Voices Across America

The Long Arm of the Opioid Crisis: Suffering Untreated


State: Alabama
Congressional District: AL03


Chronic Pain, Endocrine Disease, Mental Health, Migraine, Neurological Disease, Skin Disease

Issues and Challenges

Joseph has encountered: Rare / Underserved Disease, Medical Discrimination

My Story

I have had Lumbar Fusion and 2 revision surgeries. I was overweight and a Type 2 Diabetic so I decided to have a Gastric Bypass procedure to try and alleviate some of the Lumbar pain. After losing over 100 pounds I still had the Lumbar Pain, Bilateral Numbness and severe Sciatica. That was 12 years ago.

I started having Neck, Shoulder, Arm and Hand Pain along with the Lumbar issues. I had a CT and MRI Scan. In my Cervical Spine I have several bone spurs and have been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. With my gastric bypass I do not absorb pain medications like anyone else does (it is call Malabsorptive Disorder) so I am taking 4500 mg of Methocarbamol, 30 mg Cyclobenzaprine, 1800 mg of Gabapentin ,15 mg of Diazepam, 150 mg of Seroquel every day with no relief.

I have been to Physical Therapy, Chiropractors and Pain Management. My orthopedic surgeon says I need surgery but it would be a nightmare and he will not perform the procedure. I have also seen a Neurologist who claims I don't need surgery I need more physical therapy. My family physician says that he knows that i must be in pain after reviewing my scans.

None of the physicians will prescribe the high dose of opioids that I would need to break through the effect of the Gastric Bypass, I have asked for a pain patch, a standard dose of which would help.

I am so tired of being seen as someone looking for pain meds to get high. With all of the different doctors I have seen, I myself feel that I appear to be a hypochondriac always complaining and begging for help. The Opioid Crisis has long reaching effects and hurts the people that actually need the medication.

My Motivation and Inspiration

Here is a Haiku about my life.

I am so tired.
Where did my money go.
My back hurts.

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