Friday, June 16, 2017

(Guest blog by Jackie Waters) Tips for Avoiding Prescription Drug Abuse When Dealing with Chronic Pain



Tips for Avoiding Prescription Drug Abuse When Dealing with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain sufferers face a tough battle nearly every day of their lives. It’s often difficult for

doctors to pinpoint the root causes of non-acute pain and many of the treatments are hit or

miss. Turning to prescription opioid medication to give yourself comfort may seem like the next

logical step. It’s important to know, however, that prescription pain medication is often ineffective

and dangerous when it comes to chronic pain. It can lead to abuse, addiction, and can further

complicate existing health issues. Here are some tips for avoiding prescription drug abuse if you

suffer from chronic pain.

Stick to the rules

When it comes to prescription drugs, it cannot be overstated how important it is to do things by

the book. This means to always follow the prescription, consult a doctor frequently, and never

ever alter the manner in which you take or the amount you take of the medication. Drug abuse

is not limited to the taking of illegal substances. It’s also not just about doing too much of a drug

(though that is a major problem). Crushing up a pill and snorting it, taking it more frequently than

the recommended time frame, taking it in combination with other drugs or alcohol, or any other

modification that doesn’t adhere to the doctor's and pharmacist’s instructions can be drug



Do not ask for increased dosage for increased pain

It may seem logical to ask for more pain medication  to battle more intense pain, but in fact this

is dangerous and counterproductive. You want to work on lessening your dosage of opioids, not

increasing it. The more opioids you take in an attempt to manage your pain the more your body

will become tolerant and the more ineffective they will be. Doctors are responsible for sensible

dosing, but it’s also on you. Don’t fall into the temptation.

Turn to alternative, holistic treatments as opposed to prescription medication

Ultimately you’re going to be healthier and avoid the spectre of addiction if you completely wean

yourself off prescription meds (or don’t begin taking them in the first place). Chronic pain is a

tough condition, and the temptation to take an “easy way out” - even it’s only temporary - is hard

to resist at times. But through lifestyle changes and a more comprehensive, total body

approach, you can minimize your chronic pain to manageable levels.

Massage therapy is one way to deal with localized, intense pain.

“The effectiveness of massage therapy for pain has been supported by various studies. It has

been found most effective for non-specific lower back pain, both acute and chronic, but studies

have also found massage to be effective for shoulder pain, headache pain, fibromyalgia, mixed

chronic pain, and neck pain,” notes SaferLock.

Other alternative treatments include aromatherapy, acupuncture, and hypnosis.

Of course, there is no quick fix for chronic pain and you must also make sweeping lifestyle

changes if you want to truly manage it. First, you should stop smoking and limit your intake of

caffeine and alcohol, both of which can cause inflammation. Next you must commit to eating a

diet rich with vegetables, fish, nuts, and fruit as opposed to one filled with red meat, fried food,

and sugar. After that, it’s vital that you commit to getting at least 30-45 minutes of moderate

physical activity per day.

Opioid medication can be effective in treating acute pain, but when it’s used to treat chronic pain

the risk of abuse and eventual addiction skyrocket. If you find yourself needing to get help with

opioid addiction, start here. It’s best to not go down the prescription meds path if you can avoid


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Friday, August 19, 2016

Chronic pain (Part one): What I want others to know.

I've refrained from posting anything that from posting about my current health issues on my blog because I don't know if anyone I know if any of my acquaintances that aren't trusted enough for me to be friends with them on Facebook, or upper management from my work ever looks at my blog or will find it. I'm assuming that if anyone in corporate has found it that it would have been brought up to me or one of my managers at some point. I've had ongoing issues that partially mostly has to do with my hydrocephalus, but having do with other health problems as well that has caused me to have a constant splitting headache since the end of 2010, and daily headaches for about a year and a half before that. By constant I don't mean daily or off and on, I mean it never goes away. Before anyone asks I've been seeing doctors including my neurosurgeon for the majority of the time that it's been going on. They've found at least one of the sources of it that does have to do with my Hydrocephalus, but we're having issues fixing it. I do also plan on getting back on track with some of those doctors soon, and if things still don't work out I intend on getting other opinions. So my topic today is about what I want people that I know about my chronic pain. I also hope that it helps others that have the same kind of issues, rather it's encouraging to them or it's something that they can share with others so that they can understand their pain as well. 

I've never been prescribed stronger pain meds, just low dose anti-depressants and low dose anti-seizure meds by multiple doctors to try to "fix" the problems that way. None of them have worked and the Botox treatment they tried worked enough that I couldn't really tell any difference going through the process. But I could definitely feel it when it stopped working several months later. I would be willing to constantly be going with the Botox treatment but I wasn't but the part that the insurance doesn't cover adds up really quickly, and I can't afford to keep going. So instead I take over the counter meds, usually just at work and especially on days where a lot of heavy lifting is done because I work in the produce department at a grocery store. It might not seem like a job that requires heavy lifting, but most produce boxes/containers are at least 30 pounds, and the a lot are between 45 and 60. I've gotten some slack for calling that heavy lifting from people whose jobs require to lift a lot more, but it's a lot for someone with health issues like mine and for someone that has never has a job where I have to lift 100+ pounds. It took a while to even remotely get used to lifting that much, and it helped me burn fat and gain a significant amount of muscle over time. I also assume that it works the same for lifting even heavier amounts. Back to the subject, it gets pretty obvious that I take pain killers more often than people are usually advised to , and what I keep on hand at work looks like a lot, especially considering there's some things that I don't take regularly. I've gotten slack from some coworkers about it, some that I've been open to them about my chronic pain, and others almost not at all because I'm afraid that they'll use that information against me, which has happened in the past. It's not something that is recommended to take on a regular basis, but my health problems are not normal and I've gotten the okay for all the doctors I've been seeing recently to keep on taking it that way. There is also a difference between what is commonly recommended dosage on pain killers to take on the bottle, and how much doctors will say it's okay to take if you're a chronic pain sufferer (depending on the doctor of course). I almost always take closer to the higher 2nd recommended dosage, and I'll admit that sometimes I take more than I should. The people who freak out that I take pain killers, or some others that don't usually freak out when they see me taking more than it says on the bottle to take. Also pain killers doesn't completely take away my pain, it just puts a dent in it, it just makes it more tolerable and makes me function better. 

The first year or two dealing with frequent and then chronic pain was the worse, after barely getting headaches at all for 20 years despite living with a neurological disorder my whole life. But after that in a way I got used to, of course I'll never completely get used to it, especially since considering how the last several years has gone, that it will keep on getting worse until there's something done about it. During this time I couldn't really hide my pain, and the majority of my complaining about it, either in person, or on Facebook was during this time. I started to lose friends at this point, not just because I started to have to cancel plans and slowly stop attending things outside of work, but because of all the complaining I did on social media about it. People who especially didn't understand, just saw me frequently complaining on Facebook overlooking the reason behind it. So there's some that assume that deleted me because of it, and some that were straight forward that they were sick of seeing my negative posts "every time they opened Facebook" and deleted or blocked me over it. After that time period it became in a way that I can't really explain, a different kind of pain. It's gotten worse since then, but still a different kind of pain that I don't need to complain about it as often. It also got old to me as well, complaining about something that's not going away, especially during that period of time when I wasn't really doing anything about after trying the first 2 or 3 times. I complain once in a while on Facebook, but refrain on it because I don't feel the need to complain as much as I did for years, but I get tired of the way the posts get responded to. I also don't to have it seem that I'm doing it to get attention, I do it as a way to vent. Also the greeting of "How are you?" changes with you have chronic pain, and from what I've noticed from interacting with customers at work that it happens when your life just really sucks too. It doesn't feel like a greeting to me, and definitely to others with chronic pain considering what I've learned from other chronic pain sufferers. It feels more like a question, instead of a greeting. There's some that actual want to know how someone is doing when asking that question, but even with the majority of those people "I feel like shit" or a equivalent (less obscene) response to that isn't a reasonable response. So especially someone that you don't know, which is more common when you work in customer service "good" is the only reasonable response, which is also typically the 2nd part of the greeting. I and others with chronic pain feel like we're lying to someone when we answer the question we feel like we're lying to them. If I'm talking to customer then I respond with a positive answer, which still might not always be good. But if I'm talking to someone that I know, again it's usually at work when I'm asked that question I tend to skip answering then ask them how they are instead. I realize it's rude, but the majority of people that ask me are the same ones that would get just as butt hurt if I answered with something along the lines as "I feel like shit". I definitely really don't want to answer with "good" when I can, but I haven't decided which other way of answering would be the rudest. 

I have ways of dealing with it, rather those ways may be natural or not. One way is I've become a hermit, and I usually only break out of my shell when I have to force myself to at work. This could be taken two ways, the first being that I don't attend as many activities outside of work as much as I use to, or as much as I wish to. I've had multiple friends cut me off because of this too, not understanding how much it takes out of me. If not intentionally, because I'm just not at those social functions in the first place. The second way and the main point I'm trying to make is that I tend to not pay as much to my surroundings. I live in a pretty sketchy neighborhood, so if I'm walking to or back from somewhere I force myself to pay attention more. I do that at work mostly on the sales floor when on the clock, because customers wouldn't know what I'm dealing with so it's just assumed that I'm being rude and inattentive. Unless I'm really stressed or just have to be really huffing it, which makes it harder to not be a hermit. I'm probably more of a hermit in social situations, not even just at social functions but when I'm out doing things like running errands.  Being a hermit, even when I force myself to be more social, causes me to miss overhearing things that people expect me to, or how I use to do it before my health problems started kicked into gear. Being a hermit is probably equally as much if not more of just a part of my body dealing with chronic pain. The second way I deal with it not so much, at least not on purpose at first. It's mind over matter, which in the beginning I had ways of doing it that would make the pain almost unnoticeable. But when the pain got worse, those ways of dealing with it stopped working almost completely. But those ways that I prefer not to mention what they were, isn't technically mind over matter. Mind over matter is focusing your mind on something else, so that you feel the pain less. Some claim that it doesn't work or doesn't work for them, but they tend to not be trying hard enough, or don't understand how it works. The way that works the best for me, is keeping my mind busy at work, doesn't work as well when I don't have as much to focus on outside of work. Chronic pain also builds over pain tolerance over time, as in my head would hurt a lot more and I wouldn't be able to function at all if it would as hit me as hard as it is now. Much less painful headaches use to cause me not to be able to function in the beginning, which also goes along with my point of it being a different kind of pain earlier on. It also makes any other pain that I have that's not associated with the headache a lot less noticeable, which can be a real problem. For example, if I don't see myself cut myself or see a cut reopen, it usually results in me bleeding and not realizing it until I see the blood. 

I have more that I was going to post about on chronic pain, but it's an important and will probably get a lot of views, so I don't want to bury what needs to be said in this post. I plan to post about this subject at least a third time, so if there's anything that anyone to know about chronic pain or if you would like to do a guest blog and speak about your own experience with it, or anything neurological related in addition to it please contact me. Either on the comments or contact me via E-mail, via Facebook or on the several social media sites that I'll be posting this to. Thanks for reading :) 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ending my almost year long blogging hiatus ;)

I'm currently using up leftover vacation time at my work so I don't lose it before my anniversary date, and since the plans that I had didn't work out, I figured it would be a good time to at least try to restart my blog. I haven't written anything in almost a year for multiple reasons. My laptop fried shortly before I went on hiatus, and instead of getting it fixed it or buying a new one I decided to just go without one for a while. Instead I decided to get a tablet and use my family's PC if I really need to. I can be on my feet all day at work, and function fine but I have a hard time sitting in front of the computer for a couple hours to write.

I also stopped writing because I was burned out with it. Except for one other shorter hiatus I had been writing once or twice a month, and trying to do so at the same time every month. When I first started blogging I was encouraged to keep a pattern of that times that I posted, instead of posting sporadically. Reading other blogs, I've noticed that most people post sporadically. The people who do post in more of a pattern or even on a regular basis are professional bloggers, and I'm definitely not. When I stopped writing, I was also burned out on the topic.

I picked hydrocephalus to write in the first place because I knew that I wouldn't be running out of topics easily, and it's something that I have to live with it. The disadvantage is that it caused me to overthink things on a regular basis. So in order to try to avoid letting this blog to have a negative effect on me, and trying to push myself to think of topics and write in a certain time frame I've decided to just post whenever I'm ready, which could be a few days or several months apart. More than often I'll be writing to get things off my chest that I don't think would be interrupted right if I posted it as a Facebook status instead. But I also plan on writing on topics as it comes to me. I also have multiple posts that I was working on when I stopped blogging. So they've been in my drafts for a year or longer. I'm going to go back through and rewrite some of those, and then just scrap others. I'm also going to spend more time writing each post so it will be more than scattered thoughts.

This post is pretty scattered, but I did at least have a good idea of what I was going to write before I started. I did also end up writing a lot more on a topic that I've covered almost every time I've taken any kind of hiatus, so I'm going to cut it short because my next post is probably going to be a long one. The reason that I try to not really long posts/articles is because I have trouble reading really long articles etc. in one setting, especially if I intend to remember the majority of what I'm reading. That most likely has to do with my nonverbal learning disability, and probably from Hydrocephalus itself too. I assume that the majority of the people that read my blog found it via search engines or social media because they have similar medical problems. So I don't want to cause the same problems that I personally try to avoid. Thanks for reading :)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hydrocephalus awareness month, Phoenix Hydrocephalus Walk and Great Pumpkin Race (in Tucson)

I haven't posted in a month and a half, and I'm probably be going to write a little less frequently again. I have some backlogging done and a list of topics I'll like to research and write about in the near future. I'm not gonna be posting the backlogs yet because I want to go back and rewrite because I'm confident that I can make them better. When it comes to writing and rewriting posts I've started putting it off again because I don't want to rush through posts, and have them lack in quality. I also want to keep my mind on other things instead of Hydrocephalus, which includes losing the desire to write about. I'm going to try to start another blog about other things that interest me so writing about Hydrocephalus wouldn't be a buzzkill.

I've still been keeping up with my blog stats, so I still know which posts are frequently the most popular and which keywords people are finding my blog by. So I'm going to talk a little bit about each of the 3 main topics that people have been searching for and only finding older posts.

The first is Hydrocephalus awareness month which is the month of September. I usually post a lot this month on my personal Facebook but I've only posted anything Hydrocephalus related at all this year because of the same reason that I haven't been writing. There's several Hydrocephalus foundations that are doing some pretty cool things this month mostly via their social media pages. I'll leave links for a few of them below so you can check out what they're doing or if you need help from them.

There's many Hydrocephalus Association walks each year but I only post about the one in Phoenix because it's the one closest to me, and usually the one that I attend every year. In previous years it's be held at the Phoenix Zoo and last year it was held at Steele Indian School Park. This year it's going to be at Freestone Park in Gilbert on October 24th. If you're like me and you have to take public transportation to get there, there's about a one mile walk (it might be a little shorter) between the closest bus stop and the park. From what I can tell by Google Maps there's a sidewalk that goes all the way from the bus stop to the park.

The closest hotels are along Superstition Freeway and about 4 or 5 miles away. From what I'm able to find there's not really any hotels on the nearby bus routes but there are some over near the Superstition springs center in Mesa. There's a transit center at the mall that has a bus take will drop you off close to the park. There's also buses that stop at that transit center that will take you to and from the Mesa Greyhound station, one that will connect you to the Light rail and a express bus that will take you to Downtown Phoenix. There's a handful of hotels to pick from in that area with plenty of restaurants, grocery stores and a mall. There's plenty of hotels to pick from on the Superstition highway with restaurants spread out and there's a couple clusters in the same area that has several restaurants in one shopping center.

The Great Pumpkin Race has been held in Tucson every year since 2006, and this year it's going to be October 11th at Buckelew Farm, I found out about it after I connected with the organizer Thomas Tronsdal on Facebook after seeing a post he had made on a Phoenix Hydrocephalus Walk page. I had been speaking to other people with Hydrocephalus in other States and even other Countries but he was the first from the same city. In previous The Great Pumpkin Race has benefited the UMC Neurological department and the Hydrocephalus Association but this year it will benefit The Arizona Center for Autism.

The Great Pumpkin Race is held at Buckelew Farm which is West of Tucson on Ajo Highway. so public transportation isn't a option. Breakfast is usually included at the race and there's other food and drink that can be bought at the Farm. There's a fun kids race before the 5k, and a free pumpkin comes is included in registration.

There's a few restaurants close by on Ajo Highway between the farm and getting back into town. If you're coming from out of town and need to somewhere the night before there's no hotels that I can find in the area but there are many that you can choose from in Tucson.

Below are links to both events and their Facebook pages.

Phoenix Hydrocephalus Walk

Great Pumpkin Race Facebook event page

Phoenix Hydrocephalus Walk Facebook page

Great Pumpkin Race

Below are links for some notable Hydrocephalus foundations that have things going on this month,

Hydrocephalus Association Website

HA Facebook

HA Twitter

HA Instagram

HA Google+

HA Youtube

Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation Website

PHF Facebook

National Hydrocephalus Foundation

NHF Facebook page

Hydro Angels Over America

HAOA Facebook Page

HAOA Twitter

Friday, August 7, 2015

Media views on Hydrocephalus: Melon heads legend

Instead of a detailed description of this topic, I'm going to post a variety of links. In some versions of the legend of the "melon heads" are actually children with Hydrocephalus, but in others they are not. The legend dates back to before there was modern shunt technology so at that point it often went untreated. In a way I can see how some of the character traits of the melon heads may have been seen in people with untreated Hydrocephalus, which of course was exaggerated. I'm sure that it was insulting then but now that the description of the melon heads doesn't even come close to most who live with Hydrocephalus. I saw a pretty accurate of Hydrocephalus although vague on several sites there's no mention of current treatment and ways of life, so it could give people a bad description of people living with the condition. Even if they look more into it, or know someone with it, it might make them believe that's what we're like at least in a way, no matter what.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Writing therapy

At the point I have about 5 months of backlog, but there's some things that I need to get off my chest and personally the best way for me to do this is through writing. I've already started to tackle some of these issues privately through close and trusted friends and will continue doing that with matters that need to or I prefer to be private. At the same time I'll be using this blog for things that I don't mind being public. I don't expect to get much feedback when I'm using my blog as "writing therapy" if at all but it still helps a lot more than keeping it to myself, and I've figured out solutions just by writing my thoughts.

I'm going to start with a problem that was a bigger problem growing up in the church, and problem affected my grades in school than it has been in any part of my life (but thinking about it, it has probably had some kind of negative affect on every part of my life). My topic for this post is giving up easily and ended up not finishing a task, especially when it's something that needs to be done in writing. It's discouraging to think about it but it's something I've been working on reversing for a few years. It's also definitely Hydrocephalus related but it's a state of mind that can be caused by other underlying problems. It's a personal topic, but it's something that I know it's something people can relate to, with or without Hydrocephalus, or even a learning disability. I also mean it as a warning, so whatever it is they would cause someone to not do as well, rather it's grades in school or something else that at least partially they can at least start to overcome the problem earlier than later. I don't mean to say that it's a problem that everyone who see's this has, but based on prior research I've done for my blog and communicating with others with Hydrocephalus during the last several years I can say it's pretty likely.

Thinking back to school it was probably the biggest problem in the classroom, when it came to note taking. I couldn't focus on writing what I heard very well unless the teacher was very persistent about it, which I hated back then but I'm very grateful for it now. I could have gotten a late start to it but I wouldn't because I felt like a failure from the start. I had the same problem when it came to keeping up with planners and similar things, especially when we had to fill them at a certain time altogether in class but the idea was dropped a few days or a few weeks into the school year. That didn't matter though because I remember actually thinking from the very start that it wasn't going to work out so I didn't even try it out. I should have tried to think of a solution or approach someone for help, but at that point (6th grade), I had already grown to hate school. The transition from Elementary to Middle School ended up being a bombshell, and I made a personal decision to not really try at all, which didn't change until the last year or two of High School. I'm not sure how I ended up only being one semester late to graduating or how I finished at all. The result of not taking notes or trying to keep up with a planner was constantly forgetting homework assignments especially after I decided to not really care in the first place. The result of both not taking notes and not doing homework assignments were failing tests. The obvious end result was failing half my classes and having to take some classes up to 3 times. If I knew then what I knew now, I definitely would have pushed myself harder to write notes even when it wasn't seen as necessary (as in when reading a text book) because just by writing something down helps me a lot when it comes to processing that information. Like at work I need to write a list to remember what needs to be put out next (I'm a Produce Clerk for a division of Kroger). If I don't do it my memory fails me and I usually don't remember anything. If I do write down a list however I usually can remember everything that needs to be put out without having to go back and check the list. If I had done this in school I might have passed a few tests.

I grew up in the Evangelical church, and except for a 2 year period when I first really start to get fed up with the way my life was going, and how that related to God and Church. I've dug deeper on this subject before and I intend to again in the near future. Something that really frustrating me for a long time which really frustrated me as a kid, and in a different way as a young adult until I left the church a 2nd time was the note taking issue. When I was a kid it was filling out a little form in Sunday School, where there was a part typed up already and then a place that needed to be filled out. I recall started it usually but then I would lose my focus, and give up as soon as I missed something. There was a 2nd assignment that we had to do during the week that I always managed to not do, so that didn't help to encourage me to push myself a little bit harder.  When I got old enough to be expected to pay attention to a sermon, which was made worse when I decided to switch churches and taking notes was sort of expected. I couldn't process information from the sermon well, and I still had the same mind set that I had when it came to taking notes when I was in High School. Also when I got older everything switched to a bible study format which caused a lot of different other problems which I'll touch on at another time. 

There might be (and probably is) a bigger solution but what I know now that I wished I would have known earlier is being encouraged to (which usually means encouraging myself) to just pick up where I left track because it would help a lot more to miss a few points than to miss the whole thing. It's a really simple concept but if it wasn't obvious to me, I can assume that it might not be obvious to other people as well. I hope that the most recent time that it was mentioned to me wasn't the first, but it was better timing than any other time since I'm in the process against a lot things where the underlying cause is Hydrocephalus. It also fits in well with one of the major things I've slowly been working on, persistence. It's a uphill battle and I'll probably never get my persistence to the point where it could be if my skull wasn't a fish bowl and if I didn't have medical tubing pushed through my brain. If you're not aware of what any kind of brain damage or neurological disorders can and will do to your brain, I'll probably get crap for doubting myself and talking about persistence at the same time but unfortunately it's the truth. 

For anyone that's in school, or has a kid with Hydrocephalus or a similar condition that results in a learning disability I want to close with a tip. I'm not professional at all unless you need someone to pick out a good avocado or watermelon for you, but I'm writing this from my own experiences and what I've learned through personal research and paying a little more attention the last few years. My advice is to write down as much as possible (or at least when possible). I assume taking notes in class can be rough, but it might really help when it comes to studying at home. With notes it's might help to reminded that it's okay to miss some points as long as you try to focus again after you realizing that you're missing those points.

When it comes to church just being aware that it's okay to miss points during childhood Sunday School would have helped a lot. Taking notes will stick suck rather, and I'm glad that it's something that I don't have to worry about. The church I've been attending on and off for four years consistently has forms that is somewhat like the ones I described having in Sunday School class as a kid. I make it a point to always to fill them out, and just by doing that helps a lot. This is also something I wish I would have known a lot. I know that people who read my blog has many different views on religion but if you do ever attend some kind of religious service I definitely recommend trying to take some kind of notes, even if there's no form provided.If you have a kid with Hydrocephalus or a similar condition or are a Sunday School teacher or have a similar position to a kid with some kind of intellectual disability, no matter how small of one it wouldn't hurt to use a reminder if you see someone struggling. Again, I realize that not everyone can relate to the church part but I write a lot about personal experience, and it was a really big part of my life when I was a kid, and it's starting to become a big idea again but from a different perspective. 

Thanks for reading, I really hope you the reader got something encouraging out of this.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pinky and the Brain's Neuroanatomy of the brain (video)

Neuroanatomy of the brain (song about the ventricles of the brain) from the Steven Speilberg cartoon Pinky and the Brain that was on from 1995 until 1998.