An open letter to doctors still prescribing opioid medication when necessary: Thank you so much for standing up for us pain patients. My chronic pain comes from a genetic connective tissue disorder (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), so there is no treatment or cure for my slow, but relentless, physical deterioration as the collagen holding my body together falls apart. I, like so many other pain patients, spent years (1982-1995) trying other therapies (yoga, acupuncture, ...

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I had my first outpatient surgical procedure when I was still in high school and needed a plantar wart removed from the sole of my foot. As the doctor injected the area with a local anesthetic, he explained he did these procedures all the time, and I wouldn't feel a thing. After a short wait, he began to dig out the deeply embedded wart with a hooked scalpel. With the first ...

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Until my physical ailments began worsening rapidly in my late 40s, I was a high achiever, proud of my "kick ass" attitude, thinking I was so competent I could surmount any challenge life threw at me. Life appeared to be straightforward, and I didn't understand why this didn't seem to be the case for so many other less fortunate folks. Though I worked hard for my accomplishments and sometimes struggled, there ...

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When I recently read the phrase, “I’m embarrassed to be sick,” it made my stomach clench and my breath catch.  That's exactly what I've been feeling: this vague sense of social unease even with close friends, a reluctance to be seen or even talk to people--especially those that knew me before I became chronically ill.

At the age of 55, after a lifetime of seemingly ...

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