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    dhodson77 posted:
    I have been on Suboxone for the better part of 5 months. For One month, (during treatment) I was on Subutex. My dose is currently high, (8mgs twice daily). I have relapsed three times but on benzos. I haven't had an opiate in my veins since Nov. 6, 2010. While my cravings stopped long ago I have no intention of staying on this stuff for 12 moths total as recommended by my Doctor, (an addictionologist). Now I was just diagnosed with an umbillical hernia and need surgery. This is a re-tear from a previous operation in 1997. The post op recovery was awful. I was eating Percocete like M & M's. Now with Suboxone so embedded in my system and surgery possible within the next 7 days two major concerns. I know this is going to hurt bad. I'm 15 years older. I really don't want to even do anethesia. I'm so afraid my addiction will wake up and take back over. Two: With my rceptors so well covered by the Suboxone what narcotics are strong enough to break through and bring me relief if I choose to want that? I just don't know what to do here. I'm scared. My addiction cost me everything. A 27 year marriage, a six figure career, and my self-esteem/dignity. Help. ANYBODY!!!

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    Betty Ford Center
    Harry L Haroutunian, MD responded:
    Your question boils down to two main issues:
    1 — You have an umbilical hernia and surgery has been recommended
    2 — You're concerned about your addiction to opiates and perhaps benzodiazepines
    Since umbilical hernias are seldom emergency procedures, I suggest you discuss this with your surgeon, being very honest and clear about your addiction.
    I am not a fan of long-term Suboxone usage and strive for a drug-free existence in all of my patients. I know very little about your particular case and would honor the recommendation of your addictionologist in this case. However, you talk about not wanting to stay on "this stuff"; it's important to know that detoxification from benzodiazepines is certainly best done in an inpatient setting but is not impossible in an outpatient setting. Important tools include honest communication with the pain management team; alternatives including local anesthesia; Toradol for pain; the quick and effective use of opiates and their monitored withdrawal — the key word here is monitored. Monitored by family, monitored by primary care, monitored by nursing and by the pain management people is critical. Indeed your addiction could be reignited with a vengeance so all precautions must be taken.
    This can be done. I know that you are scared, but there are alternatives that may be used for your post-op pain, you just need knowledgeable support in dealing with that.
    dhodson77 replied to Harry L Haroutunian, MD's response:
    Thank you Dr. Haroutunian. Not only for you response, but time and obvious concern as well. I was impatient at The Life Center of Galax following back surgery in August 2010 for 45 days. Galax was ranked just behind Betty Ford in recovery/relapse rate, so I'm flattered and honored for your opinion. You'll be happy to hear that my training and rehab in Galax gave me the strength and will to do the surgery with Toradol as suggested. It was painful for three days, I won't lie. But with the help of NA, my sponsor, and recovery support group I made it!!! God Bless You, Sir. And thanks again for your time.
    Bob0458 replied to dhodson77's response:
    I once thought that under no circumstances would I ever use pain meds again because the results are always so bad.That was before I had ankle surgery and severe abdominal pain.The pain in my abdomen was so bad I would have taken anything to get a little relief.
    Since then,I've found that if I give my wife the meds and take them just as prescribed I'm ok.Unfortunately there are going to be times in our lives when narcotics are just necessary and we just need to have a plan on how to handle that..

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