Why I Resigned From USPF


Hello Luvs,

It is with sadness that I write this blog post today. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. Therefore, any part of the following letter, that could in any way divulge information which I’m not at liberty to share; I have put “X’s” in the place of the words I had written. 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, (XXX & XXXX,(*2 attorneys)

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, (XXXXXXXXX) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX However, I decided to help shoulder the burden of guiding USPF through the trauma of the aftermath of XXXXX & more. Also to stay & help with USPF losing its founder and CEO. As time went on, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX 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 XXXX 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.

Some  Facts About The U.S. Pain Foundation


Hello Luvs,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opioids, Cannabis And Complimentary Therapies


When our Attorney general, Jeff Sessions told the pain community to take an Aspirin and tough it out; I hope he didn’t mean those living with cancer pain, A.S., CRPS, E.D.S. and many of the high pain chronic illnesses? I’m guessing that he must have meant that more for someone who strained their back by lifting a TV or a dresser that was too heavy? Maybe not? But that’s my guess. Along those same lines are “Complimentary Therapies”. In my personal opinion, if Acupuncture works for your kind of pain, that is great. If something called “grounding”, where walking barefoot and reconnecting with the earths energy can help your pain, thats wonderful too! Whatever works to diminish your pain, that’s what matters most. Insurance companies should be more than willing to pay for these complimentary therapies ahead of any major or minor invasive or noninvasive surgeries! There should be choices available to those who want and need them. But as much as mindfulness, guided imagery and “thinking your pain away”, are awesome ideas; I don’t think they generally help to curtail certain high levels of pain and pain illnesses.

Medical cannabis is helping many chronic pain patients with nausea, physical withdrawal symptoms and chronic pain. The Marijuana Effective Drug Studies (MEDS) Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). He has proposed a bill, (S.1803) to encourage scientific research on cannabis as an effective and safe medical treatment. We need to advocate for this bill because Medical cannabis can be helpful to some people who live with chronic conditions. The U.S. Pain Foundation along with the American Pain Society support this Act.

We are fighting for a variety of methods to help those with high pain illnesses to deal with their pain. I’ve read that Kratom is another plant based fighter against chronic pain. These can be wonderful tools to help many persons. We need to keep fighting for many different methods to help with chronic pain, because we are all individuals and what works for one person, does not always work for another. Pain patients should be able to use whatever method of pain relief works for them because individual metabolisms vary. The therapies available to us, help many different kinds of chronic pain. Each method contains various medicinal qualities that work differently in each patient. It’s also true that one specific method of pain relief doesn’t help everyone. Nobody should be forced into taking or doing something that they don’t feel comfortable with.

The same is true with surgeries and injections. In my personal opinion, these continuous injections into the spine, are just “money makers” for the chronic pain clinics who are now too afraid to prescribe opioids. Even though the CDC told us that the 2016 guidelines

were just a “guide” and they are not the law. It seems as though the majority of pain clinics and Doctors jumped on the bandwagon to demonize opioids after the guidelines were disclosed. Now we are seeing suicides go up with the decrease in prescribing of Opioids for chronic pain illnesses. It seems as though there is a correlation between the lowering of Opioid prescribing and an increase in surgeries for Spinal cord stimulators, pain pumps and nerve ablations. But no one should EVER be forced into having an invasive surgery that could possibly cause more pain and stress for these already medically fragile human beings. My physical therapist told me that the SCS means surgically putting a catheter into your spine to give small electric shocks in order make you think of those shocks instead of the pain! She told me that our brain cannot think of pain and pleasure at the same time. I’m guessing that some think these electric shocks are pleasurable? I had a T.E.N.S. unit soon after my car accident and it did help with muscular pain and soft tissue damage, slightly. I have read that they’re (SCS) most helpful in people who have low back pain, leg pain or one area of pain and not multiple pain issues (http://aansneurosurgeon.org/features/neurosurgeons-rise-address-opioid-crisis-america/).

My previous pain clinic physician informed me that the intrathecal pain pump administers approximately 1/300th of the amount of oral medication needed to relieve high amounts of chronic pain. But this is also living with a literal “hockey puck” inside of your gut forever and and depending on one person to fill it! That same Dr., told me that I would be “married to him” as a patient, for life. In my research, I have found that if your physician leaves his practice, retires or if you have complications in another city/state or country; your pretty much out of luck, in all honesty! Emergency rooms and other physicians won’t normally touch another Dr’s patient with a pain pump! Again, this is another invasive surgery where your body is being cut and something is put into your spine. Complications stem from worsening pain to paralysis. Here is an article that speaks to some of the complications (http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/to-your-good-health/implanted-back-pain-pump-is-an-option-for-very-few/article_474eed95-3f54-59ca-9b9b-9f8f941c0300.html). The nerve ablation or Radiofrequency Neurotomy, means literally “burning” nerves to “create a heat lesion”, thus, making the nerves lose functionality (https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/radiofrequency-neurotomy-facet-and-sacroiliac-joint-pain). Each person feeling relief from chronic pain, is all that matters. We should be able to have choices available to discuss with our own physicians.

Someone who knows our past history of illness and our current diseases. A Dr. who can discuss these different methods with us and help us determine which route is best for each individual.

This past week I read an article in “Clinical Pain Advisor” (https://www.clinicalpainadvisor.com/treatments/epidural-steroid-injections-postmenopausal-women-bone-mineral-density-vertebral-fractures/article/739080/) that touched on the issues with the Epidural Steroid Injections. After having many of these injections in the first years following my car accident, now I find out that they cause decreased bone mineral density and increased risks for vertebral fractures. It appears that there are complications with every method of pain relief. We just need to be able to choose what is best for our own body. Nobody should be forced into surgeries, Acupuncture, Marijuana or Opioids. On the other hand, if one method, such as Opioids, have worked for you and you’ve literally tried many other methods of pain relief, then you should be able to continue. Taking a pill that has little or no side effects for a group of people who are doing well with Opioid therapy, should be still allowed and not demonized. I believe there will always be a place for Opioids for the relief of chronic pain. If you have been taking them for many years and are stable, then obviously you are not “addicted”. Don’t forget that there is a difference between addiction and dependency. Also, don’t forget to support the “Opioids and Stop Pain Act” (S.2260/H.R. 4733), introduced by Senator Schatz and Representatives Welch & MicKinley. The U.S. Pain Foundation, along with 30 other Pain organizations support this Act. It will provide $5 billion over 5 years for research of the NIH into the understanding of pain and the discovery and development of therapy for chronic pain.

Becoming Incurable Crowdfunding Campaign


Please watch this short video and see how this film producer is bringing awareness of Chronic pain and Chronic illnesses to the big screen!

If you prefer to visit my advocacy YouTube Channel to watch this, you can visit: WWW.YouTube.Com/Suzydukettes….

BUT my newest Youtube video is right here for you to watch -and it’s only about 4 minutes Long: I hope you will enjoy, learn & help in any way possible with the crowdfunding campaign, at: http://www.seedandspark.com/fund/becomingincurable

Here is a very short 4 minute video: (Thank you for Watching):

Becoming Incurable Crowdfunding Video

Are You Aware Of #RareDiseaseDay?


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Did you know that “Rare Disease Day” is coming soon, on February 28, 2018?  Do you  know that “rare diseases” aren’t so rare after all?  According to the the National Organization for Rare Disorders, there are 7,000 rare diseases and disorders that all together affect 30 million Americans; majority of these are children.  In other words, 1 in 10 Americans live with and suffer from rare diseases. This day is an annual celebration to recognize and bring about awareness to the public but also to decision makers.  We can each make a difference by either hosting an event, participating in online activities or doing both. Rare Disease day always lands on the very last day in February, the 28th or 29th (if Leap year). Each year we try to increase awareness and knowledge of rare disorders and bring attention to the kind of impact that they have on these people’s lives.  Most of these have no cure.  Sadly, they largely go unrecognized, under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed. Another fact is that the majority of these diseases, about 95%, have no treatments available and no cures.

The U.S. Pain Foundation supports “Rare Disease Day” and therefore we have provided several ways to include this day in your communities worldwide.  We feel that this special day “falls in line with the organization’s mission to connect, inform, empower and educate chronic pain and invisible illnesses.”.  There are many ways that you can can become involved in this event.  One way that you can raise awareness, is by hosting an awareness event table in your city.  You may visit the U.S. Pain Foundation website at the link provided in the above quote, to read more about this day and the events surrounding it. You can also visit the www.Rarediseaseday.org  website to get more background and historical information about this day.  If you would like to participate in worldwide events you can visit:  http://rarediseaseday.us/events.

Other ways to become involved are to: “Save the date” of 2-28-18, because #NORD  will be hosting a #tweetchat (#RDD18Chat) on #RareDiseaseDay at 1:00-2:00pm EST.  You can also retweet some facts, such as this one: “There are 1 in 10 Americans that live with a #raredisease.  That is 30 Million Americans!”  You can download the special Social Media logo’s etc. and post them on your Facebook Cover picture and your profile photo.  There’s also an official YouTube video that you can share on your own Social Media accounts, at:  https://youtu.be/02zR9r-LOfQ.  You can follow them on their USA official links at: Twitter @RareDayUS, Facebook @ Rare Disease Day US and Instagram @RareDiseaseDayUS.  The Worldwide official links are here:  Facebook @Rare Disease Day and Twitter @RareDiseaseDay.  The hashtags that you want to use if you would like to spread awareness via social media are:  #RareDiseaseDay, #RareDisease, #RareDiseases, #1in10, #CuresNow and #NORD.  There is an entire list of ways to get involved right from your own home, bed or recliner; right here at https://www.rarediseaseday.us/get-involved/social-media/#1474047637908-88935dfd-3a29,

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) are the sponsors of this day and these events. But the participants in “Rare Disease Day” are the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Pain Foundation and other patient organizations, government agencies and companies . We also encourage people to plan Advocacy events near their state capital or house to help with issues that are relevant at the state level.  The worldwide theme this year for Rare Disease Day 2018, is much needed research of various rare disorders.  When there is active research being done, it brings people who are ill, the hope they need in order to continue living and trying.

Take Our Hand – The US Pain Foundation


Take our Hand- The US Pain Foundation

It’s the New Year of 2018 and I’m reflecting on this past year, 2017. Many people ask me about the US Pain Foundation. They ask me “what does the US Pain Foundation do? What are they doing to help with the Opioid crisis?” I thought I’d explain what they are doing and what kinds of things that I do, as an Ambassador for US Pain.

The first thing to know is that they are not about accolades nor do they have a need to be in the spotlight. They do so much for those of us who live with chronic pain. They rarely ask for anything. I have noticed that when I do fundraisers; they’re more interested in how many people were helped with “Awareness”?

But for right now, I’d really like to inform you of some of the different projects that are going on within this non profit organization. Right now there are so many people being affected by issue of chronic pain patients being under or untreated. They are also being quickly tapered off of their life saving and life giving pain medications. US Pain Foundation saw a need and heard the cries of the pain community and they responded. I also want you to know that they are not all about “rescuing” people; but rather, teaching and giving the tools so that people can help themselves. If you visit USPainfoundation.org; you’ll see a myriad of resources to help.

One of the many things they are doing for the chronic pain community is that they and 31 other patient & professional organizations/groups have submitted a letter to Congress. In December 2017, these groups sent a letter urging Congress not to repeal the Ensuring Patient Access & Effective Drug Enforcement Of 2016. If it is repealed, this would hurt protections for chronic pain patients. This law would stop the DEA from limiting controlled substance pain medication distribution in a transparent way; also lacking due process and/or safety! (see this article: https://USPainfoundation.org/news/-31-organizations-speak-repeal-Patient-access-act/ )

The entire move to repeal was ignited by the “60 Minutes”story”EX-DEA agent: Opioid Crisis-fueled by Drug Industry and Congress”, which was on TV in October 2017. The persons at US Pain who deal with many of these kinds of issues, are: Shaina Smith, the Director of state Advocacy & Alliance Development.and Cindy Steinberg, the National Director of state Advocacy.

The US Pain Foundation is being very proactive for patients during this time of unrest and uncertainty. They have devised a plan for patients.. This plan can be printed out and used by patients during an emergent situation; such as being dropped from their pain physician or if they feel desperate and/or suicidal. There’s an article and resource here: The US Pain Foundation is here to help. Here’s a plan to print out & use if you’re denied pain treatment .

Lastly, I wanted to end with this quote from this article: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2017/11/05/when-Patients-have-give-up-their-pain-medicine-Opioids/776067001 , that I truly was inspired by, “Legitimate patients with chronic pain are being forgotten,” said Paul Gileno president and founder of the US pain foundation. “The disease of addiction is taking over the disease of pain and everyone is forgetting about the Pain Patient.” It is the truth and the US Pain Foundation is trying to give Chronic pain patients the tools needed to feel more empowered. They also have designed a new app called “Ouchie”, where you can keep a log of your pain journey. Then there is Ellen Smith who is helping with another alternative to Opioids, which is medical marijuana. Ellen is a Board Member and she does webinars and teaches people about the correct use of medical marijuana.

There is a whole Myriad of options for programs and resources found on the US Pain Foundation website. We have Awareness programs, Educational programs, Support programs and fundraising programs. So please go and have a look around at www.uspainfoundation.org . You are welcome to always ask me anything, but please know that the US Pain Foundation is there for all of us!

(These views are my own & not necessarily the views of the US Pain Foundation)

Becoming Incurable Magazine Feature


Hello Luvs

I’m really excited to share this with you today! The US Pain Foundation has teamed with Victoria Suan, the producer, creator & Director of her Documentary “Becoming Incurable “. I’d written to you about 6 weeks ago regarding the feature film etc. But today I want to share this online magazine that she’s made to compliment the video compilations and her Documentary!

I am the middle of 3 persons being featured in this online magazine. I’m being featured for the illness of CRPS. This is thrilling and just so very exciting to be a part of this beautiful project to spread awareness of chronic pain and illness.

Becoming Incurable magazine feature