Tuesday, November 14, 2017

KRATOM UPDATE












What is it?
How is it used?
Is it safe?
I don't know.



I wrote this about Kratom a couple of years ago and it seemed that it's a good time to bring it up again.

I was reading about the latest thing to pop up about painkillers. People on forums and Facebook have been talking about it.

And they've been trying it.

Ok....first things first. What is it? Kratom is from a tree or, more specifically, the leaves from the mitragyna speciosa tree. The trees are indigenous to Southeast Asia and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Thailand has banned its use and there are several states where Kratom is also banned. It's been used in the management of chronic pain and it behaves like morphine. 

The DEA lists Kratom as a drug of concern.

One thing they did find was that Kratom helped the withdrawal symptoms of opioid dependence. When Kratom was quit suddenly the side effect was diarrhea and a runny nose. Considering what the withdrawal symptoms of narcotics can be I would think that Kratom would be studied. 

The other thing is that Kratom doesn't have the respiratory depression that opioid have. When you have a medication that helps pain without the risk of overdose it sounds like it should be studied. Why haven't the pharmaceutical companies looked at it?

Or have they? GlaxoSmithKline looked at it in the 60's but nothing came of it. Let's face it, something must be off either in the delivery or the drug itself. They could make a ton considering the opioid problem in this country. 

It can cause drowsiness, fatigue, nausea and stomach discomfort and constipation. It has the potential for abuse when you exceed the recommended dosage. If you decide to use this be very sure that it won't interact with medications that you are taking or have taken. Be very careful. Just make sure you research it very carefully before you make your decision. 

Is it addictive?

I don't think anyone knows.

There are animal studies that show that a tolerance can be built up over time.

And the directions state it can be habit forming.

That kind of signals addictive to me.

But what do I know?


DEA INFORMATION ON KRATOM


Monday, February 20, 2017

MOVING DAY? TRY MOVING MONTHS.










Sometimes it's not smooth sailing.
Sometimes the waves are huge.
Sometimes the waves just slam you on the shore.


It's been quite some time since I've written anything. I've been exhausted; mentally and physically. In the last seven months our home was put on the market, sold, fell out of escrow, sold again, fell out of escrow again and then sold. Really sold. This is a process that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I still haven't recovered and the move was completed over a month ago. 

The process started last June, 2016 when we listed the home. The home sold pretty fast so the packing started. I figured  that I'd pack up some of the things that I didn't use that often. After all, I'd be unpacking in a couple of months. 

Right?
Not so fast.

Then we had a buyer who was perfect. He was a contractor and had all sorts of plans for the home. He had his house in escrow and he wanted to close quickly so we went crazy packing up everything only leaving the things we'd absolutely need for a few weeks. After all, we'd be unpacking in a few weeks. We were assured that his buyer was solid.

Or so we thought.

The NIGHT before the buyers documents were to be signed we found out that his loan had been denied. Un-fricking-believable. It took a week to process that bubble being burst. We decided to unpack and put the home back on the market in the spring. I didn't unpack everything. I figured that some of it I really didn't need and it would save time later.

Right.

In December that buyer came back. He had sold his home and still wanted ours. The little sticking point? Now we had to RE-PACK the house and find another home that we could close on quickly. Like in a month. At this point I'm ready to fall over but there is no time for that. We found a place that we actually loved and all the dominoes fell perfectly.

What wasn't perfect was me.
But, at least it was over.
January 17, 2017.
It was a LONG 7 months.


I couldn't do one more thing. I've pushed my body to its limit and it was too much. There is something about stress and how it affects your body. When Fibromyalgia is involved, however, all bets are off. You cannot do this without stopping to decompress. 

The problem is that I have very high standards for myself. My personality has really shown through during this move. I've become very pissy and I wanted things done. Did I also mention that I wanted it done yesterday and preferably in alphabetical order? Oh, come on.....who the hell puts moving boxes in alphabetical order? I ordered labels from Amazon and printed out the contents of each box. Try doing that for over 200 boxes.

The other thing I can't do is tell everyone how bad I feel. It becomes a broken record. I'm sure they get tired of hearing it and I really get tired of saying it. There is something to be said about smiling through the pain. Just because I sound fine doesn't mean that I don't spend most of my day in pain and exhaustion. What I have is variable. The symptoms vary from day to day and sometimes from minute to minute. Since the move we can just add second to second. 

I'd like to get out and do things. I'd like to start working out again. There are a lot of things that I'd like to do. I just don't have the inclination or the energy to do them. A lot of times, since the move, getting out and doing things can reduce me to tears before the end of the day. There isn't a place on my body that can be touched that doesn't cause pain. It makes me want to hide away. 


Once the muscle spasms hit it's time to take the medication otherwise sleep will be impossible and, of course, that exacerbates the pain. It's a roller coaster and you wish to God you could get off. It becomes your prayer late in the night. Please let me get off this roller coaster. 

Please.

Just when I thought there would be a break in all this the humidity hit with a vengeance. I don't do well when the rain rolls in and an increase in the humidity and barometric pressure causes havoc. So, it's back to feeling like crapola.

I tried going back to work for a couple days a week. I really do miss new home sales. I started with a temp service that staffs sales offices with people that have new home experience for the agents days off or vacation days. I loved it but my body didn't. I used to pride myself on my intelligence. I could look at proformas and spreadsheets and loved to read the fine print. Contracts were my special love. I could rip them apart and put together something to behold. Now it seems like someone smeared oil over my lenses. Everything looks fuzzy. I no longer have the patience or intelligence to read and retain what I've read. I read and re-read. I stare at what I've read and get the deer-in-the-headlight look and frantically search for a remnant of the former woman with the near photographic memory. What is this insidious disease that robs you of your intelligence and leaves a fairly intelligent woman searching for the right words, forgetting where she put her keys, sitting in the car and wondering where I'm going.

I found out that I need to make lists.

There is a reason that that there are lists.

Three most stressful things in life?

Death.

Divorce.

Moving.

I've found that moving may cause the other two on the list.

I never want to do it again.

Oops......

I said never.........

Drat.








Monday, May 30, 2016

WHICH MASK TO WEAR TODAY?











"We are so accustomed to disguising ourselves that in the end we become disguised to ourselves."
Francois de la Rochefaucauld


This quote speaks to me so much. Maybe it spoke to me because I've been Type A squared since birth. Maybe it spoke to me because I've been in sales with home builders for many years. Maybe it spoke to me because as a by-product of new home sales, I've been a chameleon for so long that I don't even recognize myself anymore. Maybe.......maybe.........maybe.

Maybe, just maybe, it spoke to me because of the pain.

It's so true that we disguise ourselves. Whether we have a chronic illness or not we usually never tell the truth when someone asks how we are. I mean, who really answers the question when someone asks how you are? It's really bad when you have chronic pain.

"How are you doing today?"

Not good.
I feel like crapola.
All I want to do is sleep.
This sucks.
My life is falling apart.
I'm in huge, big time, pain.
My hands hurt.
My head hurts.
My back hurts.
I'm not sleeping real well.
My whole body hurts.
Every bone in my body hurts.
I ache.
I'm tired.
This disease is destroying my life.
I feel horrible.
I can't seem to get out of bed.
I can't concentrate real well today.
What did you say?

After a while no one wants to hear it anymore.

Let me clue you in on a little fact.

After a while we don't want to say it anymore either.

So we say:

I'm okay.
Or we fake a smile.
I'm just a little tired.
Or we fake a smile.
It could be worse.
Or we fake a smile.
Today's not a real good day.
Or we fake a smile.
Or we burst into tears.
And we still try to fake a smile.
Or better yet....we just don't say anything.

We sugarcoat it.

Anyway, we disguise how we feel. We disguise the pain that we feel. We disguise the guilt that we feel. We disguise the depression. We disguise the lack of sleep. We disguise the embarrassment over feeling sick yet again. We disguise the forgetfulness. We disguise everything.

Is it any wonder that we don't know who we are anymore? Let me see, I want a ticket to La-La land and I want to take up permanent residency there. I'm also incognito. What else?? Is it really so hard to believe that someone can feel so unbelievably awful all the time? Maybe that is why this disease is so misunderstood. I think it might possibly help for people to understand how we feel if they can relate to the worst possible flu that they've ever had. The flu that made every bone in their bodies ache with an intensity that was staggering. The kind of flu that made it impossible for them to leave their bed for a few days. Now try having that same feeling not for a day, or a week or a month but have that feeling year after year after year. Do you think they'd understand Fibromyalgia then? How about those doctors that think this is all in our heads? Let's take that old baseball bat and beat the crap out of them and continue to beat them every day for a few years. Do you think they'd think we were crazy then? Do you think people would finally get it?


So, what other words can I come up with?

I'd like to say my favorite word but  this is a G-rated post.

I'm just sayin........





Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A CATAGORY 5 HURRICANE












I don't know if what I've been through,
can be called a flare.
A flare?
It's more like a bomb went off.


This has been a difficult post. I want to convey how bad this flare actually was and balanced so that the people I care about don't worry. The worst has passed but I've never, since my diagnosis, been through a time as bad as this one. Fibromyalgia is sneaky. You can be fine one day and crash the next. Heck, you can be fine one minute and crash the next and that is just what happened to me. I've had bad days and fair days and semi-ok days. So what's the big deal about this time? What happened? I was blindsided. 

I went into denial. OK...It will be better in a few days. Then I went into a soul sucking vortex of pain and the inevitable depression that kind of pain brings with it. In other words, the twins visited with a vengeance. Maybe I should have gone to the doctor looking like I felt; something the cat just dragged in the house, something that would scare babies and small children. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to suck it up and put on my big girl panties. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I think I'm conditioned not to admit this kind of pain. The pain that makes me feel weak.

So what did I do?
I went off the grid.
I didn't want to go anywhere.
I didn't want to see anyone.

I tried the doctor. His answer? Just up the opioid. I didn't want to go there. They truly scare me. I respect the power of these medications and I don't want to go down that slippery slope. If I can't deal with it on 5 miligrams then I will just have to try something else. Binge watching Two and a half Men, Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds and Blue Bloods? Nope. Didn't work but it's a pretty good distraction. Let's try something else.

Let's start with balneotherapy. Ha! I got in the bath with Epsom salts.

Usually I can stay in the tub and get through the aches. This, however, was not the icky ache. This was the voodoo pain that was stabbing me in every joint that it could find. 

And it didn't let up.

When a flare like this hits it just doesn't go away. From the moment we open our eyes to the moment we close our eyes we're engaged in battle. We all think we're wimps but nothing is farther from the truth. We battle depression that springs from pain. We battle constant pain that ranges from throbbing to gut wrenching. We battle ourselves because we constantly think that we're inadequate. Being in jail handcuffed and bound is so tough to take. There will be limitations on body and psyche. 

Limitations?
Throbbing?
Gut wrenching?
I flew by that about day 5.

I decided to put the covers over my head and just give in. There is a time when it's appropriate to surrender and though that truly goes against my nature, I did it. I really understood how people can just give up. Now, I do believe that attitude can help or hinder just about everything in your life. It can push us beyond "the can't." I understand that. But, there are times it's hard to find no matter how much we try. I was in one of those times. I threw myself every pity party there was and it still didn't help. I tried to tell myself that if I would just improve my attitude then my symptoms would go away. 

They didn't.
It made me think that I was the master of my own demise. 

I think the problem is that there is no middle ground. We are not allowed to be tired or have pain. We're supposed to just suck it up and multi-task our little stressful lives to the fullest. We're supposed to be tough and push through pain and fatigue. It's not too much to ask is it? Life is supposed to be lived and if we can't do that it's because we don't have the emotional strength to deal with pain. People think we have more of a defective mindset rather than a real illness. If you are ill and you give in to it....you are weak. Now, even if the pain is severe you are expected to just take a Tylenol and deal with it. Well, that's fine for the short term but evidently the powers that be figure that, for the long term, liver damage is better than addiction. They can't even find a middle ground.

I read about how to cope. 

I know it.

I use it.

But sometimes it just doesn't work.

Sometimes you just have to bow your head...

Say a prayer....

And weather the storm.





Thursday, April 7, 2016

KETAMINE FOR FIBROMYALGIA? NOT YET.











On the street it's called Special K.
It's a horse tranquilizer in veterinary medicine.
It's a money maker for chronic pain.


I get it. Sometimes the pain gets too much and we're at the end of our rope. We want to reach for something, anything that can promise relief from the pain. We just need to be careful that we are not reaching for something that can do more harm than good.

Ketamine infusion therapy is big business in the chronic pain world. A single infusion can cost $2000 a treatment and, believe me, the recommended course is definitely NOT  a single treatment.

Ketamine is used to produce a loss of conscienceness. It's used as a general anesthetic but because of the hallucinations that it can cause it's not the primary choice. It is used by compounding pharmacies as a cream with lidocaine and ketoprophan as a topical pain reliever.

This drug is no joke.

It increases your heart rate and blood pressure. It can cause hallucinations, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, nightmares, memory problems and if used long term liver abnormalities. It induces a state of disassociative anesthesia. 

Scary.

Years ago a study was done with 34 Fibromyalgia patients. They got a low dose Ketamine infusion followed by a dextromethorphan treatment. 19 responded to neither drug, 10 were favorable to both, 3 were helped by the ketamine but not the dextromathorphan  and 2 were helped by the dextromethorphan but not the ketamine. Link to study

There are sites offering Ketamine therapy. Everything about Ketamine states you should be monitored closely due to adverse effects but there are places giving you this therapy on an outpatient basis. Now they do tell you to stay with someone so if you have any ill effects they can get you to a doctor. Gee, that's comforting. I may have someone watching me who hasn't got a medical license and they are the ones to watch for adverse effects?  They also tell you that it may not work and this is a totally elective therapy. 

It gets even better. There is a Ketamine Coma Therapy being offered in other countries. It is given in extremely high doses so that a coma is induced. This, obviously, is not approved by the FDA. 

Back to the infusions......they tell you that if you want it YOU NEED TO SATISFY YOURSELF by the research YOU DO through search engines. In other words, we just give it to you and if there's a problem you should have done better research. To me, that borders on negligence. We need qualified people that will tell us the realities of medicine and what it can do. We shouldn't be the ones doing the search and then telling the doctor it's ok. 

It also tells you tough noogies because you may elect to proceed knowing it may have no benefit. They also tell you the greater number of infusions you have the greater the benefit. 

At 2 grand a pop that sounds like double speak to me.
Just keep paying and pray it helps.

I'm not saying it may not help some people. It might. 

Everything in me shouts NO.

Everything I read about this drug screams "dangerous in the wrong hands."

It's a street drug that packs a wallop.

It can kill you.

Please be very careful if you are going through with this therapy.

You need to be watched carefully.

Personally?

I wouldn't do it.

*** This post was written about a specific place and person which shall remain nameless. There are legitimate uses by doctors and hospitals.