Friday, March 18, 2016

My Fentanyl Nightmare & Unethicalness at it's Finest

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?

Unethical? Absolutely!

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.

My #Fentanyl #nightmare & #unethical behavior at it's best. See why I hate most #doctors & had to #detox from a class 1 #narcotic drug by myself! #chronicpain #painmanagement #chroniclife #lymedisease

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.

Say whaaaat?!

So our first meeting was a very successful one and I was extremely optimistic.

Then, as quickly as that hopeful optimism came, it faded shattered twice as fast. Once my second appointment came, things started getting real; the doctor, as well as the nurses and support staff, started pushing steroid shots.

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.

My #Fentanyl #nightmare & #unethical behavior at it's best. See why I hate most #doctors & had to #detox from a class 1 #narcotic drug by myself! #chronicpain #painmanagement #chroniclife #lymedisease

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!

My #Fentanyl #nightmare & #unethical behavior at it's best. See why I hate most #doctors & had to #detox from a class 1 #narcotic drug by myself! #chronicpain #painmanagement #chroniclife #lymedisease

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?


Jennifer S. said...

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. That was incredibly irresponsible of your doctor. Crazy timing because I am dealing with something similar this week (too a lesser degree). It's just for my Ambien, but I wasn't able to get ahold of my doctor for almost a week. Going without the Ambien after being on it for like 4 years was not pleasant. Definitely some withdrawal symptoms, and obviously, loss of sleep big time. It just comes down to the doctors being more responsible about what they prescribe, and being aware that they can't just rip you off of the stuff with no weening process!!! Hope you find a better doc ASAP. <3

Maryann D. said...

That is really horrible how they have treated you. It is such a shame. I have found also with my family that we really do not get much needed help from doctors. They never give an answer or diagnosis or just dismiss our problems. They also pass us on to other doctors.
twinkle at optonline dot net

Unknown said...

It makes me so angry that they treated you this way! A responsible doctor should know better that a) steroids are bad for lymies and b) you can't just cut off medication. I would argue though that you are dependent on your patch, not addicted.

Liz Parker said...

Wow ... that's crazy. I'm probably addicted to sugar - I love chocolate, even though I have stomach issues and shouldn't eat it in general. No alcohol or drug addictions, thankfully.

Momma Told Me said...

It really can be frustrating when considering what doctors feel their liability is and how that makes them react to certain situations and patients. I like to think the best of people but some physicians have made me question ethics, without a doubt. I hope you find a physician who will treat you and your situation as an individual.

brokenteepee said...

I am so sorry. I dread the current atmosphere with painkillers. I've been on fentynal since'99. It was and still is a lifesaver for me. I had no adverse reactions to it - unlike some other painkillers. I've been through my share of quacks too and if you ask me that is nothing short of malpractice

Shelley Zurek -- Still Blonde after all these YEARS said...

First of all I am sorry for your pain. And your shitty doctor. ANd all the stuff that has happened to a sweetheart like you! Second of all, yes I do have a very minor coke. And I am thinking wow, if you can withdraw from something like Fentenall I could surely get off diet coke>

Ellen said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. What an awful thing to have happen. I hope you can get some sort of resolution!

Lena B said...

I have an addictive personality, so I do my best to stay away from just about anything, but I haven't faced the choice that made me pick between pain and medication. The best of luck to you!

Terra Heck said...

Eek, that stinks! Sorry you're going through this and hope you get some resolution soon.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Kayla, this is an amazingly sad story about your doctor and the way he treated you. Have you considered sueing him? I don't know, if you have a case, but he definitely is an unethical person and if nothing else others need to be made aware of his practices. I hope you can get on proper treatment soon and will say prayers that the pain is manageable. God bless, sweet girl! Sending you hugs!