Dependency and Withdrawal
The morning of February 18, 2020 I woke up early and went to sit on the couch. Something was very wrong. Something was happening to me. Something I had no words to describe. I still don’t. My brain raced, but on nothing.
I tried to think it through, to name the sensation. What was this? It felt like my brain had a life of its own, like little rodents were running in frenzied circles inside my head. Looking back, the words that come to mind are distress, anguish, despair. But none of these is quite right. I wouldn’t realize until later that I was going through withdrawal.
I was going through withdrawal.
Hydrocodone was my first opioid, prescribed for post-surgery pain following the removal of my diseased tonsil. Though I didn’t want opioids, the surgeon was convinced I’d need them. (see Part 1). I took Hydrocode for three days, then switched to over-the-counter acetaminophen. I couldn’t tell the difference; the Tylenol was just as effective.
When radiation and chemotherapy began, the wound in my throat was still healing. Now, radiation would burn my throat raw, swelling and narrowing the passage to my stomach. Chemotherapy caused sores in my mouth and lesions on my tongue. To say that eating was a challenge is a gross understatement. But with my immune system under attack, I had to focus on my intake of the right nutrients and sufficient calories to keep me alive. I was trying to avoid the need for a feeding tube (see Part 5).
During the eight weeks of my treatment, I experienced a lot of pain. Early on acetaminophen dulled, though did not eliminate, the pain. By December 19, just two weeks into my treatment, I was on Hydrocodone again. And on January 8 the doctor switched me to Oxycodone.Continue reading “My Cancer Journey – Part 6”