Tag Archives: pain

Addiction 

I avoid drugs. I know how easy it is to become addicted to pain killers, so I was always scared to take them. Since I have always been vocal about this to all of my doctors, they are never worried about me and always tell me, “Don’t be a hero and just take the drugs if you need to”. (Well ok they do not use the term “hero”, that’s my ad lib 😉) 

After my second surgery in 2014, I saw first hand how easy it was for my body to become addicted to drugs. Even though my mind wanted nothing to do with it, my body began going through extreme withdrawal when I tried to stop taking the Oxycodones. My skin felt like it was crawling, I was sweaty but shivering, and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. I was forced to continue to take them and gradually reduce the dose. Since then I have refused to take anything other than just regular ole Advil – well until recently. 

I was in a lot of pain and discomfort after my recent lung surgery, and when I went in for my post-op, my surgeon told me to just take even a single pill if I think it might help. After discussing it with Chris, we both decided that I will have to try it as the Advil did not seem to be doing the job this time. So I cut the oxycodone in half and took it at 6:00pm. At 9:30pm I still felt no relief so I took the other half. By 10:00pm my whole body was numb and I felt drunk. No joke. I had to put myself to bed. 

The following day I had plans in the morning so I woke up and felt groggy, but I figured that was only because it was 8:00am. It wasn’t until I was half way to my destination that I realized, “holy crap I am SO high right now and should NOT be driving”. I pulled into a parking lot and had my friend pick me up. This feeling lasted till the mid afternoon! 

When I got home I looked at the bottle, my original prescription was 1-2 every four hours!! WHO COULD SURVIVE THAT?! 

Never again – I went back to just suffering through the pain. 

So, this story is not even the main reason for this post…. I will have to write an “addiction part two” tomorrow. 

But to finish off our discussion about oxycodone – or just any pain reducing drug for that matter. BE CAREFUL. The doctor will prescribe you what is the standard dose, but LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Do not just read the label and pop away, see what works for you. I am not advocating to never take a pain pill. Tolerances for pain are different for each individual, and if you are in too much pain then that will actually harm your healing process. All I want to make known is just to be aware of the problems that can come from taking pain killers. It may help with your pain but it may be hurting you in some other way. These drugs are strong so please use with caution. 

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Surgery Round 4, 5, and 6

Yes, you read it right, I have three surgeries coming up. My scan results left me again feeling uneasy. A met on my lung and a met on my liver have showed a slight growth. Not anything that is majorly alarming, however my surgeons are concerned. Since the chemo has only been out my system for three weeks, this is too fast for things to already be growing. So yet again, they are scheduling me for another CT scan. If that scan shows growth again, then all surgeries are off and I get hooked up to the lovely chemo cocktail. If they stay stable, I will be operated on starting May 2nd. This one will be for the four on my upper right lung. Thankfully this surgery can be completed laparoscopically so I will only have three small incisions. Following this surgery on May 4th, they will perform my liver surgery. Unfortunately Dr. Jay has decided not to use the same abdominal incision he has accessed twice before, but will open me up down and across the right side of my upper abdomen/lower chest. From what I have heard, recovery from this incision is much worse – so I am totally looking forward to that. If all goes well I will be in the hospital for a total of 2.5 weeks. Shortly after I will have yet another CT scan and if that again shows no new growths, they will perform the lung wedge resection on my left side in mid-June. This side is a tad trickier, so he is planning for laparoscopic however it may end up having to be a larger incision.

So the week of my 30th birthday, after my scan, I will either find out that my cancer is WAY more aggressive than anyone has imagined and my surgeries will be cancelled – or – my body is about to endure a shit ton of pain with the hope of a successful outcome. 

Again, all of the same worst case scenerios have to be spoken about and signed off. Obviously as with all surgeries there is a chance of complications, infections, liver or lung failure, yadda yadda yadda. The one that always worries me more is the increased chance of reoccurance. Weakening my body will just give the cancer all the ammo it needs to get stronger and maybe multiply again. Even if everything goes as planned and nothing grows, six weeks after my third surgery I will be right back on chemo for “maintenance”. It is a never ending rollercoaster. 

So to sum it up, on my 30th birthday on April 30th I will either be upset at the fact that my cancer is being a little bitch and growing, or be upset at the fact that I am about to endure a fucking awful summer of multiple surgeries. Happy Birthday?

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Pain Killers

A long time ago I decided I was not a pill popper. I would leave my headaches to almost the point of no return before I would take an Advil. This was not always the wisest decision, but for some reason I did not want to take the pill. With my surgeries I have done the same thing. The previous two I was on all sorts of pain medication – and my body became addicted. It was a scary thing. I was experiencing withdrawals and it took me close to two months to safely come off of them. With this surgery I explained all of my concerns during my pre-op. I told them the only drug that was ok to give me, and they agreed. What I began to notice in the hospital right away when I woke up is how drugged up I felt. (And no I am not talking RIGHT when I woke up – obviously) Even with a minimal amount of pain medicine, I was still very loopy and do not remember much. I know pain control is a very serious thing post op. You can cause more damage if you stay stiff and do not get up from a laying down position. Even still, second day in the hospital I decided I would push past the pain and stop taking the pain medication. This has been difficult. I am at home now but am still struggling. I of course feel better with each day, but it is still very painful. Not only am I sore and swollen down my left side of my ribs, but my shoulder and neck are all out of wack. At first I could not figure out why – then we realized the position they must have flung me in during surgery. My arm was pulled tight above my head for two hours – no wonder I am in pain. With pain comes insomnia. It is extremely difficult to sleep when you are in constant discomfort. Still – I choose to endure. The “high” feeling I receive from the drugs is not fun for me. I know this pain will not last – and therefore I am ok with my decision. I just began this morning to take an Advil to help with the joint pain however. Having a piece of your lung cut out is one thing, but having a stiff neck is another.

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How Are You?

My awkwardness socially is getting worse by the day. Not so much with people I talk to on the regular – more with people I run in to.

“Hey – How are you?” – said with a concerned face.

“Um good thanks, and yourself?”

What the heck am I supposed to say? I never know how much information people are expecting.

“Well, chemo is shit but other than that I’m good.”

Sometimes I do not want to go into detail about my daily thoughts and struggles. But then if I only give them a little glimpse of pain into my “How are you” response, they usually always have follow up questions as if they love listening to my pain details.

“Oh ya, so it is making you sick? Are you sick every day?”

“Um kind of I guess.”

Geeze lay off a bit. I feel like I should then return with the personal questions.

“So tell me about you and the bathroom. Are you regular?”

If that is an uncomfortable and awkward question for you to answer, then maybe you shouldn’t be asking me about my daily run ins with pain or discomfort.

Truthfully even with the moments throughout the day which I wouldn’t choose to have if given the option, I am still a very happy person. I have amazing family, friends, and a super amazing guy. So if I happen to answer your “How are you” with a “Great thanks! And yourself?” – I’m not actually lying at all. So stop pressing for the depressing stuff Debbie Downers.

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Temptation

Over the weekend I gave into the temptation – I ate red meat. This decision was not made hastily. During my chemo on Wednesday I spoke to my nutritionist about it and she let me know that it was completely my choice if I decided to continue to cut out the cow. She cautioned me if I did however choose to try it again, to start with ground beef rather than a big steak. Perfect, cheeseburgers are my go to meal anyways! My surgeon also said, “If you want a cheeseburger, have one.” So I kind of felt like they were all on the “Yay Red Meat” train right???

So Saturday night I had one side cut rib. Super small and barely anything to write about. The whole time I was still nauseous and having stomach pains so I chalked it up to just regular old life for me. Then Monday came.

Still nauseous but out and about I thought that after my hard week I deserved it. I have been off red meat since August and I should be able to treat myself. So I went for it. Single patty cheese from good old McDonalds. As I took off the wrapper I could tell – this shit was perfect. It is like they knew my addiction and they made it just for me. Every bite had the perfect ratio of cheese, onion, ketchup and mustard. No dry or greasy piece in site. I raved on about this perfect burger for the next hour. And truthfully if I was not with someone else, I would have stopped at a drive-thru for a second. Sure enough though, no more than two hours later, the stomach cramps began. My intestinal gas pains, acid reflex and debilitating cramps lasted until last night. A full day and a half of pain. Never again. And I mean it this time. The amount of discomfort I experienced is not worth the pleasure my taste buds enjoyed so much.

I do not consider myself a failure for trying red meat again. I never declared 100% that I would be off the stuff forever. (If I did say that in my old post, please ignore then….). I am human – we are not perfect and have set backs. I am just hoping that writing down my experience will help me to remember that it is not worth the agony afterwards. That, and I also need you people to slap me if I ever am tempted again.

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