I was deeply touched by 2 stories that I’m about to share with you! I’d like to personally say “thank you” to Sheri Owen & Maria Higgenbothem. They are the 1st and then the 2nd chronic pain patients in the video below. I want to thank them for their bravery and their candidness.
Sheri had a level-7, spinal fusion and did not receive any pain care in the hospital after her surgery; outside of the normal regimen that she’s been on for years at home.
Secondly, we have Maria Higinbotham, who went on “Nightly news with Lester Holt and Kate Snow. What’s happening to the Chronic Pain community is torturous and wrong! It’s inhumane and I would’ve never thought this would be happening in the United States of America in 2019. It’s almost like the old practice of eugenics. As if they want us to be gone? So that we’re not a burden on society anymore? This is so morally wrong! Please go to http://www.Videoyourpain.com.
Share your pain story with our legislators, politicians, government, doctors, and pharmacists. Let’s share these painful stories with the world and command that this torture be stopped!
I’ve put the two videos together for your convenience and to CC for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities/audiences.
Also, I’d like to add that there are several advocates & groups who trying so hard to do all that they can to help the pain community! I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Here’s the link to the original “Nightly News” piece on NBC. (Lastly, there are two news media outlets that are listening to us. Fox News and NBC now have their ears and attention turned to the pain community. Let’s tell them everything that’s happening. Talk to Lester Holt, Kate Snow at NBC & Greg Gutfeld at Fox News. Go to Twitter and find them by putting their name in the search bar. Talk to them! Tell everyone you’re story of under treated and/or untreated pain. They are now listening and we need their help and their voices!
I’d like to say a special “thank you” to David Weiland for posting the video in CIAAG Facebook group.
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 othernews 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!!
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 thatCindy 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:
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.
Many of my “regular” readers may remember that I am “Hard of hearing”. Hearing people usually 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 Im not totally “medically possible 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 language, ASL. How ironic then, that I lost a moderate-severe percentage of my hearing & was already prepared with the tools I needed!
I’ve lost touch with some of my old friends from DAD (Deaf Association of Detroit). 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!!
The aforementioned article proves that there may be hope for the chronic pain community.
In 2016, Andrew Kolodny, (who is co-Director of Opioids policy Research at Brandeis University), along with a group of Addiction specialists & others, went behind closed doors to “invent” & then Implement the 2016 CDC Guidelines regarding the use of Opioids. These were Supposed to be just guidelines for primary care doctors. But they rapidly became “the law” in the eyes of the CDC, DEA, National News Media outlets, Pharmacies & our government officials. Today we even have legitimate, licensed pain management Physicians, heading for the hills! They’re Not following the Hippocratic oath. These physicians are abandoning patients & putting many at high risk, myself included. The way that the chronic pain community has been treated, has been outrageous.
Please feel free to share this article on social media. Print it out and take it with you to your Dr. appointments. Let’s also share it far & wide through the news media channels as well. They’ve been getting it wrong & now need to help change the hysteria & damage that’s been created.
“We, the under signed, stand as a unified community of stakeholders and key opinion leaders deeply concerned about forced opioid tapering in patients receiving lolong-term prescription opioid therapy for chronic pain. This is a large-scale humanitarian issue. Our specific concerns involve:
— Read on academic.oup.com/painmedicine/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pm/pny228/5218985
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.