Opiates, Procedure Seeking, and the Power of Perspective
My name is Lauren , I grew up in Alaska, Eagle River mostly ,but I have lived all over south central Alaska. I am approximately 29 years +2 is what I tell my kids. I have 5 children total. I am a military spouse, my husband is Nickolas. I studied EMS/ Fire Science in early adulthood before joining the military myself.
I love, (in no particular order) art, cooking, Jesus, my kids, traveling, working out, outdoors,pets,and yoga. I also enjoy socializing with friends, and helping other people. I am described as loving, funny, resilient, determined, strong, having conservative views, a good friend, and devout Jesus follower. I do have a blog but it’s not been maintained in over a year or two honestly I just haven’t had time.
When you refer to loss this is a hard thing to speak of because there are so many things that are covered in this scope there is physical loss and emotional loss. I experienced both.
This was hard to answer because there are different times in my life and dealing with this where I thought it was the worst time of my life or I thought it could get no worse.
I felt I had suffered more than most people should have.
I lost my ability to move, at times after surgeries or procedures and even the ability to take care of myself.I lost my ,at the time, husband because I was procedure seeking, desperate to get out of pain. ( I had failed PT 5 or 6 times if not more) . After deconditioning, I lost my ability to move and was in a wheelchair, a single mom of 3 kids living off of my VA disability, child support and on food stamps barely making it. I lost my ability to remember things or function due to prescribed opiate addiction.
I lost who I was as a person after 7 years of chronic severe pain.
When I couldn’t get off the couch or play with my kids because it hurt too bad I wanted to get better but I didn’t know how.It hurt emotionally to watch my mom make memories with my kids instead of myself. I tried all sorts of injections and RFA, and pills to make the pain stop. I thought It was the answer, I wasn’t educated on how the body responds to long-term opiate use or even pain. I was trying so hard to figure out “the why” and “the how” to make the pain stop from muscle imbalances,nerve pain and whatever else was going on.
The reality of the lowest points: the place where change comes
At my lowest point I contemplated suicide. I didn’t want to live like this but i didn’t know how to change the pain. I just wanted it to stop. It was severe EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of EVERY SINGLE DAY. There was no breaks. I knew my children might be sad if I was gone but I felt I wasn’t doing what I should be as a mother.
My dad, had a talk with me and told me that the pills I was taking are killing me, he wasn’t wrong. He said at the rate you are going you are going to die before your kids get to highschool. That was my wake up call, that I wouldn’t be there for my children. Because I had already given up on my self. I had to figure something out, anything out.
Life can change and part of that was getting off the opiates.
My life has completely changed 110%, from who I was even 2 years ago. I still have progress to make physically, I still have pain sometimes but its functional. I can move, I can do things. I feel my body is still healing and my stamina isn’t the best but I am getting stronger all the time. I am actually living life now.
Before I was dead in my pain, and it owned me. I was looking at pain pumps and spinal cord stimulators which is pretty much Dr’s saying “looks like we can’t do anything else now we are looking at maintaining some quality of life” I have residual side effects from my pain medications, my intestines are really messed up. I have been changing my diet to accommodate that but its been hard, I like pizza.
Now I don’t get caught up in the aspect of why or how pain is occurring I get up and I do some yoga or walk and focus on keeping my body moving because movement keeps fluids, muscles and joints doing what they are supposed to be doing. If you are sedentary all the time your body is going to be stiff you muscle will hurt more, you will hurt more.
Getting off the opiates was a process
I discovered after my father and I talked and I had done some research about cannabis helping people get off medication withdrawal or even heroin. I lived in a state where recreational and medical use were legal. I started on my own taking less and less of my drug cocktail daily and would supplement cannabis with my medication. I honestly I used CBD, and I used the flower and oils. People try to make THC sound like it’s the terrible part of the plant but when you break it down on a molecular level the plant itself and all its components are very healing.
I started off using quite a bit to get me through the severe opiate withdrawals I was taking methadone for pain and diliauded, methadone has a longer withdrawal than most narcotics after about three days is when you start . I was very very sick. I stopped taking all my medications ( there was a ton of them it seemed) I realized I was in less pain than I thought. I now only had to use my new green medicine when I was actually in pain. MY pain was still severe but my medication didn’t control me anymore. I could determine how much or how little was needed and If I didn’t take it I didn’t get sick.
I started focusing on what I COULD do
I started doing yoga daily, I did hot yoga styles included; hatha, vinyasa, Yin, I downloaded an app and just did what I could honestly as well as studio (yogaglo). I fell down , A LOT! BUT I got back up and I kept going. I also started swimming, and cycling on the recumbent bicycle.
I also got amazing support from Nick with all of this he really encouraged me and just told me that he believed in me that I could do stuff.
Even now I do something I haven’t before or I am able to do more in the gym than I did last week he tells me how proud he is of me. It really keeps me motivated to know that someone cares about my progress.
The importance of support
I had lots of support from church friends and prayer and I really immersed myself with my faith. I kept believing that I would get better, that God didn’t want this pain for me. I also started just walking less and less with my cane, and allowed myself to rest but just push a little more than the day before. And it worked. I got control of my body again. I don’t have to use marijuana anymore. I’m not on pills, I have minimal pain I am alive again!
Fear, was the enemy. Fear of hurting more kept me from trying to help myself. Look you are going to fall, it is going to hurt. You are going to hurt. You might hurt daily the rest of your life. But You have ONE life that’s it. I’d rather die. Knowing that I didn’t give up I never quit and that I actually lived and didn’t just survive.
Lack of education: on the drugs I was taking and lack of education on movement. IF you want some change start looking up these things. You can have healing! You can live with functional amounts of pain, accepting you might always have some pain can help. No one is always pain-free! Your mind is stronger than you are, you can heal yourself if you want to. I am proof of that, I am actually going to school now so I can help other people. I am LIVING again.