How do I cope with Oxycontin after surgery for back pain?
- 7 Jun 2008 by scarednow
- oxycontin, back pain
Here is my situation:
I have had chronic back pain for 2 years and finally am having surgery on Wednesday to repair a ruptured disc by my L5/S1 which is pinching a nerve in my leg. Previous to this I have had 2 different Dr's which both just drugged me up with Vicodin and at my peak 100 MCG Durgesic patch 2 days and 20 mg Ocycontin 2 times a day, with 5/500 for breakthrough pain. I had enough of the drugs so I saw a Neurosurgeon who is going to fix the problem. She has gotten me off the patch and down to 2 10 mg Oxycontin a day for pain (I am in a lot of pain currently) but advised that I start cutting down pre surgery. I was doing really well and then it hit me, I am opiate dependent. I can not sleep or feel comfortable without having something in my system and I am scared out of my mind. I had met with a new GP earlier this week on advice from my surgeon in the event that I needed to be weened off of my pain meds (good idea) but this guy doesnt seem that well educated with pain situations. I need to know what I should be doing to get clean, I am sure after surgery I am going to be given tons of drugs again and then once I am recovered from surgery I am gonna crash. What can I do to be in control and not just given more pain meds. Any advice or comfort would be greatly appreciated, I have a good job, wife and children who do not understand what I go through without meds.
7 Jun 2008
Sorry you have been in so much pain. I know what a total drag it is to have serious back pain. Everything we do involves our back. Getting off that patch and reducing your opiate medications to 20mg a day prior to surgery will help you a lot in post-op recovery. We have to get our medications to a level where they will do us some good after surgery. Otherwise we are in such awful pain and there is nothing to take that will help us. Now that would really make all of this fun for you if the meds didn't work anymore. :eek:
You are correct that the period of time immediately following surgery is very important for you. They will likely be allowing you a wide path with your medications ... and they should to an extent. You will probably be in some pretty intense pain at least for a while. You almost have to be medicated during that time. But it's really easy to become very dependent in the process. Lots of us started out with legitimate situations with our meds and the situations progressed into us becoming out of control. Hopefully the surgery will be successful and you will be able to move forward with your back not bothering you so much. God willing you'll be able to live without continuing to take the OC or even the Vics. That would be cool! :)
You are inevitably going to have to deal with SOME pain during the fairly immediate future. It will be either by taking less medication than what is needed to completely eliminate the pain during recovery from surgery, or you will have to deal with extra pain while trying to get off the opiates following recovery. Sadly it's one or the other. :( I contend that it will be easier for you to deal with it from day one than it will be by putting it off with extra medication and then having to go through serious W/Ds when you stop it. I promise you the latter would be lots tougher.
You have reduced what you are taking already so you have made some headway in this right from the start. Don't throw away what you have already accomplished. You're going to have to control this for yourself for the most part. No one knows but you how badly you are feeling following the surgery. I wouldn't lay there crying in pain if it were me. I would take some meds. But realize that they are not meant to eliminate the pain, but only to make it bearable. If you approach it like that then I think you will be okay. Just don't lay around in a daze all the time. Allow yourself some relief ... you deserve that. Just use your head and don't go overboard. You sound like you have a good attitude about not getting carried away with this. That is a big plus on your side. You don't sound to me like you will take advantage of having access to the meds. As long as you show some restraint in how many you take, then you should get through this ok without becoming a junkie in the process.
We are always here on this forum. You can post most anytime and someone will replay pretty quickly with support for you. I would post regularly if I were you. Lots of us have been through similar situations. Just use your head during this time. You know if you are really taking something you could get by without. Just don't try to fool yourself into thinking you have to take something if you really don't. Remember that you will have to pay the price later if you aren't conservative with what you are taking immediately following the surgery. No reason to be miserable, but no reason to go crazy with the pills either just because they are there. Stay in touch. Good luck and God bless.:D
7 Jun 2008
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. If only they told you up front what they were getting you into when they give you the meds in the first place. I do have a script for 1mg xanax that I have for anxiety that I take as needed, mostly only a half a day with this level of meds sometimes more. Should I bother with a formal detox program or just tough it out and wean myself off? I look to the forum as most of you have been in this situation, some not as little as mine, but there non the less. I have done research into methadone and other detox meds but my question is would that be worth it or not?
7 Jun 2008
You are so right. Doctors pass out pills, don't explain the dangers and then they jump our case when we take too many. :rolleyes: Doesn't seem to make too much sense to me either.
The xanax will help you with this process. They are like opiates in that you just don't want to go crazy with them. The kind of dose you are talking about won't hurt you. As long as you don't become dependent on them they are fine. Benzo detox makes pain meds look like a kid's game. It's really tough. So just use them when you really need them.
Based on the way you describe where you are mentally with all this ... I don't see that you need a formal detox program at this point anyway. If things change for you just be honest with yourself. Continue to post through this and ask questions if you are not sure about something. As far as methadone goes it's for patients who are dealing with chronic pain for the long term only. You don't want to go there unless you would be taking pain meds for years down the road. No way for short term pain relief. The other "Opiate Replacement Therapy" for detox is Buprenorphine. It's prescribed as either Subutex or Suboxone. If you got carried with all this and needed something to help with detox that could be a possibility. But don't even think about that at this time. Just focus on your surgery, recovery and then getting off the pain meds if possible. :D
7 Jun 2008
I'm no expert or doctor, but I have extensive experience with opiate addiction. Not my own, but someone I was very close with and lived with. the best thing you can do for the future though is to make sure the doctors prescribing things to you are aware of your dependency. They may be able to give you something that is less addictive. Maybe not. If you have truly become dependent, it will be hard to tell the doctor that you don't want it obviously, but if they keep prescribing it to you things will only get worse. I took Vicoden ES for about two weeks after being diagnosed and treated for MRSA. When the prescription ran out and the pain was gone, I went through depression 100 times worse than what I normally do and it lasted for 2+ days. Opiates are something you should handle with care. If YOU notice something is not right you should seek an alternative before it grabs a hold of you really bad.
Opiate addiction is terrible and seemingly never ending from what I've seen. My ex went from oxycontin to methadone, to suboxone, to who knows what. I couldn't watch it anymore as I finally arrived at the decision that nothing was going to get better for her with me around. The doctors just kept trading one addiction for a new one. Rough. Really rough. My heart goes out to her but it was bringing me down with her, not the other way around. Don't let things get that bad if you're noticing a dependency. Hope I helped at least a little bit.
7 Jun 2008
The results of ongoing pain change everyone. It can't help but do so. I mean if bad enough it leaves us literally ill and can drop us to our knees. It's tough to live like that and have it not affect us.
You have until next Wednesday to prepare for this. Just something to think about ... you might want to attempt to continue reducing your dose of pain meds if possible between now and then. It would be great for you if you could get it down to 10mg a day. I would do this NOT because you don't need them right now, but because you want to stop as soon as possible when you get past the initial recovery. You might be surprised how much that extra 10mg reduction could help you doing this. You still have the better part of a week. The less you are taking at the time of surgery the easier it will be on you to maintain a lower dose when you are really hurting right after surgery. Don't eliminate all medication as I'm sure you are in pain. But if you can get away with skipping doses the next few days I would do it. Even half a pill makes a difference when you start tapering in two or three weeks. Just think about it.:cool:
11 Jun 2008
Thought I would give you an update to my situation. I received a call from my Dr's office and my surgeon is still having her back issues and my surgery was rescheduled for July. They offered of course stronger pain medication 20 or 30 mg oxy and then go down before surgery again but I opted to finish my 10's (which will run out Wednesday) and then go to percasets, I think my mind is ready to be stronger than the addiction itself. I also requested that I go to a pain clinic to do injections vs the narcotics. So I will be doing the injections and the percs as needed for pain until my surgery. I did have a sit down talk with my wife to tell her all that is going on (I was ashamed to let her know that it had become a problem), at first she was mad at me for letting it happen but now I think she understands that it just happens sometimes and she is behind me as well as my 3 children (5, 3, 19 months). Its ironic that I am trying to avoid the heavy narcotics and the Dr is pushing them, I know my body and it has adjusted to the lower dose of medication, I take the Xanax to sleep instead of the oxy and for the first time last night, I slept from the time I went to bed, till my alarm went off, no tossing and turning, no crazy withdrawals mid sleep. Its a small step but a step forward non the less. I thank you very much for all you have offered me, just having someone to listen to me and not having that judgement that comes with it has truly been a godsent. The wife and I prayed together for the first time last night and it has really brought us closer together, we are one on the same page for the first time in 2 years, its awesome!!
11 Jun 2008
Glad that it went well with your wife. It's so important to have support from our spouse during a time like this. It can cause so many problems if we have to add another battle to the list when we are facing something so enormous. I would suggest to her that she read some on this forum if she is willing. Might help her to understand better what you are dealing with coming from others. Point her in the direction you want her to read and let her go. It will definitely give her some insight that she doesn't have now.
It's cool that you slept well. That is a good sign you're making progress. Remember to go easy on the xanax though. The shots are obviously a good idea in lieu of extra narcotics. LOL That is a no-brainer. It is sad that the doctor is pushing the opiates and you are trying to get clean. Just hang in there.
You are making huge steps forward, not little ones. You've come a long way in the short time since your first post. Stay focused and think about the future being clean instead of the hassles with the medications. It's pretty basic ... not easy, but simple. July is not far off. Soon this will all be over. Stay in touch. Good luck and God bless. :D
29 Oct 2009
Scarednow... how are you doing? Been reading your posts with anticipation waiting for your surgery and am sadden it has been put off but am ever so happy you are taking your med's down to lower doses. I too can tell you the rath brought upon a family by opiate addiction gone to far... Daughter, Daughter Fiance (did I mention daughter is pregnant now) and the last 7-8 years has progressed from darvaset to peracet vicoden, vioden es, oxy's, herion, now she & baby's dads visit the methadone clinic everyday & pay $14 per day for thier daily dose. Just a dose of where this can lead you... so happy your head is in the right place, wanting to got off them, knowing you are physically addicted already, my friend... PLEASE LISTEN TO ROBERT!! He is the man on this site & knows what he is talking about, do not allow yourself to take ONE PILL YOU DO NOT HAVE TO. You sound like a smart person and I will pray for your surgery as well as your recovery. Good Health & God Bless... DadsWatchinU & Momma Nancy sad parents & grandparents
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