GREG'S LEGACY

Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Greg’s Greatest Journey – 11 Jul 2008

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About cancer pain …

Today I reached a milestone on my journey – the complete realisation of the finality of my condition.

For three months, we have been experimenting on pain management medications. After trying a range of analgesics and arthritis medications, we have come back to the old reliable morphine – a slow released base level in tablet form and a quick acting syrup to handle ‘breakthrough pain’ events.

Having led a sober life never succumbing to recreational drugs – except cigarettes which I have been using since I was 15 – and have always had an aversion to medications of any kind, I have had trouble accepting that I should need to use a narcotic like morphine. After all, it is supposed to be the medically pure form of heroin, isn’t it?

Now, the reality is that I have extensive secondary bone cancer throughout my pelvic area and you don’t have to do much research to learn that bone cancer can be excruciatingly painful.

The normal routine is to manage daytime pain with panadeine and to prevent nightime events with the morphine tablets.

Today, I had a bugger of a day. I took some Panadol Osteo but it didn’t work. I was forced into taking the morphine syrup. Half an hour later, I took another dose. Whilst this eventually kicked in, I became quite out of sorts not only suffering the bone pain but the side effects of the hormone implant and the morphine: hot flushes, vomiting and all the rest.

Later in the day I was talking with one of my medical support team explaining my reluctance to become addicted to or dependent upon narcotic drugs. The response startled me! “You are already dependent on the morphine – what does it matter – you are going to need it until you die anyhow”

The penny dropped along with my jaw. This dying deal is real and my body tells me the cancer is progressing on a daily basis. I can only expect more of the pain and a corresponding greater dependence on the drug.

From here on in, if it hurts I’m taking that stuff! If I go to my maker addicted to morphine, I’m sure he will understand?

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Written by Greg Naylor

11 July 2008 at 7:23 pm

16 Responses

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  1. hi i’m hopping arround the wordpress and then i got here. i can’t say anything since I’m not doctor or in the position to that. But I’m hoping that you can still enjoy life even in pain…well with your love ones and with the things that you like to do.Vaya con Dios!

    hitokirihoshi

    11 July 2008 at 7:57 pm

  2. Welcome Hitokiri Hoshi
    Thank you for your thoughts. I fully intend to enjoy every day left to me. The pain comes and I will deal with it and then get on with it. By the way, where do you come from?

    Greg Naylor

    11 July 2008 at 8:06 pm

  3. […] Baby Boomers Natural Cures Survival Guide For Optimum Health! wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt About terminal cancer pain … Today I reached a milestone on my journey – the complete realisation of the finality of my condition. For three months, we have been experimenting on pain management medications. After trying a range of analgesics and arthritis medications, we have come back to the old reliable morphine – a slow released base level in tablet form and a quick acting syrup to handle ‘breakthrough pain’ events. Having led a sober life never succumbing to recreational drugs – except cigarettes which I have been using since I was 15 – and have always had an aversion to medications of any kind, I have had trouble accepting that I should need to use a narcotic like morphine. After all, it is supposed to be the medically pure form of heroin, isn’t it? Now, the reality is that I have extensive secondary bone cancer throughout my pelvic area and you don’t […] […]

  4. from Philippines Sir!

    hitokirihoshi

    11 July 2008 at 9:24 pm

  5. Any God who didn’t understand wouldn’t be worth worshipping. But obviously I’m a mad raving atheist 🙂

    Kieran Bennett

    11 July 2008 at 9:38 pm

  6. I’ve read some of your blog posts – and I don’t believe you Kieren 😉

    Greg Naylor

    11 July 2008 at 10:33 pm

  7. It’s what the stuff was meant to be used for Greg, pain management. If it were not for those who use it incorrectly (to get a false high) would you have any second thoughts about taking it? It’s funny how it’s the people who abuse things that make those things sound evil to others.

    raydixon

    12 July 2008 at 1:11 pm

  8. Yeah, I know that Ray. But that is the culture I was raised in and it took that nurse to shake me into the reality of it all. I wonder how I would get on if I met a random drug testing outfit on the road.

    Interestingly, since diagnosis, nobody has suggested I give up smoking for health reasons … except my ex-wife. I knew there was some reason I no longer live with her 😉

    Greg Naylor

    12 July 2008 at 1:24 pm

  9. Greg, pharmacologically, morphine bonds to nerve endings called nociceptors, they are the part of the nerve cell which feels pain.

    It’s actually physiologically impossible to become addicted to morphine while you have pain, it’s only when people take it without pain that they become dependant on it.

    If your pain miraculously stopped tommorrow and you stopped taking the morphine, you wouldn’t get any withrawl symptoms at all.

    Ask your paliative care pain specialist, he (or she) will tell you the exact same thing I bet.

    alburywodongaonline

    12 July 2008 at 3:42 pm

  10. Also Greg, heroin and morphine are quite different.

    Heroin is used medically in some countries (the UK for instance)it was used here up until around the 1960’s I believe. It was called dia-morphine (it’s particularly good for labour pain and oddly enough, cancer pain).

    Morphine is a much larger molecule, which means it is slower acting, slower to metabolise (ie break down in your liver) and slower to take effect.

    People who take opiates for the “buzz” don’t like it so much for this reason.

    The morphine you are recieving is a lab-produced version of the old opium which was perfectly legal until just a few decades ago.

    Heroin is more like laudnum, a tincture of opium, more refined, more quicly absorbed by the body and with a greater “buzz” for people who take it for that reason.

    Trust me, there’s not a junkie on this earth who would take morphine if there was heroin available, the two are of the same family of drugs, but they are quite dis-similar chemically, and physiologically.

    Oh and BTW, even if you did test positive for opiates on a roadside saliva test (unlikely given that current tests screen only for cannibis and meth-amphetamines) being medically prescribed opiates is a legitimate defence in a court of law.

    Your doctor will advise you if you shouldn’t drive.

    alburywodongaonline

    12 July 2008 at 3:55 pm

  11. Greg, why not go the whole hog and smoke ganja too? There’d be a bit of it around your district, I imagine.

    raydixon

    12 July 2008 at 4:08 pm

  12. Jack, thanks for that explanation – That makes me feel more comfortable about it.

    Greg Naylor

    12 July 2008 at 4:25 pm

  13. I can’t smoke the profits Ray although I have heard it is an effective cancer medication – probably lets you forget for a moment or two.

    Greg Naylor

    12 July 2008 at 4:27 pm

  14. there is an argument suggesting cannabis has a role in managing chronic pain, anecdotally I’ve heard people claim it’s effective.
    There has never been a clinical trial conducted on it and the US FDA has never endorsed it, why? well hop over to Ray’s blog and “2nd American” will tell you all about why they “don’t smoke marijuana in Muscogee”.

    alburywodongaonline

    12 July 2008 at 5:24 pm

  15. Sorry to hear about the no good, shitty painful day. Hang in there Greg and for sure take whatever meds you need to alleviate the pain. Its also perfectly OK to be angry about whats happening and to say so on the blog. I find your honest expressions of frustration a refreshing change form many of the ‘medically oriented’ blogs about this disease. Please keep posting and telling it like it is

    pejolido

    14 July 2008 at 7:46 am

  16. Hi Peter.
    Thanks for the kind words.
    How are you traveling with your cancer? I wish you well with the Proton Beam Therapy – I haven’t heard much about that here but I will inquire. It may be what is known as targeted radiation therapy.

    Greg Naylor

    14 July 2008 at 9:25 am


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