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skoshi314
07-10-2008, 10:20 PM
I am so tired of people saying "Oh, you're STILL on pain meds?" Seriously????So, just to ease my own mind, I'm conducting an informal survey. For those willing to participate, would you respond with the meds you were taking, how long you were on them, and if there was a 'weaning' process, how did that work?

I know it's too early to try to stop taking pain meds, but I'm beginning to get a little paranoid thinking maybe I'm wrong.

Oh, the other annoying question is get is "Oh, you're not back at work yet?" :mad: Grrrrrrrrrrrrr! I keep reminding myself they don't know anything about this surgery and recovery so just let it go.

Anything you would be willing to share would be great. Thanks!

Geish
07-10-2008, 10:34 PM
I was off the dilaudid at 14 days post op. I started weaning myself off at about day 9 or so, just felt like I really didn't need it. I started spreading the dilaudid out over a larger and larger time frame between doses, then down to half doses, then nothing. I was still taking Tramadol/ultram every 6 hrs or so and I was taking Robaxin a few times a day, usually a half a dose at a time. I think I was completely off pain meds at about 3 months post op but used them as needed after that, not too often until the last month or so. I have found that as more time goes by I feel the hardware in my back more and nore and it is harder to sleep without meds. So now at almost 7 months post op I am back on the Tramadol and an occasional Robaxin. Wean yourself off when you know you are ready...not some arbitrary date that someone not involved has decided you should be off of them by. You'll know when the time is right. Stay strong!
Alicia

Susie*Bee
07-11-2008, 07:26 AM
Becky-- people will just not understand very well. Try not to worry about it. I found that when I changed what I said to "it may take me 1-2 years or so to recover" that it helped. Most people will just lump all back surgeries together-- so if someone had disc replacement surgery or something like that-- or 1 or 2 vertebrae fused, they will think it's the same as what you had. You can always explain how they "reconstructed" your spine-- and go into the gory details... :eek:

As for pain meds-- I also felt guilty that I was taking them too long, based on what I'd read in both the Wolpert and Neuwirth books. I was afraid I was going to get addicted, etc. It didn't happen. :rolleyes: My scoli nurse kept explaining to me that I had a whopping big surgery-- and not to worry about it. She said older people with really long fusions like mine need pain meds for longer. It worked out just fine. :cool: Right now I maybe take 1 darvocet maybe once a month. And rarely take any OTC for pain--

I took Hydrocodone (Norco) 10/325 for about 2 months, decreasing (quickly--after 1 week) from 1-2 every 4-6 hours to just 1 every 4-6 hours.

The rx changed to 7.5/325 for the third month, then down to 5/325 till I was completely off of it at about 5 months. The frequency also decreased during that time, from 3/day, then 2/day, then just 1@night (to help with sleep). When I was down to 1 or 2/day, I could take Darvocet (propoxyphene) if needed for the pain, in between the doses of Norco.

I also took Valium (Diazepam) (5 mg) for the first 3 months, same sort of deal-- less with time...

When I developed severe leg pains at about 3 weeks post-op I also started taking Neurontin/gabapentin-- and again, I started with a stronger dose (300 mg) 3/day for a month, then decreased to 100 mg (there isn't any in-between 300 and 100) 3/day for a month, then 2/day for a little over a week, then down to 1/day till I was done in another month.

So, in a nutshell-- I was off pain meds and other "helps" at 5 months, having weaned down in both strength and time between doses. I can take Darvocet if needed for pain. I rarely do, unless it's for one of those bad headaches. I had no addiction or withdrawal problems. ;)

Give yourself time-- and figure that many people will just not understand. You (and your family) are the only ones who really matter with this. Take care!

Singer
07-11-2008, 07:46 AM
Hi Becky --

I was on Oxycontin (every 12 hours) and Oxydocone (every 3-4 hours) for about 3 months. After getting a lot of s***t from my family doc about still being on meds, I tried switching to Vicodin at 3 months and basically stopped functioning. So I went back to the lowest-dose Oxycontin with Percocet every 4-5 hours. Again I tried weaning off everything at 5 months and once again stopped functioning. I found that I could get by with the 12-hour Oxy and Tylenol or Aleve....I finally weaned off the Oxycontin after almost 8 months.

I also took half a Valium at night when I had severe muscle spasms from 3-5 months post-op. Looking back, I think Valium messed with my head, even the small amount I was taking. I had no trouble weaning off it and felt much better mentally without it.

I became physically dependent on the Oxycontin but didn't have much trouble weaning off it. I felt weird and uncomfortable for about 3 days (hot/cold, queasy, restless legs), then I was fine.

I worked with a pain-management specialist who prescribed meds a month at a time, and who understood that I was not going to abuse the drugs.

Good luck!

JamieR
07-11-2008, 08:41 AM
For the first month, I took my pain pills like clockwork, every four hours, sometimes I could make it to 5 hours. I was really paranoid about letting my pain get out of control. I was on Vicodine. Then, after a month, I started going as long as I could between pain pills, sometimes I would take one in 5 hours, sometimes I could go all day. Everyday was different. I eventually took myself off all pain medicine at a little after 2 months post op. I was back at work at 6 weeks post op and when I went back to work, I was down to 1 to 2 pills per day. Everyone is different though and everyones healing process is not the same so you shouldn't feel bad about how long it takes you to recover. You should listen to your body and you will know when you are ready to come off of your meds, you don't want to push yourself to hard.

Susie*Bee
07-11-2008, 09:21 AM
I just thought I'd interpose a little something more here for those who haven't gone through surgery yet... the pain meds don't alleviate your pain entirely, so please don't think they do. They just make it manageable. My understanding (and that's me talking, not a medical person) is that there's a medium ground the doctors want for you-- where you feel ok enough to do the things you need to do, like walking and being a little more active, etc. That balance is somewhere between the extremes of too much pain so you don't function well-- and being too loopy from the pain meds/too much meds so you also don't function well. ;)

Also-- I know it's confusing to me about all these different meds that people cite, as I've never had to take them before and don't know much about them. Google really helps for people like me-- so I know that oxycodone meds are stronger than what I took (hydrocodone)-- and that my "Norco" (hydrocodone with tylenol) is really the same thing as Jamie's "Vicodin"-- etc. One would wish they could all be listed by the same name, but there are all those different brand names and the generic one too.

We are all different-- our levels of pain tolerance are different, our surgeries are different, our surgeons are too (with how they want to deal with the pain issue), our bodies recover differently (including time-frame), etc. So, all in all, we end up with very different pain med regimens tailored to our situation. Hopefully they work out well! And if they don't, you need to defend your right to have your pain controlled by pain meds. My thought, anyway.

Geish
07-11-2008, 10:03 AM
I was off the dilaudid at 14 days post op. I started weaning myself off at about day 9 or so, just felt like I really didn't need it. I started spreading the dilaudid out over a larger and larger time frame between doses, then down to half doses, then nothing. I was still taking Tramadol/ultram every 6 hrs or so and I was taking Robaxin a few times a day, usually a half a dose at a time. I think I was completely off pain meds at about 3 months post op but used them as needed after that, not too often until the last month or so. I have found that as more time goes by I feel the hardware in my back more and nore and it is harder to sleep without meds. So now at almost 7 months post op I am back on the Tramadol and an occasional Robaxin before bedtime. Wean yourself off when you know you are ready...not some arbitrary date that someone not involved has decided you should be off of them by. You'll know when the time is right. Stay strong!
Alicia

Dilaudid is a strong painkiller derived from morphine and is addictive. also known as Hydromorphone, it is a true narcotic and is a controlled substance in the US and many other countries.
Tramadol is an atypical opioid for moderate to severe pain. Tends to be non addicting. It is not considered a controlled substance in the US.
Robaxin is a muscle relaxer also known as Methocarbamol.

Hope that helps to clear some of it up. Oh, and I specifically asked for Tramadol. I was going to be given Vicodin but had taken Tramadol since I blew out my back in 99 and knew how well it worked for me and how it made me feel while on it (no loopiness and fully functioning). I also knew Vicodin made me loopy and I didn't want that. My surgeon was happy to give me the Tramadol instead.

briarrose
07-11-2008, 10:09 AM
Hi Becky,

I completely understand your frustration. I'm in the same boat and I had surgery 2 weeks before you. My pain was not managed in the hospital, but on my last day (day 9) there I was finally given Percocet (10/325) and took 2 of those every 6 hours for about 2 weeks after I came home. Then I cut back to 1.5 of those pills. I called my surgeon for another prescription and he sent me one for 5/325 Percocet which forced me to cut back (though I did take 3 at a time for a few days). Then I started taking 2 at a time for about 2 weeks. I tried to cut back to one pill the other day but it wasn't cutting it, so I upped it to 1.5 pills. I called my surgeons office for another prescription and my surgeon called me back and thought I was going through the pills too quickly (I seriously only take them every 5-6 hours). He wanted me to try half of the Vicodin I had (10/660) so I did and it doesn't do anything. 1 Vicodin helps me a lot, but it makes me groggy/dizzy.

I don't even know if I'm actually in pain. I can feel my hardware and my back feels very tight. This limits the amount I can do, so I guess it would lead to pain. I'm glad Chris mentioned a pain management specialist. I think I may contact one.

That probably didn't help you much Becky, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in this.

Shell

abhbarry
07-11-2008, 01:11 PM
It is certainly frustrating that people cannot understand what we go through - that is part of the blessing of this forum. To tell the truth, I don't remember exactly what I did with my meds, but I was on pain meds until at least 3 months post-op and then used them occasionally. I still take advil (only use after your surgeon okays it) and have had to take a morphine pill once in a while. My surgeon's nurses really did not understand anything about pain meds and were very frustrating. My PCP ended up taking over my pain control and it got much much better. If by any chance, your surgeon's nurses are not meeting your pain control needs, I strongly urge all to contact their PCP and see what else can be done.

Keep the faith. It gets better,
Anya

skoshi314
07-11-2008, 01:38 PM
Thank you, everyone, so much for your responses. The support I get from the forum is fantastic!

Susie Bee, you're right. There are so many different meds and so many with different names that are the same it is very confusing. Alicia, I really appreciate the specific information on the meds you listed. I had just been talking to a friend about Tramadol so I called her with that information and it was very helpful.

I think a big part of my problem is that I'm doing way too much everyday. I'm doing laundry, making the bed, doing dishes and sometime making breakfast and occasionally going for a walk in the evening. I think that may be a bit much for 5 1/2 weeks post-op. So maybe my solution is to do more and see if I can back off the meds a bit.

Again, thank you all so much. You are an amazing group of people!

txmarinemom
07-11-2008, 02:41 PM
... my "Norco" (hydrocodone with tylenol) is really the same thing as Jamie's "Vicodin"

Actually, this is only partially correct. Norco contains more hydrocodone and less Tylenol (and usually with cases where longer term usage is expected to avoid acetominophen toxicity ... damage to the liver from buildup caused by extended use of acetominophen).

Norco is usually 10/325 (10 mg of hydrocodone/325 of acetominophen).


(I believe it does come in 5/325- although I've never seen it prescribed ... and I spent about 4 years under the care of a pain mgmt doctor).
Vicodin is 5/500, and Vicodin ES (extra strength) is 7.5/750.

Also, to say oxycodone meds are stronger than hydrocodone is a bit misleading ... it all depends on the amount of narcotic in the med.

For example, I have an unusually high tolerance (always have) to both pain and pain *meds*, and while a dose of Percocet does nothing for me (due to the *amount* of oxycodone), a dose of Norco (containing hydrocodone - but a higher dose) works fine.

Also, an aside ... neither oxycodone nor hydrocodone affects everyone the same. It's a very individual thing and based on how the individual metabolizes a drug. Neither causes a doped up effect with me.

When I was in the hospital (immediately post-op), I was on Dilaudid PCA + 2 Percodan every 4 hours + 2 Norco every 4 hours.

This would knock most people 3 times my size on their a**, but it kept me (for the most part comfortable). The people on this list who talked to me via phone during my stay (some in the hours after my surgery) can vouch I was in no way "drugged up" or loopy.

The one person from here who SAW me without the PCA (when my IV's blew) and on oral meds ONLY (still enough to drop most people) can vouch they weren't *touching* my pain.

I came home on that same dose of oral meds, and was even released to drive at 3 weeks post-op, but again, I don't metabolize these drugs like most.

And, Becky, I've mentioned to you privately (but I'll say it here, too) ... if you need pain meds, by all mean *take* them. I've always been a bit amused by the competition to get off meds by _____ weeks/months post-op. Who cares? It's not a big deal.

If you need them to live your life comfortably, why avoid them? That's why they exist.

The risk of addiction (without a previous addictive history) is small as long as they aren't abused. Sure, you may suffer withdrawals if you just stop taking them all at once, but that's NOT the way to initiate cessation, and no doctor would advise you to go cold turkey.

Regards,
Pam

Geish
07-11-2008, 05:46 PM
Alicia, I really appreciate the specific information on the meds you listed. I had just been talking to a friend about Tramadol so I called her with that information and it was very helpful.

You are very welcome. I like the Tramadol as a pain killer. I have never felt "medicated" on it and took it for 9 years. When I stopped a few months before my surgery I quit "cold turkey" and had no side effects other than the pain was now still there! :D


I think a big part of my problem is that I'm doing way too much everyday.
LOL you think? :p


I'm doing laundry, making the bed, doing dishes and sometime making breakfast and occasionally going for a walk in the evening. I think that may be a bit much for 5 1/2 weeks post-op. So maybe my solution is to do more and see if I can back off the meds a bit.
Why are you doing laundry, making the bed and doing dishes? I still have trouble with the washing machine (front loader) and my daughters take care of that for me. As for a dishwasher...too hard to get down there to load and unload it so they do that too. (besides I haven't been cleared for the dishwasher yet). Let hubby make the bed or just pull the covers up and it will be fine but you should not be making the bed. Enjoy the time that others are supposed to be doing all of this for you. You shouldn't be doing any of it at 5 1/2 weeks post op.

PS this is not a lecture....just remember you had a very major surgery and are entitled to take it easy. I'm trying to see if I can get my girls to do laundry and dishes forever! :rolleyes:

Stay strong.
Alicia

txmarinemom
07-11-2008, 06:26 PM
LMAO, Becky ... Geish makes a good argument. At 5-1/2 weeks, I doubt you're *making* the messes ... let the ones who DO clean them up.

If it bothers you that badly, take your meds ... and a nap - LOL!

Pam :)

skoshi314
07-11-2008, 06:40 PM
You guys are so awsome! I made myself a promise this morning when I got up that I'd be much kinder to myself. And I think I have been. I really haven't done anything and guess what? The world didn't end and the house hasn't fallen in around me!!!!!! I could really get used to this!

Thank you for being my cheerleaders!

Ginger W.
07-11-2008, 07:19 PM
I am currently seven weeks post-op. I was sent home from the hospital with Dilaudid (2 mg) and Ultram (500 mg), to be taken 6 times daily or every four hours. I was given Lyrica (50 mg) and Zanaflex (2 mg), to be taken 3 times daily.

By five weeks post-op, I was taking Dilaudid and Ultram 3 times daily which was half of the original amount. I had cut down my Lyrica (similar to Neurontin) to twice daily and took a half a Zanaflex at bedtime. Now, I'm down to two Dilaudid and hope to be off of it within a week.

I was told by Dr. Boachie's clinical coordinator that I need to stay on Lyrica (like Neurontin) the longest. I need to get a better idea of "the longest".

I'm quite grateful for the meds.
Ginger

Geish
07-11-2008, 07:25 PM
You guys are so awsome! I made myself a promise this morning when I got up that I'd be much kinder to myself. And I think I have been. I really haven't done anything and guess what? The world didn't end and the house hasn't fallen in around me!!!!!! I could really get used to this!

Thank you for being my cheerleaders!

What??? The house didn't fall in and the world didn't end?? No way!! LOL I plan on being as lazy as I can for as long as I can. Housework sucks!

Qikdraw
07-11-2008, 08:15 PM
Well I had to call my mother to recall what I was taking after my surgery. It was 25 years ago and I was only 12, I actually didn't remember taking anything. However my mother says I did take pain meds and I was taking Tylenol 3, she couldn't remember how long I took them, but for several months.

I apparently fought the docs on taking anything. In school I had just had a 'health' class talking about pain medications and how you can get hooked on them, so I was scared I was going to become an addict. So I suppose I gave them fits until they gave me medicine I felt ok with. lol

Thankfully I didn't have to do much when I got home. No dishes, no laundry, no bed making, I just played on my Atari 2600 and played with my GI Joes. :D

Brad

Janet
07-11-2008, 08:44 PM
I don't recall the names of the pain meds I was given, but I know I stopped taking them at 1 month - I felt no difference (but maybe 'cause I was constantly vomiting, the meds never made it into my bloodstream anyway :rolleyes: ). I take Tylenol now if I'm feeling really sore from doing too much, and keep my supply of Vicodin handy, just in case.

As to the medical professionals' concern about becoming addicted, I'll share this with you: On day 16, I was transferred from HSS - the surgical hospital - to the rehab facility at NYU. NYU doctor - whom I'm guessing was an intern - comes to my bedside and starts giving me a lecture about the high risk of addiction to the pain meds. I looked at him like he was nuts - after all, he hadn't experienced this kind of pain - and told him I was just 16 days out from major surgery. He said that he had injured a muscle (as if that is comparable to having your back sliced and diced!) while playing football in college, and he became addicted to the pain meds. I cut him off mid-sentence, telling him that I have never had an addiction to anything and that, given my age, I doubted that I would become addicted now, and his experience had no relevance to me - I was really PO'd at being lectured at by someone less than half my age, who thought he knew what he was talking about, and who was arrogant to boot. He shut up but kept his smirk as he walked out of the room :eek:

Moral of story, as said by so many others on the forum: most people, even medical professionals, are clueless about the pain we experience. Just ignore them!!!

Polyphemus
07-11-2008, 09:05 PM
yep! "quite grateful for the meds" says it all. I'm 2 months after 2 consecutive days of surgery that fused basically my whole spine from neck to bum. Three weeks ago, on advice from primiary care doc near home, I reduced oxycodone by half, to just 1 5mg every 4 hours during the day, then I take a flexeril at night. Occasionally take tramadol inbetween. (It did take me 3-4 uncomfortable days to adjust to this change) Lately I find I often go 5-6 hours between doses... just forgot to take it! As I get more active, other pains are cropping up, like neck spasms and tightness, short periods of tingling and 'zingers' right at the surgery site. Hearing the wide ranges of experiences here is encouraging to me too. Thanks!

txmarinemom
07-11-2008, 10:33 PM
... I was told by Dr. Boachie's clinical coordinator that I need to stay on Lyrica (like Neurontin) the longest. I need to get a better idea of "the longest". ...

Ginger,

I suspect at 7 weeks you haven't yet experienced the worst of the phantom itching (if you get it ... some don't), and the Neurontin (Gabapentin ... same thing, just generic - and dirt cheap - like $13 cheap for 30 100 mg pills ... full price - yay!), and that's probably why they say you'll be on Neurontin the longest.

It is said to help some with pain, but I'm not sure I've noticed that. I still take it regularly at 5 months post-op due to the maddening itch of nerves trying to regenerate. I don't generally hurt, but who knows whether the Gabapentin has anything to do with it.

I still itch (down deep ... far under the skin - completely different than a skin itch), but it IS better. As I said, some lucky people never have this sensation, and some unlucky people have it and the meds don't help. I went through a spell a few weeks ago where my left shoulder blade itched for a week solid and there was NO WAY to reach it ... aghhhhhhhh! Talk about something that'll drive you *nutso*.

Out of sheer desperation, I have found a way to temporarily relieve nerve itching when meds don't help ... Tiger Balm to the area of skin that feels like it's itching. (note: NOT advisable after you've clawed it!)

Apparently, it distracts the nerves enough with the sensation on the skin it gives at least temporary help. I've seen people who have luck icing the area, but that doesn't work all that well for me.

Anyway, Ginger, IF you're one of the people who have nerve itching, and IF you're helped by Gabapentin, I'd suspect that's why they estimate it to be your longest dosage. Hopefully you won't experience it (the itching) at all!

You sound like you're doing so well. That's so fantastic!

Best regards,
Pam

debbei
07-12-2008, 01:07 AM
if you need pain meds, by all mean *take* them. I've always been a bit amused by the competition to get off meds by _____ weeks/months post-op. Who cares? It's not a big deal.

Pam,
what I'm worried about (and I said to Susie yesterday in a PM), is that my surgeon will be Dr. Neuwirth. His book said that he believes patients should be off pain meds in a month. Now, I'm no spring-chicken, and I'm seeing how many of the people on here are on for much longer. This is something I will discuss with him at my appointment prior to surgery.

Susie*Bee
07-12-2008, 07:54 AM
I'm with Geish on the housework thing! :D Glad to see you are backing off a little-- but stay that way for as long as you can, Becky. Your body needs to do some major healing, and if you are stressing it, I think it will take longer... My hubby still does the laundry, changing sheets, vacuuming, etc. I do dishes and cooking now and things like that again... although I do find it uncomfortable to tilt over the sink a little for a long time... I don't use the dishwasher at all. One of the best "little helps" I've gotten for the kitchen are new measuring cups-- OXO brand, where you can read the measurements while still standing straight up. ;)

Pam, you got me on the meds! :o I always said I was a newbie in that field. I've never had to deal with pain meds-- or not much, anyway. What I meant and what I said are different, I know. Norco and Vicodin are similar-- I had looked on different sites on the web-- like this one, that lump them together because they have the same ingredients: http://www.medicinenet.com/hydrocodoneacetaminophen/article.htm
And in the first post I did on this thread (#3) I had written the dosages I had, varying from 10/325, 7.5/325 and 5/325. So yes, it definitely is available in 5/325, since that's what I had at the end. I do know that I was not to take any tylenol for headache or other pain, as there was already tylenol in the hydrocodone-- and you have to watch the amount closely or you could have liver damage.

Ginger-- I took Neurontin for extreme leg pain that developed about 5 weeks post-op. (I think I may have said 3 weeks before...) I took it for about 4 months, but in decreasing amounts/time after awhile. I did have some itching, but it was livable.

It sounds like everyone has had such different pain med regimens! There's more than one way to skin a cat-- and also, as Pam said, we react differently to meds as well. That's why I had to try several arthritis meds before I found one that worked fairly well... (plus the recalls made me change some too!) :rolleyes:

skoshi314
07-12-2008, 11:55 AM
This thread has helped me more than any of you will ever know, for a number of reasons. I've learned so much about pain meds, I feel so much better about still being on pain meds, I am now taking much better care of myself and doing so much less around the house (ok, I'm not doing anything!) and my family is standing around, scratching their heads thinking "What's up with Mom taking care of herself?" (It's really entertaining!). And yes, Geish, the house is still standing and the world is still turning!

Pam, I'm glad you brought up the phantom itching. I've only had one small episode and that was about 2 weeks ago. It was right under my scar at the top of my butt cleavage. Drove me crazy for about 12 hours then it was gone. Poof, into thin air! I've also had some strange sensations in the areas that are still numb. Probably just nerves waking up.

I have another questions. We all agree this surgery is done on our backs, right? Then why is the very top of the inside of my thighs numb? Does anyone else have strange areas that have no feeling? Just curious.

Again, thank you all for your wonderful responses. I truly can't imagine going through this whole thing without the gift of everyone else's knowledge!

Geish
07-12-2008, 12:18 PM
LOL...I am still numb on the outside of my upper thighs and my hips. For a while i was even numb on the front of my ribcage. The nerves that get cut (I assume they cut them anyway) control feeling in areas other than the back. Depending on how far down they cut you will determine which areas go numb.

I still get phantom itching/ants biting me feelings every now and then. It drives me nuts. And if you try to scratch it just makes it worse and spreads it even farther.

I am so glad your family is doing more and you are doing less. I was serious when I said to take advantage of it as long as you can. One day they will revolt and just say no. :D

loves to skate
07-12-2008, 12:19 PM
Hi Becky,
I was on 10 mg oxycontin (long acting) twice a day for about 1 1/2 months, along with 10 mg oxycodone (short acting) 4 times a day slowly tapering off to no meds at 2 1/2 months. At my 3 month checkup, I was given a prescription for Gabapentin 300mg twice a day for leg pain and restless leg syndrome. I have tried to cut back on that but the RLS comes back when I only take one a day, so I will stay with two a day for now. And yes, my brother said the oxycontin is addicting and I shouldn't take it. There is no way most of us will become addicted to it because who wants to be constipated the rest of our lives or doped up. I can understand the lay person saying you shouldn't take narcotics, but the spine surgeon setting a limit of one month or any of his people? :(
Sally

txmarinemom
07-12-2008, 12:27 PM
... Pam, you got me on the meds! :o I always said I was a newbie in that field. I've never had to deal with pain meds-- or not much, anyway.

I didn't mean for it to come across as "I got you" or anything ... the main thing was (and I'm glad you saw that part) how differently everyone reacts to meds. And I wish I didn't know any of it, to tell the truth! :o


... as Pam said, we react differently to meds as well. That's why I had to try several arthritis meds before I found one that worked fairly well... (plus the recalls made me change some too!) :rolleyes:

Funny you brought that up. My Mom takes Celebrex for her osteoarthritis. She went to get it fiilled yesterday, and was told by the pharmacist they now require some sort of affadavit from the doctor that no other med will work. She's on Medicare (with a supplemental policy), so I don't know if it's all insurances - or just hers ...

Have you encountered anything like this recently?

Best regards,
Pam

Qikdraw
07-12-2008, 01:42 PM
I have another questions. We all agree this surgery is done on our backs, right? Then why is the very top of the inside of my thighs numb? Does anyone else have strange areas that have no feeling? Just curious.

Around my right shoulder blade is numb, and has been since my surgery. I also have some other odd things that I mentioned in another post, but when I am hot only the left side of my face sweats, and when I eat spicy foot the right side sweats, my right hand is dry as a bone while my left is normal. I also only get goosebumps on my left side.

Nothing serious, just odd.

Brad

Susie*Bee
07-12-2008, 01:53 PM
Pam-- the "you got me" didn't mean anything other than you knew more about it than I do. I just knew those were names for the hydro/apap combination, not looking into the amount of the tylenol/apap part. :)

As far as the Celebrex goes, I have no idea. I take Voltaren (diclofenac)-- after having had success with Vioxx for several years, and then Bextra after the Vioxx was recalled-- and Celebrex was the third one in with that bunch that was in the news back then. Bextra may actually still be on the market. I switched to the voltaren because of the bad notoriety the whole group received-- plus the Bextra wasn't cutting the pain/symptoms very much. My thought is that there may still be enough of a problem with Celebrex and they are trying to tighten the reins on who is taking it if there are other viable meds that might work. I don't know though, of course. That's a guess. Or maybe it's just the fact that it's one of the more expensive meds... Right now I can get a 90 day supply for $10 at Wally World... can't beat that. ;) My Evista, on the other hand, costs an arm and a leg. (All these body parts. :p ) (hand, arm, leg...) Must be time for doing something else if that's amusing me. :rolleyes:

Best wishes with figuring it out for your mom.

Qikdraw-- you had me rolling on the floor (well-- if I could, I woulda been!) You are definitely a funny guy! How many spicy feet have you eaten??? Does that make them more palatable??? :D

skoshi314
07-12-2008, 03:37 PM
Hey, Qikdraw, I'm with Susie Bee. I've never tried spicy foot, but I'm open to anything as long as it isn't seafood!

Seriously, I hope you know this is all in a very light-hearted spirit. There just aren't that many men on the forum so we like to take advantage of the ones that are here! :D

Ginger W.
07-12-2008, 03:46 PM
Thanks, PAM, for explaining the purpose of those Neurontin type drugs. I DO have some "deep" itching and I feel it more in the evening, especially at the top of my thighs and my lower spine. Perhaps it would be worse if I didn't maintain the 2x/daily dose of Lyrica, which is a successor of Neruontin and supposedly achieves efficacy at lower doses.

BECKY, I, too, am numb . . . on the left side of my spine, wrapping all the way around to my belly button and down the left side of my stomach to the pubic bone. It also goes about six inches down my left thigh, only on the front side. There's slight numbness on the top of my right thigh. Underneath the numb skin level, I feel pain, especially when I press my fingers against it. Dr. Boachie's nurse says that this will go away between 6 weeks and 3 months. I'm seven weeks out and the truth is, I AM getting more sensations in those areas. Sometimes it's a bit prickly, but tolerable.

DEBBEI, I have a possible plan for you that worked for me. I was concerned that I would have adequate pain management when I got home from NY. So, I started educating my Physicians Assistant (the one who actually gives out meds. at my PCP's office) by emailing her quotes from this forum. That way, she was aware of the long-term nature of scoliosis surgery recovery. I turned my pain management right over to her when I got home from the hospital. Another option is to turn it over to a pain management clinic. Generally, they require monthly appointments in order to give you meds and my primary care doctor (and P.A.) didn't require that. Soooo, consider turning the responsibility over to some other care provider.

skoshi314
07-12-2008, 03:47 PM
Hi Becky,
I was on 10 mg oxycontin (long acting) twice a day for about 1 1/2 months, along with 10 mg oxycodone (short acting) 4 times a day slowly tapering off to no meds at 2 1/2 months. At my 3 month checkup, I was given a prescription for Gabapentin 300mg twice a day for leg pain and restless leg syndrome. I have tried to cut back on that but the RLS comes back when I only take one a day, so I will stay with two a day for now. And yes, my brother said the oxycontin is addicting and I shouldn't take it. There is no way most of us will become addicted to it because who wants to be constipated the rest of our lives or doped up. I can understand the lay person saying you shouldn't take narcotics, but the spine surgeon setting a limit of one month or any of his people? :(
Sally
Hi Sally!
That's almost exactly the regime my surgeon had me on. It's amazing because I've not found anyone else with this same recipe. At first, I was on 2-10 mg oxycontin every 12 hours and 2-5 mg OxyIR (oxycodone immediate release) every 4 hours. I found the oxycontin was fantastic for about 9 hours but those last 3 hours were a killer. So, with my husband's help because I was not in my right mind, I began staggering the oxycontin. I would take 1, then 4 hours later, I'd take the other one. It seemed to work well for me.

I am now down to 1 oxycontin every 8-10 hours (depends how long I can go) and 1 OxyIR every 6 hours. I'm also taking Neurontin (Gabapentin) twice a day, but I was taking that long before surgery. This seems to be an OK schedule. I'm not pain free, but it stays between 4 and 6 most of the time. The six comes when I've waited too long for the oxycontin.

skoshi314
07-12-2008, 03:51 PM
BECKY, I am also numb on the left side of my spine, wrapping all the way around to my belly button and down the left side of my stomach to the pubic bone. It also goes about six inches down my left thigh, only on the front side. There's slight numbness on the top of my right thigh. Underneath the numb skin level, I feel pain, especially when I press my fingers against it. Dr. Boachie's nurse says that this will go away between 6 weeks and 3 months. I'm seven weeks out and the truth is, I AM getting more sensations in those areas. Sometimes it's a bit prickly, but tolerable.

Ginger,
When you described feeling pain underneath the numb skin, I had a lightbulb moment! :eek: I knew there was something but I couldn't really describe it. Crazy, maybe the meds ARE messing with my head! Thanks for the description. I feel a little more sane being able to describe the sensation.

Qikdraw
07-12-2008, 04:29 PM
Qikdraw-- you had me rolling on the floor (well-- if I could, I woulda been!) You are definitely a funny guy! How many spicy feet have you eaten??? Does that make them more palatable??? :D

LOL

I really do need to proof read a bit more. :o

Spicy FOOD! I meant FOOD! :D

*sigh*

I'm really not going to get any breaks around here am I? :p

Brad

Qikdraw
07-12-2008, 04:57 PM
Hey, Qikdraw, I'm with Susie Bee. I've never tried spicy foot, but I'm open to anything as long as it isn't seafood!

Actually its really quite nice, a little bit of curry, and just a tiny fraction of cayenne pepper, to give it that spice. Here is what I recommend:

(serves 2)
1 foot (right or left it doesn't matter)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients. Heat oven to 350.
Now what I do is grab a 9x13 pan, put tinfoil inside, (it makes cleaning easier) place the foot in, along with a bit of water. Baste the foot with the mixture, but don't use it all. Cover with more foil. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, then remove cover, drain out juices, (which can be used to make a nice gravy) and baste again with mixture, repeating every 10 minutes. This gives it a nice coating of that great mixture. You can also turn the heat up while doing the repeated basting to crisp up the skin nice.

This is nice with rice, and if you make a gravy with the juices adds a nice flavour with the rice.


Seriously, I hope you know this is all in a very light-hearted spirit. There just aren't that many men on the forum so we like to take advantage of the ones that are here! :D

Well I'd say you can take advantage of me all you want, but I think my wife would have issue with that. :D Thats ok, I'm used to getting ribbed, tease all you want. If you haven't notced I am a very light hearted guy. :D

Brad

P.S. That recipe is actually good with chicken, you can add the cayenne or not. It really is very good.

JamieR
07-12-2008, 05:28 PM
I am glad Pam mentioned something about the itching. It is the most anoying symptom I have at this time, trying to itch something I can't get to. The other thing I really hate, is itching a spot where my skin is still numb, it is the weirdest feeling. It is like you can feel it but you can't at the same time. I feel like I will never be able to enjoy a good back scratch again. :)

titaniumed
07-12-2008, 06:34 PM
What about the pre-op med survey? You know there was this one time in San Francisco in 67 at a dead show and uh never mind Im just kidding! He He

Becky, the people that are wondering why you are still on the pain meds at 1 month post, have no clue. Serious invasive surgerys require long periods of time to heal and everyone is different. Your own pain levels and how you handle the pain will dictate your medication outcome.

After my 11 days in the hospital, I was pushing hard to be released and went home and started with Oxycodone 5/325 every 4 hours. That was like candy after all the morphine,dilauid,and lortab at the hospital. About 10 days post, I was switched over to Percoset 7.5/325. I took those till about 4 weeks post and figured Id quit "cold turkey" before it riipped my guts apart. That was interesting!!! the pain went up very high for about 5 days and I gave in and re-started again at a much smaller dose. One week later, the constipation set in and I dropped a bomb (x-lax) That evening was fun,fun,fun. The pain levels were on redline and I must have read the x-lax instructions 30 times!!!
They guarantee that if you take a dose in the evening, something will happen by morning. They are correct! Of course I had no electrolytes, and I felt like a 12 volt battery with 1 volt left. Thats when I decided no more. That was at 46 days last March 16th. Yes, the pain continued and I had to supply nutrients for my body to heal and after another 5 days I started feeling better.

This is an example of one of the hard ways to get off the drugs. My neighbor has been on opiates for the last 27 years. He has 1 level fused down low. I just didnt feel like I wanted to continue slamming my motor neurons with a baseball bat.

They didnt tell me, but I guess you are supposed to cut back slowly. I learned the hard way.

Its amazing what the human body can handle.

Im almost 6 mos post and I feel pretty darn good. Ive taken 2 tylenols since March 16th.

skoshi314
07-12-2008, 11:15 PM
Very funny, Brad! That's quite a sense of humor you've got there! Seriously, it's nice to know you can take a joke in the manner intended. Life is just too short to get too serious!

And along came titanuimed! The men are making quite a showing in this thread!

Titaniumed, it certainly sounds like you picked the most difficult path to get to the other side. I've always heard that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger, but that's a tough way to get stronger! Thank you for the insight. I think this would be easier if there was a set of instructions for everybody. I have no desire to become addicted, but I don't relish the idea of being in pain. I think I just need to learn to trust myself and I'll know what's right.

It's always nice to get a man's perspective on things. I have finally learned in my 45 short years on earth that there really are things women can learn from men! :D My husband is THRILLED I finally admitted that!

I think I'm going to bed now. I'm beginning to be in pain and I'm not due for meds for another several hours. See, I'm learning to listen to myself!

Qikdraw
07-12-2008, 11:54 PM
It's always nice to get a man's perspective on things. I have finally learned in my 45 short years on earth that there really are things women can learn from men! :D My husband is THRILLED I finally admitted that!


I need to show this to my wife. When I am right on something, she just says I made a correct assumption based on available information. :D

Brad

txmarinemom
07-13-2008, 12:21 AM
I am glad Pam mentioned something about the itching. It is the most anoying symptom I have at this time, trying to itch something I can't get to. The other thing I really hate, is itching a spot where my skin is still numb, it is the weirdest feeling. It is like you can feel it but you can't at the same time. I feel like I will never be able to enjoy a good back scratch again. :)

It is bizarre to have an itch on numb skin, and funny ... I have had the EXACT same thought about a good back scratch!

I'm actually going for my first post-op deep tissue massage on Monday (my regular pre-op massage guy actually has another regular client with a LONG fusion). I'm only doing an hour (pre-op, it was 2 each time), so I'll have to report back on how it goes.

Hanson said it's fine to let them really work the trap/lower lumbar area (my fusion's T4-L1), and hopefully it will aid in the stretching I've been doing. I REALLY need someone to work the trigger points to the side of the glutes!

My back's still numb in places, but I can definitely feel pressure when it's touched. Back scratches I can live without, but if it's ruined my massage, I'm gonna be miffed! :)

Regards,
Pam

Theresa
07-15-2008, 02:40 AM
Becky,

After my surgery in 2004 I was taking 10/325 mg of vicodin 4 times a day, Robaxin 750 mg 3 times a day. I had weaned down to about 1 to 2 vicoin a day and 1 Robaxin a day around 10 months.

After my second surgery in 2006 I was taking 10/325 mg of vicodin 4 times a day, robaxin 750 mg 3 times a day, and I think the last one was skelaxin, it was another form of muscle relaxer. Went off the skelaxin after about 4 months because it made me so sleepy. At about one year out I was put on Lyrica which worked great for all the nerve problems. After about 8 months I started swelling and had to stop the Lyrica. As soon as I stopped the swelling went away. About this same time I was put on 30 mg Kadien (brand name for Morphen) twice a day and I was able to cut down on the vicodin to 2 times a day.

After my third surgery in 2007 I was taking 10/325 mg of vicodin 3 times a day, robaxin 750mg 3 times a day, 30 mg of Kadien twice a day, and we decided to try neurotin twice a day. That was good for about 4 months and swelling started again, just not as bad as the lyrica. The lyrica is a newer formula and is known for having the swelling issues, usually neurotin doesn't have the selling issue.

So basically since my first surgery in 2004 I have not been off pain meds completely. I have been going to a pain management specialist since 2005. He has also given me trigger point injections into my rib area in between the ribs where I have problems with spasms and in my neck, shoulders, and under the shoulder blades for big knots. I also get deep tissue massages to try to work the multi layers of knots. Last week I was in Colorado Springs visiting our daughter and I was able to cut back some on my medicines up there. For some reason I wasn't hurting as much. I'm wondering if it has to do with the altitude and the air pressure?????? We got back last Monday and all week I have been in misery after the car ride. But I think it also has to do with me cutting back on some of the meds and I'm feeling everything again. Today it was bearable now that I have been back on my meds correctly for a few days!!!!

Someone also asked something about only having a month's worth of meds. That is all I get, I have to call the vicodin and robaxin in each month for approval. The Kadien requires that I see the pain management dr every two months and I have to pick up a written prescription from his office every month. It is written on special paper that causes the ink to vanish in 7 days if you haven't filled it by then. It's considered a Schedule II controlled drug.

Don't worry about how long you are still on your meds, if your body needs them so that you can live a "normal" life then you need to take them. If your surgeon is giving you problems about still being on them go see a pain management specialist or have your surgeon refer you to one. The surgeons are not long term pain specialist when it comes to medicines.

amae28
07-16-2008, 01:57 PM
i am a little over two weeks post op- I am on oxycontin every 8 hours and one darvacet every four hours. it seems to be working pretty well but my doc said no refills so we'll see.

trishthedish
07-16-2008, 02:34 PM
From this last surgery I came home on:
Fentanyl 50mcg patch q72h
Norco 10/325 every 4hrs, alternating w/Dilaudid 4mg every 4hrs
Ambien 10mg at bedtime
Valium 5-10mg four times daily for muscle spasm
Cymbalta 60mg and Lexapro 20mg daily (supposedly to replace the neurotransmitters "washed out" during the surgery by the huge amounts of fluids they say I received).

Now, I am a pharmacist myself, and I do like to see my livelihood supported, but not by any one single patient, and especially not by just me!

So in a month I sort of titrated down to:
2 norco 3-4 times daily
5mg valium twice a daily
Lexapro 20mg daily

2 months out now, I do the above regimen, minus the Lexapro.

I will have my 2 month checkup this Friday and I plan to ask to switch the valium to robaxin. And, sorry, but I am not at a place where I can give up the Norco. I think my soreness and outright remaining surgical pain still warrant taking it.

Talking about taking a trip and never leaving the farm :eek:

StevieRayFan
01-14-2009, 02:42 PM
I know this thread is "old", but I just wanted to say as a new member that the info in this Topic has made me realize I have been under medicating myself and needlessly suffering. I do not have Scoliosis, but had a lumbar fusion in late Oct 2008, so I'm on my 11th week out now. Since Dec I have been intentionally taking the absolute LEAST amount of Norco (none during the day) and approximately 25 mil at night plus my normal Ambien for sleep.

I called my surgeon's RN, and she said NO... do NOT wait till the end of the day to take meds if I am in pain during the day (I am).

Though I do not have Scoliosis issues, I do hope I am welcome here. My issues are all lumbar and sciatic. I've been searching for over a month for a good board, and this is as close as I can get to perfect.

Thank you.

Nancy Joy
01-14-2009, 03:20 PM
I am going to assume your name is Steve. Please correct that if needed. Welcome to our forum. I think your problem would be very similar. I used to do what you did and then my motto became- why suffer needlessly? I read over and over the body heals faster when it is not also battling pain and I believe it. Also, if you let pain get ahead of meds, it can be very hard to get under control again. No, I am not a drug addict and am taking very little now but I sure take it when I need it. I am glad you had the courage to speak up and best wishes to you on your recovery also.

StevieRayFan
01-14-2009, 04:52 PM
Nancy, thanks. No, my name is Paul.. I'm a Stevie Ray Vaughn fan. Do you like Blues? I'm going to work on my Profile and signature a little tonight. I've been welcomed here, and on another thread. I'm very happy I found this board. Though are respective issues are not exact, they are similar, especially with the spine. I've had two surgeries in 08, and one was cervical at 4-levels, and then they got my lumbar in Oct. I would imagine that there are some similar issues regarding recovery... I'm guessing. I agree with you. I think it can go both ways with helping and supporting one another. ONLY within the last few weeks have I been ABLE to sit for more than a few minutes at a time... so the timing is perfect for me insofar as this board is concerned, and computer use.

Thanks again!

Paul

Nancy Joy
01-14-2009, 09:15 PM
I was on Dilaudid PCP after my first surgery and a PCP with something that started with a P but can't remember after my second. I was sent home with Oxycodone from both of these 20 mg. Extended Release and 15 mg. every 3 hours. I had little candy making cups (papers) that I put my time on and the pills in to take thru the night when I awoke (and I did- every 3 hours). I also wrote them everything I took down so I would know what I was doing. Then, due to distance and signatures on scrips I was switched to Hydrocodone. I then took 2 Hydrocodone every 6 hours. My pain level is much less now so I am taking 1 Hydrocodone every 3 or as long as up to every 7 hours. Take it when I need it. Got thru the night last night without one at 4:00 (woke up every night about that time in pain). Every day now is different. I did a lot when I got home also (none fast!) but as I could - some laundry and tried to fix supper each night but most nights to begin with was soup or frozen pizza! They kept wanting me to move in the hospital so that helped give me more movement at home. I do most all housework now except vacuuming. It may be awhile yet before I am able to let the Hydrocodone go but so what? I understand that "tight" feeling and yes, left neglected for very long it becomes pain (I tried). My anterior surgery added the pain of the abdomen (plus 2 more surgeries thru it) and that pain (abdominal) just left about 5 days ago- I didn't think it was ever going to.

We are all so individual. Initially my Dr. said I would be off work 6 months and might be on narcotics for 5 months. Thankfully, I am recovering much faster than that but I wanted to be prewarned. Bless this forum!!

Nancy Joy
01-14-2009, 09:24 PM
ok all- forget my input- I just saw the date on the original question- DUH!!:o

Susie*Bee
01-15-2009, 06:48 AM
No apology needed, Nancy Joy, as that will be helpful to any looking for information, regardless of whether it's timely with the original post. You sure are doing great! As you said, we are all different and my recovery was MUCH slower. That is great that you are able to do so much!

StevieRayFan
01-16-2009, 01:45 AM
Hey everyone,

I was going to start by saying, “as we all know”, but I’m going to change that to, “I have no freaking idea”!

For me, the most “powerful” pain med I’ve taken, is Norco. On my first surgery, the cervical, it was 5/325 every 6-hours/as needed. The night I left the hospital, I had NONE. All they gave me was a valium, and the nurse sort of “slipped” it to me. That night was bad, and if I recall, it was by the end of the following day that I got my first prescription filled. From then onward that’s all I took, and for the first 3-months I was in a fair amount of pain. My surgeon left that sort of stuff up to my PM doc. (Doc-A)

Doc-A was also “handling” my lumbar issues and had stated very early on that I would not require surgery for the lumbar area. He was handling the epidural injections throughout the spring, summer and fall, and only till the end of Aug did he prescribe more Norco 5/325, because by this time it was looking very likely that I would need surgery after all.

About 6-weeks prior to surgery, (Doc-A) stated that I could take TWO Norco 5’s in the mornings, and I was surprised! (I had no idea that Norco came in 10/325) Very long and grueling 6 – 7 weeks there, because I had never had any significant pain relief. The lumbar region was deteriorating more than ever, and a distinct instability and wobbly connection somewhere down there had been present for over a year. (Not blaming anyone… Myelopathy causes “wobbling”)… but in my case I had explained many times that there was a feeling of instability as if the spine itself had a weak spot, and that it came and went relative to pain-levels.

Long story short – I had a fusion Oct 22, 2008. I’ve not been out of pain since, though compared to when I got out of the hospital, the levels are way down. My stay in the hospital sucked too, but the one bright spot (after 3-straight days of no sleep or food) an Angel Nurse on the last day came in and started giving me 2 Norco 10/325’s every 4 hours. For the first time I was able to get some sleep, though the pain levels were still intense.

I couldn’t help making a comparison to Angel-Nurse and Doc-A. But Doc-A was there when we needed him the most (he's a friend) and he caught my Myelopathy and found my surgeon for me, the wonderfully talented Dr. Frank Phillips out of Rush, Chicago.

For a few weeks at least, I was on the Norco’s every 4-hours. The wife was waking me during the night for the medication. The whole point was to try and keep it under control, and for the most part it worked.

On my own, I stopped taking the Norco during the night. (I take Ambien generic at night… did and still do and plan on taking them for as long as I want to.) Doc-A didn’t like my taking Ambien at all, and even told me the last time I got it from him, “we have to have a talk about that”.

Soon after I started taking single 10/325’s in the hopes that I’d soon be down to taking 5/325’s.

About 4-weeks out from the surgery, Doc-A mentioned to the wife that I should have been OFF the Norco by now. (Doc-A and my wife know each other professionally, though neither she nor I work in the medical field). At this point now… I was VERY upset with the comment. At 6-weeks out, I mentioned this comment to my surgeon’s RN, and flat-out asked her, “Was it abnormal for a person 6-weeks out to still need Norco”. She said NO. told her about Doc-A’s comment. The RN’s response to me was, “Is he a surgeon?”

I just called her again at 11-weeks out. “Is there something wrong with me that I still have pain enough to need Norco?” She said NO. She also corrected me in HOW I was taking the Norco… which was in early evenings when things pain-wise got the worst. She told me to take it during the day if I was still in pain during the day. Simple.

First of all, no-one will tell me how long I will continue to be in pain AS I HEAL. That’s the key here. I AM HEALING. I am stronger, walk more, and am more limber and somewhat flexible. The spine is stronger, and much less wobbly. Physically, I am making progress and though I know it takes 4 – 6 months to grown the bones together enough to show on x-rays, I am certain I am fusing. Each day there is something positive to report… but pain-levels still exist. I’ve even had some sciatica return. I am hopeful that because things “turn on and off” this too will pass.

I was playing that game someone mentioned above. The first one to get off pain med’s wins! I am beginning to see the whole picture now. My disks have been replaced, and my spine is held together with screws. The bones need to FUSE, and that means they have to grow, and until they grow and lock together, it is very likely I will be in PAIN. There's going to be stress on those screws till like everything's like a rod of steel.

The Norco never took the pain away. Just took the edge off… even with higher dosages. So I have reversed my approach completely (due to this thread). I’m taking 15 – 20 milligrams of Norco every 4 hour while awake. I STILL hurt, but I am more functional. No one likes the constipation, but it is a side effect I can live with. I’m focusing on getting my pain under control over all else.

I do not see Doc-A anymore, but exclusively go through my surgeon’s office. My RN is there for me, and she answers my questions. I do NOT bother her needlessly. I am OK, I am just still in PAIN. She knows that and she knows I do not abuse the drugs.

As a matter of fact, if within a few weeks I do not start to level-off with the pain, I’m considering asking if there may be something else which may work better for me. I'm not concerned about addiction, because I will be weaning off anything I take anyway.

Do the effects of Norco wear off after a while?

I've never had this question answered... since I am at it... Does ANYONE know… WHY does Ambien or its generic, make almost all pain go away? As long as I have had my lower back pain, Ambien at night has always significantly lowered my pain levels to the point where I can sleep relatively pain-free. (Not including the deep, deep surgical pain) But everything else just “melts” away with this stuff, and at this point THAT is why I am taking it. It works! (I’d take it during the day if I could <smile>) (plus I can't type very well, I have noticed)

The difference between dependence and addiction, I think in my case applies. No one would rather be off pain-meds faster than me, because in my mind being off the meds means less pain and eventually no pain and that means back to normal. I think I’ve been abusing MYSELF, because of a fear implanted in me from Doc-A.

Any and all advice/conversation much appreciated!

Paul

PS - My best!

StevieRayFan
01-16-2009, 04:33 PM
I wanted to apologize for such a long post ^^^^. I needed to get that off my chest. I don't normally do that.

Paul

StevieRayFan
01-18-2009, 10:59 PM
Ouch. The silence hurts. Did I say something wrong?

If I did, I wouldn't mind a thrashing! Honestly, I'd rather be straightened out either in public or PM than lose the support and good wishes of people who thus far seem very kind and good-hearted.

Since I changed entire attitude toward my recovery time regarding my pain medication, I've had a few of the best days yet since being screwed back together.

If, on the other hand it's just a slow board, or, you feel I'm too wordy and/or lengthy... I don't or didn't mean to offend. My mother always told me to ask questions, no matter how silly they may be. The answers and knowledge gained is more important that whether or not one appears "stupid".

I'm very willing to be corrected if I have done something wrong. This is my philosophy, and so I take my lumps "as needed" <smile>

I send everyone my very best wishes!

Paul

JenniferG
01-19-2009, 12:39 AM
I can't see you doing anything wrong Paul.

I have not yet had surgery so can't offer anything to this thread as yet. Just wanted to wish you well, though!

discombobulated
01-19-2009, 03:39 AM
Hey Paul,

Sorry I haven't seen you around much before, but I see you're fairly new here - welcome aboard :)

Don't you worry at all about a long post - sometimes there's just no shorter way of telling your journey, & I really appreciate the level of detail you've felt comfortable with sharing with us. BTW - Just wait till you poke around a bit here & see the length of some of my ramblings - some (most!) are quite mammoth, if I do say so myself! ;)

NSF here is one of the smaller scoli/kypho support forums around as far as I can tell, & we're from all over the world in different time zones, so it can take a little while to get a response on a post sometimes. Nothing personal at all (uhh....except for flamers. Then, the ignorance is bliss :D ). Also, there are a fair number of members right now who aren't long through surgery (like me), who sometimes even though we read & try to keep up with the forum, we just don't always have the energy or clarity of mind to write a coherent response....perhaps you're getting a sample of my Valium-induced incoherence? lol!


I'm so sorry that your Doc A is (I'm sorry, IMHO) a Class-A Moron, and also that you had such a hard time with (lack of) pain relief for a while in hospital (especially the first time around - I know what it's like to be discharged without the proper pain meds!).

Please, listen to your surgeon, your nurse friend, the folks here, & importantly, your own body. Many folks are on strong painkillers for a number of months post-op, slowly reducing dosages, or transitioning on to less potent ones. You're absolutely right - You Are Healing. And what an awesome, long, and intense job that your body's working on right now. Muscles, ligaments, bone, & probably more was cut through, rearranged, had metal screwed through them like in a metal-workshop! Your body will tell you when it's healed far enough that you can start to lessen the painkillers. You do need to go easy on the activity, but you need to be functional! Please don't go hard on yourself for taking the painkillers when you need to, and your friend is right - definitely take them before the pain gets to the Extreme level - there's no need for that!

As for your question about Ambien....my understanding is that it is in a class of drugs known as non-benzodiazepines - chemically different, but with similar actions. I might be completely off the mark, but many benzodiazepines (including the one I'm on at the moment, diazepam aka. Valium) are very effective muscle relaxants. You might want to ask your nurse friend or surgeon about it, but maybe the pain relief you're getting from your Ambien is due to a similar effect, relaxing the deep muscles in your back. Muscles often become very tight & spasm after trauma, & this might be a source of some of your pain. Again, though, I'm no expert, so this might not be why Ambien helps your pain at all, lol. But, IF your surgeon decides a muscle relaxant might help your pain, it might be worth the possible drowsy side-effects during the day to see if a low dose of a muscle relaxant for use during the day to hopefully relieve some of that pain.

Paul, I do apologise - I feel this message getting somewhat (more) incoherent & I've had a few goes between naps at writing this, so I hope you've been able to follow ok, lol! I hope you'll feel welcome here - post often as you like/can - it's always great for people going into surgery to read about the ups & downs of the surgery journey so please never feel as though your posts go unappreciated :) Most of all, I sure hope you can get this pain under control more effectively - you're right, getting off meds is definitely no competition!

You take good care of that healing body of yours, and keep getting that restful sleep. Best wishes.


P.S. - as you can see, I've may well already exceeded your post's length ;) Succinctness has never been a talent of mine, lol! Hope all makes enough sense though....

StevieRayFan
01-19-2009, 02:06 PM
Thank you, thank you!

Dis,

I can’t tell by your Profile if you are male or female. I just wanted to say that you are one very bright young person! I’ve been posting on the ‘net for about as long as you have been alive, and I’ve read a lot of rambling repetitive junk. If you ever get a chance, look up “Bob Newhart”. He is a Minimalist! Very interesting philosophy and manner. I wouldn’t say he is underrated, but I don’t think many understand exactly what it is about him that they like when they see him. I only learned that his entire bit is based on saying/doing the absolute minimum, recently. Therefore he is not rushed, and his sense of timing is unlike any other’s. If it were easy to do, everyone would be doing it! <smile>

Thanks for being there when I most needed it. Both of you, but particularly you, Dis.

I too can require a few sitting-sessions before I can spit out one post!

I thought, OMG… I’ve gone and messed it up! Such a wonderful concentration of wonderful folks, and I’ve gone and messed it up.

Here’s the deal. We are all in one way or another sick and in need. This is our health and “quality” of life. I came from another board (won’t say where) where the Mod over there was a sadist or a psycho or both. I have NEVER been so initially shocked, and literally brought to my knees, with such harsh and nonsensical “Moderation”. Threads were being locked, period. No warnings, no PM’s, just LOCKED. IMPORTANT information was being exchanged… people’s lives were being discussed, etc. I’ve never been banned or suspended from a board in my life. This Mod was yanking my chain for some reason. I read and reread the Rules. I tried my BEST to just fit in so I could get some help. It was like a bad dream. Someone from nowhere would drop in a post which in some small way would “break the Rules”, and BAM… thread locked. No PM’s, no way to keep in contact with others. So I left in search of another place… and thank GOD I found this board. So, PLEASE understand. I am not only “sick” and in need of help and guidance, and am also extremely gun shy and in a way I think I was traumatized by my experience at this other board (very large board).

-=-=-=-

So yes, it has taken me a few days, but I am beginning to learn and I think I am getting this under control (at least with the med’s I have (Norco 10/325, Norco 5/325, some Valium, and my Ambien)).

Yesterday and evening were the best days I’ve had since getting out of the hospital.

Also, I sleep as long as possible and have zero-guilt about this.

When I get up (whenever that is) I take 2, 10-mill Norco. “Mornings” are tough, and this helps. An hour later, I start my first walking session.

4-hours later, I take either 20-mill, or 15-mill, Norco (depending on how I feel).

Between this, and the next dose of Norco, I slip in a half-tab of Valium. This really helps, and because it DOES help, it tells me my pain is musculature in nature… which is also a relief in-and-of-itself… because I was severely nerve-damaged from the cervical issue. Because my Lumbar went so long without correction, I was worried there may have been nerve damage down there as well. Because Valium and Ambien HELP, this is a big relief.

4-hours later (usually sometime in the early to mid evening) I repeat (15, or 20-mill, depending on how I feel).

In the late evenings I have a choice (depending on actual time). Ambien (half-tab) or more Norco. The last two nights, I have chosen the Ambien. I take half a tab (say at Midnight). I get “immediate” relief just from the half-tab. An hour later, I take the other half-tab. SOMETIMES, I will take another half tab, and then I am ready to sleep. I sleep as long as I can… the longer the better, and start the next day.

During the “day” and through the evenings, I walk and stair-step. Every other day I do light leg exercises.

All totaled, I’m walking about 2 miles a day now. My stair-stepping sessions are now 5, up-and-down-non-stop, at least 3 (sometimes 4) per day.

Am I dependent on these med’s? You betcha I am. ONLY in the past several days has my quality of life come UP. I’m calling friends for the first time in many, many months (blue-tooth headset ONLY). I’m walking more, and doing constructive things around the house for the first time since Sept of last year. I’m vacuuming, cooking, cleaning, organizing. As I walk, I can SEE the future, FEEL the future. I can sense I am healing and getting better… for the first time. I think I had really BAD luck with Doc-A, and the psychological effects are just now coming to light and at this point I consider myself lucky to be away from him/her. I severed that tie and do not depend on anything whatsoever from this person. It may have been a clash of philosophies, I don’t know. I don’t want to think or send anything negative AT ALL. I just needed to get the story out, off my chest, and MOVE ON.

So that’s the deal. Thanks for listening.

Thanks, Dis. Your response was very helpful, and I TOO know how hard it is to sit and write this stuff, so I DO appreciate and value that you took the time to carefully respond to me. As I get better, I will do my best to return the flow, and try my best to help others as well!

Peace,

Paul


PS: We've been to Australia. The wife and I walked ALL of Sidney and at one time knew just about every block downtown in and around the wharf area. The most beautiful city on earth from land or air. I hope you like Americans! <smile>

Pooka1
01-19-2009, 02:33 PM
Ouch. The silence hurts. Did I say something wrong?

No.


If, on the other hand it's just a slow board

Yes.


, or, you feel I'm too wordy and/or lengthy...

No.

I'm guessing based on your comments that you frequent much busier fora and newsgroups as do I.

I don't know about other folks but this forum is slower than the next one I read by at least an order of magnitude. It is slower by at least two orders of magnitude than certain newsgroups I read.

When I first found it, I thought that there must be some other site that has the "real" traffic on scoliosis. If there is, I can't find it.

What I have come to realize is there are just not that many people affected or how care to participate in a forum on the subject.

In re moderation, I don't believe in it. While this forum is technically a moderated one, it's hard to find evidence of it. It's functionally unmoderated.

Folks should be responsible not only for what they write but for what they read. It's a surprisingly tough lessons for some.

You are making good contributions to this place in my opinion and we are lucky to have you.

Nancy Joy
01-19-2009, 07:59 PM
Hi Paul~~

I have been gone for a few days so just saw your post. The others said it well- you have done nothing wrong. I am really glad to hear you are getting relief now and feeling like you are gaining ground. That is the name of the game- 3 steps forward and 2 steps back!!:)

Nancy Joy
01-19-2009, 08:00 PM
Susie~

Thanks for the encouraging comment. I felt rather silly!!

LynnMarie74
01-25-2009, 12:23 AM
I am so tired of people saying "Oh, you're STILL on pain meds?" Seriously????So, just to ease my own mind, I'm conducting an informal survey. For those willing to participate, would you respond with the meds you were taking, how long you were on them, and if there was a 'weaning' process, how did that work?

I know it's too early to try to stop taking pain meds, but I'm beginning to get a little paranoid thinking maybe I'm wrong.

Oh, the other annoying question is get is "Oh, you're not back at work yet?" :mad: Grrrrrrrrrrrrr! I keep reminding myself they don't know anything about this surgery and recovery so just let it go.

Anything you would be willing to share would be great. Thanks!

I hear ya sistah! Back surgery is back surgery...its all the same! I explained to someone last week that its like have heart surgery. One you need your heart to live & you only want the best of thebest working on it , 2 there are several types of heart surgeries/procedures that can be done, from a minor ablation for SVT(which I have too) the close of the xtra electric pathways to help your heart beat more normal(slower) I didnt have this procedure done but just making a point. 3-there is open heart surgery, etc, etc.Unless you have Scoli & have had the muliti level fusion, most dont get it.


As fas as meds...I guess its too soon for me to put my 2 cents in as Im only 10 days post op. Im on 15 mg of oxicodone quick acting every 4 hrs, 10 mg of oxycone long release 2 x a day, Tylonol...I laughed too....hard actaully & made a smart arss remark but eh...its supposed to help the effects of the oxy. Im also on Valium 5 mg every 6 hrs, Gabatine for nerve pain 3 x a day, stool softner & finally....shhhewwww...iron to keep my blood count high. I have no clue how long I will be on all this crap but I just want to be comfortable, thats all really. Im sure my hubby will let me knw when he thinks I need to go on the show called "Invervention"!!! LOL hahahahahaha Kidding...but really tho, he keeps traack of everything for me.

Hope all is well,and dnt wrry about your meds. You will know when youre ready to come off of them!

Lynn

debbei
01-25-2009, 07:35 AM
Lynn,

The iron could be another reason for your bloating. Are things a little better now in that area?

LynnMarie74
01-25-2009, 09:10 AM
Lynn,

The iron could be another reason for your bloating. Are things a little better now in that area?

A little yes...still cant wear my own pants,,,ughhh...BUT not as bad as it was before!! :) Thanks for asking!