My Story: Homeless and Sick

My Story: Homeless and Sick

I am 41-years old and I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, Polymyositis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastioporisis, osteopenia, and a hole in my heart. I also have holes in my bones and my fingers are deforming. There are days I can’t walk due to the swelling and pain.

Mary Ann Sisneros

Mary Ann Sisneros

I have been sick for 16 years now. I’ve tried all the RA medications that have come out and they work for a little while — then they stop.

Dealing with doctors and pain contracts is more painful than my actual diseases sometimes. I have had doctors actually tell me that I probably stopped seeing a doctor or two (who were really rude and didn’t care about me) because they wouldn’t give me pain medication!

I’ve been on some scary doses of pain medications. I was taking 200 mg of morphine sulfate 3 times a day, on top of two Percocet 4 times a day for breakthrough pain. I took myself off of that. I was also at one time taking 80 mg of OxyContin 2 times a day.

After stopping all pain medications at one point, the pain became so severe I was in and out of the hospital. It was then that I realized that I had no choice but to take them just to function and be somewhat normal, especially with 3 kids.

I now take morphine sulfate and Percocet for breakthrough pain. After being on the same dose for many years, the doctors at the pain clinic I go to took me down on the Percocet. How is that supposed to help me? I haven’t asked to go up on my dose — even though it’s been years — because I know that they would probably drop me from the clinic.

Now I’m homeless, and my husband left me and the kids behind. The place I’m staying is so stressful that even the metoprolol I take to keep my heart from racing isn’t working. The anxiety I’m experiencing is like nothing I’ve felt before.

It kills me that people look at me like I’m a drug addict when I had my first two children naturally, with no pain medication. I wouldn’t even take a Tylenol after I had my kids.

I wish there was a way to show the doctors what the pain feels like in our bodies for just a few hours. I believe they couldn’t take it. I never understood why people took their own lives just from being sick and in pain until I became sick.

I hope and pray that this helps to get change done for all of us that have to live like we’re the walking dead. God bless you all that are living like me, and those of you who don’t suffer but completely understand and want to help change this for us all.

12_7.jpgMary Ann Sisneros lives in Colorado.

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The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

Authored by: Mary Ann Sisneros

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Jane L

Thanks for sharing your story. It is a sicker world than us when we are not allowed to get on the full amount of meds to help.I find it upsetting enough after making it harder to get prescriptions. But I feel like when I call to refill I am treated like a bad drug addict! They make you wait until you are out before you can get your next order and believe me the pain by that time is the age old movie phrase of they shoot horses don’t they? I am so tired of being the one that gets that look and treated like a drug addict when the ones stealing are not having to endure this because they don’t seem to get caught.

Kurt W.G. Matthies

Thank you, Mary Ann, for telling your story. It does help to talk about your pain condition by making others aware of this silent disease that affects so many.

There are also many of us live within a paycheck or two of homelessness. As a writer here so aptly put it, we who live in chronic pain are physically exhausted, emotionally exhausted, and financially exhausted.

I hope that you’re familiar with the Colorado PEAK program that assists individuals and families in need. Their website is and they can be reached through the Colorado Department of Human Services at (303) 866-3122.

Many of us who live with chronic pain are fortunate to have the University of Colorado Interventional Pain Center at the Anschutz Pavilion. There are also many fine pain doctors in the Denver area.

If you need help you finding resources in the state, please contact me via the editor at this website.

Deb Rendell

Hi Mary I just felt the need to write this, don’t give up the fight!!! Doctors will never understand the actual feeling of chronic pain, it’s the worst thing I have ever experienced, I am a nurse and until I was ill myself I never totally understood how people feel with any chronic condition but I can empathise now. It really does feel like your doing ten rounds with Muhammad Ali when trying to get doctors to understand how you are feeling and it really shouldn’t be like that. It takes people like us to get the point across to the world that we need to be heard and need empathy and understanding. Please keep up the fight I am with you all the way!!! Love and hugs to you Mary xx