Why I Resigned From USPF


Hello Luvs,

It is with sadness that I write this blog post today. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. Therefore, any part of the following letter, that could in any way divulge information which I’m not at liberty to share; I have put “X’s” in the place of the words I had written. But I wanted my followers/friends in the pain community to know that this was the most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to do. I loved doing this volunteer work for USPF. They always told me that we were a “family”. Yet, the very day that I lost my Long acting/Extended release pain medication, I opened an email that was just the opposite of everything I thought we stood for. Since that email, I have contemplated resigning, but did not want to “hurt” anyone or do anything to leave them without enough board members etc. But from that day on, things just went down hill. Next, I saw a trailer for a movie that stars actress Karen Duffy and our Interim CEO, called “Balancing the Pain Scale”, that I found out has been in production for 2-3 years. As a Board member, I knew nothing about this movie until someone else alerted me. I went to the trailer and was saddened when I saw the words get “beyond the pill bottle” as I was losing the one thing that had given me some semblance of a life; and so are so many of you.

Lastly, I must add that in the past, I was sent copies of kind emails that pain patients would send in about me. I was also sent emails about patients who needed my help. I never received any emails/letters such as these since becoming a Board member. Not until a disgruntled pain patient who was removed from one of my groups for being disrespectful and unkind sent the interim CEO an email. This person spelled my name incorrectly as “Susan Stuart”, she obviously does not know me and did not know me at all. I felt belittled and reprimanded by being sent the code of ethics. Especially when the issues had nothing to do with USPF and I did not use my role in any conversations with that person. I did not receive a personal phone call, nor did anyone request any information or clarification regarding the absurd complaint; after my years of loyalty to USPF. Therefore, you can read the end result in my recent letter to the Board members below:

Dear Nicole, Wendy, Ellen, (XXX & XXXX,(*2 attorneys)

When I was initially asked to join the Board of Directors of the USPF, I was pleased and excited to be joining a group that I feel is  doing wonderful things and representing the interests of the pain community.

Very quickly, (XXXXXXXXX) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX However, I decided to help shoulder the burden of guiding USPF through the trauma of the aftermath of XXXXX & more. Also to stay & help with USPF losing its founder and CEO. As time went on, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX kept adding up. I decided that it was my duty to stick by Nicole  & the other Board members & our legal team, to help clean up this mess & help to guide US Pain Foundation in the right direction.

I have become increasingly frustrated because everything that was promised to me upon becoming a Board member has not happened. I was told that I could represent US pain foundation at Pain week in Las Vegas 2018. I was also told that I would be put on an advisory board and be given a program of my own to run and see through to the end. I have been told repeatedly that as a Board member I cannot officially run any programs, but others do. I feel that those things I’m most passionate about are marginalized. I feel that somehow I was inadvertently sought out & appointed to the Board, because somehow, some person(s) thought that I would just agree and not ever express my own voice and opinions. But I do have opinions and a voice. I’m sad that as a board member I don’t know who any of our donors are and I didn’t find out about the movie that’s been in production for three years, I was told? There’s so many things I don’t know but then XXXX told me that “there’s no one higher than the board”? It’s a bit confusing in all honesty. I feel “kept in the dark” about many things.

One big reason or probably the that I feel the need to resign from the board of directors of the US Pain foundation starting immediately, is due to the lack of  insurance for Board members & support group members. I don’t feel “safe” being involved with voting on big decisions yet being “left in the dark” much of the time. I don’t really know where money is going or where n it comes from in all  honesty. All the things that I used to love I’m not able to do anymore because “I am a board member“.

Last of all & sadly, I received an email today with a copy of the code of ethics from Nicole. A disgruntled pain patient from Canada, sent her note full of horrible lies & accusations. I was not consulted privately via a phone call or even given the benefit of the doubt. I have never had any trouble with not one person since I joined this or any organizations. I don’t speak or claim to speak for the USPF in any of my groups that I run. I only give facts with links to back up what I say as chronic pain patient.

For all of the above reasons and due to the fact that I don’t feel respected, I must tender my resignation from the Board of Directors  of the US Pain Foundation immediately.

Sadly,

Peace & Hope,

Suzanne B. Stewart

about.me/suzydukettes

Recipient of USPF’s Pain Ambassador of the Year Award‘16, Mentor & Social Media Assistant RSDSA, Staff Columnist/Ntl. Pain Report, Blog-“Tears Of Truth” @tearsoftruth.com, Patient leader WEGO Health, HoH/ASL, patient advocate for Deaf/HoH

“Out of suffering have emerged the most massive characters are seared with scars” ~Khalil Gibran~

Thank you for taking the time to let me share with you. I feel a deep sadness and broken at this time.

Making Peace With My Pain?


*********PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE!!! WHAT GOT POSTED IN “NTL PAIN REPORT” TODAY (9-22-18), WAS EDITED AND CHANGED INTO SOMETHING ELSE. I’M NOT A WHINER NOR AM I WEAK! I HAVE A VOICE & I’M VERY STRONG!! I SENT IN SOMETHING WRITTEN FROM MY HEART & SOUL. IT’S BEEN CHANGED INTO SOMETHING UNRECOGNIZABLE! THOSE ARE NOT MY WORDS OR THOUGHTS AT ALL. THIS IS MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE AND BELOW, YOU CAN READ MY OWN THOUGHTS AND WORDS:

Hello Luvs,

In this time of uncertainty for chronic and/or intractable pain patients please stop telling us to “make peace with our pain”. Until you have walked in my shoes, do not try to dictate what is best for my situation. If you hurt your back momentarily or you have several aches and pains, then by all means, use “mindfulness”, “accept your pain” and then “make peace with it”. I don’t care what you do with it honestly, but stop telling me/us to “make peace” with now, uncontrolled chronic daily pain at a 7/8, knowing that it’s forever. My health decline has continued year after year with increasing medical issues piled on top of the old injuries; going on 16 years now.

Unless you actually live with daily intractable pain, don’t to tell me/us how to manage it. If you’re a writer, motivational speaker or a politician, stop giving advice when you don’t truly understand the nature of living with 8 chronic pain illnesses. If you have one chronic illness and “accepting the pain” or “making peace” with it works for you, then by all means, go for it!

Let me explain for those who don’t really know the person they are preaching to on social media. It’s not always Psychological, hysterical or a history of abuse that causes ongoing pain. Sometimes things just happen that cause a very strong person to live with very high pain. When that pain gets more complicated and worsens as time goes by, and it is forever; that is when acceptance, making peace with your pain, grounding and mindfulness don’t work very well.

I was a very active single mom with two young daughters. I had a career as an Interpreter for the Deaf at a major University hospital and school districts. I taught aerobics and was the jump rope team’s coach at the Elementary school. I visited different schools to share Deaf culture and American sign language. One day a man ran a red light and changed all of that for me. Afterwards, I worked very hard at 3 years in TBI rehab, 9 years of PT/OT, driver rehabilitation and speech therapy. I ended up with 2 hearing aids and prisms in my glasses for a long time. For 3 years I refused opioid medication due to the stigma or “taboo” of taking it. I did Biofeedback and the red line was “off the charts” showing that my pain was very high and I needed some other intervention. I was the woman who graduated with honors, never drank or smoked. I was not taking that medication. I worked with a pain Psychologist at a pain clinic. I had several epidural nerve blocks, trigger point injections, cortisone injections and other medications(*most either made me violently ill or I was allergic). I endured 8+ surgeries, including 2 screws and a pacemaker with a cardio messenger box next to my bed. They told me to “trust them” and take the opioid pain medication or I was going to stay in that hospital bed in my home. I finally accepted the fact that just as people with hearing loss need hearing aids and those with vision issues wear glasses and Diabetics take insulin; I needed to take pain medication to give me back my life, or some semblance of a life.

For 13 years, I’ve been as active as I can be. I don’t lay in my bed and wallow or feel sorry for myself. I have been a US Pain Ambassador, on the Board of Directors and even won “U.S. Pain Ambassador of the year 2016”. I’m a patient Leader for WEGO Health, have been on 3 different radio shows and I have been a mentor for newly Diagnosed CRPS patients. I have a popular blog and write for National Pain Report. I’ve done many fundraisers, awareness events and still currently lead several online groups while helping several non-profit groups with whatever they need help doing. I live with several high pain chronic illnesses, including: systemic/full body CRPS, EDS type 4/vascular, Chiari (with migraines), Right Long Thoracic Nerve Neuropathy, Autonomic Neuropathy, R.A., Dysautonomia/POTs, Coronary Spasms (Prinzmetal Angina), Degenerative Disc Disease with multiple herniate and bulging discs, Spinal Stenosis, Chronic erosive Gastritis, Gastroparesis, SIBO and multiple heart issues.

I’m at 25% of of what I was taking for the past 13 years. Two of my specialists wrote letters on my behalf, to my pain Dr.; explaining that with the multiple illnesses that I live with, the patch is and has been proven to be the very best thing that works for my pain. One of my specialist physicians wrote “why break what doesn’t need fixed? She’s been active and doing so well and this could land her inpatient and in declining health”. My pain Dr. said “this is Bullshit, his license is not any better than mine. If he wants you to have the patch then let him prescribe it”.

I continue to be quickly tapered against my will. I’m in my “Lazy Boy” recliner 16-18 hours every day.

This is what my “forever” is looking like now. I went from teaching aerobics, American Sign Language, being the Elementary schools’, Jump Rope Team coach and an active mother and then grandmother, to “living” in a recliner daily. I’m not focusing on the pain, in fact I’ve done everything to not focus on it. I went through 43 hours of labor and then a C-section, twice; while being sent home with Motrin 800 per my own choice. I’m not a “baby”, nor am I an “addict”. In fact I have a letter from the Pain Psychologist, stating that I “do not have an addictive personality”. So stop telling me to plant my feet (with open sores on them, by the way) into the earth to practice “grounding”. Don’t tell me to “make peace with my pain” or accept it; unless or until you have walked one full day in my shoes! If you haven’t experienced pain on these levels, then stop preaching to the choir. I, for one am getting very tired of defending myself and the rest of the pain community on the subject of opioid pain medication therapy. It does work for some of us just as Insulin helps the Diabetic to continue living.

**The Article Ed edited & changed totally & which appeared to be written by an illiterate 5th grader. Is in its entirety at the Ntl pain Report but for your convenience I’ve recopied what Ed Coghlan wrote in place of what I had sent to him:

Making Peace With Pain (by: Ed Coghlan)

Please stop telling me to make peace with my pain.

I can’t right now and haven’t been able to do for many years.

And it’s getting worse.

My health decline has continued year after year with increasing medical issues piled on top of the old injuries; going on 16 years now. If you have daily intractable pain, you know what I’m talking about.

It is not always psychological, hysterical or a history of abuse that causes ongoing pain. Sometimes you just hurt—a lot.

I was once a very active single mom with two young daughters. I had a career as an Interpreter for the Deaf at a major University hospital and school districts. I taught aerobics and was the jump rope team’s coach at the Elementary school. I visited different schools to share Deaf culture and American sign language.

Then a man ran a red light and changed my life. I have endured 8+ surgeries, including 2 screws and a pacemaker with a cardio messenger box next to my bed. They told me to “trust them” and take the opioid pain medication or I was going to stay in that hospital bed in my home. I said ok

For 13 years, I’ve been as active as I can be. I have been active with a national pain advocacy group and I contribute to the National Pain Report and have worked to advance the wants and desires of the millions of people like me—people who suffer from this cruel condition.

This “reduction” in opioid prescribing has hit me hard. I’m taking  about 25% of what I was taking for the past thirteen years. Specialists who treat me have written letters to my pain doctor explaining that with the multiple illnesses I live with, the patch is the best thing for me. My pain doctor, feeling the pressure of the CDC guideline, refused to do it.

Now I’m in a “Lazy Boy” recliner 16 hours a day because I’m being tapered against my will.

Not what I want. Not what I’ve been.

I could tell you much more, but if you’re like me, you know.

It’s not fair.

Suzanne Stewart is a chronic pain patient (and advocate) who lives in Michigan. She is a contributor to the National Pain Report.

***Lastly,

This Bio which is usually on all of my NPR articles, is missing today….. here’s what it normally says:

Suzanne has lived with a Systemic CRPS & several other chronic pain illnesses since a MVA in 2002. Prior to being disabled from chronic pain, she was an Interpreter for the Deaf at a hospital & worked with Deaf children. Since 2005, Suzanne’s been a patient Health advocate, support group leader & Mentor.  She continues doing these things today, but also does public speaking, awareness events and she’s a Writer/blogger & an Ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation. The statements and opinions that she provides are her own and should not be taken as the stance, position or viewpoint of the U.S. Pain Foundation. For entertainment she creates advocacy videos & uplifting ASL cover song videos on You tube and she writes in her own blog Tears Of Truth. You can follow her here: TearsofTruth.com

This was my photo + Bio on them”staff columnists” Page under the “Our Team” Tab.

This is the email I rec’d from Ed Coghlan, after I was trying to let him know how upset I was that he “gutted” my (this) article. He added words that I hadn’t written. He changed the powerful message that was in my original story; to one of weakness and whining! Needless to say, I don’t want to write for someone that would call this an “edit”. Then send me an email at 12:05 AM, saying that he was going to publish this article in the morning (6 hours later); without ever allowing me to see the “edits”! I finally asked if I could please see the final copy and about 1:00-1:30 AM, I received the skeleton of my former original article. I begged him not to post it as it was. He’d gone to bed and scheduled it to post at 6:00 am! I was getting all kinds of comments from persons who recognize my writing when they see it and when they don’t! The rest is history!

PS- Btw, he couldn’t get hold of me on Saturday because I have recently been quickly tapered against my will; from my LA/ER pain medication that I’d been taking since 2005. I was in horrible pain from the added emotional strain from my resignation from US Pain Foundation Board of Directors & from USPF. Then the very next day this happened.

My husband called Ed in my place because I’m conscientious and would never just not respond. He told my husband that “he was not comfortable talking with him”! Well he’s also my caregiver and I wasn’t able to speak at that point. It all came tumbling down!

Pain, Politics, Suboxone & Bupenorphrine


Please watch this informational video about the a patient removed from the only medication that helped lower pain. Also, much information regarding the dangers of Suboxone /Bupenorphrine.

Pain, politics & Suboxone/Bupenorphrine

Fighting For Chronic Pain Patients


This is the “Roy Green” syndicated radio show that is heard in Canada & the USA each week. I was contacted by Roy a few days ago and asked to come on the air and speak with him regarding the dire situation that chronic pain patients are living and dealing with these days. I also spoke of how I was informed that I’m losing my own ER/LA pain meds in 2 weeks. The starting point of my segment Is at 39:12 through 54:15. Please feel free to share this with our pain community. Thank you!

Suzanne Stewart on the Roy Green Show, Fighting For Chronic Pain Patients

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!!!

Keeping Hope Alive is Tough!


You never think it will happen to you, until it does. I have been helping others and advocating for them for many years now. I have been writing for the National Pain Report and in my own blog (tearsoftruth.com) for several years as well. I try to give advice to others to help keep their hope alive. On my WEGO Health profile, my favorite words are posted. These are words that I try to live by and a phrase that originated with me, “Hope is a verb, You have to DO something in order to have it”. Now I have to practice what I have been preaching.

I think most of you know that in March 2018, I visited my pain Dr. And he did the usual random urine test. I was told in April that it showed a positive for PCP and something else, I cant even think of right now? Probably because I have no idea what these are and did not ever take them. It ended up being a “false positive” after we were charge $300.00, because HE forgot that I was taking a migraine medication that did not show up on the MAPS. He says it shows up sometimes, not others?

My PTSD symptoms have gotten worse prior to each upcoming pain Dr. visit. He has become less respectful towards me. I used to feel a mutual respect between us. I stopped taking some other cancer pain medication that was prescribed to me before I started seeing him in 2015. I felt that he respected me for being able to do that and go through the withdrawals process. My brain did not ever care about the medication, but my body got very sick when I stopped it.

The past few appointments I have not felt that respect that I had felt in the past. My Dr. was treating me differently. He got angry if I got weepy at all and he yelled at me for crying. Something changed in him and I could see it and feel it, but I was not sure what it was or why it was happening? This week I went to my appointment on Monday, 7-9-18. Things were pretty “normal” during the visit, but he was kind of “short” and “quick” with me, when he used to chit chat a bit and even smile when he told me about his children. At the end of the visit, he said this to me “so we are stopping your Fentanyl patch”. I was stunned because I’ve been on it for 15 yrs and taking less now than I was in 2015. I’ve had some semblance of a life with my husband, kids and grandchildren. I’ve been doing quite well and now he was taking away something that I’ve been doing very well with. Then came the “big lie”; (*which I know is untrue because I asked my Neurologist and Cardiologist and I was told it was not true whatsoever). He told me that I was “probably not getting more than 30% of the medication anyways because I’m not “fat” or “heavy enough”. That the fentanyl patch works better on “fat/heavy people” or “people with more body fat than I have”.” I questioned him, but I knew enough not to question him too much. I did not want to make the person that I depend on to have some kind of life at all, angry with me. My husband brought the empty bottle of my Migraine medicine to show him that I did have an 8 month old script and recently got a new refill. It was not showing up in the MAPS and my husband asked him if we should ask the pharmacy to make sure it is in that system? He told us that “they don’t like if you know too much, its best not to say anything”. What the heck is that all about? We are supposed to be lambs/sheep and follow orders and jump off the cliff if told to do so, without ever asking any questions? I’ve always found it better to be knowledgeable in my own treatment and healthcare. But this is not the case today, I guess?

Lastly, I put myself into old “abuse mode”. It was the same as the “old days” and I put myself in another place, disassociated until we could get the hell out of that room. All I wanted to do is cry and be hysterical for a few moments with the one person who loves me and who protects me to the best of his abilities and who is my soul-mate, my husband. I heard him tell me that he was taking away my patch and that I could take a different extended release medication “MS Contin”. But, I told him that I am unable to take that medication because I have Gastroparesis and even before I was diagnosed with GP, I could not take that medication because it made me sick, violently ill. That was the only choice I had and he gave me “one more month to be psychologically ready” but my dose was lowered and spread out for another full day. In one month I will be taken off of my patch after 15 years, with no tapering and nothing that matches the strength and pain lowering levels of what has worked for me for so long.

We are now at the mercy of the government in our patient rooms. He says that the state and federal government are making him do this to me. But there is no “law” that I can find in Michigan yet, stating that all persons taking Fentanyl for chronic pain must be removed from taking it now. I’m sorry that I don’t believe that you must be “heavy person” in order for the Fentanyl to work, because I was pretty much anorexic when I started it and it’s always worked for my pain. I have never had a “high” or any feelings except some relief from the pain of the several high pain illnesses that I live with and have lived with for many years. He also told me that “only those who have cancer are allowed to have these fentanyl patches now”. There is no evidence to prove that cancer pain is any worse than the pain that many of the chronic pain patients have to endure. I know there is a NORD website quote or a quote from the AMA, regarding this but I’m too sick right now to try and find it for you, I apologize. It’s easy to give advice, hope and love to people going through this, but when it is YOU who is going through it, all the love, advice and hope won’t make it better.

The same day that this happened, I awoke at 4:00 am with a feeling like someone was pressing on my left eye. When I opened my eyes, I could not see out of my left eye at all. It was totally pitch black. After a few minutes of screaming hysterically and my husband rushing to my side, I started to see patches of light in a dark mass. Then patches of the living room came into focus. After about 5-10 minutes, I could see again but not as sharp as usual with my glasses on. I went to sleep and in the morning I had a dull ache in my left eye and went to the hospital’s eye clinic that day. The Dr. Said that I had a “mini stroke” or “TIA of the eye”. My blood pressure had been high at the pain Dr. Appointment and my heart rate was 100 bpm before he even came into the room to tell me the news. He told me it was probably from stress and nothing they could do for me after all of the special testing that they did, they sent me home. I visited my heart specialist the next day and filled him in. He concurred with the eye clinic and said it could even have been an Ocular Migraine, but either/or both are from stress and can be a dangerous precursor to a stroke. I had a CVA or stroke in 2006, so I’ve been there and done that already. Today, we are like lambs going off to slaughter and nobody cares if we live or die. As my kind-hearted specialist physician of 15 years told me yesterday, “unfortunately you and people like you are collateral damage to the hysteria taking place right now”. I guess now it is up to me to see if I am able to follow any of the advice that I’ve been giving to others in this same predicament? Will I have another heart attack or another stroke because the legislators don’t care about me as an individual? Will I live to see my granddaughters and new grandson’s lives evolve or will I be a statistic? I guess only time will tell and all I can do is try to “keep hope alive”.

I Cannot Do Everything, But I Can Do Something


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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