Keeping Hope Alive is Tough!


You never think it will happen to you, until it does. I have been helping others and advocating for them for many years now. I have been writing for the National Pain Report and in my own blog (tearsoftruth.com) for several years as well. I try to give advice to others to help keep their hope alive. On my WEGO Health profile, my favorite words are posted. These are words that I try to live by and a phrase that originated with me, “Hope is a verb, You have to DO something in order to have it”. Now I have to practice what I have been preaching.

I think most of you know that in March 2018, I visited my pain Dr. And he did the usual random urine test. I was told in April that it showed a positive for PCP and something else, I cant even think of right now? Probably because I have no idea what these are and did not ever take them. It ended up being a “false positive” after we were charge $300.00, because HE forgot that I was taking a migraine medication that did not show up on the MAPS. He says it shows up sometimes, not others?

My PTSD symptoms have gotten worse prior to each upcoming pain Dr. visit. He has become less respectful towards me. I used to feel a mutual respect between us. I stopped taking some other cancer pain medication that was prescribed to me before I started seeing him in 2015. I felt that he respected me for being able to do that and go through the withdrawals process. My brain did not ever care about the medication, but my body got very sick when I stopped it.

The past few appointments I have not felt that respect that I had felt in the past. My Dr. was treating me differently. He got angry if I got weepy at all and he yelled at me for crying. Something changed in him and I could see it and feel it, but I was not sure what it was or why it was happening? This week I went to my appointment on Monday, 7-9-18. Things were pretty “normal” during the visit, but he was kind of “short” and “quick” with me, when he used to chit chat a bit and even smile when he told me about his children. At the end of the visit, he said this to me “so we are stopping your Fentanyl patch”. I was stunned because I’ve been on it for 15 yrs and taking less now than I was in 2015. I’ve had some semblance of a life with my husband, kids and grandchildren. I’ve been doing quite well and now he was taking away something that I’ve been doing very well with. Then came the “big lie”; (*which I know is untrue because I asked my Neurologist and Cardiologist and I was told it was not true whatsoever). He told me that I was “probably not getting more than 30% of the medication anyways because I’m not “fat” or “heavy enough”. That the fentanyl patch works better on “fat/heavy people” or “people with more body fat than I have”.” I questioned him, but I knew enough not to question him too much. I did not want to make the person that I depend on to have some kind of life at all, angry with me. My husband brought the empty bottle of my Migraine medicine to show him that I did have an 8 month old script and recently got a new refill. It was not showing up in the MAPS and my husband asked him if we should ask the pharmacy to make sure it is in that system? He told us that “they don’t like if you know too much, its best not to say anything”. What the heck is that all about? We are supposed to be lambs/sheep and follow orders and jump off the cliff if told to do so, without ever asking any questions? I’ve always found it better to be knowledgeable in my own treatment and healthcare. But this is not the case today, I guess?

Lastly, I put myself into old “abuse mode”. It was the same as the “old days” and I put myself in another place, disassociated until we could get the hell out of that room. All I wanted to do is cry and be hysterical for a few moments with the one person who loves me and who protects me to the best of his abilities and who is my soul-mate, my husband. I heard him tell me that he was taking away my patch and that I could take a different extended release medication “MS Contin”. But, I told him that I am unable to take that medication because I have Gastroparesis and even before I was diagnosed with GP, I could not take that medication because it made me sick, violently ill. That was the only choice I had and he gave me “one more month to be psychologically ready” but my dose was lowered and spread out for another full day. In one month I will be taken off of my patch after 15 years, with no tapering and nothing that matches the strength and pain lowering levels of what has worked for me for so long.

We are now at the mercy of the government in our patient rooms. He says that the state and federal government are making him do this to me. But there is no “law” that I can find in Michigan yet, stating that all persons taking Fentanyl for chronic pain must be removed from taking it now. I’m sorry that I don’t believe that you must be “heavy person” in order for the Fentanyl to work, because I was pretty much anorexic when I started it and it’s always worked for my pain. I have never had a “high” or any feelings except some relief from the pain of the several high pain illnesses that I live with and have lived with for many years. He also told me that “only those who have cancer are allowed to have these fentanyl patches now”. There is no evidence to prove that cancer pain is any worse than the pain that many of the chronic pain patients have to endure. I know there is a NORD website quote or a quote from the AMA, regarding this but I’m too sick right now to try and find it for you, I apologize. It’s easy to give advice, hope and love to people going through this, but when it is YOU who is going through it, all the love, advice and hope won’t make it better.

The same day that this happened, I awoke at 4:00 am with a feeling like someone was pressing on my left eye. When I opened my eyes, I could not see out of my left eye at all. It was totally pitch black. After a few minutes of screaming hysterically and my husband rushing to my side, I started to see patches of light in a dark mass. Then patches of the living room came into focus. After about 5-10 minutes, I could see again but not as sharp as usual with my glasses on. I went to sleep and in the morning I had a dull ache in my left eye and went to the hospital’s eye clinic that day. The Dr. Said that I had a “mini stroke” or “TIA of the eye”. My blood pressure had been high at the pain Dr. Appointment and my heart rate was 100 bpm before he even came into the room to tell me the news. He told me it was probably from stress and nothing they could do for me after all of the special testing that they did, they sent me home. I visited my heart specialist the next day and filled him in. He concurred with the eye clinic and said it could even have been an Ocular Migraine, but either/or both are from stress and can be a dangerous precursor to a stroke. I had a CVA or stroke in 2006, so I’ve been there and done that already. Today, we are like lambs going off to slaughter and nobody cares if we live or die. As my kind-hearted specialist physician of 15 years told me yesterday, “unfortunately you and people like you are collateral damage to the hysteria taking place right now”. I guess now it is up to me to see if I am able to follow any of the advice that I’ve been giving to others in this same predicament? Will I have another heart attack or another stroke because the legislators don’t care about me as an individual? Will I live to see my granddaughters and new grandson’s lives evolve or will I be a statistic? I guess only time will tell and all I can do is try to “keep hope alive”.

Giving PAIN To Help With Pain?


I read this article called “How to Ease pain without Opioids? Specialists are finding Ways” by Steve Dorfman from Palm Beach Post, a staff writer. He is writing about a clinic that opened in Florida. We all know that Florida is the very worst or one of the worst states to be living with chronic pain and residing in. Does this make any sense at all to the chronic pain patients or any sane individual? The interventions that are being outlined in this article are tortuous to say the least! 

This Dr. Tapia outlines several different approaches to use instead of narcotics or opioids. Why aren’t sick people who are legitimately living with daily chronic pain, allowed to take a pill like everyone else who is really sick? It has NOT been proven that cancer pain is worse than any other form of chronic pain. The CDC rebuked Andrew Kolodny when he tried to use that line on them. It just is not true. I have two family members with cancer and they told me themselves that their pain is “not that bad” and definitely not as bad as many other chronic pain illnesses. At least with most other illnesses there is an end in sight or a treatment that helps but now the chronic pain population are being forced to do painful, torturous and just plain “stupid” things that are supposed to “trick our minds into believing that we feel better”. That is my opinion!

First of all, people who live with daily intractable pain, do not get high, do not abuse their pain medications and do not do anything they should not do with their medications. They use them for pain relief only! The chronic pain population should not be made to continually suffer and die because there are “bad” people who brought “bad” drugs like cara fentanyl over from South America and elsewhere! This is insane! If someone starts abusing insulin to lose weight and then people die, will they start taking insulin away from the Diabetics in America? Guess what? I bet you that won’t ever happen!

This Dr.  In Florida has several approaches.  He and other pain Dr’s who are now “afraid” to prescribe medication that can easily help their patients without giving them more pain on top of the chronic pain they are enduring; are calling this “Interventional Pain medicine”.  They are doing some things like this:  more injections (that sounds fun), nerve blocks (yep they hurt worse and then maybe help for a month, but guess what?? You cannot do that forever!!!), and what they like to call “minimally invasive outpatient surgeries.  This is ludicrous and crazy!

There is this method they are doing where they take your red blood cells out (ouch) and they “spin them around in a special centrifuge machine that separates and concentrates platelets and growth factors, and then it is injected” …get this…this is the “good part”…”they INJECT IT INTO THE PAINFUL AREAS!” That sounds like something I want to try, with systemic  CRPS….NOT… I’ve heard that this may help some forms of Arthritis! But what about all of the other horribly painful illnesses Like Arachnoiditis, CRPS, EDS and many others??? Then there is a high intensity laser therapy “believed by some to promote tissue healing”….yea…sorry…load of crap!  They also have this recently cleared by the FDA device called NIP procedure (NIP stands for noninvasive pain). They use a microchip and acupuncture needles, placed “strategically behind the patients ear”.  This technology transmits a flow of signals to the patient for as long as they are “wearing” the device (usually 4 or 5 days). Well, Ok but what about the rest of your life after 4 or 5 days??

I am talking about intractable pain, chronic pain and pain that will most likely never disappear. These kinds of treatments are asinine for these kinds of chronic pain patients. I’m sorry but taking a pill a couple times a day, that has absolutely no side effects and does not harm me in any way, is a much easier approach for those already living with daily struggles of constant pain that will not eventually disappear.  These “pain interventionists” are just making a lot of money and taking advantage of the chronic pain population. I’m sorry but you cannot just “think this kind of pain away”. You cannot wear a couple of needles behind your ear and watch it “Poof” away! These are insane ideas from an insane culture who are being hysterical about opioids. Opioids have a place in the chronic and acute pain world.  We need palliative of life care. We aren’t going to live as long as the “normal” person anyways. I am not an addict. I am NOT afraid of losing my pain meds, I’m more afraid of feeling the pain when it is not controlled!

My specialist physician told me the other day that “unfortunately, I am collateral damage to the hysteria that is taking place in our society today”. He’s 100% correct and I will probably not live through this again. I lost my physician 3 years ago. One day he was there and he was my Dr. For about 15 yrs. The next day he was gone without an explanation. I was caught going off meds for pain after 12 years “cold turkey”. I was very sick and my blood pressure went high, my blood sugar went high and it was torturous. Last Monday, I was told that my 100 fentanyl patch was being taken away. No tapering, just “one more month to help me get ready psychologically”. What the heck is that about? The safe way is to wean someone 10% every couple of weeks or so. On August 10th I will not be given the patch again. I was offered some other oral extended relief medication but I have Gastroparesis. In what lifetime doesn’t a pain Dr. Or any Dr.  know that Oral opioids, especially extended ones, are not recommended for people who live with Gastroparesis (another painful condition)?? No one cares? I’ve written to my Senator, the president, my state rep and I’ve made videos and blog posts and news articles. Nobody cares about us anymore. Nobody cares about my life or my quality of life any longer? What happened to these United States of America? 

(My information is from http://www.palmbeachpost.com May 21st, 2018 *Please go over there and post comments about your feelings regarding this insanity)

Trying to navigate life with a brain injury


Thinking of you! I’ve lived with a TBI since 8-11-02! I’m with you all the way!

Inspirational Leader

This is not easy! People think they know what is best but for but most of the time they are not right. What someone with a brain injury is able to do depends on their determination  and their willingness to not give up. I served in the military so I have some of these traits already. But often that isn’t enough. Often we need to fight for justice, to get rehabilitation, and recover to a point where we can live.

Relearning activities of   daily living was not an easy task. Frustration often occurred after times of trial. Eventually that task would stick but then a new problem would happen. This never ending cycle made life very difficult.

And yet when that “initial” recovery phase was over, I thought that I was where I would be at the rest of my life. I took up cycling during rehabilitation. I felt…

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American Sign Language


Hello Luvs,

Do you know that I suffered a TBI in a car accident in 2002? Did you know that I also had a CVA/Stroke in 2006? Because of these injuries, I have vision problems and hearing loss. I . had to wear prisms in my glasses for years and I have to use drops in my eyes daily or else I will go blind. The top layers of my eyes are a mess and this makes it difficult to see clearly at all, even with contacts and/or glasses. I also have 2 hearing aids to try and help with the hearing loss, which is moderate in my right ear and severe in my left ear. I am so lucky that I already knew and know ASL before the accident happened. I used to be an Interpreter for the Deaf at a University hospital and I worked at a school district as an Interpreter too.  My hearing is getting a bit worse as the years go by and I will be getting new hearing aids in the Fall of 2018. I’m not sad because I have been a part of a rich culture, the Deaf community, since age 11.  That is when I babysat for 6 Deaf children.  Then I went to college, a 4 year Interpreting program. ASL has always been a treasured part of my life. But how ironic that as an adult, a car accident has made it an even more important and treasured part of my life.

I truly want to get the non-profits that help people with pain, to become more accessible to the Hard of Hearing and Deaf community. I hope that I can make a difference because there must be many more persons like me, who live with daily chronic pain and who have vision and/or hearing loss. If you are reading this and you are part of a non-profit or an organization that helps people living with chronic pain, please think about it? Let me start a program for you? Let me help do something to make these pain organizations become more accessible. Thank you so much for reading my blog and for taking the time to look at the songs that I’ve done in ASL.

So, I just finished doing one of my favorite songs of all time, in ASL *(American Sign Language). The lyrics in this song makes me think about my one and only, soul-mate; my husband Craig. He is the only person who has ever truly shown me love and respect unconditionally. I love him with my whole heart and soul. I hope you enjoy this song and the others, performed in ASL. Please, if you enjoy it, click “like” and then “Subscribe” to my Youtube channel at ASLSuzyQ- My YouTube channel for ASL

Instead of just posting one ASL song here for you, I thought I would give you a few other newer song covers that I’ve recently done in ASL. I have posted the links for “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, “Fireworks” by Katy Perry, “Pulse” (its the song made for tribute to the Florida nightclub shooting in 2016 where many were killed and most were LGBTQ commmunity.), “Hello My Name Is” by Matthew West and “Where Is The Love?” By the Blackeyed Peas. Thank you for watching…

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Some  Facts About The U.S. Pain Foundation


Hello Luvs,

First off, I want everyone to know that no one asked me to write this piece. I’m sorry that I’ve had a bit of “writers block” recently. Nobody at US Pain Foundation even knows I’m writing this piece. I promise you it’s not a “promotional” blog post! But when things stick in my brain and really bother me, I need to get them out on paper, in a manner of speaking.

Recently, I’ve been getting asked the same question over and over again. People know what the U.S. Pain Foundation is, but they ask me “what does the U.S. Pain Foundation do for the pain community? I’m writing this as a patient advocate, a pain ambassador and as a chronic pain patient. I’ve only been on the Board since January of 2018. But I’ve been a member of this lovely community since 2015.

The U.S. Pain Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization who is dedicated to serving those of us who live with chronic painful conditions and illnesses. They also serve our care givers. They not only help with finding resources for the pain community but they help to provide inspiration for us as well.

They are leaders among the pain community and they are pain patients. They empower, educate, connect and advocate for people living with chronic pain. To me they offered Hope. They have many programs going on simultaneously as the U.S. Pain community works daily to help people in all age groups.  They serve as advocates at the state and federal levels as they fervently work to keep track of and help us with the various Bills and laws at each level. They have people who go and testify and help with many of the situations that affect the pain community now. They even have a pediatric pain program.

Did you know that you can visit the U.S. Pain Foundation Website and find your pain condition to learn more about your illnesses? They have a program called “Learn About Your Pain”. You just go here:  https://uspainfoundation.org/programs/eductional/ .  Also on that same page you’ll find “Pain Medicine 411”, where patients can learn to make informed decisions about their medications.  They can also visit the National Coalition of Pain Providers & professionals. There they can network, educate and give referrals for pain care providers and more. Theres also information about the “Knowvember” project; which is an educational campaign done each November.  It has free webinars with experts, Twitter chats and daily facts.  Lastly, at that same page,  you will find “Take Control of Your Pain”. These are events or education days held at various locations throughout the country. These help patients and caregivers by empowering them to take control of their pain and medical journeys.

If you go to the top right of the page, you can click on “find a specialist”. All you do is put in your location and what type of physician you are looking for and some will show up for you to choose from. You can also find clinical trials or connect with people from our Pain Connection group.  They can help you locate an in-person support group in your area. These support groups are lead by trained support group leaders. You can also share your story here:  https://uspainfoundation.org/get-involved/share-my-story/ …and become a pain Ambassador here: https://uspainfoundation.org/get-involved/pain-ambassador-network/ … You can also get information about medical cannabis here:

https://uspainfoundation.org/?s=medical+cannabis

There is also the “Invisible Project”, which tries to make the invisible illnesses more visible. They put names and faces with some painful invisible illnesses. You can read more about this project here: https://uspainfoundation.org/?s=invisible+project

No one from the U.S. Pain Foundation will bother you or send you information that you do not want or without your consent. If you become a “Pain Ambassador”, you will receive a little kit with some “goodies” in it and information. There is more but then this article would get too long. If you have any other questions about what they do, please contact them directly on the website at: www.USpainfoundation.org or by telephone at: 1-800-910-2462. I hope that this answers any of your questions about what the U.S. Pain foundations does for the chronic pain community.

It isn’t in my Blood


Hello Luvs,

I hope today is a low pain day for you and/or your loved one(s) living with chronic pain.

I am Hard of hearing now since the TBI & I had been an Interpreter for the Deaf; prior to the car accident that caused all of this pain & these chronic illnesses.

I thought that you might enjoy seeing this this song performed in ASL, or “American Sign Language” & sung by Shawn Mendes. It’s called “It Isn’t In My Blood.” I feel like this song is exactly how I live my life, especially now. Then I thought about it more and realized that this is how many of us live our lives. We are People living with tremendous amounts of Chronic Pain day after day. This song is about not giving up. it’s also about how we reach out and ask for help but sometimes it feels like nobody’s listening. This is especially true right now, during these difficult times for chronic pain patients who need opioids to help give them some semblance of a life.

This song talks about how it just isn’t in me to give up or just lie down and do nothing. We all need to reach out and ask for help sometimes. We are fighters and we are survivors.

I just thought that this was an appropriate song for Chronic Pain survivors. I really like the lyrics to this song & I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for following me and my blog “Tears of Truth”! If you’d like to follow my YouTube channel that has a large variety of full songs done in American Sign Language; the Link is here: Suzanne’s You Tube channel “ASLSuzyQ” Please support me, if you do enjoy it; by subscribing to my ASL channel. As I mentioned before, there’s a large variety of songs, from Country to Pop, and from Christian contemporary to Broadway musicals. Thank you so much again. Have a low pain day!

https://youtu.be/lN0Nd3OfJaM

Dear Senator


Hello Luvs,

Below is a copy of a letter that I’m sending to my Senator and possibly to a few other legislators. Of course, I will change it up a bit for the others.

Please give me any constructive feedback or ideas to add to the letter that I’ve written. Be kind and let me know what you think? Thank you so much! I appreciate it.

I have the letter that I got back from the Senator, in response to my first letter to her almost a year ago! So here’s my letter to her, straight out of my email draft! Thank you again.

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Dear Senator Stabinaw,

Thank you for your response to my 1st letter. Although I think it must have been a response to someone else’s letter to you? My letter was addressing the 26 million intractable chronic pain patients who now find themselves cut off from any kind of opioid pain relief therapy. There is a place for opioids, when many other methods of pain relief have been tried and failed for one reason or another. The opioid “crisis” has truly zero to 1% to do with chronic pain patients and has much more to do with the illegal fentanyl and Cara-fentanyl brought over to the US from China etc.

I was asking you to help the chronic intractable pain patients in our state and in the USA. They are being forgotten in all of this. The government needs to stay out of the Dr. /patient relationships & exam rooms. That’s a wonderful thing to stop drug abuse and substance abuse disorder. But not at the expense, loss and inhumane treatment of the chronic intractable pain patients lives.

The chronic pain community is seeing a rise in suicides with the gross reduction in opioid prescribing. We had another fatality just this week (April 2018), I will include a link to that story with this letter. A young mother who loved her 11 year old boy and her husband, was ill before & during every pain Dr. visit (due to anxiety/fear of upcoming appointment), most recently especially.

Patients are experiencing PTSD symptoms as they await the cut off and/or tapering of their safe and effective, long term opioid pain medications. These persons are not afraid of losing the opioid pain meds. They’re afraid of living with the excruciating & horrible intractable pain on a daily basis for the resting their lives.

Please help these patients by also alleviating the fear of career loss or even jail time; for the Drs who prescribe these medications. The pain specialist goes to school for sometimes 15 years, to learn how to treat these patients. But now, legislators are taking over this “specialist” role. If you’d like to sit down with me, hear my story etc; I’d be more than happy to come. I’d love the opportunity to speak with you and anyone else who can help the chronic intractable pain patients in Michigan & the USA.

Thank you for your time. I’ve enclosed the links to a couple of stories on YouTube , the Pain News Network & the National Pain Report.

1. https://youtu.be/u4vHSLeTe-s

2. https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/10/12/opioid-epidemic-6-charts-designed-deceive-you-11935

3.https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2018/4/30/death-of-pain-patient-blamed-on-dea#.Wuf0unJ0GX8.twitter=

4. https://.com/2017/12/14/pain-acceptance-the-newest-lie/

Peace & Hope,

Suzanne B. Stewart

about.me/suzydukettes

U.S. Pain Fdn. Ambassador/Advocate/Board Member, Recipient of Pain Ambassador of the Year Award‘16, Mentor for CRPS patients RSDSA, Staff Columnist/Ntl. Pain Report, Blog-“Tears Of Truth” @tearsoftruth.com, Patient leader WEGO Health, HoH/ASL

DISCLAIMER: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend the self-management of health problems. We can not and do not give you medical advice. The information in this e mail should not be considered complete. Information obtained in this e mail is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions or their treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this e mail. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. US Pain Foundation inc. does not represent to be an authority but is just helping pass information from other organizations, advocates and or websites.

On Jan 30, 2018, at 5:36 PM, Senator Debbie Stabenow <senator@stabenow.senate.gov> wrote:

Dear Suzanne,

Thank you for contacting me about the treatment and prevention of drug addiction. I share your support for strengthening programs that help individuals overcome addiction and lead healthy and productive lives.

That is why I cosponsored the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), which was signed into law on July 22, 2016. CARA expands and strengthens substance abuse prevention, education, treatment, and monitoring programs around the country.

Substance abuse and addiction have devastating physical and mental consequences for millions of Americans. Drug abuse has increased dramatically nationwide, and in Michigan, the drug overdose death rate is above the national average. That is why I fought for passage of a demonstration project based on my bipartisan bill, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which will expand access to mental health and substance abuse services in the community and ensure that more people can get the quality care that they need. I have also fought to strengthen substance abuse prevention and treatment through the efforts of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.

Sincerely,

Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow

The United States Senate •Washington, DC 20510

stabenow.senate.gov