And….They’re Off!

   

Our school year has finally begun!  And not a moment too soon, I think.  I had a difficult time doing much of anything this summer for some reason.  Mike had a hard time picking up the slack because he was under extreme stress from work and worry for the health of his parents.  So the girls had a massively high level of cabin fever and were ready to be among their own people, having recess and music, art and STEAM.  Even if it meant homework and getting up early on purpose.  
 

Our geeklet

Rachael is in 3rd grade, which is insane, and I refuse to accept it.  She’s approaching tweendom, with the rolling of the eyes, the annoyed attitude, and the noticing of boys.  After Back to School Night and Open House, I was a bit concerned over whether Rachael would have a good year.  And by a bit concerned, I mean I was kind of panicking and burst into an ugly cry after we got the girls into bed that night.  I had heard that third grade was a big jump from second grade, but after her teacher’s presentation all I could think was, Oh my god!  This is where the magic of learning comes to die.  I was also completely turned off when her teacher announced that there was no excuse for failing to complete the homework for each night.  After all, if she can teach all day and take classes at night to earn her doctorate, then our families are certainly able to ensure that our children complete their homework.  Look, I don’t have a problem with insisting on homework completion; that’s not the issue here.  Her seemingly myopic view of reality, in which she seemed to preemptively take offense at the notion that we all don’t have our shit together, (because she has hers together) just gets my back up.  Believe it or not, it is actually rather hard to squeeze in time for homework when you only have four hours to do a combination of the following: have a snack and recover from your day; spend time in time out for rolling eyes at mom/talking and/or screaming back; any after-school clubs and activities; dance class; dinner; chores; parents can’t help you read a word in your homework because your younger sister is having a complete meltdown; shower; read before bed.  But, I’m trying to let it go, (obviously, because I’m blogging about it) and hope that this is just a case of a not so great first impression.  Rachael seems to really like her. Also, they’re going to be studying rocks and soil this year, which is totally in Rachael’s wheelhouse, especially after just having gone to geology camp a couple of weeks ago.

I also hope that Rachael will work at establishing some more friendships this year.  Rachael is such a shy introvert that, prior to this year, she’s really only put her time and effort into her one best friend.  Unfortunately, her best friend is going to the gifted and talented elementary school this year.  Rachael will still see and play with her, as they just live around the corner.  She complained last year of feeling lonely.  I have explained to her over and over again that it’s fine to be an introvert, but if you want someone to be friends and want to play with you, you have to put in the effort now.  You actually have to speak to people and try to engage with them.  I asked her if she played with anyone at recess yesterday.  She said no, she did her own thing.  “But, I talked with people at lunch and at my table in class.  Happy?”  This morning, I introduced her to the older brother of Zoë’s new kindergarten best friend.  He is also in third grade, and doesn’t know many people because he has been homeschooled prior to this year.  I figured, he needs a new friend, she needs a new friend, win win win.  Right?  Guys, if the scowls little girls give could kill, I wouldn’t be typing this.  

A little anxious, but ready to go!

In the days leading up to the first day of school, I had never seen Zoë so anxious about anything.  Maybe because it was one of the few times when she managed to put her fears into words, rather than simply acting out.  Oddly enough, she was really focused on worry over not being able to operate the computers and their programs correctly.  I think she felt a bit of relief once we met her teachers and saw her classroom.  Fun fact: although she has a teacher who is new to the school, it’s the same classroom Rachael was in for kindergarten and the same assistant teacher!  I’m thankful for the teacher Zoë has.  She’s been teaching for 20 years, holds degrees in both general and special education, and has four children of her own.  So, just like the Femputer on Futurama, she know what do.  There will be an additional special education teacher in the room to assist Zoë.  While Zoë is fine, academically, for kindergarten, she does have an IEP for ADHD and the social behavioral issues which stem from that disorder.  So we feel like she’s in really good hands and feel good about our decision to send her on to kindergarten.

It was exciting on Back to School Night to find out that a friend from Zoë’s preschool class would be in her class this year!  Zoë was also introduced to another little girl by her teacher that night who, lo and behold, we found at our bus stop yesterday!  They were so excited to see each other!  I know it made Zoë’s apprehensiveness, with regard to riding the bus, lower just a bit.  Once the bus came, Zoë knew the drill and dutifully walked toward the bus steps.  I practically had to grab her in order to kiss her goodbye because she was so focused on her mission.  At the bottom of the steps, she paused and looked up at the driver hesitantly.  With some gentle encouragement from the driver, Zoë almost literally climbed those huge bus steps.  Mike and I watched Zoë and her friend as they tried to figure out where they should sit, finally settling on the seat behind the driver.  And, in all the chaos and focusing on Zoë, Mike and I failed as parents and accidentally didn’t say goodbye to Rachael.  I made sure to give her extra hugs and attention when they got home.

Zoë was exhausted when she came home.  She had had a great first day of kindergarten!  She was terribly excited to have gone to the library and checked out her first book, Silverlicious.  (Okay, I like the Pinkalicious series, but can we all agree that Pinkalicious is a giant brat, and it’s probably because her parents never seem to punish her for bad behavior?)  The class took a tour of the school, under the pretense of looking for the mouse from, If You Bring a Mouse to School.  Zoë giggled as she showed me the movements they learned during the movement activities her class did, forming a potato with her arms over her head, and then peeling the potato one arm at a time.  She made a fish tail with her hands on her lower back and wiggled her toush, demonstrating how the students maintain their personal space in line.  As Zoë chattered on and on about the things they did at school, her new best friend from class and the bus stop, and how she wanted to make a pretend school classroom of her own, it was clear that her anxiety about kindergarten had been dropped on the ground and left behind.  After all, she had better things to do.

Mike told them to make a silly face.

It’s a Major Award!

The postage for this will be ridiculous!


Last night, Mike’s company, LMI, held their annual trivia competition, LMIQ.  The teams who take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place are awarded a donation from LMI to the charity of their choice. 
This year, I asked Mike and his team, 404- Team Name Not Found, to play for the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association.  Led by president, Jan Chambers, (who is a lovely woman I’ve been very fortunate to meet) this organization provides information, resources, and community to people who live with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain health problems.  Beyond that, President Chambers confronts pain on a public policy level, in both state and national legislatures. She lobbies for money and attention to be paid toward fibromyalgia and chronic pain research. When the CDC allowed 100 days for public comment on the new opioid medication guidelines, the NFMCPA made sure our voices were heard. They are also working hard to make sure that we aren’t lost in the shuffle and negatively affected as Congress attempts to fix the heroin epidemic.  NFMCPA is petitioning the White House to have the Department of Health & Human Services implement a National Pain Strategy. And now that I’m checking on it, we only have 9 days left to get 80,000 signatures for the White House to respond to the petition. GET ON IT, PEOPLE!  Ahem. I mean, please sign it, won’t you?  

So, I’m quite pleased to announce that Mike’s team was able to secure 3rd place and win $1,000 for the NFMCPA!  Many thanks to LMI for their generosity!  

Thanks to Mike for storing random Latin language and history in his brain so that he was able to pull “Punic Wars” out of thin air!  Thanks to Holly for owning a clowder of cats!

Checking In

I realized my last post was a month ago, so I thought I had better check in so I didn’t lose your interest to a blog with a post this month about knitting your own clothes from dryer lint. (I know I can’t compete with blogs like Gwyneth Paltow’s Goop and learning to get in touch with your inner baby spirit guide by mixing your tears with organic, single-sourced kamboucha. That shit’s just on another level of realness.) 

Since I last posted, I’ve had what feels like a ton of meetings with special education for our county to get an IEP, (individualized education plan) for Zoë so she can begin kindergarten in the fall. First, we had the meeting to determine if she’s eligible to be evaluated if she’s eligible for services. Then they evaluated her to determine if she’s eligible to be evaluated. She was eligible, so they evaluated her. Then we had the meeting to go over their findings and under which criteria they would try to make a case for her to be eligible for services. Then we had the meeting saying, Congratulations! You’re eligible for services! And next week, we’ll have a meeting to make Zoë’s IEP and which services to include in it. Phew! I’m out of breath just typing that. In addition, we had Zoë tested privately. The results came back with ADHD, combined inattentive and hyperactive type, (to which we and anyone who knows Zoë said, Duh!) ODD- oppositional defiant disorder, which we weren’t totally surprised by, and the need to rule in/out an additional mood disorder. So that’s a lot to take in. It’s one thing to know it for yourself, but another to have it confirmed. And I swear to god, the first person to suggest that I just try and fix it by modifying her diet will be cunt punted into a locked room with Zoë for a week. 

I made myself pretty. Then I made my bedroom walls pretty. For the third time. This week.


I finally bit the bullet and had a sleep study done so they can diagnose the sleep apnea I don’t have. 

It’s pretty amazing that I slept wonderfully well with all this equipment on. And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell ya. 

We also had our week at the beach. For some reason, it was kill Julie week. The sunscreen we brought didn’t work two days in a row on my shoulders, so I ended up with a super sexy second degree burn. 

I was also assaulted by our umbrella on the last day we sat down on the beach. It was incredibly windy and Mike was having a difficult time getting the umbrella to remain anchored. I didn’t even see it coming; I was futzing around with the camera when, all of a sudden, SMACK! Right in the forehead with the heavy wooden stake. Fortunately, a few guys rescued the umbrella while others checked on me and gave me ice for my head. 

I’ll end the post with the obligatory spamming of pictures of my children at the beach. The thing that had Mike and me in giggle fits, and what I’ll always remember about this trip, was the girls pretending to be ninjas, taking on the ocean. Little sister, always wanting to do what big sister does, followed Rachael’s lead. They twirled, kicked, jumped, and chopped with sisterly synchronicity. I’m pretty sure my favorite move was the funky chicken. 

My Friend is Fighting for Her Life


My friend, Megan, is fighting against MS for her life.  She has an opportunity to receive HSCT, but because the treatment is still in the trial stage in the US, she has to pay for the entire treatment out of pocket. A whopping $70,000 for treatment and aftercare for herself and her family is what she needs to raise by November. Will you please help her fight and live?

Meg’s HSCT Journey

HelpHopeLive organization helping Megan raise money

Enough Isn’t Enough


The thing that makes me feel sad, frustrated, helpless, and full of rage whenever I see memes or statuses that say “enough” is that that I know nothing will change after this mass shooting.  Even though so many are dead and wounded after the mass shooting in Orlando, FL, it still won’t be enough to make Congress, the NRA, and a large portion of gun rights advocates to agree to common sense gun control laws. Quite the contrary, the groups mentioned will double down and cling to their guns with sweaty palms and declare the tropes which lead us back to this place time and again.  Much like someone with narcissistic personality disorder, every one and everything else is the source of the problem. 

It is clear that the lives of others don’t matter. As I said before, if you put your right to have guns before the lives of others, you have some fucked up priorities. Unless something like this actually affects the people in power personally, nothing will change. Their hashtag should be #mylifematters  I plan on writing to my representatives in Congress, and I urge you all do to the same, even though I don’t expect it to make a difference.  At least we can say we tried.  It’s time to stop being complacent. It’s time to stop being “reasonable”.  It’s time to stop being polite. 

I Feel the Heartburn

2016 has had the most bizarre and fucked up election cycle I’ve ever seen.  My fellow Americans and I have had an unusual amount of anxiety over this election, particularly over Donald Trump, to the point where therapists have seen an uptick in their appointments, specifically because of election-induced stress. I didn’t plan on voting Republican this year, but I at least like the other candidate to be a competent choice and not of complete moral turpitude.  So I’ve gone through the stages of grief as I’ve watched the Republican party self-immolate this primary season: Denial; Schadenfreude; Rage laughing; Anxiety; Stress wining; Depression; finally Acceptance.  So now a circus peanut with candy floss hair is the de facto Reoublican nominee, and I’m scared shitless.

 

Image via NPR

 
Picking my candidate
When I first heard the things Bernie Sanders had to say, it felt like such a relief!  Thank goodness, someone gets it!  He preached the gospel of family leave and equal pay for women.  He drove home the reality of our country’s economic inequality.  He wouldn’t let us forget how far behind other similarly developed countries we are on education and healthcare.  Unfortunately, the more I listened to him talk, the more I realized he wasn’t my guy.  His message was inspirational, but his policy initiatives weren’t exactly what I wanted and they didn’t seem very plausible, especially in the current political climate.  Even if I wanted a single payer healthcare system run by the government, (which I don’t. They can’t even run the VA well.  Why would I want them to administer my healthcare?) how would Sanders even get that passed in Congress?  Let’s even assume that the Dems take back the House and the Senate in 2016.  There are likely to be plenty of Blue Dog Democrats who wouldn’t fall in line on this.  It was hard enough getting Obamacare.  America’s not ready and willing to slog through another complete healthcare overhaul.  

I watched almost all of the primary debates, on both sides.  As I watched more of the Democratic debates, I kept yelling at the tv, “Super!  How do you plan on doing that?  What’s your plan B if you can’t close all the tax loopholes for the 1%?”  The two biggest red flags for me were as follows:

1) During the CNN debate, when asked about specifics in foreign policy, Sanders looked like a deer caught in headlights. It was aggravating to watch as Anderson Cooper asked straightforward questions, Sanders couldn’t answer them, and then pivoted back to the only foreign policy message he had- Hillary voted for Iraq.  War is bad.  

2) The interview Sanders had with the New York Daily News Editorial Board revealed that he didn’t actually know the legal process by which he could dismantle the big banks, something I feel like you should probably know if you’re going to promise to do that.

These two instances confirmed for me what I had wondered about his campaign promises and whether he could actually make good on them.  To me, they revealed that, no, he doesn’t actually know.  He has no fucking idea.  

I’m with Her

 

Image via the Clinton campaign

 
Hillary Clinton isn’t a perfect human being.  I can even understand why people don’t like her.  She isn’t always consistent.  Sometimes she does bend the truth or lie, depending on her audience.  (Yes, I’ve seen the Anonymous video of her lying for 12 minutes.  I’ll accept it when it’s objective and not pure anti-Hillary garbage.)  Republicans do always seem to be investigating her, even though they can never seem to turn up anything legitimate with which to charge her.  And she doesn’t necessarily give people the warm fuzzy, hopey changey, glowy feeling that we all got in 2008.  Whether anyone realizes it or not, I’m sure a good deal of the animosity toward her stems from the Republican’s hatred of the Clintons in the 90s.  As much as people hated Bill for being unable to keep his cigars in their boxes, they couldn’t stand a First Lady who wouldn’t just sit down, shut up, and review the seating chart for the State Dinner for the British Prime Minister, like a good little First Lady should.  I’ve also heard plenty of people holding Hillary accountable for Bill’s personal and political mistakes.  Let’s not fault her for the things her husband did, nor, without investigation, the things he asked her to lobby for on behalf of the administration.  And for fuck sake, stop calling her evil.  She’s not evil.  Get your head out of your ass.  

Hillary has the experience in government and the competence to be President.  Even people who don’t like her will admit that.  I believe her policies and how she plans to implement them are more in line with what America can handle.  After all, she’ll be President of all Americans, not just the ones on the far right or left.  Hillary’s agenda is in line with my priorities: economic equality and opportunity; equality for women in pay, healthcare, and life in general; criminal justice reform; gun control; immigration; education; foreign policy/diplomacy first, but not afraid to use our military.  

Speak
I’ve generally kept my mouth shut up until now because most of my friends feel the Bern.  And that’s fine.  I don’t agree with everything, but I respect that choice.  I would occasionally ask questions or push back if I genuinely didn’t understand something someone said or posted, otherwise I felt it was best to stick to common ground and trash Drumpf.  But now that Trump is the Republican nominee, I can’t keep it in anymore.  I don’t understand the Bernie people who won’t vote for Hillary in the general election, just to keep Trump out of office.  If Bernie somehow ends up with the nomination, fair and square, I’d vote for him in the general.  In any other election, I could understand and respect the “voting my conscience” principle.  But not this time.  Trump isn’t just some jackass who would make things suck and laughable for awhile.  Trump would put our economy in danger, ($10 says markets around the world plummet the day he’s elected.)  He would put our safety and the safety of our allies at risk.  His election would tell the world that it’s just fine to denigrate women, other religions, other races, the disabled, and anyone else who gets in the way.  He has already fanned the flames of race wars and encouraged violence as a way to solve differences.  For fuck sake, he’s hired Paul Manfort as one of his key strategists.  Paul Manafort is the guy who genocidal dictators have hired to help improve their image.  Trump, who is supposedly so wonderful because he’s been self-financing, (which isn’t technically true) has hired Steven Mnuchin as his National Campaign Finance Chair.  You may better know this “gentleman” as one of the investors who bought Indymac Bank when it collapsed, paid virtually nothing for it, got the federal government to continue shouldering the responsibility for the bank’s losses, and then made billions in the following years from the restructured bank.  Oh, and did I mention that they still foreclosed on thousands of people’s homes?  Jesse Benton, the man who was running the Trump super PAC, Great America, was convicted yesterday on several counts of fraud from when he worked on the Ron Paul campaign in 2012.  Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, thinks it’s totally cool to physically assault female reporters.  So….these are the sort of people Trump surrounds himself with.  How does that not scare the shit out of you?   Not to mention all the insane, let’s call them policy proposals, for lack of a better term.  I’ve heard people say, “He doesn’t mean what he says.  When he says build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, he really means he just wants to implement some mild tax cuts and tweak portions of our trade agreement.”  Denial!  Denial with a massive amount of projection of their own policy ideas.  I guess it’s okay, though.  Denial is only the first stage.  I’d be happy to recommend some wines once you get to the stress wining stage.

  

Pain Mismanagement

Anyone who has listened to the news lately has heard there is a heroin epidemic, which has lead to many deaths. Heroin is a drug in the opioid family. As a result, there has been a massive crackdown on opioid prescription medication, especially for those of us who live with chronic pain. It was difficult to have chronic pain managed correctly before the crackdown, generally because many doctors don’t have proper training in managing chronic pain, including pain management doctors. Diseases like fibromyalgia were viewed with skepticism by the medical community, leading to under or non-medication of the pain.  Anyone who advocated for themselves and asked for proper pain management was treated like a drug seeker. And now, because lawmakers are panicking over heroin overdoses, proper pain management will become even more difficult to achieve, especially if states follow through with laws curtailing legal prescription opioid use.

A few statistics
The CDC states that there were over 8,200 heroin-related deaths in 2013.  Compare that with an estimated 100 million Americans who live with chronic pain, 10 millions of those with fibromyalgia alone.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume that every one of those heroin-related deaths came about because of an opioid pill addiction that let to heroin use.  That would mean that lawmakers would severely limit access to prescription opioids for chronic pain patients because 0.0082% formed an addiction and died.  Let’s compare that with an estimated 33,636 firearm-related deaths in 2014, 88,000 alcohol-related deaths each year from 2006-2010, (1 in 10 deaths each year) and more than 480,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.  Measuring for a period from 2005 – 2009, 163,700 cancer deaths were attributable to cigarette smoking.  These Merchants of Death continually get a free pass, even though they are responsible, directly or indirectly, for well over a half a million deaths each year.  Meanwhile, the chronic pain community is made to worry whether or not they will be able to walk this month because a doctor and/or a lawmaker decided that 2-3 Tramadol for the month was more than enough.

David versus Goliath

Advocacy
It doesn’t require too much critical thinking to understand why the Merchants of Death are able to peddle their wares without much governmental interference, while advocacy groups like the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association barely get any notice.  It all comes down to money and power.  A negative rating for a congressman from the NFMCPA means nothing.  Anything less than an A rating from the NRA, however, is political suicide for a Republican.  While President Jan Chambers of the NFMCPA lobbies tirelessly for the rights and needs of the chronic pain community, advocacy lies primarily with us, the patients.

Government
We are a nation of laws and beauracracy.  So what on earth are we supposed to do when lawmakers and governmental agencies institute policies designed to curb drug abuse, but lead to nothing but harm for those in the chronic pain community?  The DEA, CDC, and FDA are all trying to attack the problem of drug abuse by limiting the quantity of pills prescribed and increasing the frequency of office visits in order to obtain a new paper prescription.  No longer are doctors allowed to call in refills for drugs like Tramadol and hydrocodone.  For people like me, this is a minor annoyance.  But for people who live far from their doctor, rely on others for transportation or have no transportation, or cannot afford to pay the copay or co-insurance for an appointment just to get a prescription, this is a hardship.  The NFMCPA conducted a survey, (one in which I took part) to assess the impact of the new opioid prescribing regulations.  It only took 100 days before unintended consequences took hold for law-abiding chronic pain patients.

“People also cited higher expenses from more frequent doctor’s visits, changes to other prescription medications, higher medication co-pays, greater transportation expenses for extra doctor visit and lost work revenue related to unrelenting pain.”

And these aren’t even the worst problems caused by the new regulations.

“Shockingly, 27% (n=931) reported suicidal thoughts due to being denied their hydrocodone prescriptions.”

You see, if regulators had taken a half a second to pull themselves out of opioid hysteria, (it kind of reminds me of when there was panic in the 90s over marijuana) and think, they would have realized that less access to medications that allow chronic pain patients to function would lead to an increase in suicide and illegal drug-seeking.  And it’s not because we’re addicted.  It’s because, when you hurt because you simply exist, you’re going to become depressed.  It’s likely the reason depression is often comorbid with chronic pain.  When you can’t stay in bed because it hurts, but you can’t get out of bed to go to the bathroom because touching your feet to the floor hurts more; when you can’t play with your children and are constantly having to tell them no because it hurts too much to walk down the street to the playground and sit on horrible park benches; when you’re unable to stand and cook dinner for yourself and your family; when your house is so dirty and cluttered because it hurts too much to vacuum or pick things up off the floor; when you can’t spend time with friends the way you used to because it causes too much pain and fatigue to leave the house; when having stress in your life means that your body will respond with increased pain….that’s pretty goddamn depressing!  And now, on top of that, you’re going to deprive us of the medication that allows us the ability to do the few things we can do?  I will admit, even now, my thoughts have turned to suicide.  The idea of spending the next 40-50 years in debilitating pain, which is likely to get worse as I age, is pretty overwhelming. I don’t want to think about how I’ll feel if I can’t have my pain managed properly.

State and federal lawmakers have also joined the heroin abuse hysteria.  Some, like Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, have ignorant beliefs like, “You can’t convince me that we’ve got 250 million Americans in chronic pain.”   Once again, we see another instance of lawmakers taking medical decisions out of the hands of the doctors and patients, creating laws and policies from a myopic point of view.  I believe Dr. Steven Stack, President of the American Medical Association, explained it best when he said, “The complexity of the problem makes it difficult to create a successful one-size-fits-all approach.”

Fortunately, President Obama, Senator Mitch McConnell, and some state lawmakers and governors  are on our side when it comes to not limiting doctors and patients in their opioid prescriptions.  Not only did President Obama acknowledge the reality of our pain, he understood that simply taking away an avenue to pain relief is unrealistic.

“If we go to doctors right now and say ‘Don’t overprescribe’ without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we’re not going to solve the problem, because the pain is real…”

Alternatives
The American healthcare system has set us up to fail.  Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies as bedfellows have created a corrupt system where medication is the only available option for treating chronic pain.  Functional medicine doctors, who employ an integrative approach of traditional and complementary medicine, often don’t accept insurance.  Physical therapy is often touted as a treatment option.  If it helps, insurance may not cover sessions or ration the number of sessions you’re allowed.  Aqua therapy is a wonderful method for building strength and getting the exercise that doctors are always badgering you to get.  I was lucky that my sessions were a part of physical therapy and were covered by insurance.  If you’re not that fortunate, good luck finding a class that’s at a reasonable time, location, and price…or at all.  Chiropractic care, if covered, isn’t always in network. Unless you have a Cadillac insurance plan, acupuncture, (which is very beneficial to chronic pain sufferers) isn’t covered. When I went to sessions, we were spending $320 per month.   The list goes on.  For many of us, our hands are tied.  Unless you’re well-to-do, your treatment options are severely limited to what insurance will pay for.  And what insurance will cover is medication.
Millions in our country are suffering silently because of chronic pain.  If state and local government has its way, they will suffer even more.  To interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, which determines the best treatment options for the patient, will create unintended consequences, many like the ones they’re trying to curtail now.  Desperate patients may turn to the black market, illegal drugs like heroin, or make the most desperate and hopeless decision of taking their lives so that the pain will stop.  Rather than pour as much focus, energy, and money into this so-called crisis, why not allocate it to research to understand and cure diseases like fibromyalgia.  I would give up my opioids and other medicinal cocktails in a heartbeat if it meant there was a cure for my pain.  Given the conversations I’ve had with dozens of other chronic pain patients, they’d be willing to do the same.  In fact, no one I have ever spoken with, (including myself) has ever been pleased to add more pills to their daily regimen.  Rather than treating us as criminals or potential criminals, lawmakers need to listen and believe us when we say our pain is real.  And until we find a cure for the pain that ravages our bodies, we need to be allowed access to what works.