I never experienced a single symptom of withdrawal when I decided not to take opiods anymore, though I was prepared for the possibility of such symptoms, after reading scary articles about opiod dependency. I even had anti-diarrhea medication on hand, for example. But then, I hadn’t taken the opiod medication like an addict might, only as-needed in a given day or week. The opiod meds I’d been given had lasted me a month overall, sometimes longer, taken in that manner.
Ironically, my primary care physician had repeatedly chided me not to wait until I was agony to take something, because then it takes more medication and more time to overtake the worst of the pain. It had taken me time to overcome the tendency to ignore the pain until it smited me, and smited me hard. And now? I’m used to being smited almost daily. I can be impaired just by pain itself some days. I refuse to drive under such conditions, since I would clearly be a distracted danger to myself and everyone else.
I don’t believe utilizing pain medication is identical to being addicted to pain medication. Three different care providers agreed I was not an addict — including my therapist at the time. I trust their assessments.
I don’t know how cancer patients are treated, but I hope it’s better than those of us with non-oncological pain. In my state, assisted suicide is legal for those patients to end the suffering of those patients with less than 6 months to live. There are days when I wish I had the same access, living in chronic pain from a life-changing assault, and with ever-encroaching Parkinson’s threatening to rob me of my faculties. For now, I take things as they come, as best I can.
Thanks for your thought-provoking reply, Alexainie . It reminded me of why I’ll die before I take opioids again.