Freedom

Freedom
Freedom Is Power

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

America's Scary Painkiller Habbit



Good afternoon and thank you for being here. This is September's cover of Consumer Reports magazine. We live in a very ADDICTED society. Every day I meet someone who is or has in the past been addicted to some kind of pain pill, or knows someone struggling with addiction. Every day 46 people in the US die from "legal pain pills" administered by a doctor not even from the street. You can avoid being a statistic by simply educating yourself. 
America is in pain and being killed by it's painkillers...  It starts with drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicoden - prescription narcotics that can get you through the day if you are recovering from surgery. But they can be as addictive as heroin and are rife with deadly side effects.

(Here is an excerpt from my book Addicted In Silence)


5 years ago on September 2 Labor Day, I learned that I was fully deaf.  The one time throughout my 11 year addiction, when I would voluntarily sign myself into a rehab. It was far away in Upstate NY.  This place was a State facility. For people with limited insurance.  I layed in a bed in a dark room with a dark shade that had a rip in it. The only time I knew the time of day was through the rip in the shade. I spent my days in bed with severe body temperature shifting from hot to cold. Vomiting and diarrhea. The state food was horrible.  I couldn't keep nothing down.  I was weak, confused. In a larthargic like state. I had my hearing aids on, and I was struggling to hear with them. The only thing that I remember hearing repeatedly is the heavy, squeaky door opening and closing. The nurses kept coming in checking on me. They kept monitoring my blood pressure. At one point it dropped so low I was rushed to the ER ! When I got to the ER, I felt like I had died. The doctor said when your going through withdrawl we absolutely cannot give you anything. Your body has to come down from all the pills. She said it's going to be rough for you, hang in there.  My blood pressure was so dangerously low, I was kept overnight for observation.  I felt so weak, I knew that I wasn't ready to get clean at that time. I wasn't strong enough.
When I was released from the ER,  I went back to the rehab and signed myself out. A friend picked me up. I had been wearing hearing aids for a short period of time,  but they weren't really working because I was still loosing my hearing.  It sounded as if I was on top of a mountain and  when I spoke to people they were at the very bottom. I cannot remember a time in my entire life where I felt so horrible. I wanted to kill myself. 
When I arrived back home, still very sick and going through withdrawal,  I climbed in bed and tried to make it through  the night. I had restless leg and restless arm syndrome. My limbs were jumping uncontrollably, I felt the urge to twitch my legs and arms. It was absolutely CRAZY !!!.
The next morning I opened my eyes, and couldn't hear nothing at all. My heart was racing ! I was thinking to myself what happened to ME !!!!!!  What is wrong with me !!! My hearing aid batteries had died.  I got up went outside AND SCREAMED TO THE TOP OF MY LUNGS !!! I couldn't hear myself !!! I was banging kitchen utensils, pots and pans, blasting my stereo, and all I could feel was the bass in the music.  I couldn't hear anything at all.  In a severely depressed state  I continued to Doctor shop and Pharmacy shop. The more pills I took, the more numb I would be "literally"....
This was a excerpt from my book "Addicted In Silence". On Labor Day week 5 years ago is when I learned that I was fully deaf from years of abusing pain pills.

There are many deadly misconceptions about opiods...  (Painkillers) and addictions.
Ideally, health care professionals should act as gatekeepers,  prescribing painkillers only when they're appropriate and monitoring patients for side effects. People need to be "better educated" about the risks. 
This is a worldwide epidemic.  Talk to your doctor, have a good relationship and great communication with your doctor. That could make all the difference. 
Knowledge is power.....

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My World As A Deaf Woman

Thank you for tuning in to "My World As A Deaf Woman" Have you ever pictured or planned how your life would be ? And instead of it going as planned, you hit ROCK BOTTOM ? We all know that sometimes you get detoured. But in the end it's about survival. Did I ever picture that I would be an addict ? And go deaf from abusing painkillers for 11 whole years ? NEVER in a million years. Did I ever picture myself hearing again with the use of a cochlear implant ? NEVER in a million years. The video above shows a woman named Molly who is deaf. She hears with the " Nucleus 6" cochlear implant. I am a Nucleus 6 cochlear patient took too. This video shows Molly from the time she awakes,throughout her entire day until she retreats to bed. The video focuses on "what she hears throughout the entire day" It starts off silent, because she hasn't put the CI on yet. When she wakes up she puts the CI on, and takes it off when she goes to bed. Getting the CI would change my life forever. In this post I will discuss what my journey was like throughout my hearing loss, and how it all changed on November 18, 2013.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Face of an addict ???


When I revealed my story publicly for the very first time, on May 6, 2014 I wanted to share my story but, remain anonymous. In the beginning of my journey I wanted this blog to be anonymous. It wasnt that I was ashamed, or embarrassed. I owned my life. I owned my story. It felt like an out of body experience. I felt like a bear coming from out of hibernation. 
I lived a deep and very dark secret for over 10 years. I was held captive in my own world. A prisoner inside my own life. How do you reveal a part of your life that you hid for so long ? Can you imagine hiding large green trash bags full of empty pill bottles in the back of your closet ???
The most complex thing about addiction is stereotyping.
A lot of people have said to me "Oh my goodness you don't look like you went through all of that".
"You don't look like you took all those pills".
"You are a former addict OMG !" "You don't look like the type". There are so many people living dangerously in the dark in denial. Crying out for help, but no one knows because they don't "look like" addicts.
What does the face of an addict look like ???


The Senior Citizen....  The profile of a senior citizen addicted to opiates is often different than that of a younger person. People don't expect it to be possible, because of the stereotype.
Many older adults are falling victim to abusing different painkillers. They become addicted to the medicine that was originally prescribed for pain relief. Seniors have many different types of ailments.
Older individuals have a different physiology than younger people, the drugs often take a greater toll on their bodies.
I have met older individuals who have been addicts their whole life. I'm talking since their youth. I met a woman who underwent gastric bypass surgery, and was prescribed a powerful painkiller. She became addicted to the same pain pill that relieved her pain and now 10 years later even after fully recovering from gastric bypass she still takes the painkillers.
There are many different faces of addiction. If you are 50 or older and have had an addiction to painkillers,  I'd love to hear your story. I am here to educate and raise awareness.



Teenagers.... Our youth are dying....
65% of young drug abusers choose painkillers. Overdosing has now become the number one killer among teens.
A big percentage of high school seniors report taking hydrocodone (the painkiller I abused).... (Vicoden, Lorcet, Lortab) BUT not by coincidence, many of their parents take it too ! There are many situations and circumstances behind people why and how a person becomes an addict.
The photo above is a man (Avi Israel).
His son had become addicted to painkillers that were prescribed to deal with his (Crohn's disease) - a chronic digestive disorder. His son shown on the picture above took his own life because of his addiction to Lorcet.
His story hit close to home with me because that was the exact pill that stole my hearing away. I was able to beat an 11 year addiction,  but some people aren't so lucky.


The Veteran.... I have heard many horror stories about veterans being addicted to opiates. Some of these stories broke my heart. I was literally in tears. I have read stories about soldiers on active duty and soldiers returned home from battle,  and veterans. Getting injured on the battlefield and then returning home for treatment at the VA hospitals.


We all know that soldiers suffer from so many things PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) Traumatic brain and body injuries, severe anxiety, and a lot of them wound up on a cocktail of painkillers supplied by the VA.
The most prominent story that stuck in my head about a 32 year old US Army Specialist. He was deployed out of Afghanistan. While recovering from his wounds his mental state deteriorated. He became addicted to painkillers. The Army sent him to a detox center at his VA hospital to get clean. But the VA hospital continued to give him narcotics.



After just 2 months they released him with a massive cocktail of drugs including 12 tablets of  the painkiller Oxycontin (Oxycodone)

After he left the hospital he went to a nearby motel. He picked up a 6 pack of beer and checked into his room. He has a few beers and decides he's hungry. He goes next door to the local Applebee's orders a plate of Nachos , another beer and then becomes very groggy.
He fell asleep at the Applebee's counter. The restaurant manager helped him back to his motel room. 
He stumbled down the hallway, fumbled with his room key and collapsed face down onto the carpeted floor. Motel guests stepped over him for an hour.
By the time the paramedics arrived they tried to revive him. But it was too late.
The state medical examiner concluded that in addition to the two beers he consumed 8 oxycodone pills, tranquilizers and muscle relaxants that the VA prescribed.

Moral of the story is, this is a worldwide epidemic.... Everyone knows someone that is addicted to some type of painkiller.  Doctors are so liberal prescribing these prescriptions it is so easy to pick up a pad and write these scripts for medications that might dull the pain temporarily but can have horrible, tragic, sometimes even fatal results.
If you don't believe me....
Just ask me.....
Losing my hearing from an 11 year addiction to Lorcet 10/650 was the worst thing that can possibly happen to anybody,  but I am still here for a reason. To tell a story that must be TOLD. All of these tragedies that we hear about, so many don't make it out alive.
I feel a responsibility to let people know what can happen if you abuse painkillers.
Hey on the bright side of things...
"Every tear waters a blessing"

      Interactive map : Painkiller distribution by the VA in the United States                                                                  





























































































































Friday, June 13, 2014

You Do The Math

Good evening friends and thank you for joining "The Chase Is Over".
Have you ever been in a place that was so dark, that you couldn't see a way out ?
Have you ever pictured your own death ? Have you ever saw your life flash before your very own eyes ?
I was living dangerously. Playing roulette with my life.
Opiate abuse is a huge problem on a wider scale. People are in sheer denial ! Everyday I meet people that abuse some type of narcotic pill, or knows someone who does.
The pill I became addicted to was Lorcet 10/650 (Hydrocodone - Generic name) Lorcet contains a high amount of acetaminophen.  Also pills such as Darvocet, Percocet, Ultracet, Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab all contain a high amount of acetaminophen. The daily dose for Lorcet 10-650 is not to exceed no more than 6 caplets in a 24 hour period. So if a person took 6 caplets in a 24 hour period that would be 3, 900 miligrams.
"Hepatotoxicity" Is - Damage to the liver caused by certain drugs or medicines.
Hepatotoxicity has been associated with acetaminophen and cases of acute liver failure resulting in liver failure or death.
Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4000 milligrams per day.

Where my story becomes MIRACULOUS...
Throughout the years of my addiction, it seemed I could take a certain amount of pills, for a certain amount of time. My tolerance kept growing for more and more pills. I went from taking the recommended dosage to ridiculously exceeding that.
THE SHOCKER.... I was taking up to 7 pills at one time everyday all day. From the time I would wake, I would eat breakfast and take 6 or 7 pills, then 4 hours later they would start to wear off. I would take more pills. All day I would take pills until I passed out and fell asleep. I was taking 60 + pills in a 24 hour period !
YOU DO THE MATH... Let's do some mathematics. 650 milligrams × 60 pills =a staggering 39, 000 milligrams a day !!!!!!
When I look at that number, I still get goosebumps !!! Iam a walking MIRACLE !!!! GOD kept me here on earth for a reason !
Ever since getting clean I have been getting blood test for my liver every 6 months,  and my test have been normal.....
I have always been a fairly small bodied woman weighing 110 lbs. I have talked with men that have said 1 percocet made them almost pass out. So my body over the years had built up a strong tolerance for the Lorcet. My severe addiction to the Lorcet (Hydrocodone) cause me to permanently go deaf. It was very hard breaking away from those chains. I was a prisoner in my own life. I was a hostage of Lorcet 10/650 for 11 long years. Of course it didn't start off as an addiction, but it definitely led to one. The longer I took the pills, the worst it got.
I can only describe my life as pure turmoil and hell on earth.... I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
When I got clean It all became a memory.
But everyday I'm reminded in some kind of way of what my life use to be.
My faith in GOD has kept me grounded throughout the years. There has never been a time that I have EVER  thought about going back to that life.
If you are struggling with any addiction, and you desire to get clean, and stay clean... If you want it bad enough YOU CAN HAVE IT ! It will take some hard work ! But you can do it !!!!
Thank you for tuning in....








Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cold Turkey !

Good afternoon and thank you for tuning in.
I have never met anyone like me who have went fully deaf from abusing opiates.
I have heard that Rush Limbaugh "Conservative radio/ talk show host and political commentator" lost his hearing in 2001 from abusing Lorcet - Hydrocodone (the same medicine I abused) He also was reportedly abusing Oxy Contin for 4 years, and reportedly suddenly went deaf.
His story has not been fully confirmed but his doctors are insisting there's a different diagnosis.
Painkillers are powerful in every way. They control your mental as well as your physical. And I did something merely impossible.  I went COLD TURKEY !
Each and everyone is different. Every tolerance level is different. Every addiction is different. Personally I would not recommend going cold turkey.  It's very dangerous. I would advise you to seek help from a medical professional.
The last day I took a Lorcet 10 /650 I just didn't have the physical or mental strength to keep on going.
I always watch INTERVENTION the reality tv series that shows the gritty effects of abusing drugs. The love ones stage an intervention to try and save the life of the individual abusing the drugs. And if the abuser surrenders, the show will send them to one of those beautiful ranch detox centers in California,  or somewhere far away. Then after detox they will be sent to a 90 day or more rehabilitation center.
And we all know that if you have no insurance, it can be very complicated to get treatment. Every state has detox and rehabilitation centers that are state funded.
After I got clean, I always asked myself (in my head)..... Why did it take 11 years for me to finally give up the chase ?????
I don't know, but I didn't want to go into a detox or rehab. I was at a dead end ! I  JUST WANTED TO GET CLEAN AND STAY CLEAN!
I was scared to death because I didn't know if I could do it. I didn't know if I got clean... if I could stay clean. The fear of the unknow. But Iam here to tell you today (tearssss) (tearsss) (tearssss)  IF YOU WANT IT YOU CAN DO IT !!!! It was the best decision that I've ever made in my entire life !!!! I get emotional... because IT'S REAL.
Some people aren't as strong as Iam, and need professional help, or medications like "Suboxone" the medicine I spoke about in my previous post.
I'm not going to sugarcoat what I went through but it was HARD !!! After 2 weeks I still felt horrible ! I called my mom, I said mom please find a Suboxone clinic because I don't feel right ! She said ok ! My mom was on the phone all day trying to find a clinic for me.
Soboxone is suppose to curve your cravings and help the withdrawal symptoms but is not covered by some insurances. Mostly you have to pay cash. And it can be very expensive.  I've heard of people paying up to $700 for suboxone.
The twist with Suboxone it can be just as addictive as the drug your weaning off of !
I didn't want to take Suboxone !!!! I didn't want to build another addiction ! I JUST WANTED TO BE PILL FREEEE !!!!! I had an inner strength. My relationship with God is what got me through !!! God makes the impossible possible !!! I am living proof !
I never took Soboxone. I stayed strong,  and got got better as time passed.
How about you ? Are you struggling with addiction ? Have you overcome an addiction ?  If so what's your sobriety date ? Are you in detox or a rehabilitation program ? Are you taking Suboxone ? Do you know anyone at all that went through what I did ??? That went fully deaf from Lorcet, or Percocet ? Or any narcotic ? Please share your story with me.
FREEDOM IS POWER !!!!

Suboxone

Suboxone For Treatment Of Opiate Withdrawal



K.Ellis


Most people cannot just walk away from opioid addiction. They need help to change their thinking, behavior, and environment. Unfortunately, “quitting cold turkey” has a poor success rate – fewer than 25 percent of patients are able to remain abstinent for a full year. This is where medication-assisted treatment options like methadone, naltrexone, and Suboxone benefit patients in staying sober while reducing the side effects of withdrawal and curbing cravings which can lead to relapse.

Methadone

Methadone is an opioid and has been the standard form of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and dependence for more than 30 years. Methadone for the treatment of opioid dependence is only available from federally-regulated clinics which are few in number and unappealing for most patients. In addition, studies show that participation in a methadone program improves both physical and mental health, and decreases mortality (deaths) from opioid addiction. Like Suboxone, when taken properly, medication-assisted treatment with methadone suppresses opioid withdrawal, blocks the effects of other problem opioids and reduces cravings.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is an opioid blocker that is also useful in the treatment of opioid addiction. Naltrexone blocks the euphoric and pain-relieving effects of heroin and most other opioids. This type of medication-assisted treatment does not have addictive properties, does not produce physical dependence, and tolerance does not develop. Unlike methadone or Suboxone, it has several disadvantages. It does not suppress withdrawal or cravings. Therefore, many patients are not motivated enough to take it on a regular basis. It cannot be started until a patient is off of all opioids for at least two weeks, though many patients are unable to maintain abstinence during that waiting period. Also, once patients have started on naltrexone the risk of overdose death is increased if relapse does occur.

Buprenorphine / Subutex / Suboxone

In 2002, the FDA approved the use of the unique opioid buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone) for the treatment of opioid addiction in the U.S. Buprenorphine has numerous advantages over methadone and naltrexone. As a medication-assisted treatment, it suppresses withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids, does not cause euphoria in the opioid-dependent patient, and it blocks the effects of the other (problem) opioids for at least 24 hours. Success rates, as measured by retention in treatment and one-year sobriety, have been reported as high as 40 to 60 percent in some studies. Treatment does not require participation in a highly-regulated federal program such as a methadone clinic. Since buprenorphine does not cause euphoria in patients with opioid addiction, its abuse potential is substantially lower than methadone.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence can include the use of buprenorphine (Suboxone) to complement the education, counseling and other support measures that focus on the behavioral aspects of opioid addiction. This medication can allow one to regain a normal state of mind – free of withdrawal, cravings and the drug-induced highs and lows of addiction. Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and dependence is much like using medication to treat other chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes. Taking medication for opioid addiction is not the same as substituting one addictive drug for another.

What Is Suboxone and How Does it Work?

There are two medications combined in each dose of Suboxone. The most important ingredient is buprenorphine, which is classified as a ‘partial opioid agonist,’ and the second is naloxone which is an ‘opioid antagonist’ or an opioid blocker.

What Is a ‘Partial Opioid Agonist’?

A ‘partial opioid agonist’ such as buprenorphine is an opioid that produces less of an effect than a full opioid when it attaches to an opioid receptor in the brain. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and methadone are examples of ‘full opioid agonists.’ For the sake of simplicity from this point on we will refer to buprenorphine (Suboxone) as a ‘partial opioid’ and all the problem opioids like oxycodone and heroin as ‘full opioids.’
When a ‘partial opioid’ like Suboxone is taken, the person may feel a very slight pleasurable sensation, but most people report that they just feel “normal” or “more energized” during medication-assisted treatment. If they are having pain they will notice some partial pain relief.
People who are opioid dependent do not get a euphoric effect or feel high when they take buprenorphine properly. Buprenorphine tricks the brain into thinking that a full opioid like oxycodone or heroin is in the lock, and this suppresses the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with that problem opioid.
Buprenorphine is a long-acting form of medicated-assisted treatment, meaning that it gets ‘stuck’ in the brain’s opiate receptors for about 24 hours. When buprenorphine is stuck in the receptor, the problem ‘full opioids’ can’t get in. This gives the person with opioid addiction a 24-hour reprieve each time a dose of Suboxone is taken. If a full opioid is taken within 24 hours of Suboxone, then the patient will quickly discover that the full opioid is not working – they will not get high and will not get pain relief (if pain was the reason it was taken). This 24-hour reprieve gives the patient time to reconsider the wisdom of relapsing with a problem opioid while undergoing medication-assisted treatment.
Another benefit of buprenorphine in treating opioid addiction is something called the ‘ceiling effect.’ This means that taking more Suboxone than prescribed does not result in a full opioid effect. Taking extra Suboxone will not get the patient high. This is a distinct advantage over methadone. Patients can get high on methadone because it is a full opioid. The ceiling effect also helps if buprenorphine is taken in an overdose – there is less suppression of breathing than that resulting from a full opioid