Little known fun fact: did you know a pain management specialist can discontinue treatment without helping you off addictive narcotics they had been prescribing you without notice or aid in getting you off said addictive narcotics?
Legal? Sadly, yes.
Thus is my current predicament and let me tell you, I respect the heck out of people who are addicted to something or another and do their best to kick the habit, especially when it comes to highly addictive drugs.
It all started about 2 years ago while waiting on my social security verdict my primary care physician (PCP) suggested I look into a few more specialists and treatment options to help things like my on-again-off-again insomnia, my digestive issues, and my constant daily pain.
At that time my pain was escalating quickly on a daily basis and nothing I did seemed to help. My PCP mentioned I might want to seek out a pain management specialist and that's exactly what I did! After some research and questions to my local friends on Facebook, I found a doctor that came recommended and I was in to the office within a week.
Our first impression of the pain management doctor was fair; he was very condescending but he seemed very knowledgeable and actually believed chronic Lyme Disease existed and that we needed to treat it at the source.
So our first meeting was a very successful one and I was extremely optimistic.
Then, as quickly as that hopeful optimism came, it
Something to learn about Lyme Disease: steroids are very bad for your body. I gave it a lot of thought, research, and asked many people in my Lyme groups on Facebook (whom all said DON'T DO IT extremely vehemently), I told the doctor no, I will not be doing steroid shots. I even had two supporting doctor's notes that advised against the injections as well.
Instead of the shots, which he made very clear he adamantly recommended over anything else, he prescribed me the Fentanyl patch which is a controlled narcotic medication in patch form you put onto your body and it releases the medication in a timed manner throughout the suggested 3-day intervals.
I would call in my prescription each month and go pick it up in-office (it's a class one narcotic so it's a controlled substance) and change my patch every 3 days. I started off with 25 mcgs and, ultimately in about a year and a half of seeing the pain management specialist, worked my way up to 50mcgs.
It was rough to start out; lots of dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, a migraine. I slept with a bucket by my side because I had no idea if I was going to upchuck when I woke up in the middle of the night or not.
Gradually my body got use to the patch and, even though not ideal, it really did help take my pain down to a manageable level!
Every 2 to 3 months the specialist would require a check up to continue prescribing my patches. Every single time I'd go in, every. single. time, he'd bring up the steroid shots and pressure me into doing them. I'd say no, he'd leave, and before I knew it one of the nurses would come in and be ready to take me back for my shot I specifically said no to not 5 minutes prior.
It was almost a routine down to the nurse coming in after the doctor left.
Fast forward to this past Fall when I was losing my insurance due to turning 26. I let the specialist know at that latest appointment where, shocker, he wanted me to do a steroid injection. I of course said no and he proceeded to tell me that they don't take Medicaid and I would need to pay a visit to my PCP to proceed from here on out.
I completely understand, said my thank yous, and left. A little while later we found out we could file an extension for my current insurance and in the meantime continue seeing the specialist until a verdict was reached. That is until I called and the receptionist politely told me in no uncertain terms,
"It is hard on doctor _______ because you wouldn't consent to the steroid injections and we feel it would be best if you looked elsewhere."
On top of that, my body was already addicted to the Fentynl patch and I had some very dangerous withdrawals going off cold turkey at first. I received no aid nor support from him or his office in this matter so I sought help from my fellow chronically ill friends and groups on Facebook and they were, quite literally, a lifesaver.
By the grace of the Universe I was able to talk them into giving me one more refill and with that I slowly had to cut my patches in half, then thirds, then quarters for nearly 2 to 3 months and deal with the withdrawal symptoms as I went. I'm proud to say as of a few weeks ago I'm off the patch completely!
Sadly I'm still feeling after affects that I'm hoping will go away with time, the worse of which is anxiety, mild panic attacks, and insomnia. My pain has come back like prior to the patch but I'm dealing with it the best I can for now.
This is why I really hate most doctors.
Are you addicted to anything, big or little, you just can't seem to quit?
#Addiction is no joke! Learn about how my #doctor #abandoned me & my #Fentanyl #nightmare--> https://t.co/9v96BxyEJG pic.twitter.com/GZLLILDG0X— The Eclectic Element (@TheEclecticE) March 20, 2016