Pills for Breakfast: I Am Pro Zohydro

Pills for Breakfast: I Am Pro Zohydro

I am pro Zohydro, a new potent, hydrocodone-based, extended-release painkiller, because I am in so much pain, so much of the time.

lead_largeI am pro Zohydro because there are so many days when I wake up and I’m literally in too much pain to open up a laptop and read my work emails. And I’m in too much pain to talk on the phone, watch TV, or take a shower.

Do you know what that’s like? To avoid taking a shower because you are in too much pain to stand up long enough to wash your hair? I do.

I am pro Zohydro because the pain on my right side shoots through me like a constant stream of agony and defeat. Because it feels like someone reached past my skin, and my blood vessels, and grabbed the last two bones in my right ribs and snapped them in half.

And somehow, at the same time, it feels like someone just dropped a cinder block on my chest and then whacked me with a baseball bat to make sure it hurt.

I am pro Zohydro because its sister drug Norco has helped me so much. It has given me moments of my life back. It has taken my pain away just enough for me to pretend that I might even be well.

It has allowed me to go to a Cubs games with my boyfriend, to go shopping with my sister and my mom, and to go to candy shows with my boss. It has allowed me to keep my job, take showers and, on particularly bad days, walk from the couch to the kitchen. It even kept me alive during my last mission trip as a youth leader. I wouldn’t trade that trip for my life.

I am pro Zohydro because my chronic pain has been like a vicious black alien that slithered out of the night sky and attached itself to my ribs, only to suck the life out of my body, a little more each day.

suicideprevention1It has left me for dead, on the door steps of suicide, ready to end it all, and the only thing that has saved my life has been the pain pills from the merciful doctors who try to understand how horrible my chronic pain really is.

I am pro Zohydro because there’s a chance it could help me. There’s a chance it could give me a slice of my life back. And even if it can’t give me a slice of my life back, maybe it can give someone else a slice of their life back.

I am pro Zohydro because chronic pain really is that bad. Because I don’t just wake up feeling like I’ve been hit by semi-truck once in a while, the way people in the land of the well do when they have the flu, maybe once or twice year. For me, it’s not once in a while. It’s every day.

I can’t just call in sick to life whenever I feel like someone just stabbed me 27 times with a butcher knife. So, instead, every single day I have to pull myself out of the sheets, and lift off the covers, which tend to feel like they weigh 49 pounds, and I have to drag myself out of bed and face the world and try to function.

I have to live my life every single day, despite the fact that I’m literally in enough pain that I want to go to the emergency room all the time. But I know there is sometimes relief available. And that relief is opioid drugs. And if Zohydro is that drug for me or anyone else, I want them to have access to it.

I am pro Zohydro because 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and they deserve hope. They deserve advances in medicine. They deserve cutting-edge treatments, advocates and support. And they deserve new drugs just like anyone else suffering from any other medical condition.

I am pro Zohydro because it will help people. Yes, I worry about those who may become addicted to it. And yes, I even worry that I will be among them. But more than that, I worry that one day, in the dark of night, I will no longer be able to bear the insane amount of pain in my  ribs, grab a knife and slit my wrists, and finally find the relief I so desperately search for.

I am pro Zohydro because I would rather find that relief from a prescription.

Crystal Lindell

Crystal Lindell

Crystal Lindell is journalist who lives in Byron, Illinois. She loves Taco Bell, watching “Burn Notice” episodes on Netflix and Snicker’s Bites. She has had pain in her right ribs since February 2013. It is currently undiagnosed.

Crystal writes about it on her blog, The Only Certainty is Bad Grammar.

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

There are 15 comments for this article
  1. Sharon Dinnell at 11:18 pm

    I have had RA for the last 25 years. I’ve also had 3 surgeries
    on my back I have two rods and a strap in my back. With out
    these I could not walk, but I am bent over an can not stand
    straight. I also have other types of arthritis. I do four infusions of rituxan a year. Hydrocodone 3 times a day the patches did
    not work well for me. I’m very tired all the time like I’m getting the flu. I have grandchildren I love and am not strong
    enough to pick up or care for. I loved it when I could help with their parents. My husband is very good to me and helps
    do everything at home. We’re both 71. Has anything worked
    to help strengthen and take the pain out of your bodies? My understanding was the government made the Drs. cut back on some pain medications. I feel that should be between Dr. and patient.

    i

  2. Jan Adair at 12:47 pm

    I think that you should get the meds that let you funtion. So many Drs. think just exercise you’ll feel better, sure they don’t have pain. My Dr. cut back my meds I unable to do nothing of importance. I’ll have to go on I guess;’]

  3. Pharmacist steve at 10:19 am

    @E Jensen.. actually the two most abused drugs are Nicotine and alcohol.. 440 K die annually from tobacco use/abuse and 140 K died from alcohol use/abuse.. The stats that I have seen.. those two kill at least FIFTEEN TIMES.. drug overdoses..

    your quote: There are TONS of opioid analgesics available that provide better analgesia than hydrocodone does.

    May only hold some water because there has never been a long acting Hydrocodone available.. In my professional opinion.. Hydrocodone is a crappy base drug for mod-severe pain.. because it only lasts 2-4 hrs and pain is 24/7.. which Zyhydro will address. I am happy that you have found a medication (Fentanyl) that will address you pain issues.. but.. don’t deny others the ability to enjoy the same amount of pain management because of the BS that the DEA puts out..and condemn a product based on a apples to oranges comparison. Yes there will be some people that will abuse Zyhydro.. but without Zyhydro.. they would be seeking to abuse something else.. That is why it is called “drug seeking”.. they don’t care what they get their hands on to abuse.. they just need to get their hands on something..

  4. E Jensen at 9:59 pm

    To all out there: The reason so many drs are worried about zohydro is not because its an opioid. It is because norco,vicodin, lortab, vicoprofen, and hydrocodone bitartrate generic share the one ingredient that is the most abused opioid ingredient in the US. There tens (maybe 100s) of thousands of “everyday” people that are habituated to hydrocodone. It causes a disproportionate level of euphoria v. analgesia, with the former as the danger. There are TONS of opioid analgesics available that provide better analgesia than hydrocodone does. To Debbie, I’ve been on Duragesic for nearly 15 years and at the effective dose, I am more lucid than w/ any other opioid I’ve been Rx’d. So I guess my 2 cents makes me anti-zohydro. Without acetaminophen, and as dosed, a hydrocodone w/out acetaminophen will only make misuse more common. EJ

  5. Bill at 10:08 am

    Hey Crystal,

    I have had pain in my left rib which radiates around into my back for over five years. Mine due to a botched operation. I have been prescribed numerous pain and anti-depressant drugs, most with horrible side effects and lots of therapies, none of which have alleviated the pain which has changed my life. Ratio-Oxycocet works for me short term but is in no means a fix and again the government is protecting the drug dealers and punishing the chronic pain patients who need medication. It is however the only medication that gave me mobility and now i have been informed by my Doctor that he does not want me to be a part of the working world anymore by saying “suck it up”. I am now applying for Social Assistance. Doctors will now fight to not treat you because they are more concerned about themselves than their patients due to the laws in place. They have it all mixed up and it is time that Governments realized that we have rights too and they are looking at this the wrong way.

  6. Janet Warren at 10:00 am

    Thanks for writing this, Crystal. There is a lot of us out here that understand what you are saying. I have had chronic pain for 23 years and have been thru every treatment and med you can think of. I read the Google Chronic Pain Alert every day hoping for a new drug. Now that we get it our Drs probably won’t prescribe it! Our culture only cares about stopping the abusers and nothing for the patients.

  7. Tina Hazen at 10:24 pm

    i agree….nobody in CHRONIC pain should EVER suffer, and that’s exactly what i’ve been forced to HORRIBLY endure since Xmas Eve…my doctor was one of 9 in my “county” that are being “investigated” by the OREGON MEDICAL BOARD…which is made up specifically of LAWYERS.

    i am currently being “treated” by a doctor that has become my primary physician because with the medications i’m on, NO OTHER DR would treat me at ALL for anything.

    I’ve suffered enough that i’ve EDITED my medical records to try to prevent another pain management doctor from refusing to see me!! and i am suffering NOW.

    i currently am waiting for ONE 2 see me, who was SUPPOSED to see me on March5. the day after the appt was made (feb 2nd, i waited almost SIX WEEKS to even determine if this dr was going to even SEE ME bca he decided that my “records looked edited”…so here i sit.

    The doctor that I’m seeing…we’ll call him DR. GOD bca he thinks he is an “addiction specialist” that disagrees with the paindr that i was seeing that put me on 1400 MGS a day of ms contin….he also took me off of ALL OF MY breakthrough medicine which means he changed me from being able to ‘function’ on a daily basis (even tho i’m disabled i REFUSE to be SEDENTARY!!) to now only being able 2 get out of bed every couple of days, and that’s HOURS after i have taken the little bit of meds he allows me to have.

    now my pain mgmt “one time courtesy appt” is scheduled for MARCH 31st. after that i am TRYING to go back to the doctor that i had the FIRST 9 years of chronic pain, i don’t even have the energy to type up all of my pain problems here, but they were enough that at age 37, Social security approved me IMMEDIATELY in 2007 for disablity 🙁

    so my upcoming appt will probalby do me NO GOOD. but i’m SEVERELY hoping to get relief soon… i DO in fact have a “real” upcoming appt with my OLD dr (the ONLY other pain mgr i’ve seen in 14 years…, i saw him for the first 9 years where he finally decided to CUT ME OFF ENTIRELY and put me on suboxone bca he found out htat my insurance was going to change to the medicade program in my state, and realized he would barely get paid to treat me so said suboxone or NOTHING…after treating me much better while i had REAL insurance.

    my appt is scheduled for APR 24th. that’s 2 days before my birthday, i have to HOPE that i’ll not get treated badly bca i’m now on medicare. 🙁 i am in fact PETRIFIED bca i cannot goback on suboxone and live a life. at all. I did that for THREE SOLID months and couldn’t evne walk my daughter up the street to her bus stop in the morning. i couldn’t even open my mail bca i couldn’t go to the mailbox more than 2x a week, bca my husband was doing it for me even tho we were separated at the time.

    I’m SOSCARED that i’m once again going to be S O L bca the DRs here in OREGON have been told that if they don’t DIAGNOSE The problem in question that they SHOULD NOT prescribe long acting opoids. i’ve tried EVERY OTHER THING there is in america, other than suicide which i would NEVEr do bca i love my kids too much to be the cause of them being on therapy for the rest of their lives.

    I really hope that you get the help that you need.

    and ihope that we all do. but i hope that i do soon bca my life since xmas eve has been all but INTOLERABLE……..

    and now i’m off to bed where i will cry myself to sleep over and over and over again, as silently as possible so my husband and 11yo daughter don’t hear me. g’nite.!

  8. JillKF at 11:13 pm

    OMG do I understand! Not wanting to even take a shower because it hurts soooo much! The RA and the damage from RA plus fibromyalgia is too painful and I feel as if NO ONE understands. My hands hurt so much I just sit and cry. No relief from the Norco at times, and just a little at others. I too am hoping the Zohydro will be an answer!

  9. Debbie at 5:09 pm

    Yes, Crystal, I do understand!!! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rods and screws in my low back, plates and screws in my neck.I am on many meds some of which I honestly feel is a waste of my time and money. The one that I am afraid of, Duragesic patches, is the one that my doctor refuses to take me off of. He states that I would have to take so many hydrocodones a day to even help ease the pain that its worth the risk of staying on the patches! Phooey is what I say. I forget to change the patch, I go through horrible withdrawal symptoms. I have had 2 episodes with bad patches and was so lethargic within 15 minutes that IF I had laid down, I would probably not be here today. I was lucky that I had enough sense about me that I knew what was wrong. The pain on a daily basis is horrible and I do not wish this on my worse enemy. If only science could make something,
    time released, that worked…I would be one of the first in line for it. People that do not have this kind of pain, have no clue as to what we go through.
    I wish you the best with your pain issues and keep on writing…for us!!
    Thank you!!

  10. Marty at 1:43 pm

    Yes Crystal I do know. In fact when reading your posting I cried because it was like I was finally being able to explain exactly what pain I am in even if it is in my back and hip. I felt like I had written it. You wrote it beautifully. I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  11. trudy myers at 10:31 pm

    I suffer like that too-I am on disability and I have multiple issues that cause severe pain-I want that new drug-not for kicks or to get high but to feel good enough to leave my room!!! Even my doctor doesn’t understand-he is a so called pain specialist-but he is young and you can tell he has never experienced pain

  12. Pharmacist steve at 2:51 pm

    http://www.wlns.com/story/24635348/rite-aid-settles-after-refusing-flu-shot-to-hiv-positive-man

    Here is where Rite Aid got fined for a Pharmacist refusing to give a HIV + pt a flu shot.. ADA violation.. discrimination of pt’s civil rights.

    It would appear from this fine/ruling that the denial of filling legit opiate Rxs.. could be a similar violation of ADA.. Since the wholesalers are rationing opiates that a pharmacy can purchase… are they also contributing to this discrimination.

    Since – in most states – both the Pharmacy/Pharmacist/Wholesaler are licensed under the Board of Pharmacy… is discrimination and throwing a pt into withdrawal… unprofessional conduct ?.. You don’t need an attorney to file a complain.. each (ADA & BOP) have on line forms for filing complaints.

    The pharmacies and wholesaler will only start caring about your pain.. when you cause them pain in their bottom line. If it costs a chain $15,000 for refusing to give a flu shot to a ADA covered pt.. what do you think the fine should be for causing a pt to suffer in pain and/or into withdrawal ?

  13. Myron Shank, M.D., Ph.D. at 1:04 pm

    We need more treatment options, not fewer.

    Yes, drug abuse is tragic, but inappropriately not prescribing a drug for medical purposes is abusing it every bit as much as taking it for nonmedical purposes.

    Crystal Lindell, since you have had some relief with a related drug, I hope that you find a physician who is open-minded enough to consider a careful trial of Zohydro for you. I hope that it or some other option is effective for you. Finally, I hope that your physician will not be forced to suffer for doing what is right to relieve your suffering.

  14. Doreen Ledford at 10:37 am

    I have Psoriatric arthritis, fibromyalgia, and Degenerative Disc disease and have been in constant pain to varying degrees for almost 21 years. I can’t afford to see the specialists and pain management doctors and have no insurance so all I can do is see my family doctor who will not and can not prescribe narcotics or the clinic will lose their federal grants.In our state the Governor did not expand Medicaid which I would qualify for so I’ve re-applied for disability and the waiting game begins again. I on the Celebrex, Ultram, and Flexeril medications which don’t even begin to take the edge off. I agree Erin that no patient under a doctor’s care should ever have to suffer and endure Chronic pain but what can be done?

  15. Jan Adair at 10:17 am

    yes I DO know what it’s like……………. Been ok till my Doctor reduced my meds, workers comp. It’s sad that the medical people think that exercise will reduce my pain. Some I can do when lieing down ;'[