Category Archives: Writing

My cabin home burned down

I moved into a funky 600-sqft cabin in the wilderness of the Santa Cruz mountains 30 years and 5 months ago, just a small rudimentary cabin bolted to huge wooden poles set into the steep slopes of a deeply forested hill.

It was surrounded by groves of huge redwoods, many oak and madrone trees, and all kinds of wild critters from mountain lions and deer to coyotes, raccoons, and adorable little deermice. With large windows, few neighbors, and no need for curtains, it was like camping out in a tree house.

It was a difficult place to live: 30 steps of stairs up to the cars, 10 miles of tiny crinkly roads to the nearest town and 20 steep curving miles “over the hill” to jobs (and medical,care) in Silicon Valley. The only heat was from a woodstove and we cooked on a miniature stove fueled by a propane tank in the kitchen. Continue reading

About Wearing a Mask…

I was blogging about an article, Does Wearing a Mask Protect Me?, and found myself getting angrier and angrier about all the propaganda (deliberate lies) we’ve been fed about how to protect ourselves from COVID.

“It’s been a real deficiency in the messaging about masking to say that it only protects the other,” said Charles Haas, an environmental engineer and expert in risk assessment at Drexel University.

“From the get-go, that never made sense scientifically.”

That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking all along, it seems so obvious.  Continue reading

Why I’m posting about the Coronavirus

You may wonder why I’m posting about the coronavirus these days, not just about pain and medical care.

To get a more balanced view of this potentially deadly new medical problem, I’m trying to find articles with facts and/or ideas that aren’t mainstream. As usual, whether it be opioids or coronavirus, the mainstream media seems to misinterpret and exaggerate any possible dangers, appealing to our panicked attention.

For example, reading only the mainstream news and all the panic about disinfecting all surfaces at all times, it’s easy to forget that you can’t get sick just from touching the virus. Getting the virus on your skin (as long as it’s not broken) has no consequences in itself.  Continue reading

Profit Motive as Cause of Previous Over-Prescribing

I keep reading about studies that show opioids to be no more effective for pain than non-opioid medications or other therapies. I still cannot believe that.

At first, I was convinced the studies had been corrupted, then I thought that the statistics were improperly manipulated, then I thought the patients had been poorly selected, but now I’m running out of excuses to insist those studies are wrong.

Still, it makes no sense to me that the only medication or treatment or therapy that has reliably reduced my pain for decades can be “proven” to be no better than drugstore pills (NSAIDs).  Continue reading

Life in these Corona Times

A friend recently resolved to keep the TV off during daylight, and that made me think about the media frenzy around this virus, especially on TV because it’s consumed passively. Once tuned to a channel, it tends to stay there.

The channel’s programming decides which information we should know, what opinions we should have, how we should behave. The media we’re exposed to carves a deep alarmist bias into our thinking, and we’re usually unaware of it.

Day and night, the media streams into people’s homes, into eyes and ears, and into the brain, eventually even the subconscious. Original thinking is crushed under the relentless assault of violently opinionated media voices.  Continue reading

California’s Death (of Sanity) Certificate Project

California’s Death (of Sanity) Certificate Project

I recently read an article, California Doctors Alarmed As State Links Their Opioid Prescriptions to Deaths, that infuriates and frightens me: I’m furious that doctors are being persecuted for opioid prescriptions written years ago, and frightened that my doctor here in California may be pressured to stop prescribing them for my painful genetic disorder (Ehlers-Danlos).

Twenty-six states have already implemented arbitrary restrictions on our appropriately prescribed opioids, but the California medical board’s project is even more of a nightmare:    Continue reading

The Subtle Arrogance of Good Health

The Subtle Arrogance of Good Health – by Angelika Byczkowski (repost)

Until my physical ailments began worsening rapidly in my late 40’s, I was a high achiever, proud of my “kick ass” attitude, thinking I was so competent I could surmount any challenge life threw at me. Life appeared to be straightforward and I didn’t understand why this didn’t seem to be the case for so many other less fortunate folks.

Though I worked hard for my accomplishments and sometimes struggled, there was never a question of ability, never a doubt I’d prevail if I made enough effort. Looking back now, I can see the consistent achievements that came so easily and so early in life instilled in me a subtle subconscious arrogance.   Continue reading

Were Consequences of CDC Guideline Unintended?

CDC Opioid Prescribing Guideline: Unintended Consequences? – July 2018 – an angry essay by yours truly, Angelika Byczkowski (Zyp Czyk)

I’m sick and tired of reading over and over how all the entirely predictable consequences of the CDC Opioid Prescribing Guideline were “unintended” and “unforeseeable”.

The broad misinterpretation of the guideline as establishing fixed limits on opioid prescribing has stranded hundreds of thousands of pain patients in agony without the effective relief they had achieved with opioids.

Yet we are expected to believe that these consequences were “unintended” and “unforeseeable” by the guideline authors. Most pain patients realized right away that the guideline’s suggestions would become codified rules, no matter how little evidence supported them.

And we were right – more than we ever imagined…  Continue reading

Comment on Opioid Limits to HHS Task Force

This was published in the National Pain Report as What I Told the U.S. Government About Pain, but in case you didn’t see it, here it is:

I just have so much to say about this governmental intrusion into our medical care that I couldn’t figure out what to write. So, I decided to comment on just one facet of this ridiculous “war on opioids”: standardizing opioid milligrams prescribed for pain.

I believe we can leave numerous comments, starting with a fresh form each time so I may write another. Just to give you ideas, here’s the comment I left:

I’m writing to urge that you please don’t let the government set standard opioid dose limits for individual patients. Opioids are my only means of relief from a painful connective tissue disorder.   Continue reading

How the war on opioids has harmed some patients

How the war on opioids has harmed some patients – KevinMD – by Angelika – Jan 2019

Treating a patient’s distressing health symptoms with prescribed medication is an unquestioned intervention in any other area of medicine, like diabetes (goal is “control blood sugar,” accomplished by insulin) or high blood pressure (goal is “lower blood pressure,” accomplished by various antihypertensive medications).

Even erectile dysfunction is considered a “medical issue” deserving palliation with a medication (goal is to “achieve an erection,” accomplished by Viagra).

But when dealing with the medical issue of chronic pain…

I hope you’ll go visit the site where my essay was published and perhaps even leave a comment.