Trauma Resurfaces The Pain of Yesterday!


Many people go through life and are never held up at gunpoint, robbed or in situations of extreme fear with shooters on a rampage.

I’ve now gone through this twice in my lifetime, thus far. We recently visited Waco, Texas to see our daughter, son in law and two youngest grandchildren (ages 10 months and 3 years). My daughter works at Baylor University and had decided to take us all to the dining commons for dinner on our 2nd night in Texas, (10-2019). We arrived, when suddenly, an alert was texted to her husband’s and her phones. The alert told us to “take shelter immediately & await further instructions”. My daughter started to panic as any mother of two babies would! I was frightened but tried to stay calm for her and the babies. We had to be separated from our husbands. They were sent to the men’s restroom & my daughter, the 2 babies & I were sent to the women’s restroom.

We awaited instructions but we were huddled into the corner of a handicapped stall. Finally, an employee came & told us we were on “lockdown” and we were all moved into the basement of the dining commons. There was stagnant air & it was difficult to breathe. I was very frightened but just continued to keep my daughter & grand babies calm. An employee, the cashier who I’d met as I entered the building; came around looking for me! She said that she was “drawn to me” & felt the need to come and check on me. She was so kind & she brought water downstairs for everyone. The water helped a lot and my granddaughter calmed down. Once we were all together as a family; in the basement, my husband was so good with the kids. We all tried to help them to be unafraid as we waited for the “all clear” alert. After about 55 minutes, we were given that alert and we were free to eat our dinner and go back to their home. We found out that about a half block away from campus, someone was shot. There were 3 people with automatic rifles on the run. The University took great care to see that we were kept safe during this ordeal. The staff was outstanding and very courageous.

It all brought me back to the time when I was 11 years old, in 1973, February. My parents, older brother & I went out after dinner to get my brother some Confirmation shoes. I was over looking at girls shoes, when suddenly I heard my father’s voice. He told me to come over to him. But a man had a gun pointed at my dads head! I didn’t know if I should try to run out of the store to get help? Or if it was not real? I remember saying aloud,”his “Candid Camera”? If I don’t cry, I get a prize?” My dad told me “Suzanne if you ever listen to me, do as I say right this moment! Come here right now!”

So I meandered back to the store room of the shoe store; where my family was held captive; along with another family of 4, a sales clerk and a manager. I saw my mother crying as one of the two men had their guns pointed at her face. The other man had his gun pointed at my dads head. I started to cry when they told my dad to empty his pockets and they proceeded to take my mothers wedding rings.(she’d gotten that engagement ring at age 14).

My dad grabbed the mans arm & said “Don’t you take those rings”! My mom yelled at him to get down and just do whatever he was told. I was crying so hard because the man said to my dad ,”shut up or I’ll put a bullet through your head”! I was really scared and my 13 year old brother stared emotionless as he was gathering every detail.

My mom passed out and the men grabbed my arm as if to take me with them. My mother laid on top of me as I was vomiting by this time! They kept telling my parents to “shut her up – or they would!” Finally, they ripped the phones off of the wall and made us lay down face to the ground. They said that we should wait 20 minutes before getting up. The manager somehow called the police. After they arrived, we told them as many details as we could remember. My brother stayed calm and gave them lots of Information.

After that, my mother was so scared & she didn’t want to go home right away. My Uncle, her brother, lived nearby. We went to his families home so my mom could calm down and feel better. Finally, we went home but I’ve never forgotten that day in my life. I had nightmares for a very long time and never was given a chance to discuss my feelings or fears. Lastly, I was blamed for the robbers taking my mothers wedding rings. My mother told everyone that as she was covering my mouth (because I was afraid, crying & even vomited as they robbers were saying “shut her up, or we will!!”), the robbers saw her rings sparkling and so they stole her precious wedding rings. Even though the robbers took all of the people’s wallets & jewelry etc., somehow it was my fault that those rings were taken off of her finger.

I guess I just wanted to share this with you all because the ordeal in Texas brought back some of those memories. After the robbery when I was only 11 years old, there were many more traumatic events that I experienced. If you know me or if you’ve had the chance to read the early posts &/or password protected posts in this blog; you’d realize how true this is. I was later diagnosed with PTSD, in or around my late 30’s. I finally received the help that was much needed. The Domestic Violence shelter and therapy has helped me over the years, to get past some of my fears. I still suffer today, but not nearly as much as I had in the past. Thank you for letting me share my experiences here with you today.

Suzanne, age 11 years

All For One, None For All


Gosh, to think of all the positive blog stories that I’ve posted. That’s how I met most of you. Through my perseverance and positivity. But lately, I’ve had lots of “downers” & I apologize. I do apologize …but not before another “not so upbeat” post. So remember how I was trying to be there for my dad? He recently was inpatient at hospital & he had to have the “Rapid response” revive him twice at age 88. I went even though I was told by him & my brothers, not to come. Well then, I was given times that I was supposed to go because that would help everyone else. Because I’m a high impact pain patient, I’m up at night. That doesn’t mean I’m out at night doing stuff. That means, I’m at home in my PJ’s unable to sleep due to pain issues. But the entire 12 days before my major surgery, I spent with my dad and going when I was told to go and even when I wasn’t.

When he got put on dialysis, Craig & I showed up. I was told by my brother that it would be “all day or at minimum 4 hours so we couldn’t see him” (& supposedly they couldn’t see him either). So I called their bluff & said “well we will just wait. We can wait 4 hours here with you!” Ahhh but then he says 5 minutes later “we can go in after the dialysis nurse gets things started actually in about 1/2 hour”. Hmmmmmm??? A far cry from 4 hours or more. We stayed & said nothing. I even went to see my dad the night prior to the day before my surgery.

I was texted the day before my major surgery, by my brother who asked if I was coming up in the evening (to relieve him, I’m sure bcz he was leaving)… or “when was I coming?” That day I said I couldn’t come because I had to do some stuff for myself before the surgery. I’ve not heard from anyone since then.

I’ve texted my dad daily. But not once has it been about me. Never has been…never will be. But my brother called Craig once & said he was on his way to see my dad… told Craig about my dad & asked about my surgery for a moment in the end.

(Side story:**My dad told me that my middle brother (who I don’t see, for many good reasons & haven’t for almost 17 years)told him that he “doesn’t & hasn’t prayed for me for all of these years but he will pray for my surgery “for my dads sake”… WTH?? He pretends to be a priest! He buys all of the stuff online & even bought a certificate that says he’s a “bishop”… he has a fake chapel that when you go to Google Earth, it sends you to his house!! If you go to his website you see that people send him money as “donating to his church”! There aren’t even any real services held. One lady online wrote on his website, “me thinks he’s a fake”! Well me thinks so too! I stay far away from him and I have always and since I took several PPO’s out against him. (The Domestic Violence Shelter helped me!)

My dad is at cardiac rehab now & he’s actually getting better. But it really hurts that my family has not cared about me & they continue to say “we’re always here for you!” My dad continues this fairy tale “that if ever I needed any of them, they’d be there for me “even with our differences”!

Well, I’ll tell you…. they’ve not been there & haven’t been since I was a child. Once when I called my big brother, after I was in a catastrophic car accident. I suffered a TBI & his phone number was the only one in my head. I even hit myself in the face by accident with the telephone, in trying to call him because I felt in pain & afraid. He answered the phone with “Oh…you need someone ?…”. CLICK & the phone went dead! He hung up on me! I suffered 3 years of brain injury rehab. I’ve gone through 10 surgeries now! They tried to turn my daughters against me when they were teenagers also! They were not ever, nor have they been there for me at all! They’ve only tried to hurt me more & “kick me when I was down”. Luckily, the love, protection and bond that my daughters, my husband and I had/have, pulled us through! We are as close or closer than ever! They are older now, with families of their own. They look back & now understand & see what truly happened. Having children of their own, they can’t fathom what happened to me! They don’t really see or talk to any of my biological family. But when my dad was dying, I got them to come & to make a FaceTime call.

Now that my Dads in cardiac rehab, he /they are back to their same horrible treatment of me. They’d still throw me face down in a mud puddle, in the middle of a busy street during rush hour; if it would give them my daughters and grandchildren.

Another thing that I can’t fathom is the way my dad & brothers have treated my dads girlfriend/live in partner of 12 years. She treated me absolutely abhorrently when I introduced myself to her the first time, years ago. Again, another “victim” who only knew one side of their story.

But guess who was nice to her? Guess who was concerned about her feelings when my dad & brothers refused her entrance to see my dad while he was inpatient & dying. She texted me until the wee hours of the mornings. I was kind to her & told her she should go visit him anyways. She is my dads “creature” too, unfortunately. She stayed away & barely got any information from my brother. She asked me to help her to get a pill reminder because my dad did all of that for her. He infantilized her as he’s tried to do to me. I cared about her & promised her that no matter what happened; Craig & I would visit her & try to be there for her as much as possible. Guess who I never heard from before or after my recent major surgery?? I’ve not heard from any of them! I’ve sent texts for 3 days in a row & never have received a response from my dad. Yet my daughter texted him while she was visiting us with our granddaughters yesterday. He texted her back right away & asked if he could call her? She said she was at my house & he could call anytime.

I had to fight in order to be included as one of my fathers 3 adult children. They said I was “too frail & too weak to come visit because I might cry & hence, make my dad cry”! Oh My Gosh! I’m stronger than any of them put together! I’ve been through a hundred times more pain and abuse than any of them! I told them they were not going to shut me out again, like they did when my mom died. I am strong! I told my dad that he has 3 children, not 2! My oldest brother pretty much gave up a life of his own in order to be “the honored one”. He does everything for my dad and we’ve been shut out for years.

Only when my dad thought he was dying did he say nice things to me. He told me (after I put my foot down & insisted that I was visiting him in the hospital) that “it was a treasure to have me there every day”! He said I was a “dear, dear, sweet person & he loved me”! I cried & couldn’t believe those words were said to me.

I’m 10 days post-op and I’ve barely been out of our home. I cannot visit him right now. But as I’ve said, I texted 3 days in a row with zero response. The 1st day I did get a quick response when I tried to tell my dad (who was discharged & on his way to cardiac rehab) that my surgery was over & it hurts quite a lot. I sent a couple of pictures. But the response I got was unfathomable. He told me “it looked like a nice, neat job” (*pictures above & below)! Even though I actually looked like I’d gotten beat up or walked through a war zone! He then told me about his bathroom issue of the day.

None of them called or have cared about me at all! My older brother called Craig once after surgery & that was because my dad wanted to know if I made it or not, I guess? Then he told Craig about my dad (as I was being put into the recovery room).

I’ve had 2 pacemakers placed and 8 other surgeries in the past 17 years. I live with systemic RSD/CRPS. They don’t even know what that is & never have cared to ask or see any of my special needs. But my dad got a pacemaker 6-7 months ago at age 88. They made such a huge deal about it! I tried to explain that I’m on my 2nd one and got my 1st at age 40! I told them that “it’s not so bad”! They were indignant & furious that I didn’t see that him getting a pacemaker was the end of the world as we know it!! I never got one ounce of empathy, love or even a phone call after any of my surgeries nor either of my pacemaker surgery’s.

It’s a horrible rollercoaster. I stop seeing & talking to them for months at a time. Then I get phone calls asking me why I’m not calling my father? I’m so tired of being treated like the scum under the sink! My dads managed to turn all but 1 or 2 of my cousins against me & all of my aunts & Uncles. The one Aunt who never judged me and somehow saw through the charade, died a year or so ago. I have a couple of cousins who know, saw & understand the truth. One of the 3, passed away last week.

I had a favorite aunt once, she used to put food into my pockets when I’d leave after visiting her house as a kid. She has stuck by my dad & his stories. I asked my dad earlier this year if he’d told that particular Aunt, that we we’d been meeting for dinner the past few years and had been chatting etc? He told me “she doesn’t care about you she has no use for you!

I dared to speak the “family secrets”. I dared to get help and be a real & separate person. To make a healthier & better life for my husband, my daughters & myself. It’s been hell and I’ve tried to keep kindness, hope & empathy in my heart; & God in my soul.

So all in all, I almost lost my dad this month. Regardless of how I’ve been treated, he’s still my dad & we only have one dad. I also underwent a major & very painful surgery 10 days ago. A tumor was removed from my middle ear. The surgeon drilled into my skull and mastoid bone. Ten days later, I’m still suffering with a lot of pain & fatigue. Once again, I feel totally ostracized & uncared about by my biological family. There’s only one person whose been by my side for the past 23 years & that person is my husband & soul-mate, Craig. We’ve been by each other’s side through so much and I thank God for him every day.

International Stakeholder Community of Pain Experts and Leaders Call for an Urgent Action on Forced Opioid Tapering | Pain Medicine |Oxford Academic


The aforementioned article proves that there may be hope for the chronic pain community.

In 2016, Andrew Kolodny, (who is co-Director of Opioids policy Research at Brandeis University), along with a group of Addiction specialists & others, went behind closed doors to “invent” & then Implement the 2016 CDC Guidelines regarding the use of Opioids. These were Supposed to be just guidelines for primary care doctors. But they rapidly became “the law” in the eyes of the CDC, DEA, National News Media outlets, Pharmacies & our government officials. Today we even have legitimate, licensed pain management Physicians, heading for the hills! They’re Not following the Hippocratic oath. These physicians are abandoning patients & putting many at high risk, myself included. The way that the chronic pain community has been treated, has been outrageous.

Please feel free to share this article on social media. Print it out and take it with you to your Dr. appointments. Let’s also share it far & wide through the news media channels as well. They’ve been getting it wrong & now need to help change the hysteria & damage that’s been created.

“We, the under signed, stand as a unified community of stakeholders and key opinion leaders deeply concerned about forced opioid tapering in patients receiving lolong-term prescription opioid therapy for chronic pain. This is a large-scale humanitarian issue. Our specific concerns involve:
— Read on academic.oup.com/painmedicine/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pm/pny228/5218985

Inhumane Treatment Of Pain Patients In USA


I opened up My friends blog today (“Pharmacist Steve”). It is Steve Ariens Blog; and I saw a story of torture. There is torture going on in America! I’m seeing it every day now on the Internet! More & more chronic pain patients are being treated like common criminals! This is despicable! My God, are we living in North Korea, Afghanistan or in some 3rd world country (whos people , by the way; don’t deserve this kind of treatment any more than we don’t!!)?

How can the news media @Foxnews.com, @CNN, @MSNBC and all of the rest, be so one sided? Please, I implore you @POTUS, @GovChristie @PetersforMichigan (Senator Gary Peters), @NYGovCuomo (Governor Andrew Cuomo), @onetoughnerd (Governor Rick Snyder of MI). I implore you to think of the forgotten legitimate chronic pain patients. People are now living with daily chronic pain and receiving no treatment at all. They being totally forgotten & considered collateral damage of this “fake war on drugs” ! It’s a war against the chronic pain community; because they’re the ones who are dying. The pain community is stuck with zero semblance of a life as all of this is crashing down around them/us! The posted video is not just sad, it’s torturous to listen to. It’s terrible to watch. But it’s true and it’s happening all over the United States Of America! This is a story about a young mother, wife and daughter; who’s going through sheer bloody hell in Albany New York Trauma Center!

“Amy” Amy’s story of Human Torture in a NY hospital! is a young woman who just went through a painful stomach surgery and her stomach ruptured as well! The contents are therefore spreading throughout her body inside and this causes not only sepsis, but horrible excruciating pain! My husband went through it years ago, but they gave him a Morphine pump while in the hospital for several days following surgery. He was given pain relief, as any HUMAN BEING or any living, breathing animal should have!!

This is torturous and despicable treatment of anyone in a hospital, or any patient care facility; let alone, following a stomach surgery! How can the Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, allow their patient to be treated in such an inhumane manner??? The behavior of the nurses who pledge also, to “care for the sick” and to “do no harm”; is unforgivable! This sort of treatment to other human beings deserves termination. Those so called patient care employees need to be fired and they should never be allowed to not care for another patient! This woman, who has a name, a face, a husband & a family; is living through hell!

You know what though? This is entirely preventable! She is not a prisoner of War! This is a young woman who’d much prefer to have a “normal” life! This young woman has a name, and that name is “AMY”! She has a young child and a husband. I’m guessing that her husband had to leave her to go home and take care of their little one! He had to do that and he thought he’d left his wife in the care of a reputable hospital facility!! Obviously, he was mistaken and that’s really sad!

What if Amy was unable to show us this video? What if she was incapacitated and couldn’t tell anyone what’s happening to her? Please share this video and Amy’s story. Write to your legislators and put a name and a face to all of our stories. Nothing can change if we cannot be brave and do something to help ourselves and to help Amy!

Our government leaders, the news media agencies and society need to as many faces and hear as many stories as possible about us! The chronic pain community being left behind and treated as though we are just collateral damage in the war on drugs! This has taken a turn for the worse. It’s gone from a “war” against illicit drugs to a war against the legitimate chronic pain patients. We will lose & continue to lose if not for people being brave like “Amy”.

Please speak out and tell everyone your story and the stories like this one! Get the word out about how chronic pain patients are not drug addicts. We are not addicted at all! Ask them if they can remember a time when they had lived through their worst pain imaginable? Then ask them to think about that pain never ceasing! Tell them this is what it’s like for us, for you!

Please pass this story around. Know that I received Amy’s video & story from Pharmacist Steve Arians Blog, at: PharmacistSteve.com….. It is posted in several places on Facebook. He asked if we could “please make this video go viral”?

Thank you for your help! Please…. let’s all help Amy & all of the other “Amy’s”! Thank you Steve Ariens too!

Gaslighting: How A Flicker Of Self-Doubt Warps Our Response To Sexual Harassment and pain 


I was so touched by this email that I received from my friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Ibsen, M.D.. I wanted to re-post this here in my blog, because I thought you would enjoy reading it.

**This is a guest blog post written by Dr Mark Ibsen MD***(He’s referring to this article: https://www.npr.org/2017/11/25/565729334/gaslighting-how-a-flicker-of-self-doubt-warps-our-response-to-sexual-harassment)

********

When I read this,

I could see how pain patients are often gaslighted

Out of their story, their reality

By the domination structure.

Not always male ( think Jayne Ballentyne)

But

Very similar to the harms associated with

Sexual harassment/abuse that is so currently in our national focus.

Whether male or female

Pain makes us doubt our own reality.

This is what makes it such a terrorist.

IMHO

Can we piggy back into the abuse conversation?

Can we make the case that those with arachnoiditis, for example

Were harmed by needle jockeys

Then

Dealt with dismissively ( no one will believe you)

Then

Cowed into submission by being threatened with loss of their medication?

Or

Cancer patients who survive,

Yet can’t get pain relief for their neuropathy,

And get the message:they should  be grateful to be alive…

Or

Wounded warriors who return from Iraq or Afghanistan with

Severe injuries and ptsd

Who must reinvent their entire persona?

Maybe there’s something useful in being with this issue in a new way…

https://www.npr.org/2017/11/25/565729334/gaslighting-how-a-flicker-of-self-doubt-warps-our-response-to-sexual-harassment

Or any kind of harassment.

I’ve been gaslighting myself for years in response to the attack on my practice by

The Montana BOME,

Along with the ptsd from hearings where my

Personality was attacked

My integrity impugned

And

My mental health repeatedly called into question.

Of course the financial disaster of

Loss of my business

Medical costs

Legal wrangling

Has been great,

But the greatest impact has been on my confidence

Faith

Optimism

And

Open hearted empathy.

Yet,

Overcoming these self doubts,

While a daily regimen

Has taught me to be more authentic

Has shown me that being Raw upgrades my intuition and healing skill set,

Making a wider range of emotional states available to me, as well as the opportunity to transform these states.

So- yes Pain IS an F/N terrorist.

And

While I have yet to develop gratitude for

Mike Fanning and the Board

Sarah Damm

Dea agents Addis and Tuss

Pharmacists who refuse to follow the CSA and refuse to fill my Rx

And

Others who ripped me off when I was reeling,

I also

Have learned the validity of Winston Churchill’s statement from WWI:

” nothing so enlivens the soul as to be shot at without result”

It took me 4 days of the Thanksgiving holiday to get to this place. Thanks to friends

Community

Therapy

And

Alanon

And Candy

Be well

Mark Ibsen MD

Helena Mt.

Withdrawals And One Week Fentanyl Lollipop Free !!


IMG_3282image20140726-114710-42430084.jpg

Hello Luvs,

Wow…One week has passed….and I have been free of the Fentanyl Lollipops for 7 days now!

I would say that growing up in an abusive home was horrendous. Being robbed at gunpoint at the age of 11 years; in a shoe store with my family, was just terrifying. I also think that  getting married, being abused and getting remarried all the while being abused even worse, was pretty challenging. I didn’t know what “challenging” was though, until I had to flee the marital home with my two baby girls; along with help from the domestic violence shelters. My little girls  were only 3 and 5 1/2 and I was 30 years old. Later I was diagnosed with PTSD and “Battered Woman’s Syndrome” and found some solace in trusted Psychologist whom I still know to this day. I had felt that battling Anorexia & depression on and off since the age of 17 until I cured myself following a horrible motor vehicle accident in 2002; was brave and courageous. Having gone through Acute renal failure, being robbed again in 2013 and being involved in 2 Motor vehicle accidents, through no fault of my own, I thought I didn’t exactly have such an “easy” life. The second MVA in 2002, I suffered numerous injuries and multiple surgeries; including several pieces of hardware placed in a few different parts of my body. I’m on my second pacemaker, the first being “a piece of cake”. Meaning that the second pacemaker surgery in 2013, did not go quite as planned. After getting into my chest, the Neuro-Cardiologist found out that the 1st pacemaker had worn a hole right through my pectoral muscle. Then not only did I need a new pacemaker, but the 45 minute to an hour surgery turned into a 3 hour ordeal in which my whole left pectoral muscle had to be rebuilt. The team was smart and did research on RSD/CRPS, a Neuro-autoimmune disease that I ended up getting after my 7th surgery.  It was the surgery on my right foot in 2007, in which the horribly painful nerve disease started. It spread and it spread until it went systemic following that major open surgery in 2013. I even endured a CVA and a mild heart attack in between the 10 surgeries following that MVA in 2002. I suffer from an MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) and went through 3 years of TBI rehabilitation to learn how to cope with:  not being able to cook when nobody is home (because I may leave burners on and hurt my family or myself), not being able to comprehend what I read anymore after having been a College graduate with a 3.9 GPA! I had to learn how to live with leg braces, hearing aids, special prism glasses, balance issues, much less concentration capabilities and just about zero short term memory!  The worst of these being the chronic nerve pain and all of the pain following those years and still to this day.

I went to a pain Dr. for 3 years and he did everything from epidural nerve blocks to trigger point injections and biofeedback along with pain Psychology appointments. I was so happy when I read the notes from the pain Psychologist’s because they wrote that I was not an “addictive personality”. I never drank, smoked, did any drugs….prescription or otherwise! I was one of those “good girls” who had always tried to be “teachers pet” and get a 4.0 GPA and still try to get “extra credit”. Of course I’m a “type A” personality person who likes to do things the right way the first time if at all possible. I always did my best at everything I endeavored. I made alot of mistakes but always came back and tried again, while pulling up myself by the “bootstraps”.

The chronic intractable pain that has gone along with all of my injuries and surgeries since 2002 and then the diagnosis of CRPS in 2007; and later the shock of getting the “full body/systemic CRPS” has been traumatic to say the least. I was always very cooperative and followed whatever the Dr’s told me to do. I trusted again and again and again; when most people would’ve given up long ago, I just kept believing in the “goodness” of people or at least trying to find some good in all people. If you’ve been following along at all, you’ll know that I met Dr. Bullach, my GP for 12 years, in 2002 during a hospital stay following that MVA.  I was in there for pain control and met the pain Dr at the same time. I trusted him right away and thought he was a kind and “teddy bear-ish” type of personality.  He told me that I “could trust him” and that “he would be the eye in the middle of my storm”. He said he would help me and cooridinate specialists and take care of all of my medications etc. He told me “not to worry”.  We tried every medication under the sun, it seemed.  Everything either made me deathly ill, very sick or I was allergic to it! By the time we were finished and had found one thing that finally worked for my kind of pain, there was something of a “book” of all the meds that I had tried and which had failed for me.

Finally, I tried the Fentanyl patches and they made me nauseous and really “loopy”. I went ahead and tried them again because I just felt that a patch was so easy and you didn’t have to think about it all the time, many times per day etc. It finally helped to relieve my pain. I had a hospital bed in my home because I couldn’t even get in and out of bed or get any sleep due to the amount of pain I was living with at the time. I had been offered a “pain pump” that they fill with morphine, by the pain Dr. ….but the auto insurance was fighting me so much and I just didn’t have a whole lot of “fight” left at that time. I also already had 2 screws in my right shoulder, a jaw implant and had a pacemaker! I didn’t want anymore “things” put into my body. Especially not something with a catheter that would’ve been stuck into my spine that had multiple herniates and bulging disks, degenerative disk disease and Scoliosis.  Luckily I didn’t get the pain pump because later we found out that I suffer from Hypogammaglobulinemia, a blood disease that means I have an immune deficiency in my IGG, IGA subsets of white blood cells. I could have become paralyzed and could have gotten numerous infections had I allowed that pump to be placed. I made the right decision for me and today I’m so glad that I did.

So I had been in a “pain pump” support group, just to find out information for myself about the pumps and to make friends with the same kind of pain issues that I suffer from. Everyone was so kind and many were knowledgeable. Some of the people mentioned these “pain lollipops”. They said that they helped a lot and very quickly for the terrible nerve pain. I checked in with my GP, Dr. Bullach about them and he started me on them right away. That was in 2005, after I’d finished treatment with the pain Dr.and he’d put me back in the hands of my GP.  He told me that because I didn’t want a pain pump and I was going to go the medication route for my pain, that it’d be better for me to be in the care of my GP. He agreed that Dr. Bullach would prescribe the pain meds. He told me that my Dr. could consult with him at any time and he would help.  He also agreed that it was better for him this way because he was “looked at under a microscope” and didn’t like prescribing pain meds.

These experiences were all difficult, painful, scarey and life altering; but nothing prepared me for what I’ve gone through this past week with the withdrawals from the Fentanyl lollipops.  I’d been prescribed them and had been taking these for the past 10 or 11 years! Time just kept passing and the regimen was working; although I asked many many times over especially the past 3 years to get taken “way down” from the amount I’d been taking of the pain suckers. Dr. Bullach just kept on telling me to “trust him” and that he “was the eye in the middle of my storm”.  He told me that he’d “gotten me out of that hospital bed in my home”!  He reminded me that I was able to at least get out and do a little bit more than I had been before the lollipops. So I trusted him; though I still continued to ask him to slowly take me down because I felt that I was falling so often (6 times in 2014 and 6 concussions!!!) and though I have balance issues, I thought in the back of my head that maybe it was partially the fault of the meds? I never even took an Aspirin for headaches in the past, prior to this car accident and the injuries from it. Now I was wearing 2 patches of Fentanyl and taking sometimes approximately up to 20 or + lollipops daily to control my CRPS and the other pain issues. I had even woken a “sleeping monster” in that MVA in 2002! I had been born with “Arnold Chiari I malformation”. It showed up on the MRI after the MVA. It is a congenital defect in which the tonsils at the base of my brain stem get swollen and do not fit correctly into the spinal cord column, causing great pain for some people and others never know they have it! It all depends on many issues and variations. The horrible whiplash being my 2nd one and then the MTBI, “woke up” the sleeping congenital defect. Hence, another horrible pain issue to where I cannot even hold my head up for long periods of time without causing great pain.

So as you’ve probably been reading my past few posts, you know that my GP just abruptly left in December 2014. Without any feeling, caring or the tenderness I’d seen before in his eyes; he just told me he was leaving and that that appointment would be my last one with him. He promised he’d talk to the pain Dr. that knew me. He assured me that my treatment would be and stay the same as it had been because it was working! He promised also to send my records to the pain Dr and to personally talk to him on my behalf. I had received a letter from my health insurance company, stating that they “would no longer pay for the Fentanyl lollipops for pain after March 11, 2015, unless a pain Dr. agreed with Dr. Bullach’s treatment plan.” He told me not to worry about a thing and again to “trust him”. Well, as you know, none of that ever happened and the Dr. who took over for Dr. Bullach’s patients got left with a “mess”. He could not handle the volume of patients on top of his own, especially the amount of “pain patients” that Dr. B. had accumulated!! Luckily for me, I’d been a patient in that office since 1986, and had a history with that other Dr. as well. He reluctantly helped me get the pain lollipops and patches, but was swift to inform me that he was not going to be prescribing the amount that I’d been taking under the other Dr.

I was afraid, but I was motivated. I have been through so much, but it has made me a strong woman and a survivor. I took myself down from 20+ suckers daily down to only 8 in just a couple of months time. I cut my amount of the patches in half as well. I went through some hyperalgesia and some misery, but I did it! I was taking less and less as I was looking for a pain Dr. to help because the other physician in that practice didn’t feel comfortable prescribing the kind of pain meds that I needed to survive now, with all of the pain that I live with on a daily basis.

Finally, I found a nice pain Dr. and luckily I carry my records with me when I go to a new specialist. I had everything in order and I felt “safe” with him right away. He told me to finish up the pack of pain lollipops that I was taking and then  go to sleep on July 12th taking one last sucker. Then I was to wake up on the 13th of July, and never take another Fentanyl lollipop again; after 10 or 11 years of taking them, it was over! I was starting a new pain management regimen and I was fearful, but knew I could do it!  The first day was not so bad until the night time. I did crave the mental picture of having something that my brain associated with immediate pain relief!  I felt nauseous, achy all over and I was so hot, I thought I was going to spontaneously combust!! Then I’d get chills, diarrhea and started to vomit. I felt jittery and anxious and didn’t want to do anything but cry and sleep and lay on the couch! I made a video of how I was feeling at 5:00am on the 2nd day. The second day was more of the same and the third day was the worst! I did manage to go with my husband, daughter,& my 2 granddaughters to an hour or so of the kids “music in the park Wednesdays” Summer program.on the third day.  I returned home sicker than ever afterwards!  Finally, I started researching on forums and “You Tube” etc. I learned that if I took a medication called “Clonadine” aka “Catapress”, it can sometimes help with the withdrawals. I called the GP and within an hour an half, I had the Catapress in my body. It was the first thing that actually took a little bit of the edge off from the withdrawal symptoms.

The pain Dr. didn’t seem to think I’d have too much or too many symptoms because he said we were “faking out my body” by switching to a different BT pain medication….something  more safe and not made for “end of life” and “terminal” patients.with Cancer.  He told me that the pain lollipops were/are dangerous, “very dangerous”. He said that I should never have had them. So I’m not sure why my body still went through horrible withdrawals, maybe because of my many bad pain issues?  But I felt like I just was going to die and really didn’t care if I had, at that point! I’m so lucky that my husband is a teacher and he was home for me. Also, my oldest daughter lives nearby and she was a great help and has been. She even was calling several times daily and was stopping over to bring me some “Gator aide” to help my electrolytes along with my favorite food, “french fries”, to get me to eat something substantial!

Well, today it is one week and I am Fentanyl lollipop free. I’m very proud of myself for doing this without having to go anyplace and get help elsewhere. I was afraid because I had a previous heart attack and stroke and I’d had seizures following the MVA for about 6 months. All of those things can happen when going through withdrawals. I’m so very lucky that these things didn’t happen again. I don’t feel good yet. I feel very tired, heavy and I still have stomach aches and diarrhea, along with nausea and depression on and off. I think I’m over the “hump” or the worst of it. I think I will get just a little bit better each day. It’s going to be very very hard because for over 10 years I had a “quick” relief when I was on an outing or needed quick breakthrough pain relief.I have to retrain my brain and myself to just plan ahead and take what the pain Dr has prescribed for me now, about 45 minutes before I may need it. That’s not going to be easy and the new meds are feeling like they’re ripping out my tummy. People tell me that is the withdrawals and not the meds. I’m willing to see this through and keep on keeping on!

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you and I will certainly be keeping you posted. Thank you again…..Also, if you would like to watch my very dark (because it was middle of the night with no lights on and I was crying very much) “You Tube” videos, please email me for the link and I will give it to you. I have them not ‘private” but “unlisted” …so if you have the link from me, you will be able to watch them. There are three videos altogether right now for this experience thus far. Again, my email is: jewelrymkr@aol.com…..g’nite luvs….

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