Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Medication and Not Being a Hero

A close friend of mine was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease several years ago. She tells me that back then they didn't have nearly as many drug options for treating Crohn's. I think it's wonderful that new treatments are being developed, and that we have options available to us.

My current regimen includes:

  • Prednisone: a corticosteroid which reduces inflammation. It has all kinds of nasty side effects and I'm happy to be down to 10mg per day from my initial 4 weeks of 40mg per day. This is commonly the first thing that people are prescribed because it's powerful and effective.

  • 5-ASA (5-Aminosalicylic): An anti-inflammatory which targets the intestines. A common treatment for Crohn's which has much fewer side effects. 1500mg twice per day.

  • Iron (Ferrous Gluconate): My iron levels were low as of my last blood test. They must have been low for my whole life because I now feel more alert and less sensitive to the cold than I have in... as long as I can remember. 300mg twice per day.

  • Multi-vitamin with Ester-C: Important to make sure I'm getting proper nutrition. The Ester-C is a non-acidic vitamin C which doesn't irritate my stomach. One per day.

  • Calcium and Vitamin D: 1000mg per day. Prednisone leeches calcium out of your body so this is important. Plus I don't eat dairy, though I do drink fortified rice milk.

  • Vitamin B12: Makes me feel much more energetic. My inflamed section of bowel is where this is normally absorbed. So I want to make sure I'm getting enough.

  • Percocet (Oxycodone): As needed for pain. This leads me into the second part of this post... on not being a hero.

Not Being A Hero

There's one area in your life where you really shouldn't try to be a hero, and that's pain management. To understand where I'm coming from, let me explain that I was raised by parents who look upon any kind of medication as a last resort. I can take a single regular strength Tylenol and feel relief from a headache- that's how sensitive I am to it because I never take it. So, when I was prescribed Oxycodone for the pain of my Crohn's flare up, and later my surgery to drain an abscess... I was very reluctant to take it. My first experience with the pain meds they gave me - Tylenol 3s was that it caused constipation and just made me feel worse. And for some reason, in my head I felt that if I was taking medication for pain, somehow I was losing to the Crohn's or it was worse than it was. Like there was an invisible line that I was crossing by taking a pain pill.

Boy was I set straight. My boyfriend, family and friends all called me out on my nonsense. Even my home-care nurse looked at me dumbfounded when I told her, only a few days after my surgery, that I had only taken half of a pill in the last 24 hours. She looked at me all maternally and said "Dear, you just had surgery, take the pills so you can feel a little bit normal.".

So, I relented and when my pain was up, I took a pill and while it made me sing random songs... over all it had few side effects, and made me feel much better. Today, I'm pain pill free b/c my pain level is thankfully quite low.

So, my fellow sufferers, if you're at all like me- cut it out, and take the pain pill. You deserve to have whatever relief you can get.

Don't forget- only take medications as directed by your doctor!

1 comment:

  1. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, too. It is so much better to stop a pain cycle before it starts than to try to control it in the middle.