Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fentanyl, Cannabis, and pain

It's been a while. I have written a lot, but not published for general viewing. It's been really tough going.

I am being reminded of the pain I had that made me go on the Fentanyl in the first place. One specific pain has returned that I literally had (blessedly) forgotten about. After I had the surgery to place the mesh under Gapey (July 2010 and thereafter if you want to look in the archive section), I was in so much pain. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced to that day. Worse than the NF. (Maybe not worse than the skin graft donor side for the whole year after the graft surgery, but it's hard to compare)

When I first went to Dr. Davidson in Jerusalem for consultation on pain control, I know that the pain from the mesh surgery was one of the biggest ones I was dealing with. It literally hurt to breathe, and any use of stomach wall muscle. It was only when I finally went on the Fentanyl that I got relief from that pain. Well, it's back. Not as strong as then, but I still am taking some Fentanyl, I'm not off yet. My dose at the moment is 25mmg. I have four more times to lower the dose, which means about two more months of this misery. Yes, pain is resurfacing. Yes, the Cannabis helps, but....

It also makes me uncomfortably disconnected from my brain. Even though it is a strain which has lowered amounts of the chemical that causes the "high" (THC), it still effects me with a high. Even just the one drop I take under my tongue. Please don't take that with a grain of salt and think "how nice for her". It's not. It's not what I want at all. I cannot talk to or take care of children when in this state. I cannot drive. Therefore, it isn't usable. I have used it only at night when I am desperate for my leg to stop bouncing (the RLS). No medicine is usable for me if it takes away my ability to function normally.

So, for now, I am not taking anything to help with the pain. There *is* nothing I can take on a regular basis. My hips are in constant pain as well. I am falling into quite a depression. Not sure how much of that could be a withdrawal reaction (chemically), or how much of it is because of the pain and current situation, but it is awful. I don't look forward to the day, and I am not sleeping well at night. The insomnia is fierce. The Cannabis alone won't put me out, I need it combined with a sleeping pill. Then I am awake four hours later. Pharmacologically induced sleep feels awful in the morning. I have been getting four or five hours of sleep at night, and trying to function normally during the day. Hmmmm, I guess that would be depressing for anyone, right?

I did do something proactive. I made an appointment with a medical doctor who is also a naturapath. He's in Jerusalem. He comes highly recommended by many, including a friend of mine. My diet and nutrition has been atrocious. When I have an appetite, I tend to eat empty things. I have no discipline anymore for anything except weaning off Fentanyl. I have started eating meat again, after two years of nearly vegetarian, because I am not eating well enough to be a vegetarian. I hope that he can help me sort things out with my diet so I can deal with the weaning better and have enough energy. Could improve my mood too, of course. Maybe help my sleep. Diet is so important, and I don't know which decisions are right for me anymore. I am so entrenched in the weaning that nothing feels good. I wake up feeling crappy *every day*.

Two more months of this. Gd help me.


  1. So sorry Sarah. I hope the doctor in Jlm can help.

  2. Sorry the long awaited cannabis is not proving helpful. I have not said anything as I didn't want to jinx you but the only other person I know who tried medical cannabis was immediately allergic and it made her quite sick. Was really hoping you'd be need a good break from all the setbacks. At some point you will find your balance and it may not be drug free however much you think that is a goal. Pain is a strain in your heart aside from the pain itself and as you write your kids need you functional... YOU need yourself functional... Good luck with the new doctor.

  3. Looking forward to the naturopathic medical mixture. Complementary medicine could hold the solution for you. I hope you benefit from it soon.

  4. Sara!!!! Kol hakavod lach!!!! Mamash. May you be blessed to continue !!!!!

  5. Wishing you and your family chizuk during this difficult time. And belated Happy Birthday! I'm with you, my friend!

  6. Feeling for you, Sarah. This process is so hard. Hoping the naturopath can recommend something to relieve things for you. Hugs

  7. From something I once read about recovering heroin addicts (I know this is not a precise parallel), I suspect that at least part of your depression is chemically induced or, more precisely, lack-of-chemical induced. (I don't need to tell you that lack of sleep, pain and legs that keep twitching don't help!)

    Please check with your doctor(s). I may be wrong, and maybe, if I am not completely wrong, at least one of them will be able to suggest something that would help.

    I hope that, by this time, things are at least a little bit better, and I pray for you that you are able to enjoy Pesach. If you can make it through the preparations without more than discomfort, that would be a blessing, too.
    All the best,


    1. I assume the same thing- that the depression is from my "matzav" as well as the chemical changes going on inside me. Either way, explaining it doesn't help it go away, but can give me hope that it will change. Pls gd.

      I am hoping to get some good advice from the naturapath on Wednesday. My diet is awful, and that can't be helping. Other than that, I don't know anything that any doctor can offer besides more sorts of medicines. I don't want that. I'll get through this. Already got it down again, at 18mmg now. My goal is to be off by pesach, B'ezrat Hashem.

      Thanks for your support!!


    2. Hi Sarah,

      I'm sorry I did not make myself clear. My thought was that, if my theory is correct and you have a chemically-induced depression, perhaps a doctor could give you an indication of how long the chemically-induced depression is likely to last. If it's gonna be six months (I hope NOT) before you feel normal again, then at least you would know and won't get depressed because things aren't right after a month. Not well worded, but I hope you get my drift.

      (Pain, pain, go away,
      DON'T come back another day?)

      I take it that you will be going down to 9 mmg some time this week and the remainder some time next week. Good luck!

      May you be drug-free AND able to enjoy your Seder!

    3. I do get your drift. I think it goes along the lines of wishing I knew how long it took for the Fentanyl to really leave my system after i stop taking it. I'll ask my doc when I see her tomorrow. I am not sure it'd be the type of thing she'd know, but I'll ask.

      thanks, and AMEN to your blessing!