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This week I finally faced the fact that I needed to do something about the increasing amount of discomfort and pain I was experiencing. It was making living my life difficult and wearing me down. So I phoned one of the oncology nurses at Auckland hospital and told her the paracetamol I was taking wasn’t enough to control the discomfort and painful twinges, and asked her what my options were. She told me about the three “antis” or as I choose to think of them the three aunties – anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antacid. She suggested I pay a visit to my GP, so I went onto my patient portal and made an appointment for the following day.

I came out with two prescriptions – one for Ibuprofen, the anti-inflammatory, and the other for Omeprazole, an antacid. I declined the antispasmodic, Buscopan, due in part to the side effects. Besides I need to ease my way back to having to take pills on a daily basis. I was advised to continue taking the liquid paracetamol I have been guzzling my way through. So here I am back on drugs, and adjusting to the fact that I am unlikely to be able to cope without them from now on.

After just a few days it has made quite a difference. I still have some lower abdominal discomfort but it is very mild compared to what I have been experiencing over the past few weeks.

I also talked to an experienced pharmacist about what happens when these are not enough. I need to know a bit about the path ahead. He told me that there are a couple more steps to go before I am introduced to Mr Morphine. This was very reassuring. I had put off seeking help thinking that I would soon be on morphine. Now I can concentrate on getting the pain under control so I can start enjoying life again.