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skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/2/2009 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
All,

I got back from the doc again this morning and found out we have neared the end of what he can do for me. I have had several procedures to try and find out what the problem is with my back. None have worked or shed any more light on what the problem is.

I agreed to one more epidural injection (this will be number 18) that is supposed to flood my entire spinal canal with meds and is kind of a catch all for back pain. It is supposed to help with back pain regardless of the exact disc or area that is causing it. I have had one of these before and it did not help much and actually seemed to cause me a lot more pain than anything else.

He also referred me to a surgeon and I am supposed to make an appointment with him and talk with him about back surgery. I am hoping he is going to try some diagnostic tests or something first because I do not want to let someone cut my back open if they are not completely certain about what is wrong and how to fix it.

I am terrified of surgery. My mother had a botched surgery about 5 years ago and had to have 4 more surgeries to fix the problems. She went through hell and it has been years. She still is not doing too well and is in a lot of pain constantly. I have supported her and helped her through all of the surgeries and have developed a rather large fear of the scalpel. I can deal with needled in my spine and all that but actually cutting me open? It gives me nightmares...

I suppose I am posting this looking for words of wisdom or encouragement from some of you that have been through back surgery before. I hear a lot about people who tell me not to have surgery no matter what and I also hear from people saying that one surgery cured their back pain completely for decades. Any of you have any thoughts?


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 40mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1/2 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 before bedtime (w/a low-fat snack, one hour after an aspirin)
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)

Other:
Amitiza - 8mcg x 2 a day (when needed; not often)


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/2/2009 11:48 AM (GMT -7)   
  Hello Skrape! I too am now looking at the option of back surgery, as my PCD has said that I'm way over due for it. One problem is that the states are looking very hard at the PCD's who are giving what they call a class/2 meds to patient's that have not had surgery to possibly correct their condition, whatever that may be. The rule of thought here, seems to be that the PCD's are only masking the problem and not making an attempt to correct the root cause. I guess thats true in my case, as they know what is wrong with me and there is a surgery to correct it, or may I suggest, it may correct it. That is the rub with me, as it is taking a chance, and there is no guarantee that it will have a positive outcome. I think the government is looking at all the deaths from over perscribing and the abuse of the perscribed med's that has led to many death across this country. I would much perefer to make that choice myself, and it seems to have been allowed that way, but things are changing now that the states and government is stepping in. We all have seen a rise in awareness on the news and talk shows concerning this. Also, the problem it has created, is that those who are not ready for the surgerys for what ever reason and those that have had surgerys are having a tuff time getting the right meds if any at all. I personally have to agree with my PCD, and believe that I'm long over due for the surgery, and my body is taking a toll for putting it off so long. I think it is dangerous to keep masking the problem and it is a known fact that long term use of certian pain meds is not good for your body. I know and understand that my surgery may not turn out ok, and that I may end up on pain meds for the long haul, but if I don't do anything at all, my condition will continue to get worse and I will be on the Meds reguardless. The only reason in my own personal case that I would put it off, is that I'm so close to retirement, and if the surgery does not go well, my career will be over with. So it's really a financial decision with me right now. The problem is that my PCD is not willing to wait that long after putting me on the class/2 med's. I really don't have a good answer for you, but hope that you can look at some of the reasons I have chosen this path to go down now, or may I say it has been chosen for me. I have been in so much pain for such a long time, and I can tell you that in my case it has destroyed my quality of life that I used to so enjoy on a daily basis. I hope this helps you, or at least gets you to thinking in a direction that is helpful to you. Let us all know how you are doing, as we do care and understand some of what you are going through. Have a wonderful day now! :)

 


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/2/2009 11:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Skrape, I also noticed that I take some of the same med's that you do. Some of them are for my heart condition. I had a massive heart attack in 2002! Do you take any of the med's for a heart condition? Just curious!

skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/2/2009 12:12 PM (GMT -7)   
I have not had any heart attacks but I routinely showed up at the doc's in tachycardia and w/my blood pressure through the roof. I attributed most of this to being on a Fentanyl patch (100mcgs; up to 200mcgs at one point) that would start to wear off after 36 hours and would wear off completely after 48 hours but I was stuck wearing them for a full 72 hours. So I was in huge amounts of pain and in withdrawal almost half the time.

This showed whenever I had a doc or a nurse check my vitals. I was told that I was at imminent risk of a heart attack and/or stroke. I remember that the doc that told me this was looking at me almost like he expected me to keel over right there in the exam room in front of him. So I was put on the Atenolol to try and combat the heart/blood pressure issues. It seems to have worked but I was taken off the patch and put on Oxycontin shortly after starting the Atenolol so it could just be that I am not in withdrawal and unmedicated pain all the time anymore. It might be good to mention that I am only about 30 years old. I hear all the time that I am soooo young and it is such a shame that I have all these problems already.

I am on the Crestor and Trilipix for high cholesterol. High cholesterol runs in the family and I have been told about my numbers being wickedly high for most of my life. When getting glasses when I was 18, I was told that I had cholesterol deposits in my retinas. This is something the doc told me they had never seen in anyone who could not be considered elderly. A lot of the time, my good cholesterol is very, very low as well and I have registered a nine (9) on my HDL before. So I am trying to get the cholesterol numbers under control and they seem to be happy that my vitals are looking good every time I go into the doc. I now usually register textbook blood pressure (I think something like 80 over 100) and my pulse is usually anywhere from 70 to 100 depending on how much pain I am in. This pales in comparison to the +140 beats per minute I usually came in with while on the patch.

It may be good for me to mention that I was finally able to get them to switch me from those wretched patches because I had suffered constant migraines for almost a year because of the side effects. I was switched to Oxy (which I have absolutely no side effects with) and have not had a single migraine since. I am delighted. I used to take 8 Excedrin a day (in truth I probably went over that just trying to get the darned headaches to let up) because not even the heaviest pain meds I have ever had would help my head at all. Excedrin is the ONLY thing that will touch my headaches and they usually wipe it out completely unless it is a severe migraine. I had wound up in the ER a few times because I had constant migraines and when they got bad, I would vomit for days on end and not be able to hold anything down.

I did tell you that I was only 30 years old but I should also mention that I am not obese in any way. I am about 5'6" and I weight about 140 or 145 depending on the day. I used to not be able to break 115 or 120 until I hurt my back. Since then I have been quite sedentary and have gained some weight but could not be considered overweight in any real sense of the word. So I have all these heart/blood/pain problems but it is not really because I have abused my body too badly, etc. I do smoke (nasty habit and I really need to quit all together) but that is about it. No drinking, street drugs, etc., etc. I did try to update my signature but it doesn't seem to be taking the changes. I just had my Oxycontin upped to 80mg today since I was still in so much pain.


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 80mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 every 12 hours
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)

Post Edited (skrape) : 11/2/2009 12:18:10 PM (GMT-7)


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 11/2/2009 12:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Skrape (& ScreamingEagle,too!),
Remember having a consultation for surgery doesn't mean you have to go through with it. And unless it's an emergency I'd always recommend a second opinion. And do you research about the different procedures; I had a minimally invasive double lumbar fusion, and that certainly left less damage than the "traditional" ones, although it didn't cure the problem. But remember those of us on the forum may be overrepresentative of failed surgeries, because those with successful surgeries are out living their lives!

Also, having a good evaluation by a physicatrist (a specialist in Physcial Medicine - NOT a psychiatrist! LOL) can help you weigh all your options. Then you can sit back and make an informed choice.

Screaming - as I read your post on this thread I wondered if the reason the state was getting involved was because your PCD was doing the prescribing. My PCP won't prescribe my pain meds and I've had surgery! It may be different if it's a PM specialist prescribing. Or you're seeing a physiatrist who's recommending other options. I didn't realize you were that close to retirement. But I don't want to hijack skrape's thread, so you can comment on this on your thread!

Anyway, remember skrape getting an evaluation doesn't mean you have to have surgery, but you do want to ask what happens if you don't have it.

PaLady

skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/2/2009 12:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah, I am keeping in mind that I don't HAVE to have surgery. I do wonder/worry about whether or not my pain mgmt. doc will want to keep prescribing me pain meds if I balk at or refuse a surgery. In my mind, I would like to put off surgery until I absolutely have to have it done. As in, I am going to literally kill myself if I cannot get more relief than therapy and meds can do.

I had my first 80mg Oxycontin today and it is really starting to kick in and do it's job. I asked my pain doc today if we could increase my meds because the 40mg Oxycontin just wasn't really doing it for me. I was on 40mg way back a year and a half ago. I was on the patches for a while (still don't really get how I made it through all that, I really wanted to kill myself on those; they made me super-emotional and didn't work well on top of making me quite ill) but went straight back to the 40mg Oxycontin again after the patches. I tried to stick it out for 2 and a half months before asking for the increase (he told me to let him know right away if they weren't doing enough but I waited as long as I could stand it) because I am concerned that I am on a TON of narcotics as well as the cost. I decided to find out what the dmg will be when my insurance rolls over in January and it is going to cost me $1,300 every month just for the Oxy alone. I don't see myself having that kind of money...

Also, I am not being prescribed my pain meds by my primary care doc; I only get pain meds from the Pain Management doc. The PCP outright refused to do it except for the initial month of patches when I first went to them. That was because they pretty much had to. I had left my old doc for them and was almost out of patches when I first saw them.


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 80mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 every 12 hours
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/2/2009 1:25 PM (GMT -7)   
      Skrape, I just started my oxycontin last Friday 40mg, and it was a wonderful feeling to get some relief. It never hit me like a ton of bricks, but I noticed that it bacame more effective after about 4 to 5hrs into the med. Mine seems to last around 8 to 9hrs, even though they say it should work for 12hrs. I worry that Im getting too much of it, as I was only taking 3 #10 325mg percocet's prior to the switch. I would appercicate any advice you have to offer or knowledge of the use of this Med if you can.

Jim1969
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 11/2/2009 1:25 PM (GMT -7)   
You are not the only one who is scared of having back surgery. I too am terrified at the thought. Generally I am pretty "brave" when it comes to having surgery but back/spine surgery and brain surgery are the two that scare the life out of me.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.


skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/2/2009 1:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Eagle,

I have been on Oxycontin a total of about 18 months. It is one of the only (if not THE only) medication that actually helps me with my pain and has virtually no side effects. It works very well as a long acting pain killer and is great in combination with breakthrough meds. I have only ever been given Hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin, etc.) for breakthrough with it and it seems to not do much for me anymore (been on it too long I think). I was originally on Norco which is 10/325 Hydrocodone/APAP and they worked a little better than the Vicodin I am on now (5/500 Hydrocodone/APAP) but that is probably because it is only half the dosage. My doc also upped the Vicodin but I didn't get an Rx for it (need to call and find out why)...

If you were taking Percocet before, you were on the same drug, just in a different form. I have had a few Percocet before and they work really well for me as breakthrough. I think the Oxycodone just works better for me than the Hydrocodone does. *shrug

The Oxycontin do seem to have a peak in pain control about halfway through the dose. I have also noticed that I get a big kick in the effectiveness after eating... Not sure why that would be but it just seemed to always happen that I would feel a lot less pain immediately after Lunch for about 30 to 60 minutes. Maybe it was just in my head or something. LOL.

I, too, couldn't seem to make the pain control last for the full 12 hours. I also had a big problem with it losing effectiveness at night after the second dose seemed to be wearing off. In conjunction with my insomnia, having increased pain at night was not a good thing for me and would keep me up all night at times. I mentioned this to my current PM and he said that there is some kind of syndrome (can't remember the name) that some people get that seems to make the first dose of the day work well but the effectiveness of subsequent doses seems to drop. That is why he ended up prescribing me the Oxycontin 3 times a day, one every 8 hours. This has been a Godsend for me and being able to get good sleep.

Are you still on a breakthrough medication? Are you still on the Percocet? I have never been able to get a doc to give me both Oxycontin and Percocet at the same time. They seem to not want to Rx the same med (Oxycodone) for both the long and short acting meds. I am not sure if that is just my docs or if that is a normal rule or something. I have been told that you ALWAYS Rx breakthrough in conjunction with a long acting medication like Oxycontin.

The only thing I can think of as far as tips would go would be this; make sure that none of your pills are broken or crushed. You will receive ALL of the medication at once instead of over the 8 or 12 hours. This can overwhelm you and multiply the side effects (sleepiness, etc.). You might want to watch driving until you are used to Oxycontin if it is making you sleepy at all. Sleepiness is a quite common side effect of this drug.

I used to drink to try and help my insomnia (bad idea) and I quit drinking all together after starting on narcotic pain killers. From what I understand, drinking can greatly increase the risk of suppression of respiration (especially while sleeping). That is one of the reasons there was that huge media scare regarding Oxycontin. It made a lot of the people abusing the drug stop breathing after they passed out.

I know this may not be an issue for you but I had someone make off with almost 3/4 of one of my pill bottles. I was in a bad, bad place because of that. They had to run a background check on me and everything to replace it. Since then I have to keep all of my Oxycontin in my pocket at all times. If I cannot do that, it goes right into the safe at home. Just in case it can save you some trouble, be careful of people whom you wouldn't even think may steal medications. It can take all kinds... ;-)


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 80mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 every 12 hours
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/2/2009 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Skrape, I dont have time for a quality responce, as I'm headed home in a few min. But we do keep all of our Pain Meds in a safe as well. We have small children around the house, and I think it would kill one of them if they got into it by accident. Thanks!...for bringing that up, as I think it is one of the most important things to consider when dealing with Pain Med's at home. Excellant Piont!

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 11/2/2009 3:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Skrape,
what ever you decide, surgery or no surgery...you have my prayers and well wishes..
This indeed must be very very scary for you, as what ever you choose will effect your
whole life...
Lots of soft hugz for now, keep us posted as to what you'll decide and like PALady said
a 2nd opinion is very very important...
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Skrape))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
hugz
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


fatherjohn
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 11/2/2009 9:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Scrape, after I was injured and had 3 herniated discs, I has a surgeon who wanted to do surgery on one level as the sucsess for surgeries go down the more levels that are done. He gave me his majic number (percentage he could help) and I told him if he was a piolt and told me I had that percentage of a chance on getting to my destination, I would take the bus. I was seen by a total of seven surgeons and one finally told me that unfornately, I would have back surgery but recommended waiting until I could take the pain no more as the sucsess rate was not that good. It was 10 years later and I had no other choices and had 3 levels fusion using my own bone. That was a little less than 2 years ago and I had my thrid back surgery this summer. The fusion worked great, just had so much nerve damage and it did repair or regrow. I was afraid that the first surgery would lead to the next and then...  People who have back surgery seem to be in three groups. Those who come out of it with no problems. Those who mess up after surgery and cause more damage by not allowing the proper healing time. Then there are those unlucky ones that surgery gave some time off but the pain continues. I still work a full scedule and take no pills during the day. The problem is that the time I get home, I end up in bed trying to catch up to the pain so I can get something that resembles sleep. I over work as is known on this site but part of my fear is I will end up not being able to work. There is no SSD or SSI for me
   
So do you take the chance on surgery, or wait it out. To me it depends on the extent of the surgery, what other options are available, and is there a possibility that waiting will cause permanent nerve damage? After 3 surgeries in less than 2 years, ending in a failed back surgery, I am on the no call list for further surgeries. I keep getting more limited in what I can do and those doctors don't come home with me and make sure I am comfortable and have the right medications. They are not interested in suggestions that I would gladly allow them to cut off my feet and one leg just to get rid of the nerve pain effects. Who would cut off a good leg because of a problem in the back, right. All Im can tell you is you can't go back and have it undone. And I write this on a better than normal day. They tell me I will have another fusion surgery as the next level up is taking the brunt and is not going to last. That could be a long way out as I am not looking to do it again.  But realize people that post here are the ones that surgeries did not work for them. I am not sure where the web site is for sucsessful surgeries where people log on and say it was the best thing that ever happened to them and now that can do all the amazing things in life that could not before. The ones the doctor said, yes a good one that makes up for 2 failed ones. I hope this helps. I would be glad to share more on email. May God grant you wisdom.

Post Edited (fatherjohn) : 11/2/2009 9:23:34 PM (GMT-7)


golitho
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 11/2/2009 9:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Scrape, I guess theres no harm in discovering what sort of surgery is on offer? What sort of hope that may give you? No one likes surgery but PAlady is right there are people out there where it has worked wonders. I had a chef friend who had a nerve trapped in his lower back. A nerve surgeon operated and he has been a different person ever since, he was so bitter before, now he laughs all the time. I know he was lucky but he'd been told his chance of success was low, he was so desperate and took that chance. Because you're so young you have a great chance of healing well, your body is so much more resilient.what do I know? I just feel theres no harm in asking about it.
But having said that, I hate the thought of someone pressuring you into having it, that sounds immoral.
Good to hear from you again, golitho

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3610
   Posted 11/3/2009 12:16 AM (GMT -7)   
skrape and ( Screaming Eagle ) too!
I have had two disk fusions now, the one at C6/7 in 1985 was when the found out what was wrong and emerency surgical situation, it fixed most of my pain problems at the time, but I had some permanent damage done. Anyway I have a herniated disk at T12 and no one will touch that disk, along with the T3 and T8 disks that are bad and with bone spurs,  the last 6 to 9 months or so I have had problems with my left arm again,  very similar to what I felt in 1985, well I had had the epidurals but they just didn't give me long enough relief so my PM sent me to a surgeon, to make a long story short I had severe nerve root impingement at C5-C6 the disk above my previous fusion. I had surgery the 28th of September 5 weeks ago today,  anyway he did a ACDF Anterior Cervical Diskectomy with Fusion, they took the disk out, and some of the bone, and bone spurs, and put in donor cadaver bone and a plate with screw to hold it all together! As soon as I woke up I notice that all the pain in ,my left arm was gone! Now the surgeon told me that this surgery would not help my other pain issues, and I would have to remain on pain  meds for that, but it would, and it did, take away all my pain issues that I had been having with my left arm!  As long as that nerve root was being pressed on, I was gong to have pain! The bone spurs would never go away but just get bigger  over time.  I am pleased with the result of my surgery, my surgeon told me I was extremely lucky to have went so long as most of the time when you have a disk fusion, the one above or below it will go bad within  ten years! I got nearly 25 years out of it! Now if they would only fix the thorasic disk that would really help! I do have a herniated disk at L4/5  and although I don't have sciatic nerve problems  I do have a drop foot and some other problems with my legs. The question is whether that is caused by the bad disk or the other neuro problems that I have. Anyway I am not a big fan of having surgery, but with that said, If I had to do it all over again, what I just had done, I would not even think twice about it! I would do it in a heart beat!  I have enough problems with pain, it is so nice to have just one thing less to keep me up at night in agony!
 
Just my prespective about it! Good Luck to both of You!
 
White Beard
 
P.S. I have been on Oxycontin for quite a while now, for me it really was a Godsend! I was taking Vicodin and Vicoprofen before that and it seemed like I was having to take them all the time. When I had to change Doctors, my new Doctor was an Internal medicine doctor, but also and Oncologist, I use to work with before I went on disability, Anyway he said I was having to take to much of the Vicoprofen, so he put me on Oxycontin 20 mg every 12 hours, I was on that for several years and then he upped it to 40 mg every 12 hours, and I had been on that for several years, my PM doctor tried to change it to every 8 hours a couple years ago but It made me feel doopey so at my request he cut it back to every 12 hours again. This past summer he did increase it back to 40 mg every 8 hours as I was noticing that after 8 or 9 hours it was wearing off, this time it is working just fine, no side affects or anything, I still do have to take percocet 5/325  for break through, but I try to avoid taking them if I can!  Sitting back in a recliner with a heating pad will often help, but admittedly some times at night if I wake up in pain, I will have to take something for it!  I look at these medications as just something to controll my pain, just as I take Metoprolol to control my blood pressure, or the Baclofen to controll my muscle spasms.  It is to bad that people abuse them, as it makes it that much harder for the rest of us!!! and we don't need that!!


Moderator Chronic Pain
 
I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on full disalbility!--   DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in  Sep 2009,  C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

Post Edited (White Beard) : 11/3/2009 12:23:05 AM (GMT-7)


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/3/2009 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you! FatherJohn & White Beard! Excellant reply's for us that are looking at the surgery option. Again, I'm short on time here, but have so many questions. I will ask for more information as soon as I get the time to do so. I did call my PCD today, and asked if they would lower my dose of Oxycontin to 30mg instead of the 40mg he put me on. I feel that it is just too big of a jump for me going from 3 #10 325mg to 2 40mg Oxycontin. I will post a reply as soon as I find out what they say and or after I try the lower dose.

skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/3/2009 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Eagle,

If you have any questions about these types of medications or anything like that, feel free to also use the email link in my posts to contact me directly. I have the forum set to email me when there are replies to my posts, etc. but I don't always see other peoples posts. I am always at my PC (I am a software engineer) and usually get my email within a minute or so. Like I said, feel free to ask away!

If you want them to, they may be able to accommodate you on your request for the dosage change. I don't really see them having a problem with you asking to go LOWER, they usually have problems with people wanting and requesting to go higher! Oxycontin comes in 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 60mg, 80mg and 160mg dosages.

Just remember not to cut yours in half or anything like that! I only say this because I once had a doc tell me to cut my Fentanyl patches in half to go with a higher dosage (one whole patch and one half patch). You are not ever supposed to cut patches in half (or Oxycontin) and my pharmacist freaked on me when I told him that! He actually told me that my wife may find me deceased in the bed next to her the following morning if I did do it... Kind of freaked her out. ;-)


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 80mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 every 12 hours
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)

Post Edited (skrape) : 11/3/2009 11:27:44 AM (GMT-7)


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/3/2009 3:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello! Skrape! I asked my PCD to lower my Ocycontin dosage today, and he agreed to do so for me! I requested the 30mg for my working hrs, and 20mg for my non working and sleeping hrs. The nurse said he was pretty impressed that I'm in tune with my body and asked for the reduction. They told me to discard the 40mg on my own, but I will have my wife take them in to them when she picks up the scripts for me. I hope that I haven't made a mistake, as I'm not fond of the idea of being in pain again. The 40mg worked really well, but I could see that they were just too much for me at this time. I hate to take pain med's, but I don't like living in pain either. I'm well aware of the dangers of taking them, and would rather stay on the low side of the dosage. I will let you know how they work out for me, as soon as I start on them, which will be sometime tomorrow, as its too late to get them today. I wouldn't mind keeping the 40mg's if it was OK with the doc, but I won't go against his wishes. When ever we do have extras, we vacuum bag them and keep them in a dark storage area. Actually, we keep them in a small safe, locked up tight and away from the children. I wish, and think one of us or the moderators here should start a thread on this very subject, and would be an excellent conversation piece for the Koffee Klatch Time threads. Thanks so much for your replies, and we need to keep in touch with each other, especially on the subject of the surgery. I wish the best to you, and we will see you tomorrow.

Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 11/3/2009 3:33:58 PM (GMT-7)


skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/3/2009 6:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I would say that you shouldn't worry about it being a mistake. Even if you decide you want to go back to the 40mg or even if you decide that you want to do 30mg the whole day instead of going from 30mg to 20mg, your doc should be ok with that. Especially since you are bringing the excess back to them. They know you aren't abusing them or selling them and that you are truly trying to find out what dosage works well for you.

If you weren't bringing them back to the doc's, they may think you were trying to get double the meds by switching to a different dosage and then back again. You see? Lots of people have a lot of little tricks like that to squeeze more out of the system than they should get. When I switched to MS Contin for a week and then back to Oxycontin again, I had to deal with suspicion that I wanted the extra to abuse or sell (doc asked me outright if that's what I was doing!).

At any rate, your doc should know you are being straight up with him and you aren't trying to deceive him at all. The only thing that would be a problem for me is that the insurance won't cover it if I try to get the same dosage filled in the same month. If it is a dosage change, then it is just fine but if it is for the same Rx twice in the same month, they refuse to cover it. This happened even when I had a lost Rx. I had to pay the $549 out of pocket for it. :-(

As far as what to do with hiding meds or what to do with excess, I had a post on here somewhere talking about jumbo medicine containers (steel containers to clip to your belt) and diversion safes (I have one that is a can of shaving cream, just so I can hide meds when out of town and not have housekeeping find them!). If you want, I can dig that one up and bump it back up to the top for you. I can also give some url's of good sites for them if you email me. I don't think I can link external sites on this forum (or at least I am not sure if I can or not).


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 80mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 every 12 hours
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)


Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 11/3/2009 8:19 PM (GMT -7)   
You know there are more scary stories out there about failed back fusions and neck fusions then I care for. But...that said, if I had to go back and do the surgeries again, I would have probably have done the same as I did, except I would have more knowledge then when I first started this. I had my first herniated disc at 36 years old. My work sent me to an ortho for this when traditional things did not work ( steriod pac, three injections, rest, and the works) and he chose to do a laminectomy on L5-S1. L4-L5 was bulged,but he told me that it just was not worth doing two at once. So when it ended up as me going back to work in more pain then I thought there was to be, I found one of the best neuro surgeons in the state to take over my care.

Now, he chose a double fusion, after three more failed injections, therapy and other things that I really thought I was spinning my wheels on. I would have gone in for surgery in Nov, if I had not freaked out in the surg prep room and told doc that i thought we were moving way too fast and that maybe we needed to look into other alternatives. Which is why I had the above recourse of injections, therapy, rest and what seemed like 40 other things as well. So in the first week of Dec. I underwent a double fusion surgery that lasted 5 hours and ended in me having to spend an extra 3 days in the hospital because of losing too much blood during surgery and having a pint or two replaced back into my skinny body.


I will tell you that yes surgery is an option that has to be looked at with open eyes. You need to get a second and third opinion before, find the perfect surgeon to do this procedure. Don't let the doctor blow smoke up your skirt, like telling you that you will be 100% better cause your always going to have some kind of pain from the surgery itself. Doctors will tell you that you will have pain after the surgery. This is true. I still have some pain, very minimal, in my back from where they stretched the muscles and took bone from my hip for the fusion. After the surgery; REST, REST and more REST. Whatever the guidelines the ortho gives you....stick to it to the letter.

I guess what I am saying is that make sure you are completely ready for this surgery. Try to be in the best health you can (quit smoking, and whatnot just to ensure your surgery will go smoothly and are ready both mind and body for what is going to happen. Another thing is...ask questions of your doc. Don't go in blind.

Gosh I do hope that you all understand what I have just posted.

Hugsssssssssssss

Scarred
What doesn't kill us only makes us fight back harder! :P


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13455
   Posted 11/3/2009 8:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Skrape, sure hate to hear what you may be up against. Its a big decision for sure. Scarred gave you some excellent advice, get several opinions. My only word of caution is many times if a person has nerve involvement going on and they wait too long to have surgery then the nerve damage can become permanent and irreversible. Nerves are something that has to heal on their own, there is nothing a dr can do to help a nerve. A friend of mine waited too long, she has a permanent limp and permanent nerve damage. Do your homework on getting the best surgeon and educating yourself too. Hugs.
Straydog/Susie
Moderator Chronic Pain
 
crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & decreased circulation in both legs. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 16 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/5/2009 10:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Skrape, How are you doing? Have you decided when you are going to have the surgery? Let me know, as I would like to follow your progress. I have decided myself, to have my surgery done. Some of my decesion is being forced on me by my PCD, as he is to the end of his limit of perscribing me scripts for pain, until I have the surgery. If the surgery fails, he will then either continue to take care of me with the pain meds or will look in ernest for a PM to continue my care with the scripts. Im going into this with a positive attitude, and will hope for the best. I know this is a big risk, and wish I was a litte bit closer to retirement, but it is getting to the point to where I need to have something done. My PCD says I'm way past due for the surgery, and I know this. I have been living this way for the past 6yrs or so. The pain meds are in the hundreds that I have taken, and to tell the truth, it could be in the several thousands. I have a rough idea that I have probably taken over 4 to 5 thousand pain meds over the last 6 yrs. That may not sound like a lot to many of you here that take many more than that, but its a lot to me.

Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 11/5/2009 11:20:54 AM (GMT-7)


skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/5/2009 11:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Unfortunately my bank messed up my auto-payment to my insurance company. I had to pay the fee and resend the check via snail-mail. I have to wait for the check to show up and be processed through their system before I can schedule the next epidural, etc.

I think I have to wait for this to be settled before I can make an appointment with the surgeon as well. Otherwise I would have to pay the co-pay out of pocket. It has been so long since I have been able to put in regular working hours (I am self-employed) that I am completely broke and cannot really even afford the co-pay at the moment. ;-(

Thanks for asking though and I will update you when I find out what all these docs think they should do...

Thanks again!


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 80mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 every 12 hours
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)


Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 11/5/2009 11:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Skrape, I was in the middle of editing my post when you replied, so go back and reread the rest of my post. Hope all works out for you. Its tuf being self employed and understand the decesion to hold off for those reasons. I work for a company that has good insurance for us here, and will take advantage of that while I can. I don't know what will ever happen with the new Obama health care plan, but I hope it will be an answer for many who don't have or can't afford health insurance.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 11/5/2009 11:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Skrape,
I have been self-employed and understand exactly what you're saying. Actually, I'm pretty broke now. It's an awful feeling, isn't it? I do hope your insurance company doesn't try to screw you over because they didn't get hte payment on time.

Sadly, any changes with the health insurance plan won't go into effect for years. So it's not going to help many of us in the near future. But it's a start.

Hugs,

PaLady

skrape
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 11/5/2009 11:41 AM (GMT -7)   
It is too bad that they try to force a surgery by the threat of pain meds in any way. I understand their view point on this but if people want to try and manage the pain with medication instead of going under the knife, I don't think that decision should be made FOR them in any way. I hate that.

I too have taken more pain killers than I even want to think about. I had an issue with my doc about a year ago where he asked me to leave his practice and find a new doc. He cut off all prescriptions after one month and left me high and dry since I couldn't get into a new doc for a few months. I ended up in the ER after the first day of severe pain and withdrawal. Being dependent on any kind of pill sucks and being dependent on one that can so easily be used as leverage is exponentially worse. I ended up finding a new doc that put me on the Fentanyl patches and didn't do anything else at all. The first 9 months of 2009 have to have been the worst in my entire life. The constant pain, migraines, withdrawal (patches didn't work so well for me) and a doc that would run out of the room upon hearing the first question about meds put me into a place I never want to be in again. I had some very dark times at the beginning of this year and contemplated some things that scared the hell out of me. Only thanks to my kids and my wife was I able to make it through. After going through withdrawal roughly half the time for almost an entire year, I am very aware of how lucky I am to have found my current pain doc. He is a life saver.

I too worry about the Obama medical plan. I think the only way to know for sure is to wait and see how it plays out. I already hate that my insurance company can tell me and my doc what medications and procedures I can have; I don't need the government doing the same thing.


Skrape
Pain:
Oxycontin - 80mg x 8 hours
Vicodin - 5/500mg x 1 every 6 hours (as needed)

Sleep:
Amitriptyline (Elavil) - 25mg x 1 to 2 at bedtime
Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien) - 10mg x 1 at bedtime

Heart/Cholesterol:
Atenolol - 50mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Crestor - 10mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)
Niaspan - 500mg x 1 every 12 hours
Trilipix DR - 135mg x 1 a day (lunchtime)

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