Morphine during/after treatment
Back to the same chat that we are all different but I hope this can help at least one person.
Little background in that before diagnosed with tonsil cancer I was on codeine for years due to a bone on my spine they cant operate on, so body is used to opiate medication.I also have had quite a bit of discomfort from my gums throughout and have planned dental appointments coming up to remove some skin that has been aggravating according to x rays I had taking along with slow healing sockets from teeth extraction so the pain from that perhaps could have been controlled with something other than morphine as well
So while on treatment and then recovery ,codeine was stopped and replaced by morphine. First of all by oralmoprh then upped to MST tablets, which are slow release tablets that are taken 12 hours apart to ensure in system 24 hours and can also be topped up by oralmorph.
At my worst I was on 2 x 20mg and therefore 40mg daily prescribed by my support team.
A few weeks into recoverey this was reduced to 2 x 10mg tablets and oralmorph when needed.but still 20mg a day and oralmorph that added to the dose temporarily
So this contnued right through my recovery and in total was prescibed morphine by my GP for approx 9 months. With hindsight, I think this was far too long a period and too easy to keep the medication going. I now believe that morphine has been both my friend and enemy on this journey and has been a contributing factor in delaying my recovery period.
I tried to stop myself but did too soon by just stopping. That just induced cramps,noticable anxiety,sleep fragmentation,agitation,sweats sometimes among other effects so long story when I explained to my GP he promptly put me back on with no plan or real monitoring.
Aware that my body was by now used to this level of morphine and eventually I took the bull by the horns as this recovery period was just going to contnue with me being in my bed so much with fatigue and not functioning properly. To sort sleep fragmentation my GP prescribed 14 day course of sleeping tablets which looking back now, was perhaps not the most prudent course of action to add on top of level of morphine prescibed. Once finsihed these I decided that enough was enough.
So from 20mg, I reduced by 2.5mg every 3 days and after 12 days was down to 10mg total in 24 hr period. At this level I then had few stomach cramps, little anxiety and sleep fragmentation but I stuck with it, determined not to continue as it was.Lasted 2/3 days most then calmed down.
I then switched to my normal medication that I was on before cancer diagnosis and it’s like night and day now and as if a switch was turned on. The effect was pretty immediate apart from one night and I’ve felt so much better, lucid, out and about a lot more. This has been a massive transformation in just one week since I stopped so cannot be co indidence. I’m back at work baby steps 4 hrs a day and planning to up over a short planned period and, touch wood, I’m sleeping from night till morning now and a lot more normality has crept back in.
Those who have known me on here know I have had a longer recovery period than most and while I’m now really pleased and far more motivated and lucid, it does actually raise a few questions around this powefull drug.
Do we need it during treatment and recovery, for some absolutely yes and perhaps at dose prescibed. Do we need it over such a long prolonged period like mine, I would now with hindsight seriously question and certainly in my case, no. I think, depending on circumstances it’s a case of getting the balance right of when we actually really medically need it to help us and when reduction and removal and take less powerful medicaion that would be adequate
I dont really have any major solution and I’m not medically qualified but sharing my experience in the hope that my little chapter on this may help one person assess both the levels of dose and if its being prescibed over such a long prolonged period after recovery, then perhaps it’s a converation with GP and or support team, or unfortunately try and sort out yourself.
If you do find yourself on morphine for any lenght of time then its really important that you just dont stop overnight. Reduce gradually perhaps every 3 days until you feel body is then comfortable to cope with. My GP thought my 12 day period was too quick given length of time but if I’m honest by now I was starting to challenge the medical advice within myself so was determined to carry on now myself and proved it could work and I’ve been absolutely fine since off last weekend. I will not be convinced otherwise that it’s a co indidence.
So I hope this helps a little but also doesnt not put anyone off from taking during and after treatment depending on their circumstances. I’m just trying to outline that it’s perhaps really quite prudent to assess on a more regular basis on the length of time prescribed and whether it would be more benefical to slowly reduce then come off rather than continue with.
I’m not blaming GP or anyone as I have a responsibilty as well, but we do tend to listen and take the medical advice we are given but there is also a point that a 10 minutes chat/assessment in a GP practice aint gonna always provide the best course of action for you and then you get in the cycle of the next apppt, more meds,nex appt etc.
It’s just an honest assessement and will not apply to that many on here but it’s also been a real part of my recovery, right or wrong, and if I could sell hindsight, I would make a fortune.
I genuinely hope this helps at least one person.
Onwards & Upwards