All For One, None For All


Gosh, to think of all the positive blog stories that I’ve posted. That’s how I met most of you. Through my perseverance and positivity. But lately, I’ve had lots of “downers” & I apologize. I do apologize …but not before another “not so upbeat” post. So remember how I was trying to be there for my dad? He recently was inpatient at hospital & he had to have the “Rapid response” revive him twice at age 88. I went even though I was told by him & my brothers, not to come. Well then, I was given times that I was supposed to go because that would help everyone else. Because I’m a high impact pain patient, I’m up at night. That doesn’t mean I’m out at night doing stuff. That means, I’m at home in my PJ’s unable to sleep due to pain issues. But the entire 12 days before my major surgery, I spent with my dad and going when I was told to go and even when I wasn’t.

When he got put on dialysis, Craig & I showed up. I was told by my brother that it would be “all day or at minimum 4 hours so we couldn’t see him” (& supposedly they couldn’t see him either). So I called their bluff & said “well we will just wait. We can wait 4 hours here with you!” Ahhh but then he says 5 minutes later “we can go in after the dialysis nurse gets things started actually in about 1/2 hour”. Hmmmmmm??? A far cry from 4 hours or more. We stayed & said nothing. I even went to see my dad the night prior to the day before my surgery.

I was texted the day before my major surgery, by my brother who asked if I was coming up in the evening (to relieve him, I’m sure bcz he was leaving)… or “when was I coming?” That day I said I couldn’t come because I had to do some stuff for myself before the surgery. I’ve not heard from anyone since then.

I’ve texted my dad daily. But not once has it been about me. Never has been…never will be. But my brother called Craig once & said he was on his way to see my dad… told Craig about my dad & asked about my surgery for a moment in the end.

(Side story:**My dad told me that my middle brother (who I don’t see, for many good reasons & haven’t for almost 17 years)told him that he “doesn’t & hasn’t prayed for me for all of these years but he will pray for my surgery “for my dads sake”… WTH?? He pretends to be a priest! He buys all of the stuff online & even bought a certificate that says he’s a “bishop”… he has a fake chapel that when you go to Google Earth, it sends you to his house!! If you go to his website you see that people send him money as “donating to his church”! There aren’t even any real services held. One lady online wrote on his website, “me thinks he’s a fake”! Well me thinks so too! I stay far away from him and I have always and since I took several PPO’s out against him. (The Domestic Violence Shelter helped me!)

My dad is at cardiac rehab now & he’s actually getting better. But it really hurts that my family has not cared about me & they continue to say “we’re always here for you!” My dad continues this fairy tale “that if ever I needed any of them, they’d be there for me “even with our differences”!

Well, I’ll tell you…. they’ve not been there & haven’t been since I was a child. Once when I called my big brother, after I was in a catastrophic car accident. I suffered a TBI & his phone number was the only one in my head. I even hit myself in the face by accident with the telephone, in trying to call him because I felt in pain & afraid. He answered the phone with “Oh…you need someone ?…”. CLICK & the phone went dead! He hung up on me! I suffered 3 years of brain injury rehab. I’ve gone through 10 surgeries now! They tried to turn my daughters against me when they were teenagers also! They were not ever, nor have they been there for me at all! They’ve only tried to hurt me more & “kick me when I was down”. Luckily, the love, protection and bond that my daughters, my husband and I had/have, pulled us through! We are as close or closer than ever! They are older now, with families of their own. They look back & now understand & see what truly happened. Having children of their own, they can’t fathom what happened to me! They don’t really see or talk to any of my biological family. But when my dad was dying, I got them to come & to make a FaceTime call.

Now that my Dads in cardiac rehab, he /they are back to their same horrible treatment of me. They’d still throw me face down in a mud puddle, in the middle of a busy street during rush hour; if it would give them my daughters and grandchildren.

Another thing that I can’t fathom is the way my dad & brothers have treated my dads girlfriend/live in partner of 12 years. She treated me absolutely abhorrently when I introduced myself to her the first time, years ago. Again, another “victim” who only knew one side of their story.

But guess who was nice to her? Guess who was concerned about her feelings when my dad & brothers refused her entrance to see my dad while he was inpatient & dying. She texted me until the wee hours of the mornings. I was kind to her & told her she should go visit him anyways. She is my dads “creature” too, unfortunately. She stayed away & barely got any information from my brother. She asked me to help her to get a pill reminder because my dad did all of that for her. He infantilized her as he’s tried to do to me. I cared about her & promised her that no matter what happened; Craig & I would visit her & try to be there for her as much as possible. Guess who I never heard from before or after my recent major surgery?? I’ve not heard from any of them! I’ve sent texts for 3 days in a row & never have received a response from my dad. Yet my daughter texted him while she was visiting us with our granddaughters yesterday. He texted her back right away & asked if he could call her? She said she was at my house & he could call anytime.

I had to fight in order to be included as one of my fathers 3 adult children. They said I was “too frail & too weak to come visit because I might cry & hence, make my dad cry”! Oh My Gosh! I’m stronger than any of them put together! I’ve been through a hundred times more pain and abuse than any of them! I told them they were not going to shut me out again, like they did when my mom died. I am strong! I told my dad that he has 3 children, not 2! My oldest brother pretty much gave up a life of his own in order to be “the honored one”. He does everything for my dad and we’ve been shut out for years.

Only when my dad thought he was dying did he say nice things to me. He told me (after I put my foot down & insisted that I was visiting him in the hospital) that “it was a treasure to have me there every day”! He said I was a “dear, dear, sweet person & he loved me”! I cried & couldn’t believe those words were said to me.

I’m 10 days post-op and I’ve barely been out of our home. I cannot visit him right now. But as I’ve said, I texted 3 days in a row with zero response. The 1st day I did get a quick response when I tried to tell my dad (who was discharged & on his way to cardiac rehab) that my surgery was over & it hurts quite a lot. I sent a couple of pictures. But the response I got was unfathomable. He told me “it looked like a nice, neat job” (*pictures above & below)! Even though I actually looked like I’d gotten beat up or walked through a war zone! He then told me about his bathroom issue of the day.

None of them called or have cared about me at all! My older brother called Craig once after surgery & that was because my dad wanted to know if I made it or not, I guess? Then he told Craig about my dad (as I was being put into the recovery room).

I’ve had 2 pacemakers placed and 8 other surgeries in the past 17 years. I live with systemic RSD/CRPS. They don’t even know what that is & never have cared to ask or see any of my special needs. But my dad got a pacemaker 6-7 months ago at age 88. They made such a huge deal about it! I tried to explain that I’m on my 2nd one and got my 1st at age 40! I told them that “it’s not so bad”! They were indignant & furious that I didn’t see that him getting a pacemaker was the end of the world as we know it!! I never got one ounce of empathy, love or even a phone call after any of my surgeries nor either of my pacemaker surgery’s.

It’s a horrible rollercoaster. I stop seeing & talking to them for months at a time. Then I get phone calls asking me why I’m not calling my father? I’m so tired of being treated like the scum under the sink! My dads managed to turn all but 1 or 2 of my cousins against me & all of my aunts & Uncles. The one Aunt who never judged me and somehow saw through the charade, died a year or so ago. I have a couple of cousins who know, saw & understand the truth. One of the 3, passed away last week.

I had a favorite aunt once, she used to put food into my pockets when I’d leave after visiting her house as a kid. She has stuck by my dad & his stories. I asked my dad earlier this year if he’d told that particular Aunt, that we we’d been meeting for dinner the past few years and had been chatting etc? He told me “she doesn’t care about you she has no use for you!

I dared to speak the “family secrets”. I dared to get help and be a real & separate person. To make a healthier & better life for my husband, my daughters & myself. It’s been hell and I’ve tried to keep kindness, hope & empathy in my heart; & God in my soul.

So all in all, I almost lost my dad this month. Regardless of how I’ve been treated, he’s still my dad & we only have one dad. I also underwent a major & very painful surgery 10 days ago. A tumor was removed from my middle ear. The surgeon drilled into my skull and mastoid bone. Ten days later, I’m still suffering with a lot of pain & fatigue. Once again, I feel totally ostracized & uncared about by my biological family. There’s only one person whose been by my side for the past 23 years & that person is my husband & soul-mate, Craig. We’ve been by each other’s side through so much and I thank God for him every day.

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.
  • Part of Two Worlds


    Hello Luvs,

    Many of my “regular” readers may remember that I am “Hard of hearing”. Hearing people may use the term “hearing impaired”. We prefer to be called “Hard of hearing”. Mostly because we don’t feel that we are broken or “impaired”. Technically it means that I’m not totally “medically 100% deaf”. I can hear a few various pitches, frequencies and sounds. With my hearing aids in, I can hear a little bit during a “one on one” conversation. But add in background noise and people who mumble or talk very fast; and then it’s nearly impossible. Next, add the situation of trying to “listen” to several people at once, in a crowded room or restaurant? Lastly, there are those with facial hair all around their mouth and lips. They are the group for me, who have the most frustrating lips to read! Then again, it’s not really like “reading”. Because it’s more like piecing together bits and pieces of a puzzle & then trying to “fill in the missing pieces”.

    In case you’re not familiar with my hearing loss journey; I’ll recap just a little bit for you. When I was a child, I had recurring ear infections. During those times, I could often be found literally rocking my body back & forth, while curled up in the fetal position. My memories start as young as age 3 years. It was always pure hell while I was living with horrible ear infections. When I complained to my parents about the excruciating 😖 throbbing Pain in my ear (or ears), my mother would always say same thing. She’d tell me “Once your eardrum ruptures, the pressure will go away and you will feel better!” Well, it did feel better after the pressure was gone. But each time that happened it caused scar tissue to form in my ear drums. It also caused mild hearing loss as I was growing up. I remember asking the teachers if I could sit closer to the board to try and hear them better. Therefore my audiologist (in 2002) & ENT Dr. felt that I’ve had mild hearing loss since I was a child. I had tubes put in my ears when I was about 7 or 8 years old. They were surgically placed multiple times and for several years.

    Later in 2002, I was a passenger in a car driven by my husband. We were just driving along through a green light when we were hit by a car running through a red light. It was considered a “catastrophic accident”. I acquired a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and had multiple injuries and 9 surgeries. I went to brain injury rehab for 3 years & had 9 years of PT/OT, balance therapy and speech therapy. I acquired a pacemaker, glasses with prisms (for lowered vision), 2 screws in my left shoulder and 2 hearing aids. I also got a wheelchair, a seated wheeled walker, a motorized scooter, loft strand crutches, a cane and several other helping aides for activities of daily living.

    I won’t bore you with all of the chronic pain illnesses that came out of that accident. That’s not what this post is all about. But I also acquired a bi-lateral sensory neural hearing loss in both of my ears L>R (but currently (2019), it’s R>L & it’s a mixed hearing loss). Along with the many medical issues, I also acquired lower vision. I saw a Neuro-Othamoligist, who put prisms in my glasses to try and correct some of it. The prisms really bothered me. Today I just have a very strong prescription for eye glasses. Everything has a bit of a halo effect.

    It’s ironic and very awesome that prior to that MVA (motor vehicle accident), I had been an ASL Interpreter. I worked at a Deaf preschool and then I interpreted for a school district. In the end, I was a medical Interpreter at a University hospital. I even did volunteer work doing medical interpreting for Deaf/Blind at free medical screening events. I had gone through a 4 year SLS/Interpreting program and finished with a 3.8 gpa.

    Back in the 1980’s when I went to college, I practically lived at the dorms with my 16 Deaf friends. We watched CC “General Hospital” daily at 3:00 pm. We even tried to schedule our classes around it! It was a social hour. I’d been learning ASL since age 11 & even “tested out” of the first fingerspelling class.

    The Deaf community accepted me and they were kind to me. At that time I went to Deaf bowling every Thursday with DAD club. I had a Deaf boyfriend whose sister was a cheerleader at MSD & we went to all of the football games and even the homecoming dance! Me and my group of college friends, who happened to be Deaf, used to go out dancing on Friday nights. One time my friends & I were on our way to a dance club and we got pulled over for a slight bit of speeding. We were all packed in the back of a mini van signing with each other. One of my friends told me to “talk to the officer”. I was terrified and I told him “No way! I’m afraid! Since I’m with you guys, I don’t want to talk to him either!” We all laughed as the officer just let us go with a handwritten warning on a piece of paper. That was a fun and I felt included.

    Just to back track a little, I started learning ASL at age 11. My best friend & I babysat for a Deaf family who lived next door to her. The parents and 6 children were Deaf. The children went to the Lutheran School for Deaf at that time! They included me in many Deaf social activities and I learned the language & received my sign name from them. First we played games and I learned colors, numbers, family signs, days of week and more!

    I’ve always felt accepted by the Deaf community. I always respected the culture, the history & the language, ASL. How ironic then, that I lost my hearing & was already prepared with the tools I needed!

    I’ve lost touch with some of my old friends from DAD (Detroit Association of Deaf). But I still have a some close friends from the past, who are Deaf. I still feel a part of the community. I’d like to become even more involved again! But living with several high pain chronic illnesses makes it difficult to get out due to persistent pain.

    I’ve found my own ways to reconnect and to feel not so “in-between” two worlds. I get to teach ASL vocabulary with the Deaf Socials on their Instagram and Facebook pages. I love & look forward to each new vocabulary list they give to me for teaching! I truly enjoy doing that and doing song covers to ASL on my Youtube channel: My YouTube channel at: ASLSuzyQ . I also post to my Instagram A link to my ASL Instagram and Twitter A link to my ASL Twitter with the same name. I do this for fun and as a volunteer and advocate for Deaf Awareness.

    Lastly, I used to love being a part of two ASL performance groups during the 80’s, when I lived in Arizona & worked at a Deaf preschool. One group was called “Silent Impressions productions”. We performed in choreography and ASL to broadway show tunes and in costumes! We put in shows at ASU and it was so much fun! The other group to which I belonged, was called “Silent Praise”. We performed Christian songs while others did lyrical dances. We did that at the ASU Neumann center. It was such a fun time in my life. My friends and I also interpreted for our church community at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Scottsdale, AZ.

    After reminiscing in this post, I feel so grateful that I had already been involved with the Deaf community & had many years of experience with ASL, before I became more (*I was mild HoH since elementary school) Hard of Hearing. As ironic as it seems, it’s not all that crazy. I had a mild hearing loss and then it worsened due to the TBI.

    I mostly seem to write about chronic pain illnesses. I’ve been writing about the rights of chronic pain patients to have access to much needed opioid pain medications. We need these medications because without them, people like me wouldn’t even be able to do the small amount of activities that we try to do. I was forcibly tapered from my long acting pain meds after doing pretty well on them for almost 14 years! Now I sit in my recliner for approximately16 hours daily. I try to get up, put I make up and do some online activities every few days. But my life is not the same with so much less help for the pain.

    Although I still want to continue advocating in that area, I’m doing more & more advocating for Deaf awareness, inclusion and preservation of ASL. I thought I’d put my hearing loss story and ASL history here in my blog too. I’ve written a few posts about Deafness and trying to live in “two worlds”. But I’ve never explained the details of how I became who I am today. I’m a survivor of long time childhood abuse, domestic violence and then a catastrophic car accident. I’m not a “victim” but I am a “fighter and a survivor”! Don’t ever give up!!

    I have a Facebook page at: Link to my ASLSUZYQ Facebook page

    I have a Facebook group called “ASLExpress” at:Link to join Facebook group ASL Express

    Lastly, I have an ASL group for allowing people to post ASL covers in a safe place, called “ASL Song” at: Link to ASL Song Facebook group

    “Silent Impressions Productions” & I’m 2nd left
    Me Interpreting at church before MVA
    Me Interpreting a Song in “Silent Praise@ group

    Me working at Deaf preschool
    I was in newspaper when I taught elementary kids

    My hearing aids

    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.

    Inhumane Treatment Of Pain Patients In USA


    I opened up My friends blog today (“Pharmacist Steve”). It is Steve Ariens Blog; and I saw a story of torture. There is torture going on in America! I’m seeing it every day now on the Internet! More & more chronic pain patients are being treated like common criminals! This is despicable! My God, are we living in North Korea, Afghanistan or in some 3rd world country (whos people , by the way; don’t deserve this kind of treatment any more than we don’t!!)?

    How can the news media @Foxnews.com, @CNN, @MSNBC and all of the rest, be so one sided? Please, I implore you @POTUS, @GovChristie @PetersforMichigan (Senator Gary Peters), @NYGovCuomo (Governor Andrew Cuomo), @onetoughnerd (Governor Rick Snyder of MI). I implore you to think of the forgotten legitimate chronic pain patients. People are now living with daily chronic pain and receiving no treatment at all. They being totally forgotten & considered collateral damage of this “fake war on drugs” ! It’s a war against the chronic pain community; because they’re the ones who are dying. The pain community is stuck with zero semblance of a life as all of this is crashing down around them/us! The posted video is not just sad, it’s torturous to listen to. It’s terrible to watch. But it’s true and it’s happening all over the United States Of America! This is a story about a young mother, wife and daughter; who’s going through sheer bloody hell in Albany New York Trauma Center!

    “Amy” Amy’s story of Human Torture in a NY hospital! is a young woman who just went through a painful stomach surgery and her stomach ruptured as well! The contents are therefore spreading throughout her body inside and this causes not only sepsis, but horrible excruciating pain! My husband went through it years ago, but they gave him a Morphine pump while in the hospital for several days following surgery. He was given pain relief, as any HUMAN BEING or any living, breathing animal should have!!

    This is torturous and despicable treatment of anyone in a hospital, or any patient care facility; let alone, following a stomach surgery! How can the Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, allow their patient to be treated in such an inhumane manner??? The behavior of the nurses who pledge also, to “care for the sick” and to “do no harm”; is unforgivable! This sort of treatment to other human beings deserves termination. Those so called patient care employees need to be fired and they should never be allowed to not care for another patient! This woman, who has a name, a face, a husband & a family; is living through hell!

    You know what though? This is entirely preventable! She is not a prisoner of War! This is a young woman who’d much prefer to have a “normal” life! This young woman has a name, and that name is “AMY”! She has a young child and a husband. I’m guessing that her husband had to leave her to go home and take care of their little one! He had to do that and he thought he’d left his wife in the care of a reputable hospital facility!! Obviously, he was mistaken and that’s really sad!

    What if Amy was unable to show us this video? What if she was incapacitated and couldn’t tell anyone what’s happening to her? Please share this video and Amy’s story. Write to your legislators and put a name and a face to all of our stories. Nothing can change if we cannot be brave and do something to help ourselves and to help Amy!

    Our government leaders, the news media agencies and society need to as many faces and hear as many stories as possible about us! The chronic pain community being left behind and treated as though we are just collateral damage in the war on drugs! This has taken a turn for the worse. It’s gone from a “war” against illicit drugs to a war against the legitimate chronic pain patients. We will lose & continue to lose if not for people being brave like “Amy”.

    Please speak out and tell everyone your story and the stories like this one! Get the word out about how chronic pain patients are not drug addicts. We are not addicted at all! Ask them if they can remember a time when they had lived through their worst pain imaginable? Then ask them to think about that pain never ceasing! Tell them this is what it’s like for us, for you!

    Please pass this story around. Know that I received Amy’s video & story from Pharmacist Steve Arians Blog, at: PharmacistSteve.com….. It is posted in several places on Facebook. He asked if we could “please make this video go viral”?

    Thank you for your help! Please…. let’s all help Amy & all of the other “Amy’s”! Thank you Steve Ariens too!

    Strangers Among Us


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    Hello Luvs,

    I am writing today about a topic that I had hoped to never write about. But it has come to my attention and the attention of several support group leaders on Facebook; that there are imposters trying to infiltrate our support groups.  This is a sad story and one that should never happen.  Anyone who runs a support group for any illnesses, including and especially the chronic pain illnesses, needs to be aware of this situation.

    I opened up Facebook a week or so ago, only to feel relieved in a way, that none of my support groups were affected by this “fake” person who pretended to have RSD/CRPS. This intruder into the CRPS community had befriended over 600 people on Facebook in over a period of just about 3 years.  She started her own support group and then the worst happened.  She gained  the trust of many people who are suffering with the horrible chronic nerve pain of CRPS.  She pretended to have the disease and pretended to have “cured herself”. This is unforgivable and preposterous to say the least.  I had no idea about any of this until last week when all of the news broke.  Her account was found out about and she disappeared.

    She disappeared but not before taking with her dozens of trusted CRPS patients photos and videos.  She asked them to make videos and send them to her and photos as well. She wanted these videos to be showing how they “worked through their pain and pushed through it”.  She told several people in her support group that on the delicate and sensitive flaring areas of Skin that has been diagnosed with CRPS/RSD; they should rub sandpaper! She wanted photos and videos of them doing this.  Also, just to inform you that this practice is horribly wrong and could cause terrible pain, progression of illness and even worse, infections.  She told a person to “pull on their RSD/CRPS riddled fingers until the pain was excruciating” and told them that this would “help them cure their RSD/CRPS”.

    This “fake” was a well known figure in the RSD/CRPS community for these past few years.  She had some telltale signs that I notice right away and thus the reason I vet my support groups very carefully.  She had no real photos on her Facebook page and no family pictures or friends.  Nothing “personal” stood out, from what I hear, on her page.  She never showed herself in a video or a Facebook chat or video either.  If anyone has ever watched the Television show called “Catfish”, that is one of the biggest clues to being a “fake” or a “Catfish” account. When you befriend someone on Facebook please be sure to check out their profile. Also, it doesn’t matter if they are friends with some of your friends, it can still be fake.  Look for the signs of “realness” and of being a true person online. Look for achievements, and milestones, family and other photos (as I stated above) and don’t befriend anyone that you don’t feel comfortable with.

    Please understand that most of the support groups are wonderful on Facebook. They are run by loving and caring patients living in pain also.  Feel free to check out the group admins. pages also.  Look them up and see who they are and if they are shown as having a true Facebook account as well. Feel free to ask questions before you join a group, to see what the person believes about your illness(es).  Check to see  if you believe in the same ideas, or not?  The people living in the pain community have seemed to me to be so caring and always wanting to help a fellow sufferer.  I think this is where the story gets so dark, because this “fake” person tried to gain the trust of people who are kind and caring and suffering.  We are all trying to make sense of these illnesses and the pain that they bring, how could anyone “pretend” to have something and then hurt people who’s trust they’d been given freely?

    These are questions that I cannot answer nor fathom.  This “fake” person was finally exposed and the authorities were called.  There’s not much else anyone can do because she/he or they, closed down their Facebook account, their support group and took all of the photos and videos with them. Wherever they’ve run off too, we will never know.  We don’t know if that person will show up again and now people will be afraid and looking around every corner for someone like this; wondering who to trust now?  But if you are requested to do anything that you don’t feel comfortable doing, don’t do it.  Unless you know someone online and have done a face chat video with them, or met them “in person”; don’t give away anything personal in the form of information, videos or photos. But please don’t give up on the support groups because there are many that are loving, kind and very helpful.  I am so thankful that this person did not make it into my support groups.  I remember the name and remember “her” asking to be in my groups and I felt hat something wasn’t quite right.  I declined her entry into my groups. I declined her friend request. I am just lucky in that respect, because many of my dear friends who are very careful; were still affected by this imposter into our RSD/CRPS community.

    I’m concerned for the people who were hurt in my communities. This person was relentless in her “pushing” people to do things that were painful in order to give them false hope of a “cure”.  She said that she herself had been cured and that all of the things she told them to do, she had done and this is how she got well.  We all want hope and so these people were desperate for some kind of relief. With our pain medications being taken away weekly and more people being denied appropriate pain relief; I can see how this can happen.  But just be very careful and don’t give up on the support groups but be selective in your choices.

    The CRPS communities are left now with a bigger wound to heal.  They feel vulnerable and duped. People are trying to wrap their heads around the idea that their photos and videos are out there somewhere and they don’t know where? Please know that if you were a part of this scam, it is not your fault.  The imposter was very “good” at what she was trying to achieve. She was sly and deceitful in her endeavors to trick a community of pain sufferers.  Please be assured that the Police have been alerted and Facebook security also has been told about this.  There is not a lot that they can do except to try and make sure this doesn’t happen again.  We all have to be a part of that! We all have to keep our eyes and ears open without getting too paranoid or hurting more people in the process.  Don’t accuse anyone if you are not sure, because that’s happened to some RSD/CRPS patients as well.  That has got to be a horrible feeling and it appeared that the people who were wrongly accused have regressed and so we have to be so careful not to be one way or another.  Just be on your guard but not overly suspicious of everyone due to this situation.

    Here is a link to another article written by someone else regarding this subject:  http://www.blbchronicpain.co.uk/news/facebook-crps-faker-pretend/

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    June Is PTSD Awareness Month


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    With all of the different awareness ribbons and events, fundraisers and 5k walks for different illnesses out there; not many want to talk about PTSD. During the month of June each year, time is set aside to remember the illness called “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”.  It seems to be an awareness month that we don’t talk much about but it is a very real illness.  PTSD is a disorder which can occur when there is a failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a shocking, scary, dangerous and/or terryifying event or events. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more that 3 million cases each year in the United States.

    This illness can last months or years, with certain words, ideas and even smells that trigger the memories of the trauma. Along with the memories that return, there are intense emotional and physical feelings and reactions in the body.  Some of the symptoms of PTSD might include things like depressed mood, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, heightened “fight or flight” response and avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma.  There is treatment for this illness which may include Psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and medication.

    There is a natural “fight or flight” response in our bodies that is supposed to warn us when there is danger near or that something terrifying might happen.  It is normal to feel afraid during and after a traumatic event or situation occurs. This fear is something that brings about a chemical change in the body to protect us from whatever may be happening that is fearful.  It is the body’s way to help defend against or avoid danger or dangerous situations.  Most people recover quickly and naturally from the initial symptoms of a fearful experience.  There are those who continue to experience problems and feel stressed or frightened even when they aren’t in danger any longer.  These people are sometimes diagnosed with PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Not everyone who experiences PTSD had been through something very dangerous, but instead may have experienced the loss of someone very close to them. The symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the traumatic event, but often can occur immediately.  These symptoms must last more than  one month  and be severe enough to interfere with working and personal relationships, to be considered true PTSD.  Some people can and will recover within 6 months, some have chronic symptoms.  A Doctor who has experience with mental illness, such as a PHD Psychologist, Psychotherapist or Psychiatrist is needed to diagnose PTSD properly.

    One of the most common things that people experience with having PTSD is called “flashbacks”.  This happens when you relive the traumatic experience inside of your mind or body over and over.  There are physical symptoms like a fast or racing heart beat, sweating, bad dreams and invasive fearful thoughts.  People with PTSD also try to avoid smells, places and situations that remind them of the experience(s). An example might be a bad car accident; afterwards a person with PTSD might not want to drive a car or even be a passenger.  When you have this illness you are or can be easily startled, you may feel “on edge” and have insomnia or have trouble sleeping. When someone experiences these unpleasant feelings after a traumatic event for just a short time afterwards, it is called ASD, or Acute Stress Disorder.  When they last longer and affect a persons ability to function, it is then called PTSD.

    If you would like to participate in the June PTSD awareness month events on Social media, you can visit http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/promo material awareness.asp.  You can also follow the National Center for PTSD on Facebook and Twitter.  Those links can be found at the bottom of the website at http://www.ptsd.va.gov.  No matter how much you think you know about PTSD, there is always more to learn and ongoing research, new treatments etc.  Please take action, help those who suffer and live with this illness by visiting:  www.ptsd.va.gov/public/wher0to-get-help.asp.  Spread awareness as often as you can, but especially during the month of June each year.  This is the month which is set aside for people to share information and make people more aware of this debilitating condition that I, and many others live with. Take the mystery out of this condition, learn about it, find out who is affected an how you can help.

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    Walking Through The Day With a Pain Warrior


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    This is not just a story about me, but a story that many pain warriors live through on a daily basis. I know because I talk to many of them often.  Much of this is “our story”. …..I awaken each day; the first thing that I do is cry inside of my head. My body lay still too long.  Four hours is too long! I feel pain and don’t want to get up, or move because I know it will hurt. I’m so tired of the pain. I lay there and contemplate rising to my feet.  I hear my husband call my name.  He always says “Hello my Love, Good Morning! Time to rise and shine!”  He tells our Kitty, Luna, to come and get me. She always listens to him and she enters our bedroom and meows for me to get on my feet. Still lying there, I think about the day ahead and wonder if it will be a busy day?  Will it be one in which I have to do a few things? Or will it be a day that I can be a bit quiet?

    After 40 minutes has passed from the time I took my medication, I attempt to get up.  First I sit up and I feel the pain in my back. The Degenerative disc disease, Scoliosis, Spondylitis and multiple herniated and bulging discs, make it almost an impossible feat. The medication does help. It takes the pain down from a 9 to about a 5; and I finally get up.  But then there’s the stairs to tackle. I hold onto the rail and then I lean on the wall. I fumble my way down the stairs, as my cat scampers past me, ready for her cuddles on my way to the kitchen. First, I sit on the ottoman and pet her for a few moments and then it’s time for breakfast. My husband has already made the tea and has my toast ready to go.

    He goes to work and I go to my chair, my recliner. In my spot, there is a pillow and a blanket and a settle in for a look on the computer.  What fantastic things have happened overnight on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? I answer a few questions, maybe I help a few people in my support groups? People always volunteer to help me with my groups because they are becoming large for one person to handle on a daily basis. People mean well, but they are also in pain and have much going on in their lives.  Eventually they stop helping and I’m alone again.  I don’t want to give up, because some people just need someone to listen, anyone.  I like being that person. I want to help and do something of value with my life.

    Maybe after awhile at the computer, I will either write a blog post, an article for the National Pain Report; or maybe I’ll sign a song that day.  I love the beauty of ASL and the way the emotions come out of my body, hands and face. I can feel something other than pain. Until I’m finished; and then the pain is worse.  I have to rest and take more medications. My husband comes home for lunch because he says that he likes to check in on me.  We’ve been married for 20 years and he always comes home for lunch. I am one lucky lady to have such a knight in shining armor at my side. He never complains about doing so much. He cleans, cooks and does the laundry; after mowing the lawn and fixing whatever needs repaired in the house. Still, he never complains.

    In the afternoon, I may visit my granddaughters and my daughter who live only a few blocks away. I’m still able to drive for “personal errands” and for about 10 minutes at a time. If I visit them, I get lots of hugs and kisses and more love and life than you can even imagine. They are rays of sunshine in a world of pain.  They don’t understand that I am in pain and that’s a good thing for now.  I like to light up their faces and give them love and receive that same love in return. My daughter and I may do a couple of errands or have a coffee and chat. It seems like a nice day, right? It’s true, it’s the nicest day you could imagine. Then I come home and I sink into my recliner and sometimes my cat will come and sit with me.  Her love is unconditional and she seems to know when I’m in more pain than usual. She gives me comfort and love, unconditional love.  By that time it is 3:30 in the afternoon.  It’s been a full day and my pain has risen from the activities.  I can’t do anything else.  I don’t have the energy to make dinner anymore. The fatigue is deep and lasts for long periods of time.  I rest and sometimes I nod off in my chair. The cat jumps off of the chair and the back door opens.  My hero is home! The love of my life and my forever soul-mate comes home from another day at his job as a teacher. We muster up something to eat for dinner. Mostly, for him; because eating has become something difficult now. It’s not fun or anything I look forward to anymore. I have IBS, S.I.B.O., and Gastroparesis. There’s so much I’m incapable of eating now.  If I just throw caution to the wind, and eat to be social or “fun”; I suffer more.  There’s the nausea, constant nausea and burning whether it is high or low in my stomach; it’s awful either way.  Then if I eat just a tiny bit too much, I will be sick for hours afterwards. This is something that others don’t see or understand.  My husband sees and watches it from the other side. Then there are the others who I “talk to” on the other side of this computer. Many of them truly do understand.

    Then, my friends; it is evening time. The sun goes down and we watch some Television together and maybe read or “play” on the internet for awhile.  All too soon, it is 10:30 pm and my husband goes up to bed. He. has to work in the morning.  He kisses me goodnight and tells me not to stay up too long.  I tell him that I will come to bed as soon as I feel like I’m able to sleep.  Time goes by and it’s one in the morning, then 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM.   I start to nod off as I’m messaging the other “night owls” who are my fellow pain warriors. They are with me at night, because they too cannot sleep either.  We try to give each other support and the strength to persevere.  Finally, the sparks of chatter start to diminish online.  I too, feel like I truly want sleep to come and save me from my body and the pain that is within. Much of the pain is physical, but there is no lack of mental anguish.

    ***I come from a family that doesn’t know or care that I exist. They are called “M.N.’s” or Malignant Narcissist’s.  I try to stay away, keep my distance. For some reason, I cannot “let go” totally.  Maybe I feel that I owe them something for bringing me into this world. But truly it’s been nothing but pain and abuse as far back as I can remember. Then the failed marriages because I didn’t know how to feel love until I met my soul-mate, Craig. We’ve been married 20+ years now. I thank God for him every day because nobody has ever truly loved me until I met him. Some people ask me why I always go back for more abuse and more pain? I guess he’s still my father and one of my two brothers is still my brother. The other one, I cannot even discuss and won’t.  My oldest brother used to try and protect me, but one day he stopped.  It was the day that I told our family “secrets”. That is when my father took his revenge and turned everyone he could, against me.  I’m not sure why they listen to him? I’ve always been kind hearted, loving and as good a person as I can be. But now the entire family, including dozens of cousins, have shoved me “under the rug”. I am an an outcast.  None of them will talk to me or even look at me if we meet.

    I don’t get invited to the very very large family reunions.  Even though I was the only one in my nuclear family that ever attended those functions.  I always took my children to them while they were growing up. I wanted them to have a sense of “family” and belonging. I helped my one cousin, the only one who is the same age as me. She is 6 months older and I always got her “hand-me-downs”. I went for food when she had her big garage sales. I helped her when the family turned against her as her mother was dying. I told her not to let them “punish” her and told her to hold her head up high. They were so mean to her because she couldn’t let her mother come and stay with her when she was very sick and dying. I felt her pain as she told me the stories of her abusive childhood;  we could relate to one another.

    But **one day, in 2002, I was in a terrible car accident which started all of the physical pain. No one came for me except my husband. Again, my knight in shining armor there with me and at my side through thick and thin, good and bad.  ***My cousin said she couldn’t come to our house and sit with me for awhile so my husband could do errands. I couldn’t be left alone as I could not even go to the bathroom or dress/undress myself or.    cut my own food. She said that “seeing me in so much pain, made her depressed.  If she was depressed, then her family would suffer.”  Therefore, she could not see me anymore. I’ve not seen her again except at a couple of funerals, but she won’t even look at me. ****I went to my favorite Aunt’s funeral yesterday.  It was in a church and my dad didn’t come because he would have had to have been “nice to me”; and then they might know that we’ve tried to “talk a little bit now and then” again.  Only one cousin spoke to me and only one other even looked my way and smiled.  My Aunts children were welcoming. They knew that their mom and I had a relationship. My cousin, her daughter, told me “mom wouldn’t have had it any other way”; when I thanked her for “letting me come to the funeral”.

    **I watched my family all sitting in the same church, singing “Let there Be Peace on Earth”. While the words came out of their mouths, there was no peace in that room.  Only a gathering of many who really don’t know each other anymore, but had one thing in common.  That one thing was the love for a woman who knew how to live and how to love. So you see, there is physical pain and there are other kinds of pain. Some of these exacerbate the others. We just have to surround ourselves with those who want us in their lives.  Those who want to give and receive; or share love with us.

    When my head finally hits the pillow at night, I lie down and listen to my husband’s breathing. So glad to hear those sounds of life and know that this person beside me has truly shown me what real love is all about.  I never knew if I would have that, some people never get to know it.  People who are “damaged” like me, have a hard time very often knowing the difference between real love and hurtful kinds of “twisted” love.  I’m fortunate to know this man and lucky to have his love and to have him to love. I try to let the sleep come to me. Relax, sigh and listen to the breath sounds and the sound of the cat purring next to me. This is my real “medicine” in life.  They, along with my children and grandchildren are what makes me happy. I try to remember these thoughts as I fitfully sleep for a few hours, only to wake up to the “fear” of getting up on my feet once more again tomorrow.

     

     

     

     

    From Mini Van to Wheelchair In 10 Seconds!


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    I awaken each day; the first thing that I do is cry. I cry because I’m in pain and it is as though someone stepped on my back in the night and feels “broken”.  My husband hears my cries and he goes and gets my pain medication. Medication that I’ve taken since 2005; and never more but sometimes less. He proceeds to start making breakfast, coffee and give tap water to our Cat. It’s her favorite thing in the morning aside from running up the stairs to get me after about 20-30 minutes. My husband says “Luna, go and get Momma”!  She bolts up the stairs and “Meows” at me to get up. She doesn’t stop until I am upright and together we go down the stairs. It’s almost 7:00 am, and most likely I just went to bed at 4:00 am. I have some tea and toast. We chat a bit and he goes to work.

    I have choices to make and they are not easy ones. My oldest daughter only lives 2 or 3 blocks away, with her husband and our two eldest granddaughters, ages 4 and 2 1/2.  We see each other often but it’s so hard for me to fight the deep, deep fatigue and pain to do  a lot of outings and I just am not able to babysit alone, without my husband there.  I think it upsets her and I feel so bad inside because I cannot do what I wish I could do. The first year and a half that we were reunited (**my daughter left home at age 18 and was away for 10 years. This is not a story about those very sad times. This is about the reuniting of a family that was broken because of a car accident.  My daughters were used to me being and doing everything and suddenly I could not do anything, not even dress myself. My eldest ran from the pain and surgeries), I think I ran on adrenaline.  I saw her/them daily and then afterwards, I came home and crashed. Was that fair to my husband? No, it wasn’t! Did he say one word about it to me? No, because he was so happy to see my heart whole again. It was broken for 10 years!

    So now it’s been about 3 years and so much has happened. I lost my Dr. of 12 years and the old pain medications that made easier for me to do more, it seemed.  My pain Dr. is much better now and the regimen that I’m on is safer.  But I’m unable to do the activities that I wish to do with them.  If I was the person that I had been, I would be making snow angels with them in the snow.  I’d be baking cookies and running around playing tag and “Duck, Duck Goose”. I do play some “sit down” (for me) games with them and we have tea parties. We watch Disney movies and I love it when they sit close to me and play with my hair. I used to take my walker to the zoo or on daily outings. I sat down when I was tired and I just was happy to be together.  I’m still so very happy to have everyone together. I could never have had a happy life without both of my daughters and my grandchildren it.

    Time has changed me and now I am tired and in pain much faster;  more deep than before. In 2013, my CRPS changed from being in my feet and knees; to “severe systemic and disseminated”.  It happened after what was supposed to be a 45 minute surgery but turned out to be a 3 hour heart and pectoral muscle rebuild surgery.  I’ve never recovered and have felt a deep deep fatigue since then. If I do something for 2 hours one day, then I’m in my recliner for the rest of the day. I don’t want it to be this way, I don’t like it at all.  I want to spend a whole day at the zoo with my granddaughters.  I feel that my oldest daughter gets so frustrated when I cannot do the things I pushed myself to do at the beginning.  Nobody understands “Invisible Illnesses”, not even our own families or friends. We used to go to dinner each Friday with my best friend and her husband. I’ve cancelled a few times in this past year and now I can feel a difference.  Things that I wish I could do, I no longer am able to do.  I love and look forward to babysitting when my husband is home and he is with me.  He is there so that when I start to be too tired and in too much pain, he takes over.

    But I lose friends and have lost people related to me. My own family cousin, who’d been my best friend for years; stopped talking with us after the car accident.  My husband had called and asked her to come over because I could not be left alone at the beginning. I couldn’t dress or undress myself.  I couldn’t even go to the rest room without help.  My cousin and another person who was a good friend of ours, told Craig “No, I just can’t help because it’s too sad.  When I get sad, then my family is sad and I cannot do that to them.” She took herself out of my life and so did the rest of my cousins, and family.  I called my own brother after the accident from the hospital. I had been unconscious and when I finally got to a room, I tried to reach for the phone and missed. I hit my cheek instead.  I called the only number that stuck in my head due to the TBI, it was my oldest brother. He answered the phone and I told him I ‘d been in a car accident, a bad one. I told him I was in the hospital and he answered back by saying, “Oh…you need someone? …..CLICK” and he hung up on me. Craig is my hero and the only person who’s ever truly loved me unconditionally. He’s there when I need him and when I think I don’t think I need him so much.

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