Guam: A high concentration of veterans, but rock-bottom VA funding

Guam endures a disturbingly high rate of suicide among its youth and adult population; close to 60% of all suicide deaths on Guam occur among those 30 years and younger. Suicide is the 5th leading cause of death on Guam with approximately one suicide death every two weeks…

U.S. Naval Hospital Guam > Incoming Personnel > Medical Conditions

The following medical conditions, although not all inclusive, generally can NOT be adequately cared for on Guam due to limited resources…

Active substance abuse problems
Bipolar Disorder
Prior suicide attempts or psychiatric hospitalizations
Somatoform Disorders
Factitious Disorders…

The following medical conditions that will result in automatic denial for overseas screening assignment:

All Chronic musculoskeletal pain management patient which require interventional pain sub-subspecialty…

Voters in Guam approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that would legalize marijuana for “debilitating medical conditions” such as epilepsy, HIV, cancer and glaucoma. The bill, which passed by more than 56 percent, makes Guam the first U.S. territory to legalize medical pot…

Who the fuck am I?

Perhaps this is a warning for other WordPress bloggers… If you challenge me, I’m very likely to respond…

When I became ill I was not in a relationship. Now I can’t see how it will ever be possible to start a relationship.  I’m in pain every minute of every day…

Besides, I’m taking so much pain medication I don’t know if I could think clearly long enough to get to know someone sufficiently to decide if I would want to be in a relationship with them…

Under comments:

mysmallsurrenders says:

This post isn’t about feeling hopeless, feeling broken, or wanting someone to take care of me.

If I wasn’t clear it’s about having my senses and body so numbed from being in constant pain and taking so much pain medication that I feel nothing I can call desire. I have intimate friendships. I’m talking about a different kind of human interaction that would require me to feel like I want to be physically close to someone else. I can’t even go for a massage let alone think of someone touching me intimately.

And I have no idea how others suffering from pain may feel. I can only talk about me, and what I’m living with, and how I feel.

painkills2 says: 

I’m sorry if you took offense at my comment. Your post sounded like you were saying that you’re broken — why else would you need all that pain medication? But, if the pain medication has had these kinds of effects, maybe you should lower the dosage.

At my pain levels, I don’t like to be touched either. I gave up relationships and sex about 20 years ago because of the pain. So, I guess it depends on what is more important to you — managing your pain or having an intimate relationship. Although, one can have and do both, if you’re lucky and try hard enough. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

And maybe if you wondered what others suffering from pain feel about issues like this, you might get a little more insight into different ways of managing your own pain.

mysmallsurrenders says:

I didn’t take offense. Although, I think you may not understand what I wrote in my post. I never used the word “broken” to describe myself or my situation. Not only that, why do you feel like you’re in a position to comment about my pain medications? You don’t know the combination of what I’m taking or why. There are days when I’m in so much pain I can barely stand up straight even with the strict schedule of meds I’m on. Furthermore, without meds I wouldn’t be able to live independently as limited as my life has become.

Why do I feel like I’m in a position to comment about your pain medications?  Well, let’s count the ways, shall we:

1. I was responding to what you wrote.  If you don’t want comments, perhaps you should turn them off.  Or if you don’t like my comments, just don’t approve them for publication.

2. I’ve been an intractable pain patient for almost 30 years.  In other words, I’ve been there, done that.  I was on more prescription medications than you will ever be on, mysmallsurrenders. And yet, I never felt a lack of desire — the will was always there, it was just the way that, well, got in the way.  And let’s just take a minute to think of how hard it was for me to admit that it’s been 20 years since I’ve had sex… I wonder, mysmallsurrenders, how long has it been since you’ve had sex?

You also describe being in constant pain and not being able to “think clearly” because of your medications — and then you say you’re not broken?  You’re in so much pain that you sometimes can’t stand up straight, and you don’t think you’re broken?  Is it the word “broken” that you have a problem with?

I was not suggesting that you stop taking your medications.  But with the side effects you are describing and experiencing, I was only suggesting that a reduction might help.  Or maybe even switching to a different medication.

3. As I said, I’ve been there and done that.  I am your future, mysmallsurrenders.  You are my past.  Learn from me or not, it’s your choice.

4. I took a bucket full of prescription medications every day for about 10 years.  After a torturous and forced detox, I am now free of pain pills, muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety medications, and prescription sleep aids.  Whether you want to believe it or not, mysmallsurrenders, this is what your future looks like too.  There are very few chronic pain patients who are allowed to take these drugs for decades.  And as long as you take these drugs, you will be wondering when your doctors and pharmacist will cut off the supply.  You have to constantly not only prove your pain levels, but be assessed for drug addiction every time you see your doctors.  And if your drug test results ever show anything suspicious, you’re out on the street.  (It goes without saying that drug tests are not error-proof.)

5. It took a long time of suffering from constant pain for me to finally try opioid therapy.  As far as I was concerned, there was nothing else to try.  It was my last option, especially living in Texas, where there is no medical cannabis program.  And while I was taking all those drugs, you would not have been able to convince me there was another way.  I was forced into finding another way and I was lucky to be able to move to another state.  So, I know that nothing I say will make a difference to you, mysmallsurrenders, at least not at this time.  You’re not ready to hear what I have to say.  Which is why I’m saying it here, on my blog, and not responding on yours.

I’m sorry if some pain patients don’t like what I have to say.  I mean, who the fuck am I?  I’m an avatar on the internet.  A stranger.

And even though I’ve walked dozens of paths as an intractable pain survivor, I expect no one to follow the roads that I’ve traveled.  Every pain patient has to walk their own path.  But, a warning:  Don’t get stuck in the day-to-day battles and forego looking into the future — whatever future you want and whatever future you’re likely to get.  Because you’ll be freaking surprised when your future arrives and you weren’t prepared.  Good luck out there.

About Daniel Somers

At around 9pm on June 10, 2013, the Army veteran walked a few blocks from the Phoenix townhouse he shared with wife, Angel, and put a bullet in his head…

He left behind a suicide letter, devastating in its eloquence. He said that the government had ‘turned around and abandoned’ him and described physical and mental suffering so great that suicide was, ‘a mercy killing.’

According to his father, when Daniel finally found a psychiatrist with whom he felt he could work, the man retired leaving Daniel in limbo once more, his psychiatric care abruptly halted…

He suffered irritable bowel syndrome so severe that, he wrote, ‘it literally controlled my schedule.’  He had ‘excruciating headaches,’ chronic fatigue that meant, ‘just holding my head upright requires more effort than I can bear.’  And he described fibromyalgia so ‘grinding’ that at times he could barely move. Fighting to keep his own emotions in check Howard said, ‘We learned that he and Angel air-hugged because it was so painful for him to be touched…

From Daniel’s suicide letter:

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture…

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured ‘overprescribing epidemic’, which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true.

Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak…

Do you still care about your credit rating?

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that TransUnion, Equifax and Experian promised to be, as the Journal put it, “more proactive in resolving disputes over information contained in credit reports — a process federal watchdogs and consumer advocates have long decried as being stacked against individuals.”

What a bunch of hogwash.  These credit reporting agencies get away with not only selling our information to the highest bidder, they also get away with selling information that’s incorrect. So, they’ve agreed to be more proactive, so what?  No fines, no penalties, no nothing.  It’s a system that can keep you from getting a job, an apartment, a car, and it’s crooked.  “Stacked against individuals,” indeed.

Of the three agencies, Experian is arguably the most famous (or infamous) and has been ever since last year, when news broke that Experian had inadvertently sold Americans’ confidential financial information to Vietnamese identity thieves…

Washington Town Becomes First in U.S. to Open Marijuana Shop

Mayor Don Stevens backed the store and was met with applause when he became the first to buy marijuana there on Saturday.

The publicly run store isn’t subject to federal income taxes and Washington is an income tax-free state, allowing the store to charge less for marijuana, Hasson said…

When Will They Listen?

In my experience, Alex never wanted to make friends near home or at school. He told me later in his life that he didn’t want anyone to be sad or hurt if he died…

Very sad news. Many in our community have heard the news that Christina Tournant, a 17-year-old MIT student who had POTS for the past two years, committed suicide last week. Her health had recently taken a turn for the worse and she had to return home from college. It can be extremely difficult living with a debilitating chronic illness, especially when the plans you had for your life don’t work out as you hoped they would. Our hearts go out to Christina’s friends and family.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents in the US and chronic illness is a risk factor for suicide. Whatever age you are, if you or a loved one are depressed or having suicidal thoughts, please seek help as soon as possible. Reach out to family, friends, online support groups, medical and mental health professionals, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255). The JED Foundation provides emotional health and suicide prevention support for college students and parents. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides support, headlines and educational information on depression and other mental health issues.

3/7/2015, Tragic Death: Christina Tournant, 2014 Valedictorian at Osceola High School

Tournant reportedly jumped off the roof of the parking garage on airport property…

Birds Have Berries; Humans Have Sugar

After a successful sleeping session, I have awoken with more pain and stiffness than usual. Sure, it’s nice to feel somewhat rested, but… I think it’s time for some cloud and sugar therapy. While I interpret the clouds in the blue skies of New Mexico, I have decided to make chocolate gingerbread cake with caramel icing.  And I just thought I’d make a public note of my intentions, in case I end up in a sugar coma while trying to distract myself from pain. 😀

(Photo taken yesterday afternoon.)