The Crackdown

It’s literally life and death and I, for one, will not go down without a fight.

Hello dear reader.

I read an article in the New York Post written by Betsy Mccaugh called The Insane Crackdown on Pain Medication. I’ve written several posts about this issue, but I believe people like me who deal with chronic pain are the invisible casualties of this “crisis” and I’m doing all I can to be seen.

Here are some of the facts being overlooked or twisted…”Politicians parrot a false narrative that millions of people are becoming drug addicts because of prescriptions their doctor gave them for pain.” The truth is that…”Only about 1 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain become addicted — according to a systematic survey of peer-reviewed medical studies

Here’s another fact that contradicts what we’re being told by the government…”Illegal drugs cause nearly all overdose deaths, not drugs patients get from their doctor.The fact is that “Fewer than one in five overdose victims even had a prescription drug in their system, and it was virtually never the only drug.

Here’s what it boils down to, the people abusing pain medications get it illegally, and will continue to do so. That’s what needs to be stopped.

It’s very difficult to misuse pain medications you get from a pain management doctor. I go to my doctor once a month (a five hour round trip). Every visit I am required to do a UA which looks for every drug in my system, including alcohol. If anything besides my prescribed medication is found, I risk no longer being treated there. If the levels of my prescribed medication are wrong (too high or too low), I am at risk of no longer being treated there. What’s wrong with the levels being too low? That means you either took too many when you got them or are selling them. I’m sure there are ways around these safeguards, but it wouldn’t be easy and I don’t think it could be done for any length of time.

I went to my doctor last week and while I was there I asked him what to expect going forward. He told me about ‘morphine equivalency’ and that by the end of this year nobody will be able to be above a morphine equivalency of 90. I asked him what the morphine equivalency of what I take now was. He did some quick math and said approximately 170. So my pain medication is roughly going to be cut in half.

With the levels I’m on now, I’m functional approximately 60% of the time. Cut that in half and I’m looking at being in too much pain to function 70% of the time. That’s not a life. It’s torture.

There are many other people in the same situation I’m in. We need to make them see us, make them realize what they’re doing to us, and hopefully change the way this crisis is being handled. Personally, I’m scared to death. If you or someone you know lives with chronic, debilitating pain please add your voice to mine. It’s literally life and death and I, for one, will not go down without a fight.

Until next time…


Memorial in Washington

This whole situation makes me angry because people like me, and many of you I’m certain, are being treated like we’re doing something horrible by using pain meds for what they were intended to be used for.

Hello dear reader.

The purpose of this blog is to try to find ways to enjoy life as much as possible while dealing with chronic illness/pain. Recently, however, I’m fighting for any quality of life.

I’m talking about our government’s decision to end opioid use. I’ve written before about the difference between use and abuse.

I read an article on Medium about the “Prescribed to Death” memorial being put up in Washington. Here’s the link if you’re interested:

I have to say in all honesty, this article infuriated me. This was my response:
I am so sorry for people who have lost someone to a drug overdose. That being said, I think this “memorial” is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard.
I live with chronic, debilitating pain constantly. Without the opiods I’m prescribed I would be dead. Period. I take the minimum amount of medication I can and still function. I don’t abuse my medication.
I went so far as to have electrodes implanted in my head (TENS unit). I’ve had my nerves burned. The list goes on and on. Nothing has worked. So I rely on pain meds to get out of bed in the morning, be as functional as possible throughout the day, and be able to sleep at night. I’m one of the majority of people who take opiods. The ones who don’t have a choice, who are responsible and careful with them, the ones who are being threatened with a death sentence by the government.
So put up your memorial if it makes you feel better. And start digging graves for the people like me.

Here’s an example of how insane this situation is becoming…I’m always very careful to read the information sheets when I start on a new medication. I want to be aware of potential side effects and interaction issues. I was put on a different pain medication last week. No matter how responsibly you take them, your body will build up a tolerance over time and they will no longer work. After spending 6 weeks in bed because I was in too much pain to move, my doctor and I decided I had reached that point. I was shocked when I read the information sheet on this new medication. There was nothing about side effects. There were no instructions about things like whether it needed to be taken with food. There were two pages of small print as usual, but the only information was about how addictive opiods can be, how dangerous they can be, how if you took them while pregnant 😯 the baby would be born addicted, and on and on. I had to look the medication up online to find out potential side effects and instructions. Does anyone realize how dangerous that is, to not know which side effects are normal and which are life threatening?

This whole situation makes me angry because people like me, and many of you I’m certain, are being treated like we’re doing something horrible by using pain meds for what they were intended to be used for. It terrifies me because I feel like my quality of life is being threatened… actually, my life itself. Nobody can be expected to live in constant agony, unable to function at all. Suicide rates are going to jump drastically if our government succeeds in making narcotics, opiods, opiates, etc. impossible to get.

Normally I would apologize for going on a rant, but not this time.

What do you think about this issue?
How do you feel about it?
I’d really like some feedback.

Until next time…

The Opiod Battle

I know this can be a controversial subject, but I hope we can start a civil and compassionate conversation about it.

Hello dear reader.

The news lately has been full of (among other things) the “Opiod Epidemic” and how we need to stop it.

Before I go any farther with this I want to be very clear about something. Opiod abuse and opioid use are two very different things. I’m 100% on board that abuse needs to be stopped.

That said, opioid use is not in itself a bad thing. Without opiods I would be dead, plain and simple. I wouldn’t be able to do anything besides writhe in bed screaming in pain. I would have bailed years ago.

Here’s what my mornings are like… I hate, really hate waking up. Before my eyes open I’m being screamed at by no less than four different parts of my body. Opening my eyes usually adds more pain. The VERY first thing I do is take a pain pill (an Opiod). 15-20 minutes later I can usually move without it being complete torture, usually.

Now imagine that scenario without the pain meds. And that’s just the very beginning of the day. I’m pretty sure you can figure out the rest of the day on your own.

I’m very fortunate to have found a really good pain management doctor who works with me to try to take as little medication as possible and still be able to function. I take random UA’s and have to bring all of my meds with me to every appointment.

I’m on Medicare and Medicaid, so the government gets to decide what medications I can or can’t have. I’m afraid every time I go to the pharmacy that I’m going to be told they won’t cover this or that anymore. No, it’s not paranoia. It’s happened a few times.

The point to all of this is that people like me, and there are a lot of us, are paying the price for people who abuse drugs. It seems that opiod use is trying to be stopped, when the problem is abuse.

I’ve put a link on here to an article from The Mighty written by Mikki Ingram. It states the problem in a clear and concise way. I really hope you’ll read it. It’ll open your eyes.

This is another article well worth reading

I know this can be a controversial subject, but I hope we can start a civil and compassionate conversation about it.

Until next time…

Friend or Foe?

But I have to admit that if I had a friend who treated me the way my body does, it wouldn’t consider it a good friendship.

Hello dear reader,

Before you read this, I think I should put a ‘disclaimer’ of sorts. I promised you this blog would be honest and always open for discussion. I did not promise I would have all the answers. Those of you wanting a refund can get in line with the rest of the bill collectors. Now that we’ve cleared that up…onward!

I think most women have issues of some kind with their body. We wish we were thinner or curvier, shorter or taller, look younger, or had eyelashes it didn’t take a magnifying glass (or a tube of mascara) to find. Okay, that last one is probably just me, but you get the point. A lot of us try to meet unrealistic expectations.

I’m getting older, and that fact alone has changed my expectations. I’ll never look like I did at 20, or even 40. My body seems to have aged at least 20 years in the last five, which I think just plain sucks!

Appearance is only a piece of it. I can’t do the things I used to do. I raised four kids, kept a (reasonably) clean house, and if I slept more than five hours at night I was useless the next day. These days the kids are grown and live in their own homes, I need help to be able to keep my house even semi-clean, and I usually sleep ten hours a night and need a nap in the afternoon.

I’ve talked before about being gentle, loving, and kind to ourselves…like we would with a friend. But I have to admit that if I had a friend who treated me the way my body does, it wouldn’t consider it a very good friendship. I’m struggling with being loving toward a body that only works about 30% of the time, and hurts 75% of the time (I would say 100%, but there is all that sleeping to consider). What kind of friend is that?

There’s no life lesson in this post, I’m sorry to say. If I figure out an answer, you’ll be the first to know. If you have an answer, I’d be very grateful if you’d share it.

On another note, since I’m asking for advice anyway, I need a new name for this blog. It amazes me how naive I can be about some things, but apparently the word “chronic” is associated with marijuana, so the title is misleading. Who knew? Don’t answer that. So I need a name that makes people think about trying to live with chronic illness/pain, vs simply existing…and not about weed.

Until next time…

Fur Therapy

They make me laugh whether I want to or not, and that’s super important!

Hello dear reader,

Today I’d like to introduce you to Daisy and Duke. They’re a big part of being glad to live.

Daisy is a terrier mix who will be 8 in May. She weighs about 15 pounds and will quickly let you know that she’s only little on the outside! We’ve been together since she was 3 months old. I’ve had her certified as a service dog. She let’s me know when something’s coming so I can get to a safe place. For example, my neck and shoulders going into spasms that come with a blinding headache is easier to deal with at home than while I’m driving or in the store. When she tells me it’s coming I usually have about an hour to try to get somewhere safe. When I’m down, whether it’s for hours, days, or weeks, she stays with me. When I get up to use the bathroom, she goes outside, grabs a bite of food, and gets back in bed when I do, sometimes still chewing!

She may get up when I’m sleeping, I don’t know. But she’s always there when I wake up.

Duke is a 5 1/2 year old shepherd/healer mix that we adopted when he was 9 months old. He had a really rough start. He was badly abused and starved. He was terrified of people. We had him for almost 3 months before he started wagging his tail.

He’s still cautious about meeting new people, and he’s become quite protective. He loves to play and nothing makes him happier than being told he’s a “good boy.” He’s a very sweet, loving, and well-behaved dog.
Duke is really Tim’s dog. He goes to work with him when weather and circumstances allow. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t sit beside me getting petted all day if I’d let him.

So there’s the fur therapists. They make me laugh whether I want to or not, and that’s super important!

Until next time…

The Party

Because I think people who deal with this need to know they aren’t alone…

Because tomorrow may be different and give someone hope…

Hello dear reader,

Today’s one of those days that I really struggle through. It’s been a rough few weeks, to be totally honest. When things go on for an extended period, my physical pain calls the mental pain and they throw a big party.

I’ve had this same headache for three weeks now. A little over a week ago, my oxygen levels and blood pressure decided they wanted to join in. Oxygen levels can be handled. I have a machine in my house, and I just drag tubing around behind me. The blood pressure? That’s a different deal. I have hypotension, which means my BP goes low. That’s something I just have to ride out unless it gets to the point that I have to go to the hospital.

The continuous headache makes my neck and shoulders spasm. That’s easy enough… take a muscle relaxer, right? But muscle relaxers lower your blood pressure and respiration, so which is worse?

When all this has gone on for a while, the final guest arrives… depression. It brings its own friends like “What’s the point?”, “This is never going away.” and “You’re useless.” They sap away any little bit of energy I have hidden away.

Tim left for work around 6 this morning and will get home around 5 this evening. He works hard all day. My big accomplishment today? I got dressed and crawled back into bed. I’ll have to text him soon and ask him to stop at the store and get a “quick fix” for dinner because I can’t stand up long enough to cook. He’ll say, “No problem honey.” and after working all day he’ll stand in line at the grocery store to get something he can just pop into the oven. He deserves so much better.

This has turned into a rant, which wasn’t my intention at all. So why post it?

Because I think people who deal with this need to know they aren’t alone…

Because tomorrow may be different and give someone hope…

Because it’s my truth…

Until next time…


I’ll be blunt about things. There isn’t enough sugar to coat this mess.


Hello Dear Reader,
It’s been a long time. I’m starting my blog again with a new name and a different perspective. I live with constant pain. The myriad of things that cause my pain are explained in the “About Me” page.
A couple years ago, I had been told I was terminal, had about a year left (from the COPD). After going through the nightmare of telling the people in my life, I was told it had been a mistake. I do have COPD, but it’s not nearly as advanced as they originally thought.
Everyone was very glad to hear that news, of course. Everyone, that was, except me. The last post I wrote was in October of 2016. You can read the post for yourself if you’d like, just click here…Trying to Live The Reader’s Digest” version is that I had been relieved to have an end in sight to the pain and it had been taken from me.
Sometimes I’m so thankful to be here and to have the life I do. I have a truly incredible husband. He told me many years ago that it was his mission to make sure I laughed every day, and he does. I have children and grandchildren that I love dearly, and the best friends anyone could ever wish for. I have a couple of dogs that are a never-ending source of love and entertainment. I live up in the Rocky mountains and the beauty around me still takes my breath away. I have everything anyone could ever want.
I also have the nightmare of never-ending pain. Sometimes I can push through it and actually accomplish things. Sometimes I can’t lift my head for days at a time. Sometimes I can’t get out of bed for weeks at a time.
So I’m starting a new blog called Chronic Living. The chronic pain isn’t going anywhere, but I don’t have to let it define my life.
Why blog about it? There are millions of other people in the same situation I’m in or worse. Maybe putting it out there, the good and the bad, the beauty and ugliness about it, the constant struggle to live, I might be able to help someone through a day. I might open their eyes to something they hadn’t seen before. All the people struggling with this situation also have people who love them and want to help them. Maybe they can get a little bit closer to understanding, or maybe feel a little less helpless.
I can’t make any promises about what this blog will do. I can, and do promise that I will give you complete honesty. I’ll be blunt about things. There isn’t enough sugar to coat this mess. I promise I’ll respect and try my best to answer any questions you ask. I’ll be open-minded and try to learn from you. I tend to go off on tangents and might follow a post about depression with one bout how to crochet a baby blanket.
I hope you’ll come along on this journey with me. Don’t know for sure where we’re going or how we’ll get there, but we can figure it out together.
Until next time…

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