdoses on Opiods that they used them improperly & also use illegal drugs along with pain killers that most likely were not even theirs. Yes, we all need to get together & address this to Congress if they even care anymore! God bless you we have only 1 pain doctor left and I fear he will leave soon or get his license taken away!

  3. I get you. I have lived with acute chronic pain 10 years but have had a type of rheumatic arthritis since I was in my 20’s I am 64 now. Vicodin once or twice a day keeps me living my life. I am lucky that I have an understanding doctor. I get my Vicodin from a small local pharmacy who have never questioned me, not like Walgreens and other big chains.

    I am also so lucky that I have a very understanding family and friends who have seen me in severe pain and also how meds help me live my life. I also have had the thoughts that if I got really sick and died, I am OK with that. I am not suicidal, just tired.

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