God, I hate this! It is time once again for the monthly reduction in my pain meds, so I get to look forward to another 2-3 weeks of going through mild/moderate WD's until my system gets used to the lower dosage. It's like I have had a bad case of the flu for the last 6 months now!
Two more months and the Fentanyl will be down to the lowest available dosage, then I will make the jump from 25 mcg/hr fent patch to a 20 mcg/hr buprenorphine patch. If I have calculated correctly, that should be the rough equivalent of 12.5 mcg/hr of fentanyl.
My hopes are several-fold...first, that a reduction from 25 to 12.5 will be easier than from 25 to 0. Secondly, that the switch to bupe will ease the WD's from the fentanyl. Thirdly, that I can then continue my taper on the bupe, from 20 to 10 and finally to 5, at which point I have a huge decision to make. Do I stay on a low dose opiate for the chronic pain, do I jump off completely, or do I try to find a medium of pain/pain relief that I can live with?
The ratio of "pain that I can live with" to "amount of problems that the narcotics cause me" is a tricky one to find and maintain, but I have to do it because I am unwilling to live like this any longer.
In the meantime, however, I hate this with a passion! I was sitting here last night in front of my little space heater, alternately freezing and sweating, sick to my stomach, feeling sorry for myself, etc., when I suddenly put things into perspective. I'm doing a slow taper, with my doctors knowledge and assistance, in the comfort and privacy of my own home. I can have any pharmaceutical assistance that I want in this, provided by my doctor. I have the support of my family and my friends.
Seriously....how much easier could it be? How many of our members are-right at this very minute-going through the very same thing that I am going through, only with either a fraction of, or none at all, of the "benefits" I have? How many of us are curled up in a box somewhere or in some cold-ass house or apartment doing this? Without a doctor, without...anything?
Suddenly I don't feel as sick anymore. I feel privileged, I feel lucky, I feel thankful....honestly, now I feel embarrassed, because I am making such a big deal out of this while others are suffering far more than I, in conditions far worse.
I feel ashamed because I let things go this far and I cause such pain and heartache to those I love, but I also realize how incredibly lucky I am to even have someone who cares about me, because so many of us have nobody. I realized just exactly how important this place is, not necessarily just to me, but to those who may only have this place as a resource.
Honestly, I don't know what I would do without all of you here. It is an honor to go through hell with you all here by my side. An honor and a privilege. All I can do is offer to stand with others as you all have stood with me. My sincere and heart-felt thanks go out to all of you who have jumped on this bus with me and have decided to help me see it through. I probably couldn't have done this successfully without you. And it is not over yet!
Suddenly, I don't have such a problem. I have hope. Support. Friends and family. The sun shines brightly in a darkened room and hope blossoms like a flower. All because of D-F and the people who are here.
All because of you! To say thank you seems inadequate, but it is all I have and I offer it freely, along with the promise to return the favor someday. I still have a long way to go, but I'm not doing it alone!