Monday, December 20, 2010

Medicines, and all that jazz...

Yeah, I rested *all* Shabbat. The blessed sabbath. Our sages say "more than the Jewish people keep the sabbath, the sabbath keeps the Jewish people".
Dr. D, the pain specialist in Jerusalem, called back today, as he promised. I like that in a doctor.
He said that he talked over my case with some colleagues, and researched PVNS, as he had never heard of it. (The fact that he hadn't heard of it does not mean he doesn't have enough experience. PVNS is an extremely rare disease, and usually only the best orthopedists have ever heard of it. This doctor is an anesthesia/pain specialist.)
For the nerve pain (neuropathy) he recommended a drug called "Lyrica" (Dad- Pfizer!). Here is Wikipedia's description. His suggestion is to start under dose for a week, then work up to the dose he recommends.

The next drug he recommended is called "Art-50"; the chemical component is "Diacerhein". It is supposed to be effective as an arthritis drug, but I don't *have* arthritis of the hip. I have synovial inflammation/tumor problems. He said there is a chance it'd help the PVNS, but he was less sure of that. Since he is less sure, and I want to err on the safe side, I may not start taking that, but we'll see.
In any case, he suggested to start only one at a time (obviously), and a half dose, at that.

Bottom line?
I wanna crawl into bed.
Trying new medicines is a grueling process, and I've been through it a few times already. I *do* want to be out of pain. But at what cost? The first med he suggested has a high rate of dizziness as a side effect. Not to mention other side effects.

It comes down to this: How much pain am I in? Can I live with it?
Answers: Lots. And, ummm.... yes, I can (and am) living with it. Is it worth playing around with drugs to see if I can get out of some pain? Maybe, but I am not quieted about it. Work with me here...

I just took a step back in my brain to the time when I started the other medicines I am presently on (mainly speaking about the one for the PTSD). Then, too, it was a difficult process. And I was suffering. It's only now that I realize that the medicine has helped me tremendously. I would be wary of going off of it, knowing what life was like beforehand. Maybe it could be the same with this Lyrica?

Saying that I want a medicine-free life seems irrelevant at this point. I've been through what I've been through, and thank Gd I am on the other side. It has been so long that I haven't had pain, that I literally forgot what it feels like to have a body that moves without pain. So, I could convince myself that I can go on this way. It's not so easy to start taking a drug to alleviate something you live with all the time.

Then also there are all the herbal remedies out there. Here is one a friend sent me a few days ago (thanks, HB!). There is also homeopathy. And I already tried the acupuncture to no success. Every product or treatment touts that *it* is the best in the class.

Another friend once suggested I try something called Gabapentin (hat tip to CL!). Turns out that Lyrica is in that family, but a newer version of it.

Again, I'll aim at a bottom line here.... I think I'm going to try the Lyrica. I still have that voice in me that says to exhaust trying all the herbal remedies first, and try homeopathy, also. There is *so much* out there. So why go for a heavier medicine first? (well it's not exactly first, but it is in front of these remedies I've mentioned)

I don't know. Maybe because I feel my pain is pretty extreme, and I need a medicine that has been tested and proven with clinical studies. Some people are like that. There are different methods out there for different types of people. Like my music, for instance... I have a master's in music performance, the crux of it being *Western* music. My training as a french horn player is centered around symphonic works and chamber music. It makes *sense* to me. I was never that great at jazz, or at improvisation. I know very little about, let's say, Indian music, or the beautiful East-Asian melodies. But give me a Beethoven, Brahms or Mahler symphony, and I'll tell you everything there is to know about it.

On the other hand, I am a birth doula. I go the complete natural route when it comes to childbirth. I believe in the ability of the woman's body to give birth without medical intervention, and have supported more than fifty women in exactly this. My philosophy of childbirth is very strongly natural, where medicine has only a small, specialized place.

I guess that because my body has been through so much medical trauma already, I am in the mind of the predictable perimeters of classical music rather than the mystery of natural birth. Does that make sense?


  1. That makes a LOT of sense - you need some things some times, and others, other times. It's about balancing your needs, and your treatments for them. May G-d grant you the wisdom to know which is which, and what is for when. HUGS and lots of love, Bracha

  2. You do make a lot of sens with what you say, and I like that you are willing to try new things but aren't just blindly jumping in to them. Hang in there - you aren't alone. Lots of friends and family are around and ready to help in whatever way you need - from actually doing things to just loving and supporting you.

    BTW - I think it was Ahad Ha'Am - 19th century Zionist thinker who said "More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews" While he was a very wise man, I'm not sure he was quite sage-level (at least not most of the thyme...).

    Hang in there...