9/5/16 Pain Awareness Month Questionnaire Interview with Mary

This is the September 5th, 2016 Pain Awareness Month Questionnaire Interview with Mary.  Mary is the first person that I don’t know personally to jump up and offer to tell her pain story.  I always worry when I do something like this and wonder if I will get enough people or not and of course it always surprises me that as time moves on I start to receive more and more email from people jumping in and wanting to help however they can and in this case it’s with sharing their pain journey with everyone.  In the hopes that someone out there that’s just starting their journey will read a tip, suggestion, hint or see a web-site that just might give them hope that someday, they may have either reduced pain levels or no pain. Please find Mary’s story on the next page.


Name: ___________Mary___ _______    Date: _______ 9/1/16_______

  1. How long have you lived with chronic pain?

    1A.  It’s just been last past year. Although my back has gone out a couple times a year, where I cannot walk and have constant spasms

  2. What do you understand is the cause of your pain?

    2A.  Degenerated Disk Disease, Arthritis of the spine, spinal stenosis, 2 slipped disc, 1 herniated.

  3. Describe your typical day. How is it impacted when your pain is mild? Moderate? Severe?

    3A.  Pain in my buttocks and down both legs, severe

  4. What do you do to manage your pain (e.g. medications, complementary therapies, etc.)?

    4A.  I take Gabitan for nerve damage, Tramadol & Tylenol for pain

  5. How did you figure out what approaches you needed to take to get your pain under control?

    5A.  Well I can’t sit for long or stand, both my hips burn when I try to walk. So I usually just lay down on my side and tried ice packs and that seems to help.

  6. Is your pain management adequate? Can it be improved?

    6A.  If so, how? I don’t know, I just had an Epidural last week and I don’t see much difference except for less pain in the buttocks, still in legs.

  7. Has your attitude changed regarding pain as a result of your experience with chronic pain?  How?

    7A. It makes me very depressed and I have an ugly face on at night when the pain is high

  8. In your opinion, what is holding back your pain from improving or becoming stable? How do we break through those doors?

    8A.  I don’t know what’s next, I see the doctor again on September 6th. I also need to lose weight, that would help, I think.

  9. What does your healthcare provider do to help you with your chronic pain?

    9A. What do they do that’s holding you back? Been to many doctor’s over the years, this started when I was in my twenties and I’m now 58. I’ve had plenty of Epidurals, physical therapy, then I went on disability and was on Medicaid where they didn’t approve the epidurals, so I was getting trigger point shots in my back. Emory is where I go now and they did get the Epidural approved through Medicaid. If anything is being held back for me it would be because of my insurance.

  10. How has chronic pain impacted your family life? Your social life? Your work life?

    10A.  I can’t work, I don’t do too much socially. I do have a 13 year old daughter that I try and do things that she might enjoy. Some of my family doesn’t see the pain I’m in and probably doesn’t believe it.


  11. Does the experience of living with chronic pain carry personal meaning or significance for you? Have you discussed this significance with your family? Your health providers?

    11A.  Jesus Christ suffered for us to save us from sin, that’s the meaning I take from dealing with pain. No I have not discussed this with anyone, it’s my own personal belief.

  12. What are your feelings when it comes to the thinking that the governments emphasis on opioids and the addictive qualities has taken away from the ability to manage patients pain and the inappropriate use which leads to addiction? Which in turn is actually hurting pain sufferers.

    12A.  I didn’t know if I’d answer this question or not. But I feel that when these drugs are prescribed they are needed in some cases. Although the longer you take them the more you need. Some people are so dependent on them that when they are no longer effective they turn to harder drugs like heroin for the pain. There should be more research done to help people with chronic pain, other resources. Such as Physical therapy or other new drugs that will help without it being an opiate.

  13. There is a stereotype out there that all those in “Pain” or on “opioids” are nothing more than addicts. Or, it’s all just in our heads?

    13A.  When you hear someone say one of these or something else similar, what’s your first thought? I know people suffer and people are wrong to think that of someone who takes opioids for pain, they are wrong. My sister was sick for years with pain and she needed it. I know another that actually had polio and needed help. There is a lot of suffering. We have to come up with something else other than this drug. I men scientist have to come up with other options. That’s what we should be fighting for

  14. Where do you go? Who do you talk to? What sites do you go on, when you have just had to much?

    14A.  I personally go to a therapist and a very close sister of mine. Most of my family have left my side over this situation. Only have my mother and the one sister out of 5 other sisters.

  15. Do you think your family, spouse or friends truly understand what and how your chronic pain is affecting you both physically and mentally?

    15A.  No they don’t, actually I’ve had family tell me to get off disability and get a job. Me and my daughter would be considered poor. But I can not work.

  16. How much is, too much? I really haven’t hit that point in life.

    16A.  I’ve had this for years and recently had a MRI and it’s is much worse than the MRI I had 4 years ago. So it is progressively worsening.

  17. What type of treatments have you tried to rid you of your pain? Which works best?

    17A.  Cortisone shots in my hips and Epidurals in my spine. The last Epidural I had didn’t do to much

  18. Have you found anyone or anything that actually helps with your pain relief?

    18A.  Praying, meditation, tramadol and ice packs.

  19. What’s treatments are in your pain relief toolbox? (massage, medication, ice/heat, physical therapy)?

    19A.  Massage would be wonderful, ice, physical therapy has not helped and plain old rest.

  20. What is your best piece of advice on how to best communicate when you’re in extreme pain?

    20A.  Help me with the house, to my daughter and kind understanding words. I simple rub of her hand on my back just for a moment helps me, knowing that she understands.

  21. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone new to chronic pain?

    21A.  Take care of yourself, know your limitations, when you feel good, go for it, but be careful. Don’t worry about what other people think is best for you and not to worry about explaining yourself.

  22. How do you stay in a good place with all of the physical issues you go through in a day?

    22A.  Constantly moving in different positions that help, don’t stay to long in one position.

  23. How do you stay in a good place with all of the mental issues that go along with controlling chronic pain?

    23A.  That’s very hard, I’ve had to go on antidepressants. I also go to church, to have faith and know who your true friends are. Stay away from negative people.

  24. How much of your day do you devote to your pain and trying to keep it in check?

    24A.  All day especially in the evening.img_3428

  25. Do you tell people near you when you need help or when you’re in so much pain you need a break, at home? At work?

    25A.  Yes I do at home, but my daughter helps me more mentally, than doing house work. She’s only thirteen and I’m trying to get her to chip in a little more when I need it. When she does, I praise her for the help.


If you or someone you know would like to share your Pain Journey with everyone to help give back during this Pain Awareness Month, please feel free to send your email to me at, iCareConsulting@att.net or send me your story in your words and I will post what you send.  Once I receive your email, I will forward you the questionnaire and once I receive it back I will let you know when it will be posted.  

Thank you all for your support and for helping to pay it forward to all those new to their pain journey and all the pain veterans who have been dealing with it for years.

Richard, I Make This Look Good, Santa Cruz 2013

Richard Kreis, Chronic Back Pain Survivor of 23-3/4 years

Thank you,

Richard Kreis



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