As the few readers of this blog know, I have some pretty serious pain issues due to my (probable) affliction with Ankylosing Spondylitis – a type of Spinal Arthritis. My pain is generally pretty constant this time of year with descents into severe pain occuring on a weekly basis, sometime for days or weeks without end. For the last three years the pain in my scapula, the shoulder blade region, has ebbed and flowed but has, over time, become more constant, The tendons in that region get so hard they feel like bone, and nothing – not double doses of Vicodin, Percocet or Oxycontin, or even the gnarly Fentanyl patch could get my right shoulder blade to stop hurting. Think about that- those are pretty serious pain killers there, and they weren’t helping. All my other pains they took care of, no problem, but even with that, the pills give you only a couple of pain free hours whereas the patch can last a couple of days or more, but then you can’t really drive and I certainly could never even consider climbing under those conditions, so that is definitely a negative. So when I turned to the final prescription in the series we have been trying, a drug called Tramadol, I really wasn’t very optimistic. How could this drug, which isn’t even an opioid, help me where the strong stuff couldn’t? Nevertheless, I gave it a try.
Within just a short while I realized that my shoulder had stopped hurting, for the first time in months. As I waited out the first eight hours of the dose, there was not much drop off, either. After three days I knew we really had something here. Now it has been well over a week without pain and I am convinced that this stuff is the ticket to help me out of the misery. As the weather gets better I hope to taper to a minimal level, but probably will up my doses when September and the really bad time of year comes. For now, however, I am thrilled to say I have been pain free for longer than I have been in ages. Awesome.