Pain for me is a topic I am embarrassed about. Sad right?
Well… There is a stigma related to chronic pain and taking pain meds. The meds that people abuse and are addicted to. The ones that people would possibly want to break into my house to steal (we have cameras everywhere and they are in a safe, so don’t bother, please. Also, if you steal pain meds from a cancer patient, you have hit a new low). I have had pain medications stolen from me in the past, which also may explain why I worry talking about them.
I shouldn’t be embarrassed and it is a real issue that has to be faced when you have metastases in places that cause pain.
When I first started to have to take Lortabs around the clock for my back I was super embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to know. even though, when you take these meds for really bad pain, it is honestly akin to taking Tylenol. I can hardly tell I am taking anything except my pain is more manageable.
The day they gave me time release around the clock Oxycontin. Holy cow. The embarrassment ran deep, now I had THE addict drug. Especially when my insurance company sent me a letter telling me my meds were approved, but that I would have to do drug testing and my doctor would have to report everything I was doing to improve my situation. Chemo. Chemo is being done to improve my situation, jerks.
I told my oncologist about the letter and she flipped a gasket.
I begged to try anything and everything to improve my pain situation without drugs. I asked to have a palliative care doctor on my team early on, as I had read studies that having your symptoms managed closely can extend your life (plus quality of life is important). This way my oncologist could focus on my cancer, and I have another doctor focused on my side effects. I did physical therapy, trigger point injections, you name it! Unfortunately, when cancer is hollowing out your bones, it hurts.
I had myself prepped to deal with chemo side effects this past week, what I wasn’t prepared for was pain. 4 days after my Taxotere infusion I was in mind bending pain. I was being super grumpy with Mike. Incredibly emotional and my world was falling apart around me. When you are in serious pain, your life revolves around the pain.
I met with my palliative care doctor to make a plan on how to control the pain, but we were hoping that this is a temporary pain. Last year when I started Taxotere I was in a lot of pain. It turned out my tumors dying in a big way was incredibly painful. We are hoping that is the case this year again, but I don’t fully know. We are starting to get my pain under control and we have a plan. Having a plan is good!
There is a marijuana bill trying to go through the legislature in Utah right now. Consider supporting it if you are local. Medication options are important to people with chronic pain.
I am currently working on #TheMandiList 30 days of yoga in a row. I am hoping this will help me keep my energy up during chemo and I am pushing through it – pain or not. I have a great group of people doing the challenge with me, so it is entertaining and fun. So far I have done 3 days. 27 to go.
I also need energy and strength for our St. Thomas trip that I booked (need to be able to hike and snorkel). Wahoo!