My Opioid Addiction

Posted by jdiakiw @jdiakiw, Jul 24, 2020

MY OPIOID ADDICTION
My body is my major negative asset. I am riddled with pain. At a 5, 6 or 7 out of 10 on my pain scale, I still function normally, just living through it. At a 10, I suffer in bed. As a youth I had occasional, classic aural/nausea migraines. They became more frequent and less severe, till they morphed into chronic daily headaches. Knee pain resulted in a knee replacement. But arthritis continues to attack my lower back and neck. My piriformis muscles too, add to the relentless pain.

I probably saw a hundred medical practitioners from both traditional medicine,-pain or neurology specialists, to alternative treatment, from acupuncture to cupping. Nothing worked except drugs… especially when oxycodone was introduced to the medical market.
My doctor was very enthusiastic. There was a medical mantra they all bought into that was clearly promoted by the drug company.

They believed that there was a difference between those who used oxycodone for recreational use who could be addicted, but if used for pain and no high was experienced, you could not become addicted, you were only ‘dependent’. I never experienced any high on opioids.

Somehow it was assumed that ‘dependent’ was a mild issue that could be easily rectified if necessary. You could just quit anytime. I started with Percocets a few times a day. It soon was not enough. My doc prescribed Oxycontin. It was soon not enough.
A friend had a fentanyl patch. My doc said he only prescribed a patch for terminal cancer patients. He upped the Oxycontin dose… again… and again. I continued to complain of pain. Finally he added a fentanyl patch. I began taking 160 mg of combined Oxycontin and Percocets, plus the patch.

I was a drug addict. I remember driving up the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, in bumper to bumper, stop and go, rush hour traffic, in a drug stupor. I fell asleep at a pause and was only awakened by car horns urging me to move on. It was time to stop.
A pain specialist advised moving into a residential rehab facility. I opted for the do-it-yourself option. I researched the process and decided to do it on my own. It took me 6 months to get off the opioids.

I asked my wife what it was like when I was getting off the drug. “You lost your mind. You kept saying to everyone you saw the Buddha on the road. You wandered up and down the beach at the cottage buttonholing people and talking nonsense and breaking down crying.”
My cottage neighbour, a doctor, who observed me in this state, called it ‘ebullient emotion’, typical when patients have strokes or when in shock. I burst into bouts of convulsive weeping without any reason. I did that frequently during my detox.

I reduced my dose by 5mg a week. It was agony. After a couple of months the detox twisted my mind. I was nearly mad. Even when I was down to 5mg per day it was excruciating. I wanted to give up and get a strong dose, but I persisted.

I remember talking to Laurie, a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart in Penetanguishene and asked her if there was anything I could take to get me over the agony on my last 5mg.
She asked how much I had reduced from. “160mg and a fentanyl patch,” I replied.
“On your own?’ she asked, incredulously.
“Yes,” I said.
“That’s unheard of,” she said. Her face signalled shock.

Every time I hear one of many current statistical opioid stories on TV, I am reminded of my addiction and detox. For example: * There were 2833 opioid related deaths in Ontario last year. * In the USA, there were more than 70,200 overdose deaths in just 2017. More than 130 people died every day from opioid- related drug overdoses.

On TV as I wrote this, someone declared, “One hundred people die from gun violence in the USA every day”. 130 from opioids! 100 from gun violence! Are these not preventable?
I have been free of opioids for a few years now. The pain persists but I am better off than where I was. My wife had nightmares about my drugged period. “I thought we were going to lose you.” I am still here.
By the way, I really did see the Buddha on the road.

Cual es el tiempo maximo que se puede a hi?

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Quedar a hi

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@jdiakiw

Despite my chronic pain conditions, there is one period of 2weeks to 6 weeks of each year when my pain abates to a minor ailment. Ever since I was a young man when I backpacked from Singapore to Israel overland living in temples and monasteries all the way and my total cost of transportation and accommodation in 9 months of travel was $3.41 . The desert parts through Baluchistan Iran Syria Jordan Lebanon and Israel were remarkable sanctuaries of historic dimensions. I understood why Moses, Mohamed, and Jesus found wisdom there. I vowed then to make solo crossings of all the tropical deserts of the world. Every year in the last 30 years I have made a solo crossing of all the deserts of the world. . . Pain free! The Sahara 3x, the Atacama, the Gobi, the kalahari, Thar, and all the central Asian deserts . My travel motto is eat with locals, sleep with locals( mostly worker lodges or hostels) and travel with locals. However they travel I travel with them. I live daily by my wits only with no reservations, no defined route, usually no fixed destination . I come how when I feel like it were ever I am.
But the curiosity is my pain abates. Certainly my survivor skills are at a peak. The adrenaline is in a permanent high dosage and the sheer joy and pleasure of my experiences releases high levels of oxytocin and I don’t need oxycontin. After I ran out of deserts I began remote continent crossings, just a few years ago from capetown to Cairo overland which I wrote about here:
https://www.thestar.com/life/travel/2011/07/15/im_74_and_i_backpacked_across_africa_alone.html
While I didn’t mention it I was kidnapped and felt NO PAIN. I knew my life was about to end. (If interested google ‘kidnapped by Somali gang diakiw’) Most recently at 83, last fall I went to Kenya to go to the remote Lake Turkana , Chalbi Desert area where life exists with 6 different tribes facing extinction and live dramatic communal lives of intense family relations and community cohesiveness. But for me, No pain. Go figure

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@jdiakiw Hi Jerry, I was poking around connect and just found your post here about you travels every year. I am wondering, how did you ever get started doing this? Also, when you first started doing it on such a shoestring and with taking along so few resources , did you have any fears of doing it and how did you manage to overcome them. I am pretty fascinated with this tale of yours. Best to you, Hank

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@jesfactsmon

@jdiakiw Hi Jerry, I was poking around connect and just found your post here about you travels every year. I am wondering, how did you ever get started doing this? Also, when you first started doing it on such a shoestring and with taking along so few resources , did you have any fears of doing it and how did you manage to overcome them. I am pretty fascinated with this tale of yours. Best to you, Hank

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I was going to say that my first backpacking trip from Singapore to beirut in 1962 was my start. (Getting to Singapore from Japan to Vietnam is another great story) But I realize it started long before that. I was always persistent in finding ways to see the world free. I joined the Canadian navy at university, not for patriotic reasons but to ‘ see the world’. For stretches of 4-5 months between school years, I worked on a Norwegian freighter to Africa and worked as an apprentice in the gold mines outside johannesburg at the height of Apartheid managing a crew of 12 zulus a mile deep underground. I worked on another freighter in the South Pacific -Tahiti, Samoa etc before airports there. All for free. My dad called me ‘the Gypsy’ (with apologies to Roma ) as a teen I somehow knew this would all happen. I wrote a story about when I was in grade one my mom packed a lunch for me . I took the street car at the end of my street to the far end of the city and come back the same way. It was the Queen Street car that went from the east end of the city to the far west end through all the ethnic neighbourhoods, one after another -chinatown Italian, Greek/Macedonian Polish ukrainian, Jewish, Roma . When I got to the west end I was too scared to wander off so I sat on a bench at the terminal, ate my lunch. got back on the next streetcar home. I ran down my street, exhilarated. A friend yelled, "hey jer? Where have you been? "
"around the world" I shouted back.

Liked by lorirenee1, Hank

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@jdiakiw

I was going to say that my first backpacking trip from Singapore to beirut in 1962 was my start. (Getting to Singapore from Japan to Vietnam is another great story) But I realize it started long before that. I was always persistent in finding ways to see the world free. I joined the Canadian navy at university, not for patriotic reasons but to ‘ see the world’. For stretches of 4-5 months between school years, I worked on a Norwegian freighter to Africa and worked as an apprentice in the gold mines outside johannesburg at the height of Apartheid managing a crew of 12 zulus a mile deep underground. I worked on another freighter in the South Pacific -Tahiti, Samoa etc before airports there. All for free. My dad called me ‘the Gypsy’ (with apologies to Roma ) as a teen I somehow knew this would all happen. I wrote a story about when I was in grade one my mom packed a lunch for me . I took the street car at the end of my street to the far end of the city and come back the same way. It was the Queen Street car that went from the east end of the city to the far west end through all the ethnic neighbourhoods, one after another -chinatown Italian, Greek/Macedonian Polish ukrainian, Jewish, Roma . When I got to the west end I was too scared to wander off so I sat on a bench at the terminal, ate my lunch. got back on the next streetcar home. I ran down my street, exhilarated. A friend yelled, "hey jer? Where have you been? "
"around the world" I shouted back.

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@jdiakiw I am a firm believer in fate (aka karma) and I think you came into this world already primed for travel and adventure. What a life! (And I have just scratched a tiny bit of it, but I get a sense). Jerry you have had a very unique time on Earth as I know you know. I look forward to reading about your exploits further as I find time. I'm retired so by definition I'm in that boat where one seems unable to find time to do almost anything extraneous because of already doing too much that is extraneous. 😉

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@jdiakiw

I was going to say that my first backpacking trip from Singapore to beirut in 1962 was my start. (Getting to Singapore from Japan to Vietnam is another great story) But I realize it started long before that. I was always persistent in finding ways to see the world free. I joined the Canadian navy at university, not for patriotic reasons but to ‘ see the world’. For stretches of 4-5 months between school years, I worked on a Norwegian freighter to Africa and worked as an apprentice in the gold mines outside johannesburg at the height of Apartheid managing a crew of 12 zulus a mile deep underground. I worked on another freighter in the South Pacific -Tahiti, Samoa etc before airports there. All for free. My dad called me ‘the Gypsy’ (with apologies to Roma ) as a teen I somehow knew this would all happen. I wrote a story about when I was in grade one my mom packed a lunch for me . I took the street car at the end of my street to the far end of the city and come back the same way. It was the Queen Street car that went from the east end of the city to the far west end through all the ethnic neighbourhoods, one after another -chinatown Italian, Greek/Macedonian Polish ukrainian, Jewish, Roma . When I got to the west end I was too scared to wander off so I sat on a bench at the terminal, ate my lunch. got back on the next streetcar home. I ran down my street, exhilarated. A friend yelled, "hey jer? Where have you been? "
"around the world" I shouted back.

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Jerry, Your mom had her hands full with you, for sure! Your writing is a delight. And here I am, afraid to drive an expressway, while you have seen the world. Hats off to you! Lori Renee

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Thank you, everyone who reported the spammer trying to sell drugs. The posts have been removed and the account deleted. Thank you for keeping the community safe.

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@colleenyoung

Thank you, everyone who reported the spammer trying to sell drugs. The posts have been removed and the account deleted. Thank you for keeping the community safe.

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@colleenyoung Thank you Colleen!

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@jdiakiw

My Opiod addiction part 2
I lived a while without any painkillers and was in pain most days. My back and neck particularly. My family doc, who prescribed the oxides and fentanyl patch told me that a new synthetic opiate was available that was not all that addictive. They were a great relief for a while. I think I was taking the 300mg slow release version. They were wonderful . . . For awhile . I then took tylenol 2 s, which are available over the counter in Canada. And slowly upped them as pain persisted. I realized I was right back where I started. My docs attitude was you are 84 get riot the pain any way you can to enjoy your last days. So what if we have to increase the dose.
I returned to my pain specialist I sent my part 1 story to. My debilitating pain was chronic daily headaches, especially. The theory as it goe is the audio album classic headaches of my teens and 20s increased in frequency and reduced severity . If my functional pain was a 7, I worked normally, constantly aware of pain. At a 9/10 I had to lay down in bed and wait out the severity . The 9/10s became 4 or 5 times a week. He diagnosed me as having transformed migraines and MOH or Medicine Overuse Headaches. The plan he offered was to get off all pain meds and hope I reverted back to classic migraines which he claimed occurred normally except with patients with a long history of transformed migraines. That’s me. He supervised my withdrawal veeeeery slowly, a reduction only every 3 or 4 weeks. I got off the codeine in the Tylenol and the tramadol. It was awful . Some detox easily and others not so. I am the latter. Every ache in my body exploded. I tried vaping mj and tried kratom with no effect from either. I researched the web and identified two drugs used for my condition, Topomax and amytrypilene. When I my doc for one to try he explained that if there was improvement we wouldn’t know whether it was MOH or other cause. I said, try me. I started with topomax because he would’t prescribe amytriptylene, his preference until my heart specialist okayed it. But he was away for a month. So I took topomax and got very ill from it. When my heart guy came home he okayed amytriptylene. I titrated 10 mg a week up to 80 mg a day. Somewhere along that process my headaches disappeared for the first time in 60 years. My back and neck pain were much reduced. Bit bit bit the headaches returned, though. But nowhere near where they were before. He suggested I try weaning off amytriptylene as there is an dementia connection. Out of 100 seniors. 10 will get dementia , out of 100 on amytriptylene. 13 will get dimentia. I tried weaning but pain came back again. I’m a work in progress I was hoping to revert back to a classic severe migraine because they are so much more treatable today . No such luck. But I am in a much better place with pain than for years

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@jdiakiw sorry I am so late to the party. How are you now on the pain scale? Do you take anything for the pain? Thanks for sharing.

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After cleaning our all tramadol, codeine, tylenal I went through hell for weeks . 2 drug therapies are routinely recommended at that point if chronic migraine is primary diagnosis —. Topirimate or amytriptylene. Tried the first with bad reaction and titrated amytriptylene starting at 10mg working up weekly to 80 mg. Had a period of a few weeks with no headaches. But then they returned but much milder and not daily. I take no painkillers. The theory was a hope I would revert to the severe migraines of my youth which could then be treated with current therapies. Have not had a severe classic migraine . . . Yet. I am happy where I am now way less daily pain .

Liked by bustrbrwn22

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@jdiakiw

After cleaning our all tramadol, codeine, tylenal I went through hell for weeks . 2 drug therapies are routinely recommended at that point if chronic migraine is primary diagnosis —. Topirimate or amytriptylene. Tried the first with bad reaction and titrated amytriptylene starting at 10mg working up weekly to 80 mg. Had a period of a few weeks with no headaches. But then they returned but much milder and not daily. I take no painkillers. The theory was a hope I would revert to the severe migraines of my youth which could then be treated with current therapies. Have not had a severe classic migraine . . . Yet. I am happy where I am now way less daily pain .

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I have taken amitriptyline 125 mg for many years for OCD. The drug of choice for OCD is clomipramine which is in the same family, but I was priced out of it by greedy Big Pharma. I believe that this family of drugs (tricyclics) is helpful for my RA pain too. Also my brother takes a 10-mg dose of amitriptyline for migraine auras which sometimes hit him while driving the expressways in Minneapolis. He didn't ever have migraine headaches but it got rid of the auras which made driving dangerous. That sort of driving is often stressful and maybe the drug mellowed him out a bit.

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Part of the issue with opioids used for chronic pain are the side effects and withdrawal when deciding to stop taking them. There is a difference between those who use opioids recreationally vs medically. One being physical and psychological dependence, and medically is physical dependence. Many who were given these medications for chronic pain fell into the trap of physical dependence, making it difficult to stop. Becoming tolerant, meaning the same dose isn’t relieving the pain, puts you in a state of mild withdrawal so this can make you experience pain in addition to your own chronic pain. If you decide to stop taking opioids, it’s a good idea to do this with a physician who is experienced in this specialty. Monitoring is important as withdrawal can effect blood pressure, cause insomnia, among other things until you become stable. There are medications to relieve your side effects while doing this. Eventually your brain will get back to normal, and this takes time. The symptoms you are experiencing will go away. It takes time. Stay with a physician during this time. Feel better!

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@starfirey2k You will notice that I moved your post to a previous discussion related to opioids. I did this so members like @equestrian2020 @jdiakiw @ellens @jimhd @summertime4 could communicate in a central location on the topic.

May I ask how you found out about the device?

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@erikas

@starfirey2k You will notice that I moved your post to a previous discussion related to opioids. I did this so members like @equestrian2020 @jdiakiw @ellens @jimhd @summertime4 could communicate in a central location on the topic.

May I ask how you found out about the device?

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found mention of it in a post on here……

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