Never Judge By Outward Appearances 




During this September 2017, we have been urged by the U.S. Pain Foundation, to share our story on social media.  I was reluctant to do this, but then I decided to share after a mini documentary that my husband & I were involved in was released.  Let me explain:

I was recently involved in a video on Social media, called “Becoming Incurable”, directed & produced by Victoria Suan.  I’ve had several people see that video, which shows only a minuscule piece, of one very small illness that I live with.  People saw me with a nebulizer and now think I have only Asthma.  Asthma isn’t fun even on its own. But between this and seeing me involved with the U.S. Pain Foundation during Pain Awareness Month especially;  many people are assuming things that shouldn’t be assumed.  None of us like being assessed by what we look like on the outside; with regards to Invisible illnesses.  Several persons have told me that they “wish they only had what I have”.  Others have said that “they wish they could do more & be involved more, like I am able to do “. 

My name is Suzanne and I have been disabled since 1999; 1st from PTSD and stage two chronic Kidney disease. In August 2002, I was in a motor vehicle accident which caused multiple injuries,including:   a Traumatic brain injury, hearing loss (I acquired 2 hearing aids), vision lessened & eye issues, many (approximately 8) surgeries, & 3 years of TBI rehab. I still suffer with short term memory loss and other effects from the TBI.  In 2003, I had to have a dual chamber pacemaker placed for “Sick Sinus Syndrome”  (it is a Bradycardia/Tachycardia Arrythmia), along with Dysautonomia/POTS.  After seven or eight surgeries and a pacemaker, I was diagnosed with” Complex Regional
Pain Syndrome”, in 2007. It started in my right foot after surgery and it spread over the years to both feet & knees.

 In 2005, I had an M. I. or heart attack. In 2006 after the heart attack, I was diagnosed with Atrial fibrillation and was put on Blood thinners. But, I suffered a CVA/stroke in 2006. I have Mitral valve prolapse, Tricuspid valve prolapse, mild Pulmonary Valve Hypertension, 

In 2013, I had to have pacemaker replacement surgery (my first pacemaker was placed in 2003). When the Heart Surgeon got inside of my chest, they found that the entire pectoral muscle had to be totally rebuilt. The old pacemaker had been placed in the muscle instead of inside of a bag near the muscle. Over 10 years, It wore a hole right through my pectoral muscle and then had to be rebuilt during a long surgery, which was a very painful recovery afterwards. The Dr. informed me that aside from the Systemic CRPS, the continuing post surgical pain and Lymphedema in my left arm, is similar to the pain that occurs after a mastectomy.  Though, I did not have a Mastectomy.  

 The surgeon, a Neurocardiologist, had researched RSD/CRPS & did an internal surgical wash of Bipvucaine to try and “head off”systemic CRPS, & prevent it from spreading. It ended up being unsuccessful and the CRPS progressed into “Severe, Systemic/Full body CRPS”. It’s spread everywhere including my eyes and my mouth.  

 I have a few other chronic pain illnesses, including: CKDII, Arnold Chiari Malformation I (with Chiari Migraines),
Degenerative Disc Disease, RA, OA, Gastroparesis, S.I.B.O., Chronic Erosive Gastritis, Autonomic Neuropathy, Polyneuropathy in Collagen Vascular Disease (EDS-4/vascular), multiple herniated & bulging discs (with L4-5 Radiculopathy) at L4,L5& S1 + C5,C6 & C7. CID (Combined Immunodeficiency Disease/an Autoimmune disease), Eczema, Prinzmetal Angina (aka “Coronary Spasms”), Lymphedema, Scoliosis, Asthma, CAD, Right Long Thoracic Nerve Neuropathy, Severe Dry Eye, and just too much to mention here today! But you get the idea!  

I’m not the only one! There are so many chronic pain warriors with a list as long or longer!  I’m not a candidate for a Spinal cord Stimulator or an Intrathecal pain pump, because of my “Combined Immune Deficiency Disease”. It could cause paralysis and/or infection in my Spinal cord. So I’m limited in what I can do for my chronic pain. I’m one in a group of chronic pain patients, who has had to resort to taking pain medications. But in doing this, I can have some semblance of a life outside of my bed or the sofa. Believe me, since 2002, I’ve tried many, many medications starting with Lyrica & Gabapentin. I went through 8 years of physical therapy. I had to go to TBI rehabilitation for 3 years. I’ve had many braces, therapies, tests, TENS unit (prior to the CRPS) and more! Depending on the day & how much I need to do; I have:  hand braces, arm sleeve covers, 2 knee braces,     2 AFO’s, a wheelchair, Motorized scooter, walker and a cane. Right now the pain medications are what give me the ability to do some activities outside of my home, bed or sofa.  

 This is my story…. it’s  the “Readers Digest” short version.. It’s a long arduous and continuing saga of chronic pain and surgeries. But I just don’t give up HOPE. I make it a Verb and try to change negatives
into positives. Rather than do nothing, I try to do something. For fun, I make You Tube Videos of my favorite songs or stories translated into American Sign Language (@ASLSuzyQ).

 I’m an Ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation. I write in my blog, “Tears of Truth” @tearsoftruth.com. I am a writer
for the National Pain Report.  I also founded & run a few support groups for chronic pain and I’m a chemo-angel. I am part of a collaboration group to help with the Opioid crisis (the crisis being the lack of Opioids now & the government taking pain meds away from legitimate chronic pain patients).  I am a patient leader for WEGO Health and a mentor for newly DX CRPS patients for RSDSA.  Setting all of this aside, just as one of my previous blog posts/ news articles states: “There are no competitions and no winners!”  (Can be read in this blog or here at the Ntl. pain Report: http://nationalpainreport.com/no-competition-no-winners-8833089.html)

In July 2017, I was certified by the U. S. Pain Foundation, to lead an “in-person” Support Group. Without having my wonderful, loving husband/caregiver, Craig; my loving U.S. Pain Foundation Family, my WEGO health friends, my friends, family and my writing, I’d be lost in all of this. 

Here’s the link to my Facebook page for this blog. This link takes you directly to the video called “The Incurables”:  https://www.facebook.com/TearsofTruth.SuzanneStewart/posts/1943805715875595


Living With Invisible Illnesses


 Showcasing what many of us live with and deal with on a daily basis:

Preventable Suicide Crime Scene


Someone help this woman! This is a crime! They treat animals better than people so what’s wrong with this picture? This must stop! People are committing suicide because they’re being denied pain medications! Please watch this short video and it will open your eyes to the TRUE OPIOID crises going on in the United Stated of America! Someone please help this woman and the other 100 million chronic pain patients who are in agony now bcz of what’s being misunderstood as addiction, hyperalgesia and worse! This lack of opioid pain medication to true legitimate chronic pain patients, has to stop! We are not disposables! We are in agony and we are human beings with rights like every living soul! Please learn about the difference between dependence and addiction! Addiction is a non-stop ruminating, craving and a need to get high from taking some kind of medication or drug! People with Chronic pain get “addicted” 1% of the time, due to pain medication! We are “dependent” NOT addicted! Our bodies will go through a physical withdrawal when the meds are taken away! But we do not WANT to need the pain medications. We do NOT get high or euphoric from the opioids! We get to live some semblance of a life outside of a hospital or a bed in our homes! Please help because too many people have died already! Stop being hysterical and blaming real and legitimate pain patients because someone you know died from an overdose! I’m so sorry for you, but don’t punish everyone because you’re in misery! Find compassion in your heart and watch this woman’s story for about 3-4 minutes! Thank you!

Thank

The Happy Challenge


The suffering of the chronic pain patient can be mostly silent, somewhat invisible.  People will sometimes ask “where are the bruises, the medical machines or the marks on your body”?  Let me explain about the “hidden bruises”, the “quiet bleeding inside” and the sporadic silence.  The “silent screams” are more often quiet because we are seen as complaining if we are too vocal.  When we don’t say anything or we look “fine”; then we must be Okay because we appear to be fine on the outside and we are not complaining. We may verbalize that we are tired and then they say “Oh yes, I’m tired too! I know what you mean. It’s normal to be tired at our ages. You just have to work through it!” They don’t realize that we have to “ration our spoons” throughout the day (see the “spoon theory” by Christine Miserandino, at http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com).  There’s no sense trying to explain it to them because it is not a battle of words that we have the energy to argue about.  Most people who do not live with and deal with daily chronic pain, just cannot understand or fathom the idea that just taking a shower and getting ready for our day, can use up so many of our “spoons” or so much of our energy.

We may agree to attend an event or a family outing if at all possible.  We don’t intend to break a “promise” but when we go against our own best judgement; we may then suffer.  Sometimes we go, but cannot stay very long; they say we are “phony”.  We try to hide how we are feeling, but sometimes even with our greatest strength, we have to submit to the pain and fatigue. We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us.  That’s when we start losing friends and family members. We start getting invited to social events less often. Though we really wish to be invited and truly want to go, if we possibly can.

Next, we have the other chronic pain patients who have knowledge of the “Spoon Theory” and some of the similar feelings that we all experience daily.  Then for one reason or another, maybe because we are not all at the “same place at the same time”; we may be judged again by our peers. It hurts, because we all experience the chronic pain and fatigue, but we may each handle it differently. I try not to judge anyone for doing what they need to do to take care of themselves. When you only “know” someone through social media, you don’t really know them or their daily struggles. You only know what they choose to share.  It hurts when someone judges me for appearing to be active on social media. It’s true that I am an Ambassador for the U.S. Pain foundation, I’m a freelance writer, a blogger, a mentor, a patient leader for WEGO health and I am a health advocate. But I don’t have to do anything on any day or days, if I don’t choose to. I may be in my recliner for 20 out of 24 hours some days. But that doesn’t mean that I cannot encourage, counsel, connect or give TLC to others.

If I do an event, then I am literally “down” for several days afterwards. It is worth it to me, just to stay as positive, helpful and useful as I possibly can be.  I also don’t admonish others who are not in the same place as me.  I remember times when I didn’t feel as happy inside and I still have periods like that. The ups and downs are pretty normal within the lives of chronic pain patients.  Sometimes when in horrible pain physically and/or mentally; people generally think that others should be able to see or feel things the same way as they do.

Now, I have a different strategy for dealing with the pain. I utilize every possible venue to express my own pain and my reaction to the changes that it has made in my life and our lives. I am not always positive, nor am I constantly happy and upbeat. But I do try to be positive as often as possible on Social media. Sometimes people’s lives depend on it. Naturally, we all have our darker times; but I try to rarely share those publicly.  I’m not saying that I’m right or this is right for everyone. I’m just sharing how I deal with my own personal pain.

I felt the need or the urge to write about this because I received a private note from someone. It really hurt at first and I was crying. I participated and usually do participate in the various online events and “photo challenges”. It may be for U.S Pain foundation, for WEGO health or for RSDSA etc.  It’s just therapeutic for me and I enjoy being a part of these online events. If I can cheer up one person then it is worth it for me.  If I can show one person, a light at the end of the tunnel, then I have given them hope.   Someone sent me this private message and it said;   “Not to start anything but….why do you devote so much time and trouble to your blog, your websites, groups and writings?  Why don’t you just deal with the pain, like the rest of us? YOUR “Happy challenge” was yours not mine…. I guess we don’t see it the same way. I just try to get thru the day w/the least amount of pain possible and thank God when I awaken the next day.  No drugs, no docs, just PT and pain shrink….”.  Like I said, at first I cried and I was hurt by these words. For a few moments, I felt like it was and has been all for nothing.  But it’s not for nothing. We are not all in the same place at the same time.  There are stages of chronic pain, just as there are stages of grief; they are pretty similar. But one thing for sure, I don’t put others down for taking or not taking medications or if they choose to use an SCS or a pain pump (for which I’m not a candidate, due to an Immune deficiency disease). I feel strongly about doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best quality of life that I can possibly have.  I don’t choose to go to as many Dr’s as I once did. I try to just visit the specialists that my life depends on.  I don’t just “wait for the next day to arrive”.  Though I do thank God every day, for giving me life. I also don’t do PT after 9 years of doing it and I don’t go to a “pain shrink”.  But that is my choice.  I do take a normal dose of Opioid pain medication, of which my life “depends on” now.  I’m not “addicted”, but “dependent” on this medication. But guess what? I was able to attend my youngest granddaughters’ first birthday party because of this.  I GOT the pleasure of attending a U.S. pain conference this past weekend.  I got to do it and got through it, because I am able to take a pill that helps me get through these events.  Yes, of course I suffer still, for a few days afterwards, but I have the memories and so do the “little ones” and the other people who I got to spend time with. I also got to experience other persons like myself, who want to make a difference and try to help in the world of chronic pain.  It’s not for everybody and that’s OK.  We are all different, it’s supposed to be that way.  I don’t particularly enjoy things like gardening or cooking. Some people couldn’t imagine life without those things. I am me and that is OK.  I cannot please everyone and it’s alright.  I’m not crying any longer about the message. Instead I feel badly for the person who wrote it.  They are in a darker or more sad place than me. I will be there for them if or when they are ready.

It’s a difficult kind of life to explain when you look fine on the outside, your photos look like everything is “normal” on the outside; but my body burns and aches even through the smiles. I’m just like some of the other chronic pain patients, but I choose to outlet my pain in different ways. Nobody says that my way is the right way, but it’s the right way for me to express my pain and try to help others in the process.

 

 

One Bloggers’ Reaction To An Attack On Pain Patients!


Continue reading “One Bloggers’ Reaction To An Attack On Pain Patients!”

This is My Fight …….


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This post stems from some horrible comments that were made on one of my videos on YOU TUBE. MY one YOU TUBE channel is mostly dedicated to information and helping others struggling with chronic pain and /or Invisible Diseases or disabilities. I am not writing this post to “brag” about what I do, because it’s not all for unselfish reasons. It also helps me continue to live on and to want to continue to try and move on beyond the illnesses and the pain that I live with every single day. I was thinking about just deleting the mean comments that someone who says their name is “Jose'”, wrote to me. I thought about not responding and never even saying anything back to this person or these people posing as someone named “Jose'”. I am going to copy and paste the comments here; that were put after my very short video.  The video is one that I made after only day #1 going through withdrawals from being on the Fentanyl lollipops for 12 years and 20 + per day. It was prescribed by my Dr’ of 14 yrs or so. It was Ok’d by the insurance companies and the pharmacy never said a word. I was and am a “lay” person and I did what I was told. I had been on 2 x 100’s strength Fentanyl patches at a time and changed them every 48 hours. At the same time I was on those lollipops. I was put on them at first because every pain medication “ate up my stomach”. Nothing I took by mouth worked because it made me sick to my stomach or burned badly.  So I was put on the lollipops and the patch. One day when I fell and my pain was made so much worse, my GP; the M.D. that had me on those dosages, told me to “go ahead and start wearing 2 of the 100 strength patches”. I did what I was told just as I’ve done my whole life. That is why I’ve gone through so much abuse and trauma because of trying to be the “good girl” and do whatever someone who I thought was a person in “power” or who had “power over me “(so I thought) told me to do.

The reason that I posted this Artistic Sign Language cover song by Rachel Platten, called “Fight Song”; is to show how I am feeling much better now than I was during that “withdrawals day #1 video”. I only did that withdrawal video to show others what it might be like for them to go through withdrawals and what it might feel like. I then posted my new YOU TUBE page called ASLSuzyQ because that is where I put my ASL cover songs. I lost my career due to PTSD, pain, nerve hearing loss and more pain, 8 surgeries, a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), disabling pain and illnesses. But now I do little tiny bits of ASL to songs because it cheers me up and I hope it cheers up others as well.  I can only do it for a little while and the pain afterwards is debilitating. I cannot even hear the song with the music like I could in the past as I acquired 2 hearing aids due to nerve hearing loss.

I am now going to show you and copy and paste exactly what this/these person(s) wrote to me . Then following those comments, I will post my response to the comments. I’m not sure if this person is really someone named “Jose'” because their “account” in You Tube is not a real account. This person or person may even be some  “bullies” that had popped into my life recently. I’d been abused and in fact I’m used to spotting Narcissist’s and Malignant Narcissistic abusers. Therefore I “popped” them right out of my life as fast as they tried to hurt me and attempted to ruin my long time friendships and my reputation. But my reputation speaks for itself and I don’t have to defend my honor to anyone. I know who I am and what I’ve done. I know what I am doing and hopefully what I will continue to try and do.  I’m a good and kind person. I’m not perfect, but the only one who can judge me is God.  Here is what this person or these persons wrote to me and then afterwards is my response:

SPEAK UP! STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF. I’M ON 4-100 PATCHES. You slowly come off them by matching the withdrawl symptoms. Stop and think about it. Some of us have it worse than you. get a grip

-Hello Jose, Im sorry you are such an angry man. It’s too bad that you judge before you know anything at all about me or my life or my background . You know nothing of me or what I’ve been through. Actually I was told by SSDI that I “am the worst case of child abuse/trauma that they’d seen in the past 36 yrs”, that was when i first got on disability in 1998. I also at that time had and still have CKDII now III. I don’t feel sorry for myself, in fact I’m a health advocate /activist. I’m an ambassador for the U.S. Pain association and a Mentor for RSDHOPE.org. I run 2 support groups with over 750 people in chronic pain. I’ve done commercial for Invisible diseases association and I’ve been a “chemo-angel” since 2005. I help others and I don’t hurt people, especially other’s in pain, like me. My new pain Dr. who helped me through the withdrawals in July 2015, this Summer, when I made this video, couldn’t believe how many “real” pain illnesses I have and deal with. He and all of my Dr’s that I’ve had for many years, tell me “how proud they are of me” for all I’ve been through and then to be left like that on 2 x 100 fentanyl patches (weighing 120 lbs at 5’5″ tall and 53 yrs old!!) and 20 + fentanyl lollipops daily. I had to go down slowly on my own, which I did. I then got to 2 per day or 3 and then I took zero after the 12th of July this past year. I’ve never had one again in all of 7 months. I’m proud of myself. I didnt ‘have to go anyplace to be “treated” and a kind pain Dr. took me and is proud of me for all that I have and all that I try to do for others. I only made the video to help others to see what it may be like at first and then I did the other video’s such as “stand by you” in ASL by Rachel Platten and many others, since then to show them and everyone that I did it and can do it and am doing it. I don’t feel sorry for myself very often, but sometimes I allow it for a few moments. I have been a survivor of childhood trauma/abuse since I can remember, then 2 marriages- abusive and one to an ex cop who’s not one any longer but not because of me, because he hurt someone after me. I finally found my soul-mate and actually today, Valentines day we are celebrating our 19th anniversary. Only some of my chronic pain illnesses include: full body/systemic CRPS, Polyneuropathy in Collagen Vascular Disease, Autonomic Neuropathy, Prinzmetal angina/coronary spasms, CKDIII, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Coronary artery disease, right long thoracic nerve neuropathy, I have Long QT syndrome in my heart, atrial fibrillation and have a pacemaker. I had heart surgery in 2013 and my CRPS went inside of my body at that time. Im on my 2nd pacemaker. I had a heart attack in May 2005 and a CVA or stroke in 2006, along with 2 “mini” strokes since then. I’m on Coumadin/blood thinners for that. I have Arnold Chiari Malformation I and Multiple herniated/bulging discs in my Lower back and neck at C 4/5 and C5/6 and L4/5, S-1….I have SCID or “severe combined immune deficiency disease”, along with Eczema secondary to CRPS, Asthma, nerve hearing loss with 2 hearing aids and I lost the career that I went to College for …I was an INterpreter for the Deaf and now I sign songs and do artistic signing of covers of songs when I’m able. I’ve had 8 surgeries and all of this happened after a car accident in 2002 ,when a man ran a red light while fighting with his wife. I was knocked unconscious and for 30 minutes or so I’m told. I was also in brain injury rehabilitation for 3 yrs outpatient, because I suffered a Traumatic brain injury. Luckily I found the best Dr’s and got leg braces, a wheelchair, walker and motorized scooter and loftstrand crutches to help me along. I use a cane sometimes when that’s all I need; other times I need the wheelchair depending on my pain that day. I didn’t need to explain all of this,but I felt that if someone who actually has “feelings” and “compassion” ever reads this..they will see how mean and uncaring others can be when they are ignorant to the situation and know nothing of the person they call “feeling sorry for herself”. There will always be people worse off than me and than you. There will always be people better off than we two….I already know that my spirit and my heart are much much better off than you. You can be “sicker” than me if that’s what you wish sir. You can “win”….you can have that place if you want it. I don’t want to be the “sicker” one. I want to be the one who survived to help others and work with others to help them to keep on wanting to survive and never give up… Good day.

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So that is what they/he/she said to me and this was my response. My husband asked me “why did you bother to write back”? He told me that I should have just denied the comments and not approved them.  But I wanted others to see how people can be so mean, even when you are trying to be helpful and no matter who you are or how “good” you try to be, there will always be someone who will judge you and try to hurt you. The only way they succeed is if you allow that hurt and meanness to get into your heart. It will not penetrate my heart because I want to be a good, kind and thoughtful person. I want to help others and I will continue to do so as long as I possibly can. People like this are one or more of many things:  Mentally ill, abusive, Narcissistic and /or Malignant Narcissistic abusers; or all of the above!! I had to show people that no matter what meanness or hurtfulness comes my way or may come your way; don’t ever give in or give up. I won’t either!
I do have some “protected” posts or “private” posts. For my own safety and due to the abusers in my life still today; I have had to do this. If you wish to read those posts, please email me and I will send you the password. Thank you so much…Im sorry this post was not uplifting but I just wanted to show that no matter how hard someone tries to be good and kind and even try to help others, there are always bullies and Malignant Narcissist’s out there ready to “Pounce” and they’ll try to hurt you.  Just don’t let them hurt you or your spirit. Know yourself and what is in your heart and soul.
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ADDITION:
Well, I was going to copy and Paste the “apology” that I got from this person. I went back to go and do that so you could see that by responding in an assertive way and making the person responsible for what they did, said….sometimes people will rethink what they’ve said or done. In this case, Jose’ decided to delete his message, which in turn deleted my response. Therefore, it is all as it never happened now on YOU TUBE! But it is here, in my blog and I hope that I’ve learned something and I pray that others have also learned from this post. Thank you and I pray that you have a low pain day and a good day today and every day…

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Withdrawals And One Week Fentanyl Lollipop Free !!


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Hello Luvs,

Wow…One week has passed….and I have been free of the Fentanyl Lollipops for 7 days now!

I would say that growing up in an abusive home was horrendous. Being robbed at gunpoint at the age of 11 years; in a shoe store with my family, was just terrifying. I also think that  getting married, being abused and getting remarried all the while being abused even worse, was pretty challenging. I didn’t know what “challenging” was though, until I had to flee the marital home with my two baby girls; along with help from the domestic violence shelters. My little girls  were only 3 and 5 1/2 and I was 30 years old. Later I was diagnosed with PTSD and “Battered Woman’s Syndrome” and found some solace in trusted Psychologist whom I still know to this day. I had felt that battling Anorexia & depression on and off since the age of 17 until I cured myself following a horrible motor vehicle accident in 2002; was brave and courageous. Having gone through Acute renal failure, being robbed again in 2013 and being involved in 2 Motor vehicle accidents, through no fault of my own, I thought I didn’t exactly have such an “easy” life. The second MVA in 2002, I suffered numerous injuries and multiple surgeries; including several pieces of hardware placed in a few different parts of my body. I’m on my second pacemaker, the first being “a piece of cake”. Meaning that the second pacemaker surgery in 2013, did not go quite as planned. After getting into my chest, the Neuro-Cardiologist found out that the 1st pacemaker had worn a hole right through my pectoral muscle. Then not only did I need a new pacemaker, but the 45 minute to an hour surgery turned into a 3 hour ordeal in which my whole left pectoral muscle had to be rebuilt. The team was smart and did research on RSD/CRPS, a Neuro-autoimmune disease that I ended up getting after my 7th surgery.  It was the surgery on my right foot in 2007, in which the horribly painful nerve disease started. It spread and it spread until it went systemic following that major open surgery in 2013. I even endured a CVA and a mild heart attack in between the 10 surgeries following that MVA in 2002. I suffer from an MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) and went through 3 years of TBI rehabilitation to learn how to cope with:  not being able to cook when nobody is home (because I may leave burners on and hurt my family or myself), not being able to comprehend what I read anymore after having been a College graduate with a 3.9 GPA! I had to learn how to live with leg braces, hearing aids, special prism glasses, balance issues, much less concentration capabilities and just about zero short term memory!  The worst of these being the chronic nerve pain and all of the pain following those years and still to this day.

I went to a pain Dr. for 3 years and he did everything from epidural nerve blocks to trigger point injections and biofeedback along with pain Psychology appointments. I was so happy when I read the notes from the pain Psychologist’s because they wrote that I was not an “addictive personality”. I never drank, smoked, did any drugs….prescription or otherwise! I was one of those “good girls” who had always tried to be “teachers pet” and get a 4.0 GPA and still try to get “extra credit”. Of course I’m a “type A” personality person who likes to do things the right way the first time if at all possible. I always did my best at everything I endeavored. I made alot of mistakes but always came back and tried again, while pulling up myself by the “bootstraps”.

The chronic intractable pain that has gone along with all of my injuries and surgeries since 2002 and then the diagnosis of CRPS in 2007; and later the shock of getting the “full body/systemic CRPS” has been traumatic to say the least. I was always very cooperative and followed whatever the Dr’s told me to do. I trusted again and again and again; when most people would’ve given up long ago, I just kept believing in the “goodness” of people or at least trying to find some good in all people. If you’ve been following along at all, you’ll know that I met Dr. Bullach, my GP for 12 years, in 2002 during a hospital stay following that MVA.  I was in there for pain control and met the pain Dr at the same time. I trusted him right away and thought he was a kind and “teddy bear-ish” type of personality.  He told me that I “could trust him” and that “he would be the eye in the middle of my storm”. He said he would help me and cooridinate specialists and take care of all of my medications etc. He told me “not to worry”.  We tried every medication under the sun, it seemed.  Everything either made me deathly ill, very sick or I was allergic to it! By the time we were finished and had found one thing that finally worked for my kind of pain, there was something of a “book” of all the meds that I had tried and which had failed for me.

Finally, I tried the Fentanyl patches and they made me nauseous and really “loopy”. I went ahead and tried them again because I just felt that a patch was so easy and you didn’t have to think about it all the time, many times per day etc. It finally helped to relieve my pain. I had a hospital bed in my home because I couldn’t even get in and out of bed or get any sleep due to the amount of pain I was living with at the time. I had been offered a “pain pump” that they fill with morphine, by the pain Dr. ….but the auto insurance was fighting me so much and I just didn’t have a whole lot of “fight” left at that time. I also already had 2 screws in my right shoulder, a jaw implant and had a pacemaker! I didn’t want anymore “things” put into my body. Especially not something with a catheter that would’ve been stuck into my spine that had multiple herniates and bulging disks, degenerative disk disease and Scoliosis.  Luckily I didn’t get the pain pump because later we found out that I suffer from Hypogammaglobulinemia, a blood disease that means I have an immune deficiency in my IGG, IGA subsets of white blood cells. I could have become paralyzed and could have gotten numerous infections had I allowed that pump to be placed. I made the right decision for me and today I’m so glad that I did.

So I had been in a “pain pump” support group, just to find out information for myself about the pumps and to make friends with the same kind of pain issues that I suffer from. Everyone was so kind and many were knowledgeable. Some of the people mentioned these “pain lollipops”. They said that they helped a lot and very quickly for the terrible nerve pain. I checked in with my GP, Dr. Bullach about them and he started me on them right away. That was in 2005, after I’d finished treatment with the pain Dr.and he’d put me back in the hands of my GP.  He told me that because I didn’t want a pain pump and I was going to go the medication route for my pain, that it’d be better for me to be in the care of my GP. He agreed that Dr. Bullach would prescribe the pain meds. He told me that my Dr. could consult with him at any time and he would help.  He also agreed that it was better for him this way because he was “looked at under a microscope” and didn’t like prescribing pain meds.

These experiences were all difficult, painful, scarey and life altering; but nothing prepared me for what I’ve gone through this past week with the withdrawals from the Fentanyl lollipops.  I’d been prescribed them and had been taking these for the past 10 or 11 years! Time just kept passing and the regimen was working; although I asked many many times over especially the past 3 years to get taken “way down” from the amount I’d been taking of the pain suckers. Dr. Bullach just kept on telling me to “trust him” and that he “was the eye in the middle of my storm”.  He told me that he’d “gotten me out of that hospital bed in my home”!  He reminded me that I was able to at least get out and do a little bit more than I had been before the lollipops. So I trusted him; though I still continued to ask him to slowly take me down because I felt that I was falling so often (6 times in 2014 and 6 concussions!!!) and though I have balance issues, I thought in the back of my head that maybe it was partially the fault of the meds? I never even took an Aspirin for headaches in the past, prior to this car accident and the injuries from it. Now I was wearing 2 patches of Fentanyl and taking sometimes approximately up to 20 or + lollipops daily to control my CRPS and the other pain issues. I had even woken a “sleeping monster” in that MVA in 2002! I had been born with “Arnold Chiari I malformation”. It showed up on the MRI after the MVA. It is a congenital defect in which the tonsils at the base of my brain stem get swollen and do not fit correctly into the spinal cord column, causing great pain for some people and others never know they have it! It all depends on many issues and variations. The horrible whiplash being my 2nd one and then the MTBI, “woke up” the sleeping congenital defect. Hence, another horrible pain issue to where I cannot even hold my head up for long periods of time without causing great pain.

So as you’ve probably been reading my past few posts, you know that my GP just abruptly left in December 2014. Without any feeling, caring or the tenderness I’d seen before in his eyes; he just told me he was leaving and that that appointment would be my last one with him. He promised he’d talk to the pain Dr. that knew me. He assured me that my treatment would be and stay the same as it had been because it was working! He promised also to send my records to the pain Dr and to personally talk to him on my behalf. I had received a letter from my health insurance company, stating that they “would no longer pay for the Fentanyl lollipops for pain after March 11, 2015, unless a pain Dr. agreed with Dr. Bullach’s treatment plan.” He told me not to worry about a thing and again to “trust him”. Well, as you know, none of that ever happened and the Dr. who took over for Dr. Bullach’s patients got left with a “mess”. He could not handle the volume of patients on top of his own, especially the amount of “pain patients” that Dr. B. had accumulated!! Luckily for me, I’d been a patient in that office since 1986, and had a history with that other Dr. as well. He reluctantly helped me get the pain lollipops and patches, but was swift to inform me that he was not going to be prescribing the amount that I’d been taking under the other Dr.

I was afraid, but I was motivated. I have been through so much, but it has made me a strong woman and a survivor. I took myself down from 20+ suckers daily down to only 8 in just a couple of months time. I cut my amount of the patches in half as well. I went through some hyperalgesia and some misery, but I did it! I was taking less and less as I was looking for a pain Dr. to help because the other physician in that practice didn’t feel comfortable prescribing the kind of pain meds that I needed to survive now, with all of the pain that I live with on a daily basis.

Finally, I found a nice pain Dr. and luckily I carry my records with me when I go to a new specialist. I had everything in order and I felt “safe” with him right away. He told me to finish up the pack of pain lollipops that I was taking and then  go to sleep on July 12th taking one last sucker. Then I was to wake up on the 13th of July, and never take another Fentanyl lollipop again; after 10 or 11 years of taking them, it was over! I was starting a new pain management regimen and I was fearful, but knew I could do it!  The first day was not so bad until the night time. I did crave the mental picture of having something that my brain associated with immediate pain relief!  I felt nauseous, achy all over and I was so hot, I thought I was going to spontaneously combust!! Then I’d get chills, diarrhea and started to vomit. I felt jittery and anxious and didn’t want to do anything but cry and sleep and lay on the couch! I made a video of how I was feeling at 5:00am on the 2nd day. The second day was more of the same and the third day was the worst! I did manage to go with my husband, daughter,& my 2 granddaughters to an hour or so of the kids “music in the park Wednesdays” Summer program.on the third day.  I returned home sicker than ever afterwards!  Finally, I started researching on forums and “You Tube” etc. I learned that if I took a medication called “Clonadine” aka “Catapress”, it can sometimes help with the withdrawals. I called the GP and within an hour an half, I had the Catapress in my body. It was the first thing that actually took a little bit of the edge off from the withdrawal symptoms.

The pain Dr. didn’t seem to think I’d have too much or too many symptoms because he said we were “faking out my body” by switching to a different BT pain medication….something  more safe and not made for “end of life” and “terminal” patients.with Cancer.  He told me that the pain lollipops were/are dangerous, “very dangerous”. He said that I should never have had them. So I’m not sure why my body still went through horrible withdrawals, maybe because of my many bad pain issues?  But I felt like I just was going to die and really didn’t care if I had, at that point! I’m so lucky that my husband is a teacher and he was home for me. Also, my oldest daughter lives nearby and she was a great help and has been. She even was calling several times daily and was stopping over to bring me some “Gator aide” to help my electrolytes along with my favorite food, “french fries”, to get me to eat something substantial!

Well, today it is one week and I am Fentanyl lollipop free. I’m very proud of myself for doing this without having to go anyplace and get help elsewhere. I was afraid because I had a previous heart attack and stroke and I’d had seizures following the MVA for about 6 months. All of those things can happen when going through withdrawals. I’m so very lucky that these things didn’t happen again. I don’t feel good yet. I feel very tired, heavy and I still have stomach aches and diarrhea, along with nausea and depression on and off. I think I’m over the “hump” or the worst of it. I think I will get just a little bit better each day. It’s going to be very very hard because for over 10 years I had a “quick” relief when I was on an outing or needed quick breakthrough pain relief.I have to retrain my brain and myself to just plan ahead and take what the pain Dr has prescribed for me now, about 45 minutes before I may need it. That’s not going to be easy and the new meds are feeling like they’re ripping out my tummy. People tell me that is the withdrawals and not the meds. I’m willing to see this through and keep on keeping on!

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you and I will certainly be keeping you posted. Thank you again…..Also, if you would like to watch my very dark (because it was middle of the night with no lights on and I was crying very much) “You Tube” videos, please email me for the link and I will give it to you. I have them not ‘private” but “unlisted” …so if you have the link from me, you will be able to watch them. There are three videos altogether right now for this experience thus far. Again, my email is: jewelrymkr@aol.com…..g’nite luvs….

willsTrue Colors:  Seeing Is Believing.....sins