Now that I have the fentanyl patches and vials out of my house I feel better about discussing the magnitude of these and other opiates.

Ive had tons of interactions with various opiates over the last few years and I can tell you each one is different even though their primary purpose is pain management.

I can also tell you I have a long standing love hate relationship with these painkillers as well.

I dislike the disconnectedness with reality and the lethargy that come as a result. While I’m way more comfortable just being present and thinking while sitting, the forced staring at walls due to drugs just feels like a waste. There is a big difference between calm and doped up, and I don’t like the dopiness.

The other element I rally against is that by masking the pain I am not able to discern and diagnose what is happening to my body. And if I can’t sense what is causing pain I cannot triage what we need to do in order to get better.

After being at this with the frequency and intensity that I have I’ve built the confidence to be my own medical diagnostician - and I know I’m helpful to the medical and ontological teams. Drugs sometimes get in the way of this capacity.


I’ve also learned, mainly through from good guidance from Tracey and medical staff, that sometimes fighting it and waiting too long simply prolongs my ability to focus on healing. I’m learning, or have learned, that once I’m over fighting pain I can better focus on healing.

So I have learned to accept the relief, to breakthrough the pain when need be and and then create my own exit strategy so I can quickly get back to assessment and improvement.

After my latest surgery, which resulted in significant pain, I ended up using primarily fentanyl. The hydromorph and morphine were ineffective but the fentanyl was able to provide relief. And it provided just the right amount at the right times to get me through a very arduous scenario.

I stayed in the palliative ward for eight days after the surgery and the primary reason for staying was pain management. And as you know I was desperate to escape and fly to Ontario. Fortunately we built a pain management plan that included fentanyl patches and 2mm fentanyl vials. The patches gave me an ongoing dose of 25 mcg’s/hr while the vials were for those moments where you needed a quick breakthrough on the pain (taken sublingually).

As it turns out I didn’t use any of the vials and I slowly weaned myself off the patches over the 12 days, with the final patch coming off the night I slept in my own bed.

While the drugs got me through the trip it was a bit of a foggy one, with a side effect of constipation. But they got me through the trip, and that is not lost on me in any way. I owe my great visit to an acceptance of a mobile pain management program.

Each one of these opiates is good for a certain person, at a certain time and a certain dose. In my case fentanyl was not only needed but very helpful. A good partnership was formed.

And I’m glad we decided to be partners both in the hospital and on tour.

But my partner scares me when he’s in my house so I’ve taken him back to the pharmacy to be with his brethren.

PS I called WestJet in advance to find out if they had issue with the volume of drugs I was transporting and after some research they were cool, but it still felt like I was a mule…

Olympic Smiling

Cabozantinib Begins