By Peter Warren, Guest Columnist
I felt like a brother to a lady in Arkansas, after reading how Teresa Brewer has fought the battle against chronic pain caused by the extremely-rare retroperitoneal fibrosis (RPF), also known as Ormond's Disease.
After being weaned off opioids in March, Teresa is housebound and in unrelenting pain. She missed her daughter's wedding and misses seeing her two grandchildren. "I have no life," she wrote in her PNN column.
Teresa’s column jolted me. First, because I have also suffered from RPF for more than 10 years and had beaten the pain only by taking heavy doses of methadone. Secondly, because she underlined a major medical problem facing pain patients in the U.S. and here in Canada.
Teresa wrote that her primary care doctor had sent her medical records to 17 pain doctors, hoping they’d begin treating her. Not one has accepted her.
God, I thought as I read her sad story, I was lucky that my own doctor prescribed methadone for me so many years ago.
Like Teresa, I was also recently weaned off methadone and soon began having severe pains in my right leg and around my heart.
My doctor took tests, had me back into her office, and told me I now had Long QT Syndrome and would be prescribed twice daily doses of another opioid.
For the past several weeks, I have been oh-so-fortunate to be switched from one long-acting painkiller, methadone, to another long-acting painkiller, Hydromorph Contin, the latter probably for the rest of my life.
In a day and an age when so many patients across the U.S. and Canada are complaining about pain care and opioids being unavailable to them, I read of Teresa’s sad and painful journey. And I quietly gave thanks that painkillers have allowed me to proceed through a high-paced career in print, radio and TV journalism, into the joy of a quiet retirement with the woman I love.
Peter Warren lives in Victoria, British Columbia. In addition to his work in journalism, Peter was a radio talk show host and private investigator. He is a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.
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The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.