I never truly appreciated living without pain until recently, taking it for granted that I could have that state on demand. I could always count on the medication to stop it in its tracks. Those days appear to be gone. Since the FDA decided to take Darvocet and Darvon off the market, I am now in an entirely different situation.
The Lyrica stopped the fibro myalgia pain. I was amazed at how well that worked. I hadn’t realized just how much pain I was suppressing until it suddenly left. That just left the occasional neurological pain spike to deal with. They aren’t that frequent but often enough that I need to keep pain medication on hand when it does so that I can function. Now that I have been on the Lyrica for about 3 years, I am finding my pain threshold has declined and I don’t have the resistance to pain that I used to have. I was spoiled by having a nearly pain free life for the first time in decades. Little did I know what losing that resistance would mean now.
In the past, a prescription of 90 Darvocet would last me 6-9 months. That was the standard for over 10 years. When I would have neuropathic pain flare-ups, the Darvocet beat it back and eliminated it. No side-effects, no buzz, nothing but what you want from a pain medication: relief. Only once, in all those years did I get any flack from any medical personnel. I had a PA I wanted to smack upside the head when I went into Urgent Care to get a refill since it was a Friday and my own doctor would not be in again until Monday.
That PA tried to give me the pill chaser line. I calmly told him to pull up my medical records and take a look at when the last proscription was issued and filled. I also asked him how having a chronic pain disease made me a pill chaser. He clamped his lips shut after that and just gave me the prescription. I made a point of letting my Neurologist know about the incident and how much I didn’t appreciate the attitude of the PA. When a person is in pain, they really don’t need to have a verbal battle just to get relief.
So, now my Darvocet is gone. Turns out, I am allergic to Vicodin. I am also allergic to Codeine. Add to that, I am allergic, severely, to marijuana, which rules out getting Medical Marijuana, which, ironically enough, my own department at work oversees for the county. Nope, not for me. Now I can’t find anything to deal with the flare-up of pain that has arrived with the summer heat.
It is going on 4 weeks. I had my first instance of pain causing nausea this week. I never quite understood before how that works. My pain levels never reached that state before. Now they have and I can only imagine what may come if something doesn’t break this pain spike. I have to fight just to function at all. My internal thinking ability is fixated on pushing down the pain. Moving has become a trial and major triumph just to get from my car to my desk at work. I have called in sick 8 days in the last 4 weeks because I knew it was just not going to be possible to move without crying.
My Neurologist is doing the best he can, I understand that. My turning up allergic to pain med after pain med is frustrating us both. Out of desperation, he gave me a referral for acupuncture. Neither of us has any idea how that will work with a damaged nervous system, but it is something else to try on the road to solving this issue. He wants me to go through my copy of my past medical records and make a list of all the medications I have tried prior to Kaiser so that we don’t cover old ground. Meanwhile, he is consulting with another neurologist about the situation.
His nurse called me with my lab results, with everything being ok except low B-12 and elevated muscle protein(?). They want me to redo my labs in 3-4 weeks and told me not to exercise for 48 hours before the lab draws the blood. I laughed. Exercise is NOT on my list of things I can do currently. She then told me he wants to see me again in 6-8 weeks. I replied I would be a drooling idiot by then if the pain is not dealt with before that. I requested she remind him that he needs to consult with the other neurologist and get back to me about the Lidocaine patches he hoped might work.
Meanwhile, I had another friend tell me that Percocet worked for her when she turned up allergic to Vicodin. I will be suggesting that ASAP. This has got to stop. I am probably at an 8 on the pain scale of 10 right now. I dread finding out what a 9 feels like and heaven help me should 10 ever cross the horizon. There comes a point where a limit is reached and something MUST be done. We know I am not allergic to Demeral or Dilaudid. Fine, hook me up to an IV drip, whatever it takes to end this.
I guess it is time to accept the referral for a Pain Management Specialist. I have resisted for a long time. The very name offends me. It implies that the pain is to be borne and will never go away. I know that isn’t true. Darvocet did that for me, when I needed it. I swear though, I will brain the Specialist with my cane if meditation is brought up at all. Do you honestly think I wouldn’t already be doing that, for spiritual purposes, if I were able?! Meditation is not on my list of possibilities. My mind is too active and constantly shifting for meditation. Add the pain and I doubt I could clear my mind enough to make it work.
I never imagined that Darvocet would disappear, my faithful champion. I always counted it as perfect, no side-effects, no buzz, just pain relief. To have a working drug taken off the market and then no replacement… I can’t describe the anguish emotionally, much less physically. My stable life is upside down and I am a hair’s breadth from severe depression. I’ll keep fighting. I’ll keep looking for a solution. Meanwhile, I will resist the thought of leaping off a cliff to find an end to it. Though it does make me wonder if a pair of broken legs might not be a welcome distraction from the everyday pain…