Our shared humanity, grief, why I’ve been away, and some musings on pain, biology, life…

I promised a post on the major turning points in my pain experience at the beginning of the year. Then life, and death, happened and it was put on hold. Those posts (there are two, reflecting two major turning points) will come soon, but first I wanted to share why I’ve been away, for those who may be wondering. It’s

Acceptance revisited ~ what has acceptance meant to me?

These days I’m feeling like I’m just a person, not a person with chronic pain, which is an interesting perch to view the past eight years from. I’m trying to piece together how I got here. Granted, I’ve been trying to do so for some time! But never from this vantage point. I recognize how much acceptance has been a part

Pain education – educating patients or making sense of pain together?

In my last post I shared some thoughts on pain education and the phrase ‘pain is an output of the brain‘. I compared pain as output to pain as a lived, conscious, complex experience that people feel. From my perspective, describing pain as an output robs the experience of pain’s harsh, all-encompassing, life-changing reality. We are not machines producing outputs.


Where I’m coming from when I talk about pain…

So where the heck am I coming from? Part of why I write this blog is to bridge the gap between the science of pain and the experience of pain and between clinicians’ and patients’ understanding of pain. I’m at an interesting intersection in the pain world. I have lived with pain, so view pain science through that lens. I try

Psychological: Let’s talk about the P in BioPsychoSocial

Psychological. What do you think when you see that term? Be honest with yourself, what’s going through your head right now? When you think about the word psychological or the phrase ‘psychological factors’, what comes to mind? I ask because I have seen misconceptions abound when it comes to the P word. Misconceptions about the term ‘psychological’ I have seen


Tell me your story: the power of dialogue

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few weeks. Thinking about it ever since Peter O’Sullivan asked me to tell him my story when I was a patient demo during his Cognitive Functional Therapy workshop at the San Diego Pain Summit. And every time I think about it, I get teary. It touches something deep within me

Relax! Running, pain and my CFT experience

In the last week I’ve gone on 2 runs. This is a big deal for me! I love running. Running has been one of the things I’ve missed most these last 7 years. I’ve given it a go a few times, and was quite successful last summer (read about it here!), but I started experiencing new pain in my left hip

Trying to get better while having to prove we’re in pain

How do we get better if we have to constantly prove we’re in pain? And does that constant need to prove we’re in pain prevent us from getting better? In recent posts I wrote about the shame I felt after developing chronic pain and how I’ve been working through that shame. They were the hardest posts I’ve ever written, my most vulnerable by far. But


Goals. Whose goals are they, ours or theirs?

I went for a walk today and took pictures, a favorite pastime of mine and one I’m very grateful for. As I was perched on two rocks, squatting to gain a better perspective for a photo, I started thinking about a few things, namely goals and motivation.  For a long time I couldn’t squat, at least not with any comfort.

Successful living: redefining living with chronic pain

I would like to make a plea. A plea to stop framing pain as the enemy, a thing to be battled, defeated, beat, eradicated. A thing not to be tolerated, to be vilified and stamped out. Perhaps our emphasis on pain as evil, pain as punishment, pain as suffering is only serving to make pain worse. Perhaps using warlike, military


Labels, narratives, identity, and chronic pain

I have been thinking about the language we use with ourselves lately, particularly our self-talk and our labels. I’ve been thinking a lot about the words chronic, pain, and patient in particular. How does continually using, or hearing, these words reinforce our pain? Does being identified as a ‘chronic pain patient’ become an integral part of our identity that then makes it more difficult to change our

Pain: musing on language, motivation, and meaning

I’ve been away from writing for a while because life is happening all around me and I haven’t made the time, but a recent blog post by Dr. Bronnie Lennox Thompson got me thinking (as they usually do!) on a whole lot of topics. Appropriately, her post was titled “Musings on New Learning” and those musings got me onto plenty