I’ve not blogged since around the holidays, though not for lack of want. I received all the prompts for Bloguary, read my fellow bloggers’ entries, and wanted to join in. But this winter has been a journey for me.
December here in New York saw some horribly frigid days, with right around Christmas being 0-1 degree Fahrenheit. We had a snow storm go through in December as well, of course.
Those weather conditions adversely affect my body due to my Fibromyalgia and Hashimotos, which cause all over body pain for me. The humidity and the chill are something I dread. In the summer my pain runs a level of about 3-4, while in winter I maintain a pain level of 7-9. It’s exhausting.
I’ve lived with fibromyalgia since 2012, with ups and downs. At one point I was bed ridden and another I was able to indoor rock climb. I am at the point now where I closed my Pet Spa last June and became an artist and part-time clerk in order to mitigate the high levels of pain I had been experiencing.
Alas, life style changes were not enough.
Chronic Pain Treatment
January brought me to the avenue of ketamine infusions. I got a referral to a pain clinic 2 hours away. My first appointment was telehealth since it was so far away, and I’ll be honest in that at first I did not like the doctor. It felt that I had to argue my point, that I’ve tried everything over the last decade + to treat my symptoms/condition. He had told me of a medication that was indicated for fibromyalgia (Savella) that I can’t take due to a conflicting condition (Bipolar). I felt he would have realized that, had he read my chart.
Nevertheless, my infusions got scheduled, every other day, for 2 weeks. I took time off work and arranged transport, as I wasn’t allowed to drive after the infusions.
The experience of the infusion itself is similar to an at home ketamine treatment, just much more intense and much longer. Whereas at home it lasts 15 minutes, the infusions are an hour. The doctor gradually increased my dosage and by my 3rd infusion, my ride (my husband), had to very much nearly carry me to the car.
If you’ve not read my ketamine post, the experience is a rather psychedelic experience, with rather abstract hallucinations that can be colorful. The music you listen to determines much.
The big question that I couldn’t find reliable answers to online, do the infusions work? I’ll say they’ve reduced my pain from a 9 to a 5-6. Ketamine infusions are about 65-75% effective, which is worth the risk if you live with pain.
I can see further reduction over time, due to living with my condition for many years. I have a prescription for tiny amounts of ketamine to take morning and night, to maintain levels in my body. I am to go back in about a month for another infusion, perhaps a 2 hour session to see if it can stretch for 6 weeks to 2 months.
In the end, I did end up liking the doctor. He’s an old Russian-esque man with a heavy accent who also has chronic pain and utilizes his own treatment protocol. He also has a German Shepherd/Malanois that he doesn’t think needs grooming, but that’s another story lol!
I would say that if you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain, ketamine infusions are something to investigate if available in your area. They are expensive, as insurance does not cover them, nor the in between doses. The side effects are very minimal, especially when compared to the alternative pain treatments. Long term risks I know is cystitis of the bladder – or ‘painful bladder syndrome’. I’m actually prone to that condition, so to ward it off, I have been taking aloe vera capsules, to much success. I am not a doctor though, so consult yours.
Infusions are also indicated for treatment resistant depression as well. The infusions are given for less time, 35-45 minutes. The maintenance infusions are done based on mental health symptoms.
I hope someone out there found this helpful. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments and I’ll be more than happy to answer them!