Pill Pop-Art

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Courtesy of my night stand and smartphone

Posted from the Diva on the road or (most likely) in bed.

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Let Go My Norco

On Friday, January 25, 2013, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted 19 to 10 to recommend moving hydrocodone combination drugs, such as Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco to the schedule II category of controlled substances. If the FDA follows the panel’s recommendation and moves hydrocodone combination drugs from their current schedule III to schedule II, prescribing practices would be more restricted. … [original article here]

Like many of you, I deal with pain on a 24/7 basis. When I am talking, laughing, smiling, or queening out, believe it or not, I am in pain. Here is an inside scope on those who live with pain— we have a high tolerance to it and we are incredibly strong. It is only when the pain is so unbearable that you can see it on our face.

Now each person has their own way of coping with daily pain. Many do the healthy-living (i.e., eating well, doing yoga, etc–check out these great posts). Overall, the majority try to keep themselves occupied so to not focus on the pain. What do I do? I keep my mind busy with some activity (i.e., work, watching some sitcom marathon on some ridiculous network [thank you, CLOO for the 3-day Psych marathon!!]) AND I rely heavily on my drugs, especially my precious Norco (hyrdrocodone/acetaminophen)– the cooler, pot-smoking cousin of Vicodin. Dr. Lupus prescribed a 180-count per month prescription, and I am expected to take one-pill every 4 to 6 hours. But as we all may have experienced, pain is not a uniform symptom. I have good days that I can take my 1-pill every 4 hours. But most likely, I will have days where I am taking 2-3 pills as needed (i.e., whenever I feel like it to keep my sanity). Why? Because- WHEN IN PAIN, I NEED MORE THAN JUST ONE MEASLY PILL TO QUIET THE PAIN. I have been taking Norco for over 3 years now. At first taste, one pill did the trick, but as time went by, I was needing more and more.  Taking hydrocodone is a vicious cycle- because users can form a tolerance towards these opiate drugs, which means you need more of it to have an effect. Personally, I am OK with that. As you read this, you are probably thinking that I have a major dependence on the drug. If you don’t think that, well, keep reading, because if I haven’t convinced you yet… I think I will do a stand-up job in the next couple of paragraphs.

Before I left the office today, I received an email notification that my prescription was ready for pick-up. Just as I was reading it, I smiled, swallowed the last four Norco pills and made a mental note to stop the pharmacy before crashing into my bed. Perfect timing. You see, after 3+ years of experience with the Texas Controlled Substance Act, I have picked-up a few tips and managed to never be without opiates and always with a “comfortable” supply (for those bad days). One day, I will disclose those tips. Unfortunately, during the past month, I had to dip into my “Norco” savings, and by dipping, I mean DIVING IN. I left nothing (oops). So, I was desperately relying on today’s pick-up.

At my neighborhood pharmacy, of which my hard-earned funds go to, I was told “it is too soon” to pick-up my Norco prescription and to “come back on April 4th”. I decided to not panic right away and pleasantly state that there may be a mistake because I was notified via email that my prescription was ready. Now, the following is the dialogue that occurred at the Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Sugar Land, Texas. Because I am so talented, I played the role of the classy diva, sarcastic diva, raving queen, and Diva Licious Jones (my tranny name).

The silly pharmacist continues to speak with me with some stick up her ass: “Did you take more than what you were suppose to?”

Classy Diva: “Fuck yes I did, how else am I able to walk, stand and have this heated conversation with you about my painkillers?”

Crap-pharmacist: “You are allotted 4-6 pills a day for pain”

Sarcastic Diva: “Oh sorry. Let me give that message to my body that is being attacked by its own immune system. I am sure it didn’t get the memo.”

Pharmacist: “The controlled substance law states…”

Raving-Queen: “I am going to stop you there. How about this. Why don’t you go get hit by a truck, or get cancer, or suffer from some painful disease like arthritis or lupus, and then, tell me if you give a damn what the controlled substance law says. It is OK, I will wait.”

Dumb-bitch who still doesn’t get it: “There is no need for that. You are just going to have to come back in 7 days. You will not get your painkillers”

Diva Licious Jones: “That is where you are wrong” [pulls the around-the-world-snap and struts out of Walgreen’s] *side bar- I strutted like a true diva but that shit hurt*

What was my next move. PANIC! First, I called my fellow-lupus warrior to bitch about what had happened and to see if I could bum a few painkillers. Second, I called my long-time buddy-past-lover/druggie to score drugs off the streets. How dare that pharmacist refuse my drugs! She was clueless to say that I would not get them today. I know it is possible to score outside the pharmacy, because the older classy ladies at my infusion clinic speak of this all the time. For fuck-sake, I buy weed from a 68-year-old diva (gotta love the pain-community)! So, I left my sure-thing-slam-dunk-move for last. I called in the same prescription at the Walgreen’s in the neighboring town… AND WON! #Rulesweremadetobebroken.

What is the bottom-line? Am I dependent on opiates? Maybe. Will I do anything to have a steady stash? Hell Yes. Like I said before, each person has their own way of coping with pain. I don’t judge anyone for eating grass, going to acupuncture, smoking pot, drinking pure lemon juice or etc.

Here is your Diva’s Note: I think at this point, fans, we need to do what makes us happy AND feel good. We just have to remember that every action has a consequence. I will smoke a doobie, sprinkle Norco on my ice cream, and drink glasses of vino until I can peacefully pass-out pain-free. We already go through so much that no one would ever understand, so why not make the most of it?

STAY FABULOUS!

Moran Amendment

A message from the Lupus Research Institute

Urge Your Senators Now To Protect
The Future of America’s Biomedical Research

We urge the lupus community to send a strong and immediate message to the U.S. Senate to support an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution that would increase funding for NIH research in the coming year.

Between today and the weekend, the U.S. Senate is expected to take a final vote on its Fiscal Year 2014 budget resolution.  At some point in the debate, the Senate will consider an amendment by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) to increase funding for biomedical research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The Moran Amendment would increase NIH funding by $1.4 billion – strengthening the agency’s capacity to fund the research necessary to deliver new treatments and find cures for lupus as well as the many other chronic diseases plaguing so many Americans.

Please help and express your support for Senator Moran’s Amendment by either telephoning or emailing your Senator today or tomorrow. Urge your Senators to vote for the Moran NIH Amendment to the budget resolution.

Use this link to the Lupus Research Institute website to send an email directly to your Senator. Click here to find your Senator’s telephone number and suggested messages to convey.

Here is a summary of the Moran Amendment from his office for your reference:

Funding for the NIH, the focal point of our nation’s medical research, has remained virtually level since FY2010. However, when adjusting for inflation, the FY2012 budget is $3.6 billion lower than the peak year of FY2003.  Success rates for grants have fallen more than 13.6 percent in the past decade and the NIH is projected to fund 3,000 fewer grants this year than it did ten years ago. 

If the United States is to continue its leadership role in providing the medical breakthroughs to develop cures and treat disease, we must commit to supporting funding for biomedical research.  If researchers cannot rely on consistent support from Congress, we will jeopardize our current progress, stunt our nation’s global competitiveness, and lose a generation of young researchers to other careers and other countries. 

Only through steady, sustainable, and predictable funding can the NIH sustain the highest quality biomedical research to help improve the health of all Americans.  In addition, the NIH plays a critical role as an economic engine, supporting approximately half a million jobs nationwide.  Our commitment to the NIH will remain an important factor in saving and improving lives, bolstering the nation’s economy and driving U.S. global competitiveness.

Diva’s note: Political beliefs aside, research is the only route to discovering ideal treatments for lupus. We, as patients, have a chance to be proactive and get involved.

stay FABULOUS!

Posted from the Diva on the road or (most likely) in bed.

Just Say No

… just remember that only we know what we’re going through each day. We need to do what’s best for us, not what others want us to do.

Beautifully said by my fellow-fabulous-lupus warrior, Vero. She reminded me today that it is OK to say “no” in order to stay healthy and happy.

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The Lupus Foundation of America recently published a nice article on saying “no” so that we don’t overwhelm ourselves with life: http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_magazineback.aspx?articleid=3009&zoneid=67

Fans, remember that you are your number one priority. We must take it easy and one step at a time. Lupus is a life-changing chronic disease. Anyone who says differently obviously hasn’t been catatonic with pain. We have to accept it and start making the necessary changes so we can live everyday to its fullest.
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Stay FABULOUS and say NO

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Vero and me (December 2012)