As I sit here, I am below my surgeons goal weight for me. I am 278lbs and hoping to lose more, though it is slow going and I have a fight for every pound I get off, but that’s ok as my surgeon said I would be very lucky to hit 280 (for those new, my start weight was 644lbs/46 stone) 🙂 In UK speak I’m a teenager and in the 19 stone range. It feels amazing on paper, and sometimes looks amazing in pictures, but I don’t actually feel much different….that’s neither good or bad, just weird!
At the end of September I got a new shiny left hip! My hip had completely collapsed and my femur had overgrown it’s head into my pelvis. It was as painful as it sounds! I was on 50mcg fentanyl patches topped up with 60mg codeine and I could still feel it!!!!!! Oh my lord, all my aches and pains now seem very minor in comparison to that experience.
The surgeon did give me some length back in my left leg….thankfully!!! I’ve been 5’10” since I was 12….so in my mid 30’s to only be 5’7″ was traumatic…and I couldn’t stand up straight…or walk more than 5 feet with my stick. Now, thanks to my shiny titanium hip and physical therapy, I can stand mostly upright, I’m not short anymore and I am getting around ok. I still need my crutches, but it is getting better every day! It’s rare to be 37, fat AND get a hip replacement….just goes to show just how bad my situation was.
Now, I am off the fentanyl. After research and consideration (and going through withdrawals if I was a few hours late with a new patch) I decided to cold turkey it. My GP wanted to titrate my dose down…which to me translated to: drawing out the terrible process of getting off of opiates! I had a choice of 2 months of niggling withdrawals or 3 weeks of pure hell. I choose quick hell. My reasoning mostly, was that I was sleeping like shit anyways, recovering from my hip replacement. I am not a back sleeper, at all. It hurts, my legs swell, my back kills and I just don’t go into deep sleep.
Sooooooo, using the time of shitty sleep to get off of fentanyl seemed ideal as my first symptoms of W/D was always panic attacks just as I would drift off to sleep. It’s a crazy feeling of gasping for air and your heart beating out of your chest….and sweats….yuck. Since I wasn’t sleeping deeply, this issue was nearly negligible. I knew it would get worse, and it did.
The tummy issues. Dear god, the tummy issues!!!! Coming out of hospital I was on fentanyl, oxycodone AND codeine. Pooing was a luxury I did not know! However, once I was detoxing from it all it felt like I had the flu whilst being repeatedly punched in the stomach whilst having a hot poker shoved up my ass. I dealt with that part like a trooper, but I knew the worst was yet to come.
If you don’t have experience with opiates, they make you feel GOOD…like antidepressant GOOD! They do this by changing (over time) the pathways in the brain. I had been on codeine going on 5 years and fentanyl going on 2 years….so yeah, I was in for some serious fucking mental anguish! And it came.
I think it was midweek 2. Everything was blah, everything in my body hurt, and then boom. Depression hit, suicide seemed a viable option and I just couldn’t figure out how to pull myself up enough that I didn’t want to die. The only saving saving graces were a) the hubz knew I was going through W/D’s and wasn’t myself and b) I knew this wasn’t me, it wasn’t bipolar, it was a chemical issue in my brain from the lack of opiates. It sucked ASSSSSSSS!!!!! I knew if I could just get through the next week, I would be ok.
And I was. I wanted to blog during that time, but it was bad, dark, and I complained A LOT. I didn’t want people to think I had completely lost my mind. Thankfully, this was a physical dependence and not a psychological one. No matter how bad the suffering was, I never contemplated going back on it. Remember, my GP had no idea (and still doesn’t as she’s been off sick) that I was planning to go cold turkey, so it was an option if I wanted it, but I never even considered it.
It was worth it. 3 weeks of hell and it’s over. My tummy still isn’t right, but I think that may be my iron….that I have to take…for life!
This whole experience gave me more compassion for those truly addicted, in all senses, to drugs. Getting off of fentanyl was tough enough and I wanted off ASAP and I had no psychological need for it. I can’t imagine those who NEED it, trying to get through the hell of W/D’s whilst resisting their known comfort. Fuck that must me hard. Harder than I can imagine!
(Worth a mention is I was diagnosed by a rheumatologist with Fibromyalgia. My life, my body makes so much sense now; the chronic fatigue, hypoglycaemia, random extreme pain with no arthritic cause. ugh. Just one more label really, but this one makes things I’ve struggled with for 20+ years, make sense.)
I will end it here and try not to wait so long before updating. I am still studying but have changed to a Pscyh degree! Go me! I decided what I want to do when I grow up 😉
And a pic 🙂 This is me leaving the hospital after my hip replacement and a 1 week (to the day) stay! I was told I’d be in for 2 weeks, but I pushed myself and tried sooooooooo hard to impressed the physical therapist lol. Being in pain sucks, but it seems to suck a lot more in a hospital than it does at home 🙂