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Well Iíve been lurking around for the past few weeks so I might as well chime in. I live in the northern Ďburbs of Atlanta. Iím actually a bit of rarity around here, a native Atlantan. Iím a 32 year old civil engineer.

Where to start? About 10 years ago I broke my back in 3 places, first real taste of pain meds if you will. No serious problmes with my back afterwards, just a pita.

The roller coaster really got started around here about 4 years ago. Shortly after my wife and I were married we ended up starting fertility treatments. She had some previous problems and the doctors had already given her 12 months to get pregnant. It was pretty much now or never, a hysterectomy was looming over our heads.

After 6 months of treatments my wife was pregnant. Two months later she was placed on total bed rest due pre term labor. Spent most of the next seven months in the hospital. In March of 2000 we were blessed with a healthy baby girl. Thatís when the real fun started.

Mind you, Iím a new dad with absolutely no experience. Four weeks after delivery my wife ended up having a total hysterectomy. I now had all duties regarding a new born. Shortly after the hysterectomy she was diagnosed with breast cancer, round 1 of chemo and radiation. Chemo went as expected but my wife really flipped out with the radiation. Come to find out she has lupus and the radiation kicked it into overdrive.

Well the lupus explained some of the problems that she was having but not all. She was acting really weird, a couple months later we find out that she is also bi polar.

The lupus has affected her pretty bad, she was having quite a bit of joint pain early on. In comes the pain management doctor. Between the two of us now the medicine cabinet is a junkieís dream, you name it, weíve got it, Percocet (10/350), Oxy (40 mg), Duragesic (sp?, 100 mg), Soma (not sure) just to name a few. All in fairly large qtys.

To make a long story short, with everything going on my back was really giving me some problems. No problem, pop a perc or two. After a few months I found out something interesting, after I pop a couple percs, my back didnít hurt anymore and did I have some energy. I felt on top of the world, 20 hour days were no problem. Working 60 hours a week and a being a full time dad doing just about everything on my own was a breeze. I was the multi tasking king. Who needs sleep?

That's been going on for about 2 Ĺ years. Now the problems with the wife are even worse, sheís had cancer again sheís just about in a wheel chair, she has had numerous complications from lupus and her bi polar issues have gotten worse.

I managed to get up to 8-10 percs a day. For good measure I would wash down a couple xanax with a cold beer (or two) when I got to the house. You know, just to keep an even keel. My back (or anything else for that matter) didn't hurt, had plently of energy, I was ready to face just about anything thrown my way.

Funny things started happening about a year ago, I could never figure out why I was suddenly getting what seemed to be the flu every few months. I never got sick before this. I truly thought it was all the stress around the house. It was always towards the end of the month and it usually didnít last to long, a few days or so. Well I now know why, get my refill and I got better.

Now that I know the full consequences of my actions Iíve decided to quite. So Iím sitting here 2 days clean and feel like s**t!

Itís been a rough week, started tapering down over the weekend, Sat 4 percs, Sun 2, Mon 1 and thatís it, I'm done. I donít have any energy. Itís all I can do to get up, get my daughter and myself ready, drop her off at daycare then go to work. And work, yea right, only saving grace on that has been a bid cancellation yesterday. I think the evenings have been the worst so far, even less energy and my legs and back have been killing me. Now last night was a sight, me in the backyard soaking in the hot tub here in Hotlanta in mid August, my neighbors must think Iím crazy. But did it feel good, might even do it again tonight.

Iím eating vitamin C and imodium chased with plenty of water instead of the percs now. I canceled my doctorís appointment this week for my refill but my wife will be staying on everything given her problems. This should be fun, all the energy I need just sitting in the cabinet calling out. The sad thing is that Iím not to sure how to handle things around the house without my ďlittle helpersĒ. But again, Iíve never really tried. The next couple of months should be interesting; Iíll see how things go.

My wife doesnít know anything about this and I donít intend on bringing it up. She's got enough on her mind. Iím actually a little ashamed of the whole thing. Guess itís a common attitude, ďit could never happen to meĒ.

It's funny, sometimes I feel like the last few years have been a big dream. I think to myself "all of this couldn't be happening to one family. It's just to much, sounds like a Lifetime channel movie." If this is a dream I'm ready to wake up now. Later

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