A Chronic Pain Thanksgiving – What Are You Thankful For?

A Chronic Pain Thanksgiving – What Are You Thankful For?

by Ed Coghlan

First of all, let all of us at The National Pain Report wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope that each of you and your families have a great day today and a restful and physically and emotionally nourishing weekend.

We have plenty to be thankful for.

We have made thousands of new friends this year, who have subscribed to our news site and who, sometimes aggressively but always passionately, comment on stories that we do. We have identified a number of new columnists who lend their perspective for consideration by you and other chronic pain sufferers/survivors.

Our goal has been to advance knowledge and discussion in the chronic pain community. Our feeling is that we are making progress toward that goal but also are understanding we have much more to do.

This has been a trying year to be sure. The impact of the CDC Guideline for Opioid Prescribing has been an incendiary event—and many of our readers have suffered. My phone rings every week with a story from someone whose access to their medication has been denied and they don’t know what to do.

The National Pain Report has written extensively on the issue—as well as openly wondering why when the “crackdown on opioid use” occurred the government didn’t have any alternative recommendations for treatment.

But let us focus on Thanksgiving.
We’d like to ask you to share a simple thought.

What are you thankful for?

Please use our comment section and share your thoughts. We’d like to share some of them with our readers in future colums.

On this day, you may want to write about your loved ones, your friends, your co-workers, your physician and their staff or others who make your journey with chronic pain tolerable (or at least easier).
You may have found unique ways to deal with your pain—meditation, exercise, alternative therapies, diet or another idea. Share it and tell us why it worked for you and it might inspire others to try it and, more importantly, benefit from it.

Whatever your story, share something.

We’d love to hear and to share.

And, again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 23 comments for this article
  1. Maureen at 8:00 am

    @Angel… I feel for you! How are you doing by now? I’ve been in that position twice in the past couple of years… going through the withdrawal is awful.
    I went through it both times all alone and thought I would lose my mind.
    I hope you get your meds today! Hang in there and please keep us posted on your condition.
    @Melanie…I feel for you also. The emotional anguish that comes with our lives in pain is maddening for sure! Please try to keep strong.
    Maureen

  2. Brigid Harmon at 4:57 pm

    I am thankful for my wonderfully supportive husband who’s never wavered over 25 years of budget-breaking medical bills, extended hospital stays, needing to chauffeur me to multiple medical appointments every week (BTW, he also has a regular job), recently taking over all the cooking and grocery shopping duties since I no longer have enough energy for the tasks — and, most importantly, providing much needed emotional support and always understanding when I’m too exhausted or in too much pain to participate in a planned social event or let him turn on music at home or watch our favorite TV show together, etc.

    Also, I’m thankful for sisters who care about me and support me. And for certain friends that I’ve met during my 25-year pain journey, who know how its darkness can casts a shadow that becomes overwhelming — I can always I talk to when I need someone who truly knows what it means to live with fibromyalgia. My stepchildren have stepped up — even making sure that we were financially stable during a very difficult stretch — and I will be forever deeply grateful.

    My massage therapist is also a friend. When insurance stopped covering his services, he forgave a large amount of accumulated bills and continued to treat me at a significant discount. He’s now also licensed in acupuncture, and provides me with both types of treatments. My PCP always listens to me, and she’s always an extraordinarily advocate for me whenever I have problems with my medical insurance or if I’m having difficulty with a prescription. My appointments are never rushed — any and all questions are answered, even questions I might ask about appropriate care for my elderly mother. (The doctor is a great resource, and has been very helpful.)

    I’m truly thankful that I have sufficient intelligence and education to sift through the mounds of information flowing to my inboxes about chronic pain, to correctly interpret my insurance claims and medical bills, to fight back when there’s an error, to manage my tight budget, and (more fulfilling) to help others in my circle of family and friends who have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

  3. scott michaels at 6:53 pm

    i am thankful for a loving and supporting family. I am thankful that i am not homeless and we have food on our table. i am thankful for Purdue pharm. for inventing a a medication that eliminates my.pain on a daily basis. I am not thankful to the politicians, drug addicts, the cdc, the dea and the insurance co.panies that are making my life so painful that i am considering searching other means of locating pain medication.
    i am thankful for boards like these that allow us to vent and tell our stories. Umfortunately its like talking to a bartender. ABSOLUTELY nothing is accomplished by complaining about our pain and suffering. We have not been able to het an atty to fight.the courts for us, The cdc and the rest.of them ignore us and insult us by saying there is no proof of lo g term efficacy from opioid pain therapy, yry i have read thousands of comments that proove the exact opposite.
    i am thankfyl that 1 day i can take.my medication without wo dering if it will be my last.prescription and i am thankful 1 day my pain will go away, just not the way i desire.

  4. Jean Price at 2:08 pm

    Hoping for lots of comments here, to see what others hold onto through the pain…the things that keep us going.

    I’m thankful for faith and grace…and for several doctors I can be myself with, ones who see “me”, instead of just my complaints. It helps to feel human even with pain!

  5. Angel at 6:59 am

    And regarding Ed’s request to share tips for dealing with pain in our lives, for me I do the following:
    Maintain a set of daily goals and stick to them. Mine are very small things that “normal” healthy folks take for granted. My goals, shower daily even if I just put on clean pajamas afterwards. Walk everyday even if it’s just inside my cul de sac. Eat atleast one meal. Spend atleast 5 minutes in prayer meditation or gratitude journal. They’re small but give me a daily goal and a sense of accomplishment and assuage the guilt I feel certain days about my limitations. Blessings to all

  6. Angel at 6:51 am

    After 23 years in pain management today I’m unable to access my medication. My pharmacy was out of my medication, they sent me to another pharmacy they thought would help me, no one did. This holiday weekend I’m sicker than I’ve been before my last 3 surgeries, sicker than when I did chemo last time. I’m completely out of my medication. Pharmacists reject me they belittle me judge me treat me as a criminal a pariah. I’m just a wife a mother a daughter a sister an aunt who’s life has been turned upside down by disease that I did nothing bad to get just a genetic lottery. I’m tired of being mistreated I’m sick with pain now both mentally and physically. This holiday weekend I’m thankful for the pain foundation, that advocates on my behalf and for all who’s lives have been touched by pain. May no one have to go through what I am today this is my prayer this morning.

  7. Mark Ibsen MD at 7:45 pm

    Thanks Ed.
    I am thankful to have had an amazing medical career.
    I am thankful my kids are doing so well they don’t “need” to be home for 🦃
    I am grateful I have community and friends to remind me about what is important.
    Grateful for many attorneys keeping me in the game
    Grateful that the complaint filed against me by Blue Cross Blue Shield was dismissed
    Grateful I am learning the things a I cannot change,
    So I can impact the things I can.
    Grateful for gratitude, the cure for self pity.
    Thankful for detachment, which helps restore my peace.
    Grateful for love, as that is all there is.

  8. Jean Price at 5:25 pm

    It’s hard to narrow down all that I’m thankful for…but you all most likely already know I’m not good at “short and sweet”… or even “short and to the point”!! I have so much, so many blessings both large and small that flood my mind when I think of this question! And truth is, I think of it quite often! Because thankfulness always pulls me through the pain and the overwhelming effort of living with pain…and lands me “standing tall”, right square in the middle of enjoying life and all that life holds—besides pain—AND in spite of pain!!

    I’m most thankful for the all the things I learned about CHANGE and LOSS, both pre-pain and post-pain…or rather with pain and in pain…that help me accomplish LIVING JOYFULLY, and thankful too for the people who taught and mentored me and stood by me as I learned. And in this process, I found a loving God….who stayed at the edge of the black hole of pain and loss with me…long enough for me to decide that’s not where I wanted to live! And He has helped my faith grow by leaps and bounds! I’ve had desert times, do-over times, “you’ve got to be kidding” times, even times of revisiting that black hole when I realized in some new way how alone pain makes me…even though I am surrounded by a loving family. Yet I’m thankful those times are a rarity and only last a brief while. You see, one hint of thankfulness backs me away from the edge!

    So, I’m thankful for thankfulness, I guess you could say! This last couple of years, I’ve also grudgingly accepted that “gifts” do grow out of this pain of mine! I’m thankful I can see those as gifts now…like all the special people I have met who also live with pain, the focus I have now of being more compassionate to others, and even my peace of mind within the chaos of pain that enables me to be more peaceful about the little and big upsets of “regular” life! No, I can’t say I’m thankful for pain as a teacher…I never would have voted for it! But I’m thankful I CAN LEARN from pain, and become more, not less!

    So what else am I thankful for? The opportunity right now to reflect on all this, and to know I am loved and lovable, regardless! And to realize no one can take this from me, no matter what happens in the world of medicine and government regarding pain! And it’s so precious, I will work hard to not give it away when difficulties arise! Because they will…and yet that’s not really any different for those who don’t live with physical pain. We all have unseen burdens, and we all can help each other along the way…I’m thankful for this also!

    **Note: Just to define my black hole reference…it is about the horribly alone feeling we have when we realize no matter how much we are loved by others, we are still on our own…with only ourselves! We live with ourselves 24 hours a day, every minute…in pain…and no one can come in there with us. So this place is dark and scary and sad! We find some hope or count our blessings and it helps steer us back to life. (It isn’t a reference to suicide, although I wonder if some who choose to step into the hole and stay there can then lose hope and turn to suicide at some point.) The black hole may also be the essence of self pity, on a massively destructive scale. I knew a man who once said self pity is a great coping tool! You use it for no longer than a couple of days maximum, and then get up and go on down the road! Because he said, it’s boring to be there very long, alone!! There is some truth in that, I suppose! I think the dark place is also where many people can realize God…truly realize there is a loving force bigger than themselves and they aren’t really alone. For me, this hole is just my way of explaining a part of the journey of life with change and the resulting loss, the place we are when we start to grieve and heal.

  9. Cheri Furr at 11:41 am

    I am extremely thankful for my husband, who does so much. I am also thankful that I have a warm home, never go hungry and have warm clothes to wear. I’m thankful I have my beautiful daughter, son-in-law, and our precious and healthy three grandchildren six and under, even though they’re three hours away. I’m thankful to have a good neurologist who said she would never stop prescribing me opiods. I am also thankful for my endocrinologist and psychiatrist. I’m thankful for my sister, who is far away, but available by phone.

  10. Louis Ogden at 11:37 am

    Although I have chronic pain and have had this pain since childhood (currently 66), no one has said anything about reducing my pain med dose which does a good job of pain control and has vastly improved my quality of life. Although I am frightened by the thought of losing access to my meds, my wife is the greatest caregiver ever and that is a wonderful feeling and something to be VERY THANKFUL for. I’ll get by and I’ll never give up!!!!!! I hope others can share the happiness!

  11. Betsy at 9:49 pm

    I am going through a difficult time trying to lower my morphine dosage pre-op for spine surgery. I fully understand why this must be done as I have a medical background. But doing it is a daily- rather- nightly challenge for me. Without my full dose and nothing to “fill the gap” between the usual moderate pain dosage, the pain, of course, comes on stronger. In the past 48 hrs. I have had 2 hrs. of sleep and was awakened with jumping painful leg spasms. In the future, I am hoping, a drug is developed to handle this additional pain so patients have a less difficult time adjusting so they can experience a safe post-op outcome. That would be a truly thankful Thanksgiving. I am grateful for the level of pain control now, but hope it can be safely increased for millions in the future.

  12. Dooney at 8:32 pm

    Im so grateful for my pharmacists. They are not just people who dispense my meds, offer advice or answer questions. They go out of their way to help me anytime it’s needed. They have never judged me as a “pain patient”. They have only offered kindness, compassion and understanding. I actually consider them friends now as well. This is after 15 years of being a pain patient where I now don’t dread picking up my rx. And one of the reasons I am afraid to move to another state, I know they are one of a kind. So glad I switched from the big chain to grocery store .

  13. Sandra at 7:41 pm

    I’m thankful for National Pain Report . It’s nice to be informed . I don’t feel so alone. I’m also thankful for Steve the Pharmacist . He is so kind . He has helped me on some of my down days. Very good caring person. He understands our world.
    I’m thankful for my husband . I’m thankful for Fussy the Dog. She makes me laugh everyday. She seems to understand when I’m in pain.

    I’m thankful for some of the kindness that people show for each other on this site.

    Thank you
    Sandra

  14. Maureen at 7:23 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too Ed and staff! Thank you for this post…
    First off…I can say that I am ‘very Thankful’ for you being there for us who come to this site to educate ourselves and to find support from those who are going through what we do, and allowing us to voice our thoughts and feelings.
    Each day I am initially thankful for the ‘breath of life’ given to me as I awake.
    Then I realize that I have been awakened long before I’d like to be…from pain.
    Oh no! another day o’ pain!
    I am thankful for the strength, no matter how big or little, that I manage to find to get through the day/night.
    Each day I try to make my thoughts toward gratitude and finding my blessings in it.
    I truly am thankful for so many things!
    But, I will keep it all in regard to this site. I remind myself that ‘things could be worse’…my mantra! Although, that is not always what I need or even want to tell myself, nor hear from others. I can’t help that feeling. Life in pain is tough!
    You all know how that goes.
    So, I will leave it that I am probably most Thankful for the strides, no matter how big or small, that I manage to make in order to get through it. Accomplishment is an awesome feeling and I’ve learned since becoming disabled that it is a huge part of living life.
    ‘Thank you’ all of my fellow pain warriors for being there to cheer me on, for sharing your experiences and for giving me support when I need it!
    For you, I am also very grateful… God bless you all!!

  15. Diane P Succio at 6:01 pm

    U am Thankful to be Blessed with a caring and loving family. A compassionate Pain Doctor and Staff. I am Thankful to be alive, I’m in 24/7 pain but I am alive.

  16. Lisa H at 5:58 pm

    I am so very thankful for my family and friends. I am most thankful for my faith in God. Without that I don’t think I would survive living with chronic pain. Listening to contemporary Christian music helps me immensely. Also, praying and focusing on the the many blessings I haves versus my pain, helps me a great deal. Also, knowing that I am not alone on this journey is very comforting. May you all wonderful and low pain holidays!

  17. MLW at 5:26 pm

    The CDC and the DEA might have thought of reducing heroin by 50% and then took a look at prescription reduction, Is our Govt going to always going to take the easy road. On everything they do, a reduction in there pay should be first in line.
    It might change there minds on doing there job correctly. And think about getting better information. I know of Dr’s that have lost there insurance to do surgeries, they then become pain specialist, There is two in Seattle, Wa.
    I should publish there names, I know the DEA uses some of there information. which is completely false

  18. Krissy at 4:41 pm

    Dear Ed and everyone at “the report.” Thank you for this beautiful post, and for thinking of us today with such nice expression. I am thankful for many things that have happened throughout the year including my personal interaction with so many new friends online. I have found, as one who didn’t get into social media or blogs very much in the past, that it truly helps to have friends who are understanding about each others’ medical issues, pain and the many things that we all suffer with because of various problems that number in the hundreds, at least. I am thankful for you — anyone reading — for the support, knowledge and opinions shared here on The National Pain Report. I am thankful for Ed and his staff as well as Steve Ariens and Mark Ibsen and so many others (you don’t expect me to have a good memory I hope!) I hope everyone has had some kind of a Thanksgiving Day that is positive, and to those who are alone, I send my best wishes to you.

  19. connie at 4:26 pm

    I am thankful to be blessed with the most wonderful husband ever created. Without him and my children I would not be here. My husband loves me and supports me in every way imaginable. After close to forty years you would think that he would be tired of all the crap but instead he just loves me more! He and his loving support make life worth living!

  20. CathyM at 3:44 pm

    I’m thankful for the many people who are fighting to help chronic pain sufferers, and for understanding doctors, nurses and other practitioners. I’m thankful for friends and family who are supportive. Today I’m home, despite 3 invites, due to increased back pain (so I guess I’m grateful I didn’t accept the invites). I’m intensely worried about the future, given the new administration, but I’m also grateful for those who have the energy to resist, to help the vulnerable and to continue to speak up. I hope I can do as much of that as possible in the coming year.

  21. Melanie Ross at 2:53 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this. For myself, i have nothing to report.
    What am i thankful for? The ability to still see thru all the bs that the country (government??) puts in front of us!!

  22. Sandra Gurrola at 2:45 pm

    I have had terrible back pain since January, when a bad lower disc somehow got aggravated, it has felt like coccyx pain, but MRI says no, I got no help from the ortho guy or my pcp. Finally I found a wonderful Chiropractor, and in the past 2 months he has taken away 50% of the pain. Also I found a natural herb called kratom, which helps the pain, since none of the docs seemed to care about helping me. I am also applying for medical marijuana, its a long process in NH. If you live in southern NH, Dr Michael Blackman is a genius chiropractor and I have to add, the only doctor ANDstaff that has treted me kindly during this long ordeal.

  23. Leah Salby at 2:06 pm

    I am thankful for nothing. Every doctor I go to does nothing, even muscle relaxants for my pain are taken away. After my accident when a retired policeman hit me as I was bicycling in a quiet neighborhood. He’s not in jail. He had the investigating officer write me a ticket for “due regard”. As I lay unconscious on a speed hump he had the officer write it up and stated that I drove into his vehicle despite the fact that he was passing me. He stated I was up the street make a left into a dead-end street where I was not found. I would be grateful if he were in jail. So no, I’m grateful for anything. I would be grateful if he had just killed me that day because my life is been hell. I have no family. They were killed in the Holocaust and my parents have passed away. My friends have moved away. I’m in constant pain from all the damage done to my body and a herniated disc lower lumbar. I enjoyed biking. Now I have nothing to be joyful and grateful for.