Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Always An Addict

I recently switched doctors. Although my children and I shared the same doctor for over 8 years, it had become impossible to get appointments in a reasonable amount of time. This doctor knew everything about my family, and had literally been caring for my son since he was born. When she switched offices, we had followed her. Leaving her wasn't a decision taken lightly. I've been seeing my new doctor for over half a year now. My family was extremely pleased with her. I've been battling some pretty nasty health issues of late. On my last visit I was told they wanted to take a urine sample to see if there was another cause for my lower back pain. When they sent me an email update that the visit summary was available, I jumped over to see if the lab results were back. They weren't, but the lab summary stated, "urine today due to pain". Fast forward a couple of weeks when I log back into my account to see if the labs had posted yet, since my doctors office had not called with the results. Imagine my surprise when I saw that a full drug panel had been done on me! Due to my chronic pain issues, I do have a prescription of Hydrocodone 325/5mg. I am prescribed enough for 2 pills a day. Every single month I have meds left over. At each doctors visit I take my bottle with me. It's a habit I picked up in 2001 when I was first diagnosed and had only 4 years clean time. Since I have always filled out my doc profiles legit and checked the little box beside the question that asked about previous drug abuse, doctors worry about someone with only a few years clean that have health issues which cause chronic pain. I didn't mind....... back then! I rarely even have a prescription for pain medication. Through the years, I managed to find alternate ways to manage my pain. I'm proud of that. Narcotic pain relief isn't really relief at all. It dulls the pain, bringing it back with a vengeance when the meds wear off. This typically results in the patient taking the medication every 4-6 hours to keep that rebound pain away. It's a nasty cycle. It's no wonder people become addicted to prescription medications so easily. But I know this! I spent over a decade of my life working with addicts. I'm aware of how the medications work and why it is literally a physically painful process to come off of them once addicted. If I were going to abuse prescription medications, wouldn't I go to a pain clinic that takes one look at all my medical diagnosis and is ready to prescribe me anything I ask for? The same pain clinic's I've complained about for years because they don't want to manage your pain, but merely drug you enough so that you don't know who you are, much less feel pain? Why would I stick to a measly bottle of 60 5mg hydrocodone if I was looking to get high and abuse them? If I were abusing them, how could I have pills left over every month? This May I will celebrate 18 years clean time. 18 years of not abusing drugs, prescription medications or alcohol. 18 years is a big deal. I was 19 when I got clean. 18 years is almost half my life span. As most of my regular readers know, I despise the fact that, at 13 years old, I was prescribed an addictive medication. I despise that no one talked to me or my parents about the risk of addiction. I despise that, as a result, I lost the next 6 years of my life. I spent 6 years of my CHILDHOOD strung out. I've spent 36 years of my entire life CLEAN. Six years of MY life that was WASTED because a doctor felt it was more important to drug me then to deal with the effects of the abuse I was enduring. Six years of MY life that was WASTED because a doctor didn't care if I ended up addicted, as long as my parents kept bringing me back and paying the bill. I'm proud of the woman I've become. I lived through a kind of hell most people can not even imagine during the 6 years of my life that I wasn't clean. It wasn't easy getting clean. Getting clean meant I had to deal with my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Getting clean meant I had to feel emotions about incidents I just wanted to forget about. Getting clean is, to date, one of the most difficult things I ever did. As I've mentioned before, I wasn't even aware of what addiction was. Other addicts taught me about addiction. Told me what it meant, what their lives were like. Told me that I didn't want the life they had and I should get out while I was young. When I realized that I was addicted (I was 18 then), I started thinking deeply about what that meant. 6 months later I woke up one morning and declared, "I want to get clean". After the initial jokes of "take a shower" subsided, the same addicts who told me that I didn't want their life were the ones that sat by my bed as my body was wrecked for days. Yeah, getting clean was one of the worst experiences of my life. It ranks right up there with being gang raped. Getting clean is, most likely, the hardest thing any person will have to go through. It means making amends with those you've hurt. It means dealing with the hurt and pain you were trying to run away from. It means accepting responsibility for your actions. And apparently, to my current doctor, it means "Once an addict, always an addict". Ironically enough, I accept the phrase "Once an addict, always an addict". I know to never take a prescription that can later senses if I am extremely sad, depressed, or feeling any type of negativity. I will lay in bed and suffer through my physical pain rather than take something that will also deaden the emotions I may be feeling. I know that, even though I never think about getting high anymore, that I easily could. I know that somewhere, hovering around the edges of my mind, is that girl that was so easily addicted and then kept with the addiction because it was better than dealing with the hell she was living with. The same girl who kept taking the meds even after she left her current hell, and told herself it was because of the hell she had run into. That girl is still somewhere deep inside of me. I hold all her memories, all her fears, all her reasons for running. I'm not that same girl, but I cling to the belief that she is still inside of me and could resurface. However, I know firsthand that having been an addict does not mean that you will never be able to remain clean I know that having been an addict doesn't mean that my pain can not be managed without abusing it. I know that if a doctor has concerns, they should DISCUSS THEM WITH ME, instead of being sneaky to get a drug test behind my back. I know that I deserve a doctor to be as honest and upfront with me as I've been with EVERY SINGLE ONE since the time I first got clean. I am angry. I am hurt. I even feel betrayed. I was told that my kidneys and bladder would be checked to attempt to determine if anything else was causing my pain besides the issue we knew of. Instead, they didn't check anything except to see if I was abusing drugs. I was lied to by my medical provider because they assumed that, since I readily admitted I had been an addict between the ages of 13 and 19, I must be an addict now. Guess my family will be searching for a new doctor. Honesty runs high on my list for a medical provider.

Monday, January 4, 2016

American Girl Type 1 Diabetes

Rarely do I see something that makes me throughly thrilled. This is one of those moments. As of January 1st, American Girl began selling a Diabetes Accessory Kit for their Truly Me dolls. The kit includes the following:

  • A blood sugar monitor and lancing device
  • An insulin pump that can be clipped to a doll's waistband, plus an adhesive to attach the infusion set
  • An insulin pen, for dolls that aren't using the pump
  • A medical bracelet
  • Glucose tablets
  • A log book
  • A special case for the supplies, plus an ID card
  • Stickers to add personalization
  • As many of my readers know, my now 18 year old son was diagnosed a little over two years ago with Juvenile Type 1 Diabetes. I just showed him the diabetic set for American Doll and despite his being a teenage guy, his face still lit up as he exclaimed, "Oh cool". Way to go American Girl....way to go! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner....... the REAL heroes.

I posted this on my Facebook page and the amount of support and messages telling me "thank you" have been overwhelming. As a result, I decided to post it here as well. The amount of support from veterans and their loved ones has floored me. The fact that the majority of the support has come from straight male veterans speaks volumes!!! Thank you for your support and love that you've shown. I am at a loss for words.

 I keep seeing people slamming the fact that American's have apparently referred to Caitlyn Jenner as a "hero" (though I have yet to see any of those articles). 

If you look up the definition of the word "hero" and you will find that the very definition of the word is sexist. Most refer to hero as "a man" and those that say "a person" typically then go on to state "usually a man".

But then, almost every single definition you find refers to "courage". Anyone that has ever seen firsthand the brutal treatment that homosexuals, transgender persons and similar have endured through the years knows that Caitlyn publicizing her transition took courage. She knew she would be vilified by many in the American public. I'm certain she knew the Bible belt would crucify her (literally if they could).

Throughout the history of Martin Luther King Jr there have been those that have taken affront at his being called a hero. The many men and women that were critical in the Civil Rights movement have been vilified, as people have screamed out that they were NOT heroes. This continues today (don't believe me? Google "Martin Luther King Jr was not a hero" and look at the results).

Most of the people that I've seen screaming that others shouldn't be called heroes are people that feel their sacrifices mean more than anyone else's. At the same time I've seen people that commit heinous crimes called a "hero", even as they face criminal charges for those crimes.

Caitlyn has shown "courage" and if you remove the ideal that the only heroes that exist are males, then Caitlyn - by the very definition of the word - qualifies as a hero. So do the many others that have publicly and privately stood up and fought for the rights of others. Rights that we all should inherently have. Rights that I have seen many soldiers say they proudly fight for, even if they don't agree with personal choices.

Speaking of soldiers, I've seen soooo many posts lately that state the ONLY TRUE HERO is a soldier and NEVER will anyone transgender be considered a hero.

When I see this, I think of one soldier in particular. A soldier who stated, “I have been a team and squad leader, a crew chief, and a machine gun section chief. I have been on over 400 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fought side-by-side in foxholes and remote operating bases. As I fight for my country in foreign lands, all I want it is to be able to serve openly while keeping the job that I love."

I think that every solider would agree that this man is a hero. So, take a moment to Google him. He should be fairly easy to find.

His name is Sgt. Shane Ortega
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