My little journey started in my late
twenties in the US Navy. I am of Dutch descent, male, with otherwise good to
excellent health. I am now 55 ... A Long Strange trip itís been. I failed my
re-enlistment physical due to a rather large "lump" and enlarged "cords"
in my right hand. The Navy decided (after an incredibly long ordeal involving
every Navy hospital on the east coast, including a 3 month
"examination" and medical board at Bethesda)
that 12 hours a day of twisting screwdrivers had somehow at least contributed
to my being unfit for duty. Long story short, retirement.
Next, lump in arch of right foot,
followed by spreading of Dupuytrenís to my left
hand, and then "Ledderhose" in the left foot. Around age 35† Dupuytrenís
curled my fingers up on my left hand to the extent that I had two surgeries
within three years to release the contracted fingers. So far my right hand,
which started this mess, is a bunch of lumps and cords but has never
contracted. Over time, the little lumps on my feet evolved into Nodular Plantar
Fibromatosis, a funny little disease no one has ever heard of, which grows over
time, is very resistant to treatment, and by my age is a major, painful, pain
in the ass. I have been refused major surgery by reputable osteopathic surgeons
and offered it readily by starving podiatrists.
I have had the cryosurgery in Tampa
by Dr. Katz. Who is a very cool guy by the way and knows his stuff. The
treatment was unsuccessful for me, causing temporary (about 3 months) relief
and then the fibroma he attacked grew back with a
vengeance. He declines me as a candidate for further surgery. He is an ethical guy. So where to now. Pain Control. OMG, what a nightmare in the US to compete for necessary, ethical pain control with thousands of junkies
running around pulling every trick in the book.
I finally found an arthritis MD, courtesy of his longstanding relationship with
my wife, who agreed to prescribe for me. We started with Ultram
(tramadol) with poor results. A
course of Ultram ER. Then moved
on to DarvocetN. A little help
but not great. Then moved on to Vicodin (hydrocodone/ apap) 5.0/500 3-4 tid. Some major relief here for a
while but with some stomach upset. Then onto a month of Percocet (oxycodone) 5.0/500.
Major stomach cramping, some nausea, no better pain control.
On to Narco (hydrocodone/
apap) 7.5/325 3-4 TID. AH Hah!! Major pain relief. No
side effects. Much less Tylenol than 7.5 Vicodin.
Restored to daily activities and very thankful. Of
course you still feel the nodules (uncomfortable) but the shooting pain upon
walking is GONE. Now my only problem is tolerance. Develops
with every form of narcotic. So I developed a procedure of 5-10 days Norco,
followed by 2-3 days of half or less dosage and sitting on the couch lowering
my tolerance. Naturally, any withdrawal is kind of uncomfortable,
(irritability, trouble sleeping, and a general feeling of mild flu and
depression.) Luckily I have a primary care doc that prescribes a small dose of xanax for these days. And good luck with that too, because
every doc out there thinks you may have a benzo
habit. Pray for a good primary doc who will work with your pain doc.
Speaking of Pain
Doctors. I thought I might find a way to
avoid those days on the couch in semi-withdrawel, so
I went to a "Famous around Here" Pain Clinic. First thing he wants to
do (after my bringing him my entire medical history including MRI
cd's) is perform major
surgery to implant neurostimulation devices in my
stomach and spinal cord to block the pain. I am given a brochure and
prescription for pain control while I "research" it on the web and
make a decision. The script is for Opana 10mg
Extended release. This I find out is time release hydromorphone,
sometimes known as Diladid. For ME, this drug is a
waste of time. It takes away the aching pain in feet (and hands) at rest but
forget about walking anywhere or working. I'm back on the couch, full time
instead of twice a month. I complain and the good doctor tells me I'm not a
good candidate for pain control and must have the operation. (I'm thinking 10's
of thousands of dollars for him by this point.) So, long story short, I D/C the
Opana and go back on the Norco
(with permission from arthritis doc). OH,Man,
What a difference, I'm back on my feet and feeling normal. So I make an
appointment with my arthritis doc to see if we can use this experience to
either find another pain specialist or find a way to make couch withdrawals
less frequent or more comfortable. (I drive my wife crazy when I'm cranky).
So here I am, I
guess I'm going to have to submit to a wheelchair if really long walking is
mandated. I've had surgery and I'm not ready for "neurostimulation"
on my spine yet. Possibility of paralysis and this pain doc has a big notice in
his office that he doesn't carry malpractice insurance. He also doesn't
personally return phone calls even with new
patients. Oh, well. So, for me Norco 7.5/325 3-4 tid does the job except when it doesn't. Surgery is medically out unless I can no
longer walk at all even with pain meds. I'm going to pursue a way to ease the
withdrawals, or maybe find a way to get round the clock relief adding hydrocodone for work periods. (It just occurred to me that
perhaps Ultram ER combined with Norco
might do the job without adding additional narcotics).
Thatís my story so far... Thanks for
reading and maybe I helped someone else,