The Black Hole of Pain

The Black Hole of Pain

In April I came across a Time magazine article that immediately made me think of persistent pain. This ground-breaking story described how a team of Harvard researchers worked like the dickens to capture an image of an honest to goodness black hole in space – so that once and for all we’d believe that this phenomena is indeed real. Wouldn’t it be a big bang if mankind applied the same resources to make visible the invisibility of pain?

Two things crossed my mind as I read this story. First, how their description of a black hole so closely mimics the high-impact pain experience – which in the article read as “a region of space that has a gravitational pull so powerful that nothing, including light, can escape.” This might as well have been written about my CRPS. This disease struck me down in the prime of my life, sucking away everything good with it – my dreams, my solid foundation of supportive family and friends, the career I lived for, and the family I would have had. In short, all things that produced light in my life.

Cynthia Toussaint

And second, the basic human need to have physical evidence, to actually see something, in order to validate its existence. The great minds for decades have told us that there are incredible forces in space called black holes, but there was always doubt until these pictures were produced. Along that line, just think of the immeasurable level of suffering that’s happened forever simply because others cannot see our pain.

For me, I was disbelieved and abused by dozens of doctors before my CRPS diagnosis which took nearly 14 years. These men got away with dismissing me while saying that my complaints were all in my head because they couldn’t actually see or measure my pain. This invisibility caused me untold misery – and took away my chance for a cure and a happy life. I’m sure my experience applies to hundreds of millions of chronic pain sufferers around the world and throughout the ages.

Adding insult to injury while reading this article, I couldn’t help but be peeved that last year I was interviewed extensively for a Time story about the gender bias in pain care. The piece was killed, and I suspect that was in large part due to the fact that pain cannot be seen or proven – and is, in turn, doubted or not relevant. Indeed, not important enough for Time.

Biases happen in a vacuum of ignorance – and, in fact, I don’t believe I would ever have been disbelieved by a doctor if my pain could have been seen. And these implicit or explicit biases don’t just happen to women. They also happen to people of color, low-income individuals, the under-educated and those of different ethnic backgrounds. To ever equalize and improve pain care, it’s critical that we see and, as a result believe, the root of the pain problem.

The article featured one of the scientific researchers, Dr. Katie Bouman, because she’s a woman – and the overwhelming majority in that field are men. Further, Katie is quoted as saying that her passion is “coming up with ways to see or measure things that are invisible.” Kudos to Dr. Bouman for being a trailblazer by making this remarkable piece of the universe nail-down valid.

But I suspect black holes only have real meaning, real significance to a tiny sliver of humanity. I submit that if Katie wants to use her passion and skills in an earth-shattering positive way, she and her team focus on visualizing pain. If she can do that, then millions and millions of lives would instantly improve from today to forever. From her moment of discovery on, we with pain would be believed, treated with dignity and respect, and, yes, many of us would be cured.

At For Grace I hear from women in pain most every day, women who feel invisible due to their galaxy size losses. Yes, many fall into their own black hole of pain – one where isolation, depression, feelings of uselessness, endless days of self-medicating fog reign supreme, and too often lead to suicide.

Ms. Bouman, if this post somehow, someway makes it to your computer screen, I implore you to drop your voyage to the deep recesses of space, and come back home to your brothers and sisters here on earth who are suffering immeasurably. You may very well have the power to change the course of pain – and your contribution would be out of this world.

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Cynthia Toussaint founded For Grace in 2002. It is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness to gender disparity in the treatment of pain. She is also a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report.

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Alfred Uhse

I,am a male 68 years old,fibromyalgia ,West Nile virus,neuropathy,it seems like you only focus on males for your dismay, you blame male doctors,never a article about males with fibro,wake up it affects male,and females !!!!

Bonnie Holloway

Wow! That is what I first thought when I read Cynthia’s article on comparing a black hole with pain. That is EXACTLY how I feel. After two back surgeries, one neck, and arthritis throughout my body, I feel like I am in a black hole. My pain never, ever stops. My medicine brings it down to a dull roar, but my life has literally stopped. The quality of life is gone. My husband is my only reason for still being here. My back is crumbling, from my neck down. I have cadaver bones in my body, rods, bolts, plates, and fusions. I have struggled to continue working, but that is fast coming to an end. I used to be able to make it, barely, on my meds. But as I continue to get worse, my pain care does also. My only option is to join others that live off the government. Nooooooo… I hate it. So, I give in and my life ends up stuck inside, inside my house, and a black hole. My husband is dying with a severely damaged heart. I am his caretaker also. If it weren’t for him and my God, I would have ended it long ago. But, I am still here. And it seems I am destined to a life of miserable pain. Forever. Til I die. I cry a lot, then stop to pray. That is my only strength. So I hold on. And hope this madness that causes those of us to suffer for others who abuse opiods, to stop. And pray that we are heard. It’s not our fault we are in pain. But it’s the ones that jump on the opiod bandwagon that are keeping us in pain and misery.

Rose Montgomery

One of the losses that I face, and vain though it may seem, Face is the appropriate word because even though I was never classically pretty, I was beautiful. Pain has changed my face which used to be a somewhat amused face but now is what my husband refers to as the tragic face; that is until I smile. At least I still have that.

Judy Porter

I applaud this discussion, I went to see a chiropractor who specialized in fibromyalgia patients. I only saw him for the initial consultation because they didn’t carry my insurance plan however he had some type of thermal imaging equipment that he scanned my spine with. I have degenerative disc and joint disease and had a total of 3 whiplash injuries during the few years prior. I got to watch the screen while he scanned and he explained that inflammation ie pain would show up as bright orange and red hues where benign tissues would be calmer blue and green colors. My entire spine from my neck to my tailbone and surrounding areas lit up bright red and orange throughout the scan. I felt validated for the 1st time in a long time. This was such a powerful moment, I was astonished at my relief at just being validated. I wish I would have written down the name of this machine so I could research it etc. I tried to explain it to my Dr. and others but no one knew what I was talking about. Frustrating as it was and even though I didn’t get any physical help that day, being validated was huge. The Dr.’s office wasn’t there when I went back a few years later, I really wanted to get more information about this machine. There has to be a way that our pain can be imaged at some point. I implore our brilliant minded people to figure this out to help us in the chronic pain community. It would be world changing as you mentioned in your article.
Judy Porter

Sandy M

Cynthia, this was such an awesome read!!! So true!! Thank you for a beautiful soul reaching article. I get it, I certainly understand!!


God Bless You!


Elizabeth DeCarlo

And Mz Bouman could actually win a Nobel Prize in the field of medicine or even humanity! I would hope that a prize would not be the only reason for her research.

Kris Aaron

As physical suffering is perceived by the brain, I’m surprised scientists aren’t focusing more attention on electrical activity exhibited by volunteers’ normal brains and changes exhibited when they experience varying levels of pain.
The author’s accurate description of the way chronic pain impacts the victims’ lives indicates massive changes in how our brains react to chronic pain occur and could be shown by comparing “before” and “after” brain waves.
Perhaps the medical community’s overall reluctance to acknowledge physical suffering is directly related to the use of opioids that control and decrease sensitivity to pain and can cause addiction when misused. But to assume certain groups — typically racial minorities and women — aren’t as susceptible to pain as white males (the majority of physicians) or over-report pain is disgraceful!
We desperately need a way to recognize pain that can be accepted and used by physicians. Our culture needs to realize that the abhorrence of addiction is based on misrepresented “facts” intended to be used to enable racial discrimination by officials. Millions of people are suffering unnecessarily because of a lie started by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics when Prohibition ended in the early 1930s. Google “Harry Anslinger” and prepare to be horrified by one man’s bigotry and hatred.

John Ryder

This is the most on point analogy of anything I’ve ever read relevant to misunderstood chronic pain and suffering that is overlooked or misunderstood every day in this time of a so called opioid epidemic that has plagued unfortunate people.


As a retired RN,CNN with intracable chronic pain this article is profoundly thought provoking.
To test for pain in reality should not be difficult. It just takes a lab test that can give a range of results that correspond with consistency to evaluate level of pain. But what standard will be applied to the study to meet criteria of government agencies, Medicare, insurance, Medicaid, and truly give results that are adequate for all intracable chronic pain patients?
It’s not that difficult but pain has always been associated with mental issues in women so to decree such a study would be worthless to the scientific field due to women have no pain tolerance to intracable chronic pain. Being a septagenerian been there, told that, and still see women refused medical care appropriate to there complaints.
We intracable chronic pain patients have no studies to show
Opoids long term use works, withdrawal is not the same diffenation as an drug addict,
and we are compliant unlike drug addicts are 100% non-compliance.
Our government agencies have guidelines forced on us that do not meet the criteria of a compliant intracable chronic pain patient due to no studies to prove there theory that long term use doesn’t help, withdrawal is always in same diffenition as a drug addict, and we just can’t be compliant because Opoids are always addictive (WRONG).
Your article is so refreshing and very true.
A Travisty of injustice by negligence in duediligence to “first do no harm”.
Thank you so much for giving our community of intracable chronic pain patients a window into a fresh new idea.
Compliant intracable chronic pain patients have been bullied, profiled, labeled, demeaned, ignored, lost physician’s, loss of appropriate medical care, loss of support system, shunned with feeling of being soiled and dirty,
stigmatized, forced into drug addicts profiling, not studied due to majority are women, cursed at,
and suicides due to profound loss of any hope now or in the future.


The gender bias is shocking and sickening and a REAL thing. What a waste of time to not just listen to women who know their own bodies and what a waste of our lives and health due to it.


Great post, and I completely with agree with commenter James S., as well. If the relatively young (mostly 35-55), healthy, able-bodied doctors and researchers who claim to be “pain experts” had to wear a patch for 24 hours that produces the pain many of us experience daily, effective treatment (including opiates) would be forthcoming yesterday!


Hi, Cynthia. I loved your article. If we humans can measure radioactivity, why could not some genius doctor and/or scientist not invent a machine to measure pain? Maybe it would be electricity increase in the body. As a 72 year old retired RN ( due to my severe Arthritis and now a huge blood clot) I was thinking this woman is brillant.! Why isn’t someone doing this? As I sit here with electricity shooting through the wound on my left leg where my blood clot also is, I am getting shooting electric shocks there. The nerves are irritated from the decreased circulation. Yes, I do have Neuopathy, but this is much worse. I yell or jump in my seat and my daughter asks me what is wrong. I am one of the lucky ones though. I now have a pain doctor who is also a internist and an addictionologist for those who need that support but have pain. He is so kind and compassionate. He gave me Neurontin with my pain med and it has helped immensely. Yes, my daughter and I went through what every other pain patient has gone through. It is no fun and you are right. Doctors can be abusive to patients on the subject of pain. They cannot see it. I meant a CCU nurse who said one doctor in particular would not give Morphine to heart attack patients. This is SOP for those patients. Untill he had one. Then, he begged for Morphine. The nurse, of course, gave it to him, but not without making sure when he was discharging that he would give his future patients Morphine and he did. My point here is why do doctors have to feel severe pain for whatever disease to be compassionate to their pain patients? I think you should try to get the tech industry interested in inventing a machine that can measure pain. Thank you for your wonderful article. It made my evening.


Great article! I don’t know how much more of the disrespect, and lectures on how I should be feeling taking 10mg. of Hydrocodone (I was taking 30mg Oxycodone, 4 times a day, and that just allowed me to function) , a day. I am afraid to tell the dr. how bad I really feel, because I just get reminded I am lucky to get anything. I have been disabled for 30 years, and have the paperwork to prove my diagnoses’, but it still does not help. Maybe soon, I can only pray, the real pain doctors will join together, and open pain clinics where pain patients can bring their proof, and even be re-evaluated, so patients can start getting the care and respect, and medicine that has unlawfully been taken from us. When will that happen though? I am not sure how much longer I can wait. Maybe the laws should change, and doctors will get in trouble for not treating pain patients, and allowing us to suffer, and die, instead of scaring doctors that want to heal and treat their patients. The people who caused this war on patients in pain have the power to start following up on the patients still suffering, and commiting suicide, and make sure doctors are following up on the oath they took, when they became doctors. There is no time left to ponder when things will get better. The policy makers can change things now. Doctors can help ease the pain and suffering that pain patients feel everyday. If the misapplied laws caused doctors to abandon their patients, and/or decreased their pain meds so much, lives were, and are lost, because of “misunderstandings”, it should be easy enough to let doctors know the law wiil be violated if pain patients are left suffering. Maybe some people can wait. I for one, cannot.

Max Beichert

This reply will probably, unfortunately, just quickly get “pounded-down” further on the page by subsequent comments, often in CAPITAL letters, some with multiple exclamation points (!!!!!), others with standardized CDC, doctor, pharmaceutical, insurance company and government-damning comments, free speech being what it is. So, perhaps someone (or several) will be kind enough to help repeat it every fifty (50) or so replies, so that the information herein lingers long after the original subject fades, which could be significant. In fact, someone commenting long before I did (and already buried by subsequent replies, including my own), correctly reported that there are assertions that recent research has initially proved the repeatable ability, through blood tests, to quantify pain without requiring interviewing of the patient, previously the only source of individual pain levels. Patients who have long been awaiting this or a similar method to be able to “prove” to whomever, or whatever agency, that patient-reported pain levels are indeed legitimate, should approach this cautiously, because routine blood draws are typically done during “regular business hours” (for the doctors, and for the lab), when daytime pain is usually less, and not available when pain is typically the worst (unless a nighttime trip to the emergency room is affordable). Also, pain just naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day and night, with time and circumstances. It would therefore not be advisable (for the chronic pain patient) to “push” (no pun) any objective laboratory measurement to the exclusion of the subjective reported experience of the sufferer. Otherwise, to live by the sword (a measurement of pain) may be to die by the sword (the experience of pain).


Well written, I was on the same dose of opioids for 17 yrs, never abused, but doctors so scared of loosing their license or prison they no longer want to treat chronic pain patients. I have multiple painful things like two rare incurable bone & muscle diseases, progressive degenerative spine, CRPS, etc… I know I’m not alone, but every day I fight thoughts of suicide. I was functional,- able to do water exercises now bed ridden- which places me at high risk for stroke/blood clots, my blood pressure is even higher due to the intensity of pain, etc…
Because my rare incurable diseases are in and of themselves fatal- I get to live out the rest of my life in torture-intense intractable pain… CDC laws

Thomas Wayne Kidd

Even if it was possible to actually measure pain in some scientific way, those in the medical field would manipulate the results to their ideas and we would be in the same boat we find ourselves in now. I was very surprised when I began to understand that many doctors are not what they are supposed to be, “smart.” Many leave their schools unprepared for the real world. I have, after 30+ years come to distrust the medical field. Money and profits are the goal of this once honorable profession. We are in deep trouble if we trust them, only to be betrayed again and again.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

Mankind has been creating proof to sway the masses since mankind began. When the space telescope was invented computer software was used to enhance images to suite the ideas of those in charge of scientific discovery (?) These days lies are flying around the earth at the speed of light. The source of TRUTH has been pushed into the fantasy and fairy tales section. Those who have any ideas of what truth is shouldn’t be surprised at what has been done to chronic pain sufferers have been and continue to be put through. When lies become the way of life life becomes less and less important. Anti-God, anti-Creator ideas and beliefs have brought us to where we are today, and will only grow worse not better. Yes normal ideas will prevail for a while but will go away again and the next time it will be worse than the the insanity that’s going on now. And truth will be replaced more and more with Hitler ideas. At least think about this before discarding it.


Excellent article.


Absolutely wonderful article!


I came of age in the 1970’s; it took 10 years of horrific menstrual cramps before I was given ibuprofen, not by a doctor, but by an older co-worker. I lost count of the number of physicians who told me I just needed to have a baby and then the pain would abate. At the age of 13, I was told to have a baby! I remember that now, whenever I encounter a doctor who doesn’t understand how chronic pain can leave me hanging on by my fingertips, day after day. I’m lucky, I suppose, in that testing clearly shows the issues in my spine that cause so much of my pain. That kind of proof was enough for disability benefits but not enough for the average physician to really “get it” and I always wonder if they might take me more seriously if I were a man trying to explain my grief over the loss of my career and my desperation in looking for help. If the world could feel our pain, if only for a week or two, imagine how quickly things would change!

Jeanette French

HI all, no matter whom you are male or female, pain today is a joke, the cdc has done an about face and lied saying it wasn’t meant to be law, however I have read the warning letters sent to doctors threatening them of loosing their license for prescribing over the so called voluntary guidelines, which were treated as law. I have seen the warning letters sent to pharmacies telling them not to fill prescriptions or they will suffer consequences. They have terrorized out doctors and have had the pharmacies blacklist doctors and legal prescription. Hundreds have taken their ;lives, and now they come out and say they never meant it to be law. Ha. Really?..could have fooled me. So now they have hundreds if not thousands of lives taken on their heads, how do they sleep at night?..and now it is proven that it isn’t the prescriptions that are causing the still rising overdoses.Their about face is a little to late, though I am glad they have done it, they can not bring back the family members who took their lives over their guidelines. And now trying to turn the wave of their guidelines in the other direction to cause no harm will take years to get turned back around to where pain patients get the meds they need just to function. And they should be made to pay restitution to those families who lost their loved ones to pain. Knee jerk reactions need to stop, if there is any kind of issues, they need to bring in experts and discuss it before making any laws about anything until, they see what the consequences will be.Not one pain specialist was on the board that made these guidelines. and that was a major mistake.

Lisa Hess

Hello Cynthia,
Great write up! I’ve had two experiences in the black hole. The first experience, private long term disability. In 2007 I became permanently disabled after my third spine surgery that also caused Fibromyalgia. As the first anniversary of LTD I had to have a personal interview in my home. The rain pain that day put me in agony. It was mentioned in the report that I “seemed” to be in some distress. Unbeknownst to me, I was also.being video recorded going to the bank, getting gas, getting a cup of coffee at a local SBS and rolling an empty plastic trash bin up my driveway. A couple months later I got a letter that My LTD was cut off because if I can do those things recorded I can surely work. They could not see the pain! I was less than a 2 mile radius from home and out less than an hour. With the interview report and what was recorded I had to hire an attorney and sued them. It took 10 months to win my case. We were broke due to the recession and my husband sells building materials and had little income and with my SSD and had two teenagers in the house. My credit cards maxed out that I’m still paying off. Second time just occurred last week. Recently, I was diagnosed with CRPS by my Pain Management doctor. I’ve had a very hard time dealing with this diagnosis after reading your book and what happened to you, and all the other stories I’ve read over the years through the pain community. I never thought it would happen to me. Last week I went to a neurologist to confirm the CRPS diagnosis and my memory problems. I was not in a flare up at the time, and I had no symptoms except for the chronic pain I’ve had for 23 years. The Neurologist disagreed with my PM doctor. Three days later my current flare up began. My entire right leg was covered in purple and green and my left leg coloring was normal. My hands/fingers were purple/red and fingers would not straighten. I took pictures and mailed them out yesterday to my neurologist.




I still believe there are excellent Dr’s in this world. I hope we all find one who’s not being threatened,or paid to” look the other way” as if they don’t know what’s causing our pain. We should all call our insurance companies and attempt to find out if this is what they’re paying these Dr’s to do. We do have the right to know!


Thank you Cynthia. I have experienced this agony too. The one where most physicians seem clueless about what’s causing all the pain and agony. But also the ones that have been discovered through imaging,blood test,diagnosed,and put on record. I’ve made it a priority to obtain my medical records,and often. I’ve discovered diagnosis that were never discussed with me. Whenever I bring it up,they seem clueless as to what I’m talking about. Some Dr’s have even gone as far as to do tests to prove what’s causing the agony, only to try to downplay, and even undo what was recorder the year before. The very same “compassionate pain specialist “. Only to smuggly deny me proper pain care. I just want to share my experience from both sides of the proverbial black hole of pain and dismissive treatment. And I hope everyone going through this will aquire all medical records, and often. It’s so important to know everything that’s not being addressed,or treated. God Bless you all Abundantly, and God help us all to stand together.

Kathleen Kaiser

I always imagine a neon sign above my head that would rate my level of pain so everyone could see it.

Rosalind Rivera

Kudos to the writer of this article! The writer couldn’t possibly explain any clearer what pain does to society at large as well as to the individual. I for one am very fortunate in that my pain management doctor sees me for who I am and treats me accordingly, with respect and dignity, even though through no fault or doing of his own had been forced to taper the dosages of my much needed pain medication which in turn have transformed me from a once active woman to what I have become, a crippled and almost completely paralyzed individual. I should also mention that not only am I a woman but a minority as well. I am proud of my Pain Management doctor as I sincerely believe and have always been convinced that he sees me for what I am, a person who suffers each and every day of my life in chronic and intractable pain.

Rosalind Rivera
Lucerne Valley, Ca.


Wow. Cynthia just gave us a real description for the awful reality of the pain we live with, however non-existent or downplayed by others. There really is a “black hole” when describing pain!

Michael Kastner

Your article was incredibly wonderful in suggesting that if Dr Bouman or others would look into the deep dark black holes, that we CRPS folks suffer from, that those abusive Doctors could easily treat the unseen severely debilitating daily agony we suffer from .
As we “pain folks” all know the hoops which can take years and decades to “jump through” before either being blessed with a kind, believing doctor or finally a diagnosis which makes it possible for us to start receiving treatment rather than be told “it’s all in your head” or other unkind remarks we have all heard.
We, with one or more than one “it’s all in your head” chronic issues are definitely suspect of drug seeking mongers and treated like criminals.
You make me smile as you state how easily if these Doctors who disrespect us patients, only used the same scientific reasoning put forth in discovering the unseen, how easily we could all be, or should have been treated, and how simple all of the agony and pain could have and could be managed.
Yet, even with the strides that have been made, so many millions of us still are untreated, disrespected and worse.
Somehow, even as I struggle through some of my more difficult moments I just try to breath and know that this next decade or less will bring unforeseen cure and or relief to endless people who suffer all over the world.
I truly pray you all and myself live long enough to benefit from what I somehow believe will be miracles yet to come.
Know your pain is as unkind to you as mine is to me and somehow manage to have hope and belief in your lives.
We are all so blessed to have so many advocates who work so hard to end this struggle.
Enjoy your today and every day.
Michael Kastner

Cynthia, Thank you for yet another well written post. Your point is valid and much needed. Great suggestion and I do hope it is heard! Have a blessed weekend.

I have been applying the words “Opioid Crisis” in my search for a new Dr. In Michigan its hard to find a doctor to prescribe any pain medication. So I think if I was to ask for something that was not a direct “pain relief medication”, I would ask for something that has been used for “other reasons” but has a side effect of reducing pain! For instance: Years ago I was prescribed klonopin for seizures, it helped my pain, then became a psychiatric condition medication. THEN a street drug!!! So I can no longer take it for my seizures OR pain!!!


This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on pain! Cynthia… outstanding👍🏻!

James Shivlie

Thank you for your story. I’ve walked out of doctor offices because I was not believed or respected. Since I’m a white male that can be rude when that happens,.they just right me off as a wacko. But I can understand the various damage they can do! I’ve delt with chronic pain for 50 years. I told my doctor “If I could invent one thing it would be a patch that can record pain data”. And a patch that can recreate that pain, and the doctor would have to wear it for 24 hours. I would love to be able to tell him, “take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning”!

Gary Raymond

What the CDC has done to the chronically and terminally ill is the most inhumane and illegal action I have ever heard of in the USA. There is no device to measure pain and there are no effective alternatives for opioid analgesics. If a group would pursue the cause, the Courts would toss the CDC guidelines and the sadomasochistic efforts of 50 states to the wind for lack of evidence and from the testimony of thousands of witnesses. Nevertheless, criminal recreational use of opioids continues unabated. I personally think the black market is thriving because of additional traffic from victims of this government witch hunt. It is easier to obtain heroin illegally than oxycodone legally. People suffering from chronic pain do not abuse or divert their medications. They need them to live normal lives. The people who get into trouble with addiction and overdoses are those who abuse controlled medications and have no pain.


I believe, based on some reading I have done on pain, that pain can be measured, or “seen.” This would involve measuring cortisol levels on the blood, which apparently vary in response to pain, based on secretions from the adrenal glands. I don’t understand the science of it, but the articles made it appear achievable, although time-consuming and expensive. But how much more dignified and accurate than these foolish self-reporting scales of 1-10 “pain levels” or smiley/sad faces. Then doctors would have to believe you!


Aye, Cynthia, it’s about time, it’s about space, it’s about time I take my pain and go to another place…
maybe one of those black holes where I can leave this pain without a trace; come to the light of Jesus and forever be in the light of His grace.
Very well written, Cynthia.


I keep reading/hearing about the “biases” that occur when an individual who is not white and/or not male tries to get help with their pain situation. Let me inform some of you that throw this out there so easily that being white and male does in no way make your pain any less powerful, any easier to get believed and/or addressed by doctors, and doesn’t give you any secret handshake that makes it so the local pharmacist gives you a smile and a wink while loading up everything you would like into a bag for you. That Pharmacist will not only berate you but to also refuse to fill your prescription and toss you out of their pharmacy. I am by no means meaning this as an attack on anyone and I am sorry if you take it that way but maybe if some of you thought about certain comments before just tossing them out there like a hand grenade, we could all work together to try and get these problems fixed instead of possibly dividing everyone into their own groups so that everyone doesn’t start pulling in a separate direction which isn’t beneficial to any of us.
When it all comes to the end of the day, my 23 years of pain along with all the surgeries, injections, medical devices and the rest of it leaves us all in the same boat.

Good luck to us all…

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

How often do new discoveries begin with those who are not believed? The Dr who suspected stomach ulcers WEREN’T the result of stress but actually bacteria took 10 years and inflicting the condition upon himself to prove his theory and treatment which became the standard of care. WHY can’t those who have lived with the horrors of chronic daily pain be believed when all they desire is a return to normality, NOT more Dr bills and ridicule by those in their comfortable leather chairs who’ve not YET experienced it?SkTn6