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Published on September 24, 2019

Bryan Helps Lincoln Woman Overcome Severe Opioid Addiction, Get Her Life Back

Tami Johannsen, a Lincoln woman, shares her story about overcoming a severe opioid addiction.

Tami dealt with constant back pain for years. After a work injury, her doctor prescribed fentanyl, an opioid pain reliever, to help with her discomfort. In the beginning, it worked. She was able to stay at her job and support herself. However, that changed.

Tami’s fentanyl dosage was continuously increased and she developed a dependency on the opioid. Now, instead of relieving the pain, it was causing it. It hurt to be touched or hugged by loved ones. Her relationship with her family became strained. She also had trouble remembering things. Finally, Tami decided enough was enough.

Tami’s primary care physician referred her to Dr. Kelly Zach of Innovative Pain and Spine Specialists and medical director of the Bryan Pain Management & Opioid Stewardship Program. In addition to her opioid addiction, Tami was also diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD. Her plan for recovery included counseling, a new pain plan and professional help to wean her off fentanyl.

Tami was started on medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for addiction management. She was prescribed an oral medicine that relieves pain and prevents craving and withdrawal symptoms with limited side effects. Within an hour, Tami could feel relief.

One week later, Dr. Zach saw Tami in his office. He noted that she was a different person, and Tami agreed. Now, she’s back to living her life. She’s resumed a lot of her old activities, including crafting, sewing quilts and building furniture. She’s even back to riding her motorcycle. Tami is sharing her story to help others who may feel like there is no hope overcoming opioids.

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