Uncertainty is one of the most difficult places I find myself in. I am a planner, arguably to a fault. I always have several sets of well-thought-out contingency plans for any major event in my life. Knowing what to expect, even if it isn’t pleasant, gives me more confidence that I can meet a challenge, that I can dig deep and push through.
The medical complications, especially relentless pain, that I had from a routine surgery were so unexpected that it completely knocked me off course for several years. I kept thinking that I was not doing something right. That I could figure it out on my own. I went from a healthy, physically active woman to not being able to do any day-to-day activities at all. Nine years later, there is still pain. But I have learned how to plan my days in ways that allow a more acceptable quality of life. The planning doesn’t work all the time, but I try.
Pain creates a blanket of uncertainty that covers our days, because we just don’t know how pain will grab hold of our plans and upend everything. It is hard to explain chronic pain to someone who doesn’t live the experience. A presenter at a meeting I attended not long ago said, “I understand chronic pain. I gave birth to a child.” I had to leave the room temporarily. It was best for everyone there. People who don’t live with pain every day just can’t understand. And we can’t expect them to.
Personal injury litigation is unfamiliar territory for most of us. How can we navigate the unusual legal language, understand complex motions and orders, and communicate with our attorneys in ways that strengthen our cases? We do that through education. By understanding single pieces at a time that become a bigger, more complete picture as we continue to learn.
That is what Pain University wants you to take from your experience here. The feeling that you have filled your plate with enough knowledge that you can step up to your role as your chief advocate with confidence. I believe that every Scholar is capable of doing just that.
I am hopeful that we can teach you what you need to know about pain and the litigation process. And I’m even more excited to learn from as you move from a Scholar to our teacher.
Fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering.
– Yoda, Star Wars
We fear the unknown,
perhaps more than we fear anything else.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie