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You have to be a survivor to take this kinda pain for 33 years. I'm nothing special, I'm just like you. I just want you to understand that if you hang in there and find a good doctor you will be a survivor too. Better than that, you will enjoy your life again, well on most days anyway.
I was first hurt in 1974 on the job when a big truss fell on me (that's your roof), bending me backwards. I spent the entire month of September in the hospital.
It was at that time that I first grew to hate doctors and their arrogance. Two things were becoming obvious real fast. (1) He was in it only for the money. (2) They don't care how much pain I was in as long as they can say "He didn't get hooked from any drugs I gave him". So I suffered while he had the arrogance to tell me "Well the lady across the hall is getting the same amount of pain meds you are and she isn't bitching about it". Listen folks. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! What will work for you may not work for me.
In the links from the Mayo Clinic and many others that are on this site, you will read that "OPIATE DRUGS ARE NOT ADDICTING". Yes, That's right! Only ½ of 1 % (of Chronic Pain Patients)ever get addicted to opiates, no matter what your doctor has told you! Yes, if you are an addictive kind of person you could be one of the less than 1% of the population that can have a problem. But for the rest of us, it's just a stupid uneducated excuse on the part of Doctors not to get themselve on the wrong side of the DEA. And that my friend is where the real problem is! But the doctor has nothing to worry about if he simply documents his patients need for pain meds.
So in the mean time I lost everything I had worked for, I had to support a wife and baby! We were forced to even go on welfare for a short period of time before my SSA checks started to come in. That is the worst part about all this. Trying to convince the feds that you are really disabled. They want to make sure you need it bad enough to starve first I guess. It is hell on a marrige too! As a matter of fact, I was in the hospital getting another Myleogram when my wife brought to me a letter from SSA stating I was deemed fit to return to work! Can you believe that! I bet some of you can.
In 1982 I had a repeat back operation on the same L5-S1 location. It turned out to be a massive amount of scar tissue causing the leg pain. Which by the way can not be determined by an MRI or Myleogram. They didn't know what was pushing on the nerve roots until they could see it with their own eyes. I have heard this over and over again in the Chronic Pain Groups. Within six months the scar tissue had grown back worse that before. This is not uncommon,(and yet doctors would have you to believe this is very rare) And it's been all down hill since.
If the doctors had just given me the pure opiate in the first place, I would have never had the constant ulcers. The worse the pain got the more doctors just gave NSAID'S which caused even worse stomach problems which lead to anti-ulcer meds and of course Steroid shots which ultimately lead to the Osteoporosis I have today. So now I have more health problem than I ever should have! My body is losing the ablility to feed itself so mal nutrition sets in and causes joint degeneration amoung other problems. You would think doctors should know these things. WRONG!
In 1986 I had torn the tendons off my right elbow and had a subsequent operation, after a year of anti-inflammitories for the pain and other drugs to protect my stomach and of course more Steroid shots. That operation has left me with pain in that arm every time I use it much at all. In other words, yet another failed operation
In 1990 I had torn my left rotor cuff in an attempt to lift weights with my son and keep in shape. To this day I have times when I can't raise my arm up holding a darn glass due to pain in the shoulder.
It was in 1996 that I found out that I had fractured 2 vertebrea due to Extreme Osteoporosis. I have a very good Doctor that simply let me have the bone scan when I asked for it. This was before we even knew that I had fracture my back, I just knew I had a lot of new pain there. It came back "Extreme Risk For Fracture" I have the bones of an 85 year old man!
It was about this time that I was given the brake of my life. I asked for and got on Morphine. I had not felt that good in years. And that is what this page is all about. QUALITY OF LIFE! Do I worry about addiction? Why the hell should I! I have been taking one pain killer or another for the last 30 years. I don't take drugs to escape life. I take drugs that I might get my life back!! And that is the major difference between a "drug seeker" And a person that NEED'S THEM to have any like of life at all. What possible difference could it make if I were addicted or not at this point? Of course I am NOT and I know this because of the many times I have put myself through withdrawal in order to prove this to myself.
I have been though every alternative pain reliever you can imagine. Maybe a few you have never even heard of. There is no substitute for the opiate drug when it comes to severe pain! It is God's own nature that gives it to us to use when things get too bad for us to handle. Today I have bone spurs in my neck and lower back, 4 compressed disc, arthritis every where, scar tissue and a spine that now can and does brake at the slightest sneeze because of Osteoporosis. I have back spasms almost weekly. If I could have only obtained the drug that would have given me my life back way back in the beginning, I wouldn't be in this kind of shape today. I believe that with all my heart. If you want to see what I have becomethis is me, my son Jacob and grand daughter Samantha at 3 months old see how much weight I have lost! I may never get back to what I was, weight wise and I WILL NEVER get back the Ed I once was!
I almost died as a result of a bleeding ulser in 1998. I got this ulcer while using a anti-ulcer med called Prilocec. My stomach was saved by using a new drug called Prevacid. There are newer ones out today (2001). Then I broke another vertebrea. I was in a back brace for a few months with bad spasms. Since then I have broken my back 7 more times. I have fractured many ribs as well. Thank GOD I still am able to stay at home in my hospital bed. I have everything within reach including my computer keyboard.
The latest good thing to happen to me is, after being constipated for 10 years I found a product called Perdiem. Now I am regular and gaining weight. 10 lbs in just one month after using the Perdiem.
So what ever you do. Don't give in to the pain, get a doctor that will treat the pain so you can go on living as normal of a life as possible.
To update to Nov 2003, I have spent the last 4 months with pain in my guts that I just can't seem to find anything to relieve the pain. I just had a colonoscopic exam and they only found internal hemarroids. next week I am to drink that terrible stuff so they can check out my stomach but many online friends think it could be Gall Bladder and yet the doctors are not making any plans for such a test. I just know I can't live like this much longer.
I will be adding to these pages nearly every week so keep coming back.
I now have a Chronic Pain Newsletter. It only comes out once a month so your mail box will not get overloaded, please E-mail me.Or Click here to join
Thanks for stopping by, I hope hearing this story helps you know that you are not alone. There are 50 million of us sufferers in the USA alone!There are 80 million that suffer CP of one kind or another. We need to start to come out and be heard, that means we have to join these groups and start talking about our pain! Don't ever let a doctor sell you that load of crap about addiction. Read the pages, print them out and stick them in his face if you ever hear him say the word addiction. It is so unlikely that you would ever get addicted so never let them get away with that excuse! It will make a difference. At least they will have to come up with a new excuse for not giving you the medication that you need and deserve.
See ya soon Ed Thomason