Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Do You "Really" Need Those Pain Meds?

Speaking once again from the voice of experience, I wanted to share some information with you about pain medications.

Many cancer patients experience intense pain with their cancer while others have tumors with relatively very little pain or no pain associated with them at all.  A word of advice here would be to check very thoroughly with your oncologist or family physician to ensure your pain medications are prescribed for the right reasons.  It's very easy to make that mistake when you have cancer and pain.  Right away you may think your pain is due to your cancer but always take the time to investigate to make sure it's not something else causing your pain.

There is nothing worse than pain!  Any of us would gladly take whatever is offered to help alleviate our pain but be careful and always check out your pain meds!!!  There are all types of pain medications from anti-inflamatory, and corticosteroids to narcotics - just to name a few.  The big ones are the narcotics which you have all heard about, but these vary in strength and composition from slow-acting to fast-acting and of course their side effects and additions vary as well. 

If you have been prescribed these heavy duty meds it is usually trial and error so be ware!!!  If you find the strength of any pain medication you are on is making you incoherent, unaware of what's happening around you or constantly just plain out-if-it, then maybe it's time to reconnect with your physician and reduce the dose or re-examine the type of drug you are presently taking.  Believe me, you don't want to be on these narcotics unless it's absolutely necessary as getting off them can be just as dangerous as taking too high a dosage.  If your eyes just don't seem right - a very small pupil size - that is a possible sign as well that your pain medication may be too strong!

My point here is - always use your instincts or those of your caregiver if you are ever in doubt about the medications you are taking. If something does not seem right, if your appetite is not good, if you are sleeping way too much or if you are becoming incoherent, then go see your doctor immediately.  Find the "exact" cause of your pain as it just may not even be due to your cancer and then get the correct meds to treat you.

Good luck and take care!

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