I want to thank everyone for your concern and response. Today is a real bad day. It is only 1:30 p.m. and I have already had 120mg of morphine since 8 a.m., and am just starting to get the pain from a 10 down to maybe an 8. I know what the person means who says they want to keep the meds in the botlle. While I know I am opiate dependent after this many years on morphine what I want most is to be able to see my pain dorctor and tell her to start weaning me off the morphine. I have no idea if I will ever reach that goal as the top orthopedic surgeons I have seen do not offer me much chance of improvment through revision or reconstructive surgery. I am less than a day out from the first acupuncture treatment and I am putting a great deal of hope in it. The traditional doctor I will be seeing seems to be quite honest so all I can do is wait for my daughter to pick me up and drive me to the office to see him.
As far as (Mexico goes) there is actually a fine gentleman who is quite a runner who has a web site for those who have had or whom are contemplating "elective amputation" of a limb due to uncontrolled chronic pain.
This man has appeared on television and is very supportive to those who have no other options left. He had his foot amputated and still runs major marathons with the aid of new prosthetics.
I have been corresponding with him for several months now, and although I am not psychologically ready to have my right leg amputated, I can understand that if I learned that there was virtually no chance of pain rel;ief and I had to live the rest of my life the way i do now, that I might seek it as an option.
I have seen so many brave solldiers get around with excellent mobility after they have lost legs in the war. While I am far from 20 years old, and no where near in the physical condition they are in, I would assume with the new prosthetics that are now available, I would be in better shape than I am now.
Richard has actually given me the names of several well thought of orthopedic surgeons in the Baltimore / Washington area who are open to discussing this option with chronic pain patients with no other option.
From a quality of life position if I now need to use a wheelchair of scooter to get even from room to room after the eleven surgeries I have had on my knee, and am consistantly sleepy from the level of opiates I need to get even some degree of pain relief, I wonder if over all I would be better off without the leg. Even if I still needed the power chair I could eventually get off the opiates and get my life back. As far as the issue of phantom pain, I understand from the literature that there are some excellent techniques for dealing with that in amputees.
Of course the number of doctors who would even consider this option as a form of pain relief in an otherwise functional limb are few, apparently there are some who understand just how chronic pain can take away any chance for a normal ife and are willing to discuss this option openly with patients and their famalies.
While I have not yet come to terms with that option I may yet have to look at myself and ask if I am ready to continue my life in one room of my home, counting the hours until I take my next pill and not being able to do very much but deal with the pain.
I just saw on this site that a woman passed away after some "minor knee surgery."
I don't want to get started with that as I now see how so many in the orthopedic community have used the idea of knee replacement surgery and arthroscopy as a cure all for any and all knee pain.. Hospitals are paying doctors to run dinner seminars at Hotels to talk to people about the benefits of joint and joint replacement surgeries, and hospitals all over the country are opening up so called joint replacement centers. These surgeries are becomming cash cows for the orthopedic communities, the makers of the prosthetics and hospitals who know they can get a flow of medicare dollars for these surgeries.
What they do not tell you of course is that while some people do get relief from these procedures they are major surgeries and far more people than the doctors will admit are far worse off after knee and hip replacement surgery than before, and there are far too many complications needing additional surgeries.
At least in my case after eleven knee surgeries and a knee replacement gone bad most of the top doctors in the teaching hospitals that do not need the cases to make their living have told me that I have little to gain and much to loose with another attempt at surgery.
I guess where I am now is with my back to the wall with the hope that acupuncture will provide some relief, and if not I will really need to think about what is best for the time I have left, life with my leg that will be full of pain or the chance at a fresh start without the leg, a number of months of physical therapy learning to walk with a prosthetic leg and the chance of some freedom from pain.
Will keep you posted and if anyone has any thoughts on this matter I would appreaciate hearing from you below.