Lesli Hill, MS
I went back to college the summer that I turned 60 to try to figure this pain thing out, enrolling in a Master’s degree program in psychology that was 200-miles round trip drive from my home. It was two years after a “routine” surgery that proved to be anything but that. It caused catastrophic complications. My spoken reason for doing it was to learn about pain so I could positively impact others who have pain. Deep inside I wanted to discover my defect, the reason I couldn’t pull myself out of the pain. I graduated three years later with my Master’s degree, grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the biological experience of pain and with greater awareness of how I needed to move through the world carrying the weight of chronic pain.
During this time, I also became involved in litigation regarding my injury. For a person who felt knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, this was a difficult process to grasp. Contracts and motions and orders were a complicated foreign language. The language of litigation was heavy, burdensome, and somewhat elitist.
Pain plus litigation felt impossible to understand at one time. I started spending hours on the internet to come to an understanding of what was driving my life, one much different than I had imagined for my “senior” years. People with pain are easily overwhelmed. At one point, I felt that the internet had consumed me. I found myself landing on “angry women” sites that drew me in and almost convinced me that I was a victim.
I was frustrated because I could not find the information that I needed to help me understand my pain and the legal process I was involved in. There are good quality pain education sites on the web, but I wanted to know more than just the definitions and symptoms. I found that too much information and too little practical knowledge are confusing when they are not in the context of an individual’s own pain experience.
I needed more than scattered information. I needed a simple, yet comprehensive plan that recognized my needs to know, my readiness to change and my learning style. In other words, I wanted a custom plan where all the information I needed was in one place. I wanted to become aware of what was uniquely mine and then weave that awareness throughout my day in a way that contributed to my best interest.
Isn’t that what most people who live with chronic pain are searching for? Of course, we want to wake up one morning and find that our pain has magically disappeared, but until that happens, we must know that it is possible to reduce our suffering and create a life of meaning despite pain.
This is our gift to you. Not a miracle. Not a promise.
Knowledge. Wisdom. Hope.