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Avatar universal

I hope someone can help

I am 54 years old - I have COPD. I have a list of back problems (I actually have Harrington Rods in my back from a surgery when I was 18 - those rods are now "broken" and in my back still - I can't have surgery to remove them because drs ... 3 of them ... have said that bone & scar tissue has grown around the rods and they would literally have to saw thru the tissue and bone to get to the rods) the pain is awful from those rods. They have caused flat back syndrome. I have other spine & back issues as well.

Anyway - here is why I am here -
I have been on the fentanyl patch for 9 years - I was on 75 MCG for 8 1/2 years then 6 months ago upped to 100MCG and that's every 48 hours.

I want off these things.
I can go to a medical detox - thank God we have decent insurance.

But I am so sooooooo so scared!
I have tried to step down and cold turkey before ...
but OMG the physical pain - the only thing worse?
the emotions and thoughts that run thru your head.

This is just SO NOT ME! I have always been so even keeled...
so in charge of my emotions.

My question is
Has anyone here ever did the inpatient medical detox?
IF yes - can you please tell me everything?
Do the medications they give you help?
Does it help with the leg shaking issues? and the burning in your eyes and legs?

If I get off the patches and then realize
my pain is still so bad I have to be on something narcotic -
because I detoxed from Fentanyl -
would something less strong even help me?

I recently had to go to ER for stomach pain -
they had to give me 2 mg of dilaud to help me
(I think it was MG but not certain of the dosage...I know it was 2 but not sure
2 of what milligram, cc etc)

I am also on Percocet 10/325 for BT ...
I can take 2 of them and not feel a thing :(
I've never taken more than that because I'm afraid -

I don't abuse my meds.
I've been on pain meds for 14 years now due to the chronic pain.

I've read so many times where someone gets off all these stupid pain meds
and they feel better...
I just wonder if this would be my case.

Its only this past 1 to 1 1/2 years that I
have started to feel so out of sorts on the meds.
Before that, the patch did help my pain.
I was able to get up and do things.

I think I probably should have had my patch levels upped
because for 1 year my pain was very high - and the dr. didn't want to up
the patch.

I am also very chemically "sensitive".
I tried so many pain meds, anti depressants and things like
Neurotin/Cymbalta for pain and had reactions ... some that caused
me to have to go to ER :(

I hope that I will be able to go thru the medical detox and
take something non narcotic - well actually I HOPE I won't have to
take anything more than a OTC pain med...

I also wonder if I go thru medical detox
will that red flag me so I am not allowed to have pain meds again?

I just don't know what to do here -
but I know I am hanging by a thread these days.
The patch isn't working after the 1st day,
I'm sweating them off (menopause maybe)
and then when I put them back on - they don't seem to
relieve my pain - a nurse friend said since I'm sweating my pores are open
and I am probably getting a bigger dose of the med than normal and
draining the patch before the 48 hour time they are supposed to work.

I'm sorry I've rambled - I just wanted you to know
some of what has been going on...

I would truly appreciate anyone that can share their experience with
detoxing inpatient from Fentanyl and Percocet ...

Thank you ...
11 Responses
Avatar universal

Your welcome, honey...you can talk to me anytime.  I know what you mean about meds.  Doctors put us on these things and never tell us what the end-game is going to be.   I have often said that it should be mandatory for all patients receiving opiates to be counseled about what is going to happen to them.

It sounds like you may be going through menopause.  I know I was sweating like crazy, hot flashes, panic attacks; I was a mess.   Have you had your hormone levels checked?  LSH, FSH, all that stuff?   Maybe think about seeing your gyno-doctor. There are things you can be prescribed to make menopause not quite so horrific (although I won't sugar coat it for you; it's nasty!)

I can hear that you feel very vulnerable.  Before you check into a detox center, can you go visit first and see what it is like?  Meet the director, or even a counselor? I have known a few people who have gone, and some places are definitely better than others.

You sound like you'd really benefit from support; after you're through the worst of it (when you leave detox) consider seriously joining NA (Narcotics Anonymous.)  They welcome anyone, and you'll have a place to vent your concerns, feelings, anxieties, etc.

One final question:  What is prompting your decision to go to detox?  Is it to see what your actual pain levels are like w/o medication?   If you do this, and the pain from the broken rods in your back is indeed going to be unbearable, will your pain mgmt guy put you back on meds?

Hang in there honey...everything is going to be okay.

4522800 tn?1470325834
Hello & Welcome.
I have read this question on here many times about the detox centers.
I will share a bit of my own experience, but I really want you to do your Homework and ask them Many question's on how or what they will do to detox you.
I went to one back in 2012 and I went in becasue of my Methadone abuse and I was adding street bought Adderral to it. I also had a Benzo I would take at night. I get there and the Dr would not take me because of the high dose I was coming off of. I was sent to a DR away from the place and he tried to put me on Subs. I did do that for a few days and stopped. Very Dumb because that just made my withdraws worth. My point is that they did not give me the right comfort meds. All they would give people there is the Cloidine (BP med) and maybe Buspar which is Non-Narcotic and used for Anxiety. It does nothing during the first few weeks of withdraws but the BP med worked after days & days later when I decided to try it. SO, in the long run I went c/t off of those 3 meds until I finally tried the bp med. I should of NEVER went c/t from a benzo. This was 3 yrs ago and I was 56. It was very hard on me..
NOW!! I had 3 months in when I joined on here and I wish I would of found this site before hand. You can learn so much about tapering (which we can not say how..that would be up to the Dr) what to use for the Anxiety and Sleep in a more natural way. What to do about the RLS (which is the kicking) and so much more. The only issues with most of us is that we could not taper at home. Most had to just do it and stop. Since you are in so much pain, I am not sure if you would be able to handle this pain without a Med. The reason why we need more for pain is that we build up a Tolerance so fast to any kind of Opiate. These types of drugs will fill up the Receptors and we have them all over. They also do so much to the Brain Chemistry too.
If you do go it should be confidential. However, I sure would talk to the Dr about the issue if you need them again can you get them. I do not think you will be Red Flagged unless your Drs put it in there charts.
You have been on them for a long time and have built up that tolerance. Maybe think about a Taper from your Dr if you can. This will make the withdraws not so hard & long. Most of us have gone through the withdraws and many of us in the same way and some a bit different, but we are here to say it was worth it. It will just take Time & Patience to Balance back your Brain & Body from such a long usage.

I will Bump this up so Many others can come in and share there own personal experiences. Just keep checking this post as we come & go. I do wish you the best in whatever you decide. Plz do that Homework if you are going to go to a Detox place. Ask all and many questions about the place, how they will do this with the comfort meds, is it a 12step program or will you just be in detox and out, and the staff. Find out if there is a DR there all the time too. I know (now) that one of the Hospitals up here have a detox area were they put you on IVs and have all types of Drs talking to you all day long. I wish I would of known that too..However, I did learn SO SO SO much up at the place I went to. Having the detox experience, meetings and process groups has put me where I am today..On that missions to study the map of the brain and what drugs hit what area and so on and so forth!!
My Prays go out to you.
Avatar universal
Oh honey, I'm so sorry you are going through this.

Take a deep breathe...it is all going to be okay.  I never went to in-patient detox, but your post really stuck with me, so I wanted to chime in and just give you some emotional support.

It sounds like you have real pain issues. Flat back syndrome is very real and can result in pain in your hips, knees, and joints.  

You say your doctor didn't want to "up the patch."  Does your physician know you are having trouble with breakthrough pain?   Does s/he know you are thinking of going to a detox center?

Regarding your back: just curious, how do you know the Harrington rods are broken?  I thought they were usually make of surgical stainless steel.   Have you thought about getting a 2nd (and 3rd!) opinion about surgery to correct the situation?   I know having COPD can be a problem when facing a major operation.  Hopefully you have meds to control this problem and help you breathe.

Sigh..I"m sorry I don't have any answers for you, but I'm sending you love and healing prayers right now.   Tell yourself that everything is going to work out; even if you don't believe it, just say the words to yourself like a mantra, over and over.

Let us know how you are doing, and take a great big ((((HUG)))

Avatar universal
you would never NEVER EVER
know how much your KIND words and compassion touched me today .... thank you SO much.

unfortunately I don't feel like many people
understand what I am going thru :(
My adult son who I love and is the best kid ever ...
(he is 32) is so upset with me ...
I get so nervous and have panic attacks cause
I'm scared about the patches falling off and
that I will run out before the time to get them filled.
My doctor has filled them early for me before
and I took him my patches so he could see
how wilted they are from my sweating.
Thank goodness for him - but we know
he can't do that all the time - its not even in
his hands - the government will put him
in the electric chair!!
(I know that's an over-exaggeration...
I'm feeling better today so my humor
is back - which frankly I'm not always funny at all! )

Anyway my son hates to even take an Excedrin...
so where I know he is worried about me
and the whole detox, pain thing -
but his compassion just isn't there.
He doesn't understand that when I put this patch
on 9 years ago, I was in so much pain,
I couldn't stand it. He thinks just go in
and struggle for a few days and it will be all over.

So the kind words -
warmed me. Thank you.
I hope if I end up going to the detox place ...
the people there have the same compassion
and understanding.

I feel like too many people judge chronic pain suffers...
I guess they think we like paying for dr visits every month,
sitting there for hours in pain and then all the
stuff that goes on with medication...
Gosh if ONLY I was on a recreational drug!
I could detox and voila - Its over.
I hate to admit - I may need painkillers for the rest
of my life...

The patch was heaven sent for many years...
slap it on and off you go ...
but now I feel like it has taken over my life and thoughts...
the worry of "OH GOD WHAT IF they fall off again!"
is on my mind way to much.

A few months ago, I had to go thru
3 patches within 2 days ...
I stuck them back on because I had too...
but I guess I drew all of the medication out
of the patch (or a big hunk)
because my pain was terrible - for 4 days -
and I had moderate withdrawal symptoms
cause I guess my body wasn't getting enough
of the meds :(
Its just a horrible horrible feeling.

To answer your questions -
yes, I had 3 opinions about removing the rods.
the most recent was  18 months ago.

Everyone doctor was highly reputable and the only reason
I am not a surgical candidate is the scar tissue & bone
is so thick around the rods ...
One dr said I'd run a 50 50 chance of being paralyzed.
I feel like they may say this because it would be a difficult
operation to do - risky. And I think they just don't want
to take that chance ... so stick me on pain meds for
the rest of my life...I cant say I even blame them really.

The way we found out the rods were broken
was thru an xray - I actually have pictures on a youtube channel
if you would want to see it
(I hope we are allowed to do this) ?


its just downright WEIRD looking!
You can see the screws all willy nilly
in my back. The place where the screws are...
sometimes is so tender if you push on it
it burns like hades. Weird...

The pain management dr I have been going to for 9 years
is a great guy. He did finally up the patch ...
but I sure did suffer a long time before it :(
it just made things worse over all ...
I feel like my energy is down -
my fight is down from having
nothing but problems this past year and a half...
First the increased pain then the worry of them
falling off - and the heat waves.
I've started to have panic attacks ...
I guess...due to the worry of the medicine.
I'll also be going thru a divorce. The good thing
about that is, my husband isn't hurrying it.
So I have some time to get things in order.

you know - I hate to say this
cause I'll surely sound like an idiot...
but when they put me on this patch years ago ...
I just figured ...
as long as I took it as prescribed...
I'd be okay ...
No withdrawals - no worry on going days
without it - NO inpatient medical detox.
I figured it was just a medicine.
I wasn't one to check things on the internet back then.
But ohhhhh boy, I check any medication these days
before I even get it filled.
This may not be sane but unless it
is a case of life and death ...I will never
take any medication that is addictive and
can cause withdrawals again.

I'm not even on anything for the COPD constantly.
I have an inhaler that I use when needed.
And even when needed I try to just
myself under control ...

Again thank you SO much -
I will surely keep you all posted and
definitely appreciate anything posted here.

If you notice I have come up missing ...
it will mean I did the inpatient detox.
Big hugs
Avatar universal
hi Vickie!
I want to thank you so much for taking time to share all this information with me. Truly - I know it’s not fun or easy to take time to write ...so
the fact that you took time to help
a stranger...me....is appreciated :)

I can’t believe what you went thru with your rehab place.
I sure hope this place I’m thinking about is like the 2nd one
you mentioned – where they have IVs and doctors all day.
Thank you again for sharing your experience.

Now to answer some of your questions..
My doctor also mentioned the tapering down.
But to be honest,
I don't think I could trust myself ...
not that I would inject or chew the patches but
if I start with the withdrawal symptoms
and my pain kicks up ...
I'd slap a new patch on.

I guess I've become a big baby somewhere
along the way, cause I just cannot deal with those
withdrawal symptoms.
I dont' know if that's it …
that I've become a "whiner"
that the fentanyl has done something to my mind -
but I just cannot take the leg thing
the burning sensations...and I can NOT
believe my mind and how it races and how sad
I am when those WD's hit.

I gave birth to my son without
any drugs 32 years ago
(not my choice but the epidural didn’t
work because that’s where the rods are in my back)
and I don’t think hospitals gave moms
pain medication back then.

When I was in the car wreck that broke
my back, I don’t even remember having
pain medication when I went home
(I was in a full body cast that went
over my shoulders and ended above my hip
area). I was 18 and that was a long time ago -
my body & bones were younger  so I’m sure
that plays a part in not needing pain meds.
I feel like thru the years I’ve been able to
handle ups & downs and pain rather well.
But now just the thought of withdrawals -
sends me into a panic attack (Which I also
never had until this past several months)
I wonder if the medication is causing that.
Or…am I just getting older and/or worse
where my health is concerned.
I just wish I was my old self ...

I’ll certainly be back in hopes that someone
can share their experience. I’ve already learned
from these two messages good questions to ask
when I go for the interview thing at the hospital.

And you know I just thought of this...
another "good thing" that could come of
this visit...maybe I can be of help to someone
after my experience. We sure do need each other...
chronic pain patients ...

Big hugs & gratitude – Vicki

4522800 tn?1470325834
Thanks Vicki from another Vickie..Ha!
Just a thought...we have a "Pain Management Community" too.
Maybe you can get some real BIG tips over there. I never go to that one..lol

I sure feel your pain and yes age makes it worse. I am months away from going on 60 and I can sure feel some odd pains now & then...Mostly my back that has given me trouble for yrs but I  had mask it with pain pills.

You are one of the Lucky ones because you did not get out of control with these meds. You used them for the purpose for pain and not to just get that Buzz or High to feel the good feeling or energy.

I just do not know what the next step would be as far as Pain meds go. I am just concerned that you might not be able to handle life with that type of pain without something!!! I am sure you tried it all from shots to PT.
Keep us updated on what you decide to do.
There is a lady on here, who is one of my good friends now and she too had a car wreak and laid in beds for yrs. She still is in so much pain but does not want to deal with the meds anymore. She too came off of 3 meds and went through that withdraw. I would just talk with the Docs and see what new thing they might come up with.

Maybe I could send her a PM or Call and ask her to PM you and talk private..
Wishing you the best that Life can give.
4522800 tn?1470325834
PS. Neveragain is right about the Hormone thing. When i was around your age or younger I had a complete hysterectomy. My bed was so soaked and I had to keep changing my clothes. I had a mess down there and he could not believe I could even walk for the past 20yrs. That was the reason I got the Hydo/Oxys and then up to the Methadone. After my surgery I had no reason to have these pain meds. I did the HRT for a few yrs. THEN when I went cold turkey off my meds, I did not even think about my hormones or taking anything. THEN about a yr and a half into my healing I got worse. I CAN NOT even believe how our Hormones can do this to us. I thought it was my heart because I had to had 2 stents put in last yr. NO it was the Hormones. I could just sit and be talking to some one and sweat came pouring out..It is the worst thing I have ever experienced and very uncomfortable. I went back on the BIO_IDENTITIES and it is compounded into a cream..OH..It has made my life do a 180 between that and finally balancing out mentally, physically and spiritually from my drug use..I can say I am a very "Happy Camper" these day and feel Wonderful..It did take almost 3 yrs to get here..lol
Yes, the sweating can be a sign of hormones or anything that your body is trying to tell you.
If so, plz seek a Dr..It is just awful to try to go through that, let alone a detox.
Avatar universal
Hi there- It sounds like you need to get away from those patches; they're causing you too much anxiety. You'll need pain management, though, and there are meds that can cover you.  What dose of Percocet are you taking?

You don't necessarily have to detox; you can be gradually titrated to another pain med while weaning from the fentanyl. Your doctor needs to be willing to do this. Do you think he'll work with you?
Avatar universal
i Was going to a pain clinic for years.    The first time I tried to stop I went to a out patient program and received a prescription for Suboxone from a totally different clinic .    I used it for about a month and gave up and tried to get my pain clinic to refill my pain meds.  I thought no one would know.  To my surprise the pharmacist saw my script for the suboxone and took it upon himself to call my Pain management doctor to let him know I had been on suboxone.  I was discharged from the pain clinic.  So there is a risk of that.  when I stopped using I noticed my pain was almost gone.  I was really surprised.  however after reading your post You sound like someone that might need to be on something.  Pain can really decrease your quality of life also.  good luck  
Avatar universal
isn't that a shame when you tried to do the right thing?
I mean - I don't get this. You were trying to clean up from
pain meds and then you get penalized.

Thru the 14 years of my pain problems, I have heard
and seen so many bad things happen to people who
are legitimately in pain. They go to their PM doctor and
the doors are closed and they have no where to fill meds
that cause withdrawal...people are treated like crap because
they are getting their pain meds filled...
I've dealt with that a few times with pharmacies - but thank goodness
I have a great pharmacy - I have also been going there for 7 years - never showed up early for my meds ... or anything like that.
so I guess I have earned their trust. I actually think they just treat people like people and not dogs though ...

thank you for your input ...
I am definitely keeping my doctor in the loop with my thoughts of the detox center. again I am blessed to have a decent doctor - again 9 years with him - gosh I've known him longer than my grandson! lol

thank you tom - I hope things work out for you.
Avatar universal
We have a real problem right now in the U.S. with doctors afraid to prescribe opiates for ANYONE...even people with terminal disease are having a hard time.

In the 1990's, when oxycontin came out, a lot of abuse sprung up.  This continued into the 00's.  

Then within the last 24 months, Vicodin became a Schedule II drug, and was no longer eligible for refills; pts had to go in an physically get the script then bring it to the drug store.    

I noticed the big change in 2013; I would go get my prescription, bring it to a pharmacy, and they'd tell me they were "out" of the meds I needed.  Out?  Seriously?  So I'd go to another and sometimes another pharmacy.   Also, my doctor, who is normally a great guy, started just not caring if I ran out and he went on vacation.  I went through several short-term withdrawals because he didn't bother to leave me a script.

I think this current crack-down on doctors and their prescribing habits is only worsening the drug abuse in this country.  People can't get pills so they are turning to street heroin, and the ensuing risks of infection that carries with it.  And legitimate pain patients are being treated like criminals.

Be careful, hon.  Talk this detox plan over with your doctor before you jump, and make sure s/he thinks it is the best move.  

Vicki595 had a good suggestion; you might need better pain med mgmt...and if you are having the drenching sweats that menopause (or peri-menopause) can bring on, patches may not be a good option for you.

Don't give up hope; let us know what happens!

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