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star_stuff

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About star_stuff

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  1. Thank you for the input, and I'm glad your mom is doing so well! My mom is 83, and my dad is 85, and I moved back home last year to help keep them out of assisted living. The spine doctor I'm seeing is all about non-surgical treatment. I haven't had a serious conversation with any doctor about surgery, but after I have the MRI, I will look into it. Before I make any decisions like that, though, I want to see how the epidural treatments work for me. I've never had an epidural before, and I expect the procedure itself is painful, and do I want to that 4 times a year for the rest of my life? I guess I have questions that can only be answered by experience. But, thanks for your feedback, because yeah, I'm scared that surgery will fuck me up even worse, but I admit that my fear may not fit the facts. Gabapentin - meh. Okay, last night I wimped out and took 100mg tramadol. Tonight, I'll try not taking the tramadol at all. But, I do feel a difference this morning - I'm groggy as hell. I hope this is a side effect that will fade, but I have a friend on gabapentin who always blames it for him being late in the mornings. I hate waking up and feeling kinda drunk for the next 3 hours, even after my coffee and Concerta. Oh, but what about the pain? Well, this morning I hurt, just like every morning for the last 3 weeks. So, I have to give this more time.
  2. If the best thing going around you is AA, just do your best to think about the higher power differently. What's bigger than me? Humanity. As a humanist, I believe that people make life meaningful, and people can solve their problems. I believe that people are inherently worthy of respect. What else is bigger than me? The universe. The laws of physics. The fact that, as my screen name implies, a star had to explode in order for us to exist, and our existence is intertwined with a planet full of relatives. Evolution means that all life is related. Whatever your truth is, just replace the higher power nonsense with that. Most of the time, it works as it's intended to, in my experience.
  3. 42 year-old man in the Southeast United States. Army Veteran, political liberal, atheist, and dad. My therapist turned me on to this board as a way to interact with other people who suffer from chronic pain. What I'm finding is a community of good people willing to help each other out, and I want to be counted among you.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, dilemma. I'm hoping that epidural is a durable solution (at least a few months at a time). But, that's weeks away, and now I just have to figure out how to make this work.
  5. Okay, everyone. Thanks for all your input and well-wishes! I saw a spine & pain doc today, and here's what happened: He said my pain was caused by the compression of vertebrates where my disc is thin or nonexistent (I kind of knew that, already). He said there was a concern about nerve damage because I had weakness in my left arm. He's putting me in for an MRI, and thinks that I would benefit from an epidural of corticosteroids. Until then, he put me on Celebrex 100mg + tylenol 1G during the day, and 300mg gabapentin at night (he knows I have a truckload of 50mg tramadol, and said I could use that if things were bad). In a week, I'm supposed to add a 300mg gabapentin in the mornings, and in another week, add a third in the middle of the day. By then, I should have had my MRI, and the next thing would be the epidural. That was this morning; so far, so good. I think the Celebrex is better than the Naprosyn for pain (at least for me right now, anyway), without the stomach cramps. My pain right now is around a 2-3, and normally by this time of day I'd be reaching for a tramadol. So, if things aren't much worse tonight, I'll probably just take the gaba (I usually take 100mg tramadol; I still might take a 50mg, just to be safe) with a flexeril, and hope for the best. ** 8pm edit ** I just couldn't stand it, so I took a 50mg tramadol at about 6pm. Gonna message the doc and ask to double my celebrex dosage. When the pain breaks away from those meds, what can I do? I can't keep downing NSAIDS, certainly can't keep downing tylenol, so tramadol is the only tool left in the toolbox. Took a second one just now, with the gabapentin, the flexeril, and the Belsomra. Man, this sucks.
  6. Yes. He writes them to "deliver by xx-xx-2020". At the VA, you can either pick meds up or have the pharmacy mail them. So, usually, I get mine while I still have about a week left. Since he started doing that, my anxiety about running out diminished a lot.
  7. I've been taking 40mg omeprozole (basically, 2 prilosec) every day for years for reflux. But, this pain is a strong cramp, and hurts almost as bad as everything else. Thanks for the well-wishes!
  8. That doc should have been more accommodating. I get meds from the VA, which is about as draconian as it gets about fill dates on controlled meds, but my doc writes them so that I usually get mine when I still have a week to go. If the doc is the one who's the problem, I'd start looking for another.
  9. I have to agree with OP. I get ridiculous nightmares with ambien, and benzos worked for sleep, but otherwise fucked me up (started forgetting important shit). Belsomra is super freaking expensive because it's new, but hopefully generic will be available soon. It helps me fall asleep, stay asleep, and not feel like crap when I wake up.
  10. Hey, notloki and dilemma. Thanks for responding, and sorry it's been so long. So, the pain is getting worse, and now I also hurt in my lower back and right thigh. On Friday, I saw my regular primary care doc. She said she reviewed my xrays, including ones from last year that they took after I pulled a back muscle. She said that, while she couldn't rule out anything degenerative or autoimmune, it was clear I had damage to my cervical and lumbar spines. She thought that I injured my back 10 years ago, while serving overseas in the military. She referred me to some spine and pain clinic, and gave me a shot of toradol. The toradol made me feel pretty good, and by midday, I could barely feel my shoulder and neck pain. But, by 6pm, everything was worse. A lot worse. the shoulder and neck pain was cranked up to ten, and my lower spine and left thigh were just as bad. I took 2 tramadol 50mg, 3 10mg flexeril, a 20mg suvorexant, 500mg naproxen, and 1000 mg acetaminophen, and for 2 horrible hours prayed for sleep, coma, or death. None of those things saved me until very late last night, because even when the pain began to subside, I started getting stomach cramps, like bad. I woke up at 1pm today, and the pain was back down to like 4, but now my left thigh hurts all the time (before it only hurt when I walked a lot). I took 500mg naproxen and 1,000mg tylenol, and went to the grocery store. The stomach cramps returned, so I guess I'm reacting to NSAIDS now, on top of everything else. Anyone have experience with Celebrex? dilemma, I'm sorry you had that experience with prednisone. I think they gave me steroids to reduce inflammation in my spine, and when I was in the middle of that steroid course, I felt a bit - I mean, just a bit - better. I'm hoping this spine doctor will do an MRI and do something meaningful with this pain.
  11. Well, last Friday I went to a primary care doc with severe pain in my left shoulder and along the left side of my neck. She x-rayed my shoulder and neck, and found that my cervical spine was straight, and the top two vertebrae are fused together. She referred me to a dermatologist, thinking this might be psoriatic arthritis, and put me on 500mg naproxen + 1g acetaminophen for pain during the day and 50mg tramadol at night, and started a 6-day course of methylprednisolone, which I finished today. I just started physical therapy. The daytime meds still leave me with 3-4 pain all day, and the tramadol seems to wear off in the middle of the night, leaving me with 7-9 pain until the next one kicks in. I don't know what I have yet, but I figure I need to lose 30lbs, so I started a keto diet, and am looking to add anti-inflammatory foods. I'm frustrated, and feel clueless, and oh, yeah, I'm in a lot of pain. Has anyone else been down this road? Anyone have any suggestions?
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