Thursday, July 2, 2009

Critical, URGENT, FDA trying to BAN Script Pain Meds! Please sign petitions!

I wanted to update all of you in regard to what the FDA is trying to potentially do, which would be a nightmare to all of us that suffer Chronic Pain, along with our Chronic Illnesses. The one good thing is that the House and Senate did pass the "Pain Patients Bill of Rights". :) So, I applaud Congress for that one! :)

But, on not so good of a note, and many of you may already have seen this in the news... the FDA is potentially trying to BAN extended release narcotic pain medications! I am venturing to say, that there are many here with the group that suffers just as I do, from horrible Chronic, sometimes even Daily, pain. This would be a horrid situation for us, for our families, our jobs, our friends and our quality of life. When I finally found my current pain doctor, I was overjoyed! Not only was he ready to help me with my pain medications, he has so far been excellent regarding keeping my pain under control. For that I am blessed.

As anyone with Chronic Pain knows, many times our prescription pain medications are what keep us having a full life, having happy spouses, happy kids, keeping our jobs, and making our lives as normal as possible. Without them, most of us would be in the bed, on the sofa, rendered not able to do anything. I know for me it was the difference as black and white. Within 2 days of beginning my medications a year ago, I felt better than I had in many, many years... probably 7 or more.

Now the FDA is trying to put a BAN on some narcotic pain medications and if you have seen they are also possibly taking Tylenol at higher doses and putting it as a prescription, and then lowering the doses in the over the counter acetaminophen.

This is an urgent, critical matter and I have two petitions that are directly going to the FDA, The House, The Senate, and the President, as well as my own House Rep, and Senators.

Here are the URL's about both petitions, along with the American Pain Foundations information and enlightenment on the entire thing.

I urge you to read this information when you can, and if you feel moved to sign the petitions I would be most appreciative. Anyone knowing what Chronic Pain is like, knows this would be disastrous to all of us.

Now, a little about my situation. I was having issues with high blood sugar levels, and had been having higher than normal levels from the past 3 or 4 glucose blood tests I had done. My PCP did a glucose tolerance test, and it showed "normal" but still I am seeing spikes in my levels when I do the check at home. So, I still am possibly sitting at the "pre-diabetic" position, but for now I am just taking it on my own, and keeping an eye out.

Also, my PCP, due to all of my blood work, now confirms, I do have Lupus. I also have Sjogren's and Raynaud's, to add insult to injury. I had a very horrible flare, that is still kind of going on, that caused me to not just have cracks in the corners of my mouth, but they got infected, thus I had been on antibiotics again for two rounds. My bruising is horrible! I look like I have been beat from my neck to my toes with a ball bat! Plus some of it is not just bruising, but petechia, which is kind of like tiny blood vessels rupturing and I have what looks like flat blood blisters everywhere.

My PCP finally decided my best bet in finding out what potentially is causing this is sending me to a hematologist. In fact my appointment is this afternoon. I DO NOT look forward to yet another doctor, also having to go to Dallas, but luckily he is in the same building that my pain specialist is in! For that I am blessed! I hope that he has a good bedside manner, is not just test happy, and can find some reason for the horrible bruising and petechia, and hopefully how we can get rid of it. With the Summer here and HOT weather, I am totally embarrassed to go anywhere. People just stare at my arms and legs, and I have to wonder if they think I am have horrible contagious disease, or if my husband is beating me....LOL... I found some "cover up" cream for my legs, which helps some, plus I have been using the self-tanning cream. Those both help a little on my legs. The darker my skin is, the bruising then is not as noticeable.

I am now on Methotrexate. My PCP and I had discussed it the past couple of visits I had with him, especially since I am having flares frequently, and it seems I just have a hard time shaking them. So, I am now on Plaquenil, Methotrexate, and 5mg. of Prednisone.

My husband Jim, has also been having one heck of a time with his lower back pain. We are now working on getting him some possible financial assistance so he can go to a new pain specialist over in Waxahachie. Jim has no insurance, he does not qualify for state assistance, due to the fact here in TX, the ONLY way to get Medicaid is to be pregnant, or have kids under 16, etc.

So we have a county program for very low income people that helps with medical bills. Most counties have what they call an Indigent Health Care Program, for those who cannot qualify for any other type of assistance. We hope, from what the PCP says, if we can get the financial assistance to see this Doctor, he would possibly due the injections in Jim's back. So keep him and myself both in your thoughts over the next weeks.

It is not just HOT here, but way higher than HOT!! We have had little reprieve from triple digit temps, along with a high humidity and dew point levels, that make it seem 110 degrees plus now for at least 10-12 days. It is horrible.

As I finish this up, I want to wish all of you a safe, Happy, and Beautiful 4th of July weekend! :)

As we have seen so much "bad" news from the situation in Iran, to No. Korea and their stunts, then the loss of several celebrities this week, including Farah Fawcett who finally lost her battle with anal cancer. She was an incredibly strong and brave woman that fought it since 2006. If you saw her special on TV I am sure you were touched by her story also. If you did not see it, I think they are planning to air it again... so if you can catch it, it is an incredible story.

OF course, we lost Michael Jackson, Billy Mays (Mr. Oxyclean himself), and several other "famous" people over the past 7 to 10 days.

Here is the information below about the URL's for the American Pain Foundation, and for the petitions....

I urge you to go to this URL and add your name to the petition. Actually I have one on and one on Care2! This is an extremely serious situation and if you have kept up with the news you have already seen they are considering making changes to all types of over the counter and prescription pain medications!

For anyone with horrid Chronic Pain and Illness this would be a night terror you live in forever! This could mean you not being able to get your proper pain medications, it means putting a strain on our good pain management specialists, and potentially ruin Chronic Pain Patients quality of life, possibly lose their jobs due to the pain, harm family life and relationships, and make many of us have no quality of life.

PLease see these two URLs:

For more information about this situation and a better understanding of what the FDA is trying to do is on the American Pain Foundations Website. Their URL is:

The Pain Foundations website is one with the latest information on all types of things related to Chronic Pain and Illness. You will find it very informative for everything from the latest research, medications, government related issues, possible bills going through the Senate and House, plus so much more.

Have a wonderful July 4th, be safe... and I hope pain free....

by the way... those of you that have been on or are on the Methotrexate, how long did it take for you to notice a difference, if at all? What kinds of side effects, if any did you experience? What is your dosage? Are you or did you take Prednisone with it, or by itself? Plus if you think you know something about the medications, or anything else in regard to the Lupus, please post here or email me.

By the way, for patients with a New Lupus diagnosis, or if you have a family member that may not understand just how any of the autoimmune illnesses effect us... I just read a wonderful book. It is geared for someone newly diagnosed, and the first year of having Lupus. Even though I have read an enormous amount of information on line, etc... this book really helped me learn several things I did not know. It is written by a woman that spent between 10 and 15 years of doctor after doctor, medication after medication, test after test, diagnosis after diagnosis... before she found a doctor who figured it out.

The name of the book is:

"The First year of Lupus" (A Patient-Expert Walks you Through Everything you need to do and Learn).
The authors name is Nancy C. Hanger.

She also goes into things such as overlapping autoimmune issues, from Sjogrens' to Fibromyalgia.

I close for now in wishing everyone is healthy and having a wonderful Summer...

My thoughts are with each of you.... Rhia

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