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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Billie Davis
Lake Havasu City, AZ


I am a 54 year-old female and have had IgM monoclonal gammopathy for 11 years. It has caused very painful peripheral neuropathy (PN). I take lots of neurontin, which causes forgetfulness and reduces the pain very little. I do not take other pain medication. I had rituxan treatment a few months ago but there's been no improvement so far. I went to Mayo Clinic this year for PN and was diagnosed with leukemia, which is asymptomatic so far.

I've had back pain for 35 years. I have degenerative arthritis in my back and hips and sciatica in one of my legs. The pain has spread to my right elbow, right thumb and neck, which causes headaches. I cannot take vioxx or aspirin (Tylenol does not work for me) since being in hospital last week with inflamed intestines and ulcer near bleeding. It takes 2-3 hours for me to get to sleep because of burning feet (PN). I wake up every hour with pain from arthritis (which is worse while lying down). I do not usually take sleeping medications since they make me feel lousy next day.

I go to an oncologist/hemotologist, neurologist and PCP, and I've been to a pain management clinic. None have helped much with my chronic pain. I think about suicide a lot, but would not do that to my family (so far). My husband said he would understand if I did it. He puts up with so much, helps me in any way and is a great guy. I am afraid to take addictive pain medication for fear of abuse. Most PN patients take them. I use to have a couple of alcoholic drinks at bedtime; it helped me go to sleep. But my ulcer put a stop to that.

Otherwise I am quite healthy (HA HA) and exercise (treadmill) 5 days a week. It is painful and makes the PN really bad for a couple of hours, but I would probably be in a wheelchair by now if I did not do it. I am lucky compared to a lot of people with PN (mostly diabetics).

YOUR STORIES
Zoe Albright, Stroke
Betty Bennett, Kidney Disease
Roxanne Bedford-Curbow, Seizures
Valerie Brekke, Fibromyalgia
Lily Casura, Chronic Fatigue
Billie Davis, Peripheral Neuropathy
Penny Day, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Julia DeJesus, Seizure Disorder
MS Patient, Fairfax, VA
Charisse Farmer, Hydrocephalus
Katherine Fielder, Chronic Pain
Zoe Francis, Juvenile Diabetes
James Hines, Hemochromatosis
William Holford, Emphysema
Nancy K, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Patricia Lawson, Natural Rubber Latex Allergy
James Locke, Crohn's Disease
Gary Maslow, various
Kathy Matthews, Parkinson's
Andrea Meyer, MS
Gina Owens, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
Alicia Salas, Chronic Pain
Allison Scott, Chronic Pain
Deborah Serrano, Stroke
Becky Shively, Phenylketonuria
Jennifer Smallin, Type I Diabetes
Joanna Southerland, Diabetes
Alina Valdes, Cystic Fibrosis
Elizabeth Wertz, Seizures

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Jose Pedro Greer, Physician
W.F. Nagle, Physician
Ronda Riebman, Exercise
Cathleen Schilling, Case Manager
Jim Sykes

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