Thursday, May 12, 2016

If Only...

If Only

If only those suffering with chronic pain had the opportunity to have their pain seen by those that aren't able to comprehend how it feels, how it impacts every moment of every day and every night, what it does to a person’s life, how it takes every aspect of what one use to be and leaves one’s life and soul shredded, searching to find some sort of relief from the unending, horrendous nightmare of the disease called chronic pain.

If only those that aren’t capable of comprehending what it is like to live with chronic pain could glimpse the struggle of those dealing with the losses and the grieving . If only others could see what it takes to endure this type of life and to find the strength it takes to rebuild one’s life to integrate living with this horrid disease.

If only those people, who aren’t able to understand could possibly perceive the pain that is hidden beneath the surface, maybe then they would comprehend. Maybe then those suffering would not be ignored, glossed over, cut off and dismissed.

My “If only” had high hopes when I heard that one of my choice news reporters, Anderson Cooper who “goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news,” was doing a story on “Prescription Addiction-Made in the USA” on Anderson Cooper 360. I truly expected more of what it is like to live with chronic pain to be a part of this report.

I was pleased that a chronic pain person, Kay Sanford, was included in the audience and had been able to share part of her story, which included much of what many suffering with chronic pain seek, healthy ways to find relief from living in a body trapped in unrelenting pain. On behalf of all chronic pain sufferers I want to say, thank you, Kay Sanford, for doing what you had to do to get there to share your story! All of us know what it takes to go somewhere!  

I do think she had a lot more to share though! Anderson had asked, “What would you say to patients like this?” And Dr. Drew stated, “I would say, ‘good, fantastic!’  I would say in this situation no one would dream of interfering with her treatment.  But that is a very tiny minority.”

I was left completely speechless! Does he actually believe what he said? Dr. Drew actually stated, “…that is a very tiny minority.”  Is he really not aware of the statistics in the
National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain?

 Image result for NIH images
Among the many other subjects covered, this report states that there are 100 million chronic pain sufferers in America. Of those, 25 million suffer with moderate to severe chronic pain. 
This report also states that 2% abuse their prescribed narcotics! There is no ignoring this incredibly distressing reality. I definitely do not want to come off as ignoring all those suffering addiction, nor those that die every day overdosing!  Not only is addiction a horrifying disease that has many horrible affects on the sufferer, it also has appalling ripple effects on all the families and friends it affects. As far as I am concerned something needs to be done to combat this! There is no way anyone can overlook that at all!

 What about the 98%?  Kay Sanford represented the 98% of us using our prescribed opioids appropriately. And Dr. Drew stated she was part of “a very tiny minority.”

There are 98% of these sufferers that are using their prescribed medications APPROPRIATELY! Medications, that by the way, are needed to try and live somewhat of a functional life…a life shredded to pieces by chronic pain! A life many describe as a "life of hell!" Many cannot comprehend such a life! It can be hard enough for those living with unending, all encompassing, overwhelming moderate to severe chronic pain to even comprehend the magnitude of such a reality!
I don’t know what else Kay Sanford tried to share when she was talked over, but being disregarded (not that it was intended, I don’t believe it was, I really don’t know) is representative as to how many chronic pain sufferers are treated. I do know the subject of the show was about addiction. However, interweaved in this entire story are those of us, the 98% that get demeaned and degraded for just having the disease of chronic pain and having to use opioids.

None of us, 100% of all of us with chronic pain, should be discriminated against at all for having to deal with this horrific disease. Nor should we be humiliated for having to utilize a medication that is prescribed by ones physician to live a life that is as functional as possible. The majority of physicians are not the “drug doctors” many say when discussing opioid use. That is a whole different subject, yes another sordid problem, but again, the majority should not be scandalized for the minority!
Perhaps, since Anderson Cooper has done this report on addiction, maybe someday soon, after thorough and detailed research on what the DEA and the CDC has already done, (with more being put into place) and how it has already negatively affected the lives of many chronic pain sufferers trying to maintain and obtain treatment, we will have someone give a voice to those suffering with chronic pain and the multiple affects on our physical, emotional, financial, relational and social side effects of what we deal with
If only all chronic pain was made visible so others can see the horror of this disease.

If only Anderson Cooper 360 could accurately report on this. Then Dr. Drew would realize that people like Kay Sanford are not, “…a very tiny minority.” 
If only…