Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One step forward...

I've been eager to write this entry for awhile but i wanted to make sure that I didn't do it preemptively. The heavy medications I am on for my pain are not something I talk about a lot. There is definitely a stigma about being on narcotics and while I know that everyone who knows, loves, and supports me, thoroughly understands the reasoning behind being on ALOT of medications, it is still something that I do not open up and talk about often. I have been on narcotics for over 2 1/2 yrs. I have tried several different medications and finally found a regimen that seemed to work fairly decently for my pain control. Last summer, i was doing very well and was wanting to start the process of weaning off the medications. Well then the unexpected happened and I had to have an unplanned laparoscopic female surgery to remove what was thought to be endometeriosis. So after stepping down on the dose of my pain patch once, I was at a stand still till after I recovered from my other surgery. Then in late fall, I hit a wall and from December- May visited the emergency room 4 times. Obviously I wasn't getting good pain control so I switched on my breakthrough medication. That did seem to help give me better control.

Still the thought of weaning off of my pain patch has always been something in the back of my mind and a step I knew that inevitably would have to take. Yet, the thought of the pain being worse was something I couldn't bear to think about. Every time i would talk about it or the potential options for the process, I would break down because of how much anxiety and panic the thought of more pain caused me. I was presented with 2 options- 1) go into inpatient detox in a hospital setting for 5-7 days or 2) Go to a chronic pain rehabilitation program (not Rehab) but a specialized program of which there are only a few in the country and i would be gone for 3-4 weeks. Neither of these options felt right for me, so after a lot of prayer and conversations with Harrison and my family and a lengthy discussion with my pain management doctor, i created my own plan. We decided that after our beach vacation, i would start a slow, step down process of weaning off my pain patch. Last week I went from a dose of 75 to 50. I was apprehensive, not knowing how my body would react but it went ok. I have had trouble sleeping an a little bit of nausea but not much else. The plan is to continue to step down each month so at the beginning of september, I should go down to 25, then either to 12.5 or zero depending on my progress. Again, I don't want to get too ahead of myself because i dont exactly know how the process will go, but for right now, this feels like the best decision for me.

I do not like not having control over what is going on with my body and my health. I would love to be off my pain patch by Thanksgiving or Christmas but again, its literally one step at a time. Hopefully doing this slowly, my body won't be pushed into the horrific side effects of withdrawal. My body will gradually get used to each new dose.

Other things going on recently...I have found out that SEVERAL of my friends are expecting babies. While I am beyond thrilled for all of my friends and wish them nothing but health and happiness, I can't help but ask when will it be my turn. I feel like a lot of my hopes and dreams are slipping farther and farther away, and honestly, its been really hard to be positive lately. For 2 1/2 yrs I've been dealing with this journey of uncharted territory and I'm just ready for a break. I'm ready for something to go the way I planned. Nothing in the past few years has gone the way I expected or planned. I know God has a better plan for me than I can imagine for myself but I find myself questioning it all and where my life is going. Where will I be at Christmas? Will I be off my pain patch like i hope to be? Where will i be in a year? Will I EVER be able to finish graduate school? Several friends and former co-workers graduated from nurse practitioner school at Vanderbilt over the weekend, and that was a hard pill to swallow. I want to accomplish all the goals I have for myself, but I just dont know how or when this is going to happen. But most of all, I want to be a mom. I worry what all these medications are doing to me and my previous history with female issues if it will ever be possible. I can only hope, pray, and trust in God's love and faithfulness and his plan for me.

Please pray for me while i continue this process of weaning off the medication and pray that I can find comfort and peace in where God is leading me on this journey. Thanks for reading.