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

Am I a Drug Addict?

with 3 comments

For the last four years, I have been dependent upon the Poppy, in its various forms, to manage the pain of metastatic prostate cancer. Morphine comes in a variety of forms and I think I have tried them all.

Because I have bone cancer, I am sure the doctors assume there must be extreme pain and prescribe accordingly.  Yes, I had lower back pain that had been managed with Advil (isoprofin) for the last year or more.
I started out on 20mg MS Contin tablets and progressively moved up to more than 150mg twice a day.  When used against pain, there is no euphoric effect from the opiate but it would be a fatal dose for recreational drug users.
Should the side effects of the particular drug become dominant, the morphine product is changed.  So, I was prescribed  Buprenorphine  (boo-pree-nor-feen) transdermal patches (like nicotine patches) to reduce the side effects of the MS Contin which then was changed to Oxy Contin (Hillbilly Heroin).  To complete the range of options, I was eventually prescribed  Jurnista, a hydromorphone synthetic morphine. When I reached the limit of the patches (Norspan), they were replaced with the current product using  fentanyl.  These are replaced every 3 days and are supplemented once again with 120 mg Oxy Contin twice a day.
For breakthrough pain, I have a liquid morphine sulphate product called Ordine and immediate release morphine sulphate capsules called Oxy Norm that are used on demand.
On Ambulance trips to the hospital, I have used inhalant devices that deliver a morphine powder (a cigar shaped “puffer” like those used in AFL Football) as well as vaporised morphine through a face mask when I became unconscious or incoherent. 
In the hospital, I also received my morphine though an IV Drip.  One option I have not tried yet is a butterfly insertion where a plastic tube with a tap is placed into a vein with the morphine syringed into the blood supply as needed.  This is the last manual process available.
The automatic morphine syringe driver is the preferred method of pain relief I will choose when I can no longer take tablets or I am not capable of making decisions.  Once that device is connected, the end will be very close.

Am I a drug addict? … and … Does it matter at this time – the back end of my life?

Written by Greg Naylor

23 September 2012 at 12:00 am

3 Responses

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