Please send Your comments Re: HHS Draft for Pain Best Practices


Hello Luvs,

I just wanted give my readers a little “nudge” & remind you all to visit the The HHS Task Force online, which has provided a 90 day public comment period (ending April 1st,2019)

Click here to post your comments re: the HHS Draft for Best Practices (90 day comment period)

****In the Search Box, put these words so you’ll get to the correct place for commenting: HHS Draft for Best Practices.

I implore you to send in your comments. This is our chance to have our voices heard. Please go to the above link, in order to have your voice heard regarding the Draft Report to HHS. * my comments are copied & pasted for you below.

There are three different ways that you can send in your comments regarding this Draft report:

**When you write, email or post your messages regarding the Draft Report, please refer to this Docket Number:HHS-OS-2018-0027

How to Submit Comments:

1) Visit this Federal Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov

 2). Or you may Email topaintaskforce@hhs.gov

3) or use USPS and you may Mail written comments to:

U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOffice of the Assistant Secretary for Health200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 736E,Attn: Alicia Richmond Scott, Task Force Designated Federal OfficerWashington, DC 20201

These are my thoughts. I will be condensing them into being my comments to the HHS Best Practices (again, comment period goes until April 1,2019:

  • I agree with the “individualized patient centered care”. But allow the Dr./Patient relationship to the determine treatments. But don’t allow the government, pharmacists/pharmacies, to override the treatment, including type, class & dosage of pain medications. Pain management Drs. went through, in many cases; 14-15 years of extra education. They know more about what’s best for the patients.
  • Opioids taken as prescribed, have less harsh & lasting side-effects than many other medications that are prescribed freely for patients today (such as Bupenorphrine, Suboxone)
  • 1) Many medications can cause death, if an overdose occurs.  2) Many medications can cause physical dependence, including heart, blood pressure and even insulin.
  • Pain Medications shouldn’t be decided on by what illness(es) a patient is living with. Pain is subjective and the CDC, in their 2012 response to Andrew Kolodny, stated that there was no research to prove that there’s any difference between cancer and non-cancer pain. Mr. Kolodny was trying to say that cancer pain was the only worst pain. There are a number of illnesses nicknamed “the suicide disease”,( including: RSD/CRPS, A.S., T.M. & others). People with comorbid highly painful conditions, should not be lumped & labeled as a sum of their illnesses. Everyone metabolizes differently. Some people may do well on a certain medication, while it makes others desperately more ill (due to the horrible side effects).
  • Nothing should ever be dictated “across the board” . Never should one rule be applied to 100 million chronic pain Patients. Some people living with illnesses such as Ehlers Danlos syndrome, for example; don’t metabolize medication like most other people do. They may need a much higher dosage than what the recommended ceiling of 90MME allows. By the way, when did recommended become law?
  • The CDC Guidelines were supposed to be just recommendations for General practitioners. But not even a year later, pain management Drs started being hassled by the DEA & other government & law enforcement officials. In 2018, they turned into “laws”. In many cases, good Drs. Have been losing their livelihood, their entire life’s work, because the DEA thinks that they had too many pain patients taking higher doses of opioids! It’s normal that Pain clinics would have a much higher number of people taking higher dosages of opioids.
  • Many persons who are living with several lifelong chronic painful illnesses, do not wish to have: massage, Reike, acupuncture or anything involving touching. People for example with CRPS, (systemic especially), cannot bear the pain of touching like this.
  • Many of those who live with horribly painful Rheumatoid disease, Neuropathies, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome & others, may get worse from doing things like Yoga, Tai Chi and even PT. (I had 9 years of PT & it made me worse & not better,many times)
  • Meditation most often doesn’t work well for the patients living with anxiety &/or PTSD, for example. *If it does help a little; it still does not lower high amounts of pain for the rest of someones life. Not enough to give someone their life back after a catasrophic painful event.
  • Why should anyone be forced to get an invasive surgery over taking a simple oral pill? Again, any medication is dangerous if taken incorrectly or by a person other than the intended patient. Therefore demonizing only opioids makes no sense.
  • Many persons aren’t candidates for the SCS and/or intra-thecal pain pumps. Many living with several painful illnesses have also compromised immune systems (CVID +others).
  • It appears that nobody on this HHS task force lives with chronic pain, in high amounts, due to lifelong, high pain chronic illnesses? Because they should know that no amount of meditation, injections or tai chi, would end ongoing continuous life long chronic pain!
  • *meditation, music therapy and aqua therapy may help to lessen pain for a short period of time (**if the patient doesn’t have an aversion to being in water or have open sores due to secondary illnesses)
  • As you can see, there’s no one fix for everyone. Mostly because we are individuals who must have individualized care. Nobody should be putting one group of persons with physical chronic pain or PTSD, ahead of another group of survivors. You don’t know what horrors anyone has been through. A soldiers PTSD may be horrific. Also horrific may a grown up’s PTSD. Someone who had lived a life of horrors in their own home (which should’ve been a safe place), at the hands of abusive family members.
  • Please don’t prescribe dosage limits “across the board” for everyone. That’s not keeping with the physicians code of ethics “to do no harm”!
  • Don’t pick & choose what medication or dosage by each illness or condition. Some medications work for one person and don’t help others
  • Give the physician back their right(after years and years of education & experiences) to diagnose and treat people with ongoing lifelong pain. Keep the Dr/patient relationships together, without intrusion or interruption in patient care!
  • Please keep in mind that chronic pain does not = addiction.! Just because someone needs opioids to help high amounts of pain (*that will most often, never go away), does not make them an addict. It shouldn’t give them the label of “substance use disorder” either!
  • Do Not make the Hippa privacy laws a joke or obsolete. Confidentiality matters! In order to have any confidence in your health care team, you must trust them. What I’m saying is that the police departments and other employees of the government or anywhere, should NOT BE GIVEN ACCESS TO THE MAPS*! The MAPS are already invasive enough without giving access to everyone!

There are a few good parts to the draft:

  • The suggestion to treat each patient on an individual, patient by patient basis.
  • Stop raiding innocent Drs offices.
  • Stop taking physicians livelihood/careers away because someone at the top of the ladder at the HHS, CDC or elsewhere; lost a brother, mother or best friend, to opioid abuse &/or addiction, that ended with a death, loss and then turned into bitterness!
  • Give more hours of education in pain management to medical students

Lastly, opioids are a safe, effective and an inexpensive way to treat lifelong chronic pain, for many patients in this category. They help & work for so many! Especially legacy patients with multiple high pain comorbidities, depend on opioids to have some semblance of life. I know, because it happened to me and I lost my LA/ER pain medications in Sept 2018. I have a much less full life now.

The PTSD, that chronic pain patients are living with after being legacy patients who had been doing well taking opioids for a decade or two or three, is a nightmare! People are becoming a shell of their former selves. Persons with multiple & painful comorbidities, who were able to possibly do a job, be a mother, father, caregiver or grandmother, while taking opioids (*also btw, never getting high from their opioids!); are doomed to live a half-life in bed or a recliner forever. Many are committing suicide.

I read some nasty comments on an article recently (I’ll look for that article. Sorry, I can’t remember where I saw it, but I will find it and post for you asap). There were comments from a person who lost someone to an opioid overdose/addiction. She said she was  “tired” of hearing about pain patients contemplating suicide. Tired of seeing where chronic pain patients have written in whining that “if they don’t get their pain meds back they will kill themselves”. Well, I pity that lady because she’s obviously never gone through anything that involves long term, never ending high amounts of chronic pain. The chronic pain population needs to know that there is hope. Because someone doesn’t contemplate suicide, where there is “Hope”. So someone please tell that woman to “chill out” and to “be kind”. Also, tell her not to cut down, put down, belittle or be insidious about life long, never ending, high amounts of daily chronic pain.  Unless she is in my shoes/our shoes, our wheelchairs, walkers, crutchs, braces and motorized scooters, don’t judge!

Unless you’ve lived with high levels of continuous chronic pain that you know will never ever stop; don’t judge the chronic pain patient who chooses suicide over being a burden to their loved ones. Maybe they have no loved ones and cannot bear to be alone forever with such high amounts of under-treated or untreated pain? Don’t judge someone who’s been doing well for over a decade and suddenly they lose their pain relief and they’ve resorted to “living” a half-life in their bed or a recliner.

These drafts really need more work. There are a lot of contradictions. Tylenol/Acetaminophen is very dangerous and can kill it cause liver failure if taken continuously. Which is what a chronic pain patient will need! NSAID’s cause kidney failure and anyone who thinks Tylenol or Aspirin will help pain levels at a 7,8 or above; doesn’t know anything about pain. In fact, they’ve never lived with ongoing chronic pain illnesses that are Incurable.

Lastly, meditation, grounding, yoga & aqua therapy are nice for PT patients rehabilitating. They’re fine for some people as an addition to pain medication therapy. But they’ll never work alone to end or relieve high amounts of pain for a person who will most likely need pain control forever. It’s just impossible for anyone to go several times weekly and pay for PT forever! Not everyone has access to a pool. Then there are those of us who have open sores from secondary illnesses or from systemic autoimmune and other issues. I’m sorry, but “grounding” is just silly and I’m entitled to my opinions; as are each one of us.

The above paragraphs are my thoughts about some of the HHS Draft for Pain Best Practices. I’ve got to condense these thoughts so that I can actually leave a comment. With the government shut-down, I’m not sure exactlly what will be happening to this side of things? If I find out any more, I promise to inform all of you.  But lets still get those comments posted before April 1, 2019. If we follow the rules, then hopefully someone will hear us. If we wait to see what happens, it may be too late.

Remember not to be long winded. My comments will be condensed version of my issues with the HHS Draft. I will post it for you once I’ve gotten it all set up on the .gov website). Tell them who you are and how you feel about the HHS Draft for Pain Best Practices. Let them know that there are many contradicions in this draft. There are so many things wrong with telling someone who is living with #’s 7,8 or 9 on the pain scale, to take NSAID’s or Acetamenophin. Theres definitely something ludicrous about taking opioids away from someone who’s been doing great with them for a decade or two or three. Opioids are harmless, with very low or no side effects. When taken properly as prescribed for long term chronic intractable pain.  On the other hand, if you research Suboxone and Bupenorphrine. They have horrific side effects and you cannot taper off of them slowly because the medication works against you if you attempt to do this. I have  received several written accounts from chronic pain patients who believed in their physicians and blindly took what was offered to help their pain, as a last resort. They thought it would be better than nothing. (*these accounts will be in a future blog post).

MY OWN COMMENTS:

I have been living with high amounts of chronic pain on a daily basis since a catastrophic car accident in 2002. I did all that was asked of me as far as having 8 surgeries, 9 years of PT, 3 years of TBI rehab and 3 years worth of pain clinic Biofeedback and  injections to my knees, shoulders, neck and spine.  I am not a candidate for a pain pump, due to CVID. I tried many medications and most either made me deathly ill or just had horrible side effects that added to the pain. My story is not unique. Many thousands of chronic pain patients attempt to do all that they can do, prior to taking opioid pain medication. When pain is lifelong, whether you are old or young; the idea of staying in a state of high chronic daily pain for decades upon decades, is daunting.

This draft needs much more work. There are too many contradictions.  There especially needs to be more done for the legacy patients who have been doing well on Opioid therapy for chronic pain.  Legacy patients, like me, are being put into “no win” situations. We have had our medications forcibly taken after doing relatively well for years. Forced tapering is bad for anyone.  It is life altering, dangerous and has taken lives. Why would you mess with something that is not broken?  If someone has been doing well, how could you fathom stopping the regimen that gave them some semblance of a life?  Then what? Then these people are unkowingly prescribed horrible meds like Buprenorphrine / Suboxone.  After much research, it seems like most of this manufactured “opioid hysteria” is for money making. That is shameful to use and even kill innocent people just to allow someone else to get rich.

Why are we making insurance companies pay for all of this acupuncture, massage and yoga etc? Those dont work for long term chronic high pain illnesses where the patient deteriorates as the years go by. The majority of chronic pain patients that I know, say that they don’t want to be poked or even touched, because it hurts too much. This is not a solution. Please try to understand the reality of this situation. Don’t allow people who are living with high emotions, to be in positions of power, in charge of important decisions for the chronically ill. Persons with powerful positions who are greiving & who have lost someone from an overdose shouldn’t be making decisions that affect & involve millions of lives. Most people who have lost a family member or close friend from an overdose, won’t be rational in their decision making. Then they end up punishing an entire community of innocent people because they lost someone (*usually their loved one had overdosed by taking someone else’s prescription or illegal/illicit drugs to numb psychological pain).

Please stop demonizing Opioids and selling the idea that these inanimate objects cause addictions and drug overdose. Addiction is a gene that someone is born with. It shows up in some people and not others. Opioids do not kill people any more than guns kill people. It is when the opioids or the guns who get into the wrong hands. Then the people behind them choose to make terrible decisions and others then die from drug overdose, homicide or suicide. Please remember that opioids are inexpensive, accessible (or they were) and they have few or no side effects. They have been helping many chronic pain patients for years and years. The medications are not “bad”, it is the people who obtain them illegally and then do things to the medications or with them, other than the intended purpose. That is what is dangerous and killing people. 

Chronically ill persons living with high pain illnesses cannot take Tylenol or NSAID’s for the rest of their lives without horrible effects and outcomes. Those medications are not made for long term. They cause liver and kindney failure and worse. Also, this same group of ill citizens, are usually unable to do or pay for complimentary therapy treatments for decades at a time. Lastly, please leave the pain care physcians or any physician trained properly in the management of chronic intractable pain, to make the decisions that affect the pain community. These Dr’s have been highly educated for many extra years, in order to learn how to treat chronic pain.  Stop politicians, PROP, Addiction specialists, pharmacists, the CDC, FDA  and insurance companies from making medical decisions that should be left up to the Dr. and patients themselves. Thank you! Sincerely, Suzanne Stewart

A Post About Bupenorphrine from Dr. Fudin


Here’s some much needed information about Bupenorphrine. It’s written by Dr Jeffrey Fudin at: paindr.com/buprenorphine-so-misunderstood/

Please remember that this medication is best used for people who have ongoing pain issues and who are also recovering addicts. It’s a mild analgesic at best and doesn’t work very well for people with chronic pain conditions, alone; without addiction.

Also, remember that you must be taken off of this medication for a couple of weeks prior to any surgeries. If not, then they’ll have a difficult time putting you under deep anesthesia. Of course, this is everyone’s greatest fear going into surgery. So just be prepared. Read up about these medications and be knowledgeable. Don’t just take whatever your Dr is offering, but research it ahead of time. It works for a certain group of pain sufferers, but it works AGAINST opioids, in your body. Here are a couple of my articles regarding this medication and also Suboxone and Naloxone:

About Suboxone, Buprenorphine and Naloxone/

And this one:

More-About Bupenorphrine, Suboxone/

Then there’s also this video:

Pain, Politics & Suboxone, Bupenorphrine

Strength Lies In Numbers


Let me introduce you to our newest family member. This is our first & only grandson, “Baby Bryce” aka “Bubba”. He was taken by ambulance from the pediatricians office on Friday morning (11-30-18). He was de-stating during feeding. He’d turned blue and his oxygen went as low as 40%. I received a phone call from my very frightened youngest daughter (his Mommy) & then I was sent the photo above, of my sweet newborn grandson in an ambulance. He looked so small and so helpless and that is exactly his his mommy & daddy felt. It is precisely how I felt as a mother and a grandmother. It’s been 5 days……

I want to update you on baby Bryce; but first I want to say what amazing daughters, their in-laws & son in laws we have! When they say “it takes a village to raise a child” I now know the true meaning of this. I also know the true meaning of “strength lies numbers”….. it’s been a difficult time seeing my daughter struggle, weep and see her newborn baby, our sweet Baby, Bryce struggle to breathe and watch his oxygen go down to 40%. Our usual jolly son in law has become serious over these last 5 days. They are living in a nightmare of fear. We all are. But as parents, it’s the #1 fear to feel & be helpless while doing all that you can to be there for your child. All the while, Drs & nurses at Motts Children’s Hospital, are life savers and thank God for their healing skills.

But we have banned together as a family and I admire the love and strength that I’m seeing. We got the sheer joy & chance just a few weeks ago to have a couple of “sleepovers” with our dear, sweet Kiera when her baby brother was born. We went back twice on the last day (we have a kitty at home who’s afraid of most everything & everyone so we chose to make the drive back home to check on her for a few hours) to make sure we had the pleasure of being there when they brought baby Bryce home and to make sure Kiera always felt safe & loved while Mommy & Daddy were at the hospital. We went back for several days to be there for the happiness, joy and to do whatever is needed to keep “my own baby” feeling safe and loved and to help keep her firstborn baby, Kiera, in some sort of routine.

Last Friday morning I heard the fear in my youngest daughters voice. I saw the photo of our beautiful, yet fragile 2 1/2 week old newborn baby, Bryce, being put into an ambulance. My heart was in my throat, my stomach was in knots & tears filled my eyes. This is where I asked God to please make me as strong as I’ve ever been. *(side note: since the majority of my pain medication has been taken away, I’ve literally been sitting in my recliner the majority of every day). I asked for strength so that I could do whatever was needed to keep my youngest daughter, Amy & her little family feeling as safe & good as possible.

I’m so thankful that our son in law, Grant (who is such a great father), has been able to come back at night and wake up with Kiera in the mornings. He’s been able to juggle all of this with great valor! He’s been there for my daughter, his daughter & his son. Daddy’s there when Kiera to wakes up. He’s been there to give her breakfast & 6:30 am lunch at 11:30 am. He puts her down for a nap at 12-12:15 pm.. He then goes back to hospital to be there as well. We’ve been getting there during nap time and we have had the pleasure of having dinner with our darling Kiera. We’ve had the extra special joy of putting her to bed and watching over her as she sleeps soundly.

Grants parents have been there with him and Kiera most every morning and they’ve spent many hours, being there with us and with Kiera, in the evenings. They are awesome people and Kiera adores her Grandma & PawPaw. The past couple of evenings, Grants mom, Kiera & I have hunkered down to watch the “Holiday Trolls” movie. Kiera wanted to be between her Grandma and me, with the blanket over each of us. If Grandma or I had to get up for some reason, she would quickly tell us to “come back” and hunker down with her. She’s so adorable. She’s always saying “huggin” when she wants or needs extra cuddles or reassurance. On Sunday, there was not much going on with a skeleton crew at the hospital and so Grant and his parents were there with Kiera. While we stayed at home & did a few errands & went to a little extended family dinner outing.

Amy has been a champion throughout this ordeal. She’s missing her sweet Kiera and her heart is torn in two places, as only a mother or father knows. So Grant took Kiera Sunday afternoon & is taking her today to see her baby brother and her Mommy. Amy has not left her sons side for even a moment! My eldest daughter, Jessy is a very thoughtful person and she went up to the hospital Saturday and brought Amy an entire brand new outfit so she could shower & change clothes in Bryce’s room at the hospital. She was there several hours with Amy & Bryce during some testing. She had dinner from Panera, delivered to the hospital for Amy, Kiera & Grant. Jessy even brought a unicorn headband for little Kiera. She’s juggling her own family of 4, but she’s been calling Amy several times daily.

Amy’s friend, Sara, went to the hospital & brought Amy and Grant some food & stayed there several hours too.

We are blessed to have the best son in laws and all of their parents as well.

All of us are working together to make sure that Amy, Grant and Kiera are as settled as they can be. We are trying to pull together as one family, while the Drs figure out what’s going in with our dear little Baby Bryce.

Nothing else matters right ggnow, except that this little guy and his Mommy get back home and the “Fab 4” is back at home together again.

Now, I have to add that my soul-mate, My darling husband, Craig, has also been a champ!! He’s been driving the 1 hour drive there in midday and home late at night. He’s offered to get groceries and do laundry (which Grant has already taken care of!). He’s carted our home accessories, my favorite food & drinks back & forth and he’s played and read with Kiera. They adore eachother and his playfulness makes her giggle. He is my rock! I thank God for him every day.

Tragedy can bring out the best or the worst in people. In this case, the best in everyone has been shining through. To my daughters, their husbands & our grandchildren; “We are here for you all, through thick and thin. We will be here for you always. As long as humanly possible.

Tonight when Grant takes Kiera back home and puts her to bed, we will be going to see Bryce and Amy. I can’t wait to hold them both in my arms. We don’t know what is wrong with little Bryce yet. We are hoping it’s some kind of sucking, breathing & swallowing issue that will get better with some Occupational therapy. The Dr.’s are still contemplating a lung issue and test. We will know more soon, I pray.

For now please keep this little guy in your prayers. Please keep his big sister and his Mommy and Daddy in your prayers as well. God made families for a reason. It’s so clear to me that nothing matters as much as the lives that he gives us & that we help bring into this world. Strength truly does lie in numbers. I’m so thankful for those who’ve been surrounding us with love, kind words & positive energy. I’m thankful for the families God has blessed my daughters with in this life.

International Stakeholder Community of Pain Experts and Leaders Call for an Urgent Action on Forced Opioid Tapering | Pain Medicine |Oxford Academic


The aforementioned article proves that hopefully, there of 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

The Opioid Hysteria Hits Home


Hello Luvs,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Making Peace With My Pain?


*********PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE!!! WHAT GOT POSTED IN “NTL PAIN REPORT” TODAY (9-22-18), WAS EDITED AND CHANGED INTO SOMETHING ELSE. I’M NOT A WHINER NOR AM I WEAK! I HAVE A VOICE & I’M VERY STRONG!! I SENT IN SOMETHING WRITTEN FROM MY HEART & SOUL. IT’S BEEN CHANGED INTO SOMETHING UNRECOGNIZABLE! THOSE ARE NOT MY WORDS OR THOUGHTS AT ALL. THIS IS MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE AND BELOW, YOU CAN READ MY OWN THOUGHTS AND WORDS:

Hello Luvs,

In this time of uncertainty for chronic and/or intractable pain patients please stop telling us to “make peace with our pain”. Until you have walked in my shoes, do not try to dictate what is best for my situation. If you hurt your back momentarily or you have several aches and pains, then by all means, use “mindfulness”, “accept your pain” and then “make peace with it”. I don’t care what you do with it honestly, but stop telling me/us to “make peace” with now, uncontrolled chronic daily pain at a 7/8, knowing that it’s forever. My health decline has continued year after year with increasing medical issues piled on top of the old injuries; going on 16 years now.

Unless you actually live with daily intractable pain, don’t to tell me/us how to manage it. If you’re a writer, motivational speaker or a politician, stop giving advice when you don’t truly understand the nature of living with 8 chronic pain illnesses. If you have one chronic illness and “accepting the pain” or “making peace” with it works for you, then by all means, go for it!

Let me explain for those who don’t really know the person they are preaching to on social media. It’s not always Psychological, hysterical or a history of abuse that causes ongoing pain. Sometimes things just happen that cause a very strong person to live with very high pain. When that pain gets more complicated and worsens as time goes by, and it is forever; that is when acceptance, making peace with your pain, grounding and mindfulness don’t work very well.

I was a very active single mom with two young daughters. I had a career as an Interpreter for the Deaf at a major University hospital and school districts. I taught aerobics and was the jump rope team’s coach at the Elementary school. I visited different schools to share Deaf culture and American sign language. One day a man ran a red light and changed all of that for me. Afterwards, I worked very hard at 3 years in TBI rehab, 9 years of PT/OT, driver rehabilitation and speech therapy. I ended up with 2 hearing aids and prisms in my glasses for a long time. For 3 years I refused opioid medication due to the stigma or “taboo” of taking it. I did Biofeedback and the red line was “off the charts” showing that my pain was very high and I needed some other intervention. I was the woman who graduated with honors, never drank or smoked. I was not taking that medication. I worked with a pain Psychologist at a pain clinic. I had several epidural nerve blocks, trigger point injections, cortisone injections and other medications(*most either made me violently ill or I was allergic). I endured 8+ surgeries, including 2 screws and a pacemaker with a cardio messenger box next to my bed. They told me to “trust them” and take the opioid pain medication or I was going to stay in that hospital bed in my home. I finally accepted the fact that just as people with hearing loss need hearing aids and those with vision issues wear glasses and Diabetics take insulin; I needed to take pain medication to give me back my life, or some semblance of a life.

For 13 years, I’ve been as active as I can be. I don’t lay in my bed and wallow or feel sorry for myself. I have been a US Pain Ambassador, on the Board of Directors and even won “U.S. Pain Ambassador of the year 2016”. I’m a patient Leader for WEGO Health, have been on 3 different radio shows and I have been a mentor for newly Diagnosed CRPS patients. I have a popular blog and write for National Pain Report. I’ve done many fundraisers, awareness events and still currently lead several online groups while helping several non-profit groups with whatever they need help doing. I live with several high pain chronic illnesses, including: systemic/full body CRPS, EDS type 4/vascular, Chiari (with migraines), Right Long Thoracic Nerve Neuropathy, Autonomic Neuropathy, R.A., Dysautonomia/POTs, Coronary Spasms (Prinzmetal Angina), Degenerative Disc Disease with multiple herniate and bulging discs, Spinal Stenosis, Chronic erosive Gastritis, Gastroparesis, SIBO and multiple heart issues.

I’m at 25% of of what I was taking for the past 13 years. Two of my specialists wrote letters on my behalf, to my pain Dr.; explaining that with the multiple illnesses that I live with, the patch is and has been proven to be the very best thing that works for my pain. One of my specialist physicians wrote “why break what doesn’t need fixed? She’s been active and doing so well and this could land her inpatient and in declining health”. My pain Dr. said “this is Bullshit, his license is not any better than mine. If he wants you to have the patch then let him prescribe it”.

I continue to be quickly tapered against my will. I’m in my “Lazy Boy” recliner 16-18 hours every day.

This is what my “forever” is looking like now. I went from teaching aerobics, American Sign Language, being the Elementary schools’, Jump Rope Team coach and an active mother and then grandmother, to “living” in a recliner daily. I’m not focusing on the pain, in fact I’ve done everything to not focus on it. I went through 43 hours of labor and then a C-section, twice; while being sent home with Motrin 800 per my own choice. I’m not a “baby”, nor am I an “addict”. In fact I have a letter from the Pain Psychologist, stating that I “do not have an addictive personality”. So stop telling me to plant my feet (with open sores on them, by the way) into the earth to practice “grounding”. Don’t tell me to “make peace with my pain” or accept it; unless or until you have walked one full day in my shoes! If you haven’t experienced pain on these levels, then stop preaching to the choir. I, for one am getting very tired of defending myself and the rest of the pain community on the subject of opioid pain medication therapy. It does work for some of us just as Insulin helps the Diabetic to continue living.

**The Article Ed edited & changed totally & which appeared to be written by an illiterate 5th grader. Is in its entirety at the Ntl pain Report but for your convenience I’ve recopied what Ed Coghlan wrote in place of what I had sent to him:

Making Peace With Pain (by: Ed Coghlan)

Please stop telling me to make peace with my pain.

I can’t right now and haven’t been able to do for many years.

And it’s getting worse.

My health decline has continued year after year with increasing medical issues piled on top of the old injuries; going on 16 years now. If you have daily intractable pain, you know what I’m talking about.

It is not always psychological, hysterical or a history of abuse that causes ongoing pain. Sometimes you just hurt—a lot.

I was once a very active single mom with two young daughters. I had a career as an Interpreter for the Deaf at a major University hospital and school districts. I taught aerobics and was the jump rope team’s coach at the Elementary school. I visited different schools to share Deaf culture and American sign language.

Then a man ran a red light and changed my life. I have endured 8+ surgeries, including 2 screws and a pacemaker with a cardio messenger box next to my bed. They told me to “trust them” and take the opioid pain medication or I was going to stay in that hospital bed in my home. I said ok

For 13 years, I’ve been as active as I can be. I have been active with a national pain advocacy group and I contribute to the National Pain Report and have worked to advance the wants and desires of the millions of people like me—people who suffer from this cruel condition.

This “reduction” in opioid prescribing has hit me hard. I’m taking  about 25% of what I was taking for the past thirteen years. Specialists who treat me have written letters to my pain doctor explaining that with the multiple illnesses I live with, the patch is the best thing for me. My pain doctor, feeling the pressure of the CDC guideline, refused to do it.

Now I’m in a “Lazy Boy” recliner 16 hours a day because I’m being tapered against my will.

Not what I want. Not what I’ve been.

I could tell you much more, but if you’re like me, you know.

It’s not fair.

Suzanne Stewart is a chronic pain patient (and advocate) who lives in Michigan. She is a contributor to the National Pain Report.

***Lastly,

This Bio which is usually on all of my NPR articles, is missing today….. here’s what it normally says:

Suzanne has lived with a Systemic CRPS & several other chronic pain illnesses since a MVA in 2002. Prior to being disabled from chronic pain, she was an Interpreter for the Deaf at a hospital & worked with Deaf children. Since 2005, Suzanne’s been a patient Health advocate, support group leader & Mentor.  She continues doing these things today, but also does public speaking, awareness events and she’s a Writer/blogger & an Ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation. The statements and opinions that she provides are her own and should not be taken as the stance, position or viewpoint of the U.S. Pain Foundation. For entertainment she creates advocacy videos & uplifting ASL cover song videos on You tube and she writes in her own blog Tears Of Truth. You can follow her here: TearsofTruth.com

This was my photo + Bio on them”staff columnists” Page under the “Our Team” Tab.

This is the email I rec’d from Ed Coghlan, after I was trying to let him know how upset I was that he “gutted” my (this) article. He added words that I hadn’t written. He changed the powerful message that was in my original story; to one of weakness and whining! Needless to say, I don’t want to write for someone that would call this an “edit”. Then send me an email at 12:05 AM, saying that he was going to publish this article in the morning (6 hours later); without ever allowing me to see the “edits”! I finally asked if I could please see the final copy and about 1:00-1:30 AM, I received the skeleton of my former original article. I begged him not to post it as it was. He’d gone to bed and scheduled it to post at 6:00 am! I was getting all kinds of comments from persons who recognize my writing when they see it and when they don’t! The rest is history!

PS- Btw, he couldn’t get hold of me on Saturday because I have recently been quickly tapered against my will; from my LA/ER pain medication that I’d been taking since 2005. I was in horrible pain from the added emotional strain from my resignation from US Pain Foundation Board of Directors & from USPF. Then the very next day this happened.

My husband called Ed in my place because I’m conscientious and would never just not respond. He told my husband that “he was not comfortable talking with him”! Well he’s also my caregiver and I wasn’t able to speak at that point. It all came tumbling down!