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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
debbie

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Thanks for the warm welcome and I have a question already! Did any of you who elected to have the amputation, take pre surgery pain meds to help reduce the phantom pain afterwards? I am being told by my doctor, that because I have been in pain for over 5 years since my accident, I will be more likely to have phantom pain problems because of the cell memory issue. However, my surgeon who is doing the amputation disagrees. My research on the topic is very contradicting. Since I have trouble tolerating pain meds (the reason I have been in pain 5 years!) , I do not want to get my stomach in a bad way before surgery unless it will infact be helpful. So any input on the matter would be helpful since surgery is approaching quickly-

THANKS- debbie

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Hi Debbie

My decision to have the amp was taken onthe 19th Dec 2003. I asked for pain meds to help me with the pain as i did not want to have a miserable christmas, i have a teenage son and so did not want to spoil things for him also. I had not slept for over 3 weeks because the pain was so bad, i just could not go on like this any longer let alone for another 2 weeks or more.

I was prescribed morphine both in tablet form and oral liquid. This was a godsend, it meant i felt a little drowsy but it got me through relatively pain free.

The night before my op, my surgeon came to see me. He told me that taking the pain meds was a good thing as it would definately help lesson the phantom pain afterwards. He also advised me to have an epidural as this would also help with the phantom pain. He explained that as the brain takes a while to adjust to the fact that the limb is no longer there, it will continue to recieve pain messages. This can go on for quite some time. He did say the amount of phantom pain you feel after can depend on the amount of pain you are in prior to surgery.

After my op i was prescribed amitriptyline, this is anti-depressant but i only take 10mg. I'm not sure how long i will take it for but at the moment my GP says it is best to keep taking for a while longer.

It seems different people experience different sensations for different lengths of time, some not at all, some for a short while, others for a lot longer. Some people feel acute and sharp pain, likened to electric shocks. Others like myself feel not so much pain but a pins and needles feeling. I have phantom feeling, as if my foot is still there, i can even wiggle my toes if i think about them. The pins and needles i had lasted about 3 weeks, the only relief i got was from constantly massaging or rubbing my stump. It always seemed worse at night when i got into bed, nothing to take my mind of it didn't help. After a while as the feelings subsided trying to concentrate on other things helped and now the feelings are hardly noticably at all.

I do realise that i am one of the lucky ones not to have had too much of a problem with this.

I hope this helps you in some way.

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Hi Debbie, I will be able to answer you question better later on tonight. I am off to the hospital for my pre meds in about 10 minutes. That is one of the questions I intend to ask about.

Will be in touch later.

Best Wishes.

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Thinking of you Pam,

All the very best to you.

Cat

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I had little to know phantom pain...but was on Nuerontin in case. I got my stomach in a bad way, from the pain meds. I am happy to say that I am just about off of them and my stomach is much better.

Get them to prescribe you Zantac (generic is fine-just can't spell it). I got 300mg 2 times a day, and did much better. Many people on this site gave me the same advice when my tummy was in an uproar...and my doc said ok. Also phenegran...at the hospital you can get an injection that works beautifully...at home it will be a pill. The pill works good provided you can keep it down...Next is FLAT ginger ale. I keep it on hand at all times. Ginger root helps settle the stomach.

That is about all I can offer...everyone is different and some have phantoms for forever and others have none at all. It is a hinky subject...there is no "rule" to follow.

as far as having questions all ready...GOOD I like to feel useful.

:blink:

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Hi Debbie my elective surgery was done last year and I didnt take any medication before. Afterward they gave me a lot of different meds to stop phantom pains but one day I decided to stop taking them because I wasnt sure if I was in pain or not. I havent taken anything since and the only phantoms I get are pins and needles in the foot I haven't got.

Best of luck let us know how you get on.

Chris.

:D keep smiling

P.S. I was in pain for 20 years before op

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Back from the hospital, but not really any news. I was told the anaesthetist and the surgeon will talk to me on Wednesday morning about phantom pain, etc.

I have talked to a lot of people on this subject and have come to the conclusion that everyone is different, so next week I'll be able to tell you how it is affecting me.

Best of luck with your decision.

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I had been in pain for 16 years. Had amp on 21st July 2004. Surgeon said just to relax in the days leading upto the op. (yer right, 2 kids and was told 6 weeks in rehab, think of the preparation for that!)

Non of the pain medicines worked for the phantom pain after the operation for me, they don't work for me usually anyway, so it was nothing new. The only medicine that helped was anything that made me sleepy and very relaxed. Muscle relaxants were not enough.

I was given advise by someone on this site to go for an epidural. It didn't work for me but it doesn't mean it won't for you. The thing leaked and by 6 hours after the op I had no pain killer at all and felt like I had had my accident again, maybe if that hadn't have happened it would have worked, who knows!

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I had "elective" surgery also and learned about the pre-med thing from a really good doc in DC. He was originally the one who was going to do my surgery. He really believed that by blocking the pain for a few days before the surgery, it helped the majority of his patients have less phantom pain.

Because we had to move I did not use him, but carried the idea with me here to Utah. I brought it up to the surgeon who did my surgery and he had not heard about it, but was open minded about it. Because I didnt have screaming pain, just irritating aching when I walked too much, he suggested we skip the epidural method (insurance would have balked about that) and had me limit activities the weekend before AND gave me narcotic pain meds. I started them, every four hours, on the friday before my monday night surgery. I have had almost NO phantom pain. I have phantom sensations, can still feel my foot a lot, but the only *pain* I have now is some minor cramping in the stump if I have been really active that day (which goes away with minimal massaging). My post op pain, from healing of the incision, was controlled well by a light narcotic and once I was weaned off of those I have rarely even taken a tylenol.

THAT SAID...I do think everyone is different and some may not have responded like I did in the same situation. But I felt it couldnt hurt to try, since I dont have bad reactions to pain meds. I have a lot of trouble when the time comes to stop a narcotic pain med (huge withdrawl reactions) but in this case it was worth a week of feeling like I had the flu at the end to have had so much great pain relief thru the experience. Hope this helps...

Judy

LBK

Utah

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