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Hi Ice

'Tis late Sunday morning and soon I will be going on a little outing with family. Going to a great-niece's hockey game an hour away. I have not seen this piece of our family for probably 15 years. Last I saw this great-niece she was about 4 years old. Now she is a senior in college! Then we are all going out to lunch. This is all a big deal because a few years ago this little outing would have seemed unfathomable to me. I was so isolated in my drug haze that I would have simply stayed home and then felt sorry for myself that I had not gone with everyone else. I am so thankful that today I can look forward to this with a bit of excitement and happiness.

My pill use started about 15 years ago when I was in treatment for cancer. Radiation burned me so badly towards the end of treatment that I was prescribed pain meds. I am thinking maybe it was Vicodin. After the radiation, I had a huge surgery to remove the mass from my thigh. I was cut from under my breast almost to the knee. The mass was removed along with a large muscle, lymph nodes and a lot of tissue. Nerves were also severed in the process. The pain was unbelieveable. I was on a self-administered morphine pump for 16 days in the hospital. Before I was released, I was weaned down to Percocet. I was bedridden for a couple of months and in constant pain. Laying there with nothing to do but think was a very depressing situation. My Mom, my Dad and my uncle had all been diagnosed with cancer the year before I was. Dad and Uncle died, mom survived. I was the caretaker for all three. My life was still reeling from all of it when I was diagnosed. I think, in retrospect, it was way back then that I started crossing the line with the painmeds and using them to block out the mental pain as much as the physical pain.

As the years progressed, I needed more and more meds to achive any relief. I went through all of them... Morphine, patches, Oxycontin, you name it. Stronger meds and more of them. The meds killed the pain enough for me to struggle through work each day. Then I would come home and crash until the next day. That was my, crash, start over the next day. I did more and more damage to my leg as I over-used it with the meds masking the pain. I did more and more mental damage to myself as I was exhausted from the pain and the meds and the meds were pushing me deeper and deeper into depression. Somewhere along the line, Xanax was added off label to help with the nerve damage. It did help, but man oh man, talk about a demon addictive drug. It helped the leg a lot, but also helped knock me out. And I wanted to be knocked out. I didn't want to deal with all the grief and pain of my parents' cancer, my uncle's, the deaths and my own situation. As with the opiates, I took more and more of the Xanax to keep my self knocked out physically and emotionally.

And it all caught up with me in a massive breakdown that left me totally broken in spirit, mind and body. By the time my hubby got me to the doctor that day, I could do nothing but sob uncontrollably. That was the day my family doctor said, "Enough!" He took control and set up a withdrawal plan for me. I was totally compliant as I had no will to be anything else. About a month into it is when I found this board and that is when you and I met up.

As I withdrew, the depression slowly, slowly left me. There was a second layer of depression that came from the withdrawal and I recognized that. However, I was able to fight that with the tools I gained as I withdrew and I could feel the fight coming back to me. It took me a year to finally feel that I was 'me' again. I still dragged alot as will always deal with the aftermath of the cancer treatment. I can accept that now, though, but I rediscovered the joy of participating in life again.

So, today, I am going to participate in abit of a family outing. It feels good, Ice. Good to be alive and face each new day with anticiaption and not fear. It took a lot of baby steps to get here, but I am here and hope to stay here always.

My fight against the depression and drugs was the hardest of ny life. It was also the most worthwhile. I learned so much about me, about my world, about so many things. I have gained tools that help me in every area of my life. I like, I [U]love[/U], living again!


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