Archive | August, 2012

Summertime & Grandma’s Desserts: Grilled Peaches & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

28 Aug

By Heather Grace, IPJ Staff Writer

There are not many gluten free desserts that are easy to make at home and make my mouth water. This is a definite exception–a spectacularly sumptuous summertime treat… One of my favorite memories of grandma’s house growing up.

Never one to allow her grandchildren to eat junk food, my grandmother ensured every meal contained only the best ingredients. Even our desserts were that way–wholesome and good for you. Many days, our dessert consisted of fruit from the garden. Or homemade strawberry shortcake from the field nearby. But we knew we were in for a treat when we saw the peaches in the fruit bowl on the table!

Yummy Grilled Peaches
Above: Grilled peaches are exceptional alone or with some vanilla bean ice cream. Juicy summery goodness!

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Gluten Free Goodness: Grilled Peaches & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This quick, simple recipe has just a handful of ingredients–four that you probably have in your kitchen right now! It’s great for impromptu summer gatherings or for a bunch or hard-to-please kids. (Best of all, it’s also a healthy gluten-free dessert!)

Ingredients:
4 tbsp brown sugar (or to taste)
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
4 fresh peaches
vegetable oil (I prefer grapeseed or olive)
1 quart vanilla bean ice cream

Prep:

Cut peaches all the way around along seam, half them & remove pit. Brush cut side (where pit was) lightly with oil. Cook pit side down on low to medium flame on the grill, until fruit has grill marks. Usually 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn peaches over and move to indirect heat. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture evenly across all peach halves. Cook on low &/or indirect heat until sugar melts and fruit is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Immediately remove from heat & sprinkle remaining spice mixture in the center of each peach-where the pit was. This will melt best & won’t slide off the hot fruit.

Serve in shallow bowls with a scoop each of vanilla bean ice cream. Top with extra sprinkle of cinnamon/nutmeg if you like. Or for variety, try drizzling on some chocolate sauce.

Serves 8, 1/2 peach each.

** Nectarines or pears are also great on the grill! **

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Somehow dessert was always better when grandma made it. Even the peaches alone are delish. And with ice cream on top? Now that’s heavenly! Peaches are in season, so try this sweet summer treat today. Yum!

© 2010-2012 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

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Pain Daze – A Chronic Pain Comic Strip

27 Aug

“Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012 – Day 7

by Heather Grace IPJ Staff Writer

Introducing a badly drawn comic strip, by a woman that doesn’t look too different than the badly drawn main character–on a hard day!

Pain Daze-First Issue of Comic Strip

The above blog entry is part of a week-long series created by WEGO Health “Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012. You may follow my blog here, and see me on Twitter @IntractablePain. Check out other entries: #A4AMONTH.

© 2010-2012 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

Life is Precious & Short: Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

26 Aug

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May
By Robert Herrick, 1591 – 1674
.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.
.
The glorious lamp of Heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run.
And nearer he’s to setting.
.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

“Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012 – Day 6

by Heather Grace IPJ Staff Writer

Purple RosesThis poem is a great one to illustrate how fleeting time is. For people with chronic illness, this is a sentiment we know all too well. For us, the “good ol’ days” are all the more brief.

Having lived with chronic pain since 1999, I lost a lot of my youth. I had no idea that my youth would be stolen from my grasp all too soon. I was barely 26 when I first visited a doctor, complaining of pain in my arm, and increasing headaches. I didn’t know the entire problem was coming from my neck. That would take many more years of increasing pain, stress and difficulty with everyday life to uncover.

By the time I realized my youth had melted away, I was very ill. Looking back to see what I had lost, I was really sad. And angry. I had spent most of “good years” working my ass off between school, work and writing for a newspaper. I didn’t even stop to smell the roses, much less gather them. If I think about it for too long, it destroys me. (Tears are already crashing down my cheeks as I write this…)

It’s not easy to look back with regret, no matter the circumstance. But is all the more intense when you realize the rest of your life will be spent in constant, severe pain. Obviously, I wish I had the ability to go back, and goof off. Be a kid! Gather to my heart’s content! Be irresponsible… crazy. Stupid, even!

Instead of being a carefree kid, I look back on a lot of hard work: the 12-15 units/year I took throughout college, the late nights in the newsroom and the days coming home smelling like pizza… All of this, to get an AA and two BAs in 5 years time. Even while I was starting to feel really crummy, I was still in gung ho education mode. When my pain went from chronic to intractable, I was in the middle of my MBA program, trying to figure out how to complete my degree! I was convinced I’d be getting my life back soon, so I pushed myself to finish that degree, with help from the ADA office.

Ironically, it was all for nothing. These are degrees that I cannot even make use of today! Truthfully, I feel cheated. I’m so incredibly Type A that even now, I can’t help being hard on myself about making what seemed like wise decisions for my future! I focused so intently on my future, because I wanted out of the crappy situation I was born into… To know that I would never have to go back there. That I could depend on myself, and never have to ask them for anything ever again.

None of it mattered. I’m still broke on the verge of losing everything. I’m still considering whether I should ask them for help or not. And, I’m still feeling helpless and scared like I never wanted to be again. It sucks. To be upset that I “wasted” my youth on education is not a story you hear everyday! But, that’s life with chronic pain/chronic illness. You’re never quite the same as the normal people.

While I am by no means recommending that anyone drop out of school, I do think everyone should spend more time doing things that make them happy, whenever possible. Please just re-read the poem. Don’t put off anything that you value… even if it’s being silly with friends or taking the trip of a lifetime. You don’t need me to light a fire under you, but maybe this was a good reminder.

You may try to convince yourself that there’s all the time in the world to do the things you want to do. In your heart, you know there isn’t–I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a simple truth, but in our busy lives, we forget it sometimes: you never really know what the future will hold. So, what’s holding you back?

These days, I am happy with a “good” day where the pain isn’t too intense and I can do something that’s important to me. When I have the chance to really laugh out loud, that’s a great day. A day when I can forget about the pain for even a minute–that’s a spectacular one!

So, come on, it’s your turn. Happiness is waiting. What will you give yourself permission to do just for you? You’ve been thinking about it… now go out there and do it!

The above blog entry is part of a week-long series created by WEGO Health “Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012. You may follow my blog here, and see me on Twitter @IntractablePain. Check out other entries: #A4AMONTH.

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May is available freely, in the public domain.

© 2010-2012 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

Life with Nerve Pain: True Story of the Princess & the Pea

25 Aug

“Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012 – Day 5

by Heather Grace IPJ Staff Writer/Storyteller

Have you heard the story of The Princess and the Pea? The princess suffered a lot more than discomfort and lack of sleep from a tiny green pea being under her mattress. There’s a lot more to the tale. You haven’t heard the whole story… Until now.

In this fairytale, learn how facing the reality of her nerve pain changes a very sick little girl into the princess she was meant to be.

Go ahead… Curl up and listen, just like you did when it was “story time” as a child:

True Story of Princess and the Pea (MP3)

Feel free to share this story with children who have chronic pain, intractable pain and especially nerve pain. And, if you live with pain, this fairytale may you help explain to children what people with chronic pain go through. I look forward to your comments. Enjoy!

The above blog entry is part of a week-long series created by WEGO Health “Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012. You may follow my blog here, and see me on Twitter @IntractablePain. Check out other entries: #A4AMONTH.

© 2010-2012 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

Surprise! We’re Chronic and Intractable Pain Patients, NOT Addicts!

24 Aug

“Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012 – Day 4

by Heather Grace IPJ Staff Writer

severe back painThere are plenty of things the average person doesn’t know about the pain community. Let’s focus on a really harmful myth: The stereotype about pain patients being a bunch of crazed addicts. It really rubs me the wrong way. Our reality couldn’t be further from the truth. And it’s time you heard some of the reasons why. Here we go:

First, I think it’s important to set the record straight regarding the myth that people with pain who are prescribed pain medication are in serious danger of becoming addicts. Chronic/intractable patients who take pain medication are no more likely to become addicted than the general public, despite the media mudslinging. Their biased attacks are damaging to pain patients–threatening access to vital medication throughout the country. I’m not sure why the media has resorted to such harmful tactics, but we’re not actually that newsworthy. Though fact-based stories on addiction stats can be boring, we’re just like the rest of the country. According to government statistics (SAMHSA), the addiction rates are well under 5%.

Living with Pain

Regardless of the public’s often negative viewpoint, people with diseaseses like Central Pain Syndrome, Adhesive Arachnoiditis or Trigeminal Neuralgia often depend on prescription medication. It’s an important part of many patients’ pain care protocol. Not because they want to use this medication; it’s not because they enjoy the ongoing doubt by family and friends, the hesitation of physicians, the media attacks that end up riling up the public into near-frenzy. As patients, each of us takes whatever treatment works for us, because we want some semblance of a life back. Period.

We never asked for any of this. Personally I’m shy by nature. I don’t want to be the center of attention for any reason. But to question my character, to believe I am capable of being a bad person, scheming and creating this whole “illness” — that makes me sick to my stomach.

I’m not an addict. I’m not enjoying one minute of any of this. I didn’t enjoy the years of mistrust that kept me from getting care. I didn’t enjoy the fact that I was a rag doll being tossed around the Worker’s Comp System at will. And, I certainly don’t enjoy the fact that I will live with intractable pain for the rest of my life because they didn’t treat my illness effectively when I begged them over and over for their help. Even more, I don’t enjoy all the worry this situation creates.

pain medication

I don’t think most people realize that we who life under the microscope merely because we are sick absolutely hate it. I hate that I have to worry every minute about my doctor being there for me from month to month. What if he retired? Or was investigated and bankrupted by his defense? What if he just couldn’t take the pressure any more and walked away? Worry about the pharmacy having my medication, or like my doc, being investigated and going broke. Then, there’s worrying I will get a knock on my door from the friendly neighborhood DEA. Merely being a patient has gotten many people arrested, and even imprisoned–and I know I wouldn’t survive that! And then there’s the very real concern that federal or state laws will regulate me right into an early grave.

If you think I’m a bad example and no one else worries like this, think again. I’ve talked to many others and they are all scared. As if the stress is good for us! If your illness was constantly in the media spotlight, how would you feel? What if there was also increasingly tough legislation that you knew was endangering people’s lives all over the country? It’s a scary time to be a pain patient.

I even dislike the process and all the nonsense that goes with it. Unlike other illnesses, we cannot just see the doctor every 3-4 months or longer. Nope. Even though I like my doctor, I despise being forced to check in like clockwork, monthly. Same with the meds. We cannot get 90 days worth of medication at a time with a bunch of refills–despite the fact that this is a lifelong illness. Oh no, we’re at the pharmacy every 30 days. And what’s even more annoying to me… refills are not allowed. And, if you happen to see your doc a little early? That makes things even more fun. When I go to the pharmacy, the prescription has to be put on hold and filled later. Why? It hasn’t been long enough since I last filled it. What’s even more upsetting is that I am stuck in California. I cannot move–even if living elsewhere may be cheaper, because I’m terrified I couldn’t find a decent doctor elsewhere. (I’m blessed to have a very good one here.)

Reading all of the above should present a pretty clear picture of all the reasons why none of us enjoy being reliant on opioid medication for our treatment. Why on earth would any of us want to live this way? It’s not a choice–that’s what people need to understand. Not at all.

And, here’s the real shocker. Like most people who are in severe, constant pain, I have never gotten a “high” feeling from my medication. Ever. I think that would surprise most people. But, here’s the thing… We need the medication just as if we had anemia and needed to take iron. Or had diabetes and needed insulin. It’s the correct treatment for a serious illness. I’ve talked to many other people who’ve had the same experience. We don’t see why people abuse pain medication. It doesn’t make sense to us, because we’ve never seen that side of these medications. To us, they are vital treatments for a gravely serious disease. To us, pain medication is a lifesaving treatment. Period.

I wouldn’t wish my pain on anyone. Ever. But, I really do wish everyone would have the decency to believe us when we say we’re in serious pain and persist with our pleas for help over so many years. All we want is some mercy. Some understanding. The willingness to see us for who we are without judging. To believe us. The fact that we don’t have that from the world around us is what really surprises me.

People with chronic and intractable pain are just like anyone with a life-threatening health problem. We very ill people who need ongoing access to a truly vital treatment. Is that really so difficult to understand?

The above blog entry is part of a week-long series created by WEGO Health “Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012. You may follow my blog here, and see me on Twitter @IntractablePain. Check out other entries: #A4AMONTH.

© 2010-2012 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

The Dark Side of Pain: Serious Challenges We ALL Face

23 Aug

“Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012 – Day 3

by Heather Grace IPJ Staff Writer

Life with chronic or intractable pain can be extremely challenging. There are so many variables that are simply not a factor for people with other illnesses. Pain is a disease that is widely misunderstood, and this breeds all kinds of problems. Here are the top 3 concerns we all face:

1. Effective Treatment

Diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure have simple treatment protocols. Nearly any doctor can treat a patient with elevated blood pressure or elevated blood sugar. Sadly, pain is a different story. Though most patients end up in front of a physician because they are experiencing some form of discomfort, treating pain has become a crisis worldwide.

The Journal of the American Geriatric Society (October, 2005) found that doctors generally receive only a few short hours of training in how to treat and cure pain. They were especially uninformed on the treatment of musculoskeletal, neuropathic and low back pain. Doctors also don’t receive training in multidisciplinary and alternative treatments via medical school.

Trust Me The issue? Doctors are expected to learn more about pain and examining physical complaints while in residency, as well as in the early days of practice. This creates a huge gap in knowledge. Lack of knowledge makes it hard for doctors to know how to treat patients. Often, they just do what their mentors show them to do, and nothing more. If that mentor doesn’t feel comfortable treating pain, then neither will the new physician.

Pain sufferers acknowledge that pain care is in crisis. One survey of over 1,000 people by Purdue Pharma was quite revealing: 2/3 of pain patients said that their over-the-counter medication wasn’t working, while over 50% said their prescription medication wasn’t working. On average, people with pain had been to three doctors and taken four types of medication without success.

Some doctors are ill equipped to treat pain, while others are simply afraid. Doctors face scrutiny from medical boards, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and even insurers. Whatever the reason, I know many people who have spent years with untreated or undertreated pain. Many more are currently suffering. Writhing in pain, many pain sufferers are just trying to survive day to day, and sometimes hour to hour. Pain treatment is in crisis, and it is only getting worse each year.

2. Media Backlash

Media Attacks The media is a huge barrier to effective pain care. We’ve all seen the headlines. It seems there are overdose deaths all over the country everyday. The truth is, the number of deaths each year isn’t substantially increasing. About 15,000 people per year in the last several years have died with opioid pain medication in their system. Given the fact that chronic pain impacts upwards of 100 million people in the U.S. (IOM, June 2011), less than 2% of the country’s chronic pain patients die each year with opioid pain medication in their system. (See more on the so-called opioid “epidemic” at http://updates.pain-topics.org/2011/11/are-opioid-pain-reliever-deaths.html.)

The pervasive negative messages impact pain care on so many fronts. It doesn’t matter if prescription pain medication saves lives or not. As soon as an effective treatment is classified in news reports as addictive, dangerous and/or deadly, access to treatment becomes an even greater problem–even if the stories aren’t true. Media reports are believed, especially when the same information is repeated all over the place. Once a damaging story hits “the wire,” it spreads like wildfire. The biggest problem? The public believes news reports, never questioning their validity.

OTC medication Even if a pain sufferer hasn’t seen all the headlines, family members are sure to voice their concerns. Chronic pain patients will then feel great shame about their need to take pain medication. Eventually they stop talking about their pain, and especially their pain treatment. Worse yet, the news reports make many believe that taking prescription pain medication is too risky. Patients often use alternatives like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and NSAIDS in large quantities. Even though this can damage internal organs, as pain increases, patients take larger and larger doses of these seemingly harmless over-the-counter medications.

The problem is compounded when the constant media bombardment intimidates physicians. Doctors become hesitant to prescribe pain medication, afraid of a backlash from their medical board or the DEA. Doctors also fear lawsuits from concerned family members, especially when a pain patient dies–even if the death is unrelated to the treatment.

Worst of all, the accurate stories in the media are often buried. There is so little information that doesn’t fall victim to sensational pain medication stereotypes. For stories you can count on, I recommend http://www.pain-topics.org and http://www.ppmjournal.com.

3. Support System Fades Away

We all have a really rough time dealing with the disease of pain. Not just because pain takes a lot out of us, both physically and emotionally. Sadly, that’s not the worst part. There is an awful, unspoken trauma people with pain experience when loved ones–the people that we believed would be there for us 100% no matter what–fade from the picture. They disappear when pain sufferers need their support most. If you’ve walked down the dark and uncertain path that is chronic pain, you know what I am talking about… People leave.

No matter how wonderful our friends and family are, they may not be by our side through the worst of our pain. Seriously ill people are often deserted by the same loved ones who said they’d always be by our side. It can be jarring to lose all sense of normalcy to pain, only to lose even more… when our support system becomes rocky.

We’ve all felt hurt and confused when our supposedly closest allies are not willing to be there through the rough spots. You realize that when people ask “how are you doing?” they don’t want the gory details. Instead of being a shoulder to cry on, most people want/expect to hear, “fine” in return. The losses really add up as we find out that so many people we thought were close friends were really just casual acquaintances.

Everyone I know who has chronic or intractable pain has also lost friends and family because they misunderstand pain. That’s the most devastating part. They love and trust you one moment, and once the diagnosis is shared, all faith in you is dashed. Instead of telling you their concerns, doubt swirls within your loved ones. They’re worried you’re a faker, or an attention-seeker, or maybe just lazy. Or worse. Sometimes they take media reports to heart and believe you’re crazy, or an addict. Or both. Losing people this way us a deep and painful wound.

Even people who believe you may leave. Some have a hard time seeing you suffer, in pain without any answers for years of your life. It hurts them, and it also makes them uncomfortable to be so powerless–unable to help. Sometimes, they fade away because it is easier than to be feel sad and helpless all the time.

Navigating the horrors of pain can be devastating! The challenges of life with chronic/intractable pain are many. It is not by any means easy to live with such a serious yet misunderstood illness. Being tough is a requirement–pain takes over every bit of who you once were, and forces you to begin again. If you’re lucky, you see some bright spots among these challenges. You fight bravely through the worst of it, and learn countless valuable life lessons. In the end you realize there is only one option in taking on such a challenge: if you can’t beat the pain–you learn to live with it, on good days and bad.

The above blog entry is part of a week-long series created by WEGO Health “Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012. You may follow my blog here, and see me on Twitter @IntractablePain. Check out other entries: #A4AMONTH.

© 2010-2012 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

Five Favorite Things: Appreciating The Pain Community

22 Aug

“Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012 – Day 2

by Heather Grace IPJ Staff Writer

Being part of the pain community means being surrounded by some really great people. We’re all unique, and yet, we’re all the same in so many ways.

1. Family. We Stick Together Like Glue

The pain community brings people together from all different backgrounds. We came to this community on so many different paths. Some had accidents, some were born with an illness, some got very ill and developed pain that way. Some of us are young and some old. And, we’re from every ethnicity. But somehow, all those divides that generally separate people don’t seem to matter. We have this instant bond that is palpable… all it takes is a 10-minute conversation with anyone who is living with pain. When so many of us have lost loved ones who misunderstand our illness, this is a huge blessing. It means the world to me to have a family of people who live close by. And a family of people worldwide that I connect with online, as well as over the phone. We have all found each other for a reason-we care about each other, and can truly count on each other. No matter what. If you’re not around for a while, they ask after you. You do the same. This is what family is, at its finest. It’s sad we had to find it this way, but it means the world on tough days!

2. Compassionate. A Very Caring Community

Because everyone who lives with pain has suffered a great deal in their lives, they become very caring. I’ve seen it time and again. Reaching out to strangers to help them is not at all uncommon for any of us. I’ve done it, like so many others have. Seeing someone else in pain causes us to hurt. We want to stop their suffering–helping them in any possible way. We’ve all shared healthcare tips, the numbers of doctors we trust and have also been a listening ear. We want to help. It’s important to repay the kindness that was shown to us at the most difficult times in our lives. Somehow, we’ve all had someone who did that for us. And you realize: it’s a powerful thing to share a simple kindness with someone who’s hurting.

One day, in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, I decided to kill some time. I called the Work Comp office, asking if my spine surgery would be approved. The person on the other end of the phone simply said, “Not yet” and hung up. It had been over 4 years since the MRI showed a disc at the base of my neck pressing against my spinal cord! It was too much for me, and I began to cry. A stranger sitting next to me reached out. He fumbled in his pocket, then handed me a tissue. He looked about 20. That simple kindness was shocking to me after all I’d been through. After a moment, he said, “Tough day, huh? I’ve had them too. This place will kill you if you let it.” Before long, nearly everyone in the waiting room was talking about their experiences. We were sharing war wounds and supporting each other. Months later, I realized being kind, supportive and caring was a unique side-effect of serious pain. I’ve seen countless random acts of kindness ever since, and I have become more and more giving over time. It seems counter-intuitive, but that’s why I love this community. Always surprising people!

3. Strong. Mentally Tough Despite Physical Challenges

Wonder Woman! I know it sounds like an oxymoron. People suffering through chronic or intractable pain are tough? Yes, it’s true. Determined. Hardworking. Fighters. No matter how tough the person with pain may have been before they were in pain, they’re stronger for going through it. For a long time, I felt like I couldn’t take it. The pain felt like it was too much to bear, and it was getting worse and worse. I actively considered suicide, and had two near-misses. But, when I chose to LIVE, I became mentally strong. I would fight through the pain, I would find the right treatment, I would get through it. Somehow. Any darn way I had to. Lots of us struggle, and it’s the choice to fight that gets us through. Once we find a way to approach pain that works for us, I believe there’s nothing we can’t do! Of course, finding the right treatment to best management our pain makes a big difference, too. Having a doctor who believed me helped me get my strength back faster than ever. No matter how we find it, everyone who lives with pain is mentally tough. They live through the pit of hell over and over, and come out of it anew. They’re truly the toughest people I know!

4. Really Strong. Despite Misunderstanding & Stereotypes That Hurt

I know. I said this already. But, it warrants repeating. How many people with a serious (and often life-threatening) illness have to also suffer the slings and arrows of the media constantly? How many people who are ill and already in pain have to face whispers, and even sometimes face-to-face accusations from people they know and care about? Being a person with pain can really suck sometimes. You know you’re sick. But most of the world seems to think you’re not. It’s an insanity that is almost unbelievable!

We aren’t addicts. We aren’t crazy. We aren’t freaks. We’re just people who happen to be in pain. No other illness means having a hard time finding and sustaining appropriate treatment because of what the treatment often entails. No other illness means proving yourself over and over again. And yet, we all do. We are survivors. Some days because we have to be, but most days? It’s because we’re strong.

5. Fearlessness. Bravery Like I’ve Never Seen Before

People with pain have this unique tendency to become fearless! At first, it shocked me. Now, I admire every damn one of my “pain friends” for being their crazy selves! And I admire this quality most because I wish I was more fearless. I have a tendency to be very shy, especially with people I don’t know. Being part of this group has brought me out of my shell, which is wonderful. Watching everyone else be so brave has rubbed off on me, little by little. The pain community, and especially advocates, are willing to do whatever it takes, whenever it’s necessary. A group of us went to speak to the DEA, to build understanding and acceptance of our community with law enforcement. To my surprise, one of my advocate friends was perfectly willing to take pain medication in front of the people we were meeting with. Why? She wanted the DEA to understand that pain treatment is complex–just like all illnesses, there is no one-size fits all option. She happened to take more than the “ceiling” dose now being touted in Washington State and elsewhere, and wanted them to see very clearly this 100mg/day number was pulled out of the air. Her bravery–sheer fearlessness–was truly inspirational!

We with pain realize that being fearless, willing to tell everyone what it’s really like to live with this illness… That’s the only way to achieve understanding. I think it’s a beautiful quality. The person I described above is one of many who have put themselves in a public forum without worrying about ramifications. So many pain sufferers have stood up and said, “Hey! Look at me! Look at me and see I’m just like anyone else… except that I have pain.” Bold. Fearless. Brave. I admire people with pain for all these reasons, and more!

The above blog entry is part of a week-long series created by WEGOHealth “Advocating for Another” Carnival 2012. You may follow my blog here, and see me on Twitter @IntractablePain. Check out other entries: #A4AMONTH.

* Wonder Woman image copyright owned by DC Comics.

© 2010-2012 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

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