Reply To: New Member?

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I am new to this site as well. One to join an advocacy group and two to find help managing my conditions. I am a 45 year old male. I have spinal stenosis, a degenerative disc condition, bulging discs at the l3 and l4 as well as eroded SI joints.

Here is a little about who I am and when this all started. Back in 2007, I started to have some lower back issues and general discomfort and my primary care had referred me to a neurologist who conducted an MRI and advised I was not a candidate for surgery but noted stenosis, degradation of the spine and arthritis. As the years progressed, it became worse.

I have several things in my live that are very near and dear to me. My family, my music as I am a concert organist, my farm, my job and being active in my community. In 2013/14, I nearly lost them all because I couldn’t manage the pain. I couldn’t sleep at night, I withdrew from everything. My wife separated from me, my employer told me that I needed to get help or I would need to move on, my world was collapsing.

I was introduced to a pain management specialist who assisted me through a myriad of trials before we ended up at a combination of spinal injections and medication to control the pain levels and it worked. Fast forward to 2019 and my specialist has been diagnosed with cancer and I received a letter from the practice advising that because he’s not going to be returning, all of his patients are being asked to return to their primary care patients for treatment or referrals.

Here is my dilemma. I am on Hydrocodone 5/325. It is a low dosage opioid but that combined with the injections works. When I asked my primary care about this, he advised he would try but is not an opioid prescriber which I was okay with so he prescribed Celebrex which I can not take as I’ve had gastric bypass and anyone with that procedure is precluded from any NSAIDS ever again, Gabapentin gave me a seizure, Topiramate gave me aphasia. What’s funny is, my pain care physician asked me about prior surgeries and I told him about the weight loss surgery and he knew NSAIDS were out, I told him there is a history of seizures in my family and he said that Gabapentin likely wouldn’t be a good fit either.

Now he’s gone and finding a pain care specialist is impossible when they find out you’ve been treated in the past and have a care plan that involves opioids. I have a huge scarlet letter. Four years ago when they were prescribed to me, I entered into a contract with my provider and there was a risk management plan that involved urinalysis to determine usage of the prescribed medication as well as any other illegal substances or prescribed medications. In short, nothing has ever been an issue.

All I can do now is watch my life slowly crumble around me as the pain creeps back into my life with little to nothing I can do as far as management.

Doctors are so terrified by the imposition of this opioid epidemic that the patient is being cast aside. The hypocritical oath means nothing anymore. Do no harm means no harm to your patients, not your self. You’re hurting us more but not treating the condition and making us feel like outcasts than patients with legitimate, documented medical conditions.