Patient Story: Daniel Fishkin
Dan Fishkin’s Story –
No time for pain – IT Professional and father of four, Dan couldn’t be sidelined by Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and prescription medication. Medical Cannabis significantly reduced his pain and reliance on prescription medication. Here’s Dan’s story.
Lifechanging – that’s how Dan describes medical cannabis. As a busy professional and father of 4 (ages 2 ½, 8, 15, 17), he is a VERY busy man and thanks to Cannabis medicine he is active, involved and not in chronic pain. Dan suffers from CRPS, a long-term pain syndrome. It usually affects an arm or a leg, but then may spread throughout the body. It is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain, changes in skin color, temperature and/or swelling in the affected area. Dan was diagnosed with CRPS in his right arm in 2009. He described as feeling like his hand had been dipped in gasoline and lit on fire. Doctors prescribed morphine, Percocet and finally a spinal cord stimulator which was inserted in 2011. This treatment helped Dan for about 7 years or so until he needed a significant knee surgery. This surgery required replacing his femur with a cadaver femur. Painful surgery, but nothing like the pain that was to come. About 2 weeks after the surgery his foot started turning purple. His wife and his mother feared it was a blood clot but the symptoms didn’t line up with a clot. Dan is the one who first realized that his CRPS had spread when his foot rubbed against a bed sheet and it felt like it was rubbing against sand paper. Dan unfortunately was one of the approximately 30% of CRPS sufferers who had CRPS spread to another limb.
Dan went to see a pain specialist who prescribed Norco and Lyrica. He was up to 8 Norco a day and it didn’t touch the pain – it felt like he was walking on fire. The doctors suggested surgery to add more leads to his spinal stimulator and in Sept. 2017 they put the leads in the lower part of his spine. Dan says this brought his pain level down to about a 3 or 4. He needed to wear special shoes to help with the pain and still took Lyrica, Percocet and 800 mg of Ibuprofen because the flareups would put him out of commission. Lyrica and Percocet have significant side effects. The 800 mg of Ibuprofen also had side effects. He was tired of all the medication he was on and when his internist suggested that he try cannabis he thought why not. He was very skeptical that it would work but he felt he had little to lose. At his doctor’s suggestion, Dan came to PDI Medical and talked to Pharmacist Joseph Friedman. That visit changed his point of view on cannabis and changed his life. Dan realized cannabis was real medicine and that it could potentially provide him with relief.
Joe worked with Dan until they found the right mix. Dan is a big believer in Pain Be Gone topical THC cream. He says, “Pain Be Gone is better than any medicine I have taken. It has taken my pain level from a 9 to a 3. It is better than Percocet, better than Lyrica. It really works for me. I am off all pharmaceuticals now except some to help me sleep.”
Dan still is using sleep medication because he never can get a deep sleep due to the stimulator. But he is weaning off these drugs and starting to use edibles to get to sleep. He is confident he’ll get to a point that he is off his pharmaceuticals completely. Dan say’s he uses a Bubba bar broke into 8 squares. He started with ½ square and the last couple of weeks 2/3 of a square. He is pulling back on his use of Xanax and will be eliminating it soon.
Dan’s says he is surprised how medicinal Cannabis is. He never thought cannabis could have such a positive impact on his life. He is a big supporter of PDI Medical. Dan says, “The meeting with Joseph Friedman changed my life because I saw cannabis differently. It’s better than any prescription medication out there. There is no more mind-numbing dullness from the pain meds. Before I had a choice to either have dullness from the medicine or extreme pain. I feel like I am back—it’s me again. I haven’t taken a pain med since a bad flareup right before I first came to PDI Medical.”