Pain, Sins, and Reflection

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Almost 13 months to the day, I joined several of my colleagues at PainWeek 2013 in Las Vegas, where PROMPT and PROP had planned an all-out debate which ultimately was transformed into an informational session because earlier scheduled participants had some “misgivings” about the format. Some will recall that last year’s meeting fell on Yom Kippur, a Day of reflection and atonement among Jews worldwide.

Today is particularly special because once every 33 years the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur coincide as both Judaism and Islam rely on lunar calendars. 

Without intent to sanctify anything religiously, I thought it would nice to reach out to our blog followers from any, all, or no religious faiths simply because of the unusual and coincidental spiritual eclipse of the day.

Muslims are marking Eid al-Adha, a three-day holiday that started Saturday across much of the Middle East. It commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim — or Abraham as he is known in the Bible — to sacrifice his son in accordance with God’s will, though in the end God provides him a sheep to sacrifice instead. On the start of Eid al-Adha, Muslims slaughter sheep, cattle and other livestock, and give part of the meat to the poor.Husky pup

Is this a triple whammy? YES!  For many U.S. churches, today also marks the celebration of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. It commemorates the life of St Francis, born in the 12th century, the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment.

And, as a former professor of mine, Dr. Fred Arthur Childs, posted today on Facebook, “The Yad Vashem site recounts the story of the Assisi Network, which harbored hundreds of Jews in Franciscan friaries and convents around Assisi.”

What’s the bottom line?  Human or animal, we can all get along!

What does this have to do with or those experiencing chronic pain and the many clinicians that care for them?  I am reminded that worldwide people continue to suffer day in and day out; others are trapped “within” spiritually and suffer daily because they lost precious loved ones to an opioid overdose; and still others seek to ubiquitously label all that require opioids as opioid-laden addicts that don’t really require potent chronic opioid therapy and might somehow respond to everything but opioids.

Inspired by annual dialogue recited within Temples worldwide, there is much applicability to those with chronic pain and for those that care for them personally or professionally.

So, for every person who carries the burden of chronic pain,

and for those that care for them;

and those that are daunted by the wrath of depression and anxiety;

and the medical providers that have chosen to abandon their promise of medical necessity after ruling out other options;

they should all perhaps reflect on their daily actions. 

This reflection does not require a religious connection, but more importantly a humanistic understanding of right from wrong.

So once again this year, I think we ALL need to reflect on the following excerpts which clearly are applicable to the clinicians that care for patients, those that profess to be pain pharmacotherapy experts, journalists that are more interested in selling stories than publishing ALL the facts, and politicians…

For passing judgment without knowing the facts, and distorting facts to fit our theories.
For deceiving ourselves and others with half-truths,

And for pretending to have emotions we do not feel.
For using the sins of others to excuse our own, and for denying responsibility for our own misfortunes.

For condemning in our [colleagues] the failures we tolerate in ourselves,
And for condemning in our [teachers] the faults we tolerate in Ourselves.

Whose hunger shall be for the good, Who shall thirst for justice and right.
Whose tongue shall be a thrusting sword, Whose words shall make for peace.

Who shall be plagued by fear of the world, who shall struggle for lack of friends.
Who shall rest at the end of the day, who lie sleepless on a bed of pain.
Who shall go forth in the quest of truth, Who shall be locked in the prison of self.
Who shall be serene in every storm, Who shall be troubled by the passing breeze.
Who shall be poor in the midst of possessions, Who shall be rich, content with their lot.

In closing, for those who continue to endure daily pain, I wish continued hope, courage, and trust that we live in a country where people are honest and caring; that your suffering WILL NOT be for naught; and that redemption of your ailments will eventually be forthcoming.  

And, for those folks who profess to be the experts and thrash their tongue about to the media while more and more patients continue to suffer, remember…

You are not so righteous to say: I have not sinned. People are in fact arrogant, brutal, careless, destructive, egocentric, false, greedy, heartless, insolent, and joyess. Our sins are an alphabet of woe.
You cannot be Judge and Arbiter, Counsel and Witness.
You are not God!   

As usual, comments are encouraged!

Italics above from Gates of Repentance
The New Union Prayerbook for the Days of Awe
Central Conference of American Rabbis, 5738 NY 1978




10 thoughts on “Pain, Sins, and Reflection

  1. About two weeks ago Dr. Kolodny sent me a email about him no longer be president of PROP saying Dr. Jane Ballantyne was taking his place. This email didn’t end without something negative being said about opioids. The FDA approved a new extended-release opioid called Targiniq ER which contains oxycodone combined with naloxone. Naloxone deters misuse by injection and snorting but naloxone has no effect on the brain when taken orally. This means that when chewed, extended-release Targiniq ER tablets will immediately release the entire dose of oxycodone – the naloxone will have no effect. Maybe if he would have never mentioned this people that abuse opioids would have never known.
    But all narcissist have this overestimation of his or her own appearance and abilities and an excessive need for admiration.

    I tried replying to Dr. Kolodny several times with nice emails asking why he needs to be so negative on this subject of opioids but he never replied back to me. Can he not see all the problems chronic pain sufferers face each day and things keep getting worse. I’m starting to wonder if certain people feel are not ,if some ripple of inhumanity is built in to this wave of cruelty and indifference. Could it be he has no recourse or plan of action to solve this problem on opioid abuse but can only complain. Could this be the reason why he refused to show up at PAINWEEK 2013 for a all out debate amongst PROP and PROMPT.

    All of us Senior Sufferers like Celeste , Donna and myself must keep writing how can make sense out of this War on Pain Sufferers and make things better for the next generation . Thank you Dr. Fudin for giving us a place to discuss this matter and giving your time when I know you stay busy helping your own patients.

    1. Kolodny can’t answer you because he wants all opioids stripped from pain patients save those with cancer. He is a self-centered crusader who absolutely fails to recognize that, just as he claimed of others, he has blood on his hands for his out-sized influence resulting in the war on pain patients. He can’t admit this. I am through with trying to be even handed with him, he’s a danger to those of us who depend on opioids for being able to have some semblance of our former lives. That he is no longer the head of PROP doesn’t exonerate his behavior and the vast damage that he’s wreaked on innocent pain patients. One can only hope that he disappears inside the addiction world from which he should never have ventured.

  2. Spirituality is such an important piece to having balance in our lives. There is research that suggests physicians have difficulty approaching this subject with their patient because they are unsure of where they stand on their own thoughts. When I wrote the chapter on spirituality for one of our books, I initially thought, how in the world will I tackle this intangible subject. So, I started researching. What I found that it is exactly as you say Dr. Fudin, all the great religious theologies are based on what is right and what is wrong. One does not have to be religious to be spiritual.

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
    ― Maya Angelou

    To be successful at any goal, I must have an open mind and willing heart, judge not, embrace change, and be a steadfast observer of all wisdom. Celeste

    1. Celeste,
      The truth is, I am not an especially very religious man. But, I certainly have a foundation in theology. I do believe in right and wrong, and good versus evil – and I see it daily. Psychologist Dr. Scott Peck’s book People of the Lie, provided a very interesting thesis whereby he categorizes “evil” on the DSM Criteria as a subset of narcissism. This really helps to explain what we’re all facing because that disorder is not treatable or curable. Those folks are basically sociopaths. It’s a short read, inexpensive, and worth it to read his perspective. Many who fit into his criteria of “evil” are in his own words politicians, I cringe to say government workers, surgeons, and people in positions of power. Sound familiar? Perhaps I need a separate blog on this.

  3. Thank you for ALL the hard work you do to help teach others about treating pain. We all appreciate you very much Dr. Fudin for supporting ALL the chronic pain patients.
    Speaking of religion in the blog posting above made me think of how people are treated. In all religions, It is about right and wrong.
    This lead me to think about the many blogs and articles pertaining to chronic pain that I read daily.
    I often wonder, if anyone from the government ever reads our words about the subject other than pain patients and a few doctors who support these people. Are we all commenting to articles and writing on blogs to fall on deaf ears? Are we being heard by anyone that can really make the changes? It seems that only advocates and the people suffering are hearing these cries for help. Only people that have an interest in what is happening with chronic pain patients stay informed on what’s happening these days. What can we do to get them to listen? WE write, call and even go see Federal and state Representatives but nothing ever happens in favor for the suffering and it isn’t getting easier, nor is there any compassion from them. Nothing has effected the pendulum swing to change it back to balance. It’s been years now since the so called epidemic started. Still remains.. patients being called addicts. It seems people care more about addicts than real pain patients. The stress for these suffering patients has become unbearable, pharmacy crawling to only be denied vital medicine. Doctors turning chronic pain patients away and cutting doses down so extreme that the long term patients have no quality of life anymore. Doctors who once supported these patients are now talking opposite way of the papers they once wrote about the subject and the medicine. Was all that not true? All because of the fear of being jailed. Is this what our future is going to remain? What happened to the pain patients Bill of Rights? It seems no one cares to go by that anymore. The DEA needs to be stopped. How do we get this done?
    I wish there was more we could do together as whole to get the message out that innocent people are being treated worse than animals in the USA. What’s even more sad, it’s become acceptable to treat humans this way. It’s just ok to turn face from them and be blind to the pain..

    1. Donna,
      Some things I can’t promise, but please believe me when I tell you that government leaders from various agencies within and outside state boarders are most certainly following these posts. How do I know? Because I’m watching them too! 🙂

  4. I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful service you give to all of us out here who are suffering because of ignorance or arrogance. I wished my Dr would see this message and contemplate on how it feels to walk in my shoes. Your work is a blessing to all you touch and for that you are blessed.

  5. Dr. Fudin, I must have been channeling your thoughts on this topic when I posted Confessions of a Bigot last week at It is a significant time for all three of our religions, all of us inextricably linked to the same God, sharing the same foundational history with that God. St. Franicis prayed “Make me an instrument of thy peace,” yet the same Christians who celebrate his day tomorrow can’t even respect–much less love–one another. And of course we are not alone in this blatant rejection of the tenets of our faith. You have written an elegant plea for repentance and reconciliation. Would that we all – Jews, Muslims, and Christians – take it deeply to heart.

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