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dori_88162 karma

This video delves deep into how I've been able to cope:


However, it was based off of this post I made (incoming wall of text):

Edited Disclaimer: I was/am very nervous to post this for fear that people would misinterpret what I’m saying. I choose to post this because I figure that if someone can get something out of it at some level it’d be worth it to share/post.

I all I’m saying here is this is my story. I’m not telling you to go off your medication, I’m not saying you’re not a success if you’re on opiates or anything of that sort. All I’m saying is it can be done without opiates if and only if it’s right for you.

I got sick in 2012. I have chronic pancreatitis due to a rare pancreatic condition. I have gastroparesis as a result and had a feeding tube from 2013-2016. I also have had two spinal surgeries on the C5-6/7 region of my neck and I’m only 32. I’ve been on every narcotic imaginable and even ventured to the streets/contemplated suicide like many pain patients today as a result of the opiate epidemic.

Roughly 9 months ago the first step I took to get off of the narcotics was engaging honestly with a strong Narcotics Anonymous program. NA can help you get off drugs, but it doesn’t solve chronic pain. I choose to go through withdrawals because I was just sick of it. I did a cold turkey method (do not recommend) but ripping it off like a bandaid is what worked best for me.

I was so physically ill for 7 days and not great for about a month. When that month was over though, I realized I was in the EXACT same amount of pain as I was without drugs as I was with them, which was an average score of 4/10. That alone shocked me because I expected a new average of 6+/10 to occur.

Then, In my mission to handle my pain more productively I tackled answering hard questions in therapy. Things like:

  1. What is forgiveness?

  2. Who/What Am I Without My Chronic Pain?

  3. Benefits or Advantages of Chronic Pain?

  4. What are attainable goals can I set for myself?

As I answered these questions for myself I found my perspective on my pain change and as it changed, I became happier, and as I became happier, I noticed I was a lot more truthful with myself.

I found that if you are truthful with yourself you will learn interesting information that will help you get better. For instance I learned that when I said I was 10/10 it was really 6/10 and I way saying 10/10 because I was desperate for others (especially in a medical situation) to acknowledge the immense pain I was in.

Now, my chronic pain will likely never go away or be “solved,” however it is manageable. I have a special selfcare list that I utilize when I have a spike in pain. 9/10 times it doesn’t really lower my pain scores, but it does bring me out of my head and stops me from stressing about it. It stops me from getting depressed about it and it allows me to recognize that all my negative feelings are valid but they will pass and my spike in pain will go down to something more tolerable at some point.

My first line of defense is things like meditation (I find binaural beats for pain very helpful - I could write a whole essay on how great binaural beats help pain immensely) tylenol, advil, CBD, hot baths, sleep, distraction techniques (nail painting, a walk, yoga, etc.) , screaming into a pillow, expressing myself through journaling or calling a friend and more.

Sometimes I have to do multiple things on my list like I might journal, call a friend and then listen to some binaural beats.

If that isn’t working and I am experiencing extreme symptoms of my illness such as dizziness, vomiting, and dehydration, I’ll go to the hospital where they can administer fluids, IV antiemetics, Toradol and some IV Benadryl so I can sleep through the ordeal. Sometimes IV Steroids help too, if it is called for.

I have found non-narcotic options work a whole lot better when you’re not constantly on heavy duty narcotics. They’ll check my labs and if something is acutely wrong I consider the use of opiates, for the last two hospitalizations, though I’ve managed to avoid my drug of choice with toradol, low dose ketamine, and benadryl to sleep through it all as well as other medications that help like antiemetics and lots of IV Fluids.

It’s gonna sound so freaking corny, yet I have found this to be true for myself: You have amazing power to heal yourself if you only believe you can. believing you can is different than wishing you can, because if you could will your way into feeling better you would. Believing for me, means I recognize I am powerless over my chronic pain. It will be there whether I want it to be or not, so instead of fighting against it and spending all my energy on making it go away, I spend my energy on making sure I am taking care of myself.

As I’ve accepted my situation relating to pain and started working on turning negatives into positives and by accepting it (doesn’t mean I like it) I have been able to overcome things I never thought possible.

I came to the realization that when people are saying, “have you tried yoga?” they are simply saying “are you engaging in self care?” vs implying that yoga will cure you.

Now, unlike a pill that works within thirty minutes it took me almost 5 months to notice the benefits of doing this type of hard emotional work. However, by getting a lot of my anxiety, struggles, and secrets out in the open, I was able to reduce my anxiety and in turn that dramatically helped my pain.

I live in a 3-5 pain score daily and it is manageable without opiates. It can be done.

dori_8846 karma

I use a CBD vape, and the reason for no MJ is because I know I'm the type of addict that if you give an inch to - I'll take full advantage of it and it won't be long till I'm using opiates again. I've done this time and time again personally. It never has ended well for me.

dori_8842 karma

I use CBD and that is it. No Kratom, or THC or anything of the sort. I'm pro the legalization for MJ and applaud people who can use it responsibly, I'm not that person. If you say MJ is okay, I will take that inch and run a mile with it till I'm back to abusing my drug of choice.

dori_8834 karma

I do worry about that and I typically stay away from NSAIDs. The only time I use them is when I'm in the hospital. I limit my tylenol to 3,000mg max in a 24hr period and here lately, I've been getting by with only 1,000mg of tylenol.

The great thing about being off opiates, is other medical methods of treatment like tylenol, advil, toradol, cortisone shots, nerve blocks, CBD (no MJ) and such work a whole lot better than they did when I was using opiates to cope. I actually notice a decrease in pain now, whereas before i wouldn't.

dori_8834 karma

I'm not suggesting or telling you to go off your pain medication. That is between you and your doctor. I'm simply saying it was something I was able to do. I'm not saying you'll have the same results, either.

This is what was effective for me, and I'm sharing because there may be bits in there that can help someone out there, by no means is this some kind of cure all or recipe for guaranteed success.

Also, the reason I would average a 4/10 without the medication was because I had built tolerance to my pain medication and it was no longer effective so throughout the day I'd fluctuate from 3-6 pain scores. I fluctuate with a an average score of 4.5 out of 10 here daily. Usually going from 4 - 7 depending on how bad it is at any given moment.

I'm also not saying I wished my pain away. I'm saying that your emotions can influence your perception for your pain. The meditation, and screaming into a pillow does jackshit for my pain, what it does do is lowers my anxiety levels and centers me just enough to wait for it to pass since it fluctuates.

I took the route of learning how to live with my chronic pain vs. trying to fight it or make it go away. Also, I didn't just stop my medication and magically arrive at 4.5/10 average right away. The first month was miserable, I was definitely going through it with the withdrawals after that it took another 6 months before I noticed any of the benefits I'm talking about here. It was a slow, hard, and gruelling process to learn how to cope without narcotics.

If you had asked me 5 years ago, I would've given the same answer to this stuff you are giving me, so I get it. I was suffering so much with my pain that I was always wanting it go away, the second I started accepting it as part of my life and looking at ways to be gentle with myself and said, "okay how can I work with this?" was the moment I was set free. Pain is not my identity, I am so much more than my pain.

IDK I hope that makes more sense/clarifies things.