Yesterday, I saw a pain specialist. This was in part due to some ongoing pain in my left breast – right where my tumor used to be. I’ve had the problem pretty much all year. I recall my plastic surgeon days “It’s just a stitch“. I also have back pain and pain associated with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. I was glad to be able to talk about all my pain issues.
I had two important take aways from the visit. First was the term “pill fatigue”. The idea here is when you need to take too much pills. I find this with gabapentin. I can manage it twice a day but three times a day is just too much for me to manage. Fortunately, he happen to mention a different gabapentin – one that is time released and only need to take once per day. I say immediately yes! He did warn me that it is not on all formularies – a term I’m learning which means not all insurance companies will pay for it. Given that the three pills three times a day is a valid treatment option – however, it doesn’t account for “pill fatigue”.
The other important take away – and the one that made me cry because it hit close to home – is the association of pills and illness. Every morning and evening I’m reminded of my various ailments because of all the pills I’m taking. The doctor suggested that I find a way to move beyond that and accept that taking pills is part of wellness. The idea really struck a cord. So, I am going to try to reprogram my brain. I’m going to try to see my morning and evening pills as wellness pills rather than illness pills. I take the pills so that I stay well.
More important than any pills he can give me to manage the pain – we talked about a new drug but it will need to be coordinated by my psychiatrist and oncologist (I really got a sense of my various doctors working together on my care) – but more important than that is that I left the appointment with a new attitude, and I think that will help more than anything else.