Hi all you brave folks!
I've got fibromyalgia and pain from a neck injury, and as a result I have been taking codeine (tylenol #4) for almost ten years. The dosage is 120 mg of codeine (2 tablets with 60 mg each) taken four to five times a day. I work, enjoy my life, and I'm doing well, although I'm sure my body depends on the drug after all this time. Here is my issue:
I just lost my GP doctor...the one who believes me, even though my pain is not visible. I've dealt with locums and other doctors who don't believe in opiates, and I know that the next doctor I get may refuse to prescribe it. We have a shortage of docs here in BC, and I'll have to go to the ER to get meds, which means I won't really have a regular doc and will have to explain myself to every new one I get. I can't afford to go through awful withdrawals, I can't afford to live with my pain levels unmoderated. I'm scared to death.
In the worst case scenario, if I am cut off from my medication, what in the heck should I do, and what should I expect? I already suffer from depression and I worry that this could be my last straw. I have friends, and I have pets, who need me to live and thrive and function. I have debts and a job I can't afford to lose by becoming debilitated by pain.
I've got people telling me horror stories about codeine quitting....they tell me that my pleasure receptors will be burnt out and I'll never feel joy again once I take the codeine away. Is this true? Is it a normal life afterward, or just a lifetime of "white knuckle driving" trying to get through each day? I'm not sure how to cope with all this, and the stress is aggravating my pain levels and everything else.
Please give me some hope here. I don't know how "bad" my dependency is...I don't know if the dosage I'm on is extreme or not, I've never dealt with an addiction to anything before. I will likely be weaned off if anything, but there's a chance that a doctor could just say "no" and then I'd be left with cold turkey. Please help. I don't want to lose my quality of life. It was never amazing to begin with, and if it gets any worse I don't know how I can manage it.
I appreciate any advice you can offer. Good luck on the journey.