Is this you? You feel just horrible, but you are going into town to visit your doctor, so you do your hair and makeup, put on "respectable" clothes including pantyhose and heels. You plant a smile on your face as the doctor walks into the room.
Or do you cancel your regular appointment because you just feel too awful to go to the trouble to drag yourself to the doctor's office?
Next time you are in a flare-up, beg your doctor's receptionist for an appointment. Arrive clean but comfortable. Let your doctor see for herself how much your fibro changes your life. Don't exaggerate, but don't try to "tough it out" too much, either.
Your regular doctor--who has seen you on a normal day and can appreciate the difference--should be willing to offer whatever medical help is available. If not, you are seeing the wrong doctor.
Over the years, I have gone on--and off--the fentanyl (Duragesic) patches, Oxycontin, methadone, and a variety of less potent painkillers. When things got bad, I got help. When the fibro eased off, I was able to dose down and even withdraw completely. My doctor's specialty was not an issue. My pain level was.
I was on the fentanyl patches and oxycontin alternatively for years. They allowed me to teach for several more years, vest into my retirement system, and ultimately get a much larger retirement income than would have been possible otherwise.
Luckily, when I was ready to go off the opiates, I had caring doctors who prescribed meds that helped in that process. I was fine stepping down until the final step of the lowest dose available to none. My primary care nurse practicioner helped immensely by reminding me that I have Ambien to take. I took it for a total of 2 nights and was over the "creepy crawlies" that always seem so much worse at night.
It is so sad that doctors in many areas are being bullied into underprescribing opiates. One of our local doctors had his licence to prescribe rescinded for 6 months. We are in a rural area. Word of mouth--personal contact, not tweets or other anonymous web forums--had one arthritis sufferer telling a friend who told a friend who told a friend until most of the counties' elderly pain patients went to Doctor D. NY state changed that.
Now, you have to go to the pain clinic. (A 6 month wait for new patients!) Once the pain doc has diagnosed you, sent you to PT, Aquatics, accupuncture, stress management, a round of trigger points, and anything else he can think up, he will prescribe opiates. Once the pain doc does this, the local docs feel safe writing scrips for the med month after month. It's called covering your posterior--or another anatomical term.
Please do not give up. Yesterday I felt the way you do now. Today I have tried a treatment (RF Ablation) that promises to make a real difference in my worst areas. Keep looking, keep trying. Remember to use heat (showers, heat packs, rubs, etc.) as often as you can. Have the vitamin D checked. (Thanks, MiMi.) Practice the destress techniques I'm sure you have been taught.
Every one of these things has helped most of us get through the bad times. Find those that help you. Then find a doc who you trust and who trusts you. Build up a relationship. Then, if you need opiates, you will have a better chance of getting them. Oh, one last tip. Get on friendly terms with the doc's receptionist. There will come a day when you need to see the doc TODAY. Only the receptionist can make that happen. Besides, it takes so little effort to be nice. And it sets the tone for you and the person you're being nice to.
We are in pain. For some of us the pain is constant. For others it is intermittent. We need our doctors. We need them to believe us. We need them to believe in our pain. We need for them to be able to help us with pain.
On the other hand, there are abusers out there who seem able to get all the meds their addicted bodies call for. They bend and break the rules all the time. Because of them, we are having an increasingly difficult time finding good docs willing to prescribe for us and reputable pharmacies willing to fill our scrips.
Where is it written that we can do nothing to stop this? We can write our lawmakers. We can barrage the drug enforcement agencies with letters. We can call hotlines and NAME those who are getting illicit drugs. If we sit back and do nothing, things will not get better. They will get worse.
Yes, we must be responsible for our health and participate in P.T., behavior modification, or whatever MIGHT work for us. We have to demonstrate that we are open to other modalities that might work for our particular pain--not just drugs. But we also have a responsibility--as citizens and as chronic pain patients--to help weed out those bad apples who have spoiled it for the rest of us and to help establish more sensible guidelines for the proper dispensing of much-needed medications.