This is in response to what Mo Brooks recently said, and also what’s going on with healthcare today.
The healthcare battle is important to me and others like me. I am 31 and I have chronic pain. I have had pain since I was a child, pain that seems to be worsening as I get older. I have Type 2 Trigeminal Neuralgia, which has progressed from Type 1 (Classic). I have all the symptoms of occipital neuralgia as well.
Obamacare allowed me to have the health insurance I needed in order to see a doctor and afford my medication.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a rare disorder of the fifth cranial nerve which supplies sensations of touch to the face. Because anything that touches my face in certain trigger points can cause extreme pain, I always wear a scarf and keep my face covered whenever I go out. I have to be very careful to avoid triggers. I’m a little embarrassed to share the photo below, but this is me on a recent walk. It was windy out, and I have to be extremely careful:
Last year, I had a severe flare-up that lasted a month (sometimes my pain attack flare-ups last several months) and I had to go to the Urgent Care. I was treated like a drug seeker and spoken to in a condescending manner. I am judged because I am young and I don’t “look sick.”
This is what Congressman Mo Brooks recently stated:
“My understanding is that (the new proposal) will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool,” Brooks said. “That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people–who’ve done things the right way–that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”
I have a low income. I cannot afford to contribute more than I already do to my health insurance.
I did everything the “right way.” I didn’t cause this chronic pain.
I did nothing to deserve my illness. I cannot stand it when people imply that I’m not trying hard enough to “fix” things. I have come up against this stigma even in my personal life. Even those closest to me have judged me for my pain, despite the fact that I’m a hard worker who does my best to cope each day with these challenges. I work, I put a smile on my face when needed (if it doesn’t hurt to do so) and I do the best that I can.
No one has any right to judge me or anyone else who suffers with chronic pain.
My neurologist thinks I was born this way. I have tried many things, including alternative medicines and lifestyle changes, in order to reduce the pain. I have had very little success. I take 2500 mg of gabapentin per day (the maximum dosage).
I used to run every day and participate in 5K races. Now, I do my best to get exercise without triggering pain. I can’t run anymore, though occasionally I try. I participate in Wing Chun classes (martial arts) when I am able to do so.
I lead the best life that I can.
How dare you, Mr. Brooks. How dare you imply that some of us are not leading “good lives.” This is how I interpreted your comment, and it stung.
Talk to people and expand your mind. Be more compassionate. Learn about these things. Right now, the left side of my face is exploding in pins and needles because there’s a slight draft passing through my living room. A spike of pain occasionally goes up the right side of my neck even as I sit here. I am 31, I am ill, and I need health insurance. I challenge you to learn more about the people who would be affected by these changes in healthcare.
I also challenge you to think before you speak. Mr. Brooks, your statement was uncalled for, rude, and dismissive of real people who are ill through no fault of their own.
I dare you to take it back.