Marine Vet Suffering From Chronic Pain Writes Congress

Marine Vet Suffering From Chronic Pain Writes Congress

By Ed Coghlan

With the coming of a new President, comes a familiar promise – to do more for the country’s military veterans with an eye toward reforming the VA Medical System.

No disrespect to President-elect Trump, but there doesn’t seem to be much in his plan that screams change.

As Newsweek wrote: “So what’s his plan? On Trump’s website, there’s a 10-point V.A. reform “vision.” But that plan basically amounts to firing bad managers, hiring better ones and then taking some other unspecified steps that fall under the heading of “modernization” while maybe putting more money toward providers.”

While President Obama’s performance in reforming the VA has largely gone wanting, veteran groups actually asked Trump to keep VA Chief Robert McDonald, the former Proctor and Gamble CEO who has run things since 2014.

In addition to the normal VA shortcomings, National Pain Report readers know that veterans have been hit hard by the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

We are publishing a story today – not to review VA shortcomings – but because we received the copy of an interesting and personal letter written by a former Marine to Congressional representatives and staffers and the media about what the guidelines have done to him.


Robert Rose

His name is Robert Rose and he lives in Gray, Tennessee and his letter, spawned by what he felt was an unfair news story. We asked him for permission to republish some of the letter which he tells his story in a way that may be familiar to some of his fellow vets.

“Personally these guidelines and the “opioid safety initiative” have had a devastating effect on my family and my quality of life. First, because my mother and sisters do not understand the true extent of the injuries to my body and the havoc they incite in my body and mind. Therefore it is impossible for them to comprehend why I would challenge the government or the Veterans Administration. Actually with their limited knowledge about my situation they consider me a “pill popper” and just another veteran addicted to drugs because of the VA’s ineptitude. What else are they supposed to think considering some of the shoddiest reporting since beginning of the technology age (in many aspects the old gumshoe reporter is preferred). The result of this nightmare, we are barely on speaking terms.


Robert Rose shopping

Closer to home, my wife and sons do understand the challenges I am faced with due to the chronic pain, blackouts and constant struggle to simply be a man. They do in fact support me for standing tall (metaphorically) in this struggle. Regrettably I am an old school Marine infantryman which makes me very hardheaded. I see a problem and I attack, attack, attack head on. My boys believe I need to be more politically correct such as omitting references to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. To me, this would be tantamount of denying my God (see below) and spending an eternity in the real Hell and not just the one the Veterans Administration has created for so many. This one ends, the other is for eternity.

Additionally, because the pain and sleep deprivation created by being denied pain medications due to the “opioid safety initiative,” there’s something within my mind or body which generates an anger deep inside. Sporadically this fury erupts on my wife (and sometimes my sons) sporadically. God has blessed with enough self-control to not employ physical violence but anyone who had been in an abusive relationship can tell, sometimes the anger and the words do more damage.

This woman has stood through thick and thin for thirty years. The Marines, rehabilitation after my medical discharge, severe bouts of depression because I was once again a “civilian,” a graveyard shift in a prison while I attended college during the day, and so much more. If anything this woman deserves a monument erected in her name because as many of you know, I can be and am an “obnoxious asshole.” As a consequence of this nightmare, and the suffering they see daily as I simply try to walk upright to the restroom, it is taking a severe toil on my beautiful wife. Worse considering I have been waiting five years for an appeal from the Veterans Administration so that I might finally be eligible for health insurance to care for her cancer (in remission), heart issues (her mitral valve was replaced with a St. Jude mechanical valve), all her medications, specialists needed on top of all her the anxieties of having been on death’s door three separate times (and still is according to her) because of these conditions. Prior to October, I was doing everything in my power to care and provide emotional support to her. Going to the store, cooking, whatever she needed I was there. Only now, it is a struggle for either one of us to care for the other. Now, I pray daily I will not snap or yell at her because of my own weaknesses.

One other casualty of this campaign of misinformation is Sparky, our Yorkie. This is my wife’s constant companion (I believe she loves him more than even me). Unfortunately Sparky is getting on in years and has been diagnosed with arthritis among other things that occur to his breed as they age. We ran out of his medication in early December 2016. We have been so debilitated by our respective conditions, we have been unable to schedule an appointment for him to alleviate his suffering. How many others are dealing with similar situations simply because someone is getting rich off our ordeal created by the CDC guidelines? 

As you can see, these are real life issues brought about faulty (and fraudulent) research by the CDC, the DEA and other interested parties. People are suffering and only you, our esteemed representatives and caring professionals, can put an end to this madness.”

We’ve asked Mr. Rose to keep us apprised of any response he get.

In the meantime, let us know your thoughts.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Debra Taylor

Of all the people to cut-off from much needed pain medicine, why our veterans? This shows that the powers that really run our gov’t have no gratitude or compassion for the sacrifices these men and women and their families make for our country. There should be nation wide outrage. When these opioid medicines are used as directed by our Dr, not the CDC or any other alphabet agency, they are very effective. Our gov’t has more compassion for the poppy farmers that are helping to produce illegal heroin that is decimating our youth, they claim the Afghani’s have to grow the poppies or their families would starve. How much further are we going to let the scales of justice be tipped away from us and especially our vet’s before we the people and our representative’s in Washington DC stand up and say let our Dr’s decide (without the looming threat of losing their medical license) what we need as individuals to be healthy and have our chronic pain treated with what works for us, not what we can no longer have because people that had opioid prescribed and then were cut off with no warning of what that might mean as far as withdraw and the urge to self medicate with illegal substances and or illegal actions that may lead to their death or imprisonment. Now we all must suffer and have our lifeline taken away because the CDC has decided that this certain class of medication no longer works for chronic pain. I call bulls**t


Dear Sir, first thank you for your service in the military and keeping us free. I’m an army brat. My dad did 20 years in the Army. I am 60 years old and have had three spinal fusions from my neck to my tailbone and a complete knee replacement and suffer with degenerative disc disease osteoarthritis type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease and live in pain 24 seven and I know how you feel. I am praying for you and your wife for better health and for this year to be filled with less pain. We honor you and support you and me as a chronic pain patient know how I can be a serious burden on our families for understanding and support for our conditions. I pray every day to God for guidance and strength and patience. God bless you and your family


stop giving Insulin to diabetic they can get addicted … but that medication helps them to be stable and to have a quality of life … same thing opids are for pain does not matter how much pain you have but if it works to help relieve pain and have a quality of life then both these medications are needed to be given to make sure they have relief of their condition Example diabetic able to keep blood sugar at a good level so that patients don’t suffer and able to continue to have a good stable life and function in our society …. the same goes for opids if you use them to help relieve or decrease your pain and discomfort and to keep you stable and function in our society and able to get out of our beds … each patient is different and what works for you … you can’t say all people now we no longer have insulin or opid .. not allowed to use them cause they are addicting and will make you more ill or less function in life … we all know this is wrong and if people are having problems with a certain medication then speak to someone or doctor but don’t punish others who use all medication properly and all medication is addictive but we use them for our benefit and able to make our diagnosis Better to be able to function in life … who wants to be in pain all day and night .. I suffer with fibromyalgia and am a nurse so I do know the medical side of things.. more health teaching to public is what is needed.. not punish people for using medication especially when used properly … the reason they over dose is not given well teaching!!! Some pt think if they take more of a medication insulin or pain meds they think it will make their pain or their blood sugar Better or go away faster … they need to be taught about all medication what they do and side effects and how to use it properly… also believe its a money thing and drug companies wanting to keep their jobs and not really concerned about people .. lab want more business too and it goes on and not really care about public and patient who needs the medication … and you can’t do pain management all day and everyday as a pain patient can’t even get out of bed without their medication and then they suppose to function and go to appointments and see a certain person .. it takes most of these people a long time to get themselves functioning to even have a shower takes 2 hours cause u are so exhausted and in so much pain but you suppose to go here there and they also have limited money and costs money to travel everyday and by the time they get home they are so exhausted to do even the… Read more »

Kathy C

Thank You Robert<
This is heartbreaking, the idea that you served should have meant the best healthcare when you returned. We can't even grasp the extent of the injuries some of you Service people endured, and to return to this nightmare is beyond my comprehension. The even worse part is to add insult to injury and have families repeating this misguided nonsense for your own good of course.
It seems that people lack any kind of empathy anymore, but they do seem to care about animals. Perhaps the part about Sparky will wake them up. I have a Sparky too, he has a seizure disorder, so we are fortunate to be able to afford his medications, an have a Vet, really close. Maybe they will pay attention because of Sparky.

My Partner is a Vietnam Vet, he has some age related issues, but he was fortunate to return in one piece. I had to write my Congressman for his care, it was not pain or drug related, and they screwed that up too.The VA has been a nightmare for him and a other Vets we know. I just can't believe our Country is treating Vets this way.
The Staff at the VA are all really nice, but they are just giving the Vets the Bums Rush. We walk out the door 2 hours later, after an hour and a half drive, realizing they never answered a question, and we did not get the referral again. He has given up, I am afraid he is just succumbing to his fate. He has Diabetes which is not in control, they made him watch a video, which he could not hear. His Doctors are utterly ridiculous, but they are nice as they ignore and deflect questions.
The part about the Family, I know I have been there, I no longer interact with any of them. This tactic of the so called "Opiate Epidemic" was meant to alienate and isolate all of us. The idea that they would call and injured returned Vet a pill popper is appalling. My family did this in Court, to get control of my Mother's Estate, there was money involved. So be careful people.
This Country has gotten so ugly, and I doubt it is going to get better. This is beyond the "Drug War" and has nothing to do with Opiates. It is about a national Denial that our Soldiers are being injured or killed. The News Papers are not really telling the Story. They want us ll to believe they are caring for our vets. Sometime the damage is long term, which they would rather not treat. There appears to be a national delusion created by a Mass Media that is controlled by Big Pharma, and other Corporate interests.


I was so deeply touched when I came across this article on Twitter. I have some information that could benefit you and your family greatly. Please know that God will not forsake you. Whatever you do, remember that He loves you very much, and HE is a good, good Father.

Let’s talk.

john q tax payer

I am sorry to hear of your story brother, please put your faith in GOD!
I agree we have to get this story out more and more…I too am a US Marine. Yes this government has its priorities jacked up big time. The whole thing about this bullsh*t CDC guidelines is propaganda… the reason is that opium has been around since the mid 1800’s or so people have been dying ever since fast forward to 2016 now all the sudden we have an opioid epidemic, I think that’s because we are pulling out of Afghanistan where we get 90% of are opium…This is another point that if this was going to affect the people who do not play by the rules…then ok, but it catches the majority in a lurch like me I have suffered chronic pain for the last almost 14 years now from a failed back fusion. I have also has many facet joint shots that do not do anything at all. I think if they cant fix you they need to keep you comfortable so you can at least function as a person. This tactic will work as well as the war on drugs, did kind of hard to fight it when it’s our government bringing it in country and making MONEY off it… If they can’t get the strong they will go after the weak! Yes this affects millions and millions of people which is sad, we aren’t the average populous. I wrote my congressman to only get some crappy pretyped letter back saying thanks for writing… Now they can say this is for the good of the people but since when has the government cared about WE the PEOPLE?

Jean Price

One thing you’ve done with your article, Robert, is to let others know you depend on your faith in God to help see you through….and many have responded here that they also do the same. My faith was strengthened less than a year before my first back surgery started all my pain and disability issues. And I’m sure I would not be here today, twenty five years later, if I didn’t know God was in this with me! I feel like I’m living proof of His love and grace, especially if you look at all I and my family have come through.

So many people I’ve met confuse religion and church issues with God…I know I did too for many years. Yet if you think of religion as merely a “language” to help you explore your spiritual self, your relationship with your Creator, and church as just a place to learn and be in community…much of what confuses or even angers people about God disappears or doesn’t seem to matter. A friend told me about a book some twenty years ago,”God Calling” by AJ Russell. It’s written in a daily format of a page or less, and it helps lifts me through the darkest days, plus deepen my joy on the better days! You can get it at book stores for around six dollars… or even through Amazon, where I’ve found it’s anywhere from ten cents to four dollars there! And I highly reccommend it. One of the ladies who wrote it, (Mr. Russel was just the editor and the two authors remained anonymous), also had pain and health issues and financial worries. Even though it was written decades ago, it still speaks today and touches some of the joys and struggles of faith and life. I don’t think God “gives” us trials, like hardships and pain, to teach us or correct us!! What loving Father wouldn’t find a better way?! Yet I do know He can and does bring good out of the worst scenarios in our lives…and physical pain has to be one of the worst in my opinion! Hoping you may find some strength and joy in this book, and I know your faith helps you find this also!

From these comments, I am deeply moved and so appreciative for everyone’s support. I was going to respond to each individual post but they just kept coming in. So after careful consideration, I realized this is not just my story but each of yours as well; we are in this fight together. With this in mind I thought what better way to honor each of you than by sending your comments to Washington, officials with the VA and numerous news outlets across the nation. As of this posting, I have shared every single comment I have received with my contact list (posted in the files of Vets Fight Back #vetsfightback) and will continue to forward your comments until we emerge victorious against the crimes being perpetrated against us.

I have also shared our stories with all my Facebook groups, military, veteran, civilian and political in order to get our stories out there in the public eye. Please do the same.

Thank you, take care and may God bless.



Robert D. Rose Jr.
Semper Fidelis


Robert, Amen to that! I could not do any of my painful life without HIM in it.
Faith is the key and I’m happy to hear that He got your attention in a new way 🙂
Proverbs 3:5,6 Healing hugs to you and your wife… Maureen

Michael G Langley, MD

It saddens me to read all of these comments. Why is it that the people in charge feel it is alright to abuse, the 98% of, us that take out meds correctly. This entire scheme is to reduce the addiction. In reality, that seems to be the same 1.5 % that it has been since the turn of the last century. What is incredible is that the people that know what addiction can be go ahead and abuse the opiates until they are showing active behaviors. Then again, when are they going to notice that those of us that take opiates every day are not the addicts they claim we are?! Having been on both in the trenches as a pain practitioner and now a patient, I understand the situation. But, that does not make me like it any better. It, all, stems from ignorance!

Pam Hawthorne

Robert Rose, your story rings so true! I am going through the same things you describe, due to rheumatoid arthritis. I just want to be able to open a door, do housework or yardwork, or even work part-time again, but with my hands & wrists throbbing in pain as well as so many other joints in my body, my entire life has changed. Friends & family don’t understand how opiates simply make my life tolerable and able to function again. My roommate is the only one who understands & neither of us can understand why the government had to get involved with our medications just because some people choose to abuse it. I have started a petition & signed so many others, contacted government officials at every level, commented on so many untrue articles that the government & media try to brainwash our society with, and I will do my best to make our voices heard! Thank you for your service. You should not have to live this way!!

Jean Price

Robert…I’m so very sorry our country is so poorly caring for you…and our government is proving to be so unworthy of all your efforts serving as a Marine, plus being a citizen! Somehow to me, this is worse than what is happening to non-military people who live in pain! Because you gave part of your life in service and because we at least can often go outside the government mandated health care system to receive help…or at least fight for help there! That’s one thing I suppose we all do have in common! It’s a fight to receive appropriate care! I’m also sorry your pain has been hard for your family to both understand and accept that you’re doing a great job just surviving it! That seems to happen a lot these days. Yet I’m so glad your wife and kids have stuck by you. I understand you want to treat them better, yet it’s hard when you’re not getting what you need to do this. Please be generous with yourself and ask them to be too. And reach out to an area church to help out…there are people who would consider it a gift to be able to help you all! Even as a Marine, you depended on your brothers and sisters….so do that now with those in your community!

Living with pain taxes every coping skill we have! I learned that anger is what comes when our values are in conflict with what’s happening…so an ethical, compassionate person like yourself would just naturally be angry about what’s taking place! It will help if you realize it’s a good value and it’s yours, and the goal is to not let the anger be fueled when its about something uncontrollable.
And sadly, the actions of others aren’t within our control. Laying this down then, or in faith giving it to God, helps me not let it spill over to others near me. I hope it might also help you. Your faith will see you through all things, and I hope you can at least rest back in this some! I will keep you in my prayers, and let others know as often as I can what’s happening to you and our military who seek care for life limiting pain and are treated with such injustice and disrespect. You deserve better. We all do. And yet for today…we must each find a way to make it through with less than what’s acceptable. And keep telling our stories until the right people listen and help us take action! I pray there are those people in the public and in the government who will stand by us when they find out the truth and see what’s going on!. And we must keep telling them until they do! Bless you for telling us your story.

Kristen K

I wanna say Thank you Robert for serving our country.I wanna say the story made me very sad.I am angry that with all the sacrifics you have made for all of us that you are denied Pain Medication.I am going to pray for you and i hope that you get the help and services that you deserve.No one should have to go through what your going through. Lets take care of of Veterans .


First off Thank u for your service to this hell hole of a country. I use to be a proud American, not anymore. I too suffer from debilitating incurable diseases that cause severe pain. Ten very long years have followed the rules and did everything the medical community told me to do.i had two failed spinal fusions that left me with severe nerve damage, I was put thru years of physical therapy, massage, chiro, acupuncture, many epidurals that left me with a very painful disease called adhesive arachnoiditis, discetomies, discograms, steriods, all kinds of OTC and N SAID that tore my stomach n liver up, exercise, eating healthy, TENS, back braces, heat, ice, in the last 4 yrs I have had well over 200 very painful facet injections, SINCE joint injections and trigger point injections that only intensify the pain but in order to get the low dose pain meds I have to get them.opiod therapy was my LAST RESORT, and years ago the dr I was with at the time worked very hard to find what worked for me. Alleluia I was finally given some QUALITY OF LIFE UNTIL over a year ago my current dr of five years lowered my meds and took some away. I now exist in a torturous hell. My back looks and feels like it’s been beaten every day, but because of this fictional opiod epidemic, I am being forced to dr last month told me he’s going to lower them more and take me off and said to research subutex. Oh so it’s acceptable to take me off meds that gave me some semblance of a QOL. and put me on another addictive opiod that’s used to treat addicts coming off heroin/opiods. I am livid!, this attack on our drs and legitimate pain pts needs to end now! Every day I read about another suicide from a pain pt who was abandoned by their drs. The government /DEA, CDC have created a huge, terrifying nightmare for those of us who exist in severe pain caused by debilitating incurable diseases. I’ve noticed when media is reporting about an overdose they make sure to say: overdose from opiods such as heroin, we’ll newsflash , drs do not prescribe heroin! How convenient that it’s continually reported as if drs are scripting for heroin and illegal fentanyl. For god sake innocent law abiding chronically ill citizens are killing themselves daily to escape pain and yet media won’t report that, shame on our government, they are the real terrorists, committing genocide thru out the pain community,


I am so upset with our government it is crazy they think they can control the world.I read a a post that the dea has no right In peoples lives I am going to find the artiarticle and let everyone know where it is because it states that the dea has no right to interfere in our lives it states no where in the constitution no mention of the dea being allowed to interfer in American lives I think I said that right but will find that post . I also have cchronic pain and in and out of the hospital every month or so. I also e-mailed the president and a few days later got the phone call from suicide hotline and then e-mail ed the vice president andgot ananother call. I think people should start flooding there ofice and tell them we are sick of the crap and they are having people say they want to die I have read it more than once is there anything leagly thank you for listening and will let you know where you can find it.


Mr. Rose , Thank you for your service. Have you tried a pain management doctor in the private sector ? I live in an area with a VA Hospital and clinics and the only way anyone is prescribed opiates for chronic pain here is if they see a pain management doctor in the private sector.

Mr. Rose, I understand why you do not want to leave the Lord out. I know He Will Bless You for that.

Pain Patient, politicians do not read the letter sand emails we send. A staff member reads them and decides if the politicians needs to be made aware of them. Politicians rarely, if ever, write the replies to those letters and emails.

If you mentioned suicide in your letter, that is a red flag to the staff member and they are trained to call the people that deal with this problem. If your letter was in a depressed tone without a mention of suicide, staffers are also taught how to spot letters like this and who to call to get the person mental health help.

Anne Fuqua

Awesome job, Robert!

Marsha Reiner – Thank you for your concern. Seriously, I am not brave considering the struggles MANY more are facing and they have it worse than I can imagine. Someone has stepped in and is helping me. See my next comment.

Maureen – Thank you. As I mentioned in the article, and as such, God is really helping me get through this. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Ph 4:13. So this is actually a blessing in that God became tired of my whining and asking to be taken home so He kicked me in the ass and gave me a reason to live again. Granted, I do not like the pain or anger component but as long as He brings me to it, He will bring me through it. 🙂

Thank you, take care and may God bless each of you.

We defended your freedoms…
Will you help us in our time of need?



Robert D. Rose Jr.
Semper Fidelis

PS: Please share with everyone and forward on to your elected officials and VA representatives.

Keith Thomas

I am a US Marine.tHere has and always will be a war on vets.Gun confiscation.lack of treatment.all I can hope is for real change

Pain Patient

I wrote to Obama regarding the new directives from the CDC. A few weeks later, I got a phone call from the local suicide prevention line here in my town. UNBELIEVABLE! At least they didn’t Baker Act me for being a drug addict, right?

I thank Mr Rose for his continuing service to this country. As a civilian, one of We, the People, he carries on the struggle for Justice and Liberty, that he began by swearing the oath to defend the constitution of this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. The present struggle of chronic pain patients is a struggle against a domestic enemy, an Enemy of Lies. This Culture of Lies holds that Faith is mere make-believe, and that by subverting the human religious impulse that leads humans to recognize the superior force in our lives, that many of us call God, and turning it into a worship of liars and the lies they command us to make-believe to be true, they can make every human problem vanish from society’s conscious awareness. Chronic pain absolutely will not vanish from existence, by lying about it. It is as real as the sunrise that ends the night and begins the day. One can scream denials at folks who feel pain, accusing them of all manner of wicked things. But just as the sunset makes it dark, and the sunrise makes it daylight, the absence of pain feels good, and the presence of pain interferes with everything we attempt. No amount of denial will make the night turn into daylight, however much we might wish for a dry match with which to kindle a flame. Thus, when Hillary Clinton, along with Senators Joe Manchin and Charles Schumer, proposed to cure chronic pain by imposing a tax on our medicine, she and her vast following cemented themselves in our minds, as being hopelessly out of touch with the realities we knew. Chronic pain was not a habitual dalliance, that we might be persuaded to abandon if a tax made it expensive, and we knew that. But so addicted were they, to the political process of buying votes from taxpayers, by giving away money taken from other taxpayers, that they could not be persuaded to comprehend, that pain wasn’t a hobby that they could tax out of existence by charging us money for feeling it. When arguing with irrational people who deny the reality of pain, it is salutary to recognize that the great electoral defeat of 2016, happened largely because voters saw these people as being hopelessly out of touch with reality, and despite a $1.2 billion media blitz promoting their brand of make-believe, voters now doubt elements of the make-believe that they previously had never thought much about. But the Trump inauguration is not an occasion for us to celebrate. There are pain-deniers in the Republican tent, just as in the Democrats’ tent. Ronald Reagan is thought heroic, but on his watch, the public debt grew out of control, and part of the money was spent on creating this Drug War against the people of America, which the CDC joined in hopes of winning power and money for itself. Jeff Sessions, a believer in that war upon the American people, is being vetted today… Read more »


Dear Robert,
First of all, THANK YOU for your outstanding sacrifice and service for this country and my life. My brother was also a Marine. Keep proud.
Secondly, I feel for you big time. I feel for us all and our pain, constant struggles and frustrations.
I know that you have been through soooo much and life is hard.
Know that I will be praying for you and will have hope that somewhere in the midst of your anger and all…you will find some more acceptance and peace to help make it better.
I struggle with it everyday also. I hate knowing that you suffer emotionally so much, because I know that struggle too. Find strength and…
Keep strong, you are a Marine but you are first..a person with feelings and hurts.
I know you can do it. Hold on to encouragement. Hang in there.
May God bless your every day with reasons to smile.

Marsha Reiner

I am ashamed of our military when it comes to taking care of our veterans. I hope someone, somewhere will step in to help this brave aan and his family.

Martha Arntson

This is the saddest story of all so far over the past year that I’ve been following this blog. To hear this Veteran denied pain medication based upon the CDC’s “guidelines” has affected millions of people, but Veteran’s are in a totally different group of pain sufferers. I am appalled that the CDC has not rescinded it’s stance, yet, on these guidelines which affected me last year and many millions of others.