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Very concerned sister! Severe pain or drug addiction?
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Very concerned sister! Severe pain or drug addiction?

My sister FM, slipped disc, degen. disc,  However she is a bit of a worry wart.  And any time something happens she thinks the worst and diagnosis herself with the worst!!!  ie:  Her legs and feet are swelling and she has assume that she has this mysterious condidtion that our grandmother has that made her ankles look like stumps and disfigured her feet.  Started at age 50, my sister is only 36.  The third time she swelled i took her to the ER because I thought it could be her kidneys, ER doc ruled that at but, didn't have any answers.  She's having a hard time  finding a rheumotoligist(sp.) that treats fibro.  

My main concern is when she comes to spend time at my home she stays up til wee hours in the morning aimlessly walking around, smoking cigs and falling asleep with cigs.  And  a bag full of meds.  Without making her feel like I don't believe that she is in pain I think she needs to detox.  How do I approach this drug addiction(my Opinion).  She also has a 4 year that is absolutely wild.  I think because he knows he can pull it over on her.  She is so druged all the time all she does is over compensate for the lack of energy by overprotecting, talking for him.  She would pee for him if she could.  I, too have a 3 year old boy and she won't leave them alone for a second in a room together because she is afraid they will fight.  Which they will because they are 3 and 4 and both boys!  But, without working out differences on their on sometimes they aren't going to learn to do it at all.  

She just left here this AM and I am exhausted from watching her fight with her son trying to make him do every move she wanted.  I tried to talk to her about detoxing and all she did was cry and say OH NO, YOU ARE GOING TO ONE MORE PERSON THAT THINKS THIS IS ALL IN MY HEAD!  And no I don't think that at all I just think there is SOMETHING other than morphine, darvocet, prozac, topimax, and the list goes on and on!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE HER VERY MUCH!  And she i feel like is missing so much of her only child's life (historectomy).  PLEASE HELP ME HELP HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
First off Tricia - take a deep breath, and remember that your sister's way of doing life may be very different than yours.  That said, you've working with so many different concerns.  They may not all have the same answers.  Some may need your help.

FM can be very painful.  It's also a very disorienting illness where your brain and your hormones and your entire body chemistry is off balance.  Is she taking drugs as perscribed by a doctor?  It still may not be working for her (not all docs are so good), and gathering your own information about the illness may help you talk with her more intellgently about what her options are.  A lot of treatments aren't meds, and what meds works varies.

Staying up very late is common in FM/CFS - it has to do with improperly functioning corisol levels...also to so much abnormality in the body that usual signals (like time to go to bed) don't come through.

If it looks like she's just clinging to the meds for dear life without them being directly and correclty helping her - then...  can you start to build a repore with her around the illness.  **Ask and understand what she is feeling and experiencing in her body.  Do it gently and over time and use your knowledge from your own research to know what to ask her.  Once, you have that (understanding of her experiences) you can start asking what the meds are and what they are for.  Then with the trust built up you can add suggestions on where she can go from here treatment-wise.  If she does seem to be drug addicted, there's a forum for that on here.  She also may be feeling depression as a result of the illness.  She may also be misdiagnosed and have something else.

The parenting issues are a completely separate problem.  If you can build repore on the illness, it might then give you a repore from which to talk as sister's about parenting and both your styles.  She may have concerns she's not mentioning because it's all too much to say when she's feeling so misunderstood to begin with.  The "it's all in your head" that gets thrown at you with this illness can be VERY discombobulating.

When there's a new symptom, like feet swelling, don't second guess it.  It is good to ask a doctor.  It can be surprising what turns out to matter and what doesn't.  She may be a worry wart, but you never know.

What do you think - is there more you'd like to know?
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Avatar_f_tn
You can even be very direct with her and say "you know, I've been having opinions, but I haven't really gotten to understand what you are dealing with yet.  I'd like to know more.  Can we talk?  What can you tell me?"  And have patience - this illness is a very hard set of sensations to describe.
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359987_tn?1207677404
Hi!

Thank you for your reply!  You brought up some very good points, however this is ALL we talk about.  We talk about her condition every single day.  And we absolutely have different ways in parenting and I accept that mainly it's because this is her first and only child and I have 2 children and we joke that she has first child syndrome.  

I don't know that she is taking the drugs as perscribe because she always runs out and hasto go to this doctor or that doctor to get more every month.  For a short period of time she was just telling me that she had a bad week and had to take more.  And being very involved I saw that and was ok with it, but the has been 8 months now.  

Also, she is married to someone who isn't supportive so she leans on me.  We are very close in age and we have been best friends FOREVER  and he gets mad because I listen to her and when something seems of the chart I MAKE her go to the doctor.  Just like taking her to the ER, he was so mad because it wasn't the first time she had swelled, but it was the first time it happened while she was here so I took her.  You know, I don't know everything about FM nor does anyone else so I needed to know that it wasn't due to a drug over dose or kidney or liver failure.  

I spoke to her again on the phone last night abot Lyrica and reading that so many people detoxed before it really worked for them, and she does want to detox, realizes she is dependent on too many drugs and that her quality of life right now isn't what she wants.  She is also very scared of detoxing which is understandable, she wants me to research what it intells so she make her desicion as to if she thinks she can do it.  I have offered to keep her son and let her admit herself if need be.  And maybe it was wrong but I told her it needed to be before August due to the children starting school and we live in different counties.  Maybe i shouldn't have put a time limit on her, but at the same time maybe if will give the extra push.  

Thanks for listening and your advise!  I get so upset that everyone is tired of listening and trying to help her because is has been 4 years with diag. and there seems to be something new all the time.  She suffers enough without ME making her feel like I don't believe in her!!!!  I want to help, NOT HURT!
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Avatar_f_tn
Sounds like you are on the right path, and making progress - big progress.  That's great.  Glad I could help even it was just to listen.  Detox does sound like an important first place to start.  Not just because of the meds, but because you can't know what the body feels lilke or what is working until you're at a clean baseline.  I've known a number of people who got cfs/fm, and years later stopped taking the pile of drugs they'd accommulated, and found out the illness was better than it had been or that at the least they felt MUCH better off the drugs.  It's scared me what doctor's can do when they get lost and start pushing meds and then more meds in the hopes it will help.  I also recently saw a comment that the pain meds themselves can cause back pain (as told to the person by their doctor and other people verified that it had been true for them.)

Good luck to both of you!  Keep in touch - there's always more to learn on this illness, and you never know when you'll find the key for yourself - or in this case, your sister.
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131817_tn?1209532911
Sounds like you are on the right path.  I was on fentanyal patches for months and was afraid of addiction.  I tested them by keeping them on longer to see if they were helping pain or not. At that time I wasn't in pain, so I stopped cold turkey. Luckily I had no problems and although I am in pain a lot now,  I am trying Lyrica and adding some of my Codiene/Fiornal that I have taken for migraines for years. I would love to know if being off pain meds completely helps,  as they sure don't do much for this kind of pain and are fairly weak ones anyway.  

Getting someone to go to rehab is pretty tough and sometimes needs an intervention.  I sure hope she is serious about it and wants to go.

I can't imagaine raising a child right now, that has to be really hard.   Good luck with all you are dealing with.

Curls has done her homework and research as far as this illness and I suggest you at least read some of the websites that give symptoms and a basic understanding of FM.

It's great to have the support here and learn from those that have this stuff. So keep reading and posting questions. I am new here and am learning.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am going throw the same thing with my daughter. She has pain all the time and she is addicted to drugs prescribed by her doctor.The more she cried pain the more he gave her.She said her doctor said she had FM.All she wants is drugs and more drugs.She started doing drugs at 15 .I believe she has pain.There's times she can't get up for like a week then she off and going none stop. She says she still hurting.Then why one time is she hurting so bad and crying all the time for a week for drugs and saying she can't move it hurts to bad then the next week she going none stop day and night??So I wounder if all the drugs she done in her life has caused her pain or is it really FM????She has gotten into a lot of car accents and she does have bad knees. She needs surgery on them again.She went to drug rehab. But I believe she may be doing drugs again.She wants my help then she does not.She won't lesson to me she only thinks she needs the drugs.I want to help her but she thinks I know nothing.I can't help her if she don't want it. She thinks she knows best.
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509215_tn?1363539423
The only thing you can actually do for your daughter is be there for her when she falls down and comes to you for help. I know this sounds harsh but you even said that she doesn't want your help. It will be hard for you to do this but you need to for your own sanity. She needs to learn from her own mistakes.Good Luck.
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TheLightSeeker
London, ON