…In Which I Try Something Altogether New And Different

My recent posts have been lame and few.

Depression is largely to blame.  So is pain.  I wouldn’t go so far as to chalk my depression up to pain, as I’ve been suffering from depression literally all my life; but it sure is hard to get un-depressed when struggling in the grasp of unremitting pain.

I went to see an orthopedist about my shoulder.  He seemed like a decent sort.  I was struck dizzy by the splendor of his haberdashery.  His colors were straight out of the last Laura Ashley paint swatch book I consulted for a vintage room re-do.  

I had to drag myself away from admiring the knife creases on his shirt sleeves and trousers, the precise correctness of the diagonal striped tie….

The shoulder.  Oh yes.

It feels like how your shoulder feels after a **really good** flu shot.  You know, the way you slink around trying real hard not to bump into anything, and of course you do, because you always do, except you don’t normally notice it because your deltoid muscle is normally not all hot and red and swollen and sore.

You try to move your sore shoulder around, because you’ve heard that moving it around helps…with, oh, something.  I can’t remember.  The only thing that helps is Time.  Tincture of Time, that great healer.

So it goes with my shoulder.  It’s been hurting for several months.  I’ve given it gallons of Tincture of Time, to no effect.  In fact, it’s getting worse.

So it was that I came to visit Dr. Haberdashery on Friday last.  He took no x-ray, but put me through a rigorous demonstration of my range of motion, marveling at my flexibility (quite!).  I yelped and complained of pain, but forced my upper extremities into all sorts of contortions–in order to prove, I suppose, that I’m not…something.  I have a morbid fear of being thought a fake.  I believe this comes from having been accused of faking various things like asthma, which I got from inhaling my mother’s cigarettes since before I was born.  So now I feel like I have to demonstrate how hard I’m trying, to show how rigorously I’m adhering to my physical therapy regimen…which, in truth, I’m not really, because I’m simply hyperflexible.  I have abnormal collagen.  I can pop my shoulder right out of its socket!  

The diagnosis (sans x-rays) is arthritis.  The treatment: increase my celecoxib for a couple of weeks; then if no improvement, consider steroid injection.  If no relief with that, consider surgery to “decompress” the joint by grinding off the bone spurs.  Dr. H quoted the numbers: 80% get relief from this surgery, 20% don’t.  Better than back surgery, but still more risk than I’m willing to take at this point.

After my bout of calisthenics in the way of physical examination, my shoulder started feeling like a tensely  swollen and exquisitely tender softball.  Getting dressed/undressed is a new kind of challenge.  I quickly learned that pullovers are not a good idea.  I got trapped with a sweatshirt over my head and no way to get further in or indeed further out!  

Just because I needed more pain, something in my thoracic spine went “pop”a couple of days ago, and now it hurts to cough, or breathe, or move, or do anything….

So now, if you include my wrist that needs surgery (I do), I have three active areas of acute pain on top of my entire spine and the rest of my joints, which provide a kind of basso continuo for the baroque dance that is my Pain Body.  

So, did Dr. Haberdashery send me away with any pharmacologic relief?  Aw, come on…you know the answer!  Of course not.  We’re in a national epidemic of…something.  No, pain medication is no longer a menu item–not that it has been, not for many years, for me anyway.  Maybe it’s the brain diagnoses.  My experience has been that I’ve had to beg for pain meds, even tramadol.  This guy had “Please don’t even ask” written large all over his vintage green shirt.  I didn’t ask.

Up in a high cabinet, in a box with teas that I use infrequently, are a couple of packets of Mitrogyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom or Ketem.  It’s an herb that teeters on the brink of making the DEA Schedule I list. In fact, it was scheduled to be scheduled this past December.  In an unprecedented move, tens of thousands of people wrote to the DEA requesting that Kratom be saved from the list, that it not be torn away from law-abiding Americans who want to stay law-abiding and not have to scramble around in the darkness of the black market to get their medicine.  Sound familiar?   

Why does the DEA want to sequester Kratom?  Is it really as bad as heroin or (gasp!) cannabis? 

Well, not really.  In fact, Kratom simulates mu receptors, which is what opioid medicines do.  It’s a mild pain medicine, rarely results in addiction, and is extremely useful in helping opioid addicts to detox with hardly any withdrawal symptoms.  

We can conjecture why Big Pharma wants Kratom off the market.  With such valuable properties, people might not need a whole subset of expensive pharmaceuticals–anything from naloxone, which has risen in price some 1,000% (yes, that’s right) since the CDC’s initial report and the subsequent media blast about opioid epidemic, and the very real heroin epidemic that spits out scores of overdose victims daily–to fentanyl patches, to the drugs used by the “recovery” industry: buprenorphine and Suboxone being the contenders here.

Kratom can contend with the contenders in a number of contexts.  I’m not an expert–the opposite–so please fill me in, in the comments.  I’m just here to report my personal experience.

Which is: I was going mad with pain.  I had bought some sample-size packets of Kratom powder.  I took some.  I felt better.  Much, much better.  Still painful, but bearable.  Liveable.  Much better.

I’ve been afraid to try the Kratom because of fear of side effects.  The chief side effect is nausea and vomiting.  This is hailed by Kratom users as a built-in overdose preventer:  If you take too much, you puke and that’s that.  I’m not 100% convinced of that, but I have a lot of research to do, now that I’ve dipped my toes in the green waters of Kratom and lived to feel better.

And what about my legal medical cannabis?  Isn’t that supposed to be a panacea?  Why do I need something else?

Let me tell you, if I were to take cannabis sufficient to blot out this pain, I would be blotted out myself!  I do medicate at night very heavily, using a powerful coconut oil infusion that I’ve baked up into brownies…and what brownies they are!!!  Knockout drops.  If I got that medicated in the daytime I wouldn’t be able to stand up.

Which brings me to another Kratom advantage.  In low doses it’s a stimulant.  In high doses it’s a sedative.  Now, I haven’t found any definition as to what constitutes a “low” or a “high” dose.  I suppose it’s individual.  I started out with a gram yesterday, got some pain relief with that, and increased my dose to 1.5 grams today.  Better pain relief, felt a little bit high but clear and alert.  Decent!  Tomorrow I might try 2 grams.  

Have you tried Kratom?  What was your experience?

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  1. I have not tried kratom, however pain is not my issue. I have been looking into CBD, tho. Going to try that for my anxiety. Yea… what’s up with the “don’t prescribe crap”? I called in a RX refill and Dr halved my milligrams, but then upped my dose to 2 pills… very odd.
    It’s bullshit that I can’t do what I want to my body 😠

    • I once saw an interview with Cher where the interviewer challenged her about her many cosmetic surgeries. Cher came back: “If I wanna take my tits and put ’em on my back, it’s my goddam business!”

      • Exactly my point!
        I have a very open view on what I think we should be allowed to do to ourselves. Society is the one that sees things differently. Why can’t I be a working alcoholic? Why can’t I have 3 tits? Why can’t I ingest whatever I want? Why can’t I have a hysterectomy? (This one is true, I was told countlessly I’d be damaged goods). Why can’t I amputate my fused together foot I can’t walk on? (My friend finally did get her foot amputated, and now can run with her faux leg!) Why can’t I take the morphine for pain? (My neighbor is slowly dying as he can’t eat without pain. Dr took him off his meds and now any day now he will die as he’s not eaten).
        The gov and society really piss me off in this department.

        • Your neighbor is dying, doc discontinued meds?! That makes me want to call down the wrath of….somebody….does anybody care???

          Yup, the New Medical Establishment knows what’s right for us! And since “good people don’t” do this or that, and of course we want to be “good people,” don’t we…..what, we have a different concept of what makes people “good?” Whoops, that cow’s already out of the barn. Get ready to have a whole lot more supervision….😬

  2. I think it’s odd that one drug is both a stimulant and a sedative. Are there any other drugs like that?

    “80% get relief from this surgery, 20% don’t.”

    You know the doctor is lying, don’t you? I can’t think of any treatment that 80% of patients obtain relief from. That’s impossible. But, it might be possible if the relief he’s talking about is a very low percentage, like 5% relief. If 70% of patients get less than 10% relief, and only 10% of patients get something close to 25% relief, how successful is the surgery?

    Surgery is an assault on the body. I would think that it’s only necessary if you become paralyzed. At this point, I would never trust a surgery to reduce any of my pain. It would just create more scar tissue.

    Maybe I’ll go looking for that kratom packet that someone sent me… Thing is, I don’t want any kind of stimulant effect…

    • There are lots of substances with biphasic effects. Even cannabis, but mostly isolated cannabinoids. The terpines and so-called “minor cannabinoids” exert synergistic effects that smooth out the cannabis experience for the most part.

      Now, I’m no expert, but I’ve read that different types of Kratom have different effects profiles, same as cannabis. So there are more sedative ones and more stimulant ones. I’d be sure to look up what you have and see what it is, before I’d take it. I just ordered a whole lot, for in case we get slammed back into the stone age with this new “administration.” Whatever happened to “checks and balances?”

      • I haven’t tried every strain of cannabis in existence, but I must be coming close to it. And I’ve never experienced a noticeable stimulant effect, even though I’ve read that some strains are supposed to have that effect. Of course, I do my best to stay away from sativas, not that I don’t get stuck with them anyway. I guess the stimulant effect could be so slight as to be unnoticeable, or maybe it works with the THC to limit nausea, so that’s why I don’t notice it.

        All I know is that I don’t need any stimulants. Nothing else to keep me awake. Nothing else to make my brain work any harder than it does already. Sometimes, I can’t tell if my head is hurting or if it’s my brain. Maybe my brain is slowly expanding because I’m so smart, my intelligence is gonna start leaking out of my ears, or my head will explode… Damn, what a mess. Glad I won’t have to clean that up. πŸ™‚

        Funny, I was just thinking that I should put trying cocaine on my bucket list. Highly addictive, sure, but so many people describe it as… totally awesome. πŸ™‚

  3. I am glad you found that kratom helps you, it makes me upset the Dr. didn’t give you anything for pain. Sounds like my Dr. but I haven’t tried kratom. Is it legal in Texas? I like you have been in terrible pain lately and would need steroid shots all over to get relief. The cannabis oil is expensive so I use it at night only. The pain wears on a body and our morale.

    • I’m sorry you’re hurting. Yes, unremitting pain will wear us down.

      Kratom is legal in Texas as of this moment. If you think you might ever want to try it, now’s the time, before the door on that closes, which I’m fairly confident will happen.

  4. So… did you actually tell Dr H that you(r shoulder) was all hot and bothered? πŸ˜€
    Sorry to hear about your shoulder… I am also hypermobile so I know that we are prone to injuries.

    I got celebrex (is that what you have?) from my doc for pain. Will they really not give any pain meds whatsoever?

    • Does your celebrex help you? I can’t tell a difference, although I have been dutifully taking it for years. Waste of money! No, they will not prescribe pain meds here. Are you in France? Will they prescribe pain meds where you are?

      • Celebrex reminded me of those glucosamine and chondroitin horse pills. Took them for a long time, but didn’t notice any effect. Not even a placebo effect, darn it. πŸ™‚

      • I’m in Canada. I “tried” to get something for my back a while ago but they only gave me celebrex. I didn’t notice a difference either so I stopped taking it. I suppose they would think twice before dishing out pain meds to someone with depression… so I never got any. I have asked before and all they will give me is some form of anti-inflammatory. Which never works for me. You should ask him next time. Tell him it is disrupting your sleep?

        • Ah. Canada! Not such a good place to be depressed….not that any place is, but you are light-deprived.

          Our government sent out a letter to each and every registered physician telling us that we are being monitored for our opioid prescribing habits. This has had the effect of doctors not only refusing to prescribe, but also dropping many long-term patients whose pain was adequately controlled with opioid medication. For me, a person with bipolar disorder, the probability of getting meaningful pain control is nil. Paradoxical, since I have a 1 in 5 chance of being a suicide statistic just from the bipolar, without the added risk factor of chronic pain. Go figure 😑

  5. Recent mushroom news πŸ™‚


    “In fact, the entire December 2016 issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology was devoted to the clinical utility of psychedelic drugs.”


  6. That’s great! I hope it continues to help. I haven’t found any sources I would trust on dosage and variety, so I’m of no help on that front.

    I’ve know about Kratom for years and have been interested in trying it. It even used to be sold on Amazon marketplace, but I haven’t looked for it in ages. Now I’d be afraid to try it. I’m a terrible guinea pig these days…unless it’s for the FDA. If it’s FDA approved, it must be safe! *snort* *chortle* *guffaw*;)

    • Well, if you should decide to try it, Tucson Kratom is my current source. As long as it’s legal to possess in your state, they will ship it to you. Just as we have legal cannabis in 28 states plus DC in spite of it being illegal on the federal level, Kratom is illegal in a few states even though it’s legal on the federal level. States’ rights in action. I’m a believer, most of the time.

  7. Sarah Nichole Pennington

     /  January 12, 2017

    Kratom has changed my life .. I have Tarlov.cysts and Adhesive Archnoiditis. From failed spinal surgeries. I was on high doses of pain meds for 6 yrs. I found Kratom and am now off all pain meds. P,EASE HELP KEEP KRATOM LEGAL http://www.americankratom.org

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for jumping in here. I’m so glad Kratom is helping you. Arachnoiditis has got to be horrible! We must do everything in our power to keep Kratom in the hands of people who need it. Thank you for the link!

  8. I have been afraid to try Kratom too. I really, really don’t need any kind of stimulant. Bronchio-dilators make me so wired my hands shake. But I am interested in staying on top of other means of pain control. Like so many of us, I’m scared.
    Additionally, my doctors have always faced an issue of any kind of arthritis meds because I’m allergic to aspirin.

  9. This blog post is excellent. Informative and interesting, never heard of Kratom before. Your coconut oil brownies sound absolutely like divine intervention, lol. I hope you feel wonderful today, Nat xx

    • Hi Nat! Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, the brownies were divine, and now they’re gone 😭 but I have plenty of infused oil left, so another batch is in the works just as soon as my shoulder gets better enough to hold the mixing bowl….

  10. Max T Fourd

     /  January 18, 2017

    I can relate to the bi-polar…I mainly use Kratom for depression…It also does help my lower back pain and I’ve noticed I hardly even catch a cold anymore…I use about 3 grams in the morning for a pick me up for my part time job..I use 6-7 grams for the anti-depressant effect in the afternoon…I do alternate with a legal herbal smoke concoction also(nothing synthetic)…But Kratom is my main “medicine” these days..Plain powder only…I stay away from the extracts…It’s so cheap,too…If it gets banned in America i guess I will just have to go with the herbal smoke…But then, it’s a battle with the munchies.I can really put on the weight which I don’t need….And I do tend to go thru it too fast,,I’m much better at regulating the Kratom….

    • Wow, interesting! How did you hit upon your dosage? I’m afraid to take too much and get sick. Has that ever happened to you?

      I’m glad the Kratom helps your depression (along with the herbs). Hope the DEA takes a break on our medicinal plants and goes after heroin instead. Thanks for stopping by 😊

  11. One of the things you said that resonated with me was not wanting to be perceived as a fake. I have RA and every time I see the doc, I always downplay my symptoms until the blood work confirms I’m not crazy. Funny thing is, I’m very anti-pain meds (I’ve had too much peripheral experience with drug/alcohol abuse), but yet I take the methotrexate and immunosuppressants that are slowly killing my organs. If I don’t, my body blows up on me and it’s imperative that I’m able to function. Pain issues are such a damned if you do/damned if you don’t situation. I hope the Kratom works for you and the side effects are tolerable and that the government will leave it alone. Your blog is very informative and educational, and I appreciate it. Take care. Dawn

    • Yikes, Dawn, I’m sorry you’ve got the RA monster to deal with. And doing the FT thing, too! You’re brave. And doing the MT thing too! Double triple brave, but no cherry on top:(

      The whole guilty-for-being-sick thing, I wonder where we get that. Actually I don’t wonder, I’m pretty sure I know. But it sure doesn’t make it easier on us, to keep on toughing it out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a context in which we didn’t have to think of ourselves as having to work extra hard to not be whiners in our own eyes?

      • I feel ya. I get to the point where it’s just easier not to say anything at all about it–there is judgement from the doctors, from other people, and even some family members. Then the voices in my own head telling me that I’m complaining and may be blowing it out of proportion. I chalk it up to the be-silent-it’s-building-character thing and try to mosey along the best I can (what choice is there?). Then, when I get a sympathetic ear (watch out!), I just let it all go. πŸ™‚ In what area are you currently? Dawn

        • It’s great to have this wonderful blogging community where we can make safe space to share, without fear of being judged.

          I’m currently stuck in Tucson, dealing with chaos in shoulder-land…seeing the orthopod again today…effing shoulder is so blown up I can’t do anything. I have to drive my rig (class B, 24 ft), since I don’t pull a toad, mostly because I can’t hook/unhook a tow bar. Stubborn, stubborn….I guess when the world seems to fight you at every turn, being stubborn is how you survive!

          Anyway, I’m on my way to California, whenever I get a) a diagnosis and b) treatment for whatever this thing is. I’m concerned I may have a fracture of the humerus. So of course I’ll have to tread lightly with the doctor, not to make the poor lad feel defensive….

          Where are you guys headed?

          • After a month in Houston, we are headed to Austin for a couple of months. We will then stop in Dallas for a week and then on to Missouri to visit our daughter for a month or so. After that is up in the air–probably back to Florida for a month and then up north to Ohio/Michigan/Indiana. I hope you shoulder visit was productive.

  12. I had never heard of kratom! I am glad its giving you some relief from the pain! Sending you hugs my friend! xoxo

  13. Side effects of Kratom are relatively mild and are never serious. These typically include loss of appetite, upset stomach, mild headache, increased thirst, and drowsiness. Look at the amount of people taking it in high doses and the lack of serious repercussions.

  14. The difference between Red, Green and White Veined Kratom. In over half of the users interviewed it was found that many Kratom users either responded more positively to either the Red Vein Kratom or the other two, White and Green Vein. It seemed that there are two camps here. The reasons were, according to these users, that the Red Vein such as Thai or Maeng Da generally offered a higher level of energy and for those that did not respond well to Red Vein, experienced edginess similar to drinking too much coffee. Others, who preferred the White and Green Vein Kratom generally reported a lower to moderate stimulating effect (Energetic) and higher Euphoric effect.


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