Quantity vs quality of life

Hi All,

I just wanted to start a quick talk about the very title of this discussion. 

As a chronic pain patient I would like to hear from all of you what you would prefer in this situation.  Would you prefer to live ten years and have the meds you need to keep you quite comfortable or would you rather suffer with no meds and live another twenty years? 

For those of you who don't take opiates and live by sheer willpower my hat is off to you.  I am not able to do so.  If anyone can teach me ignore my pain I am open to it.  I just cant live without help. 

I will go first and say I would rather live ten years in relative comfort than any amount of years in chronic pain without help.   I know this is a subjective question.  I absolutely hate going to bed at night.  I fight sleep with all my strength.  I do this because no matter what combination of meds I take I always wake up hurting.  It always takes me till noon time to get myself together enough to do anything.  Even then somedays I prefer not to even go outside. 

I am fortunate that my drs are all kind and caring.  That however, does not stop me from living in fear that the day will come when I will no longer receive the meds I need to keep my pain at least somewhat at bay. 

God bless you all




  • G’day dmo, crikey what a question. I too hate bed time. I normally sit up watching what ever I can on telly to prolong bed time. My pain is so much worse at night. Luckily I also have a great team of doctors caring for me. I have asked each of them WHY I hurts so much at night? They each said basically it’s because its quiet and then we focus on the pain  and its the adrenaline that distracts me somewhat during the day. Pfllurp, I knew it was that. Now new imaging shows I have modic 3 changes ( a big symptom is night pain, oh how we know our bodies and what’s not right) . I really can’t choose between quality over quantity.  I have done my 30 years lol lol . I Recon I’d trade it all for even five years pain free just have . Good to hear some of the responses . 

  • Dale

    I vote to stay comfortable, I have tried to cut my medications in the past, that just doesn't work for me, I guess you could say I have a love, hate relationship with pain meds. I love that they let me somewhat function, but I still hate taking them.


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  • Initially I hated taking opiates.  I thought it made me appear as though I were not strong enough.  Then after months of pain I realized the perception others have of me mattered little.  I was the one who had to live in pain. 

    I have also tried cutting back on meds only to suffer greater pain at my next dose.  Now I take my meds on time no matter how I feel. 

    Give me ten easy years vs twenty years of pain and frustration.  On the same note, give me one year of little to no pain vs two years of being up all hours of the night in pain.  In essence give me the easiest life possible.

    God bless you all


  • I have to agree with quality over quantity.  I too have had times where I had little to no meds and I was a mess!  Call me weak but it is what it is.  Not that I want to leave my family because I don't but I do have the assurance of where I will be and that comforts me.  It is human nature to be afraid of the unknown which death is.  I still hope and pray that there  comes a day where either I can scale way back on meds or maybe have to take no meds at all. 

    Obviously I am not convinced my life would be worth a hoot without meds.  Hopefully in the future something else will evolve or my pain will lessen.  Who knows.  Very interesting topic.


  • Not sure if I posted this or not but last month at my PM appointment my dr looked me in the face and said I would NEVER go off opiates.  Wow what a revelation that was.  Just to hear those words. 

    Also interesting how people of faith view their own mortality.  Definitely having peace with life after death is worth more than any amount of money. 

    Well so far we have what looks like a clear consensus here about not wanting to live in pain. 

    I don't hold much hope for science finding something better for pain.  Even if science did create a better pain med I am sure the insurance companies would make it prohibitively expensive. 

    God bless us all


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  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 325

    This topic comes up from time to time so it seems like it is very important to those of us in chronic pain. Unfortunately, I don't think the medical community or our government understands the topic. IMO, being in constant pain unable to do the things you enjoy is not living - it is existing. For over 15 years, I've had many days and nights I truly wished and hoped that I did not wake up in the morning. I still have those types of days and nights. Even when I'm having a reasonable day I don't do the things I enjoy, such as working in my yard, because I'm very concerned about how I'll feel afterwards. I have learned to not push myself too far. I try to walk my dogs every day but that is often a struggle leaving me desperate to get home and in my recliner. We recently had another forum topic about not having anyone to support us or at least help us from feeling completely alone. Unfortunately, I too am in that "alone" and "unsupported" category even though I am married. Even after all these years I am expected to continue to do things around the house as if I'm in perfect help. I'm well past the point of attempting to explain how I feel so I just do what is necessary and mostly suffer in silence. I know this is a bit off topic but I'm attempting (poorly probably) to explain why, if given the choice, I would choose quality over quantity. I appreciate you reading my whine of the day! :) All the best, Jerome

  • Jerome,

    I would bet most of us here have had to deal with significant others who don't understand chronic pain.  How can they if they have not experienced it?  It one thing to hear about pain, quite another to actually live it. 

    I also push through the pain so as to do as much of the shared workload as possible.  It isn't fair to our partners to have to do the lions share of the work when we are unable to help.  In a perfect world our spouses take over and everything gets done quickly and cleanly.  The truth is no where near that.  I can see where it would be easy to be upset having to do the dishes everyday.....having to do the laundry....cut the groceries and on and on.  No one wants to do all the unpleasant task by themselves. 

    Whine all you care to Jerome, we have all been there.  The sad thing is that one day the spouse who has always felt great will one day feel the pain we do.  I do not wish this pain on anyone.  It is just a certainty of life.  For those of us lucky enough to live a long life, DDD and arthritis and every other spine condition will eventually make itself know to the once health person. 

    Looks like another vote for a shorter life with less pain. 

    God bless you all


  • I was just talking to my phychologist about this. I started on my down hill spiral at 18. I'm now 54, and have had over 40 surgeries. I'm tired.  I have ALWAYS kept going, putting a smile on my face for the family and friends. Even though I have, of the last few years, gone downhill fast, nobody gets it. Or don't want to get it. My husband, God bless him, has been wonderful. He is always here to help, but I always fight to keep going and not let him take the load. But, this past year, I reached a brick wall. I can't do it anymore. I have the pain pump, but I'm still in pain. I have my fourth knee replacement on the same knee in five years coming up in May. My problem has always been that the Drs don't listen to me and let me suffer. I'm scared that will happen again, as my pain Dr seems to think that now that I have the pain pump, the surgeon can treat me like any other patient. No, he can't! I need much stronger meds since I've built up a tolerance for them. If I am allowed to lay in a hosp bed and suffer, I don't think I can go on. 

    So, I would take a few good, painless years, then a lot of years living in pain. 

  • I wish everyone here a few pain free hours. Once in awhile it happens and when I realize I am pain free and stop everything to thank God. None of us our alone and on those darker pain blurry days I check out this website to feel connected to others that “get it”. 

  • Nancyann, I do the exact same thing.  If I have a day which my pain is lower than normal I take the time to thank God for it.  We certainly all do get how you feel.

    For me this time in my life causes me feel a bit of remorse.  Perhaps this is a discussion for another time but I look back with regret over some past choices.  Not the kind you would think.  I don't regret my major life choices.  I do however greatly regret not taking more vacations.  I deeply regret not traveling more.  I always thought I had plenty of time to go here or do that.  I would have built in more me time in my life when I was younger.  I always thought next year I will take that big trip to Europe or buy that new truck I always wanted.  Now I have no desire to do anything requiring much exertion or energy. 

    God bless you all.


  • Dale, no regrets,God is using you right where you are in your life. He still has plans for us even though we may feel time has slipped away and now we are in a different place than where we hoped to be. I have 3 very young grandchildren and I am not the active Nonna I thought I would be at age 58. I have cataract surgery on Monday and Thursday is my birthday. Somehow I know God still has a plan for me although I feel pretty useless most of the time. I know your kind and honest words have helped me as well as others on this site. If your words can give just one person hope and a smile which they do, you know the good Lord is using you. Peace in the storms. Nancyann 

  • Hi Dale, I have faith as well and I say my DDD is a thorn in my flesh. I have facet nerve pain from hypertrophy and squish my nerves so my PM Dr. is doing RFA tomorrow. I get it done once a year but couldn't live without the patch and breakthrough meds as well. Who can understand it? Just have to keep going through the fire especially during this quarantine time. Well, thankfully things might be improving soon. One Day At A Time I say. 

    I don't know why I can't get a notification for a post anymore here. But keep in touch. Charry

  • Hello. I suffer with DDD, scoliosis - sciatica, cervical arthritis. I am 70 and receive injections in both wrists. Now that Covid-19 has disrupted our lives, my wife has been on me to withdraw from my pain meds (opiates). She considers my PM doctor ‘irresponsible’ for prescribing methadone and hydrocodone for my issues. It really has put me under a great deal of pressure and guilt. She is afraid that my doctor will retire and I won’t have another that will prescribe my medicines. I will be left very sick and without care. Our society will become so  restrictive that I will not have the medicines that have allowed me a reasonable living standard. It is frightening.

    Thank you for listening and may God Bless


  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,459


    I am so sorry, I know what it is like having to deal with issues like this and chronic pain, especially at this age. We don't know what the future will bring but I am rest assured that our doctors are not just going to let us suffer with no care. Right now is different for all of us, but things are beginning to open back up and we will be able to see our doctors again.

    I also have scoliosis, DDD, herniated disc, sciatica, RA, Osteo and several other health health issues and am 72 yrs. young. I also have a pain pump implanted which helps some with the pain. None of us should be under any quilt for the pain we are in or for trying to find relief from the pain. I tried to fight the pain and found myself fighting depression and anxiety.

    Good luck and hope o hear from you soon.
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Nancyann,  I know what you mean.  We are the same age and I planned to still be working and as active as possible.  Never thought I would be unable to work at 49.  I truly understand feeling useless.  Some days I hurt too much to do much of anything.  I really hit it hard on the days I feel decent.

    You know I believe in just living my faith.  I often ignore that little voice that tells me to compliment someone or thank them for what they have done for me.  I decided this year I am going to listen more.  For example, at the doctor  a couple of weeks ago I thanked the nurse for always getting back to me quickly.  She looked surprised and said thanks I really needed that today.  

    I think some of the things we worry about mean very little in the big scheme of things.  The little things mean a lot sometimes.

    Penny611, Charry is right that we need to take things one day at a time.

    Sandra is right too.  We can't worry so much about what might happen tomorrow that we let it cause us anxiety and depression. 

    8 years ago I was worrying about what would happen if my MD of thirteen years moved on.  Caused me alot of anxiety and it happened anyway and really became a blessing for me.  My PM understands my situation much better and put me on a much better mix of meds.  It just made me realize I have to stop worrying about what could happen tomorrow and deal with what's on my plate today.

    Does any of that make sense? 


  • Thanks so much for this. Cindy and Sandra, your kind words of wisdom remind me of the power of connection. Typically, in my community - even my church, there is not this free exchange of words and feelings. I have led groups on substance abuse but have never had the connection that this forum offers. 

    Allowing depression and anxiety to generate these feelings - thank you for reminding me for they distort my thinking. Your point ‘ just living in my faith ‘, has made me step back and re-group Cindy.

    Sandra, thank you for so quickly responding with kindness and connection. This has meant a lot to me. I look forward to other exchanges on this forum and the opportunity to possibly contribute.

    Kindly, Bill

  • Hi

    I would definitely choose 10 years with controlled pain.

    Luv2napp I so get where you are coming from with pain relief after surgery. Why do they not understand the medication tolerance.

    It's so hard fighting against people for most of your life to be understood.

    I believe we all have high pain thresholds.

    So when we say we need pain relief we are saying it because we do, yet sometimes you can be looked upon as some recreational drug addict.

    I m so pleased to have found this forum i feel less lonely.

    God bless everyone.

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 325

    I had an appointment with my endocrinologist today and she basically told me I can't eat the foods that I like and I have to completely change my diet. I didn't say it but I thought what's the point? When you have chronic pain that keeps you from doing the things you love and you basically spend all of your time alone (even though I'm married) and I have no reason to get up in the morning except to take care of my dogs, really, what's the point? Why shouldn't I just eat what I want no matter the consequences. When you don't care if you wake up in the morning why not eat what you want? If it shortens your life does it really matter if you miserable and lonely most of the time? The doctors can't fix us, they can only try to make us comfortable. When your so called "loved one" doesn't care, really what is the point. So definitely quality over quantity.

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,459


    At this point you can only think about yourself and what makes you happy. If it is eating your favorite foods, then go for it. I eat what I want, when I want. If it is ice cream and cookies in the mornings, then that's what it is. You come to a point where when you can't make someone else happy then you have think about yourself. We have enough to deal with trying to cope with chronic pain.

    Please take care

  • Quality....all the way quality.

    I'm 25 years old. I started dealing with chronic pain when I was about 15 years old. One untreated herniated disc led to another, and another. Then came the arthritis and degenerative disc disease. I have totally unrelenting pain from arthritis, that dull, aching, stiff pain is always there. Muscle spasms. Sharp shooting sciatic pain down my right leg. I keep pushing myself to the limit every day, without complaint. Most people have absolutely no idea what I deal with because I suffer in silence and bear this burden entirely alone. I was tired of people not understanding, so I stopped explaining. I was tired of hearing "you're too young for that" or "you've got this, you'll get through it" if one day I'm going to wake up and all of the degenerative processes in my body will have magically reversed. I don't take any medication, because I am afraid that if I start to manage my pain with medication at my will I sustain pain management in the long run? Nearly every day I hope I don't live to see even 30 years old. This is no way to live, and it's certainly not a future to look forward to.

    And if the pain alone wasn't enough, I've had foot drop resulting from a repeat discectomy in August 2019. My foot and toes are mostly numb, the only thing I can feel are the sharp sciatic pains and horrible muscle cramps that I get in my thigh, calf, and arch of my foot. And since the muscles are nonresponsive (EMG confirmed), I can't even mechanically stretch out the cramps, I just writhe in pain until they pass. My right leg has significant muscle atrophy and weakness, I wear orthotic braces to keep from tripping on my foot, hell I just want to be able to crack my toes but I can't bend them. I'm told that my only option to treat the foot drop is a nerve graft and tendon transfer. I don't think I'm willing to risk that kind of surgery and the potential for things to become even worse.

    Through it all, I plaster on a smile and pretend everything is fine. I work 40 hours a week as a pharmacy technician where I compound IV medications, which requires me to stand for the entire 8 hour shift, constantly bending underneath a counter to reach for supplies and having to have my arms extended at the shoulders while making sterile admixtures...I think I am weak, I feel weak, both mentally and physically. I see others my age doing things that I'll never be able to do. I would take any amount of time pain-free over the rest of my life, honestly. Because this isn't a life.

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 325

    Sandra, I agree. It is the simple things like particular foods I like that bring some pleasure. That and my "boys" - my 2 Westies. Even though there are days I don't feel like dealing with them I know I have to so they give me some purpose. Besides they are always so happy to see me even if it may have been only 5 minutes since they last saw me! Jerome

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