Open Letter To Doctors

What if it was you, in pain?

One day, not so long ago, my life changed. I woke up to pain and after four years that pain has never ceased and, has gotten steady worse. Four years ago I believed the worst part of my ordeal with pain to be over. Pain from Avascular Necrosis that took my left hip. But when I went to the doctor, it was decided not to be a return of AVN but something else. Something that would ultimately lead to two, new diagnoses added to an already long list of ailments and more pain.


It was already known I had Degenerative Disc Disease, Avascular Necrosis (Total Left Hip Replacement in ’10), Chronic Migraine, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS-d) and Asthma. Now, there was Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, Rheumatoid Arthritis (Inflammatory and Psoriatic) and Fibromyalgia. I also struggle with Anxiety, OCD, PTSD and Bipolar disorder. So many things have seemingly short circuited in my body in such a short time. So many symptoms on any given day that it is a constant reminder that nothing is the same. The number one symptom that is ever present: pain.


Four years ago I started on Tylenol with codeine. Then I progressed to hydrocodone and Zohydro and Balbuca and Hydromorphone, to no degree of success. Now I am on Nucynta and I can make it through my day 40% of the time. The other 60% I am struggling. It’s hard and I cry a lot. But you know what? 40% is good and I am grateful for that. Without my medicine that 40% is gone. So I ask those doctors out there who want to take medicine away from patients- why? The opioid crisis?


I think I’ve read pretty much an Odyssey’s worth of information on the opioid “crisis.” And it is not that I do not believe it because I am a patient taking opioids, nor do I want to take away anything from those families who have lost someone to opioids, but in my opinion, it’s bad science. I have read the CDC report, I have read opinions, I have read opinions of doctors and of patients. In my opinion, it’s bad science because it lumps people together that do not have a problem and those that do and while I could get into my own observations, this isn’t what this is about. This is about the 126 million pain patients that are sitting on a very precarious ledge, not knowing if tomorrow they are going to be able to get their medication that gives them their 40% or 30% or 20%. Because no matter the percentage, it’s their bit of pain free or even just comfortable, that helps them get through the day.


What if it was your son or daughter? Mother or father? What if…it was you I am not claiming I know anything other than what I read. But what if you could not practice your medicine? What if you were in too much pain day-to-day, to practice and see patients?  I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V., but at 55% of the population, I’d be worried about myself and my future with regards to pain. If you had 55% of the population with Ebola, you’d be well on your way to epidemic and hysteria. This sounds like epidemic to me and so what are you doing about it? Taking patients’ medicine away. Their lifeline to that 40%. It’s not right. But oh well, right. Not you.


I would sit down one day and think about how you’d want your family to be treated if you found out they were living in day-to-day pain. How you would like your partner to be treated? Those closest to you. And when you have an answer, think about it really hard. Then, take a look at what is happening in the world, because I doubt very much it is what you thought. The world is on fire with this opioid scare and those patients in pain are the ones being sacrificed. I thought you took an oath to do no harm. Isn’t this harm?



Liza Zoellick

Chronic Pain Patient

4 responses to “Open Letter To Doctors”

  1. Lisa, you hit the nail on the head. I agree with you 200%! This ill-founded hysteria is brought on by the government and the media. There is an ILLEGAL DRUG CRISIS at our boarders and in our streets. Just as scary is the CRISIS OF MALTREATMENT OF HUMANS IN CHRONIC PAIN. How distorted is that?!

    What a horrible country we live in where there is appropriate treatment/medication for pain and doctors are holding back. Their “do no harm” oath went right out the window. Doctors no longer autonomous. Why don’t doctors fight back? Shame on you Docs who know perfectly well how to treat those suffering with chronic pain. How can to u watch pain and suffering and do nothing besides cut their medication dose in half or more?

    Chronic pain patients are not the problem and neither are prescription opiates used properly. What percent of chronic pain pts abuse their opiate pain meds? Very few.

    Stand up for patients in chronic pain. Don’t be afraid. Treat their pain. Stand up for your colleagues who wish to treat their pain patients with dignity and respect by providing adequate pain control.

    What a lovely world it would be if people were treated HUMANELY.

    1. Thank you for your response and also reading my blog. I’m passionate about my advocacy and shedding light on those of us struggling with pain.

  2. Here’s a great read.

    Are Prescription Opioids Driving the Opioid Crisis? Assumptions vs Facts
    Mark Edmund Rose, BS, MA Author Notes
    Pain Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 4, 1 April 2018, Pages 793–807,
    Published: 27 December 2017

    1. Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: