Today’s drama: If Prince had Buprenorphine…sooner he’d still b alive

prince

This relates to all the hysteria about opiates and the lack of attention paid to the treatment of chronic pain. Yes, Deb at CDC, noncancerchronicpainlivesmatter.

Prince may not have died in vain. From reading articles I found he and I had a lot in common. Chronic pain from too much over exertion. Mine is in my back. I am a responsible, steady, minimalist user and have reduced my dose by 2/3 as well as frequency. But the side effects are terrible and have finally caught up to me. How does this relate to Prince? Well, there is a guy who has stuck his neck out on the line, a maverick in the treatment of chronic pain using Suboxone and or Buprenorphine. Less side effects, no intoxication like the quick acting Vicodin, Tylenol 3 and 4, and Percocet and those lovable blues, the oxys. Those get ya high. Hook you in. I know first hand because I got off of them. Prince’s people had contacted Howard Feldman, whose treatment center is outpatient “Recovery Without Walls”  For anyone who has been in 12 step groups, the ‘abstinence only’ idea is great in theory but what do you do for the pain once you get off the pills? According to the literature and the studies and conclusions of his, there have been outside pressures restricting the use of this drug. A doc has to be licensed and can only prescribe it for 100 people. I found out yesterday that my hoity toity upscale pain clinic doesn’t have a license for it and my questions about a healthier non opiate alternative were met with skeptical frowns. Dr. Kornfeld’s son, Andrew, flew out to Paisley Park with an initial dose of Buprenorphine in his pocket to show Prince that he wouldn’t be dealing with terrible pain but Prince had one last go before the life saving mission was able to save him from himself. Basically guys, Buprenorphine is Methadone light, saves lives…by 75%, reduces disease transmission and if it had been more widely available instead of an insider’s secret he might still be alive today.

What do I do? In my next post, I’m going to show you the letter I am writing to the good doctor to try to find someone here in South Florida. It’s intimate and has awful details but maybe someone will relate to it.

Allison

Margaritaville in Hollywood Beach: My City IS Gone!!!

fladawntwomargaritaville

 

I moved here because it was slow, not overpopulated, traffic a breeze, and ocean front property (across from the ocean) affordable. This is a big Town, Hollywood, Florida, we’ve over 1ook residents, our own airport that we share with Ft Lauderdale and now a monstrosity of a oceanside resort that has ruined our main public beach and taken all the parking with it. It now takes an hour to just get off the AIA or the Ocean Front road. It’s so jammed up. Ok, some interesting things about Margaritaville, they are building a city in Orlando, near Disneyworld, with 1200 homes. They have 67 restaurants and 400.00 “Margaritaville” themed items, like 800.00 Hammock, 150.00 Margaritaville Penny Loafers….they even have “Margaritaville” sheets in “Strawberry Daquiri” which only costs 19.00 for a set. Look at the contrast between the view from my house (across the street from the beach on 8th floor) and similar aerial view of the ocean at the site of Jimmy Buffett. It’s 5:00pm here 24/7 in my head. I just want to get drunk and puke over the whole thing. They paved paradise and made it a parking lot or something like that.

That Stanford college entrance essay….that I wrote way back then

stanford

The Farm. My dorm was Toyon Hall, and John Elway was in the room next door. Yes, co ed dorms.

Ok, now that Stanford accepted absolutely No One, Nobody, Not a soul into the class of 2020, they’ve cemented their reputation as being the most selective institution of higher learning for all eternity.

Recently my father gave me a back handed pat on the back, “Allison, you were clever enough to get into Stanford, I’m sure you can figure your way out of…” this is the first time he told me I was smart, or gave me credit for my determination…anything. Now, again, we are not speaking. See, I’m not the daughter who works at La Perla or Runs the Golf Division of Nike or …..Evan Picone or a leading Del Mar realtor during the hardest times in housing. 

I will say this: I went for my dreams and got more than I even bargained for. I didn’t dare dream I would ever be a rock disc jockey…those ladies were so supercool and composed as they played their Pink Floyd….but it happened and part of it was that I had worked at the Stanford Radio station, KZSU, as a political interviewer, capturing quotes from the likes of Maxine Waters. So after a year of selling advertising at a paper, when I had a drug relapse ending a full year of clean time, I got fired, and ran to the local radio station and told them the truth. They had drug users on staff who were lying about it so they were happy to replace one of them with me. I, at least, wanted to stop, was trying my best. I just had gone to the wrong New Year’s Eve Party.

I’m going to retype most of my college entrance essay. Lately, I’ve been reviewing my notes from my journalism class, a class I truly enjoyed. So I thought I’d dig out the ol’ essay I wrote. Keep in mind though, I had an aunt who graduated from Stanford and I was on a partial (not full) athletic scholarship.

Not for lack of trying……over a grueling, failure-filled four years….. I’d managed to climb to the top of the San Diego All CIF heap as MVP of both my team and San Diego. It was my very first season actually playing (as opposed to riding the bench) on a team that I kept getting cut from. Because of my lack of experience, I didn’t have the instinctive ‘court sense’ possessed by young women from Orange County…i.e.,  Newport Beach or Laguna, who got started playing off season ‘club’ ball at the age of 11. But that’s another story.

 

“The ‘I’ Paper”

I believe I am a well-rounded student, a student who succeeds at athletics, the arts, and probably most important, one who enjoys and adapts well to the new environments and the people within them.

In the second semester of my junior year, I transferred from Torrey Pines High School in Southern California, to Wood River High School in Idaho., (where Sgt Bergdahl is from, Hailey, Idaho, near Sun Valley and Ketchum)

Although my new school was a complete change from my original school, I was able to acclimate myself ot the new surroundings by making friend sand being involved in school activities. I maintained honor’s marks at a more academically demanding school.

 

While at Wood River (which we pranksters called “Weed Reefer” and snow shooed, stamping out and shoveling out the white, revealing those words in black dirt) way up in the mountains overlooking the campus, an eyesore seen from the highway)! I tried out for the musical production of the spring semester (Guys and Dolls….the female lead required dizzying soprano heights I had to stop smoking…altogether)

Although I was not in the drama class at the school, I received both the lead part and the outstanding actress award at the end of the year!

My teachers nominated me for the good citizen award (hehe) and the students elected me to the finals.

Presently I am back at Torrey Pines High School  (this is 1979…right now it’s 2016), where I have been on the honor roll for several semesters and have been elected and served on student congress both my sophomore and junior year. (why can’t I remember that? Did I lie about it)?

I found it exciting to be involved in making decisiojns in student government and to relay them to the student body.

Since elementary school, I have always had a desire to achieve high marks in school (this was to get my Dad’s approval, a very hard thing to obtain, even today) and have enjoyed most of my subjects. Excluding ninth grade, my GPA for A-F (that’s a UC, meaning University of California…like UC David or UCLA classification of a required class for college admission. For example, you had to have two years of a foreign language or advanced math like Calculus..) My gpa for A-F slcasses is a 3.38 (so low compared to most Stanford Applicants!!!! That volleyball skill that Dad said was a ‘beach bum sport’ kinda came in handy after all!!!)

and on the rise. My most favorite classes have been English, History, Composition and Drama. I perceive these areas as my strong points…(even then, using the word ‘strong!’ my real last name is Biszantz…maybe one day I’ll pull it out. My family would be mortified, they beg me to stay anonymous so as not to shame them).

I’m tired. I will finish this essay tomorrow. Simply tagging this first in a series of three…or maybe two, will take all I have left. See ya tomorrow, same time, same place. Bipolar Strength: Rebel With A Cause.

Allison Biszantz

My Image, Shot by Vera Anderson of LA

On talent and long term spousal abuse….

You may have noticed that I changed my image from the James Dean wannabe in the wifebeater t-shirt, complete with scowl. Back then I was in mixed mood psychosis and got the photos taken by a German photographer who understood light and shadow. Sort of a Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo ‘personae’ thing. I didn’t want to part with it and I took a poll and numbers were split. I don’t want people to think I’m the type of rebel who is ‘anti-everything.’ I stand for as much or more than I stand against. I’m not angry at the world. I fight for my health. so I chose a picture I’m fond of at the request of two ladies who know me well. I’m smiling.

It was taken by a woman who photographed me here and there my entire acting career, a brilliant, talented gal named Vera Anderson.

 

She was married to a guy who had untreated, or self medicated bipolar disorder. For anyone over 40, do you remember the very early days of Cable, the ‘Z’ channel, similar to what “Sundance” is now?

Vera’s  husband, ahead of his time, pioneered it.

 

His role models were Jack Nicolson, Roman Polanski, Sam Peckinpah, Martin Scorcese.

He would have LOVED Quentin Tarantino.

Bipolar/substance abusing, refusing his meds, he beat her and she left him. He stalked her relentlessly and the day before his marriage to another woman, he begged her to come back. She said no and he shot himself in the head. “That’lll show you.” He was an ass.

After his death she went on to write a book called “A Woman Like You,” about all the women who endure long spousal term abuse, finally snap and kill their husbands only to serve life in prison;  no one factoring in the effects of PTSD or whatever you wanna call it.

It didn’t seem fair to her. She’d been down that road and bought the T-shirt.

The proceeds from the book went to charity. She had always wanted to direct film and she did one really good film that won an award at AFI (American film institute) but never got picked up by a distributor called “The Dogwalker.”It was a little film about the redeeming aspects of having to care for a little dog. You’d have loved it. Every time Vera took my picture I looked like myself, but better. She was the only photographer that ever ‘got me.’ If I write my book and it gets picked up, I’ll look for her yet again to see if she’ll snap me up.

Why Press on? Because you could be the cure you’re looking for.

Bipolar: Why press on? Bcause, you could be the breakthrough in…

Towing the Bipolar road, is, for most of us, tolerating the that we ‘never get ‘well,’ having to be satisfied with better or worse. We never are cured or become ‘undetectable.’

Sometimes it sure isn’t fun,  abstaining from alcohol and  recreational drugs, keeping journals, curbing our enthusiasm for online shopping, and especially, slamming the breaks and truly taking the time to evaluate a mate for their ability to be supportive should we crash.  We don’t always do this, but I married a man who left me because “He didn’t want to be married to a woman with bipolar disorder.” It we act on one impulse, we pay for it with the other impulse, the impulse to be safe.

Equally difficult to balance is mindfulness without self focus or selfishness.  I fail at this often and am often rejected socially, labeled an ‘intense’ personality. (That’s one reason that I chose Allison Strong as a radio name, you either ‘get’ me or you don’t. It worked in radio, my ratings were high due to polarizing people, in life it don’t work so good. In fact it hurts like hell.)

Then there’s the bitter pill of the limitations, the hard work, the mood swings (especially the depressions),  when the meds just stop working, the subsequent waiting rooms, and the weeks where I have three or four doctor’s appointments and scream with psychic overload. And you want me to add a therapist on to that overload???? Are YOU high?

What keeps me from flipping the switch to ‘off’? (Partly because once I do that, there is no return. So I stay where I’m at, the loser I am..staying out of fear of the unknown. God I crave a drink right now.

And, because, you, me, or anyone else could be the breakthrough, the outcome, the coping strategy, discovery or treatment in  bipolar disorder that we’ve all been hoping and waiting for.  If I take that drink or flip that switch I’ll never know. For all I know, I might become famous. But I’ll never know if I kill myself. Ooops trigger warning.

#bipolar disorder#mood swings#hope#end the stigma#Ibpf#hard Work#DBT#manic depression#amwriting#author#alternative music#creativity in bipolar people#Robert Evans#Montage of Heck#Kurt Cobain#Robin Williams#NAMI#NAMI Broward County

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Buying new alternative music on Itunes

I work out to music. Because I’m 54, most of my music is on cassette tapes. Sometimes when I am in a hurry to burn a new CD, and then tape it on cassette, there is a blank spot at the end of the tape. Well, since I am too broke to buy cassettes, what I am doing is every time I come across a blank ending, I put the tape by the boombox, blank side facing forward. Then, yesterday and today I am buying new music off of “The Lopsided World of L” playlist, LA’s “Indie 103.1” playlists (a streaming station), songs I hear on XMU and Alt Nation on Sirius Radio, and a playlist I get of the top spinning songs at Alternative stations across the country. See, I’m a former disc jockey in Alternative and was a music director, too. I love music. I even love some oldies and classic rock. What I hate is hair bands. I have this friend who has paranoid schizophrenia, and she must have had a ‘good period’ in the 80’s, because when we are driving around town, I tune in to “Classic Rewind” (hair bands and music from the 80’s an early 90s) and she sings all the songs by heart. She acts as if there is no other music in existence and is unwilling to give anything new a chance, which bugs me. But anyway, today I am buying “Even if you were the last junkie on Earth,” by the Dandy Warhol’s, Beck “Dreams” “Love Vigilantes” from New Order (did you know New Order has a new album out?) New Foo Fighters, and maybe some “Death Cab for Cutie.” Was listening to this Japanese Punk band yesterday “Bo Ningen” I think and I liked them. I am sad that Sonic Youth Broke up. I like Australia’s “Courtney Barnet” and Silversun Pickups, who have a new album out, I think. I go mad for The Clash and older Gang of Four.

Manic While Mystery Shopping

So I was mystery shopping after getting my certification and driving from one supermall to another. I was the type of customer that the workers remembered so if I felt I was getting to familiar and and so forth I would tell the mystery shopping people and they would take me off the account.

They always pay you less than you are going to want to spend. For example, I was sent to L’Occitane, a shop with perfums and soaps that start at forty bucks. And for that shop you are given 30 to spend. Yuk, right?

Then I got a string of ‘shops’ that’s what jobs are called at Chanel and Dior cosmetic counters. A total of six. One after another, pretending to be interested, accepting a makeover, fun, right? Not so much, really. I was given 80 to spend, and their eye shadows start at 50.00. And if you get a makeover for free or go to a class, you will have so much pushed on you that it’s hard to stay within budget. The company was called “A Closer Look,” for those of you who want to do this kind of high end sampling.

Then there was the three hour long report with 200 questions on the back end of each shop.
And there was something wrong with their computer system. So I had to do each of these reports twice. That was the end of mystery shopping for me. Because the report was due tomorrow and they didn’t take any responsibility. Plus I had incurred credit card debt on account of being in stores, shopping, while manic. Never a fine idea.

The answer to all life’s problems: Buy a juicer!

My Peer Mentor is very well intentioned. Thanks to him, I have finally discovered the ultimate cure and solution to my chronic pain and all life’s other challenges as a bipolar person with tardive dyskinesia: Buy a Juicer! Yes, folks, it’s that simple.

At a Behavioral Health Center nearby, I have a WRAP plan and goals that I discuss with my mentor. I was in a depression relapse and having problems with back pain. It’s a lovely center but after I got tardive dyskinesia and fell off of their volunteer rolls, they deemed I am no longer ‘stable’ enough to be a volunteer. This can only mean that God wants me to spend my time writing.

I’ve struggle with exercise bulimia my whole life. I’ve had more surgeries than an NFL linebacker, all in search of the body beautiful, which I thought would overcompensate for my other problems. Some mornings my back pain on a scale of 1-10 is an 8, really burning up, man. I use ice packs, Mobic, a Lidocaine patch and the occasional pain pill when life demands it. I can’t handle being all laid up. I’m only 54. But you know that these centers and mental health professionals in general think that if you have a mental illness, you should not be given controlled substances. You’ll become an addict!!! I have news for them. I already am an addict!!! That fact was established in the 80’s with cocaine. One I started I could not stop. That doesn’t mean that applies to Benzos and Pain pills. I am very conservative in my use,,and if they knew how many extras I have, it would  make them very nervous and they’d cut me off.

Well, anyway, this is not stuff I share with my Peer Mentor because he’s already trying to be subtle about his absolute anti stance on pain medicine. He must never have gone through what I go through. Of course not, he’s not exercise bulimic, isn’t a former professional athlete and a weight freak. I’m on an anti-inflammatory diet, anti-inflammatory herb and drink tons of water. My Peer mentor didn’t think I was doing the right things for my low back, which is degenerated, herniated and has an annular tear they can never repair. The edges of it hit the nerves and..

“I have a great idea,” he said, “Have you ever looked into nutrition for pain relief?” I thought I already was. “I think you should buy a juicer,” he exclaimed. Dumbfounded, I could only nod in assent. I was laughing or crying inside, not sure. Now I see the light!!!

I’m confused though. I was already eating celery, radishes, kale, carrots, beets, lettuce, arugula and cabbabe in my daily salads, with avocado and that crunchy little white root vegetable, Jicama. How would juicing make my life suddenly transform. How will all the structural problems in my spine just disappear? Is it something in the noise of the blender? Please, Please, get back to me on this. Let me know and send me the links and other info on the best juicer for bad backs!