If only pain patients were as passionate about their rights as gun owners

When I look at comment sections under articles about chronic pain, there is nowhere near the response rate as there is under articles about guns.  If there was, perhaps we wouldn’t be losing the war against pain patients.


Fibromyalgia Blood Test Gets Insurance Coverage


The founder of a bioresearch company that offers a controversial blood test for fibromyalgia says the test is now covered by Medicare and some private insurers. But questions remain about the viability of the test.

“We are a Medicare approved laboratory. It covers 100% of the test. We are getting private insurance companies that are reimbursing for the test. And we have gotten most Blue Cross Blue Shield agencies to pay for the test.”

EpicGenetics introduced the FM/a test in 2013, calling it the first definitive blood test for fibromyalgia, a poorly understood disorder that is characterized by deep tissue pain, fatigue, depression and insomnia. The test costs $775 and results are usually available in about a week…

The test looks for protein molecules in the blood called chemokines and cytokines, which are produced by white blood cells. Fibromyalgia patients have fewer chemokines and cytokines in their blood than healthy people, according to Gillis, and have weaker immune systems as a result. But critics have contended that the same immune system biomarkers can be found in people with other illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, making the FM/a test meaningless…

Quintner calls fibromyalgia a “symptom cluster” and says lower levels of chemokines and cytokines could be caused by a number of different disorders that trigger an immune system response.  “Such conditions might also include major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Quintner wrote in an email to Pain News Network…

Gillis says Wolfe’s views about fibromyalgia may have been influenced by funding he received from Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company that makes Lyrica – an anti-seizure drug that was re-purposed by Pfizer to treat fibromyalgia. Lyrica is Pfizer’s top selling drug with annual worldwide sales of over $5 billion.

According to ProPublica, Wolfe received $200,000 in funding from Pfizer from 2010 to 2013 for research and consulting.

“Our test says that fibromyalgia is an immunologic disorder,” said Gillis. “Why would you take an anti-seizure medicine for an immunologic disorder? Lyrica’s primary indication is for anti-seizure therapy.” …

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016


WASHINGTON — Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico has requested rate increases averaging 51 percent for its 33,000 members. The proposal elicited tart online comments from consumers.

“This rate increase is ridiculous,” one subscriber wrote on the website of the New Mexico insurance superintendent…

You would never see a rate hike like this in Medicare, and it covers more sick and disabled people than any other private insurer.

Thinking of you, Jason Hoskins


He was an amazing drummer. Even then. A lot of people were flashier, a lot of people hit harder (which for some reason earns drummers a lot of fans), but Jason had this loose style that made everything seem effortless. He was pretty solid, and he was great at playing for the music. He was funny, and goofy, and I don’t think he would hurt a fly…

Please support Jason’s funeral fund here if you possibly can.


Let’s talk about victimhood

Mr. Cushman’s reply to this post:


Opinionated Man
Submitted on 2015/07/02 at 6:06 pm
I do live with chronic pain. You missed the mark again. Thanks again for linking to my blog. Have a great life as you swim in your victimhood. 🙂

Since I hadn’t read any posts by Mr. Cushman mentioning chronic pain, and a Google search for his blog and “chronic pain” brings up very little, yes, it looks like I “missed the mark.”  However, Mr. Cushman recently brought his medical condition into the light:


Good for him.  But today we’re not discussing Opinionated Man.  Today, we’re going to talk about victimhood.

Mr. Cushman obviously uses this term as a put down, although I don’t see it as one.  Yes, I am a victim of chronic pain — have been for 30 years.  But being labeled a victim is just a fact, not something I’m embarrassed or ashamed about.

But I’ve read about plenty of other victims, like those who have experienced violence or rape, who believe they are partly to blame for their victimhood.  This, of course, is incorrect — the blame belongs on the person who perpetrated the crime, not the victim of it.  Victims who feel shame and blame themselves are only reacting to both the nature of the crime and the criminal’s efforts to make the victims believe they are partly responsible.  I believe that’s called transference — a way for the criminals to believe they really aren’t bad people.

I wish I had someone to blame for my chronic pain, but even if I did, I don’t see how that would help or change things.  As Blahpolar recently said:  “It is what it is.”

Sure, there are people who revel in playing the victim — who “swim” in their victimhood.  But pain, whether it’s mental or physical, is very hard to deal with — and some people turn that around and use it to their advantage, seeking and enjoying the attention they receive in return for all their suffering.  That’s just how they choose to deal with their pain.

I don’t think that describes me, or what I choose to post on my blog.  Sure, I feel sorry for myself from time to time.  After all, I’m only human and I’m in a lot of unrelieved pain.  It took decades to finally accept the fact that my pain is here to stay, and there’s nothing I can do about that.  I like to think of myself as a survivor of chronic pain, but I had to be a victim first before I became a survivor.  However, I don’t always feel like a survivor — there are plenty of times when I “swim” in my victimhood.  It’s a day-to-day, minute-to-minute sort of thing.  And I accept that fact too.

I know there are plenty of people who believe that being a victim is a bad and shameful thing. I just don’t happen to be one of those people.