Guest Column

A Story of Addiction, Part 1

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A story of addiction Credits: TAPinto Montville staff
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TAPinto Montville recently received this story from a former addict who lives in town. She hopes that by reading this difficult story, someone might seek help. She is writing under a pen name, but her story is true.

How Did I Get Here?

I’ve been sick for a long time. I’ve had five years of daily visits to the local infusion center for treatments. I have to sleep nightly with a pump connected to a surgically implanted IV port. I have several long hours of antibiotic IV treatments daily. I’ve had numerous surgeries along with several days of battling severe pain during the recovery. I’ve had several body parts removed, which to this day remains unexplained and difficult to accept. I have a lot of large, ugly scars. When I look at them, I become an emotional mess. Several bacterial infections in my kidneys, lung, brain, breasts, leg and my bloodstream left me septic.

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I hope that one day in the near future I will understand this entire journey.

I’ve been hospitalized for long periods of time, sometimes on a ventilator. I had a massive stroke. I’ve had nine bone marrow biopsies. I’ve had to travel all over the New York/New Jersey area and farther for scans, x-rays, blood draws and doctor appointments. I’ve had severe rounds of bone marrow suppression. Several blood transfusions. I was isolated when my blood count was low, to avoid germ exposure. I was unable to attend any functions at my children’s school due to germ exposure. I completely lost my hair. I have very high T-cells, but no doctor could figure out the reason. Nothing was improving - only deteriorating drastically.

My life, my illness, my relationship with my husband, children and parents was spiraling out of control. I lost my friends due to avoidance on my behalf. Certain extended family members just can’t understand what I’m going through.

I had weekly or daily home care nursing visits. I couldn’t function due to all the side effects of the medications. I was on 20-plus hours of IV medications daily. I experienced massive guilt due to spending more time away from my family in the hospital than at home. I couldn’t fulfill my role as a mother or wife.

At that point, I was willing to accept that this was my life, as long as I could have IV pain medicine to keep me from feeling pain and dealing with the reality of my very painful, depressing, never-ending medical situation. I became comfortable with the doctor whose care I was under, even though none of the medicines or treatments was making any sense.

Everyone around me was telling to me seek another opinion. I failed to listen. I failed to see the situation the way other people saw it. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to go for medical help or what other type of doctor to see. I was lost and ready to give up on myself.

I didn’t want to feel pain or sickness anymore…

I was sick of waking up running to the bathroom to throw up. Some mornings I would be in so much pain I would have to crawl to the bathroom, while other times, I couldn’t get out of bed. Some mornings, I didn’t even know what year it was or who was president. Some mornings, when my homecare nurse would come for my home infusions I was shaking and shivering and had a high fever. My mother and home care nurse would send me to the hospital in an ambulance.

If the doctor continued to order me IV pain medicine, I was fine. This was my life and the IV pain medicine was what I needed to be able to function. Over time, my body required more and more to feel the same way and be able to function. Of course, my doctor ordered more and more, helping me become very addicted. Without realizing, I became very badly addicted to IV pain medicine.

I didn’t want to feel any pain anymore. I felt as if I sacrificed enough because of all the time away from my family, body parts, surgeries, infusions, etc. Nothing was improving - only deteriorating drastically. Clearly my doctor didn’t and still doesn’t understand the powerful addictive nature of IV pain medicine. Nor did he understand the process of addiction, along with the disease of addiction. He didn’t care if I would ever beat addiction. He doesn’t care now. I bet he probably will never care about the situation he created. Once he took away the IV pain medicine he said, “You can work through the withdrawal; you’re a strong woman.”

No one can work through opioid withdrawals. That is an uneducated comment from an uneducated doctor - a doctor who is not up to speed in the world of addiction.

I couldn’t tolerate the withdrawal or the cravings, so he put me on pills along with fentanyl patches. I still don’t understand the theory of helping wean me off opioids by giving me a stronger opioid – another dangerously addictive anesthetic – and pain medicine. The pills were not effective.

Unfortunately, my tolerance of pain medicine was very high. I was left with no choice but to crush the pills and make my own IV pain medicine. Setting my own morals and ethics aside, I was desperate to relieve the withdrawal feeling. I was desperate to feel the rush that comes along with IV pain medicine. 

The feeling of opioid withdrawal is indescribable. No doctor should willingly allow any patient to go through opioid withdrawal without emergent medical attention. 

I set aside all my morals and ethics just to get high. I became selfish and didn’t care about anyone around me but myself – the typical behavior of an addict. Anyone who knew me, knew this was not the real me. The drugs took over my daily thoughts and behavior. 

After a recent lung biopsy my doctor was informed that one of my lungs was covered in talc. At that point, my doctor knew what I was doing but left my port in and continued ordering IV pain medicine. My doctor still didn’t care and he was happy to keep ordering an abundance of IV pain medicine, pills and medical marijuana. 

I had never done street drugs or any illegal drugs, but IV pain medicine consumed my entire day.

In Part 2 of M Gard’s story, we will learn what it took to conquer her addiction. She didn’t do it alone, and she still counts the number of days she’s been clean.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

If you or someone you love needs help with addiction, please call CARES, the Center for Addiction Recovery Education & Success at 973-625-1143. Or go to http://morris.caresnj.org/ .

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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