Tonight marks the seventh day I’ve been completely free of any tramadol. The peak of withdrawal for me was this past Friday night. I woke up with sweats, jerking muscles that were cramping, I puked a few times, I had an excruciating headache, and once I got out of bed the panic set in. I was up all night. I could not stay asleep. When I did sleep it was in increments of thirty minutes. It was a very rough night. That next morning, I began to wonder if I needed to enter a detox facility. It was that bad. As the day went on I was exhausted but as I kept focused on music, and moving around it got easier. I am now on day eight and all the withdrawal symptoms have departed!
I feel pretty good considering all my physical infirmities. My nerve tumor pain is high part of the day, but I manage through it here at home. I had a very successful day yesterday. Yesterday I was able to go out to a doctor’s appointment, make a grocery store trip, make a Walgreens stop, make a stop at the gas station, and do my dishes at the sink! This might sound trivial to some of my readers, but for me, that is extraordinary while only being on naproxen 500mg.
I have noticed a few changes since detoxing from the tramadol too. I have been struggling with severe fatigue for years now and concentration problems. I always walked around feeling foggy, and so fatigued I could barely hold my head up most days. This last week I noticed that the foggy feeling has subsided completely. I think more clearly. I believe the tramadol must have contributed to that cloudy thinking. The fatigue I felt was probably intensified by the tramadol as well. I am still tired in the middle of the day but it isn’t nearly as bad as it was while I was taking the tramadol.
I don’t see my pain clinic until the 24th, but when I do they will have to come up with another plan for my case. I am rejecting to be treated any longer with any type of narcotic, or any type of pain treatment that my body will become dependent on, that if I choose to stop taking it, I have to deal with withdrawals like I had to face with tramadol. There has to be a better way to deal with pain patients. There has to be a way to help us without turning us into pill addicts, or physical addicts. They’re doctors who work hard to get these special degrees. They should be smart enough to figure this out.
I strongly believe marijuana should be utilized in this area. If marijuana was utilized for chronic pain patients, it would prevent addiction across the board. Science shows that cannabis is promising for pain relief. “Science also shows that addiction is very low at only 30% likely to have a dependency problem and that the 30% who develop dependency are people who have psychiatric issues before use” (Hasin).
It is time that our nation takes the stigma that surrounds cannabis and completely remove it. We must begin taking rational steps in solving problems we face with addiction to opiates and other opiate type medicine, like tramadol. Cannabis is one logical step! We must begin taking logical steps in treating chronic pain patients and stop imagining they do not exist, that they do not matter, or that their quality of life is not just as important as any other patient treated in our nation. Cannabis would help so many avoid opiate addiction, it would help improve the quality of so many lives across our nation, and it would be affordable to them. If the Obama administration is serious about this new initiative to help fight opiate addiction, he will move to help legalize cannabis nationwide on the federal level for medical use with a proposed bill to congress before he leaves office. The ball is in your court Obama. Help us, not the prescription thugs!!
Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1235-1242. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1858.
It’s funny all the things in this world that don’t have much meaning to them. Well, until you lose someone special to you. Things such as lightning bugs at night, a day that mimics a distant old memory of a moment you spent with that person, things like the smell of fresh cut grass, a color you look upon from an old clothing article worn, the sound of a motorcycle revving its engine, or the smell of an oil spill from a mechanics garage….
I believe these things finally retain some sort of meaning to us after we lose someone because we want so badly to be near the person who is gone…
I find myself wanting to see stars in the night sky and lightning bugs flying around freely. I find myself wanting to see a red bandana; I want to smell the fresh grass after a rainfall, even a certain smell from the mud beneath my feet just to catch a glimpse of a childhood memory I know is there and I want to just be in that moment again even if it is only in my mind. That sound from a familiar song that reminds you of a smile they had. I find myself wanting to lie in the grass gazing it up at the stars smoking that old familiar brand of cigarettes just to feel close to a memory.
You find yourself going over all the time and space in between the years that have passed. Dredging up, from deep inside, this solemn feeling of regret; regret that you have taken advantage of the fact that nothing lasts forever like you hoped. Regret that you kept telling yourself there is always time. Saying quietly next time I will or I always have tomorrow. Then the day comes when someone tells you that special person is gone forever. You realize in that exact moment of the receiving the news how wrong you were about time, wrong about how life is tough not fragile, and how you wish you could have made just a few more memories, just a few more to add meaning to all the things you thought were miniscule, things surrounding you like the sound of rushing traffic, a cotton ball travelling in the wind, or the smell of brownies in the oven.
My dear friend Drew is gone. He left this world Thursday afternoon and these are the things I’ve been going through the last few days. I am heartbroken and I haven’t figured out how to start the healing process yet. I do not believe you heal from loss completely, you just learn to go on in a new normal of existence with that person absent. This will be the first friend I’ve gone back home to say goodbye too and that is because I loved that boy so much. I have memories with him as far back as I can remember. I feel good about a few things. I feel good that he did know I loved him and he knew he was an important friend of mine. He knew I would have moved the world for him if I had the power. I feel good that I believe deep in my heart he felt the same. The streets we grew up on were tough sometimes. Life at home wasn’t always pancakes and soda pop. School wasn’t always a playground. One thing was always constant though Drew and Rachel running together.
I look back on days of summer when I couldn’t wait to get outside to my bike so I could ride to see him. I look back at the times he snuck to my bedroom window at dark just to say what was up. What a ride. Many people around the neighborhood and school thought for sure we would have ended up being romantically involved, married, boyfriend/girlfriend but it never went that way. I think he loved me and he knew it would have ruined the years of memories we had built. It would have ruined our friendship. He was right if that is what he was thinking. Our love was more of a brotherly/sisterly love than a long lasting love that goes into marriage.
I can see him walking though our old high school, sitting at a desk in some classroom, smoking a cigarette across from the band rooms annex, walking down Hanna towards my bus stop, smiling or giving me a hand gesture as I held a camera, I can see him sitting in the back of the bus saving me a seat, looking back as I was deciding to flee the hometown to better myself with him telling me to go and I can’t help but smile.
Tears start to fall when I am done rolling those memories through my mind because I realize there is no chance of creating new memories, no more conversations, no more pictures to be taken, no more time left….because life is so fragile.
Drew I will love you forever my friend. Save me a seat up there …in the back…I remember we like it there…
I feel so small right now in this crazy ass world we live in….I just found out beginning of this week my house was sold underneath my husband and I…and we have to be out in February…you know you can do everything right in this life and still be stepped on and crushed by your surroundings. It isn’t fair…and well this has just been one more thing put on my shoulders…the weight is astronomical…I have two children to worry about. It is my job to keep them in a stable, and healthy environment…and well I’m not doing a very good job because life is always so fucked up for me…my marriage is hanging on by threads it feels…I’m sick…I have some work stuff going on…and now I have to leave what my children have called home for damn near 7 years…it is the only home my little Kylie has ever known…what will this do to her?….
I would give anything to have just one more moment with my dad right now…oh God the weight of the world is on my shoulders again…and again…I’m alone…
I have spent this last week of my life crying by myself…and putting a brave face on for the world, for my kids…I’m exhausted and I really am at my limit here…this low might be worse then the one I was in when I got hired at my current place of employment…
I feel like I am suffocating by my surroundings….
I’m carrying guilt around too…guilt that maybe my marriage is over because I just can’t attach to my husband and stay attached with him…I still resent him for so many things…for so many years…but I have these two beautiful children who deserve the best childhood so they can grow into healthy adults…broken homes don’t always lead to those…plus there is my health…I’m feeling trapped…trapped at home…trapped at work for the first time…i can’t breath…my heart hurts…I’m so anxious…
The events going on right now are really messing with my sobriety too…I remember that feeling…completely numb…relaxed…euphoria…peace…followed by sleep….not a care in the world in the high…I wish I had a way to be there without the use of something that destroys my life…
Deep inside it feels like I’m giving up on me….I know I am remarkable…I know I am extraordinary…I have survived sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, death of the one man who ever really loved me, my best friend…my dad, an addiction, chronic pain and illness, and a disability….I came through all of those…but I am seriously exhausted…I don’t even know who I am anymore because of it…
I don’t trust people…I have this person on my mind all the time and he shouldn’t be…he can’t be…. I’m not this person…it has me questioning who the fuck is this Rachel…where did she come from…who is she….
I don’t know why all these things are happening…I know it is for a reason…I know these are tests on my character..on my faith…on my strength…and it is fucking scary this time around because I’m so damn vulnerable…I feel so weak…and I feel so small…and alone…
I’m just hoping I can hang on and wait out this crazy. I hope I can do it sober…
I think I am a pretty awesome person. I care about others. I take time out to show that I care about those in my life. I try very hard not to talk down about anyone who shows even the slightest attempt in being genuine. I have always been honest. If someone upsets me I let them know but I don’t carry that with me. I may have not perfected forgiveness but I’m better at it…..I go to work everyday dealing with tarlov cyst pain, nerve root tumor pain, fibro pain, heart pain, A.S pain…and manage to not rip anyone’s face off…
So tell me why do I still have people talking down about me? Talking about me in a negative way as if I were not a likeable person? Is there something I am not seeing? Am I wrong about being this awesome person I think I am…am I really just another asshole??
I had a superior at work comment to other coworkers that when I was taken out of my bus on an ambulance with my heart situation that quote, “knowing Rachel it is just a panic attack…” and I was actually told this after it happened, “If you think back on the day I am sure you can figure out what triggered that Rachel…” in actuality I ended up having a serious heart condition called chronic AF….I was upset, I was hurt by this but I was going to be the better person and let that go….THEN this same superior tells a coworker the reason I was not liked very well when I was first hired was due to my “personality” ….
First off confidentiality should have kept my health issue private and not the talk of shop with my superior and fellow coworkers….second what gives my superior the right to tell another coworker I wasn’t liked because my personality wasn’t good enough?? I find this VERY unprofessional…and total bullshit….because now I am thinking what have I done to deserve this type of treatment?
Am I being delusional about being so well liked? Loved? Respected? What have I missed that I’ve done to put this person in a place of such harsh talk behind my back? I am seriously debating on quitting the job. I mean I don’t need the job like most. I can easily just quit and start back on disability. I don’t want to because I do love the job…I love the students I drive…but I don’t feel I deserve this type of treatment from a superior.
My boss is a wonderful boss and I have not spoken to him about this yet…not sure I am going to…I mean the guy is dealing with so much bullshit from others that I know it is overwhelming on him…it has to be! I thought about not returning over this last summer but decided to return…and now I am seriously thinking maybe I should have just not returned….
Honestly I don’t think I deserve this at all. I mean I fight everyday to get up out of bed to go to work…and I show up with a smile, coffee for those I like from time to time…I buy lunches for the ones I care about…I work hard…I don’t call in or miss work…I am polite…I just don’t get it….I just don’t get it…
I’ve been told by some of my coworkers that I’m radiant, that I am ambitious, positive, caring, and beautiful….so what have I done to the superior that she thinks she can just talk the way she is with my fellow coworkers about my health situations….or my personality??? I mean does this mean she is targeting me in hopes I do leave…and if so WHY!? What the fuck have I done besides be honest….oh that is it…
I called her out on some bullshit she tried over the radio…she can’t handle being called out on her bullshit I guess….so where does that leave me? Well I’m a peon on the ladder…she is my superior…I’m thinking it might be time to take my leave….I am seriously mulling my options right now….trying to clear my head and think about this decision logically….and NOT emotionally…this takes me a little while….first I need to decide on whether I tell my boss….
So Tuesday, September 24th I had to be taken off my bus in an ambulance. I thought I was having a heart attack. At first I thought it was an anxiety attack. What I have found out is my heart actually stops beating two beats per minute and when it jump starts back up on the third beat it starts in the 200 beats per minute range and rises, this is known as atrial fibrillation. 300 beats per minute is stroke area. Had my coworker in dispatch not called 911 for me I would have either stroked out, or had a massive heart attack. Yeah pretty scary stuff.
I went in yesterday to get a holster monitor on to record my hearts actions. I was put on a beta blocker to help slow the heart when it jump starts so I do not stroke out. It still hurts, and it still races but not at stroke limit. I am hoping I can just be medicated to fix this problem. My boss informed me that if I have a pace maker put in that I can not hold a CDL. I love my job. I don’t want to have to leave my job. I have met some very wonderful people there and the job saved my life.
When I first applied at PC I was at the lowest point in my life. I was ready to leave my husband, and take my own life. I had been disabled for 8 years prior and it had taken its toll on me. I was so thankful to PC that they gave me a chance. If I have to leave my job I am not sure how I will handle that.
Right now I am trying real hard to stay positive. I’m trying not to panic at the thought of having a serious heart condition that can’t easily be fixed. I still smile and try to keep my happy demeanor but deep inside I am terrified.
It was hell to adjust to being this disabled woman at 28…how will I adjust to a woman with a serious heart problem at 35? I’m suppose to start school in a few weeks to work on getting my bachelors in early childhood education. How am I going to do that if I have a bad heart? Should I put it off? I have all these things on my mind.
This will be my second brush with death in one year. The first was my car accident where I rolled my Ford Taurus and had to be cut out. I believe in signs. I wonder if this is a sign for me too. I’m not sure what it is trying to say however…
I’ve been through so much my entire life…I really have come a long way…and a part of me is very angry that this heart thing has shown up…I mean how much more am I going to have to go through…til it is time for me to have true continuing peace?
I was sexually abused as a child, I grew up with a schizophrenic mother, my first husband was abusive, I am a recovering opiate addict, I have been disabled since age 28, and I survived a roll over car accident.
I have overcome all of these things only to find myself faced with having a bad heart. I know that it is very possible my past drug usage and abuse might have brought on this heart condition. Not to mention I was a smoker for over 20 years…but when am I going to get a break?
Everyone around me tells me I am a pillar of strength and I amaze them. I feel real good about that. I have always wanted to change the world…I have always wanted to be someone important enough to save or change lives. I wanted to be the person that brightens others days by simply being me. I just don’t know how I am going to deal with a major heart problem if that is the case.
I worry this will be my tipping point. I am afraid this might be the straw that broke the camels back. Facing this heart situation has made me think about all the things I’ve done throughout my life that probably brought me to this point. It also has me thinking about how much more I want to do. I’m not finished. I’m not even close and a heart condition probably cuts off more of my time to do the things I want.
I know life isn’t always fair and bad shit happens to good people. I just wish I would be given a break. I am having a harder time each day enjoying what I should be enjoying. I’m tired all the time, hurt all over everyday, out of breath most of the time, and my heart hurts when it races. God what is your plan for me? What are you trying to move me towards or away? I need your help here…and I’m begging you to not put anymore on me because God I have no more strength. My endurance is gone.
I have been clean since 2006. I don’t drink but maybe twice a year. I don’t steal. I am a good mom to my girls. I am a faithful wife. I am a loyal friend. I am an honest person. I have asked forgiveness for my past sins against others. I help the less fortunate. I try to be a positive role model for those who surround me. I don’t know what else to do in order to have you give me a break. But tonight Lord I am asking you please….give me a break or this will break me.