I Cannot Do Everything, But I Can Do Something


Don’t let anyone tell you that one person cannot help to make changes within our society. When someone takes the necessary steps to help make changes happen, they are assured to be part of the outcome. Let me make this less obfuscatory and explain it in a more concise way. Back in the Summer of 2017, I had read an article from a Michigan newspaper, that explained how a husband had gone to the emergency room of a hospital, to find his wife (then girlfriend) on a gurney, writhing in pain, while a physician stood by watching monitors. The emergency room physicians had “marked her as a drug addict”, before knowing any of her history or taking the necessary steps to find out. The Dr. told her husband that his wife was “complaining” about pain. Then in his next sentence, the Dr. said that “addicts often come to the emergency room looking for opioids”. The husband was very upset by this because his wife was not normally a person who “complains” often. He knew she’s had a “nerve block” procedure that day and something must have gone wrong. She has had damaged nerves in her back since a skiing accident long ago. She had had tried over 40 medications and a number of procedures. The only thing that had helped this chronic pain patient who was lying there in horrific pain, was a “complicated treatment plan, which included opioids”. The emergency room physician finally relented and gave her just a fraction of her regular dosage, but this was at least enough to get her out of there and taken home.

This story is not unlike many others that I’ve been hearing and reading about for the past couple of years now. Some of the stories ended much worse that this one. What if this woman had no one there to advocate for her? I was upset by this story and it stirred something inside of me. Not only does it tear me up inside to hear stories of others being treated badly, but also, I am a chronic pain patient. I had already written letters to the President of the United States, the head of Health and Human Services, to my two Senators, my Governor & Lieutenant Governor. I wrote about the under treatment and loss of treatment to the chronic pain community since the CDC guidelines were revealed and then used as if they were “law” of the land. I had found out about a new Michigan HB-4601 that was going to become a law in the Summer of 2018, if I did not try to do something to change it. I decided to write a “plea for the chronic pain community” a bit closer to home. I sent a letter to the representative for my district, in the Michigan House of Representatives. Instead of the regular “form letter”, I actually received a note from him; asking me “if there was anything he could do”? He told me to contact him, “if I had any questions” and so I did. I asked if he would meet and speak with me for a few moments regarding HB-4601(*this was a House Bill that was to become law on July 1, 2018. Stated in that bill, was a 100MME ceiling limit for all chronic pain patients. Mixed into that bill, were new rules about acute pain. There was a 7 day prescription limit & persons had to physically go into the physicians office after the 7 days were up; and then go to the pharmacy to get the new script if needed. There was a bit more, but that was the gist of it).

I met with my House Representative because I just needed to do something to try and change this upcoming Bill so that it would take become the law. I don’t like to complain unless I know the I’ve done all that I could do to help others and myself, if needed in the future. If passed, this law would make a 100MME for everyone with the exceptions being: hospice care and cancer care. But the FDA already stated that “there was no scientific evidence that cancer pain was any different than other chronic pain conditions”. (*This information is found by googling: fda-2012-P-0818. Then by looking on page 9, paragraph 3 of this “e-copy” response to Dr. Andrew Kolodny, from the Department of Health & Human Services on September 10, 2013.)

I went to my meeting with confidence, kindness and some research that I had done. Human beings metabolize medications differently, as do various illnesses. I spoke to him about the HB-4601 and I told him my own story. He saw a person and could put a face to this issue afterwards. For the first time, he was introduced face to face, with chronic pain in a real person who was sitting across from him, talking and sharing.

At first, he was taken aback that someone could be on a normal dosage of Opioid pain medication and not be groggy or sleepy or “high”. He told me that he had not thought about the difference between dependency and addiction. We had a very nice conversation and then we went our separate ways.

Afterwards, I sent him Kate Nicholson’s “Ted Talk” and the information from George Knapp’s video about Opioids and the “The Other Side of Opioids” . Whenever something that might help the pleas of the chronic pain community became available; I would send it to him. My hard work finally seems to have helped. On December 28, 2017, Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder signed into Law, SB-027. That Senate Bill which passed, is now Public Act 251 of 17. In researching that law, I found that there is allowed a partial fill of a prescription for acute pain. It limits a first prescription to 7 days and then a physician can verbally call in to the pharmacy or fax a subsequent prescription for acute pain, if needed. This is good news for the chronic pain community of Michigan. That HB-4601 is now going dormant and nothing more will move on that, according to what I was told by the House Reps secretary. The entire Law or Public Act-251 of 17 can be found here: http://legislature.mi.gov/documents/2017-2018/publicact/pdf/2017-PA-0251.pdf

The board, unanimously passed a resolution finding that the original HB 4601 “infringes on a doctor’s ability to care for patients by substituting the Legislature’s opinion for the opinion of individual medical professionals.” The board further advocated a balanced approach “that specifically targets addiction and abuse while protecting the rights of patients for whom these prescriptions are medically necessary.”

Government can and must think about and help to resolve the opioid epidemic. Too many people are dying from the abuse of painkillers. But more and more they are realizing that the problem is not the prescription pain medications given to legitimate chronic pain patients; but they are seeing more and more Chinese Fentanyl sent through the U.S. mail service. We need to address this but at the same time we should not have to sacrifice chronic pain patients lives in order to save the drug addicted persons. We don’t have to hurt someone in order to help another. We can protect people and not swing to the extremes, one way or the other. We can be thoughtful and diligent in helping those that suffer the disease of addiction without being thoughtless to the chronic pain community; a group of people already suffering.

I accomplished most everything that I have done, from the comfort of my own home and even my recliner. The only time that I had to go out of the house for any of this, was when I met with the House Rep., in early September 2017. He met with me very close to my home because I’m unable to drive more than a couple of miles for “personal errands’. We met in a coffee shop and had a very real conversation. We must let our stories be told and our faces be seen. Our government leaders need to hear true stories and see that we are real people who are suffering and who can and will be affected by their choices. In the words of my personal hero, Helen Keller, I say this: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

I Am Invisible No More!


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Hello Luvs,

I wanted to post the video that I made for Invisible Disabilities Association. I was hoping to ask you for a favor? I have entered this video in a contest, in order to spread awareness of Invisible Illnesses. Would you please be so kind as to just click on the video below and then watch the 3 minute long Video? Then right above the video, after you click on it, you’ll see the word “VOTE”! Please click on that word and that will cast your vote for me!

Thank you so very much! If you could, I’d be so obliged if you could SHARE the video on your Facebook pages and in your groups, Tweets etc. It would be really awesome to make Invisible illnesses more known! Thank you for your vote, in advance. I appreciate it so much! Ohhhh please always us the hashtag #Iaminvisiblenomore thank you !

My video “I Am Invisible No More” Is Right Here, When You Click!

http://woobox.com/yskmzt/gallery/0by3nprZkI0

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

Gaslighting: How A Flicker Of Self-Doubt Warps Our Response To Sexual Harassment and pain 


I was so touched by this email that I received from my friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Ibsen, M.D.. I wanted to re-post this here in my blog, because I thought you would enjoy reading it.

**This is a guest blog post written by Dr Mark Ibsen MD***(He’s referring to this article: https://www.npr.org/2017/11/25/565729334/gaslighting-how-a-flicker-of-self-doubt-warps-our-response-to-sexual-harassment)

********

When I read this,

I could see how pain patients are often gaslighted

Out of their story, their reality

By the domination structure.

Not always male ( think Jayne Ballentyne)

But

Very similar to the harms associated with

Sexual harassment/abuse that is so currently in our national focus.

Whether male or female

Pain makes us doubt our own reality.

This is what makes it such a terrorist.

IMHO

Can we piggy back into the abuse conversation?

Can we make the case that those with arachnoiditis, for example

Were harmed by needle jockeys

Then

Dealt with dismissively ( no one will believe you)

Then

Cowed into submission by being threatened with loss of their medication?

Or

Cancer patients who survive,

Yet can’t get pain relief for their neuropathy,

And get the message:they should  be grateful to be alive…

Or

Wounded warriors who return from Iraq or Afghanistan with

Severe injuries and ptsd

Who must reinvent their entire persona?

Maybe there’s something useful in being with this issue in a new way…

https://www.npr.org/2017/11/25/565729334/gaslighting-how-a-flicker-of-self-doubt-warps-our-response-to-sexual-harassment

Or any kind of harassment.

I’ve been gaslighting myself for years in response to the attack on my practice by

The Montana BOME,

Along with the ptsd from hearings where my

Personality was attacked

My integrity impugned

And

My mental health repeatedly called into question.

Of course the financial disaster of

Loss of my business

Medical costs

Legal wrangling

Has been great,

But the greatest impact has been on my confidence

Faith

Optimism

And

Open hearted empathy.

Yet,

Overcoming these self doubts,

While a daily regimen

Has taught me to be more authentic

Has shown me that being Raw upgrades my intuition and healing skill set,

Making a wider range of emotional states available to me, as well as the opportunity to transform these states.

So- yes Pain IS an F/N terrorist.

And

While I have yet to develop gratitude for

Mike Fanning and the Board

Sarah Damm

Dea agents Addis and Tuss

Pharmacists who refuse to follow the CSA and refuse to fill my Rx

And

Others who ripped me off when I was reeling,

I also

Have learned the validity of Winston Churchill’s statement from WWI:

” nothing so enlivens the soul as to be shot at without result”

It took me 4 days of the Thanksgiving holiday to get to this place. Thanks to friends

Community

Therapy

And

Alanon

And Candy

Be well

Mark Ibsen MD

Helena Mt.

Conspiracies Against Wellness Radio Broadcast


Hello Luvs,

I was recently a guest on a radio show, “Conspiracies Against Wellness “. I was interviewed by Jonelle Elgaway and I spoke about the Opioid crisis. Please listen and answer my “call to action” plea at the end.

Please feel free to share this. I encourage you to share it so as many people as possible will learn about all that the chronic pain community is going through.

Here’s the link:

Thank you!

https://youtu.be/N8cBhUStCnA

Turn Your Fear Into Action



Yes, it’s a sad day when the U.S. government starts messing with the Dr. and patient relationship. Our legislators are not trained in the management of chronic illnesses nor in the management of chronic pain. This is also true for the pharmacy chains. Since when does a “drug store” get to tell a legitimate M.D. that they won’t follow their instructions? The chief medical officer at CVS health says “We have some situations, in which we feel that there are certain physicians who are prescribing way too high of doses and way too strong of medications,” he said. They are now beginning to limit prespcription opioids. But they don’t have a Dr./patient privilege. They do not know what is wrong with each patient in any given situation, due to that privilege. So I just don’t understand how they are the ones to control this situation? In my opinion, this is for publicity due to what is happening right now with all of the hype of the so called opioid crisis. There are legitimate avenues for the pharmacy chain to report certain specific physicians about whom they are concerns. There seems to be no reason to punish the entire medical profession and pain community for the sins of a few.
 The CVS policy is going above and beyond the “VOLUNTARY” recommendations of the CDC guidelines. These guidelines were given and intended to be only advice for Primary care physicians who treat chronic pain patients. This is even taking the patient care out of the hands of the trained pain management physicians, in my opinion. In an article in Today, by Charles Shamard M.D., on September 22, 2017, it states that CVS plans to roll out the initiatives to control opioid abuse as of February 1, 2018.

“Daily dosage limits will be based on the strength of the painkiller and CVS pharmacists will require the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended-release opioids are dispensed, lowering the risk of tolerance to the highly addictive drugs”.
Stop and take a deep breath, just for a moment. Think about this logically and clearly for a moment and make sure that you read everything you can get your hands on before you become terribly upset. I totally and 100% understand why the chronic pain patients and many physicians in the communities are upset. The government and pharmacies should not be controlling or meddling in these kinds of situations. But if you look closely and think very clearly, this is for new prescriptions. Also, if. You have ever had surgery, the first 7 days are the worst, right? If you need more, then the Dr. may possibly be able to write another one for another 7 days? But in opioid naive persons, a 7 day supply may be alright following a minor surgery? I feel that the surgeon would be the one to know for how long his patient should need to take stronger pain medications. Just try to remember that most of the new guidelines are not for legacy chronic pain patients, who have been doing well on opioids for several years and on steady doses. 
This is the time to not over react and not just complain. This is the time to put on your “thinking cap” and get to work. Find out who your legislators are and send them an email. It’s super easy to do. You just google your state and add “.gov” after the name of your state. A list will appear and you can choose who to write to. Go to the link that says “contact” and send them each an email. You can do it from your bed or your sofa and from inside of your own home. You don’t have to go anyplace or use up much energy. Write something kind and to the point. Most of them do not know the difference between addiction and dependency. They are just going along with the mainstream media hype concerning opioids. You may find that their hearts are in the right place but they just haven’t received any positive information regarding how helpful the opioids can be to some persons with long term chronic pain and chronic pain illnesses. They may not know about how the suicide rate has been rising since all of these restrictions have been put into place. According to Dr. Stefan Kertez, M.D., “A significant number of chronic pain patients are killing themselves, and that should be a concern to a society at large when people die as a result of something done to care for them.” These CDC guidelines are not a law. They are “guidelines” and mostly for Primary Care physicians and not legitimate Pain Management Physicians. But most certainly, I just cannot imagine that they were meant for pharmacy chains. 

Comment:  A friend of mine, named Bob Schubring, wanted to write these comments but WordPress isn’t working properly & it won’t allow People to leave a comment? I don’t understand what’s wrong but I did want his comments to be seen: here are the comments from Bob Schubring :  

Hi Suzanne:

Patients need to form a union.

Individually, we are powerless against corporations, politicians, bureaucrats, and demagogues. If we organize, we can get a lot more done.

A starting point for a National Patients Union, is to create one of the new Association Health Plans (AHPs) that are about to become legalized by an executive order, that will allow people to shop for health insurance sold in another US state, than the state they live in. If we patients unionize ourselves, we could create an AHP and buy healthcare at the best available rate, bargaining collectively with the insurance corporations to get that rate. Our union could bring great pressure on a corporation like CVS, because we could offer them an alternative solution to their governmental problems, than the cowardly solution they are now pursuing.

CVS’ cowardly fear, is that they will be sued for malpractice, whenever a liar checks into a rehab clinic for addiction treatment, then comes out seeking money, and sues CVS for “enabling” his addiction. And CVS’ cowardly solution, is to form an alliance with an enabler of al that lying, addiction “expert” Andrew Kolodny, and attack pain patients and everyone else who is not an addict.

What a National Patients Union could do, is offer the competing drugstore chains the exclusive right to fill our prescriptions. As a union, we could simply agree not to make lies up about the causes of addiction nor to use those lies to win money we don’t deserve, in court. That would give the competing drugstore chain that wins our business, the same protection that cowardly CVS wants to get from liars and cheats, by attacking the rest of their customers

________

That’s my comment.
Hope you are having a low-pain day today.

Bob Schubring