Just wanted to say thanks to Mazinbriz for liking my photo, “Touching the Moon.”  It’s one of my favorites.

How should I feel that only one person liked one of my favorite photos?  I decided it shouldn’t change the way I feel about that photo.  I posted it on WordPress so I could go back and look at it whenever I want.  Excuse me for being redundant, but I really love that photo.

However, I shouldn’t let it hurt my feelings that only one other person liked it too.  I mean, we all have different tastes in art (and music), right?

The Risk and Reward Theory for Pain Patients

When we were young, risk was mostly about punishment. Experimenting and stretching the boundaries is what being young is all about, usually with little thought to the consequences.

As a pain patient, risk is still about punishment. But as adults, we usually know what the risks are for our behavior. And, we get to choose our rewards. As someone who suffers from constant pain, I frequently have to use rewards to force myself to accomplish tasks that make my pain worse — like moving.

When I was in the Medical Cannabis Program, with access to legal medicine, I used that medicine as a reward. I would say to myself, if you go outside, walk around for awhile and take some pictures, when you get back, you can medicate yourself. When you get back, you can have a little bit of pain relief.

The risk is that the increased physical activity will create a pain storm, making my head and ears pound and throb, leaving me wondering if my head is going to implode or explode (I’m never sure which).

But the theory worked. It took months and months, but I was finally able to spend more time moving than I have in, like, forever. Walks that involved distracting myself from the pain by taking pictures. And after I got home and uploaded (both the pictures and my medicine), distracting myself by looking at pictures of the multi-colored Sandia Mountains, cottonwoods, and the gorgeous New Mexican sky. A mixture of awe therapy and reward therapy.

But then my car broke down, requiring hundreds of dollars of repairs.  And because I’m unlucky, it happened during the time that I needed to pay for the renewal into the program. All that work, not wasted, but stymied, just the same.

When the sun rose this morning over another day of little to no sleep, I took my “reward” theory out of my tool box. I said (to myself), if you will try again to sleep for awhile, the next time you open your eyes, you can have some of that melt-in-your-mouth brown sugar candy you made yesterday (I mean, earlier today). And then when I inevitably woke up hours later, I thoroughly enjoyed my nutless praline, and was able to go back to sleep. That theory worked one more time, and I slept for a little longer. Since I rarely feel well-rested, I am still claiming this day’s hours of sleep as a success.

I haven’t yet come up with a reward that is incentive enough to scrub my toilet. Sure, I still do it, but not as often as I should. 🙂

The Risk and Reward Theory for Pain Patients, by me.

Learn something new every day

11/16/2014, Killing pain: How safe are opioids?

Under comments:

painkills2 • 3 months ago
“The increase in prescription opioid-related deaths has continued.”

The key word here is “related,” as this “epidemic” has to do with opiates being taken along with drugs like Lyrica, Valium, Xanax, and Soma, and patients drinking alcohol with these drug combinations. Seems to me this has to do with the epidemic of under-treated pain and patients self-medicating.

And if we were to compare the 17,000 deaths allegedly related to opioids to the number of deaths every year from medical mistakes — that number is about 200,000 to 400,000. Maybe the health care industry should tackle that epidemic first.

Some doctors and the CDC have decided that only patients with cancer deserve pain relief — and yet, isn’t cancer also a chronic condition? So even if you have cancer, you will only have access to pain medications that work for a short period of time? Darn, all this time I’ve been praying to get cancer, so I could get access to pain medication without all the shame that comes with it.

“The anonymous patient, concerned about developing an opioid dependency, weaned themselves off the OxyContin by switching to over-the-counter painkillers, which effectively controlled their pain.”

Effectively controlled their pain? Why does this patient feel the need to be anonymous after accomplishing such a feat? I think this story is bogus.

“The evidence that they help chronic pain is modest and the evidence they help improve function is weak,” Franklin said. “But the evidence for harm is very, very strong.”

That’s not true (see study posted below), that’s just an opinion. An opinion from someone who doesn’t suffer from chronic pain.

It’s just shameful the way chronic pain patients are being treated — a patient population, by the way, that has been shown to suffer from addiction from opioid therapy at only between 1% and 5% (per the NIDA and other experts). And since patients on long-term opioid therapy don’t obtain a psychoactive effect from opiates, where is all this abuse potential?

Could pain patients be “addicted” to pain relief? Hydrocodone is one of the best pain killers around — which is why dentists use it so often. Do you think people would go to the dentist without some kind of treatment for the pain? My god, have you ever had a root canal?

As a 25-year intractable pain patient, I am disgusted with the medical industry… Shame on you. Shame on all of you.

(Free yourself from doctors — medical cannabis works.)

ShortMemories2 painkills2 • 8 hours ago
Very good comment. Gary Franklin operates off of bogus self-selected data and should know better but because he doesn’t (beware of ‘data’ ascribed to Neurologists or Psychiatrists) he’s either ignorant or terminally biased. I’d advise anyone who wants to see bogus data to visit the CDC website on supposed ‘Prescription Drug Overdose in the United States: Fact Sheet’ to confirm similar nonsense and statistics compiled by a 5th grader (maybe). It’d be sad if it wasn’t the CDC who should know better. They include all drug overdose deaths, subtract half due to prescription drugs (isn’t that what the title said?), and then say around 70% of that half are opioid related. Hmmm. So the data isn’t really only about prescription drugs at all then, yet all inferences made refer to the inflated number.

Then add the often made comparison of opioid deaths exceeding auto fatalities with the fact that auto accident rates have been declining steadily for the last 50 years due to safer cars, safer roads, etc. from 5.18 deaths/100,000 miles driven to the current 1.14 deaths/100,000 miles driven with the latter being the comparison statistic of course. Conveniently, none of this is mentioned.

I didn’t know that…  I hate it when statistics are quoted this way, it’s so confusing — which is why numbers like that are used so frequently whenever drug abuse and poisoning statistics are quoted.  Some kind of ratio for every 100,000 people.  When related comparisons aren’t shown side by side, I get confused.

I find it ever interesting that for all the massive scripts for opioids there’s no mention of what must be extremely high efficacy given the relatively low rates of complications which would ordinarily be considered good for such a high prevalence problem. Data cherry picking isn’t a good way to do analyses such as these.

Ah, finally, someone who agrees with me 😀

Another awesome woman

The lessons learned from the Albuquerque experience is that the majority of New Mexicans of all political and religious persuasions don’t want government interfering in the doctor patient relationship…

To the Department of Health:  Except when it comes to the Medical Cannabis Program?  Opioid therapy for chronic pain patients?  The drug war?

I don’t enjoy pointing out hypocrisy, but someone’s got to do it.

It’s Banana Day

While Julia got to enjoy eating her banana, this is all I got for Banana Day…  Yesterday morning, when I ventured outside to takes pictures of the rain and snow clouds, I found this banana and beer can in my front yard.  I’d like to think that an alien from outer space is trying to communicate with me, but I know it’s just one (or more) of my neighbors, being lazy and tacky.

I read in the local news yesterday that some politician wants to ban the small bottles of alcohol that are in such high demand here in New Mexico.  (See my photo at:

I guess next, they’ll want to ban bananas and beer cans…  It’s so frustrating to watch politicians make rules and laws that just don’t make any sense.