Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tell me how I feel, because I'm too stupid to figure it out for myself!
"There is much debate about both the usefulness and safety of opioids as a medication for fibromyalgia sufferers. Many health care professionals and researchers feel that there is little evidence that opioids actually provide significant pain relief for fibromyalgia patients. Others are concerned about the potential for tolerance and addiction associated with long-term opioid use. Yet, many fibromyalgia patients find that opioids are highly-effective pain relievers, and work to relieve persistent symptoms of widespread pain and muscle stiffness. "

Okay, how do the "health care professionals" say that there is little evidence that they provide pain relief, when the people who are FEELING THE PAIN and therefore the relief thereof are saying that these medications DO work for the pain? Can anyone explain this to me? Because it doesn't make any damn sense.

And this:
Furthermore, dependence on painkillers, including opioids, may directly inhibit the learning of self-efficacy, which allows patients to take control and significantly reduce their own pain and other symptoms.[20] Unfortunately, for too many today, "taking a pill is easier than building the necessary will," a socio-cultural reality contributing to our national problem of prescription drug abuse...

Am I reading that right? Did this author just suggest that chronic pain sufferers should just suck it up and suffer nobly instead of getting their pain treated with medication? Of course, the rest of the article is fraught with misinformed ideas about fibromyalgia being the result of psychological stress, which the very latest research has shown is not true. In a nutshell, fibromyalgia sufferers in Washington, D.C. were participating in a study where they were reminded to record their pain levels five times a day by a beeping palm pilot. On September 11th 2001, their pain levels were no different after the crisis than they were before. And any fibromyalgia sufferer can tell you, they can be having a wonderful day with happiness and joy all around, but not have the physical ability to enjoy it. It upsets me that this author is trying to paint a picture of us as a bunch of sad sacks who have nothing better to do than whine about being in pain all day.

Let me tell you, I do have a pretty full life. I work long hours, I have a fantastic relationship, I have a lot of things that I like to do. This illness isn't caused by my life being sad and miserable. On the contrary, I have to fight pretty hard to keep the illness from taking away from the joy and awesomeness that is my life. I've never been happier before in my entire life right now. Brian is a big part of that, but also, I enjoy being an adult. I enjoy being able to make my own decisions. I love surrounding myself with the things that fascinate me (fish, snakes, etc). I have more friends than I ever had before--and they're better friends than I've ever had before (trustworthy, caring, generous, all that). I love my job (even when my boss is difficult)--I have fulfilling relationships with many customers, I get to take care of interesting creatures, and I learn new things almost every day. I have awesome coworkers, too, who are smart, hardworking, and fun. I feel like there is this lurking illness reaching up to try and drag me down, but I've got too much to keep me afloat.

Sometimes, in order to do the things I love to do, I take medications that quell the agony I suffer on a daily basis. These medications work. The pain I have abates when I take the pills. I am able to stop hurting and work, be with friends, take care of my snakes, and go out and do things. If Dr. HeadUpArse wants to claim that the medications can't possibly work because "they work on different pathways" yadda yadda, I honestly and truly wish this illness on him so that he can understand HOW IT WORKS. Everyone's body is different anyway; those who know me very well are aware that benadryl doesn't make me tired at all, valium has little effect on me, and I've tried three different muscle relaxers that did absolutely NOTHING--no relaxing muscles, no sleepiness, nothing. The opioid that I occasionally take to relieve my pain doesn't even do normal things; most people get drowsy on it, while I get a stimulant effect (mild).

And I think I know what is going on here. Because there are some bad apples abusing opioid medications, there is pressure to find excuses not to prescribe them. But you know what? Some people use knives to stab people--That doesn't mean that knives should stop being used for good purposes. Maybe you can come up with complicated alternatives for knives (there are lots of them--mandolin slicers, those tomato wedgers, etc), but the fact is, knives work, they're versatile, and I can honestly do a better job chopping things up with my awesome chef's knife than some of these complicated gadgets that are expensive, break easily, and are a pain in the ass to clean. I think that this is an apt analogy, really.

The bottom line is, it's the height of arrogance for these "health care professionals" to tell ME how I feel, and try to deny me (or others like me) the medication that allows me to live my life on the basis of "well some people are abusing it." For the record, I take vicoprofen, which is hydrocodone with ibuprofen. I think that the ibuprofen helps more than the tylenol in regular vicodin, and it's easier on the liver.

1 comment:

liliann said...

I just wanted to say I totally agree with you. I have fibromyalgia and have for 2yrs and only when I diagnosed myself did a doctor think about it as a possibility. I am on so much medicine I would like to get off of. Unfortunately my pain is so great that if I don't take my meds I cannot function. I was just glad to know I am not the only one. thank you.