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When the 'Miracles' of Medication Come at a Price

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Modern medicine offers miracles, but for many – like myself – those miracles come at a price.

Every new treatment offers the hope of relief, but each comes with a list of potential complications that can have you asking if the “cure” might be worse than the disease.

Especially when those drugs could cause life-long disabilites.

Or death.

It’s a terrifying gamble, and, even if you keep your life and avoid life-long complications, medicine remains a potential minefield.

Since the onset of my rare, chronic illness in 2015, I’ve seen all of the specialists and been given all of the drugs. But none of them have worked long-term. And most have caused a slew of other problems.

What alleviates one symptom will cause or exacerbate another. Pill X helps the nausea but causes constipation; Pill Y helps the pain but brings on palpitations…And after a few months, neither pill is providing the benefits it once did.

I know I am not alone.

For every warrior I know with a successful medication regimen, there’s at least one that’s tried everything but had no luck. For those folks – folks like me – everything is a trade off. Do I struggle with the nausea today, or do I take Pill X to tackle it, knowing that all the Metamucil in the world won’t save me from the fallout?

There’s no such thing as simple relief.

Everything is a trade-off.

And then, as it inevitably does, the day will come when I take Pill X for the nausea, and it no longer helps. Heart in my shoes, I’ll return to the doctor to tell him/her that, yet again, my body – which cannot seem to figure out how to get healthy but always finds a work-around for medication efficacy – has ceased responding.

“What are my other options?” I ask.

Lately I’ve exhausted the list.

In the three years I’ve been chronically ill, I’ve undergone every recommended treatment I could afford. This includes rolling the dice on a slew of medications, hoping for the best, fearing the worst, and usually experiencing something in between.

But what I haven’t experienced yet is relief.

I’ll keep trying. I haven’t given up hope that relief is out there – that the cure or at least a mitigator is just around the bend.

If and when it arrives, I’ll welcome it gladly.

But I won’t be surprised if it causes constipation and palpitations.

Getty Image by KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Originally published: July 30, 2018
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