Down The Rabbit hole


alice1alice3

I want to inform the pain community about my situation because this is happening to many chronic pain patients. I’ve been a voice in the pain community and now I too, am going “down the rabbit hole”! Before I become possibly incapacitated; I want you to know what is happening. For those like Kolodny, who believe that we should “get beyond the pill bottle”; I say, unless or until you are in my shoes and live with my experiences, stop preaching silly things like “pain acceptance”, will help. It cannot help all of my pain conditions combined. Stop acting like you are better, mightier or stronger because you might feel better from “grounding” (which is in essence, touching the earth with your feet, being “one with the ground/nature”, to make your pain lessen or disappear). The bottom of my feet are covered with open sores due to the stage of CRPS that I live with. This has become insane, while there are individual cases in where opioids are the preferred treatment and they do continue to reduce our pain.

*A bit of history if you want it: I won’t start at the very beginning because that would be much too long. I will tell you that I’ve been on SSDI since 1999 and initially for PTSD (*they said that I was the “worst case of childhood trauma/abuse they’d seen in 36 years) and kidney failure. Then I was hit by a car that ran through a red light. One minute my husband & I were sipping lemonade at an art fair.  The next minute, (as we travelled through a green light to have dinner afterwards) he was really bruised & shaken and I was unconscious & strapped to a back board, on route to the hospital. That experience is a story for another day. The entire auto insurance bullying and fear mongering was another traumatic debacle. These experiences have continued, one after another; which brings me to today and this article. 

After our accident in 2002 and upon being discharged from the hospital; I was sent to doctor after doctor. I was also sent to TBI rehabilitation, PT/OT and also to Tri-County pain clinic in MI. I was totally new at all of this & it was my first experience with this type of physical pain. Although, I have had 2 C-sections and I’ve lived through childhood, ex-spousal & other abuse throughout my entire life. At the pain clinic, I received various epidural nerve blocks, trigger point, cortisone and other injections. I also saw a Pain Psychologist, did Biofeedback and did many other types of therapies. The Pain Psychologist wrote in his report, by the way, that I “do not fit the profile for an addictive personality.” He attached me to an EMG type of machine where he can “see” your pain spiking via a red line going upward. Mine went off the charts. This was prior to my diagnosis’ of: systemic CRPS, EDS-4/vascular (aka Polyneuropathy in Collagen Vascular Disease), R.A., Dysatuonomia/POTs, Gastroparesis, S.I.B.O., Chiari and more. At that time though, I was diagnosed after the auto accident with: many physical injuries and a TBI. I went through 8 surgeries, 2 screws in my left shoulder, metal in my jaw, 2 AFO’s, prisms in my glasses, 2 hearing aids, a dual chamber pacemaker and a hospital bed in my home. I have a walker, loft-strand crutches, wheelchair, motorized scooter, leg braces and also knee, neck, hand and shoulder type of braces.

After going through all of the “hoops” at the pain clinic, I was found not to be a candidate for an SCS (spinal cord stimulator) nor a pain pump (intrathecal). I was diagnosed with CVID or “Combined Immune Deficiency” disease. They informed me that I would be sent back to my primary dr. because they could not give me the medication that I needed. In 2005, they were already saying that they could not prescribe pain medications (which they felt I needed) because they had to “stay under the radar of the DEA”. I went back to my PCP and for the next 10 years he prescribed pain medications.  Until one day in December of 2014, I arrived at my PCP’s office and was told that it was his last day working there. I received no other information and I was terrified because I did not know where to go or what to do. Dr. Bullach MD; promised me that he would personally make a call to my former pain clinic and Dr. Dobritt, my former pain physician. He also promised me that my treatment would remain the same under his partner. I returned the next month to see his partner and was condescended to, teased, put down, and told that “all of the other dr’s patients were “drug addicts”, “drug seekers” and unworthy people seeking pain medications. He promised to see me for a couple of months because he had known me “to be a good person” since my children were small. But over the next 6 months I had to put up with derogatory remarks.

Dr Bullach never did call Dr Dobritt, nor did he send any of my updated records. I found that out when I went to see him myself again. I had been a model patient; and the way I was treated when I went back to see him was horrible. He would not take me back as his patient! He told me that’ “he couldn’t see me because I was part of “Dr Bullach’s mess”! I had no idea what he was talking about!

I sought out a pain physician and found one near my home. He told me that if I could take myself off of the medication that had been prescribed to me since 2005, that he would “accept me as his patient”.  I was very ill for about 11 days and for up to 6 months, I was not feeling well aside from the pain issues. But I got through it and would not ever want my worst enemy to go through that experience. I did it with my loving husband by my side because I was not addicted to it. My mind did not care at all, but my body was dependent. When that ordeal was over, I saw my current pain dr; the one I still see today. Things had been going well and I have had some semblance of a life. He had told me that I was a “complicated patient” and that I did not have to worry about my medication being stopped.

For several days prior to these appointments, I became very apprehensive, nervous and had many of the PTSD symptoms recurring monthly. Then his attitude towards me changed from a mutual respect to him being the “Wizard with a magic wand” and Me being a peasant “needing his magic”. Thats the only metaphor I can come up with. It was bazaar. I had a routine urine drug screen test in April 2018 and he knew before I left his office that something was not “right” with it, but he failed to inform me prior to leaving. At my next appointment he informed me that I had had a positive urine test and so he sent it into a lab for more testing. It came back as a “false positive” because of the migraine medication that HE KNEW WAS PRESCRIBED to me for many years. I take very little, but he knew it was in my records; he knows that I take it.  In the end, we got stuck with a $265.00 bill for testing that I did not agree to pay for. We got stuck with this large bill for something that I did not do and would never have done. It was his mistake, not mine that he forgot the medications that I am taking and that it can show up as something else, as he explained later.

He has had an “edge” to his treatment of me since that date. I am literally ill prior to each monthly appointment. Nothing changes in 30 days anyways? Why in the world do we need to go so often? This is ridiculous.  Just as a person with diplopia or myopia needs glasses; just as a diabetic needs insulin and a depressed person needs anti-depressants; I am a chronic intractable pain patient and I need pain medications.  I’ve never done anything wrong as far as I always pick up my meds on time, I’m never late for my appointments and I’ve never been a “no-show”. But I showed up on July 9th, 2018; and was suddenly without explanation, cut down to 75% of my LA/ER pain medication. He was going to stop it abruptly that day, but I did not get hysterical. I reasoned with him, adult to adult. I reminded him of my prior heart attack, the CVA (stroke) and my complicated medical history with multiple co-morbidities. He agreed reluctantly to taper me a bit. He informed me that he was doing this to get me “psychologically ready” and that next month I would get zero.  I’m not “Psychologically addicted” so that made no sense at all, but I went with it for my own comfort and safety.  He went on to tell me that suddenly the patch is  now “only for cancer patients”, which he does not treat. He also told me that I was “not heavy enough” for the patch and “I was probably only really getting 30% of the medication”. I did not say a word as I was prescribed down from 100 mcg per hour, every 48 hours (due to hyper metabolizing), to 75 mcg every 72 hours. So not only 25% less medication, but now being stretched out a full 24 hours longer each patch. The first few days were difficult as I had a few withdrawal symptoms. But the rest of the month, I’ve had increased pain, exacerbation of my CRPS, and fatigue. Also, every 3rd day I was in bed, very ill. We all know that for especially those of us who hyper-metabolize (due to the types of pain illnesses that we have), the patch never works on the 3rd day!

I have a loving, supportive husband and my support “team” online which consists of a few people who have been there for me throughout this ordeal. I had websites, stories and ideas sent, all in an effort to help me reason with my pain dr. On 8-10-18, I showed up well prepared.  I had with me, the 2013 FDA’s response to Andrew Kolodny, when he wanted Fentanyl labelling changed for non-cancer pain. They told him this, in their 2013 letter (Docket No. FDA-2012-P-0818):  “It is FDA’s view that a patient without cancer, like a patient with cancer, may suffer from chronic pain, and PROP has not provided scientific support for why labeling should recommend different treatment for such patients.  In addition, FDA knows of no physiological or pharmacological basis upon which to differentiate the treatment of chronic pain in a cancer setting or patient from the treatment of chronic pain in the absence of cancer, and comments to the Petition docket reflect similar concerns.  FDA therefore declines to make a distinction between cancer and non-cancer chronic pain in opioid labeling”. My dr responded that “this was not about Fentanyl” and that I am educated and should be able to find out about this?

Next, I brought to his attention, a letter that I received a copy of, from a good friend of mine on LinkedIn. He had written to the CDC and asked about the horrific state of affairs within the chronic pain community. We covered his name and I showed this to my dr as well. This letter, which is directly from the CDC and dated 4-8-18, states these things:

  • chronic pain patients deserve safe and effective pain management
  • physicians should continue to use their clinical judgment and base their treatment on what they know about their patients. That includes the use of opioids if they are determined to be the best course of treatment. The Guideline does not support involuntary tapering.
  • Obtaining patient buy-in before tapering is critical to successful dose reduction.
  • The Guideline is not a rule, regulation , or law.
  • The Guideline is not intended to deny access to opioid pain medication as an option for. pain management.
  • The Guideline is a set of voluntary recommendations intended to guide primary care providers as they work in consultation with their patients to address chronic pain.
  • The Guidelines are not intended to take away physician discretion and decision-making.
  • Specifically, the Guideline includes a recommendation to taper or reduce dosage only when patient harm outweighs patient benefit of opioid therapy.

In the end, none of the information that I presented, made any difference to my pain dr.. He just kept repeating “the guidelines, the guidelines, the guidelines”. He told me that in all reality, I was not worth saving, because if I look at his waiting room, he has all of those other people to serve, who also live with pain. If he helps me, he risks losing his practice and then he would not be able to help all of them. He informed me that “everyone is looking at him the same way” and they are also “pleading with him” for their medications.  I told him that he’s told me that I am “different” and that I am a “very complicated case with multiple co-morbidities”.  I told him that I researched Michigan Law and that there are no changes in the care or plans for chronic pain, only acute pain. None of this mattered because he just looked at me, after I showed him the letter from my G.I. dr.. A letter written by him on my behalf, states that “Suzanne has been stable while she received the fentanyl patch”. It goes on to say that I have “RSD and severe Gastroparesis and this could “exacerbate the illness of a patient who was difficult to stabilize” due to Q-T prolongation, her allergies and intolerance for oral medications”. He said that “he strongly recommends that my pain management not be altered unless there is a strong medical reason.”

My pain dr looked at me and said “This is bullshit! His license is not any better than mine! If he wants you to have the fentanyl patch then let him prescribe it for you. You’re also welcome to find another dr and get a 2nd opinion. I won’t be upset if you do that, although Im not kicking you out or anything.” He repeated that “the CDC guidelines are specific for fentanyl” and there was no way in hell I was ever getting that from him ever again, an neither is anyone else; no matter what! He pretty much told me if there was an exception, I would be it, but there are no exceptions. He repeated to me that I am educated, and have access to the internet. If I do my research, I will know that what he’s saying is true. I have done a ton of research and I know that what he’s saying is not true. He is violating his Hippocratic oath “to do no harm”. Many other physicians are also doing this instead of defending the fragile people who need them during this opioid hysteria

Letter To Leaders of Oregon Forced Taper


Below I’ve copied the letter that I wrote to the leaders of the state of Oregon, regarding their new proposal for forced taper off of all opioids in their state:

To Leaders of the state of Oregon,

I am writing to you with a plea for all of your constituents, as well the entire chronic pain population in the USA. What you are proposing to do, by eliminating opioids, is considered torture by the World Health Organization. You are also setting a precedent for other states, if this action against all opioids goes through!

When I’m proposing a big change, even just in my own household; I try to put myself in the place of other family members that my change will affect. Please put yourself in the “shoes (so to speak)”, of the thousands & later on, millions of chronic pain patients that you’ll be affecting and in reality, torturing. If you remove all opioids from your state, the suicide rate will increase dramatically and many intractable pain patients and their families will suffer.

Please think about what you are doing to trauma victims, burn victims and people with horrible chronic pain illnesses and cancer. Would you want to suffer with daily horrible pain, or would you want to take something that has been working for possibly even a decade (or more); to give you some semblance of a life with your children, grandchildren and/or your family. 

Please reconsider this act of cruelty and torture on those living with chronic pain in your state (& then future areas as well).

Thank you for reading my letter and I truly hope that your conscience will help you make the right decision for people who live with pain 365/24/7. Also remember that it could be you or your child, wife or parent at any time. We never know from day to say, what might happen. One minute I was sipping lemonade at an art fair; the next moment, I was hit by a car when the driver ran through a red light. This started my life of pain and I never could have imagined what this new life would be like.

Peace & Hope,

Suzanne Stewart

**Below is a photo screenshot that I took Of the reply that I received back from them:

About suboxone, buprenorphine and naloxone


The current Opioid Hysteria was started several years ago with a rippling effect and has become worse over time. A company that has much to gain from this hysteria around opioids is called Reckitt Benckiser. According to this article in “The Daily Beast” from 10-05-16 : https://www.thedailybeast.com/suboxone-creators-shocking-scheme-to-profit-off-of-heroin-addicts , the company was about to lose their patent and came up with a “fake opioid hysteria”.  According to this article, “Reckitt Benckiser sought to exploit the nationwide hysteria over the increasing use of opioids to line its own pockets by blocking competition….”.

The drug Suboxone has a Generic name of buprenorphine and naloxone (oral/sublingual). If you visit https://www.drugs.com/suboxone.html you will notice that Bupenorphine is  also considered an “opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic”.  Naloxone “blocks the effects of opioid medications”. Naloxone also blocks any pain relief or feelings of well-being, according to this article. The drug, “Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction”. Suboxone is not to be used for any kind of pain relief or as a pain relieving medication. What I don’t understand are the warnings on Suboxone and these medications associated with it in generic form. The same warning is used on the label as is used for many opioids. The warnings state that if you used Suboxone, Bupenorphrine  and/or Naloxone it may be “habit-forming” and can cause addiction, overdose or even death. The company Reckitt Benckiser is trying to get rid of all other opioids so that they can profit off of having a monopoly on their own medications. They claim that all chronic pain patients are suffering from “opioid use disorder” or addiction, in other items that I have read.  Other warnings on the labels of these 3 drugs, state that  some other medications, if taken simultaneously with Suboxone, Bupenorphrine and/or Naloxone, can cause a serious medical crisis called “Serotonin syndrome”. They state that you should be warned and inform your Dr. If you take any herbal supplements, depression medications (*or if. You have any mental illness), Parkinson’s disease, migraines, serious infections or any medication that helps stop nausea/vomiting. The label states that these medications can cause “life threatening withdrawal symptoms”. Some of the side effects are: weak/shallow breathing, confusion, weakness, blurred vision, slurred speech, liver problems, low cortisol levels (nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite etc).  One of the most interesting side effects listed are “opioid withdrawal symptoms” (shivering, increased sweating, runny nose, watery eyes, muscle pain and diarrhea). Tell me again, why this medicine is “better” for chronic pain patients to take than long acting or really any opioids? How are these side effects and warnings any better? Also, as long as a chronic pain patient has been doing well on long term opioid therapy, why switch to something that could be potentially harmful or cause them death? Also, women or men who are still thinking about having or starting a family, do you know that Suboxone can cause infertility (*this article states that long term opioid use can also cause infertility?).  Many other medications will affect Suboxone, such as Benzodiazephines, other narcotic medications & cough medicine. It states that Suboxone is used to treat drug/opioid addiction. It does not say that it is for chronic pain in any way, shape or form.

Don’t let anyone tell you that buprenorphine is “different from suboxone” because from my research it is just a generic form of that drug. It is an opioid but has not yet been approved for use with chronic pain. Dr’s are required to take an 8 hour class in order to prescribe these drugs to patients. They are supposed to be prescribed for addiction and/or substance use disorder. The latter is what our friend, Andrew Kolodny has labeled all chronic pain patients who use opioid therapy, as having. When I looked up the classes online, that physicians, nurse practitioners etc. are required to take in order to prescribe the drug “buprenorphine”; it states this is a  medication for addiction and opioid use disorder. Physicians must apply for a waiver to prescribe bupreorpnine to their patients with opioid use disorders.

I noticed an article last week that was discussing suboxone, that it is only approved for addiction. The active ingredient in this drug is Called buprenorphine, which is known as an “opioid partial agonist”. This just means that it interacts with the same receptors in the brain, as heroin and oxycodone. The difference they explain, is that people don’t get a “high” or “cravings” for buprenorphine. But then why can’t chronic pain patients who have been doing well on opioid therapy for several or many years be left to the opioid medications that they may have been doing well on for many years? Patients who have been on a steady dose of opioids for possibly multiple chronic pain conditions, do not get cravings or high either? Why introduce these chronically ill people to something new, something else that will cause them new and or worse bad reactions/side effects?  I found in this article (www.crchealth.com/addiction/heroin-addiction-treatment/heroin-detox/buprenorphine-suboxone-vs/) that suboxone  contains buprenorphrine and naloxone. The naloxone keeps people from abusing the drug. It is an opiate antagonist. But why would anyone give these meds to chronic pain patients who do not use the opioids for any other reason than to have some semblance of a life with lesser pain levels? It states right in this last article above, that “If you take suboxone as directed…..the buprenorphrine will travel to the brain and you will feel relief from withdrawal symptoms. Chronic pain patients should not have to go through withdrawal symptoms. This is what I’m trying to get through to persons who are “pushing” these drugs on the chronic pain population now.

In this article called “The truth about suboxone” (www.thefix.com/content/stigma-maintenance-treatment9216), Maia Szalavitz discusses maintenance therapy for addiction with suboxone, Methadone or Naltrexone. She explains something that I’ve known to be true about opioids as well. If they are taken in irregular time and dosage then you will get a high. But if you take them in a regular reliable schedule and dosage, then “getting high is visually impossible”. Next, I read an article about different people who had been given the “bupenorphrine isn’t suboxone” speech. They were told that it would help them with withdrawals etc. But guess what? The person who told his story first, in this article, stated that withdrawals from the buprenorphrine were much worse than anything he had expected, encountered or had been told. I read his story here: (https://www.medhelp.org/posts/Addiction-Substance-Abuse/Suboxone-Good–Bad–and-Ugly-Truth—168-days-off-SUB/show/1502381) . I have been researching these drugs.  In my humble opinion as a non-medical personnel, who has been through hell and back; trying different pain treatments and medications over the past 15 years; that I would not ever take suboxone, or buprenorphrine even if my life depended on it! I finally found something that worked to lessen the chronic pain due to several chronic pain illnesses; I agreed to take it after being pressured “to trust them”(doctors). But now only to have it taken away 15 years later because of some crazy opioid hysteria going on so that “he who shall not be named” can become more rich and have a monopoly on suboxone, bupenorphrine etc. by “getting rid of all opioids”.

We live in America and we should be free to have choices as to what medications we want to take, knowing the risks and benefits. Just as we have freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms and now even freedom to have gender neutral restrooms! We deserve the right to have freedom to choose with our own personal physicians who are trained in pain management etc; the right to take the best medications for our own personal situations. The government needs to step away and stop trying to politicize this opioid hysteria. Stop trying to demonize the organizations that support our freedoms of treatment options! This has turned into a deadly nightmare for many of us and now myself included.

***P.S.

I also want to inform you that each time I tried to look up or research “buprenorphrine” it came up as “suboxone”. Buprenorphrine is a generic form of suboxone. In addition, naloxone is the ingredient that immediately makes you go through withdrawals if you do take another opioid/narcotic while taking suboxone. Hmmm….suppose you were in a car accident, maybe like the one that started all of your chronic pain in the first place? Suppose the EMT’s or an ER Doctor gave you an opioid to help with burn trauma or gunshot trauma wounds or horrible car accident trauma? You would be really “in trouble” would you not? Anyways, just another informative message from me to you. I hope this helps someone. Sending Love and low pain your way.

*************************************

This is where I got some of this information:

1. https://www..com/suboxone-creators-shocking-scheme-to-profit-off-of-heroin-addicts

2. https://www.drugs.com/suboxone.html

Articles that Explain The Bad effects of suboxone, bupenorphrine etc.

1.  Why Suboxone Treatment Can Be Harmful

2. The Suboxone Conspiracy

3. the ugly truth about suboxone withdrawals

*****Several of the articles used in this blog post were provided to me by my colleague & friend, Jonelle Elgaway *** please visit her website at: CAW Nation

We are Not Addicts! Get it Through Your Heads!


The Head of CDC says “this is personal “

Read this article and then read my comments here afterwards- please. This is outrageous!

When will they get an unbiased person to take over this “so-called” crisis? An adult, teen or child who willingly takes cocaine or heroin, laced with the bad cara-fentanyl or any fentanyl is wrong for making the choice to do so! This is 100% totally separate from a chronic intractable pain patient getting a prescription from a legitimate pain physician. It’s different because it’s not just a choice, it’s necessary & something many chronic pain patients need to even have some semblance of a life!

If this is such a “personal” matter, then keep it that way! It’s “personal” and those affected by illegal drug use should get the help THEY need; without killing all of the chronic intractable pain patients in the meantime! If we don’t die or commit suicide from living an agonizing “1/2-life” of horrible daily pain, then we are just living a tortured existence of pain combined with fear. Innocent chronic pain patients are also being made to feel like criminals! This is insane!! Please, legislators and others in positions of power over the chronic pain population of this country, take the “personal business “ out of the workplace! Put yourself in the position of knowing that any day you could be hit by a guy who runs a red light, as in my situation! Any one of you or your loved ones could be living with unbearable pain from any number of accidents or illnesses that come up each day! If it was “personal” chronic intractable pain, I’ll bet we’d be getting a different story & a different swing on things!!!

Giving PAIN To Help With Pain?


I read this article called “How to Ease pain without Opioids? Specialists are finding Ways” by Steve Dorfman from Palm Beach Post, a staff writer. He is writing about a clinic that opened in Florida. We all know that Florida is the very worst or one of the worst states to be living with chronic pain and residing in. Does this make any sense at all to the chronic pain patients or any sane individual? The interventions that are being outlined in this article are tortuous to say the least! 

This Dr. Tapia outlines several different approaches to use instead of narcotics or opioids. Why aren’t sick people who are legitimately living with daily chronic pain, allowed to take a pill like everyone else who is really sick? It has NOT been proven that cancer pain is worse than any other form of chronic pain. The CDC rebuked Andrew Kolodny when he tried to use that line on them. It just is not true. I have two family members with cancer and they told me themselves that their pain is “not that bad” and definitely not as bad as many other chronic pain illnesses. At least with most other illnesses there is an end in sight or a treatment that helps but now the chronic pain population are being forced to do painful, torturous and just plain “stupid” things that are supposed to “trick our minds into believing that we feel better”. That is my opinion!

First of all, people who live with daily intractable pain, do not get high, do not abuse their pain medications and do not do anything they should not do with their medications. They use them for pain relief only! The chronic pain population should not be made to continually suffer and die because there are “bad” people who brought “bad” drugs like cara fentanyl over from South America and elsewhere! This is insane! If someone starts abusing insulin to lose weight and then people die, will they start taking insulin away from the Diabetics in America? Guess what? I bet you that won’t ever happen!

This Dr.  In Florida has several approaches.  He and other pain Dr’s who are now “afraid” to prescribe medication that can easily help their patients without giving them more pain on top of the chronic pain they are enduring; are calling this “Interventional Pain medicine”.  They are doing some things like this:  more injections (that sounds fun), nerve blocks (yep they hurt worse and then maybe help for a month, but guess what?? You cannot do that forever!!!), and what they like to call “minimally invasive outpatient surgeries.  This is ludicrous and crazy!

There is this method they are doing where they take your red blood cells out (ouch) and they “spin them around in a special centrifuge machine that separates and concentrates platelets and growth factors, and then it is injected” …get this…this is the “good part”…”they INJECT IT INTO THE PAINFUL AREAS!” That sounds like something I want to try, with systemic  CRPS….NOT… I’ve heard that this may help some forms of Arthritis! But what about all of the other horribly painful illnesses Like Arachnoiditis, CRPS, EDS and many others??? Then there is a high intensity laser therapy “believed by some to promote tissue healing”….yea…sorry…load of crap!  They also have this recently cleared by the FDA device called NIP procedure (NIP stands for noninvasive pain). They use a microchip and acupuncture needles, placed “strategically behind the patients ear”.  This technology transmits a flow of signals to the patient for as long as they are “wearing” the device (usually 4 or 5 days). Well, Ok but what about the rest of your life after 4 or 5 days??

I am talking about intractable pain, chronic pain and pain that will most likely never disappear. These kinds of treatments are asinine for these kinds of chronic pain patients. I’m sorry but taking a pill a couple times a day, that has absolutely no side effects and does not harm me in any way, is a much easier approach for those already living with daily struggles of constant pain that will not eventually disappear.  These “pain interventionists” are just making a lot of money and taking advantage of the chronic pain population. I’m sorry but you cannot just “think this kind of pain away”. You cannot wear a couple of needles behind your ear and watch it “Poof” away! These are insane ideas from an insane culture who are being hysterical about opioids. Opioids have a place in the chronic and acute pain world.  We need palliative of life care. We aren’t going to live as long as the “normal” person anyways. I am not an addict. I am NOT afraid of losing my pain meds, I’m more afraid of feeling the pain when it is not controlled!

My specialist physician told me the other day that “unfortunately, I am collateral damage to the hysteria that is taking place in our society today”. He’s 100% correct and I will probably not live through this again. I lost my physician 3 years ago. One day he was there and he was my Dr. For about 15 yrs. The next day he was gone without an explanation. I was caught going off meds for pain after 12 years “cold turkey”. I was very sick and my blood pressure went high, my blood sugar went high and it was torturous. Last Monday, I was told that my 100 fentanyl patch was being taken away. No tapering, just “one more month to help me get ready psychologically”. What the heck is that about? The safe way is to wean someone 10% every couple of weeks or so. On August 10th I will not be given the patch again. I was offered some other oral extended relief medication but I have Gastroparesis. In what lifetime doesn’t a pain Dr. Or any Dr.  know that Oral opioids, especially extended ones, are not recommended for people who live with Gastroparesis (another painful condition)?? No one cares? I’ve written to my Senator, the president, my state rep and I’ve made videos and blog posts and news articles. Nobody cares about us anymore. Nobody cares about my life or my quality of life any longer? What happened to these United States of America? 

(My information is from http://www.palmbeachpost.com May 21st, 2018 *Please go over there and post comments about your feelings regarding this insanity)

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.

Human Rights Group Addresses Opioid Issue


 

I was uplifted to see that someone is finally standing up for the rights of 100 million chronic pain patients in these United States of America. We’ve been waiting for a group, a person, a physician or anyone to stand of for this group of people who are mostly too busy worrying about Dr. appointments and just carrying out daily tasks of living to advocate for themselves . Those who deal with daily pain are often too weak to form a huge protest, fight with signs and stand on Capitol Hill for days or hours at a time. Many of us have written letters and tried to encourage people to respond to the FDA docket. Many people have done what they could do to help, while living with illness, chronic pain and debilitating fatigue.

This past week I was so happy to find that a Human Rights group called “Human Rights Watch” has taken an interest in our cause. Someone has finally noticed that ignoring a large group of citizens who live with chronic pain and who are being largely untreated or under-treated, is inhumane! This Human rights group has reported on other forms of torture throughout the third world countries as well. They are based in New York and at last, they are looking towards helping the people at “home”, in the USA. They were doing research on cancer patients and were shocked to find that so many had lost their pain control/relief. This is considered torture in many other countries. Before this Opioid issue began, I never would have believed that the USA would want to torture their most fragile citizens? Hopefully this advocacy group will truly help this cause. They could begin by reversing the effects of the CDC guidelines and by helping to keep the government (and politics) out of practicing medicine. In my opinion, it feels as though some legislators who may want to be re-elected, make a name for themselves or get news media attention have been “using” the chronic pain community for their own gains. One example of politics mixing with medicine is the “Lifeboat tax”. A group of Senators want patients who are taking Opioids, to pay for addiction treatments centers by forcing a tax of .01 cent per milligram of Opioids prescribed daily. But the majority of people who are legitimately prescribed Opioids are not “addicted”. This is wrong and someone has to take a stand, be brave and help those who truly cannot always fight for themselves. Living with untreated and under-treated chronic pain is definitely a human rights issue because people can and do die from it! They pass away because increased amounts of pain can cause very high blood pressure, high glucose level, stroke and a heart attack. But it’s the “living” without pain relief that is the torturous part.

Honestly, removing Opioids from the bigger picture of high pain illnesses, is inhumane. I hope this Human Rights Watch group will help the chronic pain community, curb the fear in our physicians and stop the Government from creeping into our patient/Dr. Relationship and exam room. This group found that nobody has been paying attention to those suffering because their physicians “jumped ship” and abandoned them. They found that the testimonies given by some patients who have lost access to appropriate medications for pain relief, “were similar to those who were victims of police torture”( https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2018/3/15/human-rights-watch-investigating-treatment-of-pain-patients. We needed someone to be brave and step up to help our community.

If you want to help the chronic pain community and/or if you have a story of your own, please write to this group? Share your story in just a few lines. They have asked for people to send these stories to: Human Rights Watch, email researcher Laura Mills at millsl@hrw.org…They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsWatch and they have a Twitter feed @HumanRightsWatch. The more true stories about increased pain and loss of treatment that can be sent to them, the better. The more real human faces that they can connect with this Cause, the more it will help to stop the continued torture of Americans who rely on Opioid therapy for relief of chronic pain Illnesses.