NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As more laws and regulations are put in place to prevent abuse of prescription and over the counter drugs, many chronic pain patients are left to suffer with little to no relief.
"Days like this one are pretty good. I can get up and do just about anything anybody else can," said Donna Marsh.
For Marsh, those days aren't as often as she would like as she explained, "I have Lupus, I have fibromyalgia, I've had two strokes, I've had open heart surgery, I even have narcolepsy, that's the fun one."
Marsh said the pain is unbearable, "You feel weak, you have no energy, your head hurts, you can't think straight, it's like the worst case of flu you've ever had, only I live with it every day."
To find relief, Marsh tries old school methods like hot showers or soaking in Epsom Salt, but sometimes her pain pads and hydrocodone are the only things that give her peace.
She said people often say, "Well if you get a job, if you exercise more, you would get rid of stuff like that. They can't fathom people hurting like that or like some people do."
That's a problem she has run into more recently as pharmacy workers are more cautious in filling certain prescriptions.
"I go to another pharmacy and they're like, 'why aren't you going to your regular pharmacy?' well they don't have any, 'and they won't fill your prescription?' no, 'well maybe we shouldn't fill it either.'"
With new databases put in place to prevent people from abusing some of the over the counter pain relievers and more pharmacies experiencing burglaries for those now hard to get drugs, many pharmacies just don't keep large doses of those drugs in the store.
"I understand why it needs to be done, I truly do, I've seen it first hand, but how does causing another problem fix that one?"
To help more people who are living with chronic illnesses, Marsh started a support group call Nashville Fibro Friends to be a relief when medication is not enough.
Students in the Academy of Energy and Power at Maplewood are busy getting ready for next week's Project Expo and had the opportunity to show it off some of their projects to Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.