Chronic Pain and the Death of a New York Times Journalist

Opioid related deaths and suicide, Lynn Webster, MD, chronic pain

The death of the New York Times journalist, Sarah Kershaw, reminds me painfully of too many conversations I had with my patients during the course of my career as a pain doctor, about whether or not they wanted to live.

During the 30 years of my practice, countless patients told me they had no hope for a life without severe disabling pain and would, therefore, prefer to die.  I believed them.

CDC Report

The CDC reports there are 44 deaths per day that involve opioids, but there are more than 105 deaths per day from suicide.  An undoubtedly significant (but uncertain) number of those suicides can be attributed to people with severe pain.

Suicides, by the way, come in at least two variations: active and passive. Active suicides intend to commit suicide and usually plan it. Passive suicides happen without premeditation by a person who finds it acceptable that her behavior might lead to death.

Of the opioid-related deaths, it is not clear how many either are active or passive suicides yet, are not counted as suicides.

The Misery of Chronic Pain

My patients often expressed to me that death seemed to be the only way out of the misery of pain. I often felt the most important role for me, even when I couldn’t relieve my patients’ pain, was to give them hope.

But, reality often trumped my best intentions. After living for years with little improvement of their pain, some my patients found it hard to sustain their hope, regardless of my efforts.

Here is where the intersection of relieving pain and preventing harm from opioids exists.

I always warned patients that, if they took more painkillers than I prescribed, they might not awaken.  More times than I care to remember, after I said this, my patient would look me square in the eye and say with complete sincerity, “That’s okay, doc. It would be better to die than to live with my pain.”

Through the years, I had patients who died from suicide.  Some used a gun.  Others used the pain medications I prescribed.

It was never easy to prescribe an opioid to someone who had such intense pain that she wished to die, but, often, there was no alternative unless I ignored the person’s need to mitigate the pain.

I worried whether the medicine I prescribed to help my patient get through days and nights of horrific pain would be used as I directed, or whether it would be used to enable my patient to escape a world of suffering.

Chronic Pain

I could never be sure, and it was a constant source of stress and unhappiness for me. To an extent, it was beyond my control. As a physician, I had to give my patients something to enable them to survive with pain. Yet, as a human being, I had to deal with the fact that the pain medication might be used when the patient could no longer survive with that pain and had lost hope.

Whether opioids are a reasonable treatment for people with disabling non-malignant chronic pain will continue to be a subject for debate, but there should be no debate about one thing:

People with chronic pain should not view suicide as their only option for relief.  We have to do more to prevent tragedies like the death of Sarah Kershaw from ever happening again.


Purchase my book The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us (available on Amazon) or read a free excerpt here.the painful truth, lynn webster, md, chronic pain
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Copyright 2016, Lynn Webster, MD






  1. Zyp Czyk on March 3, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I also found this particular suicide deeply upsetting. I’m not sure why this specific woman triggered such a strong reaction in me.

    She seems the prototype of a clean-cut, professional, successful woman, yet unassuming and with kind eyes. If such a person can be hounded to death by chronic pain, we cannot deny effective pain medication to other sufferers *before* they kill themselves.

    The thought of how much she must have suffered to end her life even when she had so much else going for her makes me desperately hope I never come close to her level of agony. I’m not sure how bad my pain would become if they take away my opioids, but the possibility is becoming more likely every day.

    • terina on February 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      HI, i also suffer from chronic pain, spine injury, auto,pile up.
      i was a LVN foe years before my life went to hell, now i,m in the situation ,that were all going thru,I always was honest, about my use of my rx.s even taking myself of many of them, of course i know the risk of these meds…. duhhhh.,now he’s giving me 1mg. of diludid ,i stop taking em because they didn’t do a thing!!!
      ya know if patenits can now ask doctor with great illness,why cant we also at least have that too?
      this is coming from person who will probably take my life, cant walk eat, no quality of life nowise good luck & god bless others as i am.

    • Vee on April 11, 2017 at 3:12 am

      I worry too. I’ve been on opus daily for 10 years for severe chronic in pain. My Dr wants to wean me over a year (off all Orissa) I’ve been a model patient w little use and no problems. But he think s all CP patients can heal. I’m so afraid what will happen. I have a severely damaged neck.
      This story “gives credibility” because she s a professional first in this story. She s a patient e pain!
      You’re right though, it is likely our Dr. will one day stop helping.
      Blessings to you
      Vee. Colorado

    • Vee on April 11, 2017 at 3:14 am

      I worry too. I’ve been on opioids daily for 10 years for severe chronic in pain. My Dr wants to wean me over a year (off all opioids) I’ve been a model patient w little use and no problems. But he think s all CP patients can heal. I’m so afraid what will happen. I have a severely damaged neck from an accident. Pain is relentless!
      This story “gives credibility” because she s a professional first in this story. She s a patient in pain!
      You’re right though, it is likely our Dr. will one day stop helping.
      Blessings to you
      Vee. Colorado

  2. Sarah McGrath on March 4, 2016 at 5:57 am

    The other side of that coin, is how many people would have committed suicide if they had not been given the pain relief provided by opioids to help them cope. I have severe and frequent migraines and fibromyalgia. My doctor was very anti-opioid and I was fast reaching the stage where I could no longer deal with being in so much pain every day. It was only after a visit to the pain clinic where opioid patches were prescribed and pethidine for breakthrough pain that I was given the help I needed. The pain is a long way from being ‘gone’, but with the right help, I can now cope better as it gives me some quality of life.

    • SAM on October 27, 2017 at 1:21 am

      I can empathize. Frequent severe migraine headaches, put on all kinds of drugs that didn’t do anything. Nothing worked and sometimes made them worse. The worst nausea and vomiting. What people don’t realize is that kind of vomiting can cause stroke. I finally was able to get a small amount of oxycodone and the doctor did prescribe phenergan – the only thing that ever worked on the vomiting. Migraines can be fatal. It’s absolutely necessary to treat the pain, the nausea and the vomiting.

  3. Bonni on March 10, 2016 at 12:36 am

    I have really complicated health problems, a failing set of kidneys, a liver that’s so scared from Hep C, it is dangerous for me to take even my blood pressure meds, let alone opioids for my chronic pain from a severely damaged neck & spine. I no longer can have any surgeries & I have an incisional hernia from hip to hip up to my navel! I would love to find any road to HOPE! Day after day my limited life makes me question why I opt to go on? I’ve lost my faith & trust in MD’s.

    • Vee on April 11, 2017 at 3:17 am

      I’m sorry for your pain. I too suffer daily w health and severe pain. I was injured in my spine and lost my career and more.
      I still have hope after 10 years of daily pain. Please don’t lose hope.

  4. Scott Mikkelsen on March 10, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Opioids only help to a certain point. I was on high doses of them for a significant amount of time. Doctors periodically increased the dosages, and eventually I “plateaued” and the pain that had withered on the vine somewhat grew back with a furious vengeance. Doctors didn’t want to increase the dosages any further, and I struggled. That is putting it mildly. At times I used the meds not quite exactly as prescribed, and they began a strict testing regimen. It was almost as if they expected me to have increasing problems. I soon tired of being treated like an addict, so I stopped cold turkey. It was rough. Very rough. The first week my thoughts stuck solely on either going out to search for a suitable replacement on the streets, or to just kill myself. I came perilously close to each, many times. So far I have been able to hold strong. I will never voluntarily take opioids again, no matter how much pain I am in. And now, a year removed from them, the pain is still excruciating. And yes, I do still contemplate suicide.

    • Loretta on May 10, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      That is no way to live and their are things your doctors could have done to continue helping you…

      It ashame that we live in the greatest country in the world and we have so many people that are living in chronic pain. Something needs to be done on a large scale to start programs to help these people….

      I will pray that it will happen soon!

  5. SHARON on March 10, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Low dose opioids is only thing that gives me any type of quality of life. I would never be able to be able to get up out of bed without them but they are wanting to take them away from me. Please tell me what to do. I know others are facing this as well. My dosage hasn’t changed in the 3 years I’ve been in clinic and I’ve never failed a pill count or drug screen not once. What are chronic pain patients suppose to do?

    • Lynn Webster, M.D. on March 10, 2016 at 7:45 am

      It is very important that you send a letter to your two Senators and Representative. Tell them exactly what you wrote here and ask them to help you. Ask them what to do. Be respectful but tell them what is happening to you because the actions to curb the opioid crisis. Go to my other blog to see how to find your Congressman addresses

      • Jane patients on October 27, 2016 at 4:57 am

        The government and the doctors want us to commit suicide, it’s genocide by suicide, they want the money, more people are committing suicide than ever died from opioids, it’s the gov and drs plan to kill the bottom feeders, at least Hitler owned what he did and was kind enough to just kill not make someone suffer and have no choice but to commit suicide!

        • George on November 16, 2017 at 8:55 pm

          I think you’re right. We’re just “useless eaters” to the elitist in DC and Wall St.

    • Loretta on May 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      We need to start a movement!

  6. Sue Koch on March 11, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I too, have chronic pain. Not only do I have Fibromyalgia, but spinal & cervical stenosis, gout, and inflammatory arthritis. If it weren’t for my Percocet/cymbalta combo for my pain I would also not want to live. I’ve tried it all…chiropractor, injections….which made it worse, only the pain management doctor at the time didn’t believe me…he just wanted me off the Percocet even though that’s the only thing that works. Thankfully I now have a primary care physician who has me on the right combo and covers all of me…the BP meds, gout & the perc/cym combo which gee whiz…causes me to have a life!.’ I’m 60, I’m still able to work and do volunteer work, too.! Every time there’s a news story on about the perils of opioids I cringe, cos I know the powers that be are trying to take them away. So what do those of us who need them to LIVE….do?

    • Lynn Webster, M.D. on March 11, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Please write your Senators and Congressman with your concerns. The only people they hear from are people who want doctors to stop prescribing opioids. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity so tell your story. You can find your Congressman’s address at



  7. Alisha on March 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    I was diagnosed with RSD at the age of 15 and fibromyalgia at 18. I took 225 mg of morphine and 85 mg of methadone for over 3 years and I still hurt. I finally got weaned off the narcotics which was the best thing at the time. I tried other meds like muscle relaxers, lyrica, cymbalta, percocets, oxycodone and numerous others. This went on for 17 years. I just recently got a pain pump implanted and we are now tweaking the dosage. The intrathecal pump trial went great, and I can’t wait until we get this pump working like the trial. I’ve already started weaning off some of my pills, and I’m not on any narcotic pills. I recommend talking to your doctor about a pain pump trial, it may help a lot.

  8. L on March 11, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I am a chronic pain patient and have been on long term treatment with the same opioid medication for the last 10 years at the same dose without having to increase and have had the best 10 years of my life since having to live with chronic pain almost 21 years ago. It took years to get to this point. I had to go through years of pain and trying medications and different treatments. Then finally got my current medication to a dose that has consistently kept my pain stable, my pain under control and has been the best pain relief I have ever had that has continued to work. But now because of those that abuse those that are using this for financial gains. I am now fighting for my life to not be taken off my medication. Regardless of my doctor I have been with for 10 years saying I need it that it gives me a better life, regardless of the qualified medical examiner in 2010 and 2012 saying I should be able to continue as it gives me a quality of life. But none of it matters all anyone cares about is the money. Why is it so few can ruin it for the majority that do it right. Oh wait that’s not right it isn’t about the few they just use it as the excuse so they can profit. While we the pain suffers were getting the pain relief we need without any side effects without any problems at all will be left in horrible pain. Left to try to exist in the pain that was the entire reason we were put on and stayed utilizing these medications in the first place. Putting me back into the pain I was in serves who exactly? It certainly won’t be to my benefit not having my pain relieved anymore. It won’t serve my family it won’t be of any benefit for them to watch me go back to a life filled with pain filled with my suffering. It will only serve the ins. co. so they don’t have to pay for it anymore but hey profits are more important then my life as far as they are concerned. My life has no meaning no value to them and if I am gone all the better for them. What will I be left with what will my family be left with pain and suffering it just doesn’t seem right. Not when I have always done everything the right way the way you are supposed to do it. What do you get for doing right you get too bad suffer because we don’t care what kind of suffering it will cause you and yours because the ins. game is that a game its about profits. returned and that sadly is The Painful Truth. I must say I fear for all the chronic pain sufferers at the mercy of ins. co.’s at the mercy of law makers that don’t know and don’t care to know what is what will happen to those in such pain because we just don’t matter when it comes to profits we don’t have a fighting chance.

  9. Angel on March 26, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Your article is by far the most caring genuine piece I’ve ever seen written by a pain doctor. I’m 34, for 23 years I’ve been on opioid therapy 5 years broken up in between, I discontinued opioids for other alternatives. Now back on fetanyl and have built in suicide protection as my blessed husband keeps my spray and patches and administers. Opioids gave me a childhood, allowed me to go to college and med school, allowed me to bear one child marry a wonderful man and for a very short time, work. None of these things would’ve happened without opioid pain medicines. Patients would suffer immensely without them. The war on pain patients is misguided and inhuman. Imagine the suicide rate if the pain never was managed? Under treatment of pain, worrying every month if your doctor will be still prescribing under new guidelines losing hope because finances dwindle. We should support pain patients with all we have instead of making them wait years for their disability, accusing them of being nuts or being drug seekers, making them feel less than everyone as if cancer or lupus or ms is some sort of mental defect instead of diseases that ravage both body and mind. Again thank you for your very thoughtful piece of writing, your words came from the heart and experience and it shows.

  10. Cathy on June 4, 2016 at 1:36 am

    I am a chronic pain patient. I have been on opioid pain medication for over 5 years now. I recently had my pain management doctor (I saw her for close to 3-4 years) abruptly dropped all her pain patients. She moved her practice over to treating amputees only. I and many other patients were left scrambling to find another pain management doctor. They are no where to be found now. I only found one where I live and I saw him two times and he recommended I have so SI joint injections and intervertebral injections. No sooner did I find him and become his patient I got the call last week that he is getting out of the pain management field! What the hell is happening?! Right now I am looking to find another doctor but I have to tell you they are fleeing from pain management. I can’t even get a regular doctor to see me because the minute they find out I am a chronic pain patient and on pain medications they refuse to see me. I run the risk at this very moment of running out of pain medication and going into severe physical withdrawal. The truth is, I have been on a steady amount and have not needed to increase my medication that much over the years. But it has worked to help me manage my pain to levels I can tolerate. If I am stuck in a situation where I cannot find relief and have had my pain medication completely taken away from me, then I too have considered suicide as possible option, because I don’t want to live with this horrible pain knowing that I won’t be able to function and have a life. Before pain medication I was in bed for up to a year. I was barely getting out of my bed to do much of anything because I hurt so badly. Right now on my pain medications at least I can get out of bed, be active and do things and participate with my family. I really have to wonder what the hell is going on with our government and with all this media hype. I guess all chronic pain patients are drug addicts now…sigh

    • Sandra on November 17, 2017 at 2:21 am

      I just found this website after reading the article! My nephew suffers everyday. But there are spicks in his Chronic pain that if un describable! He passes out from the pain! He has an incomplete spinal cord injury lost half of his foot brown see quad syndrome, complete hip replacement because the top of the femur ball was sheared off in the socket was chipped away and was on a dislocated hip for two years that was miss diagnosed with a bruised hip! His doctor told him he has to come off all pain medications because he was addicted to opiates! and that it was just delaying his feelings to ordinary pain! After reading your post I know it’s been over a year since you posted it. But I just found your story, I hope you don’t do anything to hurt yourself. There’s got to be an answer out there for all of you! My husband and and I moved in with Matthew to help take care of him! He just turned 38, he had his accident 14 yr.s ago. He had a full ride scholarship for baseball he was captain of his college baseball team!
      He hit a tree at 65 miles an hour and that was the end of his life as he wants knew it ! Please don’t hurt yourself!!! There has to be an answer for all of you! I care ,I love you and there’s a lot of other people out there that love you too!

      • Cass on December 19, 2017 at 12:47 am

        I am not the writer of the post you were responding to, but your kindness made me cry. Your nephew is lucky to have such a compassionate and empathetic aunt and uncle to care for him.

  11. Carli on June 24, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I have been in chronic pain since I was 22. I’m now 38. I have degenerative disc disease and arthritis. I was told I need a spinal fusion. In may lumbar spine L4/5 is bone on bone and under that is a bulging disc. I take Tylenol 3 xanax and neurontin. The main nerve root out right side is compressed. I was a certified nurse’s aide. And now I can’t do crap. The large part of the house work I’d dumped on my kids . I have an appt Monday, and if he doesn’t manage my pain I will no longer go to another Dr. I will manage my own pain by any means necessary. Im already treated as if I’m an addict already so not much will change in that aspect. At this point I am only existing. I want to be happy and participate in life and I will no longer allow a Dr who is supposed to treat me, keep me from doing so. I thought about driving my cabinet a tree all day today. If my pain were managed correctly, I would not have toe thoughts. I blame the drs for seeing me as a chart not an individual .

  12. Terrance on July 2, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I’ve read many of your comments. It’s nice not to feel alone in the war that is being waged against the use of narcotics. I suffer from a variety of untreatable medical conditions that have robbed me of my profession, my marriage,, my intellect, my physical ability to negotiate the world, and hey, even most of my retirement. Chronic pain on the other hand is something that can be treated with narcotics. I tried everything before turning to them, and my life without pain medications was miserable, not worth living because I couldn’t even take care of myself, and suicide was a rationale response to constant pain that consumed every piece of me – physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Now, I can at least do a few things for myself that I could not before although I remain permanently disabled. There is some measure of happiness in being able to take a shower once in a while, feed myself, walk a bit, and most importantly, not to have to wake up every day in pain.

    Although I strictly adhere to my pain specialist’s scripts he is now tapering me off. This is not good for me in any respect for me. I want to scream. People who have not suffered chronic, debilitating pain just don’t understand what it is like and how opiods can be a life saver – literally. That is the problem. It’s missing from the public discussion about the “epidemic.” Chronic pain that only responds to opiods should be thought of as cancer with the same legitimacy and access to medications. Without them, I would have killed myself.

  13. Vicki on July 6, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Terrace, I take it that you are older as am i. I’m sixty years old and had daily pain since age 34. What a life, huh?
    Without opiates to relieve pain, NOT GET RID OF IT, I would have checked out long ago.
    My pm Dr hasn’t as yet even mentioned reducing my rx. I believe he is strong enough to fight for his patients.

  14. Bruce on July 25, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I struggle a lot with chronic pain. I had spinal surgery a few years back which did help. Though still some pain that can be awful. I am now having burning mouth syndrome. It is awful the pain even effects my dreams when I can somehow sleep. Suicide has been on my mind a lot. I had also suffered serious depression for a long time too. Well pain took it to a new level! I am fighting each day to have the WILL to live. Pain meds is the only living hope for many people like me. Pain saps ones will to live. It drains your energy and ability to function as a person. I look forward to dying because I don’t have the strength to do this years on end. Maybe I can turn to alcohol? That is a desperate measure. Something has to happen…

  15. James on July 27, 2016 at 3:33 am

    Nowadays the chronic pain patient increased very rapidly even in my locality there are more than 12 people’s who are having this issues and recently I come to know that it also cause mental depression which is a very pathetic thing which even cause sucide issues. As per from your data i learn many new things . Thanks for such kind good article

  16. Ann on August 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    There is no answer.

  17. Jack on August 10, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    What a terrible article, basically ‘buy my book…..’ Jesus, no wonder we all want to kill ourselves with physicians like you.

    • Chrystal Weaver on October 11, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      That comment was so out of bounds. You have NO idea what you have accused Dr. Webster of doing. He is one of the lone voices in the wilderness actually advocating for our rights as chronic pain patients to have our pain managed and be treated humanely. As you may have noticed, there are not hoards of doctors standing up for us and pushing back against the recent CDC Guidelines.

      His book delves into the insanity of what is happening to chronic pain patients in America today. It needed a book to explain this complex subject and it needed to be written by a doctor who dedicated his life to relieving people’s suffering.

      Before assuming that his motivation for writing this book was to profit (he surely will not get rich from the sales of his book) you may want to know that Dr. Webster self funded a documentary by the same name. I have no idea how much money it cost this wonderful compassionate man to produce it, but I assure you that it was NOT cheap. How many retired pain management doctors would spend their hard earned retirement money to produce a documentary about the plight of chronic pain patients? He is the only one that I know of.

      The documentary is yet to be aired but it is complete. You can watch a preview of it here:

  18. Aileen Leslie Wedvik on September 29, 2016 at 5:48 am

    To Dr. Webster: I am an ARNP working in pain mgmt for 3 years now. I have the most wonderful panel of patients a provider could ever hope to find. We’ve had to weed out the occasional dishonest person from the practice,but for all the rest of my patients, they are people with a horrible, horrible medical problem, doing their best to remain functional members of society. My experience has been that many patients come to me initiAlly with very suboptimal treatment of their pain. We gradually raise the dose of medications until the patient finds optimal relief. I can say, 100% of my patients find their own dose at which they balance pain relief with side effects,and they tell ME to stop any further increases in dose. They remain stable on this dose, and rarely ask for any adjustment. Now I have been told by the owner of the clinic to lower every single patient to 120 MED or less. I have a choice as to whether to comply or simply take my patients and move my practice to my own private office.somewhere. I’m terrified of the State coming in …. I’ve already had a complaint filed against me by a doctor who works for Regence health insurance. Everyone seems to want to tell me how to treat my patients, but, of course, they are not the ones who actually see and know these pain patients. We are treating statistics now, instead of treating people. It makes me physically ill. It goes against EVERYTHING I learned in school about empathy and non-judgement about patients. And yes, I refer out ad nauseam to physical therapy, interventional pain medicine, mental health, neurosurgery, rheumatology, and on and on… addition to the opioids, scripts for Lyrica. TCAs, antiseizure drugs, NSAIDs, SNRIs, etc, are flowing like a river. How do I proceed? Losing my license will not help my patients. But cutting their meds down to an arbitrary level after years of effectiveness at larger doses doesn’t help either. What are my choices? These are desperate times for chronic pain patients. BTW, I attended the AAPM conference in Palm Springs, and respect your work immensely!!!!

  19. Alexander Ivlev on October 7, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I think that people with chronic pain should always have a choice: to take chemical painkillers or not to take chemical painkillers.
    The problem is you greatly depend on your pain doctor when you have chronic pain. Do you know that your brain is able to produce harmless painkillers that are 100% natural? You have your own healing power within!

    Would you like to know how to activate such power? You are welcome to read my post:

    • CakeEGoodness on September 10, 2017 at 1:21 am

      I never wished for anyone to be injured or develop a long lasting disease that causes SEVERE chronic pain before but you are risking being the first. How dare you? Go stick your hypnosis, along with a TENS unit, biofeedback, yoga, chiropractic “adjustments” & “group therapy” up your cornhole! I wish I could unload my autoimmune disease, that has ravaged all of my joints for 30 years & probably caused my developing AERD/Sampter’s Triad, on you even if only for a long weekend so I could see how fast you run to the ER begging for IV Dilaudid. I love when some quack comes along & has it all figured out for chronic pain patients. Let me inform you that most of us have done all we can to not take narcotic medications so go hawk your BS “panacea” to smokers instead of people suffering.

  20. Scott on December 17, 2017 at 12:38 am

    My back problems started when I was 16 years old . Shortly after my 50th birthday in 2010 my back gave out and I had to quit working and file for disability it took almost 4 years to get it . My wife had to quit her job after a few episodes of me falling and laying in the floor sometime for hours until she got home to help me up . We lived on what little money we had saved up , I sold almost everything of value so we could live . We had just about paid our house off , I think it we owed only $4,000 in 2010 but we made it then I had to learn to accept that I could no longer do the things I enjoyed .
    When the pain got worse more drugs Hydrocodone , Oxycodone , Methadone ,Fentanyl patches muscle relaxer Soma etc. December 2015 I had a procedure where they destroyed 5 nerves at L-5 and S-1 . I also have Sciatica . January 2016 I had enough and weaned myself off of all my meds. 6 months later I was in the ER trying to get some relief , 3 shots Dilaudid a muscle relaxer and something for inflammation .
    As I sit here right now my lower back my hips my right leg and foot hurt so damn bad and I get no relief from medications anymore I’m tired fighting with and waiting on Medicare Im tired of trying to find a Doctor Im tired of having to sit and watch time tick away .
    I was a Medic with an Ambulance service for 10 years and I worked my share of suicides and I never understood how someone could that but now I do .

    • Joanne on December 21, 2017 at 7:42 am

      It is a struggle minute by minute. The doctor’s are supposed to help by minimizing and/or alleviating your pain. The programs through the government are supposed to assist the disabled and low income individuals. You pay into these programs but that doesn’t ensure that you will receive them which is so unfair. I’m tired of fighting as well and truly understand where you are coming from. I have 12 mild to broad based herniations, 2 slipped discs, pinched nerves, a reconstructed ankle and hand and a slew of other conditions. I’m tired of being treated like an addict. There is not much I can take for pain due to allergies. I’ve struggled to stay alive from multiple injuries, had to learn how to walk again twice. It’s been a tough road and I too now understand why people choose to end their life. Convicts get treated better than people trying to survive the wrath of pain.

  21. Jon on January 23, 2018 at 3:31 am

    Yep, same here, crashed my motorcycle into a construction zone that they forgot to mark. Surgeries, procedures, medications, even holistic, I did it all. I have a L4 – S1 fusion in my low spine, prosthetic spinal disc too, C5-6 in my neck, prosthetic Humerus, rotator cuff, and left shoulder, 1 partially paralyzed right hand, bunch of teeth, RSD, on and on. Finally, after 3 years I went off everything. Made it 8 months before I decided to kill myself. Literally I was leaving my house when the doctor called and said she found a new program. She begged me to try it and I was introduced to Oxycodone. It literally saved my life. It lowered my pain without making me “buzzed”, I felt normal, even though my pain was about a 6. I did that 12 years, same dose, never failing a test, following all the rules. I was just told a few months ago I am being removed from opiates and need to find a new Dr. Of course I can’t find one. I am on 75% of my original doses and it’s already getting bad. Now the Dr sent me a letter that he won’t see me anymore, I am cut off. I have enough to make it to Feb 10th. I’ve discussed it with my wife and have told her that I won’t live that way again. She knows exactly what that means. I have another shot though, my blood pressure is spiking with the pain, hitting 200/110, so my Cardiologist says I am a ticking time bomb anyway. Funny, I don’t want to die, and a heart attack sounds painful. I just hope it will be quick. I haven’t thought about it for 12 years yet here I am, left with no choice. And before anyone goes nuts, yes, I have tried everything. Image Therapy, yoga, herbs, drugs, traction, 3 separate pain programs, etc… Some of those things came with bad side affects, I ended up in the hospital twice, surgery once. Can’t go to the ER, they will shoot you up with a boat load of Diluadid, or accuse you of being an addict. Then you have to go into the whole religious side of it. I am a Christian and almost everyone says that suicide condemns you to hell. I am hoping that God understands, I mean how can he not? Lastly, I also think about doing it in some very public way, to draw attention to what is going on.

    I have a friend whose son was an addict and OD’d on heroin. She is yelling at everyone how opiates killed her son. She does the protesting, sign waiving, everything she can to avoid the fact that her kid took illegal drugs and overdosed by himself. In her mind someone else is responsible. I want so badly to tell her that for every addict that dies, 2 of us “good users” die too, and it’s only going to go up. I don’t think they would even care. I wonder what will happen though, how she will respond, if I’m forced to join her kid?

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