Failure is always an option, right?

Hey Guys,

I can already tell today’s BLOG isn’t going to be easy for me to write because I feel like I let myself down. Last night my back pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t get to sleep. I tried the bio freeze which had been helping a little and it was doing absolutely nothing. I even tried stretching and walking around but the pain was just too intense. I finally threw in the towel and took my pain medication that I’ve been trying so hard to get off of and it was a very hard decision for me to make. I felt like I was defeated and as I took the medication I felt like a complete failure (I might of even cried a little, don’t tell anyone). I thought for sure I would be able to just kick all my meds cold turkey despite many of you saying it’s not a good idea. I’ve been through withdrawal before and I’ve been able to handle it and come out on the other side smelling like roses but this wasn’t withdrawal, this was an angry back that wasn’t letting up. I literally couldn’t find any position that was comfortable and it was eating away at me.

Well enough about my horrible failure, what am I going to do about it moving forward? Well I’ve decided to tweak my plan a little and only take my pain medication at night before bed and not take it in the morning or during the day. This will allow me to sleep pain free and I can suffer through the pain in the morning and afternoon. The thing is, when I’m moving around and can get up and shift my weight and do things my back pain drops quite a bit, it’s when I lay down and stay in one position things go to hell in a hand basket really quick. So unfortunately it doesn’t look like I get to throw away my pain meds just yet but I’m confident I can greatly reduce their use which I hope will allow me to retain my good memory and cognitive boost I’ve experienced being off the meds for 3 days. I’m still off the Welbutrin and I don’t notice any difference so I wasn’t into the drug deep enough to suffer withdrawal and I’m still completely off the Adderall (ADHD drug) and I’m doing well. It’s just the back pain that I’m finding hard to cope with.

I took some of your advise and ordered up a TENS unit from Amazon (http://amzn.to/1MXd95V) that will stimulate the nerves in my back and help relax the muscles and numb the pain. I’m hoping this thing works great because if it does I’ll use it right before I go to bed and hopefully not need the pain medication or at least a smaller dose (I’m already on a pretty small dose to begin with compared to most people on the drug). I really want to find an alternative that leaves the pharmacy in the dust but obviously my tactic of just ‘Screw it, I’m done’ isn’t going to work.

I can feel the sound of a 1,000 “I told you so’s” coming my way right now but I have to be honest with you guys. The whole point of this blog is for me to be straight up with everyone and especially myself and if I slip and fall I want you guys to know about it. If I succeed I want you guys to know about it! I don’t want a bunch of people that my writing inspires to go and try to do something if I can’t do it myself. I am going to see my doctor again in 2 more weeks and I’m going to discuss my plans to reduce medication and stay off everything else permanently.

I’m also exploring the option of trying Cannibis CBD oil & pills. I talked with my doctor and he said a lot of people have had really good results with it and it’s a hell of a lot better for you then opiate based drugs. Also since it doesn’t contain any THC (which I hate!) it shouldn’t have any mental effects like the opiate based drugs do. If you guys have experience with it please let me know on Twitter (@barnacules). I’ve only ever tried Cannibis once in an edible form (chocolate bar) and it was one of the most horrible experiences of my life. But I’ve been told the CBD extract doesn’t have any of the psychoactive compounds (THC) which I suspect is what gave me the bad experience including paranoia, fear, rapid heart beat, etc.

My end goal here is to find a way to manage the pain so that it doesn’t keep me sitting all day or make me want to stop going to the gym. I still need to be active and I had forgotten how intense the pain can get when I’m not medicated. I think once I lose more weight the back pain will get better but unfortunately the problem isn’t really weight based but rather a bone spur rubbing on my sciatic nerve that they don’t want to cut out because it’s so close to the nerve it could paralyze me if they operated.

I am still trying to be proud of myself for getting off the other two drugs but this still feels like a massive failure. Like I gave up and threw in the towel despite how much I tried to convince myself or my wife tried to convince me it was a necessary set back. I really wanted to be free of anything that screwed with my head and get back to the same ‘crazy’ super smart Jerry that I used to be. My ADHD was being treated because it got in the way of my career when I had a lot of stress going on from Xander when he was in the hospital as a baby almost dying every other day. But I don’t feel like I need it anymore because I want that passionate, crazy and balls to the walls personality back. It means that I can have insanely high days where I’m floating in the clouds but it also means on the dark days they are that much darker but I’m willing to accept that.

I will keep you guys updated on my TENS machine and other alternatives I try to find a solution for the pain. My absolutely long term wish is to find a treatment that helps with the pain but doesn’t impact me mentally in the form of reduced memory or fogginess like opiate based pain medications was doing after years of use. I’m also hoping that if I only use the pain medication at night before I go to bed it will be out of my system by the morning (only lasts about 3-4 hours usually when I’m awake) and my mind will be clear. So far today my mind feels pretty clear after taking it last night but still need to measure the cumulative effect of getting back on it regularly, so who knows at this point.

Thank you for all the support and sticking with me through all these radical changes. I’m going to try and stay as positive as I can while I try to search for solutions to my pain problems and I’m going to keep on making progress. My diet has taken a little bit of a blow but I’m still working out at the gym & the medications I’m not completely off of but I’m off most of them so there is still a lot of positive forward progress. At the end of the day I’m still down from 308lb to 281lb and despite the pain in my back I feel better for it.

Thank you everyone for reading my BLOG it means a lot to me. I’m also sorry I didn’t get a video out last night and the videos are coming so slow but I was in so much pain I couldn’t get through filming the video without issues. I don’t like to shoot videos when I’m not happy because it really shows in the end product as you well know. So just hang in there with me and let’s get this all worked out and get back to just making fun technology and tutorial videos! I really want to get my racing sim up and running before JayzTwoCents gets here so he can turn a few laps with me in iRacing and maybe we could live stream it. Those are stretch goals at this moment because of the Storm Trooper suit project and VloggerFair and PAX Prime coming up this month. But I’m going to stay the course and get through all this!

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16 thoughts on “Failure is always an option, right?

  1. Hope you feel better soon, Jerry. Meds aren’t an easy thing to kick; it’s like losing crutches after a leg injury. But, once they’ve done their job, you don’t keep using crutches, and you shouldn’t keep doing medications if they’re done with their job. It sounds to me like your pain meds aren’t done, so there’s no shame in continuing to take them!

    You’ve been a huge inspiration to me in the past couple weeks. I’m in this with you for the long haul. I’ve only got 80 more pounds to go. Be strong, take your time, and don;t forget to be your awesome self.

  2. You have inspired a lot of people, including myself, I’m glad you make these blog posts because, in a way, it feels like a one on one talk. Thanks for the inspiration, I really appreciate it, and i’m sure everyone of your fans does too 🙂

  3. I have no experience in this, but I think quitting cold turkey can’t really work for pain medication. Either way, the important thing is that you’re not going complacent and letting the medicine rule your live. It’s good that you’re trying to do something about it.
    As for the pain, can’t it be fixed with surgery and/or physiotherapy ? (don’t know the situation wholly, just asking).
    PS: If you ever setup a community iRacing race you can count on me (I’m pretty shit at it, so I can only make your racing look good)

  4. I share your pain on the painkiller front. After being prescribed opiate based painkillers for migraines many, many years ago I’ve been stuck on them ever since and tried everything I can to get off them. There are a number of issues you will need to face. Firstly, as you mentioned before you become extra sensitive to sensations and pain, which is going to make your back pain feel twice as bad as it does normally. Secondly, opiates are addictive by their very nature and as a result your brain will play tricks on you to get its next “fix”. With me it creates a fresh headache and I have to reach for the painkillers – if you have been on them for a while then perhaps your brain is playing on the back pain to get you to reach for the painkillers?.

    One way to find out if your brain is addicted is if the TENS machine works and you find your brain keeps tricking you in to reasons to take more painkillers.

    I have met people who have successfully got off the opiate painkillers by gradually reducing the amount they take each time. Others have got off the painkillers by stretching the gap between doses. Neither worked for me. I’m now going through professional help. I’m about to start a course of drugs that will trick my brain in to thinking I have taken the painkillers by occupying the receptors the painkillers normally head for.

    One thing does fairly common amongst the people I have met and that is cold turkey only works for one in 100 people. The conditions and will power all have to be perfect and basically stress free.

    Tell your doctor you think the opiate path is a problem and it is one you need to get off. They should be able to treat that mental side of things and replace the opiates with an alternative painkiller.

  5. I feel your pain. I have been on Vicodin for about 3 years and I tried cold turkey and had same results as you. I could not sleep because restless leg and headache. I’ve only every taken what the doctor has put me on so never took more than I should but still hooked. I have decided to just take a half in the morning and half around noon and so far so good. My fiancé and I love watching your videos and she even thought about emailing you. She has adhd as well. She just had gastric sleeve surgery and really bad depression. You should watch her videos on YouTube. Her name is Alexandria Fugairon, but anyway I just wanted to say good luck and there is people out here reading and watching and wishing you luck.

    Randall Salyer

  6. My heart goes out to you Jerry, stay strong. I know it’s hard to mentally grasp, but there are several hundreds of thousands of people rooting for you, setbacks or not.

    From one stressed developer to another, you might want to look into approaching your current situation from a software engineering stance. Instead of going the waterfall-route of setting a long-term goal and then trying to bulldoze a straight path there, make your life into an agile project.

    Throw up a physical Kanban board at home (don’t underestimate the mental reward after physically moving a task to the Done column) with post-it notes of goals and make it simple with columns like: Backlog, Planned, Ongoing, Done.
    Do bi-weekly or even weekly sprints, do the sprint planning at the start of every sprint-period to set your goals for the upcoming sprint and probably even more important, do the retrospective – look back at the previous sprint and figure out what went well and what needs to changed.

    Incorporate your wife and maby even Xander into the process, set up goals together.

    I’ve done this myself when stress has taken the better off me, visualizing where you are and where you are going is an incredible tool.
    I even got my wife and kids to use some variant of a kanban board like this for family projects like cleaning the house or packing and preparing for a trip. It has worked suprisingly well, especially for my 8 year old who is able to read and pick tasks himself, and I figured out some interesting ways to let my 5 year old be a part of the whole process as well.

    Hit me up on twitter (@mdjarv) if you want to discuss this in more detail, I might have some helpful insight if you are interested.

    Either way Jerry, good luck!
    If I had pom-poms I would cheer for you but you’ll have to settle for a virtual hug.

  7. dont call it a failure! think of it as just another step in the right direction. you are doing so well for your self barnacules and it is inspiring to watch even if you are not currently making as much awesome videos as you used to. but i know this is only temporary and soon you’l sort it out and you’ll be back to your old self. i just want to encourage you, so be encouraged! you are one of the best youtubers imo.

  8. It’s all good jerry take your time making the videos we can wait a little longer for you to make them since we know what all you are going through.

  9. Sorry to hear that your pain reached a point you needed to switch things up. But pain management and additionally medication management is probably a very similar (albeit different) beast to how diets need changes and tweaking. I have no direct experience with any cannabis but have seen a lot of evidence that shows how much CBD is almost a miracle drug in some ways. I think you should strongly consider it. You are lucky enough to live in the one the few places that legally allows you to do so and you are stellar are reviewing and documenting things. Something like this can help you and maybe go on to help others in the future.

    Wishing you the best of luck – I am with you for the long haul!

  10. I know how you wanted this to work, but don’t think of it as a failure. So you found something that didn’t work. Think of it as being more like debugging a computer program. Some things just don’t work the way you think they will. “Plans are such fragile things.” – Me

    My mother has similar back problems as you have described but with a different cause (herniated disc). I swear, from the bottles of pills in her drawer, you would think she took enough pain killers to knock an elephant out cold for three days straight! She’s also dong a similar thing as you are; reducing or removing medication where possible. It was rough for her too, but I think she is better off for it.

  11. I don’t know if this is for you (or even available where you live), but some members of my family have had great relief from back pain with acupuncture (you know, getting stung with needles). So that might be something to consider, I don’t think it can help with the actual spine thing, but if it help with the pain it might be worth checking out? At least it might make an amusing vlog…

  12. Proud of the steps you have taken! I know from personal experience that going off pain pills in any fashion is extremely difficult. I fought that battle for a number of years.

    Another thing to look into would be massages. I have chronic back and hip pain from a few different sports injuries and I find that getting a massage about twice a year helps to maintain the pain at a bearable level. I have the same mindset of not wanting to load my body with drugs anymore so I get massages and use a warm flax bag (electric heating pad will have similar outcome) as needed on a daily basis to relax the muscles causing the pain. I try to hot tub in the winter to help out as well, but it is currently hotter than a sack of nuts in the desert here in Louisiana so I will not be doing any hot tub for a while.

    As always standing behind what you decide is the best choice for your body and here for any support you may need!

    ~MoeTrain (your friendly neighborhood pharmacy tech)

  13. I wouldn’t call it a failure, just a required action. Kicking those kind of drugs was always going to be difficult, but it’s just a case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back. You should be immensely proud of what you have done so far and we are all rooting for you, here to support in the small way we can and, of course, we look forward to the happy Jerry making videos again. All the best!

  14. Its a setback dont worry so much, you will make it. back pain is nothing to mess with, if the pain is that intense you may need to be on those meds till the docs say otherwise. We love you man.

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