A Chronic Pain Story Told to the CDC

A Chronic Pain Story Told to the CDC

As the deadline for commenting on the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain approaches (January 13), the National Pain Report continues to publish some of the interesting comments that our readers submit.

Ashley Nicole Yater-Davis

Ashley Nicole Yater-Davis

Ashley Nicole Yater-Davis  lives in Weirton, WV. She is 34, married, no children. Her short and direct commentary caught our attention. Here’s what she submitted.

“Four years ago, I was your typical 30 year old woman: engaged, working 24 hour call shifts as a nurse, spending any free time with family, hobbies including running, fitness, and yes, shopping. All of that changed in less than 1 minute when I was rear ended while at a red light. Even though seat belt in place and air bag deployment, the force was enough to throw me around the center console.

Fast forward 4 years, I can no longer run, although I’m thankful to walk. My fitness level is maxed at a walk around the block. My nursing career was shoved into the less physical world of nursing education. What I am most thankful for is my dedicated husband who puts up with my agony, constant fidgeting to get comfortable during a movie, and my inability to do certain things (he gave up his love of snowboarding because I no longer can without being in bed for two days after).

Medication from my physician grants me comfort to lead my now “normal” life. It allows me to walk around the block with my husband, sit for at least 10 minutes to watch a movie, and so many things. I have tried life without medication, mainly because I feel ashamed with the stigma attached to “pain patients”. The little things that I love were made impossible (the walks, the movies, etc).

Please, don’t punish the physicians that are trying to help us lead somewhat normal lives. Don’t punish those of us loving these lives. More importantly, please don’t punish my husband by taking away what life we have.”

Last December, Terri Lewis PhD who is a frequent commentator and activist on national health policy wrote a short column for the National Pain Report which suggests ways your comments can be most effective. To read it, click here.

If you haven’t commented on the CDC Guidelines and wish to share your input, you can do so online. (Click here)

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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I have been on Pain Meds for ten years, i had two failed back surgeries, a Laminectomy and a Fusion at L4/L5. I have not gotten any relief from the Surgery only with my Pain Meds which are locked up in a lock box and then in a Safe, due to the fact i had my Meds stolen. Im 63 Years Old and my spouse gives me my Pain Medicine everyday and this allows me to function the way i should, i was glad to read that the President agree’s with Prescribing Opiod Pain Meds. Finally someone realizes what Chronic-Pain is.

Richard Oberg M.D.

I want to personally thank Ed Coghlan and staff for the time and effort in doing this. If it wasn’t for the National Pain Report I wouldn’t have known about the Core group shenanigans and the deadline was fast approaching. Is there a way to potentially be a contributor? I finally looked at ‘about us’ and didn’t realize I’ve loved and reinforced some of pharmacist Steve’s comments to various random chronic pain posts and didn’t know he was part of this - it’s fantastic. I’ve also discovered Terri Lewis who’s a PhD here in Tennessee and wrote two outstanding critiques on the public feedback forum everyone should read (you can find them by her name). I’d love to help get this better organized in our area and exposed (shamed?) for what it is and, being one, have a lot of personal experience working with in-house and outreach physicians - both good and bad - that the lay public obviously doesn’t know. There are many physicians who support this but are afraid to speak out in our area. I was highly respected during my 30 years and almost no one knew I was taking these dreaded meds to survive which is a tribute to how effective they can be. I always took committee responsibilities seriously and challenged conventional orthodoxy (when most just wanted to get back to work and sweep things under the rug) and had a reputation of being direct in a professional manner that made it difficult to ignore and I got things done. It doesn’t make you popular with everyone but I can assure you ‘everyone’ isn’t well intended. Many many thanks again!

Catherine Nichols Pogorzelski

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I have had severe RA for 10 years. I also have Lymphoma. My RA is not well controlled with Rituxan infusions and many other immune suppresants and unfortunately I have been on Prednisone ( different doses) for over two years. If I was not able to get pain meds to give me a break from my chronic pain I think I would go crazy. I only use them when I really need too which gives me a sense of hope I can be somewhat productive. Chronic pain is exhausting.

Richard Oberg

Great post and replies. My comment was just published and challenges the basic assumptions made about the ‘prescription drug epidemic’ most of which are false and which most people don’t seem to know (including medical professionals). I’m worried the posting recommendations (for mostly anecdotes) will get ignored by the CDC. I’m a physician of 30 years with bad psoriatic arthritis well controlled by opioid pain meds (hydrocodone) that increasingly is impossible to get in my state (TN). This has been a physician problem of either over-prescribing (apparently without follow-up or illegally) or under-prescribing with excuses of the ‘DEA or state is watching and out to get me if I do’ which isn’t entirely wrong though it is overstated. Many believe scripting for pain meds violates their religious beliefs but rarely gets mentioned. Bottom line access for appropriate patients has become absurdly difficult and no one is going to review 20 years of anyone’s medical disease documentation. And no one monitors physicians for over-prescribing anything else or high-dollar ridiculous test ordering. When did 6-figure physicians become absolved from any responsibility for the most highly regulated medications in history and patients become the victims?? It’s beyond absurd.

Lauren Buckowitsky

Three years ago I hurt my back and had to have about 4 procedures done by my pain management doctor. After the procedures I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have pain medication. I have other medical conditions, ITP and fibromyalga which caused me to heal slower than other people would. I was on pain medication on and off for quite a while. Sometimes my fibro acts up and I need to take a percoset so I am able to function at work. I believe the question of who should or should not be getting pain medication should be left between the doctor and the patient. Not everyone on pain medication is a junky.


Thank you. My story is very similar to yours, but I have a three year old. Medication, along with many other alternative treatment modalities allows me to be active with him- with some pretty strict restrictions. I feel like those of us trying to function with chronic pain, are being forgotten.


Thank you for your story, I had back surgery in 1996 the neurosurgeon said its a success so I went home happy that it was good. But it got worse in face it became a nightmare I later found out he cut into my spinal cord & leaked lots CES fluid for which I get lots of headaches. But I have a chronic Asdhesive Arachnoiditis & the only way to get through are the medications that allow me to get out of bed & to function as close to normal as I can so I would be going crazy so plz don’t take outbon patín patients.

Barbara W

Thank you for sharing your story. I can only walk around the block 2. I want so badly to ride my bike. But, if i try it I’d have to buy a helmet, knee and elbow pads. Again thanks


Thank goodness for modern medical pain management, as cumbersome and sometimes ineffective as it is (before government meddling). As child born in the 1950s, my parents would have friends over and inevitably discussion would turn to their war years. Most of the men were serving overseas and some of the ladies too were serving as nurses in Europe, England or here in Canada, the US or place “downunder”.
Many of those former nurses worked in terrible conditions and ended up with injuries lifting patients. One very bright and witty English lady who was a friend of our family, the life of any conversation, died when she was about 55. She wasted away to almost nothing. During the war, out of necessity to keep all hands available for an endless stream of wounded, the doctors just kept pumping her up with cortisone. That’s why now, there’s very strict guidelines about how much you can receive in a certain time frame.
Often we don’t think ahead much other than to hope things don’t get worse. But that alone in my experience, isn’t wise. My history has been one of being quite active despite my injuries and pain until Fibro crept in. The fatigue is the killer. But you think ahead to retirement and things you’ll do and then suddenly you’ll find yourself struggling just to get by doing half as much.
As Ashley appealed, we need doctors and the powers that be to have empathy for our situation now and going into our futures, to preserve all that we can of some opportunities for happiness. As someone mentioned somewhere recently, our pain doesn’t stop when we leave the doctor’s office. In fact, at the risk of prejudicing the result, I’d bet if a study was done of marriages broken by chronic pain, it would be a very cruel statistic, especially for women with pain who end up raising children alone.

Fast forward 35 years Ashley, your story is similar to mine. You are brave. There are many nurses who live with chronic pain, but are fearful for sharing their story. Intractable pain is not discriminatory but some peoples opinions, even our colleagues, are. We need more stories on how having our pain properly managed, that’s right folks, even with opioids, keeps us productive and whole.