In the wake of the opioid crisis, doctors have cut back on the number of pills they’re willing to prescribe, but where does that leave patients who suffer from chronic pain?
On Tuesday, a Vermilion woman told her story to Representative Dusty Johnson, a story she hopes makes it to Washington DC. Serena Clarkson suffers from CMT, a neuromuscular disease that makes simple things like walking extremely painful.
“So when did it get so bad you couldn’t ignore the fact that you needed help?” asks Johnson.
“When I walk on smooth concrete, it still feels like every step is a stabbing knife,” said Clarkson , “I have 19 different pills on a daily basis that I take and on a bad pain day, I can take up to 26.”
But that’s about to end when the pain pump she’s using right now, runs out.
“No doctor right now feels comfortable prescribing the opioids that I need to control my pain on a daily basis so that would mean I would have absolutely nothing to take for the pain,” said Clarkson.
Clarkson says she wants to bring awareness to CMT, because it’s not just about her.
“When you get to Washington DC, what are you going to talk about?” asks Johnson.
“I want people to know that neuromuscular disease is something real. Half the people in South Dakota have some kind of neuromuscular disease. They can’t advocate for themselves. They might not be able to talk or use their hands or get accessibility to Dusty like I was able to, I want to stand up for those people and say hey, we’re here. We need help, help us,” said Clarkson.
If you would like to help Clarkson’s cause, a fund has been set up at the Vermilion Federal Credit Union to help pay for her trip to Washington DC.