Saturday, March 31, 2018

A GiGi's rant

As a GiGi to a child that has his own wonderfully unique challenges I can say I am disappointed. I'm disappointed at how people react seeing a child obviously under the age of 4 having a "meltdown" or happily squealing through Wal-Mart.  I never realized just how bad things as a society had gotten until recently. No mother should have anxiety about taking her kids into a place like Kroger or Wal-Mart. It isn't like we were in some 5 star restaurant.  These kids will never get to learn the proper behaviors and coping skills if their mom's are too embarrassed or stressed to take them in public because some judgemental person will stop and stare or worse, make rude comments. Let me tell you, my boys only challenge was hearing the word NO and we had our share of meltdowns and never once did I feel judged. I had other mothers support and kindness 96% of the time. With the climbing Autistic numbers people need to educate themselves about autism. It isn't just some issue to wear a cute shirt and talk about how you know someone who has a child with autism... I once never knew the challenges that families face with Autism, it isn't just me that needs to learn and accept the reality, I will only be able to take in those judgey stares and rude comments so long. For now, I will be that crazy woman singing and acting like a Choo Choo train through the frozen foods aisle. Why? Because for a split second I see my grandsons eyes light up and we connect for a brief moment. For those of us who have never been touched by austism, that is a moment we ALL have taken for granted.  (*disclaimer* my grandson is not yet 3 and all of the specialists, along with his parents are still giving him time to catch up. The hope is we are just dealing with a sensory processing disorder. Regardless of what name the Drs give it, it is still a chalenge and should be OKAY for a 2 year old to act like a 2 year old in public. PERIOD. You and I never know what a family is going through when we have a brief encounter with them. I for one, know I have learned to be more open minded and remember what having 3 babies under 4 in public used to be like.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My pain is not yours...

I know I have several nurses, medical assistants, and pharmacy techs in my newsfeed and they will understand just how much I have managed to cut down. SOME others may be tempted to judge me and/or my DRs. I have always been a responsible pain patient, always compliant, always happily passed all  requested pill counts, drug screens both saliva (which is random) and urine (every single month for over 10 years now)
   A few years ago I made the hard choice to start weaning off of medications. Mostly, the addictive and higher potential for dependence went 1st... Starting with my Xanax... I had also been on a very high dose and extremely dangerous medication that's been in the news for many high profile deaths, fentanyl... I had weaned from 100mcg/hr of the pain patch fentanyl changing every 48 hours.  After dealing with uncontrolled post op neck surgery pain, I asked to start weaning down from the fentanyl. Once I reached  mcg/hr changing every 72 hrs  My Drs were reluctant to wean anymore and so I became satisfied with my pain management.
   Then the war on opioids began picking up steam. I made the hard choice to switch pain management providers. Mainly for my own convenience, about 2 hours shorter distance to drive. There we sat in her office, both excited to meet one another and mostly myself, relieved to have someone that had time to hear my concerns, my conditions, and my pain. She relayed to me her stance on all the new rules and "guidelines" that Drs and pharmacies both were feeling extreme pressure to "fall in line". She believed that everyone has the right to have their pain appropriately managed, and she had already been doing her part to express her concerns and beliefs.
   We agreed she would not only manage my pain but would also cover my other health concerns and offer treatments, test, etc.
   See, I have developed Dr phobia over the past few years because of the judgement and treatment I would get when I explained I was a pain management patient and that I had a pain contract that I would be following. You could see the look on their faces, looking and judging. I even had a horrid appointment when I 1st relocated. I was just looking for a general Dr or practitioner to handle other issues related to my health. My lupus, asthma, recurring lyme, Epstein barr, chronic migraine, anxiety, etc... I had an appointment with this local Dr. I hoped would be able to work with me on this journey. Instead she arrogantly entered the exam room and immediately began lecturing me about my current meds, that she would under no circumstances write for those meds, and when my "pill mill clinic" was shut down, that I would need to go to the ER because I was at risk of life threatening complications from the withdrawal. I sat in shock. I gathered my mind and thoughts and told her that she evidentally wasn't the Dr for me. That my pain management Dr actually was double board certified, well known and respected, and had been in practice for almost 8 years. I had never been made to feel like I had done something wrong until now. I left her office in a full blown anxiety attack and in uncontrollable tears, highly embarrassed too... But why? I had done NOTHING wrong!?! 
   So here I was almost 2 years later, a practitioner who understood, one who truly cared. She covered my meds and I explained to her that yet again, I was ready to wean down more. She was excited, I had an open mind and wanted more options than just opioids. So we tackled the fentanyl and started weaning me from it again. She added a few other meds for my asthma, anxiety, migraine, insomnia, etc. I had never felt as good leaving any appointment before. That was until I couldn't find ONE single pharmacy to fill my medications. Most only said either I lived too!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

My Christmas Spirit Lost

So, over the years I've lost my Christmas spirit. It started slow. 1st I became too tired to decorate, thankfully I still had amazing kids at home who stepped up and helped put up the tree, and danced and sang the Christmas songs I've loved since my own childhood. They always knew come Thanksgiving I would be blasting Christmas music throughout every car ride. We would see lights go up and I could slowly find my spirit. Then, one by one my babies were no longer babies and they left for homes of their own. Family gatherings were spread far and thin, I didn't have the need for the music, the tree, I had my memories and spent the time at various other homes celebrating. Yet every year I still find myself with this feeling of sadness, an emptiness I just can't fill. A thought came to me tonight, I've given up on creating memories for the moment, whether it's just the hubby and me, or for the kids that are able to be around during the holidays. So, instead of letting myself down and not enjoying my own home for Christmas, I pray next year I remember this moment. When Thanksgiving rolls around, I will find those favorite Christmas songs and play them, if only just for me. I will drag out the tree and decorate it, pull out my favorite holiday junk food and treats, watch the sappy, awfully written Christmas movies that flood various networks practically the day after Halloween, and maybe even get out and look at the lights all around, find the strength to catch a parade or even volunteer to help others if my health allows. Maybe then, I won't find myself filled with sadness and regret that my health has taken yet another huge part of my joy, what used to be my most favorite time of year.
    If I've learned anything throughout my health journey, it takes small baby steps to learn, adapt, and learn a new "normal" but some things are worth the spoons, and Christmas for me, is one.  I hope you all have the best holiday you can, love those who love you, and don't let life take the things you hold and cherish. 
     Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I need my Dr not the DEA

Sometimes the kids will pick at me and call me the selfie queen. I don't take them quite as often as I wish I could because the hard, cold truth is, I only take them on the days I feel "good". When I look back at my Google Drive timeline I see the days, even weeks there's no photos of myself and I am saddened. You see, everyday of my life for over 15 years I have relied on narcotic pain medications to be able to have some resemblance of a normal life.
   17+ years ago my life was forever changed when a guy under the influence decided he had sat at a red light long enough, floored it and crashed right into the drivers side of my car. I had already been through 2
    I realize the stigma related to pain clinics and I've watched personally as a very caring and what started out as a very careful and responsible pain managment Dr. that gave me my life back, was recently demonized and crucified for his prescribing practices. I know the heart of this man and his belief that no one with legitimate pain should suffer. For the past 3 years he had to start backing patients off of certain medications and sending them to other specialists for some medications, cutting back on many others, and changing medications altogether. He was making every attempt to statisfy the agencies that were pressuring him, but nothing seemed to really help. He eventually retired his practice and had a deal with another group to come in and take over his practice but the new group backed out days after he retired, leaving many patients with no alternatives but to seek methadone clinics (which are truly meant for drug addicts NOT pain patients, and in my honest opinion are far more dangerous and have more abuse issues than legitimate pain clinics)
  After watching the news media, and even some people that call themselves my "friends" put ALL people using narcotics on a daily basis as addicts or worse I became defensive and FAST... WE ARE NOT our conditions, nor the medications we responsibly take, WE ARE HUMAN, just like everyone else. After all of the media and the lawmakers and DEA, CDC, even the Surgeon General himself, decided they know more about ME and every other pain patient than our physicians, I decided to make some changes.
I am slowly quitting smoking, which I know contributes to inflammation. I am voluntarily reducing and even weaning off the medications that are being targeted by the DEA, CDC, and lawmakers, mostly out of fear that I am eventually not going to have adequate access to these therapies.
  I am excited and so proud of myself for it, but it is coming at a cost.... More days not able to pick up my precious grandbabies, more pushing through the pain and trying to become more active, but there are just no ways around the increase in days I'm just not up to doing all I want to do. I've struggled greatly with increased anxiety, frustration, anger, depression, and sadness. I'm just not able to do the things I could on those medications. I have been able to be an active parent to my kids, chaperoning games, trips, and volunteering at their schools when they were younger. I even took on part time work to try to help supplement income because let me tell you, disability payments in most cases, won't cover much of anything. Then add the expense of supplemental insurances, deductibles, copays for Drs, surgeries, medications, etc. many people are left with nothing.
  Now giving up/reducing these medications has lead to the need to add more than 8 new medications to help combat the pain and symptoms. Now how does that sound reasonable?           My hope is that this is just temporary as my body adjusts and hopefully gets stronger.
   I've also learned the medications have been managing/masking some pretty severe pain or warning signs that another back surgery is in my very near future....
   I can't help but feel for those whose care has been mismanaged by Drs and pharmaceutical companies who prey on those during their weakest moments and abandon them leaving them to turn to street drugs and the like. When I hear Macklamore's song "Drug Dealer" it hits my heart hard. I've lost too many people to abuse and overdose.
   My own sister lost her life because she was so ashamed of her past she wouldn't or couldn't seek life saving treatment of something as simple as seeing the right Dr's and feeling able to discuss her past openly and honestly without fear of judgement and mistreatment.... That simple. I fully believe she would be here today if she had access to appropriate treatment. But you see, she felt like she didn't deserve help.
   The pain management system is flawed. When a patient is left unable to fill VALID prescriptions because a pharmacy is scared to take the risk of fines, others just can't meet the demand because of limits on the amount of narcotic drugs they can order per month.... That's a problem.
  The technology exists to monitor every single patient, every single prescription, and monitor for those abusing the system, those "Dr. Shopping" for multiple meds. It just takes using the technology and expanding the capabilities to a nationwide database. Add to that routine drug screens, mental health evaluations, and abuse risk screening, (most ALL reputable and responsible clinics already do this)
  Have Drs who manage pain patients take continuous training so they have every new treatment, technique, technology, and medication examined and are properly informed, instead of some drug rep bringing "gifts", rewards, and incentives for Drs writing their newest drugs. (not ALL do this and Yes it is no longer allowed, but it does still happen quietly) Yes, I also feel the legalization of medical marijuana, even just the oils, could help the "opioid abuse epidemic".
   It ALL angers me and frustrates me. No other specialists have the worry or pressure to answer to all these entities just to treat their patients, nor do their patients have difficulty getting access to their medications. Why should legitimate pain patients be treated any different...
surgeries to try to help a birth defect in my spine and keep me from needing more complex, life altering surgeries, but he ruined that. The only saving grace was our youngest, Colbie was in an excellent carseat and properly restrained. His carseat was made of this high-tech foam used in the walls of Nascar tracks and inside the wall of airplanes. His carseat had a 1-2 inch impact indention and the worst of his injuries were from his sippy cup popping him in the face and then flying out of the busted back windshield. It was found over 100 yards from the scene.... I however wasn't so lucky, my spine and neck took the brunt of it and so my fusion surgeries began... So did the constant, unrelenting, disabling pain.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

College Football - Week 10

New rankings starting this week as the CFP rankings were released.

SEC 4-2↑(57-18) and 3-2↔. Top 25 7-9↑ (78-42) and 10-6↔

Picks for the week (T25 will be using the CFP system and all SEC ranked schools will be in that list)

SEC (non-ranked)

Seems the site I was looking at to get the spreads only had some games and not all games; I've already missed 2 Top 25 games and at least 1 SEC game; was in a hurry and didn't double check ><  so the results will be a little off ;)

Tennessee hosts Tennessee Tech (noline)
South Carolina  hosts Missouri(-7)
Georgia  at Kentucky(-2.5)

Top 25:

#1   Alabama at #13 LSU: ↑LSU(+8.5)
#2   Clemson hosts Syracuse: ↑Clemson(+26)
#3   Michigan hosts Maryland: ↑Michigan(-31)
#4   Texas A&M at Mississippi State: ↑A&M(-13.5)
#5   Washington at California: ↑Washington(+17)
#6   Ohio State hosts #10 Nebraska: ↑OSU(+17)
#8   Wisconsin at Northwestern: ↑Wisconsin(-7)
#9   Auburn hosts Vanderbilt: ↑Auburn(+25.5)
#11 Florida at Arkansas: ↑Ark(+3.5)
#12 Penn State hosts Iowa: ↑PSU(+7.5)
#17 Baylor hosts TCU: ↑Baylor(+7.5)
#18 Oklahoma St at Kansas State: ↑KSU(+3)
#19 Virginia Tech at Duke: ↑VT(-11)
#20 West Virginia hosts Kansas: ↑WV(-34.5)
#21 North Carolina hosts Georgia Tech: ↑NC(-10.5)
#22 Florida State at NC State: ↑FSU(-5.5)
#23 Western Michigan won on Tuesday night (argh)
#24 Boise State hosts San Jose State: ↑Boise(-29)
#25 Washington State hosts Arizona: ↑WSU(+17)