Give Pain A Voice

By: Suzanne Stewart

(With excerpts from Tina Petrova)

Tina Petrova is a motivational speaker and an award winning filmmaker. She is also a person who lives with chronic pain and knows what it feels like. Along with many others, she agrees that pain is being under-treated in both America and in Canada.

She and film partner Eugene Weis are trying to bring awareness of the dramatic loss in pain-care through their new Documentary film “Pandemic of Denial. “ It is their hope that this film will help educate general society about what it is to live with a life long diagnoses of Chronic Pain.

Tina shared with me “there isn’t any real “guide book” to give direction as to “what to do next,”when living with daily chronic pain”. The film follows the lives of families torn apart by suicides due to chronic pain, those who contemplated it during filming and those left behind to grieve.

Her pain physician in Canada believes intractable pain has to do with pain being an “outward sign” of a damaged or traumatized “pain system”. He believes that humans have a “pain system” just like the other systems in the human body; for example: lymphatic, cardiovascular etc. In his views, the chronic pain patients struggle to makes sense of their lives after being productive and then suddenly not being able to do what they once could do.

Tina shared with me , that she felt if a patient cannot make sense of such a dramatic life altering event; then how are our loved ones and colleagues supposed to do this?

We all agree that chronic pain can end dreams and even lives; especially with medical complications and now today, with the rise in suicides due to under-treated and untreated chronic pain. This film tries to help us all make sense of what is happening to one in four North Americans who live with daily pain.

The filmmakers have said that “this disease now affects more people than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined… It is no small disease, ”which is the reason for the title of their new film, “Pandemic of Denial”. There can be article after article to read about chronic pain and how it is affecting people even more so now with the “War on Drugs”. But when you turn the channel and a compelling film, with interesting footage, comes to life on your Television screen; you are more likely to become engaged with the story that is being told. We are drawn in by the images, voices, music and drama.

This film focuses on the main themes of “abandoned chronic pain patients, pediatric pain and the collateral damage of suicides due to under or untreated chronic pain.” The Filmmakers feel that while “addiction and overdose are important issues to tackle, Chronic pain is equally serious and important.”

This writer agrees that addiction is also important, but these are two very different illnesses being “lumped together” as one. While the addicts are being given clean needles at a free clinic set up in several cities; the chronic pain patients are being turned away by their Physicians, Pharmacists and lawmakers; to fend for themselves and live with horrendous daily pain.

Addiction is being talked about and it is a serious disease as well. But these abandoned chronic pain patients , the tortured existence of the lives they must now live, are not being discussed nearly enough. The film explores how these people could once work outside the home, even part time. They were raising a family and housekeeping. But now pain patients are left to be bed-ridden in torturous pain with no relief and no end in sight.

The film “Pandemic of Denial” also addresses the current hostile regulatory environment towards our medical professionals. It shows how the pendulum has swung much too far the one way; while marginalizing and making outcasts of one group of human beings. In this respect, they are talking about long term chronic pain patients and putting them in one small group, with a “one size fits all” mentality.

It also sheds light on physicians who have been also living with many losses; such as their practices, livelihoods and even their careers at times.

Some of them losing all of this and being “attacked” while still try to uphold their Hippocratic oath and continuing to treat those who live with the tortures of under and untreated daily chronic pain.

Without this kind of education, discussions and strategies on how to face this health crisis that we are already living in- we are going to be facing new hardships with a population that is ever growing and aging. Filmmakers like Tina and Eugene are trying to educate the public on this “Pandemic of Denial”.

NOTE: Tina and Eugene hope to have the film released widely in 2018. At this moment, they are “still seeking Pain organizations, Broadcasters and Distributors who would like to partner with them to reach the maximum audience for the biggest impact.” They are also compiling a list of interested persons who would like to co-host screenings in their local communities. For regular updates you can follow their official Facebook Film page, at: You may contact them at:

Are You Aware Of #RareDiseaseDay?


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

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

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

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

I Am Invisible No More!


Hello Luvs,

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

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

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

Inhumane Treatment Of Pain Patients In USA

I opened up My friends blog today (“Pharmacist Steve”). It is Steve Ariens Blog; and I saw a story of torture. There is torture going on in America! I’m seeing it every day now on the Internet! More & more chronic pain patients are being treated like common criminals! This is despicable! My God, are we living in North Korea, Afghanistan or in some 3rd world country (whos people , by the way; don’t deserve this kind of treatment any more than we don’t!!)?

How can the news media, @CNN, @MSNBC and all of the rest, be so one sided? Please, I implore you @POTUS, @GovChristie @PetersforMichigan (Senator Gary Peters), @NYGovCuomo (Governor Andrew Cuomo), @onetoughnerd (Governor Rick Snyder of MI). I implore you to think of the forgotten legitimate chronic pain patients. People are now living with daily chronic pain and receiving no treatment at all. They being totally forgotten & considered collateral damage of this “fake war on drugs” ! It’s a war against the chronic pain community; because they’re the ones who are dying. The pain community is stuck with zero semblance of a life as all of this is crashing down around them/us! The posted video is not just sad, it’s torturous to listen to. It’s terrible to watch. But it’s true and it’s happening all over the United States Of America! This is a story about a young mother, wife and daughter; who’s going through sheer bloody hell in Albany New York Trauma Center!

“Amy” Amy’s story of Human Torture in a NY hospital! is a young woman who just went through a painful stomach surgery and her stomach ruptured as well! The contents are therefore spreading throughout her body inside and this causes not only sepsis, but horrible excruciating pain! My husband went through it years ago, but they gave him a Morphine pump while in the hospital for several days following surgery. He was given pain relief, as any HUMAN BEING or any living, breathing animal should have!!

This is torturous and despicable treatment of anyone in a hospital, or any patient care facility; let alone, following a stomach surgery! How can the Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, allow their patient to be treated in such an inhumane manner??? The behavior of the nurses who pledge also, to “care for the sick” and to “do no harm”; is unforgivable! This sort of treatment to other human beings deserves termination. Those so called patient care employees need to be fired and they should never be allowed to not care for another patient! This woman, who has a name, a face, a husband & a family; is living through hell!

You know what though? This is entirely preventable! She is not a prisoner of War! This is a young woman who’d much prefer to have a “normal” life! This young woman has a name, and that name is “AMY”! She has a young child and a husband. I’m guessing that her husband had to leave her to go home and take care of their little one! He had to do that and he thought he’d left his wife in the care of a reputable hospital facility!! Obviously, he was mistaken and that’s really sad!

What if Amy was unable to show us this video? What if she was incapacitated and couldn’t tell anyone what’s happening to her? Please share this video and Amy’s story. Write to your legislators and put a name and a face to all of our stories. Nothing can change if we cannot be brave and do something to help ourselves and to help Amy!

Our government leaders, the news media agencies and society need to as many faces and hear as many stories as possible about us! The chronic pain community being left behind and treated as though we are just collateral damage in the war on drugs! This has taken a turn for the worse. It’s gone from a “war” against illicit drugs to a war against the legitimate chronic pain patients. We will lose & continue to lose if not for people being brave like “Amy”.

Please speak out and tell everyone your story and the stories like this one! Get the word out about how chronic pain patients are not drug addicts. We are not addicted at all! Ask them if they can remember a time when they had lived through their worst pain imaginable? Then ask them to think about that pain never ceasing! Tell them this is what it’s like for us, for you!

Please pass this story around. Know that I received Amy’s video & story from Pharmacist Steve Arians Blog, at:….. It is posted in several places on Facebook. He asked if we could “please make this video go viral”?

Thank you for your help! Please…. let’s all help Amy & all of the other “Amy’s”! Thank you Steve Ariens too!

Becoming Incurable Magazine Feature

Hello Luvs

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

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

Becoming Incurable magazine feature

Pain Acceptance, The Newest Lie

As I was listening to the podcast a few days ago, I heard the voice of PROP’s president, Jane Ballentyne, surprised and complaining about how she’s been treated recently. After hearing about her belief regarding the “acceptance of pain”; several pain patients wrote negatively to her in the comments of articles and a podcast.  Some people even wrote to her employer at the University of Washington and wanted her fired, she says. I’m wondering, why she is so surprised? But obviously those who agree with her and think this is a good idea, have not lived with daily, unrelenting, horrible pain such as the kind that comes with  illnesses like:  CRPS, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Ankylosing Spondylosis and many others.

What I don’t understand is that in these modern liberal days of persons not having to accept anything else about themselves, why are pain patients being forced to “accept” their pain? Today in 2017, people are allowed to change their gender, nationality and  their bodies.  There’s nothing wrong with a man becoming a woman, or a Caucasian man becoming a Filipino woman; as I saw on the news the other night. In 2017, there’s nothing wrong with a woman getting liposuction on her hips, if she feels they are too big, or breast implants if she feels those are too small. If other human beings are “allowed” to do all of this, then why are chronic pain patients supposed to or urged now, to accept their torturous, horrific daily 24/7/365 state of living with chronic pain?? Now days nobody has to “just accept” anything about themselves. Something is really “fishy” here? In my own personal opinion, I feel like the United States is trying to kill off it’s weakest and most vulnerable chronic pain patients. Why do you think this might be the case? Again, my thoughts are that it is because they are concerned that the “baby boomers” are going to deplete the Medicare/Medicaid system and there won’t be anything left soon. Why not “get rid of” the sickest and most weak of Americans to save some money? I don’t know this of course, but it sure is a scary thought when everyone else is allowed to surgically change everything about their gender, race and body; but the chronic pain patients are now not allowed to have the simplest pill that can help to lower their chronic pain.  Suddenly, opioids are now being considered evil and all must be destroyed.  We must learn to “accept our pain”.  I don’t want to just accept my pain, anymore than someone who feels that they were born the wrong gender, should have to stay that way forever and just “accept” it.

So I’ve been researching other countries and speaking to other chronic pain patients around the world, thanks to the internet.  I was discussing the “opioid crisis” with my friend in Israel.  He sent me a piece of information about a University of Michigan Coursera. You can look at what I looked at here:  Teach-Out: Solving the Opioid Crisis/Coursera.  He told me that he had been seeing what’s happening in the USA and how concerned we are about the topic of Opioids.  He wanted to know if this was truth or not?   Naturally,  you must take the course to learn about what they want you to know. But just from the introduction that I read, it is packed full of disinformation. They tell the same “lies” that were exposed in Andrew Kolodny’s article “The Opioid Epidemic in 6 Charts”. Josh Bloom, a journalist and PHD, exposes how Kolodny, those that follow him, and some of the media (it seems), are changing the truth to their advantage. In his article, The Opioid Epidemic In 6 Charts Designed To Deceive You , Josh proves how in Kolodny’s orginial article, The Opioid Epidemic in 6 Charts, deceives us with false numbers.  The first sentence that Kolodny writes in his editorial states “drug overdose deaths” are about 60,000 annually. When we see that we immediately think that he’s talking about prescription pain medication overdoses. But, Josh Bloom points out that actually 30,000 people were killed.  This included all opioids including heroin.  The actual true number of deaths just from prescription pain medications or opioids used for chronic pain; was about 17,000.  Also, in Mr. Blooms article as cited above, he states that the number of 17,000 is “half the number of accidental falls”.  But 17,000 is not exactly right either, because that includes all opioid overdose deaths which were in combination with other medications.  The true death by opioid pain medications is about 5,000, according to this same article.  That is much less than Kolodny’s original “60,000 deaths”, scare tactic, from drug overdose.

Also, why are we not looking into the deaths by alcohol?  According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) and this article Alcohol Facts and Statistics, “88,000 (62,000 men and 26,000 women) people die from alcohol-related causes annually”.  This makes alcohol the third  preventable cause of death in the United States. Do you know that the first and second causes of preventable deaths are from tobacco and poor diet/physical inactivity? So why are we not talking about the Alcohol and/or tobacco related death epidemic? Do you want to know why? I know I sure would like to know the answer. I know that my friends in other countries are telling me to come and live there. They don’t understand why this is happening over here in the USA? The friend that I was referring to earlier on, who lives in Israel; cannot believe that this is happening to the people he knows here in the USA.  He even said that he sent me the information regarding the Coursera, because he “had a feeling they were lying”. He asked me “Do you have any guess why they are doing all of these things to hurt all of you?” The only answer that I could come up with is, “Money”. The reason that I stated above, regarding Medicare/Medicaid and the baby boomers. I was embarrassed to say that to my friend, but I still did. His response was “this is horrible”. He said that “in Israel you can get as much as you need; as long as it is opioids and not medical marijuana”.  It is totally opposite of that here in the USA.  In Israel, the primary care doc can prescribe what he believes will help the diagnosis of his patients. Imagine that! Oh wait, that is how it used to be here in the USA also! But not anymore!  I asked my friend if his primary  or pain Dr. helps him more? He told me “My primary helps me, of course! She helps the most.  She is nice, caring and gave me the pain medication with out any pain doctors advice.  On her own, because she is a DOCTOR herself… know? AS it should be”! Also, as I feel it should be in the United States once again.

Introduction To: Inside Incurable Lives

We see so much in print these days about the “addicted”, the “overdoses”, the “bad guys” that are posting incorrect information all over the internet and about the opioid crisis.  Of course it seems as though only those of us living with daily chronic pain, truly understand that the “crisis” is indeed one of the pain patients “falling through the cracks”. Being-untreated or under treated and then committing suicide or having to spend the rest of their lives in agony.  This is the true “Opioid Crisis”.  But then I saw a short clip of a very well spoken, kind young woman named Victoria Suan.  She was asking for volunteers to help with an upcoming video compilation called “Inside Incurable Lives”, that she was doing for Social media.  She was going to follow a few stories of persons living with daily chronic pain and show how it affects their lives. I responded to her request and sent in some video clips; as did several other chronic pain patients. The first Social media video compilation called “Inside Incurable Lives, Episode 1”,  came out in September 2017.  In the second video compilation, Victoria was asking if chronic pain patients would be able to tell her “What one pain medication, would they not be able to live without?” Secondly, “If your Dr. Could no longer provide this, what would you do?”  The second video compilation project, “Inside Incurable Lives Episode 2”, focused on the voices of pain patients and their views regarding access or lack of access to opioid pain medications as well as medical marijuana. Episode  2  finished and posted in October. I was happy to be able to participate in both of these projects. I’m trying to help with this crisis in any way that I can. Later, I will be providing the links to these 2 video compilations for Social media. But first, I want you to introduce you to Victoria Suan, and her feature Documentary “Becoming Incurable”.

Victoria lives in California and since High school, she was interested in becoming a filmmaker. She graduated from Sacramento State with a Communications degree. She started creating short documentaries during college and then afterwards she decided that she wanted to make a feature documentary. She started researching blogs and video’s on YouTube. From there she discovered the chronic illness community. Victoria found through her research, what she describes as “a wonderful support network of people who are giving one another validation as they deal with the frustrations of chronic pain.”  She told me that she was thrilled by what she saw, and inspired. She decided to create a feature documentary about “chronic illness through intimate stories of real people living with chronic pain”. Starting out with her cousin who lives with Dystonia and a friend with another incurable condition, she then found her third featured person for the documentary. She describes the 8 or 9 months of filming as a “wonderful journey”.

The two video compilations on social media, that I participated in, were an extension of her feature documentary. Victoria then made a Facebook page and it became a platform for the chronic illness and pain communities.  She has become a “voice” for those of us who live with pain & chronic illnesses and she is showing our side of this painful journey.   She also wants to do whatever she can so people learn about her feature documentary. 

Before we get to the two video compilations in which the chronic pain communitiy on Facebook participated; I’d like to share some of Victoria Suan’s views about the opioid crisis.  I feel that it is very important to listen to the views of others who are neither patient, politician nor physician. Now that she has become close to several of us from the shorter video’s; I asked what her thoughts and feelings are, regarding what is happening to the chronic pain community? Her response was very heartfelt and thoughtful. Victoria told me that regarding the opioid crisis, she “really feels for the families and individuals that are dealing with addiction. Sadly, there aren’t enough ways to treat addiction without affecting the millions of chronic pain patients in our society.”  She told me that she’d read that Governor Chris Christie blames hospitals and physicians for starting this opioid epidemic. She wondered “how would a person dealing with chronic pain feel about this? How ignored and betrayed they must feel.  Is it wrong to eliminate a torturous level of pain by taking medication as prescribed by Dr.s?”  My own feelings are that politicians seem to not really care as long as it doesn’t touch them or their own families.  Victoria agrees that they just don’t want to listen to this. She feels that as chronic pain patients, we should not have to fight so hard just to be heard, really listened to.  But we are trying to fight because our very lives depend on it.

Victoria feels that it is “sad that one governors personal opinion can do more to influence legislation than the voices of millions of chronic pain patients.” She is happy that there are News outlets such as this and others, along with non profit organizations, such as the U.S. Pain Foundation; that are educating the public about chronic pain.  Victoria thinks that the film industry; especially a film called “Unrest” that is touring worldwide; and her documentary, “Becoming Incurable”, show that efforts are being made to educate and inform the general public about chronic pain.

Lastly, I wondered what she has learned from doing the 2 video compilations and the documentary film. She mentioned that she hadn’t realized before doing this, how difficult it is for people living with chronic pain to “do normal tasks, such as getting out of bed and/or going to the grocery store”.  I think that it taught her and hopefully will teach others about “Invisible Illnesses”.  She says that actually seeing these people in their pain, made her “truly acknowledge what life is like with chronic pain and illness”.  She feels that these projects taught her that each person has their own unique story to tell. She has figured out through these projects, that we are united in our pain yet each of our situations vary widely. I want to share with you in Victoria’s words, what she wants people to learn from watching “Becoming Incurable”. She hopes that people “will see these video compilations showcasing pain patients and stand with organizations that are fighting for the chronic illness community.  If our government continues on this path of neglect, I’m certain that chronic pain patients will be forced to fight a human rights issue.  I think this has already begun, as we are learning the numbers of chronic illness patients committing suicide.  It is important that we speak and act now in order to invalidate a campaign that deems anyone taking opioid medication as a suspect of the addiction problem.

Here are the links to the 2 video compilations of “Inside Incurable Lives” by film producer, Victoria Suan: