Nowhere To Run



Going to the doctors office has never been one of my favorite things to do. When I was 5 years old, I filled my suitcase and “ran away” because I was afraid to get my Kindergarten vaccines. Now, I’m all grown up and looking forward to retirement; but I’m still that 5 year old deep down inside, more afraid of doctors than ever before. Why do they have so much power over us? Why do some use that power to make us feel inferior? Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can makes us feel inferior without our consent”, but I feel it and I don’t remember giving anyone permission? We are living in difficult times for anyone who has debilitating, intractable chronic pain. There also is no place to “run”, no matter how big your suitcase is or how much money you have. There’s no grandparents at the other end to scoop you up and tell you that “it’s going to be OK”. Mostly, because it’s NOT OK.
Have you ever seen an action/crime movie where an innocent person was being tortured and/or thrown in jail, for something they did not do? A person being “beat up” but totally innocent? This is what is happening to the chronic pain patients in America today. I’m going to share a short story about what happened to me the other day. We always think these things only happen to “other people”. That “it won’t happen to us”. That is wrong and untrue. We live in a civilized nation, or do we? How can they treat us like this?
Here is a summary of what happens to me every 30 days. Each time I have to visit the pain Dr.’s office, I get physically ill, worse than usual. A few days prior to my upcoming appointment, I get more frequent stomach aches. I want to stay inside more and just sit in my “Lazy Boy” chair, with my blanket and with my cat cuddled up next to me. I wonder if “this will be the visit that “it” happens to me”? As the appointment time gets closer, I get more clingy to home and all things comfortable to me. A fear deep inside of me grows worse and worse. Then the morning of the appointment comes. I get nausea, dry mouth, diarrhea and I don’t want to leave my house. I cannot leave because no matter how much I talk myself out of these feelings, they won’t go away. My blood pressure, which has normally been low to normal, is very high for me at about 150/95 to 155/100. I feel sick and afraid. But I’ve never smoked anything and I have never taken any kind of medication or “drug” that was not specifically prescribed to me by a licensed physician.
The time of the appointment grows closer and I get even more distressed. Sometimes I cry and I just verbalize to my husband that “I don’t want to go”. I wonder why is life so cruel to those who are already living with agonizing pain and illness? I’m not one to feel sorry for myself. I really trust and like my pain Dr. too, don’t get me wrong. But I know he’s not my “friend”. He has heard every excuse in the “book”. He has no reason to believe anyone and he must go by what he sees in text. All day long other people have ruined it for the “good patients” who don’t deserve this kind of questioning, contracts and treatment.
It’s time to leave the house. But I cannot leave the bathroom. I take a bucket with me because I don’t want to vomit in the car. It’s a 30 minute drive and my painful RSD/CRPS feet are shaking even though they hurt. I cannot control it. My husband chuckles, kindly telling me that I’m “shaking the entire car”. We arrive at the pain Dr.s office. There are cameras everywhere, in the parking lot and in the office. For all I know, theres one in the restroom? I know that I left a urine sample last time, so I feel pretty calm about that not going wrong. I had not heard from them, so Im just sure that there’s no “false positives” with me. That only happens to other people, right?
We sign in at the front desk. I answer the several questions that I am asked every 30 days now. For crying out loud, what changes in 30 days? It’s just too often to put people through this, aside from the cost. My name is called and my stomach is in knots. I’m sweating and sick to my stomach with my heart is pounding. I feel afraid and “guilty”. I hear the footsteps faintly coming down the hallway and then a knock at the door. I calm my inner fears and I tell myself “Suzanne you are a good person. You’ve never done anything wrong and you follow the directions exactly. This is crazy, why are you so afraid?” I’m afraid because of the horror stories of others who are also innocent. The pain Dr. enters the room and asks me the same questions each month. Every 30 days, the same dialogue. But this day I hear different mantra than usual. I feel as though I’m in a tunnel as I hear these words “Your urine test came back positive and I had to send it out to another lab. In case you wonder when you receive a $200.00 or $300.00 bill from an outside lab. I just wanted you to know.” I started to cry and then I was asked “why are you crying?” Next, I was informed that no matter how long he’s known me, if the test had ben positive, I would be kicked out of the practice with no place to turn. Innocent or not, I would have been “guiilty”. It doesn’t matter that these tests are many times false positives and false negatives. Nothing matters anymore. The truth doesn’t matter any longer. I was literally terrified just hearing those words come out of his mouth. I asked him “What could it be positive for? I did not do anything different?” He proceeded to tell me that I tested positive for PCP and Oxy-something? But I don’t take those! I don’t even know what “PCP” is? I had to ask and he did not answer. He could not understand why I was crying uncontrollably and inconsolably.
We had received a $265.00 bill from a lab just a few days prior. We were going to call because we thought it was a mistake. Now we are supposedly responsible for this very large bill. I never signed anything promising to pay for all of those tests? But what happens if I fight it? Next time there is a “false positive”,they won’t perform the tests, therefore I won’t be exonerated and I will be kicked out for no reason whatsoever? It was explained to me that no matter who I am, how exemplary of a patient I might be and no matter how long I’ve been going there with a perfect “record”. I will be treated as if it were my first visit and there are no second chances. We are perceived as “guilty, bad and lying” if the tests says it is so. Yes, there is a second test, but then you are hit with this grossly overblown bill and there’s no way to pay for it. The second test, of course, came back negative and I was exonerated. He told us that his regular office urine test has a “90 to 95% accuracy”. So that means every once in awhile there can be a glitch or a mistake. That means that every once in awhile someone gets hit with this huge bill, through no fault of their own.
I am tired of people telling me that I should not be on this medication. People who are supposed to love me or at least care about me. It feels like nobody understands the predicament we are in. I take medicine that still helps to relieve my pain even though I’ve been on it for quite awhile. I have almost no side effects and I’ve tried many many other medications and therapies first. This was a “last resort”. It helps and I don’t want to stop because it gives me some semblance of a life. I get the pleasure of being a grandmother. Without it, I would be in bed or in my chair 24/7. I’ve been there and done that. I don’t want to go back. I’m tired of being judged by people who don’t know me. I don’t get a “high”, and I never take more than prescribed. Why can’t I just continue to do what has worked for me? Why can’t we all? Why do we have to feel persecuted and judged? Why do we need to feel traumatized and terrorized every 30 days, to the point of feeling physically ill?
My story up to this point, ended on a positive note. My Dr. still had to send out the first test because he said that “it is the law”. I have never done anything remotely considered to be “bad” or “wrong” and definitely not “illegal”. I’m a good person who graduated college with honors. I raised my daughters mainly by myself for about 8 or 9 years. I worked full time and took care of everything and everyone who needed me. I try to be kind, thoughtful and I am always trying to think of new ways to help others. Nobody deserves to feel this way. Theres something definitely wrong with this and someone needs to fix it.

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.

Forest Is One Tree That Will Not Fall Without Being Heard!


Hello Luvs,

I just wanted to get something up today that would let many more people know & learn about Dr. Forest Tennant. I want everyone to know what is happening to this good man; this awesome wonderful doctor and friend of mine. I’m working on my own blog post but I wanted this up so that you could learn quickly and start helping. I want you to learn about Dr. Tennant and what he does for people. He helps the sickest of the sick. He helps people that other doctors don’t want to be bothered with; they just want to throw them away! Dr. Tennant is a good man and he doesn’t deserve what is happening to him. What’s happening now, is like what we think might happen in some Third World country!! Our country is changing for the worse! This isn’t the USA I ever remember and loved! What’s happening is fear mongering, craziness, bullying, and who knows what else?

Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, is a very close friend of Dr. Forest Tennant. I asked him if I could re-post this story from his blog today. He gave me permission to do so. I need to make sure you know that I did not write this piece. It is totally all Dr. Fudin’s writing & work here today except for this introduction. Please visit his blog @Paindr.com :

**(Copied with permission from Dr Jeffry Fudin, B.S., Pharm.D., FCCP, FASHP)

Diplomate, American Academy of Pain Management

#DropTheTennantCase

Forest is one tree that will not fall without being heard:

I was shocked to learn of the Gestapo tactics the DEA organized in the attack against Dr. Forest Tennant.  What kind of world do we live in? I am not at all surprised however to see the outrage amongst my peers to rise up in support of Dr. Tennant’s well-mannered and careful dedication to his patients. When asked an open-ended question by a prominent professional group regarding this mockery, my first response was, “Perhaps the DEA did the world a favor – this time they screwed with the wrong person and their bungling actions will reverberate pervasively.” I suspect almost every leading pain clinician scholar will line up to offer expert witness services in support of Dr. Tennant should the DEA contemptuous actions against Dr. Tennant ever make it to court.

If anybody Tweets, posts, or shares any comment on social media, please include this hashtag, #DropTheTennantCase.

In the last few hours we already see two posts, The DEA Raids the Offices of My Friend and Colleague, Dr. Tennant and DEA Raids Dr. Forest Tennant’s Pain Clinic. Keep them coming and be sure to add #DropTheTennantCase.

Dr. Morty Fein was kind enough to provide some backdrop and clever insight to the alternative news associated with the DEA raid on Dr. Tennant and the patients the patients and community that will be harmed as a result.

Here’s what he had to say in his piece entitled,

The Fifth Vital ….Sigh

When there is regime change there is often a purge of anything and everything associated with the prior (often disgraced) movement and its rulers. History gets rewritten and we move on to a new and improved world. In pain politics, the opiophiles have been replaced by the opiophobes in power and every remnant of prior rule, every concept and tenet ends up getting dragged through the mud and discarded. Sigh.

Witness what has happened to the notion of pseudoaddiction. It has been ridiculed without a critical look at its continued importance. Because an executive from a company accused (often correctly but just as often overzealously) of overzealous marketing of opioids wrote an “n of 1 paper” based on a sincere and accurate appraisal of a troubling observation during his early years of pain practice – many years before he left practice and became an executive – the notion has been tied to overpromotion of opioids in the media and by opiophobes. Never mind the fact that the notion is even more important now since the stingy approach to opioid availability is daily leading to even worse pain control for millions and in turn causing desperation. And desperation can lead to people acting in ways that are uncharacteristic of them and their behavior construed as a sign of addiction. Happens every day. Often. Several authors, including the original authors, have over the years written about the need to re-evaluate the concept; not the validity of the observation but in what clinicians need to do to safely respond to it. The answer is not the knee jerk raising of opioid doses that became a bit of a caricature during the early days of the opiophile revolution, but a reappraisal of the totality of the patient’s pain regimen and approach and a sincere respect for the fact that a person taking liberties with their opioids or augmenting with anything including street drugs can indeed trigger a behavioral loss of control that needs to be addressed and not solely relying on improved analgesia to stop the behavior. Loss of control and uncontrolled pain are not mutually exclusive. Regardless of what drives the drug taking behavior and loss of control, abuse and even overdose can result. Perhaps this is why lowering MSEs nationally is not decreasing the number of opioid overdoses and in fact they are increasing them. The notion is self-effacing for us HCPs – that it is our failure to control pain that can drive the desperation and we have the responsibility to help fix it and the behavioral syndrome accompanying it – if anyone has the time and reimbursement anymore in our healthcare system for this much soul-searching and critical thought. Sigh.

And of course, the pain as the 5th vital sign movement has also been ridiculed as a simple ploy by pharma to lead to more pain assessment solely because it would lead to the more opioid prescribing not to simply bring pain and suffering out of the shadows and raise awareness. Outrageous and laughable contend the opiophobes. That people suffer in silence, that they are afraid to tell their health care providers, that unless they are asked they will often assume that discussion of their pain is not the purview of the providers with whom they are interacting is a trite every day observation doesn’t prevent throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Pain as a 5th vital sign is a movement about communication not treatment. Let us not go back to the bad old days of don’t ask don’t tell about pain and suffering. Want to change the name of it? Fine. But we shouldn’t stop efforts to ask about our patients’ experiences of suffering. We should avoid knee jerk reactions driving what we are going to do about it. Simply because someone reports their pain as “8 out of 10” doesn’t mean we should knee jerk raise their opioid dose nor should we knee jerk increase the frequency of their meditation sessions. It requires time and thought and a self-effacing attitude that we can do better for the person and a commitment to do better for the person. If anyone has the time and reimbursement anymore in our healthcare system for this much soul-searching and critical thought. Sigh.

And while we are on the subject of regime change, some of the most expert, most ethical and most erudite former leaders in the opioid movement are being dragged through the mud and the legal system on virtually a daily basis nationwide, tormented by district attorneys and ambulance chasers who would beg any one of them to care for them or their family members if they were stricken with severe and unrelenting chronic pain. Virtually everything they ever wrote, said or did being misportayed and  misrepresented as they get held responsible for consequences of treatments that occurred in jurisdictions they never set foot in. As if writing or talking or doing everything they could for opioid safety was just a ploy for pharma to push more drugs. No, it was a move to try to help others if they were going to do opioid therapy to adopt a seriousness and responsibility and acquire expertise like their own. They may have overestimated the integrity of their peers that went on to run pill mills but they never advocated for pill mills. They may have underestimated the size of the gap between their own expertise and that of their brethren that would try to emulate them. But they never advocated for carelessness or lack of responsibility. They wanted us all to take a self-effacing (i.e. that we all need to learn more about pain) and responsible and thoughtful approach. As if anyone has the time and reimbursement anymore in our healthcare system for this much soul-searching and critical thought. Sigh.

This brings me to the raiding of the home and practice of the beloved and venerated Dr. Forest Tennant. His Thanksgiving gift was a storm trooper’s boot in his door – by a cop who has a better sense of what the doctor’s patients need than the doctor (with 50 years plus of experience) does. And who I am certain would beg Dr. Tennant to care for him and his family if they were stricken with unrelenting chronic pain.  Dr. Tennant called them and their scare tactics out in an interview right after the events and he intends to fight. Be Brave! Don’t run Forest, don’t run!

Free the Opioid 5 I say.

It is time to stand and fight. Regime change and the re-writing of history must stop now. Our support for these 5 is vital. Sigh.

This is taken with permission, from the Blog of Dr. Jeffry Fudin @paindr.com and here’s the link: http://paindr.com/forest-is-one-tree-that-will-not-fall-without-being-heard/

Here’s some information about Dr Fudin. This information was taken directly from his own website/Blog , also at paindr.com…. I didn’t want to get anything wrong and so this too, is directly copied from his Blog. All rights are reserved by him and everything here today is all his work and his writing and not mine! Please read about Dr Fudin:

Jeffrey Fudin, B.S., Pharm.D., FCCP, FASHP

Diplomate, American Academy of Pain Management

Founder & Chair, PROMPT (Professionals for Rational Opioid Monitoring & Pharmacotherapy)

Owner & Managing Editor, PainDr.com

Director, Scientific and Clinical Affairs, REMITIGATE, LLC in Delmar NY

Director PGY2 Pain Residency Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany NY

Adjunct Associate Professor, Western New England University College of Pharmacy

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy

Section Editor, Pain Medicine

Dr. Fudin graduated from Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences with his Bachelors Degree and Pharm.D. He completed an Oncology/Hematology fellowship at SUNY/Upstate Medical Center.  He is a Diplomate to the American Academy of Pain Management and a Fellow of both the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Society of Health-system Pharmacists.

Dr. Fudin is a Section Editor for Pain Medicine, Founder/Chairman of Professionals for Rational Opioid Monitoring & Pharmacotherapy, and peer reviewer for several professional journals.   He has participated in developing practice guidelines for use of opioids in chronic noncancer pain (APS, AAPM collaborative) and participated in national and international guideline development for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and palliative Care. He has also participated in the development and co-author guidelines for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation. He is consultant to a national panel to develop consensus guidelines for the proper use of urine testing in addiction medicine, a collaborative effort with the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD), and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). And he is a panel member for new urine test guidelines under development by the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Dr. Fudin is President and Director for Scientific and Clinical Affairs for REMITIGATE, LLC, a software development company specializing in opioid safety. He practices as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and Director, PGY-2 Pharmacy Pain Residency Programs at the Stratton Veterans Administration Medical Center in Albany NY.  He holds adjunct faculty positions at University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Western New England University College of Pharmacy in Springfield MA, and Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.  Dr. Fudin has been an invited speaker on pain management nationally and internationally.

Dr. Fudin is founder and Chair of Professionals for Rational Opioid Monitoring and Pharmacotherapy (PROMPT), owner and managing editor for paindr.com and founder of Remitigate LLC, a software development company that has launched an application to help clinicians interpret urine drugs screens with several pipeline products including a pharmacogenetic applications and other opioid safety software initiatives.  He is a prolific lecturer, writer, and researcher on pain management topics and he served as a Task Force member for the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) for role delineation study/practice analysis of pain and palliative care pharmacy. He was awarded the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s Presidential Commendation in 2014, in recognition as “a voice for scientific integrity and an advocate for people in pain.”

Run Forest, Run!


This was written by Dr Mark Ibsen, MD, who has become a close friend of mine; as has Dr Tennant. My thoughts and blog post on this subject will be forthcoming ASAP! But for now, just for this moment, here are Dr Ibsen, MD’s words regarding this abhorrent situation with Dr Forrest Tennant:

Dr Tennant recently came to Montana to testify for Dr Christensen. Sadly, while in the home state of many of his intractable pain refugee patients,

His home was invaded and business ransacked by agents who allege he was “overprescribing”. 

Just what IS overprescribing?

And what would Underprescribing look like?

This term would imply that there is a ceiling dose of a medication that has been prescribed. 

It would also imply that there is a “Goldilocks Dose” that is not too high

Not too low, but “just right”. 

Dr Tennant,

An endocrinologist,

Has been on the forefront of research and therapy for the intractable pain that patients developed after years of medical or interventional management, or mismanagement. 

These are patients with adhesive arachnoiditis, complex regional pain syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, failed back syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and various other accidental and iatrogenic pain syndromes. 

The law enforcement and regulatory agencies Who are threatened by the Obi-Wan Kenobi of pain medicine do not have the sophistication,

compassion,

Or training to realize that they are not dealing with El Chapo. Drug dealers don’t actually care how their clients are doing. In fact, when a drug addict dies of an overdose, sales most often go up. Dealing drugs that are unregulated and often fatal is not what doctors do. 

Most people who suffer cardiac arrest have some type of medication on board. We don’t arrest their doctor for prescribing a Statin or aspirin or blood pressure medication in an attempt to enhance or prolong a persons life. 

People have hypoglycemic reactions every day,treated for their diabetes. We do not arrest their doctor for “overprescribing insulin”.

All doctors are required by their oath to do no harm-to try to hit that “Goldilocks dose”

When cancer patients die,

Do we blame there oncologist for killing them?

There’s a reason medical doctors train for 12 to 20 years, then continue to study and research the literature their entire careers. Could it really be true that Dr. Tennant is sidelined by a DEA agent with 12 weeks of training?

Are doctors no longer protected by the regulations outlined in the Controlled Substances Act?

Dr. Tennant treats the sickest of intractable pain patients. I too have referred intractable pain patients to him, I have taken his courses and follow his protocols.

Now, who will testify for me and protect my patients?

According to the World Health Organization North America provides the best pain care management on the planet. Dr. Tennant has always recommended following the world health organization pain ladder. 

Doctors like forest Tennant, William Hurwitz MD, Ronald Myers, and Chris Christiansen are simply guilty of trying to relieve the suffering of their intractable pain patients. 

This often requires us to

“Increase the dose”

If we as a culture continue to punish pain patients and the doctors that serve them no one will be safe accessing the incredible medical system we have developed in the US. 

Yes, complications occur. 

Yes, people are dying. 

From heroin/ fentanyl injection ODs,

Not

From responsible informed and well researched treatment of those in intractable pain who have failed every other therapy available.

“Run, Forest, run!”

Access To Our Pain Medication Is Being Threatened!


*WRITE FOR YOUR RIGHTS!

*TIME IS RUNNING OUT….YOU HAVE ONLY UNTIL JANUARY 13TH, 2016!

Hello Luvs,
I hope this finds you in better or the same shape after the holidays that have just passed us by once again?  None of us wants to go backwards, right?  If we do happen to tip backwards a little bit or even quite a bit; we must dust ourselves off and get right back at it again! The holidays tend to wear out people in the best of health, let alone, those of us in pain andor with declining health.

This is a very important blog post because I have a few things to tell you, teach you and to remind you about. First of all, I wanted to share with you that I was most humbled when I was made aware that there was an article written about me in “RSD Angel Express Newsletter” about the end of December, 2015..just recently. I will post the article in its entirety for you here after this paragraph. I was surprised, proud, excited and most of all very humbled by the whole experience.  Humbled, because this means that I must continue, not ever give up and do what I have been doing for Pain patient advocacy.

 I think the most honorable, humbling words in the entire article, that actually made me feel so very elated and proud, was where the author, Flora, wrote this “She doesn’t expect anyone to feel sorry for her, because she’s a mountain that won’t just fall over”. That just made me happy because I don’t like to have a fuss made over me. I don’t like the spotlight, unless I’m signing (doing ASL cover songs) a song!  I want to be strong and continue on helping and doing and making changes that are good for all of us.  That is what makes me happiest aside from spending time with my husband and my family.

PLEASE READ RE:  FUNDRAISERS FOR RSDSA   AND RSDHOPE:

So that was the item that I wanted to share with you and now I have a few other things on my agenda for this post.  One thing that I wanted to let you know about, inform you of; is that I have 2 (two) fundraisers going right now, to raise money for people with this horribly painful disease that I have, and about 400,000 others in the USA also struggle with:  CRPS or known as “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome”. You can get a lot of information about this disease at a couple of my favorite places:  WWW.RSDS.ORG and my other favorite is WWW.RSDHOPE.ORG.  Both are a large powerhouse of information. They both help new patients, old patients and anyone needing kindness, information and/or advice.  RSDHOPE concentrates largely on spreading awareness and information. That is their main goal and target.  Keith always says that “the money for research and other ways to help us,  will find its way to them at just the time it is needed.”  RSDS is also full of help and education for the patients. Jim Broatch, who is the “father-type” of person, who is very very helpful and kind as well; is pretty much in charge over there (*he is executive VP and Director) at RSDS.  They concentrate on the here and now. They want to help people who need help by having #1, a scholarship program. It is where people who need a certain expensive test and their insurance won’t pay for it, or they need some kind of medication or treatment and they are unable to pay, they can put in to ask for this scholarship and fill out some forms. Then if it is approved by a board of persons who oversee that, then they send the money to the people to help out.  The other thing that I find pretty darned nice, is that they have this “Penny the pig” little orange piggy bank that they will send to anyone who asks, and you fill it up with your pocket change and send it back, or send back the money to them and maybe even fill up the “pig” again? What it does, or what they do with the money from the piggy bank is they put it all together and send kids with CRPS to camp in the Summer! Isn’t that awesome?  They are both pretty special groups, run by pretty special people.  RSDHOPE has a “Mentor” program, of which I am a part.  When someone is newly diagnosed with CRPS, they will assign a Mentor; someone who has had CRPS for a longer time period, and the Mentor will talk to the “newbie” and help however they can whether it be a chat, an email or a smile that they need. So about my 2 fundraisers that will be going until beginning of Summer in 2016, the links to get to them both are going to follow this paragraph.  You can choose which of the two big National and well known organizations to help! It is totally up to you and you will go here to donate to RSDHOPE.org (any amount will do…please?  Really anything is going to be helpful : *click here> Fundraiser for RSDHOPE & money goes to all aspects of helping    *(www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/Suzanne-stewart/CRPSfundraiser **this one is for RSDHOPE.org) and the 2nd one is for RSDSA.com, and it is here: (www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/Suzanne-stewart/RSDSAinmemoryoffriends). *click here> Fundraiser for RSDSA & in memory of friends we’ve lost to this illness ….now I’ve given you the direct link or you can click on the blue URL link and it will take you directly to the website! If you can give anything, that would be so great and so very awesome! If you cannot donate, maybe you could use your : webpage, Blogs, Twitter, and/or any other social media to SHARE these fundraisers and help out in that way?

INFORMATION RE: THE CDC & THEIR VIEWS ON OPIOIDS; HOW  TO GET YOUR LETTER TO THEM & WHAT YOU CAN WRITE: *good information please read if you take Opioids, plan to take them or if someone you love is taking them!!

The last but most pressing matter that I wanted to speak with you about is of utmost importance!!! I saved it for last so it would stick in your mind and you would really do this for yourself, for everyone in chronic pain and for the freedom we should enjoy living in the USA! The list of people that this will help, even includes our service men and women who get hurt  and then must live in chronic pain for the rest of their lives, just as those of us with our several different chronic pain diseases; be it RSD/CRPS, Neuropathy, Diabetic Neuropathy, Degenerative Disc Disease, EDS, Chiari Malformation and the list is endless.   So this is what it is my friends, ***WE HAVE ONLY 8 days left to do this task and please, could everyone who is reading this please do this small favor your friends, family and even yourselves; whether you are in pain or not, we need your HELP??

The CDC was going pretty much “behind closed doors” and they got a group of people who don’t have our best interests at heart, but more in their wallets. This group of people decided that “too many people were dying from what they call “Opioid abuse” (even though they wouldn’t be stopping the culprits, the so called “addicts” or the illegal “pill sellers and pill poppers” ) they want to STOP allowing those of us living with chronic pain to have  access to Opioid pain medication. They believe we should try things like: diet, exercise, Psychiatry, Nutrionists, Acupuncture, massage, biofeedback and their “treatments centers”!  YES, I did put “their” treatments centers in there. It was not a mistake !  You see, the health advocates and others found out that this group of people who the CDC got to make this very important decision could hurt and has the potential to “kill” people living with daily chronic pain!!  They could do this  by taking away all access to Opioids for “all non malignant pain and allow it only for cases of malignant pain”!  Well, after a snap decision was made by this group of random people (and not including any chronic pain patients themselves), a decision that was made in secret and behind closed doors in a quick manner, to stop the prescribing of Opioids for any chronic pain patients.  This means that the woman (similar to me) who has been on them at a bit of a higher dose for the length of 15 + years, could die because the next time she takes her script to the pharmacy, they could and will deny her the medicine her body has become tolerant or dependent on.  She is not an “ADDICT”! The percentage of people with chronic pain issues who actually become addicts is very very low, at only about 5%! This woman could die!  Or the man who has served our country and lost his limb; and he has “phantom limb pain”, could commit suicide because he will now have no access to his pain meds, that were maybe prescribed to him by his GP, due to money problems?  Maybe he cannot afford to go to a specialist?  These are hypothetical situations and let’s hope this never happens!

We don’t want this to happen! I just cannot believe that they did this with a group of people who could and will benefit from our lack of real care.  We found out that several of the people that made the snap decision to “start this war against the chronic pain patients” stood to gain from our loss of life and/or quality of life!  Some of them owned treatment centers, acupuncture clinics, & massage studio’s!!  Some others were to gain from the use of more Spinal cord Stimulators & Pain Pumps.  It’s  ludicrous that they  have our lives on the line so that they could make a few pennies! It is awful to think that Dr.’s could be forcing people to have surgery, sometimes very risky surgery to their spine; because they will be unable to take a “pill” for their chronic pain!!  Well, not really “unable” but not allowed by law!

So this is what we need to do! Please write to your Governors, your state representatives  and tell them what is happening! But first, please write to the CDC BEFORE  JAN 13th! On the 13th of January at midnight, the CDC will stop taking our comments about this. I will put all of the information at the end of this writing. But you need to tell them in your own words, what is wrong with you or what your chronic pain is all about!  Tell them what you used to do for work and what you can and cannot do now due to pain. Tell them in your words what this would mean to you if they took your medications away from you ! Something that has possibly been helping you for years and then suddenly you could not get it What would happen to you Be passionate but direct. Do not be nasty or degrading and do not use cuss words please.  Be. Classy & truthful but plead your/our cause!  Write your letter in Word and make sure you have word count on because you are allowed only 5,000 characters! Please make sure that you write at the top of your plea, the “DOCKET # which is: CDC-2015-0112-0001”.

Go to this website for the CDC:  you can copy and paste right from Word if you would like, or you can write directly in the box for comments on the website because it also has a count for words on it. It lets you know when you are getting close to the 5,000 limit. Remember to tell them what you used to do, what you can do now and how the medications help you. Make sure you add if /where you volunteer or if you are doing so online or in a place outside of your home. Some diseases are not recognized by the CDC,  and one of those is CRPS/RSD. If you have this, then please discuss the McGill pain scale and how CRPS is at 43 on this national pain scale! I would tell them that the Federal Government recognizes CRPS/RSD as a “Disability” by SSDI standards now days! You may want to list the National Institute of Healths’ definition for your illness. For CRPS/RSD, that is this:

“Complex regional pain syndrome “CRPS”is a chronic pain condition most often affecting one of the limbs, usually after an injury or trauma to that limb.  CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to or  malfunction of , the peripheral and central nervous systems.  The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.  CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and mild or dramatic changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area.

There are two similar forms, called CRPS-1 and CRPS-2, with the same symptoms and treatments.  CRPS-II (previously called Causalgia) is the term used for patients with confirmed nerve injuries.  Individuals without confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-1 (previously called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome) .  Some research has identified evidence of nerve injury in CRPS-1, so the validity of the two different forms is being investigated.

CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration.  Studies of the incidence and prevalence of the disease show that most cases are mild and individuals recover gradually with time.  In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long term disability.”

OK, so now that I’ve given you the tools, please go to this CDC website and start writing to help your cause and our cause and the cause!  Don’t forget, if you are not suffering, maybe someone you love is suffering! Do this for them, please!  Go to:*Click here >> The CDC Guidelines “OPEN COMMENTS” page   <<…write your comments and please do NOT forget to add the Docket # at the top of your comments or they won’t accept it!  Again, the Docket # is:  DOCKET #CDC-2015-0112. …if you are someone or know someone who needs to write to the CDC to help this Cause, because you do not have a computer, then you can write your comments to:  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….DOCKET #CDC – 2015 -0112……. 4770 Buford Highway N.E., Mail stop F-63, Atlanta, GA. 30341

I hope you will do this for yourself, for someone that you love who is too sick to do this for themselves!!! I pray that we will be able to be a force to be reckoned with!  Let them know in a strong but kind enough way that we will not sit idly by and let our lives go to dust! I am a grandmother of 2 and one more on the way in June ’16.  I’m a wife for almost 20 years and I want to live! Chronic pain can kill you if it is not put under control. It can cause a ripple effect of more medical issues!  There will be more suicides and deaths if they succeed in what they are trying to do to us.  I cannot even believe that we are at an issue over taking a pill for pain.  Something that was developed many years ago and found to be helpful for people living with chronic daily pain!  There’s a huge difference between a chronic pain patient and a drug addict!  So let’s show them that we will stick together and help ourselves and each other!

Much of the statistical information was found at the Pain News Network and their daily columns. There were other information sources that were found on the Internet and at a Facebook CDC info page ( at:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1099948746690760), also I got some info from the National Pain Report newsletters. The NIH definitions etc were found at the NIH website. *Some of the above is my own personal opinion and I am not a medical personnel; but I have been a health advocate for 12 years now, since 2007.

I would like to share one more thing with you. The CDC was ready to implement these limitations on us, until. They were threatened with a lawsuit. The Dr’s who were on the panel which decided that pain patients could no longer have the medications that we need, are called “PROP” or Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (they are not for the Responsible prescribing of Opioids, in my opinion.  They are “AGAINST” THE PRESCRIBING OF ANY OPIOIDS FOR ANY KIND OF NON-MALIGNANT PAIN!).

**LASTLY, DID YOU KNOW THAT A FEDERAL SPENDING BILL REQUIRES THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION TO ADOPT THE CDC’S OPIOID GUIDELINES BEFORE THEY ARE EVEN FINALIZED!!!!! OUR POOR INJURED VETS WHO HAVE SERVED OUR COUNTRY AND HAVE BECOME CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS, WILL NOW HAVE NO WAY TO ACCESS THE OPIOID MEDS. THEY HAVE BEEN HAVING TROUBLE RIGHT ALONG! MY OPINION….SO SO NOT RIGHT, NOT FAIR!! (Info from PainNewsNetwork.org)

My Life And The War On Pain Patients (*I was A Guest Columnist For PainNewsNetwork.org)


I had the pleasure of being a guest columnist for the Pain News Network. It’s a non-profit, Independant online news scource commentary for chronic pain & pain management. Here’s my article on Dec 7, 2015:
My Life and the War on Pain Patients

December 07, 2015

By Suzanne Stewart, Guest Columnist

One of the arguments against gun control is that the “bad guys” will always have access and the “good guys” will die because their weapons are taken away.

That’s what’s happening now to chronic pain patients! We are fighting a war against being robbed of the very weapons we need to fight. I have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and I’m fighting to live not “pain free,” but with less pain and more living.

Those in positions to help, need to take the time to do so. All 50 states now have proclamations that explain the burning, fire-like pain of CRPS. They discuss allodynia, or extreme sensitivity to touch, and the pain it brings.

But all of this means nothing if the government, FDA,CDC, physicians, and pharmacies take away the means of lessening our pain. We follow the rules, sign contracts with our pain doctors, and jump through hoops to get what we need to try and live some kind of life.

On the other side of the spectrum are those who don’t follow rules and who break laws. But they have a different disease called addiction and they ruin it for all of us. Only about 5% of opioid prescribed patients are addicted, yet they are making us all feel like criminals.

Would these same agencies and officials take anti-depressants away from the hopeless, or insulin from a diabetic?

 SUZANNE STEWART

The CDC’s new opioid prescribing guidelines could make things a lot worse next year. Many physicians are already refusing to give medicine for pain when it is truly needed. But those who who are true addicts always find a way to get what they need, while law abiding citizens, suffering daily, have no means other than self advocating. We need to rally and try to do something about this travesty.

Remember, we are not addicts! We are patients with chronic pain, who’s bodies are dependent on medications that help us live. Without proper pain control, there’s nothing left.

It is despicable that some pain doctors are being forced to push invasive surgeries on more patients. Physicians who pledged to “do no harm” will do surgery, instead of prescribing the medicine so desperately needed for the real chronic pain population.

There are new controversial prescribing guidelines coming and some already in effect. These are leading to more and more restrictions put upon our primary care physicians and even tying the hands of our pain management doctors. The CDC, FDA, and other groups think that they know more about pain and pain management, but when have they ever studied such things?

They are making a fake war on prescription drugs, when it’s really some kind of smokescreen for saving money!

I say pick on the real criminals, not the chronic pain sufferers. I went through an awful experience last year, when my doctor of 12 years unexpectedly left his practice under a cloud of suspicion. I never wanted to take any of these meds. I never smoked or drank! I was just naive enough to think that I could finally trust someone in this life and then the rug was pulled out from under me.

I’ve read that they are taking most pain medications away from anyone with non-malignant pain. Who are these non-medical personnel, these agencies, to say that malignant cancer pain is worse than non-malignant pain? Unless they’ve experienced either, how would they know? CRPS is #43 on the McGill pain index, right next to childbirth or amputation of a finger.

These lay people and agencies are trying to tell us that exercise and healthy eating habits, along with physical therapy and “behavioral therapy,” are alternatives to pain medication. They say that the goal is to stop the overdoses and prescription drug abuse.

The “addiction specialists” scream “HYPERALGESIA” to everyone on opioids for any length of time. They say the pain meds stop working and that we all get addicted! We are all individuals whose bodies may become physically dependent, but that’s very different from addiction. If it is working, then how can it be hyperalgesia?

In all honesty, if the doctor is a good one, he or she will only prescribe the amount needed. Why take it away if the patient and doctor are doing everything right and when it gives some relief? The innocents should not suffer for the crimes of a few.

Many patient advocacy groups have written to the CDC and the FDA and explained that they are not being transparent. They used biased teams to make up these new rules and guidelines. They didn’t listen to the voices of the doctors and patients who live in the pain world. Many of the people who put these new rules together have a monetary gain.

One physician wrote in the Pain News Network that he has had patients on high doses of opioids for over 20 years and they have led quality lives. He also agrees that taking these meds from patients who’ve been on long term dosages is cruel and inhumane.

Sometimes people who want to change things to save a few dollars or get their products pushed, such as spinal cord stimulators and pain pumps, are not thinking of patients like me, who do not fit inside a nice neat box. My issues are different. I need these pain meds to survive.

So many lives have been lost because pain was not mangaged well! Chronic pain can kill you because it causes so many other issues and there’s a snowball effect when pain is not controlled.

Please use your voice and be heard. We need to form advocacy groups that will work together for the common good. Let’s stick together and not allow ourselves to be treated so inhumanely.

Suzanne Stewart lives in Michigan. She suffers from CRPS and several other chronic pain conditions caused by a car accident.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us.

Send them to: editor@PainNewsNetwork.org.

Suzanne Stewart

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

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Who is & what is “Pain News Network?” 

(***this article and this little section regarding what this online Independant news scource is all about;  was copied and pasted right from their website so that you would get the direct information. I copied & pasted my article as well for this post, so you’d get the full newspaper article. Please visit them directly at:  PainNewsNetwork.org)

Pain News Network is a non-profit, independent online news source for information and commentary about chronic pain and pain management. Our mission is to inform, connect and educate pain sufferers, caregivers and health care providers about the pain experience.

It is estimated that 1.5 billion people worldwide have suffered from chronic pain — including about 100 million Americans. Although chronic pain is a common experience, many pain sufferers feel isolated and misunderstood by their doctors, co-workers, families and friends. Many also go untreated or under-treated by the healthcare system.

Our reporters and columnists cover not only the latest research, regulations and treatments for chronic pain, but the many social and financial challenges faced by pain sufferers — and the remarkable courage they display coping with what is often a lifetime illness.

Pain News Network is a Google News certified site. We are also proud members of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the California Association of Nonprofits