After years and years of a debilitating burning and numbness in my hands and feet that required visit after visit to doctor after doctor and test after test, I was finally diagnosed by a specialist with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. “What does that mean,” I asked her. She told me they had no idea what was causing the terrible pains in my hands and feet. She also told me there wouldn’t be much that could be done for me. She then said I should seek out a pain management alternative. I asked her about OxyContin and told her a friend recommended it. She told me she was leery about prescribing it just yet and that I should always be circumspect about taking any opiate. She said she had known several chronic pain sufferers who had fallen into OxyContin addiction.
I followed her advice and after failed attempts at pain management and a near fortune spent on omega fatty acids and oils, magnets, Saint John’s Wart, ginger, turmeric, and even acupuncture. The burning and numbness only got worse. Having a son in college and a husband that worked in the trades meant no matter how much pain I was in. I still had to work. That brought about my anger and my depression. Why?! I shouted to myself had the man upstairs done this to me on of his faithful children who worked every day, paid her taxes and gave to charities faithfully?
As I recall, it was one Sunday after services that the pain became so intense that I was unable to drive myself home. Fortunately, one of my fellow congregants saw me and drove me to the emergency room.
After several consultations, I was given OxyContin for my pain. How wonderful, I thought as my fellow congregant drove me home and I sat in the passenger side of a car looking out a window free of pain for the first time in memory.
As the effects of the OxyContin wore off, I got angry, in fact damned angry. Why hadn’t that specialist prescribed this for me at the beginning and spared me all this pain? Even worse, she warned me against it. Did she think I was so fragile that I wouldn’t able to control it? It was obvious to me now. She was a control freak who wanted to inflict her will on me.
After recovering from my OxyContin addiction, I realized I owed her an apology. There’s something I didn’t mention yet, during her consultation with me, she informed me that idiopathic peripheral neuropathy could disappear as quickly as it came on and I should be only go to opiate pain relievers as a last resort. She was right. Not long after an OxyContin addiction took hold of me, the reason I was taking it disappeared and now I was forced to battle something far worse and addiction to the very drug this specialist warned me about.
It’s still early in my recovery and I take one day at a time. I am also grateful I am pain free and hopeful I will remain drug free as well. In addition, I make it a point to thank that specialist every day for having my best interest at heart.
Patricia R. – Towson, MD