Chronic Pain – What I Can’t Do – What I Do Do

Chronic Pain - What I Can’t Do - What I Do Do

By Gregory Mooneyhan.

Editor’s Note: I read our commentary sections practically every day for a couple of reasons—first, I want to get a sense of what people think about the article we’ve published—second, I may find a new voice that I’d like to share with our larger audience. I saw a post from Gregory Mooneyhan, a chronic pain sufferer in Indiana, a stay at home dad and a guy who has an opinion on most things.

So I reached out to him—as I do with readers from time to time— and suggested he write a piece for the National Pain Report—on anything he wanted.

He wrote on the sense of isolation that pain patients feel and what he does to deal with it. The story will sound familiar to many of you.

Suffice it to say that pain affects just about every activity someone wants to do. When these situations arise, all you can do is try your best to make the most out of the hand you’ve been dealt. Some of us have been dealing with pain for years while some have only had to endure it for a short while.

Gregory Mooneyhan

Gone are the days of riding bikes in the park, swimming at your local lake or a pond, and most “painfully”, those quality intimate moments between you and your loved one. We’ve all been there. An intimate moment with your loved one is lost because you are hurting too much.

We didn’t ask for this life and the stress that comes with it. It’s often too much to bear. Depression and anxiety have played a big part in my life as I attempt to cope with the changes that have happened. As humans, most of us are creatures of habit and a decent percentage of us resent change when it applies to our everyday life. That is never more evident than when you have to stop doing things you’ve enjoyed due to physical limitations.

It’s very hard to teach an old dog new tricks and yet the best way to handle living in chronic pain is to adapt. Pick up new hobbies that keep your mind strong, start reading articles online or learn how to play an instrument. I keep constant contact with three or four of my friends who know what I’m going through, because they have either gone through it in the past or are still currently going through it.

A great support system is vital in maintaining a positive outlook on life. This not only includes the various doctors involved in your case but ultimately your loved ones. While my wife can sympathize with me and be a shoulder to cry on, she can’t empathize because she doesn’t know what chronic pain feels like. My best advice is to realize that you aren’t a bad person who deserves to live life this way, find a great support system (this could be friends, family or on various websites, such as this website) pick up new hobbies and just in general, try to be as optimistic as possible about your condition or conditions.

Stay strong!

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Authored by: Gregory Mooneyhan

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Cathy Barricklow

I am also a person that lives with chronic pain 24/7. I was taken off my opiates in April this year that helped me to live some quality of life. Now my pain doctor has been putting me on all these medications that do not work and have terrible side effects to them. I live like a prisoner in my own home. Not able to drive, go to the grocery store etc. I just keep praying all of this will stop and I will be able to get my regular pain meds back that did help my pain. Not sure how much more of this I can take. There is a big difference between being dependent and being addicted! I see my doctor once a month. I do the urine tests. Why are we being singled out. I am 57 years old have worked since I was 15 years old. Lost my job last year of 29 years. Due to my lower back going totally out on me. I have been thru 2 neck surgeries and now 2 back surgeries with no success. Now in more pain than ever. I have degenerative disc disease.


I’m on a roll tonight! Commenting all aver the net. I read there’s 88000 alcohol related deaths each year. Add another 10200 drunk driving deaths to that. Now I think there’s 48000 drug overdoses. WHY WHY WHY don’t we hear the govt is trying to stop alcohol deaths? Seems you should have a special permit to buy liquor. But NOOOoooo it’s as easy as 123. That’s bc our burocrats they like them some liquor. We have to march… A MILLION HURTING PPL on Washington. Or something. Chronic pain is a protected ADA illness. This is illegal.


Kratom!!! Kratom is the answer for pain, withdrawaling, and depression. Get off opiods easy

Kevin Jelley

What we lack as a community, a community of chronic pain sufferers, is what the AIDS community did not lack. They didn’t become frightened in the face of prejudice and insurmountable odds. They became pissed and organized, militant, and because of this, people listened. I think that this is what it will take for the government to hear us, and fear us, and to do what really is best for us.

Marea Campagna

It’s time for a MARCH ON WASHINGTON! I am willing to go, come hell our high water. I realize many would be unable to travel. We could use many”prayer warriors.” I have thought and talked about this for a long time. It seems as though our voices are not being heard, maybe they need to see us? What are others thoughts on this idea? Am I being totally ridiculous because I feel trapped in a corner and I realize the control of how I live the rest of my life is in the hand of the government?

Lori T.

Thank you Gregory for your beautiful post. It inspired me today and I hope it will inspire others. As I read the other posts before mine this evening, I came away with a heartfelt knot in my throat, tears streaming down my cheeks for the folks who are struggling so with getting their pain meds and finding compassionate doctors who will prescribe them. I am mad, upset and distraught that our government is meddiling in the lives of REAL people out there. Scarring doctors from doing their jobs by giving what I call “lifesaving medications” to a very vulnerable population of people in America. Opiods can make people with chronic pain more independent, productive and happier in their lives. They can be humans again. I know because I am one of them. This so called opiod crisis has now become a political hot potato. All the politicians want in on the action. Parents and family members who have a loved one die from recreational use are screaming at the government to do something. The government doesn’t know what to do, so we have the tail wagging the dog effect. The REAL problem is the lack of insight and understanding of what is happening. The majority of the bodies piling up in the morgues is being caused by a huge influx of illegal heroin and fentanyl laced with elephant tranquilizer gushing in from CHINA! Junkies are getting what they think is regular heroin and instead get the laced product then…bam…they are dead inside a couple of minutes. This is not getting covered in the media. The media has not done its due diligence here, so the government takes its cue from the incorrect coverage and automatically assumes that the trouble lies with the chronic opiod pain patients. Thus the forced reductions and cruel cut offs of these vital drugs for our segment of the population. So, as Gregory writes so eloquently let’s do what we can do. Those of us who feel well enough to do so, educate, educate, educate. Talk to those who will listen, write to those who can help us (i.e. our governors, representitves and senators) and CMS Medicare itself. If you can’t write, call, if you can’t call, have someone call for you. This really is THE “call for action” before the proposals become laws. Once this happens it truly is hard to reverse a done deal. Sorry to be so lengthy here but seriously, we need to make our collective voices heard now.


Good thoughts. Thank you.

Stephanie Scarbrough

Perfectly said! Chronic illness/pain are the great isolators… Grief is a natural reaction to losing a part of your life and identity. Wonderful tips, please write more posts!

Gregory John Mooneyhan

A. MacKenzie, I 100% agree with you. We have been put on the back burner by the government and its not fair. What I was trying to convey is, even though you could be on medications that do help you, it’s possible that you still are handcuffed as to the activities you can enjoy. So many people are underprescribed or put on a medication that just doesn’t work. The medications I’m on BARELY let me have a decent liveable life. But I’m at the point now that I’m just grateful to have SOMETHING to help dull the pain. But you are definitely right in your comment.

A. MacKenzie

Nice, positive post. Personally, I believe that rather than “accepting our fate” we must be allowed to continue to receive the valid, legal medications that allow us to, eg, swim in the lake or ride a bike in the park. Or offset the painful results of exercise that is critical to health. We should NOT give in to a whipped up frenzied attack on valid, legal medications that enable chronic pain suffers to live a more normal life. There is absolutely no reason chronic pain suffers should be punished and denied these medications because some people abuse them and suffer the consequences as a result.

Thank you so very much for doing what the rest of us for one reason or another aren’t able to right now. May God continue to bless your work, yourselves and the rest of us who are fighting such a battle. I wrote my congressman begging him to have a change of heart. Thirty days later he wrote me back stating he was going ahead with this full force due to the many, many overdoses. He conveniently left out that nearly half of these overdoses were suicides, suicides that occurred before the law of the opioid crisis went into effect. Many from heroin and illegal Fentanyl, you see; I did do my homework! Hopefully the people you spoke with were being sincere and not putting on a show. For when opioids are taken correctly for chronic pain they give life not death. Since this hideous law has been put into effect I can’t count the stories I’ve read of people either taking their lives or wanting to or planning to because they don’t have the medicine they once did to LIVE their lives. Why are we not hearing about the suicides of our chronic pain patients since this law has passed? You can bet we never will either. I’d just like to have a civil answer as to why they are taking our pain medications away, and a truthful one at that!. Shame the government will not tend to government issues and let our doctors who worked long hard hours to obtain their medical degrees use them. If the government would tend to government issues our world”might” be a better place to live. From where I’m sitting right now…. our World is in a crisis all right… and a pathetic one at that….

I am utterly frustrated, don’t know what to do or if I have any other options other then to give up. This whole opioid crisis is detrimental to my health on so many levels. I had a childhood disease which I contracted on a government site, government doctors took to long to diagnose, the damage was done. I never seeks retribution, lived my life as full as possible until my body started to fail me, numerous surgeries, doctors, treatments have failed, only medication let’s me now live life somewhat comfortable & productive. Now the government & state have reduced my life to misery, unproductive & now medical care is shotty. I’ve been forced to a pain management doctor who has no knowledge to properly care for me. Besides removing some necessary medications, continuing to cut back another she is adamant that I wean myself out of my full leg brace! I’ve worn a brace since I was a child, now I’m 60 & have a leg that’s paralyzed. I can’t walk without the brace. I don’t even believe that the doctor even knows about my health history & issues but the government/state has forced me to seek this unqualified doctor. I’m totally shocked & angry that my government crippled me & now is punishing me with inhumane guidelines & substandard healthcare. I had fought hard for 60 yrs to live a normal & productive life but now I’m at my wits end, I’m tired, can’t endure anymore pain, won’t be a burden to my family. I had 60 good years, I always being a responsible productive pain patient with no problems with my medication regimen & now the government/state has once again has ruined my life. I’m tired, suffering & at the end of my rope. Thank you California & the US Government,

Mareaeric Campagna

Thank you Gregory for sharing such wonderful writing with us. Many of us can fully relate to your life. It was as if I had written this piece from my own hand.
Chronic pain sufferers live in a whole different world, to put it mildly. One must know pain to be able to relate. If it wasnt for my faith, family and friends, I don’t know how I would have survived this long.
There are many times I am unable to pray, but I know the Spirit intercedes on my behalf. Knowing that He is always with me, through years of chronic pain and many procedures, gives me strength and comfort. We are not promised any pain or suffering in this world, but promised someone who “sticks closer than a brother.”
I love to sing. There are many times when I can’t sing or even tolerate listening to music. Many Sundays I can’t lead worship with the band at church because of my pain level. When I reach out to others, it takes my mind off of self and onto other’s needs. Helping others helps me.
I am fortunate to have two members in my family who never tire of the continuous chronic pain “story” of my life. My mother and my daughter are always available with listening ears and positive advice.
I am grateful for this wonderful website and I only wish I had found it sooner. It is such a good feeling knowing I am not alone, that there are many others out there living “my” life and now we are connected.

Gabbie Jerrit

Thank you for an excellent article! I am in the UK and have been lucky enough to do an ‘Expert Patient Programme’ recently, where we met once every week for six weeks and talked about handling our chronic conditions. Most of the others have pain as part of their symptoms, as I do, and all of us have issues with anxiety and/ or depression as a result of what we live with. Finding others in the same situation was invaluable, it was a massive relief to feel understood. We have stayed in touch since and help to keep each other going. I too am lucky enough to have a wonderful spouse, but he’s healthy and thus will never really get it - although I’d never wish chronic back pain on him just so that he would! Best wishes to you.


They had us read “Who Moved my Cheese” for work. I was left thinking “so what if I don’t like change?”

Now I think I realize why I’ve become resistant to change. Yes, my routine is a comfort and I’m losing my ability to keep the same routines as I used to have. I hold onto what I can still hold onto and resent things that get in the way.

Joyce Noel

I get you. I watch my husband struggle with this everyday. He says he feels so worthless when all he can do is sit on the couch . He does do things when he can but it id very difficult. I see the pain in his eyes when even pkaying a video game with our grandson is too much. At his lowest points he thinks I would be better off without him.

You are very blessed Gregory. My friends and family left a long time ago when the pain got so bad I couldn’t bear it. None of them knew chronic pain. There for I was deemed lazy, strange, a Debbie Downer for I could not just leave in a moment’s notice to go to a movie, Church , out to eat, the list is endless. When my adopted parents found out that my doctor had prescribed something to help me get back to living my life, let’s just say things came to a screeching halt, the conversations I’ve heard behind my back we’re at times more than it seemed I could handle. Before this drastic cut back I was making jewelry so I have a hobby. Most of my jewelry I gave away to those who looked like they were having the same kind of day that I was. My husband of two years left me due to the chronic pain and the issues that came with it. Though I continued to fight! At the time I had a doctor that said no pain no gain. I began to have everyone I know pray for a new doctor who would understand and have compassion. I even had churches praying and the next thing I knew God gave me such a doctor. One that turned my world around. He gave me the medicine I needed to live my life once again, to walk and hold my head up high. My support system is God above, my beautiful little niece, my next door neighbor and this website. I sit in a dark house most of the time, the only time the phone rings is when someone wants something of me. Might I add it is something for their own personal needs. I’m trying so hard to be optimistic for I pray everyday that this injustice will be undone. At times I think if I had a few understanding friends, a husband that would have understood, a family… it “might” not be as bad. My doctors are no longer my support system for they are not allowed to do anything to support me. Nevertheless your article is beautiful and I know what you’re trying to say. Perhaps you will be able to help someone else. I’m so proud of you!!


I just sent a letter to the organization that you’re talking about begging them to remove true pain patients from the opioid crisis situation. I said if you want us to be functional members of society that have jobs and working contribute then you’re going to have to give us the tools to do that. Otherwise we’ll just be sitting at home collecting welfare. I said a lot of other things too but those are basically the most important things. I certainly hope somebody somewhere listens to us. What they’re doing to us is not fair and they’re making the doctors so scared to give pain patients to anyone or even not letting cancer patients get pain medication. I hope other people send in letters too. Thank you very much for your article!

Traci Sikkes

It just keeps getting more difficult to stay positive when Medicare/the government keeps trying to take our health care decisions out of the hands of our pain management doctors and us. I have been to hell and back already this year and it is only early March.