By Suzanne Stewart.
As I was listening to the Vox.com podcast a few days ago, I heard the voice of PROP’s president, Jane Ballentyne, surprised and complaining about how she’s been treated recently. After hearing about her belief regarding the “acceptance of pain”; several pain patients wrote negatively to her in the comments of articles and a podcast. Some people even wrote to her employer at the University of Washington and wanted her fired, she says. I’m wondering, why she is so surprised? But obviously those who agree with her and think this is a good idea, have not lived with daily, unrelenting, horrible pain such as the kind that comes with illnesses like: CRPS, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Ankylosing Spondylitis and many others.
What I don’t understand is that in these modern liberal days of persons not having to accept anything else about themselves, why are pain patients being forced to “accept” their pain? Today in 2017, people are allowed to change their gender, nationality and their bodies. There’s nothing wrong with a man becoming a woman, or a Caucasian man becoming a Filipino woman; as I saw on the news the other night. In 2017, there’s nothing wrong with a woman getting liposuction on her hips, if she feels they are too big, or breast implants if she feels those are too small. If other human beings are “allowed” to do all of this, then why are chronic pain patients supposed to or urged now, to accept their torturous, horrific daily 24/7/365 state of living with chronic pain? Now days nobody has to “just accept” anything about themselves. Something is really “fishy” here? In my own personal opinion, I feel like the United States is trying to kill off it’s weakest and most vulnerable chronic pain patients. Why do you think this might be the case? Again, my thoughts are that it is because they are concerned that the “baby boomers” are going to deplete the Medicare/Medicaid system and there won’t be anything left soon. Why not “get rid of” the sickest and most weak of Americans to save some money? I don’t know this of course, but it sure is a scary thought when everyone else is allowed to surgically change everything about their gender, race and body; but the chronic pain patients are now not allowed to have the simplest pill that can help to lower their chronic pain. Suddenly, opioids are now being considered evil and all must be destroyed. We must learn to “accept our pain”. I don’t want to just accept my pain, anymore than someone who feels that they were born the wrong gender, should have to stay that way forever and just “accept” it.
So I’ve been researching other countries and reaching out to other chronic pain patients around the world, thanks to the internet. I was discussing the “opioid crisis” with my friend in Israel. He sent me a piece of information about a University of Michigan Coursera. You can look at what I looked at here: Teach-Out: Solving the Opioid Crisis/Coursera. He told me that he had been seeing what’s happening in the USA and how concerned we are about the topic of Opioids. He wanted to know if this was truth or not? Naturally, you must take the course to learn about what they want you to know. But just from the introduction that I read, it is packed full of disinformation. They tell the same “lies” that were exposed in Andrew Kolodny’s article “The Opioid Epidemic in 6 Charts”. Josh Bloom, a journalist and PHD, exposes how Kolodny, those that follow him, and some of the media (it seems), are changing the truth to their advantage. In his article, The Opioid Epidemic In 6 Charts Designed To Deceive You, Josh proves how in Kolodny’s orginial article, The Opioid Epidemic in 6 Charts, deceives us with false numbers. The first sentence that Kolodny writes in his editorial states “drug overdose deaths” are about 60,000 annually. When we see that we immediately think that he’s talking about prescription pain medication overdoses. But, Josh Bloom points out that actually 30,000 people were killed. This included all opioids including heroin. The actual true number of deaths just from prescription pain medications or opioids used for chronic pain; was about 17,000. Also, in Mr. Blooms article as cited above, he states that the number of 17,000 is “half the number of accidental falls”. But 17,000 is not exactly right either, because that includes all opioid overdose deaths which were in combination with other medications. The true death by Opioid pain medications is about 5,000, according to this same article. That is much less than Kolodny’s original “60,000 deaths”, scare tactic, from drug overdose.
Also, why are we not looking into the deaths by alcohol? According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) and this article: Alcohol Facts and Statistics, “88,000 (62,000 men and 26,000 women) people die from alcohol-related causes annually”. This makes alcohol the third preventable cause of death in the United States. Do you know that the first and second causes of preventable deaths are from tobacco and poor diet/physical inactivity? So why are we not talking about the Alcohol and/or tobacco related death epidemic? Do you want to know why? I know I sure would like to know the answer. I know that my friends in other countries are telling me to come and live there. They don’t understand why this is happening over here in the USA? The friend that I was referring to earlier on, who lives in Israel; cannot believe that this is happening to the people he knows here in the USA. He even said that he sent me the information regarding the Coursera, because he “had a feeling they were lying”. He asked me “Do you have any guess why they are doing all of these things to hurt all of you?” The only answer that I could come up with is, “Money”. The reason that I stated above, regarding Medicare/Medicaid and the baby boomers. I was embarrassed to say that to my friend, but I still did. His response was “this is horrible”. He said that “in Israel you can get as much as you need; as long as it is opioids and not medical marijuana”. It is totally opposite of that here in the USA. In Israel, the primary care doc can prescribe what he believes will help the diagnosis of his patients. Imagine that! Oh wait, that is how it used to be here in the USA also! But not anymore! I asked my friend if his primary or pain Dr. helps him more? He told me “My primary helps me, of course! She helps the most. She is nice, caring and gave me the pain medication with out any pain doctors advice. On her own, because she is a DOCTOR herself…..you know? As it should be“! Also, as I and many others feel it should be in the United States once again.
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