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.

Loneliness is a disease that changes the brain’s structure and function


Loneliness increases the risk of poor sleep, higher blood pressure, cognitive and immune decline, depression, and ultimately an earlier death. Why?  …

Functional imaging evidence also shows lonely people have a suppressed neural response to rewarding social stimuli, which reduces their excitement about possible social contact; they also have dampened activity in brain areas involved in predicting what others are thinking – possibly a defence mechanism based on the idea that it’s better not to know. All this adds up to what the authors characterise as a social “self-preservation mode.”

Meanwhile, animal models are helping us to understand the deeper, biological correlates associated with loneliness. For mice, being raised in isolation depletes key neurosteroids including one involved in aggression; it reduces brain myelination, which is vital to brain plasticity and may account for the social withdrawal and inflexibility seen in isolated animals; and it can influence gene expression linked to anxious behaviours.

What about changes to our neural tissue? Human research is suggestive: in one study, people who self-identified as lonelier were more likely to develop dementia. Here, initial cognitive decline could be causing loneliness, but animal work gives us some plausible mechanisms for loneliness’ impact: animals kept in isolation have suppressed growth of new neurons in areas relating to communication and memory, just as very social periods such as breeding season see a pronounced spike in growth.

Other basic brain processes are also upset by isolation. Isolated mice show reduced delta-wave activity during deep sleep; and their inflammatory responses also change, meaning that in one study, three in five isolated mice died following an induced stroke, whereas every one of their cage-sharing peers survived the same process…

Sugary drinks linked to 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year


Sugary drinks kill more than drug overdoses? AN EPIDEMIC?


By contributing to obesity and, through that, to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks appears to claim the lives of about 25,000 American adults yearly and is linked worldwide to the deaths of 180,000 each year, new research says…

As incomes grow in many developing nations, some are experiencing spurts in obesity that mirror, in compressed form, Americans’ four-decade run-up in weight. Many researchers attribute those patterns, at least in part, to increases in their populations’ consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which add calories without improving nutrition…

There is no opioid epidemic


I could debate with both of you, point by point, to show you how wrong you are. I’ve been an intractable pain patient for 30 years, so believe me when I say I know what I’m talking about. (There, does that satisfy your curiosity about my age, Mr. Republican?) But I’m very tired, in constant pain with no access to any medications at all to manage it, and I’m unwilling to keep trying to educate people on things they know nothing about. Or perhaps only know a little bit about, but pretend they know more. Since both of you are spouting falsities, I’m inclined to think that you’re not interested in learning the truth. And with people like that, unfortunately, it’s only personal experience that will change their minds. (Kinda like the few Republicans who have gay people in their family and so are no longer against gay rights.)

But I will say that there is no opioid “epidemic.” When you compare the number of people who take pain medications with the people who die by overdosing on them, it’s actually a minute percentage.




Sat, Jul 4, 2015 1:48 am

To:  vmanager@corerealtyholdings.com

To: Kara Buchman, Apartment Manager

Let me tell you a little story. Since it just happened, all the details are still fresh in my mind. But since it was terrifying, I’m sure they always will be.

I’ve been meaning to request a visit from pest control, but it’s just another service that I’ve requested in the past which usually takes weeks to accomplish. Not wanting to deal with that frustration has led me to refrain from asking, even though it entails me having to live with bugs.

There are the June bugs that enter through the cracks in my front door (which I’ve mentioned to you before). They don’t bother me so much. It’s the large roaches in my bathroom that make my heart pound.

Now, what’s in my bathroom that attracts these monsters? Could it be the leaky toilet that your maintenance crew can’t seem to fix? Even after work that involved removing the whole toilet? Could the roaches be coming in from behind the baseboards that were shoddily replaced when the new tile was laid? (Also previously mentioned to you, including photos.)

Even though I told you that the toilet was still leaking when I renewed my lease 3 months ago, I didn’t make a specific request for maintenance because, as I said, what’s the point since you can’t seem to fix it? And I have the emails from the first time I reported this maintenance problem, which show how unconcerned your office was at that time too.

Instead, I’ve covered the area in duct tape, including the baseboards, but obviously that isn’t working. And just because I didn’t make a specific request for you to fix the leaky toilet, in the interest of maintaining your own property, don’t you think it would have been wise to put in the work order yourself? Of course not — why spend money if you don’t have to?

One of the symptoms of suffering from a chronic pain condition is insomnia. I usually don’t sleep more than a couple of hours at a time. When I awoke from a nap around 10:30pm on Friday, July 3rd, I was greeted during my visit to the bathroom by yet another huge roach. It was so big that when I tried flushing it down the toilet, it was able to keep from drowning and reappeared after the first flush was complete. I just love paying rent for these unwanted roommates.

Have I mentioned that I have a fear of bugs?

So, I try to go back to sleep, and this time I am awakened by a huge roach on my arm. I can honestly say that this has never happened to me before. I began to wonder if roaches were smarter than we give them credit for, and if this roach was related to the one I killed earlier, set on getting revenge for the recent death in his family. And then I remembered an old episode of the TV show “House,” about a man who came into the clinic with a roach in this ear.

And then I wondered if I can sue you for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. After all, I don’t know how I’m going to get any sleep until my apartment is able to be sprayed for bugs. And since you only have pest control visits every Thursday, and my requests for pest control in the past have actually taken weeks before they’re done, I’m going to be suffering for quite a long time without enough sleep.

I’m also wondering, when you have the same problem in your own apartment, if you can easily pick up the phone and have pest control arrive shortly thereafter.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m going to be posting this story on my blog, even though I’m embarrassed to be living in a roach-infested apartment. And even though I would rather not mention where I live on the internet, I’ll be including the name of this roach trap — Vistas at Seven Bar Ranch (or Core Vistas), Albuquerque, NM — so that anyone doing a Google search can find this information.

The End.