The Story of My Experiences With USPF


Here’s the link to Pat Anson’s Pain News Network article week of 5-12-19:Misappropriation of funds by the US Pain Foundation

I’ve had some things weighing on my mind lately. I had thought about keeping them to myself because I’m not a person who likes to be in the midst of turmoil. I try to live as drama-free as I possibly can. But a few months ago, I was contacted by Pat Anson, from the “Pain News Network”. I declined to speak about the events hovering around the US Pain Foundation & decided to take the high road and not allow my feelings and emotions take flight. It’s been an entire year & I let “the dust settle”. I waited an entire year to post my story about this. I didn’t want this post to be written with anger or any feelings of revenge. But there are a few issues that have been tugging at my heart and bothering my mind. These continue to nag me in my thoughts.

Since Pat Anson’s articles have surfaced; I’ve read several pieces of information that are now public knowledge. I’ve decided that there are some things I’d like to share because I do have a story to tell. I will only share with you my personal observations, opinions and experiences.

First, I must share that when I was added to the Board of Directors of the US Pain Foundation,(officially on January 31, 2018), I was excited. Around that time, I decided to call one of the persons whose photo I’d seen on the USPF website listed as a Board Member. She was also director of their Medical Cannabis program. I’d been told she was a veteran Board member. I called to ask her a few questions, such as: “What was it like, being on the Board? What do we do as Board Members etc?” She laughed & told me that “there was no real Board of Directors”. She added that they’d never even had a board meeting! I was a bit disappointed at hearing this news. But it was soon confirmed. The Board of Directors of the USPain Foundation, were actually just photographs on the USPF website, prior to January, 2018. There was no true Board of Directors. There had been no board meetings or elections. So….I’m guessing there was there no secretary or treasurer? I’m guessing this means that nobody had to get permission to write checks? Didn’t they have to answer to anyone about how or where to spend donation monies? How does the President, Vice President & Executive Director & other upper management, not know what & where money is coming in and/or going out?

(*I’d  been a “volunteer ambassador”since November 2015. I did Awareness events and fundraisers. All the while I thought I was doing something good. I wanted to be a good advocate and help people living with pain, like myself.)

In looking back, in my opinion, It seems to me that when upper management realized that things had somehow gotten out of hand and that the USPF might be slipping away, they decided to get lawyers and accountants involved in an attempt to “fix” a situation that they’d created. It seemed to have finally become something larger that they could no longer handle alone. Again, this is just me looking back, trying to make sense of the entire debacle.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The first meeting was in California, in January 2018. But I was too ill to travel that far and watched it as a Zoom meeting. Nothing of super importance was discussed, from my recollection. After being recruited to the Board, I still had no knowledge of any significance until much later in the year. Also, in January of 2018, they wouldn’t allow me to make it public, that I’d been appointed to their Board of Directors. My volunteer position as Board Member was not added to their website until March that year. Over the following months, I found out what a mess things were and I immediately wanted to resign. I was advised by one of the attorneys, that “it wouldn’t look good” for USPF, if anyone on the Board resigned during that time. (*Even though Dr Abaci immediately resigned from the board when he found out about the misuse of funds in the past).

I was told that we should all stay and help to reorganize & rebuild USPF. The attorneys explained that it wouldn’t really look good for any of the Board Members to resign in the midst of this reorganization. Therefore I stayed for as long as I felt that I was doing something good. Even prior to becoming a Board member, I was given “busy work” & then asked to do research & write two articles for the “Learn About Your Pain” portion of their website. I was asked to research, write and include links with graphics about S.I.B.O and Dysautonomia. I turned in several pages of completed research. Almost a year later, I inquired about when everything that I had done was going to be posted to the “Learn About Your Pain” website? I received angry emails from several members telling me that with everything that USPF was going through, how could I even think about myself? (In Spring of 2018, I was also asked to make a video about RSD/CRPS, that I in fact made and it also was never used). I was asked (3) three times, to be a part of the USPF “INvisible Project”. A 4th time, I was told that I could tell my husband that he was going to be a part of the “Caregiver” edition of the INvisible project. Each time I was invited to be a part of that, I signed video/photo releases and I answered 10-12 questions in complete sentences. I gathered photos etc., and turned them into the USPF’s person in charge of that project with the interim CEO. Each time,within days of handing back my completed tasks (*just remember that I am also a chronic pain patient and was an unpaid volunteer), I received an email from the person helping the interim CEO with that project. She just told me things like “Ooops, My Bad?? I guess the interim CEO has something bigger in store for you later”! This went on for over a year.

In getting back to the true issues at hand, in Or around early Spring 2018, we asked the former CEO to resign. The Board meetings were only and always about the situation that USPF found themselves in, regarding the former CEO. Then in July, 2018; my Pain Management doctor told me that he was going to immediately remove me from my long acting/extended release pain medications (after almost 14 years of doing well on them). He said it was because of the CDC Guidelines.

I left the appointment that day in tears. I feared for my life and what the future was going to feel like. I arrived at home to an email from the US Pain Foundation. It was a survey asking people to tell what they know about Bupenorphrine. Being a board meeting member, I immediately called the interim CEO. I shared with her my shock & dismay about this email that went out to the pain community; the very people who I try to advocate for and protect. I asked her, what prompted this survey? I found out that the foundation had received a donation from the company that makes Suboxone/Bupenorphrine ( Here’s a list of the medications that RBI makes). My exact words to her were “How could you allow USPF get in bed with Andrew Kolodny?” She tried to assure me that Suboxone wasn’t anything like Bupenorphrine (*see photos that are included with this article). I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about and I was mistaken. She went on to explain that one condition of the donation was to get the public to have more knowledge, or to see what the pain community actually knew about Bupenorphrine. Next, I asked the interim CEO if she knew that the drug Bupenorphrine was not FDA approved for pain (at that time), in the USA? I told her it was an addiction medication and that people are labeled an addict once they’re put on Suboxone/Bupenorphrine; even if it’s for chronic pain! She told me that members of the pain community should have access to all different kinds of medications and therapies. I was very upset and I decided to do more research.Bupenorphrine is a weak analgesic that may slightly help those who have chronic pain AND addiction

Along with many among the chronic pain community, I had already been personally feeling that USPF has not been supportive of opioids, for chronic pain. I have written two articles about these medications: About Suboxone/Buprenorphine-and-naloxone and More About Bupenorphrine/Suboxone. I wrote these articles because I felt that the pleas of the chronically ill, the disabled and those of us living with daily ongoing high pain illnesses/issues; were not being listened to. We were not being heard by our Drs, the government or our own US Pain Foundation.

As soon as that conversation with the interim CEO ended; I knew that my time volunteering with USPF was coming to an end. I had been already feeling that they “push” complimentary therapies and medical cannabis without any support for a portion of the pain community who relies on opioids for pain control. They portray complimentary therapies as though they can actually end chronic pain without any help from medications. They publicly & actively support their medical marijuana program. If they can support a Federally illegal substance; (which I’m personally not against when & where it is legal; and only for medicinal purposes), and if they support all methods to alleviate pain, then where’s their opioid program? I feel that people should be able to use Marijuana, Kratom, acupuncture or opioids to alleviate their daily chronic pain. But opioids have been taboo within the USPF. Possibly for some political reason, in my opinion.

Another occurrence that helped me decide to resign after only 8 months of being on the Board of Directors, was when I found out about the movie/documentary that the interim CEO was making with Actress, Karen Duffy. It just feels to me, like she & other upper management persons within the US Pain Foundation are more interested in publishing books and being in movies, than actually helping the pain community. My sadness grew deeper when I watched the movie trailer: Balancing The Pain Scale, a documentary with actress Karen Duffy & interim CEO of USPF . Some of words taken directly from the trailer are “getting beyond the pill bottle”. Once again, USPF was demonizing opioids. I’m not the only one who saw this either. Here is an article that I found from A prominent advocate for the pain community : A Blog Post from Steve Ariens, “Pharmacist Steve”.

The very last straw for me was when the Interim CEO & the rest of the Board, contemplated not telling the USPF “In-person” support group leaders that they were no longer covered by insurance. I was the only Board member who said that I’d have no part of that! If you’d like to read my resignation letter (redacted items are the attorneys names and anything that was not my information to share), it is here: Why I Resigned From The US Pain Foundation

I still find it difficult to believe that nobody else who’d been in upper management of the foundation for several years, knew anything regarding the going out and coming in of money/funds?

After my resignation, I started hearing stories from ex-Ambassadors that involved a couple of upper management persons being involved in some behavior that in my opinion, was inappropriate. Some of this allegedly took place during a few USPF sponsored events. In 2016, July; at the University of New England, “Pain Summit”, my husband and I stayed overnight at a nearby hotel instead of staying at the dorms. It appears that we missed seeing anything first-hand; but according to at least 2 eyewitnesses (one that actually called & showed me some videos), there were high ranking members involved in behaviors that I would consider inappropriate for anyone, let alone, upper management of a non-profit. Especially not during an event sponsored and run by that same Non-Profit.

All of this has been on my mind. I didn’t want to lose my integrity by talking to someone else about all of this. I decided that this is my blog & my own story to tell. I’ve given you my observations, opinions & truth to the best of my knowledge.

Reckett Benkaiser being Sued by 35 states

Who Makes Bupenorphrine?

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**BELOW IS A 1 MINUTE VIDEO SHARING MY CREDENTIALS. THIS VIDEO SHARES ALSO THE VIEWS OF US PAIN ABOUT ME & MY VOLUNTEER WORK WITH THEIR ORGANIZATION FOR ALMOST 4 YEARS:

A YouTube Video with my Credentials

Do No Harm?


There’s a tragedy that’s happening to not only me, but millions of U.S. citizens, almost daily now. It seems that each month, many pain Dr.’s are terrorizing, demeaning, denigrating & dropping their sickest patients who live with mostly life-long chronic & disabling painful illnesses. (I’ll be referencing my personal experiences for the purpose of this writing).

My Pain Management Dr. seems to be terrorizing me just a little bit more….then a little more etc.. When I started there several years ago, he had tears in his eyes, as I sat sharing my history and past test results with him. He told me he would take me on as a patient if I’d be willing to stop taking this one quick acting pain med. (*of course after 12 years taking it), my body went through physical dependence w/d and I felt horrible for awhile, but I got through it. My heart Dr helped by prescribing 2 meds to help me physically. Things went along OK, until my PM Doc, told me, during my September 2018 visit, “that he was stopping my LA/ER medication”. He informed me he would begin, THAT day, all at once-“cold turkey”. I didn’t freak out, but I reminded him of my past h/o stroke and heart attack and how it’s not safe. He said he’d “let” me have 1 more month at 25% less, “to help me be psychologically ready”(wth???)… so I went with it. Next, I called my heart Dr and GI dr & they wrote a letter to my PM Dr., stating “that this wasn’t safe”. Also they explained how “it’s been working since 2003”. They pretty much wrote, “don’t mess with what is not broken”. They also reminded him of my illnesses, including Gastroparesis & my history of a stroke, heart attack !

The PM Dr became quite angry & said “their medical license isn’t any better than mine! Let them prescribe it to you, if they want you to have it!”… he ended up doing a quick taper and covered his a_ _ , by offering me a LA/ER oral medication that he knows I cannot take because of the Long QT & Gastroparesis.

Ok ….so I stopped the patch, got sick -worsened pain etc/physically. I went from doing a lot of volunteer work to sitting in my recliner 16 hours a day-due to pain.

Therefore, NOW each month that I go to him, I get a stomachache, nausea & diarrhea etc. & my anxiety is high. Last month he decided to add to our little conversation that “he won’t interfere right now”, but “they” want chronic pain patients to stop taking anymore anxiety medications. I’ve been on mine -(a very low dose) barely once a day (I take zero for many days at a time also)… but he says since HE doesn’t prescribe it, HE will not interfere “YET”! But soon he won’t be able to prescribe my short acting pain meds, if I am prescribed my small amount of anti-anxiety meds! Then he let me go home…until this month.

This month he surprised me with the fact that not only IS HE FORCED to prescribe me Narcan, but that I MUST pick it up if I want my pain (SA) medication!!! I told him “I don’t want or need it! I’ve been on less than I had been taking! Also, I have never had an issue since the guy ran a red light and hit me with his car and started all of this!!” He insisted, so I shut my mouth and left. He continued to send both scripts to pharmacy. But first he had to tell me how the “Narcan is like a fire extinguisher! You keep it around in case you need it!” Ok, but it’s different than that because a fire could possibly happen!! But me overdosing is NOT a possibility, when I’m on half of what I’d been on since 2003 -until now!! I NEVER TAKE MORE OR TOO MUCH!

I told my husband that I didn’t want the Narcan in my history, my records and I don’t want to be somehow misrepresented or “flagged” and I instructed him to “Not pick it up”! He went to the pharmacy & talked to the pharmacist. They told him “that was fine. The Dr. can offer it but I don’t need to accept it”, especially since I don’t have SAD or SUD!! Also, it was not covered by my Medicare advantage insurance plan. It would’ve cost $120 “out of pocket” !!!

Tell me what’s wrong with this picture?? Drug addicts are given free needles and free special clean disposal of those needles even in selected Starbucks stores now!! Addicts are given FREE Narcan!! What the hell is going on in this country?? A good, law abiding NON-addict has to pay and be punished for doing nothing–ZERO WRONG..& is told they must pay $120 for something they don’t want or need!! Nor will they ever need (btw, the pain management Dr explained how this Narcan expires yearly & I’d have to get a new one annually!!!????)! This is crazy, ludicrous and it’s “Market rigging!” They want sick & disabled people to pay for items that are not necessary and rig it so that they will not give them the pain medication that they need, unless they do so!!

This is wrong and bad and absolutely not right or lawful!! The pharmacist told us that we don’t HAVE TO get the Narcan filled & it’s not covered by insurance. It costs $120 out of pocket!

You can guess what happened and I’m good for another month! Until next month when I’ll be badgered, intimidated, terrorized! Also, the Dr (but actually the government in my Dr.’ chair) will try to fear monger me into less medication or some other life altering medication switch that I don’t want &/or cannot take!

Why can’t they leave us alone? Let me continue my treatment plan that has worked for 14-15 years?? Why do they have a need to terrorize us, demean us and eventually kill us all off ?? It’s all about money & big government studies without our consent!! It’s all about “Control” and “getting rid of the sick and most weak” persons in society so that we don’t drain the system without being productive!

What about all of those years that I worked and paid money into social security?? I deserve that back and I’m not getting government hand-outs!! Why is this happening?? This is all crazy Eugenics, Nazi B.S. !! Someone please help the chronic pain community NOW!! Before it’s too late!! A news station, a politician or a celebrity with a big voice, PLEASE HELP US NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! I have lost several friends already because of this FAKE …NON-Prescription opioid / Opioid crisis!

Wake up American media, &/or politicians who have a heart; who aren’t money hungry or power hungry!! Wake up and help these citizens. There’s a large group of 100 million chronic pain patients who need you to step in and DO something to stop the suffering!!

The INTERNATIONAL Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), says that suffering is inhumane and unnecessary! International Association for the Study of Pain

Preamble

“The mission of the International Association for the Study of Pain is “to stimulate and support the study of pain and to translate that knowledge into improved pain relief worldwide.” Its overall vision is “Working together for pain relief throughout the world.” The most preventable form of human pain is that inflicted in the form of torture and inhumane treatment, whether physical or psychological. The participation by IASP members in acts of torture or inhumane treatment is therefore against the fundamental principles of the Association.

“For the purpose of this Declaration, torture is defined as the deliberate, systematic or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons acting alone or on the orders of a public authority, to force another person to yield information, to make a confession, or for any other reason.” [World Medical Association. Declaration of Tokyo (1975). Adopted by the World Medical Association, Tokyo, Japan, October 1975.]”

S.O.S……HELP US!!!!

A Letter To RFK (Human Rights) Foundation


RFK Human Rights Group: Watch Video

Hello Luvs,

I was sent a video about the RFK, Human Rights Group. It’s led by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert Kennedy. She is an attorney and she now leads this human rights group: RFK Human Rights group website

Immediately, I drafted a letter to her and sent it. Below, I have copied/pasted the exact letter that I sent to Ms. Kennedy. Something must change! The “Opioid Hysteria Crisis” is one of the worst nightmares I’ve witnessed &/or experienced. Watching a large group of approximately 26 million (out of the 100 million people living with chronic pain) human beings, systematically tortured to death has been horrendous. To be a witness to this despicable, willful & planned money making scheme, is nauseating to say the least! I’ve watched as the innocent chronically ill people in our pain community die and continue to die on a weekly basis. Maybe I will be next? So I pray that doesn’t happen and that I keep fighting.

I have been a very active advocate/activist in fighting for the rights of people in the chronic pain community. I have led the fight as far back as 2007, in spreading awareness, doing fundraisers, leading several online support groups & then being certified & leading “in-person” chronic pain support groups as well. I’m certified in pediatric RSD/CRPS, as well as being the Social media assistant for RSDSA. I’m a freelance writer with a blog (this one, @tearsoftruth.com) that has been nominated twice for “Best In show- blog by WEGO Health Awards. I was invited by IDA ( Invisible disabilities Association) to do & ultimately did a featured video on their “Invisible No More” YouTube channel. In 2016,’17 & ’18, I had 42 articles published. I was one of the many advocates/Drs/nurses etc., who helped edit & sign the letter to Brandeis University, demanding that Andrew Kolodny be fired for his leading role in the torture & deaths of multiple chronic pain patients (due to forced tapering & the 2016 CDC Guidelines).

Lastly, I was awarded the “US Pain Ambassador of the Year Award” in 2016. Afterwards, I was asked to be on the USPF Board of Directors (*a volunteer position which I accepted & later resigned after only 8 months. If you want to read more about that, visit: Why I resigned from the US Pain Foundation).

There’s more, but you get the idea. Sadly, since last Summer, 2018, I had my LA/ER pain medication forcibly & quickly tapered between July 22 –September 1st, 2018. I’d been doing reasonably well on a stable dose for 14 years. Since then I can often be found in my “Lazy boy” type of recliner, approximately 16 hours per day. I continue to do my best with my online support groups and I continue to fight for us via my blog/writing, support groups, mentoring for RSDSA, Social media Support for RSDSA & Deaf/HoH communications Director for CIAAG. I try to support everyone and stay out of any drama. I’m doing all that I can do at this point in time.

This is inhumane and torturous for the USA to be treating their citizens this way! Someone please help us!

Here’s the letter that I wrote to the Human Rights Watch group, run by Kerry Kennedy:

Dear Ms. Kennedy 

I’m writing to you today because I know that you help people who’ve had their human rights violated. I represent only one out of 100 million people in the chronic pain community. Out of that number, there are an estimated 26 million of us who urgently need your help.  Many people in the United States of America are  dealing with horrific pain on a daily basis.  I stand along with them  & implore you to help put an end to the violation of human rights that is taking place. 

The CDC, DEA and “Big Brother” Pharma companies are “hurting” the American chronic pain Community. We are losing access to medically necessary medications that enable us to live some semblance of a life. 

We are and have been losing access to our pain relieving medications since the implementation of 2016 CDC Guidelines.  We are  being “lumped together” with illicit drug users and addicts. Every time a celebrity dies of an overdose, they blame the pain meds as the cause of death. But really it’s the misuse and abuse of pain medications along with the use of recreational street drugs. 

A Dr. should not be afraid to prescribe Opioid pain medications to their patients because of repercussions from the CDC or DEA. But our pain Physicians are leaving in droves because of them & the 2016 CDC Guidelines. 

The  “Opioid epidemic” is about illegal/illicit fentanyl brought here from Mexico & China. It’s not about us, the 100 million chronic pain patients in the USA. Only 1% of legitimate chronic pain patients who are legitimately prescribed opioids, for high amounts of pain, ever become addicted. It’s as though our country is now torturing and punishing people for being ill.

Ms. Kennedy, we are not addicts and we are not “addicted”.  A person can be “dependent” on a medication and not be addicted! They are two very different situations. We are not addicted to our medications and we do not get cravings nor do we get “high” from them. An addict seeks out their “drug of choice” at any cost.  They look forward to taking them because of the “high” they get. A legitimate chronic pain patient who’s done well for years on a stable dose of opioid pain medication, doesn’t get any sort of “high”.  We also take our medications responsibly.  We get some relief and reprieve from the daily chronic pain that we live with. 

Please help us get back the physician / patient relationship, without interference from Pharmacy’s, insurers, the government and politics.  Please help us to keep our Drs in charge. It should be the decision between patient/physician to choose what is necessary and best for our pain control. They went to medical school and the government did not.

Many pain management Dr’s are leaving the practices they’ve built and the profession they’ve worked hard at, to achieve. They’re  afraid because they are being wrongly targeted by the DEA . They aren’t free to prescribe medications that help to relieve pain anymore. 

People in the USA in 2019 are being tortured and hurt by this on a daily basis. Just yesterday, I read the story of a 94-year-old woman who shattered her kneecap and was taken to the hospital emergency room. They immobilized her knee and sent her home without any pain control at all. Can you even imagine shattering your kneecap and not getting any thing to help with a torturous pain like that?
Ms. Kennedy, please help us? I understand there are people who die from overdoses. But they are a totally separate group of people who need a different kind of help. It shouldn’t be at the expense of an entire separate community of citizens. People In pain are being taken off of their Opioid pain medication during one visit to the Dr’s office. Often it’s a Dr. that they’ve gone to for years and they’d been living some semblance of a life while on a regimen of medication for pain control. But because of “fear”, Dr’s are taking away the little bit of life that some of us have left. 

I also don’t believe that anyone should be FORCED to have an invasive surgery in their spine or anywhere for that matter; when an inexpensive & safe pill, with little side effects can help so much. 

I implore you to help the estimated 26 million chronic pain patients in the USA, who are “dependent” on opioids for pain control & who are diligent and take these medications responsibly. Help us to get back the freedom of choice. Get us back to the pain management medication regimens that are life sustaining for us with more tolerable pain levels.

Please read my letter and talk to me if you’d like. We need you to understand that we are “chronic pain patients” and not “addicts”! We are just real people living with unfortunate circumstances & high pain illnesses. Please help us to receive the medications that give us some semblance of a life for ourselves & our families.

Sincerely,

Suzanne B. Stewart
Recipient of U.S. Pain Ambassador of the Year Award‘16, Mentor & Social Media Coordinator @RSDSA, freelance writer, Blogger/Blog “Tears Of Truth” @tearsoftruth.com, Patient leader WEGO Health, HoH/ASL, Director of communications for Deaf/HoH for CIAAG, patient advocate for Deaf/HoH
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars” ~Khalil Gibran~
DISCLAIMER: The contentI 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. I do not represent to be an authority but I’m just helping pass information from other organizations, advocates and or websites.

Anti-Opioid Zealots


I opened up facebook to see that a person who calls herself an “investigative reporter”; doesn’t actually have a clue about the subject for which she stands upon her soapbox and spews hate and prejudice! Her hate speeches, disdain, lack of knowledge & empathy for the chronic pain community are outrageous. She also states that she’s a pastors wife! Which in a stereotypical sense, should make her more kind, loving & empathetic (on the contrary). I’m definitely not a cold or callous person. I deeply care about others & especially my fellow chronic pain patients. But I pity her in her for the way she’s unable to get help for her grief. I’m terribly and deeply sorry for anyone who’s lost someone that they love to any kind of addiction. She lost an adult child to overdose of prescription opioids. She’s made it her fight in life now, to rid the world of the “evil narcotics”. Do you think she knows that the statistics prove that only 1-3% of prescription opioids ever result in overdose?Check out this new report from the Cato Institute

It’s the illicit fentanyl and Cara-fentanyl from Mexico & China that are the problem! It’s not legitimate chronic pain patients with legitimate prescriptions from licensed pain management physicians that are to blame for this manufactured “opioid crisis”. The opioids are only a tool. Just as guns, kitchen knives and cars are all tools. These tools don’t kill people any more than opioids “kill people”! There’s a genetic link to addiction. There’s also a distinct difference between addiction and being dependent physiologically to a medication that one has taken for several years to decades. With addiction, the addict must make a conscious decision to get the meds, tell lies, keeps secrets and physically take the increasing amounts of drugs to give them a “high” or a euphoric feeling! They ruminate look at the clock, just waiting for their next fix! Chronic pain patients, for the most part; were never given the “luxury” of a choice! Most are people living the rest of their lives with high amounts of ongoing daily chronic pain; with no end in sight! The average chronic Pain patient, is living a life sentence in agony through no fault of their own! Usually an unsuccessful surgery, freak accident or a motor vehicle accident. Today we have an “under & untreated pain crisis”, with suicides from pain mounting in numbers weekly. A very knowledgeable and vocal physician and chronic pain patient advocate, Dr Thomas Kline, MD, has kept a record of these rising number of suicides.

Chronic pain is in fact a disease; as explained in this article in Health Magazine (February 2016) and in many other news articles. It’s Origin is Neurological. Scientists now believe that one cause of chronic pain is a dysfunction of the nervous system & includes the misfiring of nerve signals long after an accident or injury. According to this article: http://amp.timeinc.net/health/health/condition-article/0,,20187942,00.html, Neurons (cells in the nervous system that communicate with each other) become overexcited and keep firing, even after the original cause (injury or illness, in some cases) has long since passed. The person receives persistent pain signals.

If I may be so bold as to speak for the majority of the chronic pain community, we are not insensitive or calloused persons. In fact, I’ve never met a more caring, empathetic group of citizens. We care very much that people have lost their family members to the disease of addiction. We grieve for their loss of lives and love.

But we are grieving too! We have had so many deaths due to either suicide, untreated or under treated chronic pain since the CDC Guidelines appeared in 2016. Read this: Article by Dr Jeffrey Singer MD, Cato Institute. Dr Singer states that, “patients have become the civilian casualties of the misguided policies addressing the opioid crisis.” These “guidelines”have somehow become “law” to the majority of anti-opioid zealots; along with many physicians and pharmacists!

I wrote to the CDC and if you look at their response to my letter here(*& in photo below) A Response letter sent to me, from Exec Secretary of CDC, they state that “the CDC Guidelines are not meant to be rule, regulation or law. It’s not intended to deny access to opioid pain medications as an option for pain management”. I also agree that nobody should be denied pain care. That these are just supposed to be nothing more than guidelines. They weren’t meant to become the Law!!

Now there are admissions of the over fabrication of statistics by the CDC. Also, the AMA has come out with their own resolutions to these Draconian CDC Guidelines. You can find what they’ve written in this article by The Pain News Network https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2018/11/14/ama-calls-for-misapplication-of-cdc-opioid-guideline-to-end

This person calls herself an investigative reporter. People like her feel that because they have an audience & a platform; that they can stand on their soapbox and spew misinformation and hatred due to unresolved feelings of loss and grief! But they are just plain wrong!

When I opened up Facebook to try and reason with her. To attempt to discuss and/or debate like adults; I found that her page was blocked from any comments or discussions. That’s when you know you’re on the side of light and good. When you’re willing to discuss hard subjects in a civilized manner. But when discussions are cut out and blocked; that’s when we know that a person just wants to pontificate and spew hate!

Lastly, I wanted to add that this person should be in violation of the ADA, for her written comments regarding Cindy Steinberg. She made derogatory remarks about Cindy, a very well known pain patient advocate and friend of mine! I don’t think she is allowed to say the things that she said about Cindy supposedly being “theatrical” because she used a cot in between her statements regarding the opioid hysteria. This reporter even went so far as to say that Cindy was “laying in her her cot while testifying to Congress.”! Gee, I saw the video and it sure appears that she’s sitting in a seat discussing the situation in an intelligent manner. Here is part of Cindy Steinberg’s message:

“In the near term, we can and must restore balance to opioid prescribing with depoliticized, rational and cleareyed recognition of the risks and benefits of these medications,” she said, according to her prepared remarks. “In the long term, we must invest in the discovery of new, effective, and safer options for people living with pain.”

What’s wrong with that message? How could any sane person find something incorrect or one-sided, with that direct quote”. On the contrary, Cindy spoke intelligently! She discussed ways to help end opioid hysteria and the under-treated/untreated pain crisis today!

Lastly, if this one-sided, so called “investigative reporter”, would share an ounce of the truth with her readers; she’d have not lied about Cindy “laying in a cot while testifying to Congress”. Cindy, as you can see from the video of her testimony, is sitting upright in a chair as she speaks to Congress. But would there have been a problem if she had been in a cot while testifying? NBC & this reporter could very well be violating the Americans with Disabilities Act? In what world is mocking a disabled person OK? Isn’t there an ADA law that calls for accommodating persons with a disability?

Below is a photo from a portion of the return response letter that I received from the Executive Secretary of the CDC:

Here are some great resources for those who are skeptical of my words here today:

  • ALSO: Here are a couple of articles written by the person being referred to in my article today:
  • Lastly, I just want to add (so that I an not accused of being a “mouthpiece” for the USPF) that I resigned from the US Pain Foundation in September 2018; after only 8 months as a Board Member & 3 1/2 years as a volunteer Ambassador. I was planning on staying to try and help them rebuild. But the moment that I felt my integrity was challenged, I resigned.
  • Protected: What Really Happened Between NPR, USPF and Me?


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    The Opioid Hysteria Hits Home


    Hello Luvs,

    I wanted to write to you today to share with you something that I know many of us are dealing with these days. It’s about what happened at my pain management Dr. appointment on 11-8-18. First of all, every 30 days, I have to go and endure this treatment and I live with PTSD. It always rears its ugly head the day prior to my appointment with this Dr. or any new Dr. appointments. I’ll just refer you to my other article “Down the Rabbit Hole” if you need a reminder as to what has occurred up until now.

    I arrived at the appointment which was in the late morning this time. I usually go in the afternoon because mornings are difficult for me, with my pain issues. But the past 6 months or so, I’ve had horrible anxiety when I know this appointment is drawing nearer. The closer it gets, the worse I start to feel psychologically and physically with the above symptoms on top of the pain. I decided to make this appointment in the morning because I thought it would not ruin our day so much. Just “get it over with” and be done; get on with our day. But it once again, did ruin my/our day.

    I’ve had this pain management Dr. since July 2015, after my other Dr. of 15 years left suddenly. At that time I had been on the fentanyl patch and the lollipops for 10 years. This Dr. told me he would only accept me if I took myself off of the lollipops and I did it. I had to suffer through physical dependence withdrawals. I did it at home with my soulmate, my husband.

    I’ve never rescheduled an appointment with him, nor have I ever been late. I’ve never run out of meds or asked for them early.  He knows of every medication that I take or have taken and honestly, I don’t feel like its up to me to have to “remind” him that I sometimes take Fiorcet for Chiari Migraines. He and I had a mutual respect sort of Dr./patient relationship up until April of this year 2018.  But that day everything changed and it turned out to be nothing that I did wrong. He had forgotten that I take Fiorcet and it doesn’t always show up on MAPS (Michigan Automated Prescription Service – *explanation found here*: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-72600_72603_55478—,00.html) because its such a low risk medication and not a high class either.  But whether it shows up on the MAPS is not up to me. Nor is it my fault in any way if it shows up or not, as long as he’s known from the beginning that I’ve been on it for more than 7 years.  This one particular day in April, he started being rude to me for no reason whatsoever. I went to my appointments in May, June and July.  But I was horribly anxious and very “ill” prior to each appointment, due to anxiety and PTSD symptoms.

    This last visit was another horrible appointment and was possibly the final one for me. I am done being treated like a criminal or an addict! I’m tired of feeling “put down”! I’ve never smoked or drank; nor have I ever taken any drugs. I received one more short acting script and now I will be tapering myself slowly off of the short acting medication as well. It will be horrible because it’s already horrible. It will be difficult and it’s already difficult.  He lied to me in July, telling me that “in Michigan, Fentanyl patch is illegal for him to prescribe (he is a pain management Dr. and Anesthesiologist MD), unless someone has malignant cancer”. I know this is not true and he told me that “I am smart and should be able to verify this online”.  I checked Michigan law and the fentanyl patch warning on the box. It says only that it is “for chronic long term moderate to severe pain that will not be going away.” If anyone has any idea where I can find this in writing; I welcome that information.

    I got a letter from my GI Dr. (*see letter below) because he felt it was dangerous to take me off of the Fentanyl patch. With Gastroparesis, SIBO and Chronic Erosive Gastritis; along with EDS type 4/vascular and more, I am not able to metabolize the long acting oral meds. Believe, me, I’ve tried many things and either was allergic, got very ill, it did not help at all or it had large valleys and spikes. The patch just worked for my pain and it was the best match for me and my multiple co-morbidities.

    Yesterday’s appointment he told me that “Chronic pain does not kill anyone”. I told him that I was in my recliner now 16+ hours per day due to the pain. He responded by telling me that my cardiologist should not have put me on Clonidine. I’ve been on it since 2015, but went off of it for awhile in between. He knew this also but apparently it slipped his mind because that must be what’s making me “tired.” But in reality, it’s the pain that’s keeping me down. Also, I only get about 4 hours of sleep on a good night.

    My cardiologist told me to take 1/2 of only 1mg at night. He prescribed it for me and said it would help with the physical pain & dependence withdrawals. Thank goodness someone cared enough to help me a bit!

    I tried to explain that I had resigned from many activities that I was able to do with the medications. He told me that none of this has to do with the medication for pain being taken away after 14 years. He went on to say that “Susan (you’d think after 3.5 years he’d get that my name is “SUZANNE” not “Susan), you and other chronic pain patients are hostages to the pain medications”. These are the same medications that he was fine with for the 3.5 years I’ve been going to him! He also knew that my history was even longer. I’ve been taking opioids since 2005, in order to have some semblance of a life. But just for the record, I’ll let you know that I tried everything else possible fir 3 years, before resorting to the opioids.

    This pain management Dr. has told me all along that he cannot make my pain go away. But he can help lessen the pain by prescribing opioids. When he made the “hostage” comment, I responded with; well “instead , now I’m a hostage to the pain”. Yesterday he told us (my husband & me), that all of his patients still tell him they have pain “with or without the pain meds”. I responded by telling him “Yes, that is true, but I had a life with the meds and I have no quality of life now. The pain medication dulled the pain without ever giving me any kind of “high”. Now the pain is much more sharp, pronounced and at the front of my thoughts. I’m not able to concentrate much or put the pain in another place at the back of my brain.”

    I started to explain to him that I have several “Physicians, pain physicians and nurses that are my friends online”.  I added that this past week I was diagnosed after an echocardiogram, with “left atrium enlargement”. I’ve had a heart attack, a CVA and a TIA twice. I have Atrial fibrillation, Sick Sinus Syndrome and a pacemaker since 2003. I’ve never had CHF but that’s what this means. I told him that “chronic pain can kill and under treated chronic pain can make blood sugar and blood pressure rise”, which has been happening to me.  He became very upset with me and started to pontificate about how “each symptom needs to be treated by a Dr. who takes care of that problem.  If my blood sugar is high, I need to go to a diabetes Dr. and if my blood pressure is too high, then I need that addressed by a physician who takes care of that issue. He went on to say that “chronic long term pain does not and cannot kill you.  Only acute pain can possibly make BP and HR etc. rise.” But from Dr. Tennant’s own account in his article (Practical Pain Mgmt. By Dr Forrest Tennant MD , from another article, by Pharmacist Steve Ariens, ( Harmful Effects of Untreated Pain )  and this article that I had written last year (that was also published in Ntl. Pain Report), “Chronic pain can kill” (Untreated Chronic Pain Can Lead to Sudden Cardiac Death ), he is the one who is lying.

    g

    Why I Resigned From USPF


    Hello Luvs,

    It is with sadness that I write this blog post today. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. But I wanted my followers/friends in the pain community to know that this was the most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to do. I loved doing this volunteer work for USPF. They always told me that we were a “family”. Yet, the very day that I lost my Long acting/Extended release pain medication, I opened an email that was just the opposite of everything I thought we stood for. Since that email, I have contemplated resigning, but did not want to “hurt” anyone or do anything to leave them without enough board members etc. But from that day on, things just went down hill. Next, I saw a trailer for a movie that stars actress Karen Duffy and our Interim CEO, called “Balancing the Pain Scale”, that I found out has been in production for 2-3 years. As a Board member, I knew nothing about this movie until someone else alerted me. I went to the trailer and was saddened when I saw the words get “beyond the pill bottle” as I was losing the one thing that had given me some semblance of a life; and so are so many of you.

    Lastly, I must add that in the past, I was sent copies of kind emails that pain patients would send in about me. I was also sent emails about patients who needed my help. I never received any emails/letters such as these since becoming a Board member. Not until a disgruntled pain patient who was removed from one of my groups for being disrespectful and unkind sent the interim CEO an email. This person spelled my name incorrectly as “Susan Stuart”, she obviously does not know me and did not know me at all. I felt belittled and reprimanded by being sent the code of ethics. Especially when the issues had nothing to do with USPF and I did not use my role in any conversations with that person. I did not receive a personal phone call, nor did anyone request any information or clarification regarding the absurd complaint; after my years of loyalty to USPF. Therefore, you can read the end result in my recent letter to the Board members below:

    Dear Nicole, Wendy, Ellen, Leah & Bruce,

    When I was initially asked to join the Board of Directors of the USPF, I was pleased and excited to be joining a group that I feel is  doing wonderful things and representing the interests of the pain community.

    Very quickly, (due to Paul’s behaviors+)I discovered that this perception was not true. However, I decided to help shoulder the burden of guiding USPF through the trauma of the aftermath of of Paul’s mishandling of funds & more. Also to stay & help with USPF losing its founder and CEO. As time went on, shocking details of misuse of funds & other inappropriate behaviors kept adding up.kept adding up. I decided that it was my duty to stick by Nicole  & the other Board members & our legal team, to help clean up this mess & help to guide US Pain Foundation in the right direction.

    I have become increasingly frustrated because everything that was promised to me upon becoming a Board member has not happened. I was told that I could represent US pain foundation at Pain week in Las Vegas 2018. I was also told that I would be put on an advisory board and be given a program of my own to run and see through to the end. I have been told repeatedly that as a Board member I cannot officially run any programs, but others do. I feel that those things I’m most passionate about are marginalized. I feel that somehow I was inadvertently sought out & appointed to the Board, because somehow, some person(s) thought that I would just agree and not ever express my own voice and opinions. But I do have opinions and a voice. I’m sad that as a board member I don’t know who any of our donors are and I didn’t find out about the movie that’s been in production for three years, I was told? There’s so many things I don’t know but then Leah told me that “there’s no one higher than the board”? It’s a bit confusing in all honesty. I feel “kept in the dark” about many things.

    One big reason or probably the that I feel the need to resign from the board of directors of the US Pain foundation starting immediately, is due to the lack of  insurance for Board members & support group members. I don’t feel “safe” being involved with voting on big decisions yet being “left in the dark” much of the time. I don’t really know where money is going or where n it comes from in all  honesty. All the things that I used to love I’m not able to do anymore because “I am a board member“.

    Last of all & sadly, I received an email today with a copy of the code of ethics from Nicole. A disgruntled pain patient from Canada, sent her note full of horrible lies & accusations. I was not consulted privately via a phone call or even given the benefit of the doubt. I have never had any trouble with not one person since I joined this or any organizations. I don’t speak or claim to speak for the USPF in any of my groups that I run. I only give facts with links to back up what I say as chronic pain patient.

    For all of the above reasons and due to the fact that I don’t feel respected, I must tender my resignation from the Board of Directors  of the US Pain Foundation immediately.

    Sadly,

    Peace & Hope,

    Suzanne B. Stewart

    about.me/suzydukettes

    Recipient of USPF’s Pain Ambassador of the Year Award‘16, Mentor & Social Media Assistant RSDSA, Staff Columnist/Ntl. Pain Report, Blog-“Tears Of Truth” @tearsoftruth.com, Patient leader WEGO Health, HoH/ASL, patient advocate for Deaf/HoH

    “Out of suffering have emerged the most massive characters are seared with scars” ~Khalil Gibran~

    Thank you for taking the time to let me share with you. I feel a deep sadness and broken at this time.