Fibromyalgia and Big Pharma
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia well over a decade ago. I’ve been on Cymbalta for much of the duration for the fibro & depression. I’ve stopped taking it, fallen very ill, began taking it again because if it makes me that sick to stop then it must be working, right? This became a repetitive cycle.
I’ve been prescribed muscle relaxers short term, but at the early stages pain medications weren’t discussed. My weight has fluctuated over the years making it more difficult to move around carrying the extra weight. At one point I went to my Dr in tears, asking what more can I do? He referred me to a pain management specialist. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was so in the dark I thought we’d be discussing some kind of special yoga, stretching and maybe a muscle relaxer or something to help get me started in some kind of activities.
I walked into the office. I waited in the room for the Dr. The man came in, took a seat and said, “So you say you have fibromyalgia is it?”
He made a noise that could have been a cough; could have been a chuckle and said, “You know fibromyalgia is caused by sexual abuse as a child – are you seeing a psychologist?”
My heart dropped to the floor. I couldn’t speak.
“I’m not going to prescribe you morphine.” he said and this time it was w/ a laugh.
“But, but – I don’t want morphine! I thought you referred people to yoga or helped find ways to alleviate the pain – I don’t need a drip!” I stuttered
“I already said I’m not going to prescribe you morphine and we don’t schedule your appointments for you.” he laughed
By this time I wasn’t just confused I was crying. “What appointments?”
“Look, if you want to do yoga you do yoga we do not sign you up for anything like that.”
He walked out of the room laughing.
He came back shortly w/ what looked like 2 large bandages. He handed them to me along w/ a prescription and said if it really hurts stick one of these in the area and get yourself a counselor to talk to.”
I walked out of that office crying and never went back. I don’t remember what kind of patches they were but a week later I called the office and advised the nurse that I wasn’t going to fill the rx and did they want me to bring the script back into the office. “Oh no, you can just throw that away.”
So that was my early experience w/ a pain management specialist. No, I wasn’t prepared and I obviously didn’t know what I was walking into. After awhile I tried some yoga, tried acupuncture and eventually got myself walking. Not far at 1st but I began to lose some weight.
A few years ago I dislocated my shoulder and had a SLAP tear. It was a bit painful. I waited a week to go to see a Dr. I may have fibromyalgia but I also have a very high pain tolerance at times. By the time I went to the hospital I was white as a sheet and my arm had been hanging low at my side for a week.
They did Xrays, prescribed some hydrocodone & told me to make an appointment because I would need surgery. I went to the initial appointment, scheduled the surgery, later cancelled the surgery, rescheduled again and eventually had the surgery. I was on pain pills during this time. I was prescribed oxycodone, percocet and then hydrocodone at this time as I didn’t take well to the oxy or percocet. After healing time and physical therapy I went back once or twice for a cortisone shot but that was it.
Over the years my fibro has gotten worse. The shoulder, of course. I lost quite a bit of weight then I gained it back + some.
I’m still not on any pain medication. I take Gabapentin for the nerve pain. At first I thought it was a miracle, then the side effects. Tolerance, upping dosage. The “cymbalta cycle” for nerve pain.
I realize that I’m lucky. I’m in pain and things are getting worse but my fear is for those out there that rely on Big Pharma medications legally prescribed by their doctors to help w/ pain. Once you get used to these medications you become dependent and it’s not your fault – this is what the government gives us as options. Yes – there are addicts. There are people that go to the dr looking for medication for the sole purpose of getting high. Knowing this – isn’t the government encouraging this by making these types of medications the only “medicinal options” for pain??