The Opiate Epidemic -Give me a break

opiate

There are blogs out there that could probably do a better job of writing this post. I don’t have data or statistics handy. I’m not going to reference news articles or library databases. There won’t be footnotes or end notes. It’s just going to be me folks. So here goes-

I use opiates. Every single day. Twice a day actually. I use Oxycodone Controlled Release to be precise. 10 mg twice a day. Which is a pretty low dose. Does it take away all my pain? Definitely not. But it does help me to have the pain at more manageable levels. So that I can do things like- walk, get out of bed, shower, and get dressed (though sometimes I still need help with that). Without it I believe I’d be bedridden. Without it I wouldn’t be living my life at all.

The so-called opiates epidemic has been all over the news lately. In Canada and in the states as well. And every time I hear about it, it makes me cringe, it makes me wince, it makes me want to throw up. In most cases, the news is referring to (though they don’t make it clear) a particular opiate called Fentanyl. This is the drug that users are overdosing on, it’s the drug that is often being used illegally, obtained on the streets and it’s killing people.

But the news and health care systems have lumped all opiates together, they lump all “users” together and I firmly believe they’ve forgotten about the chronic pain population all together.

The Health Minister in Canada states “we must do something about this opiate epidemic”. Their possible solution is to cut OHIP funding for prescribed opiates. To change policies for doctors prescribing, making them harder to get. I feel criminalized. I need this medication for basic life functions, I’m not in a back alley somewhere looking for a high. Though I’ll understand if all these “protocols” come into place that people who need the medication are left with no choice but to turn to back alleys to get it.

I like many others in the chronic pain community feel powerless over this issue. I’m afraid my doctor will change her mind about prescribing the medication I need. And if that happens…then what?

 

Continue Reading

Supplements, Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

supplements

*DISCLAIMER*-The supplements discussed in this post were recommended to me by a medical professional who knows my individual medical history and current medications. This post is not meant to replace any advice given to you by your doctor*

I have mixed feelings about taking supplements. I mean it must be a billion dollar industry. There are literally supplements for everything from increasing the shine of your hair to increasing your energy and immune response. I’ve always been skeptical that they work. They cost a lot of money and in the past I’ve often worried that I am just flushing those dollars down the toilet.

Over the past two weeks I’ve met two different practitioners, who have mentioned supporting my system with the same supplements. They also had evidence to back their up their claims.

Here are the supplements I’m now taking and why I decided to give it a try-

  • vitamin D – this should be no surprise, we hear about vitamin D everywhere especially at this time of year when we get less sunshine. Because I am easily effected by SAD-Seasonal Affective Disorder I felt it was important to give this one a go.
  • vitamin C- My mom is always on me to take more vitamin C. I have a low immune system and less ability to fight off infections and viruses as a result.
  • Kelp- Kelp contains iodine. Iodine is ‘food’ for the thyroid and since mine is not working properly.(causing hair loss, the inability to lose weight, depression, cold hands and feet) I felt I should give it a try and see if it improves my symptoms.
  • vitamin B complex – too many benefits to go through, I was told if I only take one supplement it should be this one
  • Milk Thistle – Milk Thistle is know to help support the liver. My liver is overloaded with the amount of medications I take daily, so I thought supporting it would be a good idea.
  • Magnesium- My blood work actually shows I’m low in magnesium. Magnesium is good for muscle pain and can help muscles relax. Since mine often go into spasm it’s possible that could be caused by low magnesium in my system.

The theme of all my posts this year have been about self care and because of that I’m willing to give these supplements a try.

Are there vitamins or supplements that you take daily? Do they help you?

 

Continue Reading

Worthiness- a new concept

worthiness

Worthiness. According to the quote above. I am worthy, right here, right now as I sit typing this post. It’s such a foreign concept to me. I’ve never felt worthy before. According to this quote I don’t need to be 120 pounds to be worthy. I don’t need to be the most beautiful, the most intelligent. I don’t need to have the most friends. According to this quote, I am worthy just by merely existing.

But worthy for what? I guess that’s the big question here. For love? For belonging? This quote seems all encompassing. But perhaps it means worthy for whatever I want? And that my friends, is a really big deal. That’s a life changer. Just think about it- worthy for whatever I want.

If only believing worthiness was as easy as reading about it.

So how does someone learn that they are worthy? How do they actually feel it.  I can imagine that it must be a wonderful feeling. I think I have a sense of it in the unconditional love I feel from family and friends though I’ve never felt deserving of it. And I often worry that someday my friends will discover the real me and change their minds.

I think the first step (and it may sound hokey) is writing it down on a post-it and putting it on my bathroom mirror, so that I see it everyday, and say it everyday. “I am worthy”.

It’s a small step- but I think I’ll start there.

 

Do you believe that you are worthy?

Do you have any positive affirmations you say to yourself?

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Dear Future Jen -to exercise or not to exercise

exercise

Dear Future Jen,

Exercise is something I really struggle with. Not only is it painful, but I’m so afraid of hurting myself and making the pain worse. The fear is paralyzing. People have suggested and continue to suggest all types of exercise to me. Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Water Aerobics to name a few but none of them appeal to me and frankly they all scare the shit out of me.

The only thing that doesn’t scare me (too much) is walking. I can walk. But just how far and how fast do I go? What is safe? and where do I walk? Not outside -the risk of tripping or slipping is too high not to mention I’d be alone outside and that feels unsafe too. It’s enough to give me a panic attack right now just thinking of it.

It all sounds so hopeless, but there is a solution. There is an indoor walking track near where I live. It’s well lit and free. The track is flat so that reduces the tripping hazard. But there are still obstacles to going. I have to drive there and the weather isn’t the greatest in the winter and driving stresses me at the best of times. There are people around so that reduces the danger but what if they aren’t safe people?  But more than anything- what if I make the pain worse?

what if, what if, what if.

It’s 2017, and I promised a revolution. So it’s time to set the what if’s aside and put one foot in front of the other (literally). So this week, I put the what if’s aside and went to the track. I was scared to drive, but I got in the car. I was scared to go through the front doors, but I took a deep breath and went in. I was afraid people were staring at me. I took another deep breath. I put on my running shoes, hit play on my playlist and I walked. Just for 15/20 minutes. But I did it.

It did cause pain, the day of and the day after but then it eased. I’m going to keep going -slowly, I mean there were people with walkers passing me on that track. But I went. I can do it. And I know Future Jen will thank me.

My Track Playlist

  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
  • Blame it on the Boogie
  • Bed of Lies
  • I’m Rob Base
  • It Takes Two
  • Lose Yourself
  • Just Give Me A Reason
  • It’s Tricky
  • Brave
  • Roar
  • Let it Go
  • Ghost Town
  • I Shake it Off
Continue Reading