Pain, Illness, Medication, Addiction

A few months ago I had an e-mail conversation with a friend and business associate. It dealt with his wife who was recovering from very painful medical issues. Names and a few facts are changed to assure privacy.

From Bob:
She is holding her own, but is also on very strong med's yet.  Her adrenal gland has completely shut down, and if we go lightly on her med's, she actually collapses, and it takes a couple of days to get her back up to a real person again.  So I think I can better understand what you have been going through all these many years now.

From Me:
It is good to hear that Mary is "holding her own." I think the hardest thing for me was finding inner peace about my limited capabilities. Having been an athlete in my youth I lived by the motto "no pain no gain."  For a person with medical issues, that mantra can spell disaster. It is important to avoid pressing the body so far. I used to push myself too hard out of guilt, need, and drive for completion. It took me 20 years to finally start pacing myself and allowing "I've done enough" to enter my vocabulary.

I sure hope that Mary does not have to limit herself as much. It would be wonderful for her to make that steep climb to regained health. I do desire that she improves and discovers her never ending energy stream. When it comes to pain, it seems best to stay ahead of it with the medicine. In the long run it takes less medication and is more comfortable.

Have a great day and I''ll be in contact soon.

From Bob:
Thank you for taking the the time this morning to help educate me and Mary on what You have had to do to cope with your life's pain.  It was very timely, as I have had to impose on Mary to take a higher medication level, because She has "large pains" in some areas, and the Doctors and Nurses have all said what You have laid out here, to get ahead of the Pain  Mary hates to take medications, so She suffers with the pain because of her wanting to take the minimum med's.  To hear from someone like you that She trust's and knows has suffered through a extremely long period of life as you, to say it is best to get ahead of the pain helps her today!
Thanks so much Miles, we appreciate You very much!  Your guidance here is really on point for Her.
Bob and Mary

From Me:
I am happy that my comments were of value. If it's OK I'll share something that I have learned about pain management vs pain killers.

People tend to fear pain meds because of the "addiction" risk. Think of addiction as a behavior similar to what an alcoholic experiences. There is an underlying need for the drug to avoid dealing with real life. For someone that has an injury or medical issue, their body has a dependence on the medicine to continue normal function. Think of a diabetic with insulin. Without the pain meds, the body has increased trauma, slowed healing, and the potential for continued or permanent problems. 

If a person takes pain meds and lets the serum level drop, then takes again, they end up needing higher doses to accomplish relief, over time the dose and tolerance grows and it becomes a difficult cycle.

On the other hand by staying ahead of the pain, the body calms down, healing speeds, and recovery has a higher probability.  If, when the illness is over, the person has developed a chemical dependence for the narcotic, there is a simple process of slowly reducing the  medication amount thus allowing the body time to overcome it's acquired need.

However, if people stay ahead of the pain the chance of chemical dependence is reduced and tolerance can be avoided or reduced substantially.

The last thing Mary needs right now is to worry about pushing herself to hard. She needs the healing magic of her body. 

Good luck. It must be difficult for Mary it would nice to have a fairy godmother sweep in the window and fix everything.  I imagine this illness is also a hardship for Bob who must feel powerless to help the love of his life.

From Bob:
This is amazingly helpful right now for Mary, as you would know!   As I read Her your email, it was like she could REALLY HEAR this for the first time.   The very way you layed this out was perfect for Her to understand.  She finally got the idea behind the message.  It finally sank in, to stay ahead of the pain for the reasons that you pointed out.  I could not have had anyone explain it better for Her to comprehend  it at this time especially when She knows you have dealt with this first had most of your adult life.  She is now not arguing with me about going "up" some on her Med's (to relieve her surgery pains), because She now understands the bigger picture that you helped Her see.
When I first read this alone without Mary, it almost made me cry, because You are so spot on.  The trouble with that is it tells me that You have learned this the hard way, but I sure appreciate that You have the wisdom to pass it along to someone else in need of your experience.
I plan on not deleting either of your emails', as I am going to keep them to reinforce these messages again over the short run to Mary if She tries to slip back to Her old comfort zone.  You don't know how exciting this is for me, to have someone that She can believe in, (You)  to reinforce what I have tried to get Her to understand.  After I repeated Your email to Her, that's all it took.   
Thanks again My friend,


  1. Hello Miles

    It is by pure chance I am here. I used Drewslist for the first time about 4 months ago and used the listing to sell things. I now delete almost everything he sends, for it does crowd the inbox! I happened to look at some things for sale, and one your youtube videos made me laugh, and then something urged me to look further...and I wound up here.

    I am a 31 year old male, divorced, and raising a 9 year old boy. I survived two cancers, one of which left me with a disability at 27 and a considerable amount of pain. I moved to the island at that time and have since fell into isolation, physically, geographically, as well as emotionally. I felt today as I awoke that my circumstances in life were pushing me to the brink of giving up. The chronic pain I deal with has intensified recently, and being woken up too early by a flare up of pain, I felt as if it was the "straw" on top of everything else.

    My therapist says that healing occurs in community. As I said, I've been isolated and feel there is no one I can relate to, especially as a young man mourning the loss of the power that youth can bring. Stumbling across this has been a blessing. To see that there are others who are in similar shoes lets me know I'm not alone, especially here on this isolated rock, and the thought of getting to know you and others through this page is giving me the hope to continue going.

    Thank you for doing this. Thank you for reaching out. I've been wanting something like this for a long time, I just didn't know where to look. I hope to be able to exchange emails, or meet some day, if you are willing. The support is priceless to me, and i extend my everlasting gratitude.


    1. Thank you for your comment. SOrry it took so long to reply. I am not as fast as I'd like to be.