Christmas Marathon Phone Meetings for Chronic Illness and Pain Sufferers

You may recall my time spent with June’s 12-12-12 project member Dale Lehn

Project member Dale

“I am a T-5 paraplegic and have been in a wheelchair since 2005. My paralysis is not due to an accident but from having a tumor growing inside my spinal cord.

“I soon found myself withdrawing from my family and friends.

The doctors said the only medication they could prescribe to “get rid of the pain” were narcotics based drugs. I wasn’t willing to go down this path. Over the course of several years, along with another man who had a similar issue with chronic pain we developed a way of living that gave us the tools to live a full and productive life even with chronic pain.”

Helping people learn to overcome the emotional debilitation and isolation of chronic pain and chronic illness is the fundamental work Chronic Pain Anonymous is doing.

Chronic Pain Anonymous logo

I have personally attended a few phone meetings through Chronic Pain Anonymous and found it extremely comforting. You become part of a fellowship that is supportive and most importantly understanding.

As I was going through my emails today, I came across the title… “Special Announcement – 4th Holiday Meeting

I opened the email to find a list of phone meetings that are going to be held on Christmas Day! A Christmas Marathon of Phone Meetings. A brilliant idea!

“Many people with chronic pain and chronic illness are home bound, either by choice or by medical need. During the holidays it is valuable for us to have an outlet to speak with others, especially those who understand what it is like to live with chronic illness or chronic pain.”

Isn’t that the truth! I spend the majority of my time at home. This is not by choice, but based on the limitations placed on me due to my medical condition. Lord willing, I am going to have the luxury of attending two holiday gatherings on Christmas Day. However, what if lived alone, a few hours away from my family? What if I lived by myself in another state? Most likely I would be spending the holidays alone!

I know first hand what living with a chronic illness can do to your mental health. I sympathize with how isolating a life of chronic illness creates. That is why I believe what Dale and Chronic Pain Anonymous are doing with the Christmas Marathon Phone Meetings is a blessing.

So here are the details of the email I received…

Holiday Phone Marathon

 Lutherville, MD… Chronic Pain Anonymous has announced a special phone marathon to take place on Christmas Day, December 25, 2012.

Here is the schedule for the day:

• The first meeting will begin at 1 PM EST to 2 PM EST. Fellowship to follow.

• Our regular Meeting is from 3 PM to 4 PM EST. Fellowship to follow

• Next meeting time will begin 5 PM to 6 PM EST. Fellowship to follow

• Last meeting time will begin 7 PM to 8 PM EST. Fellowship to follow

As we will know, many people with chronic pain and chronic illness are homebound. Either we are isolated by choice or by medical needs. During holidays it is valuable for us to have an outlet to speak with others, especially ones who understand what it is like to have our illness of chronic pain. The number to call is (213) 342-3090 and the access code is 1952435.

CPA has five regularly scheduled phone meetings, two Google Group internet meetings and 13 face-to-face meetings taking place in Canada and the United States. All current meetings can be found on our website.

Chronic Pain Anonymous is a Twelve Step fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and to help others recover from the disabling effects of chronic pain and chronic illness. The only requirement for membership in CPA is a desire to recover from the emotional, physical, and spiritual debilitation of chronic pain and chronic illness and a willingness to help others to do the same.

For more information, you are invited to learn about the program on the website: http://www.chronicpainanonymous.org. If you have any questions, contact Dale L. at dale@chronicpainanonymous.org or info@chronicpainanonymous.org

Much love,
Marissa

PS: Please promise me you will find fellowship on Christmas Day!  You don’t even have to speak if you don’t want to! Just listening in on the call will do you some good. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. The number to call is (213) 342-3090 and the access code is 1952435. If I could hug you, I WOULD!

12-12-12 The Lesson: Major Life Lesson Only 4 Words Long?

Let’s be HONEST with each other…LIFE chronic illness CAN and WILL put you in some sticky situations physically and mentally. How many times have you felt trapped by your situation? Once.. twice… more times than you CAN COUNT!

12-12-12 project member Dale shares a lesson that may be mighty familiar to you (Thank you Gram) YET…this time it felt wonderfully different. If you have not checked out the podcast it’s well worth the listen.

4 simple, yet POWERFUL words… THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

 It’s a lesson that I’ve learned a long time ago, and it’s something that’s key for me in how I am both with my pain and my condition of being paralyzed. When I get into a difficult moment, just knowing that this too shall pass. So many of us concentrate on those difficult moments and we obsess on them and they become overbearing to our ability to move forward. They slow us down or hinder us from whatever is happening around us. Just whenever you get hit with a difficult situation, just realize this too shall pass. It’s only a momentary thing. Our life is a journey, it’s a moment-by-moment journey. Live in the moment, and understand that the next moment will be different.

Much love,
Marissa

Podcast June 12-12-12 With Project Member Dale Lehn

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Are you STRUGGLING with acceptance? Dale opens up, sharing an honest and beautiful perspective on acceptance.

THANK YOU Dale for being open to taking this journey with me!

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Much love,
Marissa

Sitting There Feeling Unmotivated? Dale May Be Able To Lend You A Hand

In our family, I have always been the primary cook, UNTIL I found myself in a wheelchair

This months 12-12-12 project member Dale Lehn had to undergo a second spinal surgery that left him paralyzed. Dale returned home to the reality of living the remainder of his life in a wheelchair.

When I returned home from rehab facing a new life in a wheelchair, I soon realized I needed four hands. Two to maneuver my wheelchair and two to carry whatever was necessary.

Dale was perfecting a secret weaponDESIRE. He created a product that would allow him access to the joys of greater independence.

I am SO PROUD (and pumped) to share with you Dale’s product….My4Hands™

CHECK OUT Dale in action...

SO…what do you think? Fantastic isn’t it!

Some of the cool things Dale can do with My4Hands™

My4Hands came in handy when I went to see “Red” at the movie theater yesterday. I WAS ABLE to get my soda and popcorn and take it right into the theater. Past days, Carmel would have to carry everything. Not now…it’s easy.

I found another use for My4Hands. I went to a TGI Fridays for dinner. As you may know they have a salad buffet. Well, with My4Hands IT WAS EASY FOR ME to go through the buffet and pick and choose exactly what and how much I wanted.

OK… So how can you get your hands on this awesome product? First let me say this…

DALE PUTS A SMILE ON MY FACE!

You can purchase this lovely independence assistant over at Dale’s website BreakthrU Horizon LLC

Let’s show Dale some love! If you don’t personally need this product… put a smile on the face of a person that does.

Much love,
Marissa

P.S. Some think about doing and others do! Don’t you love to hear stories of people digging deep and producing?  SO pumped right now.

TOP 5 Chronic Pain Resources That Can Teach You A Thing Or Two About Chronic Pain

I wanted to share some FANTASTIC RESOURCES  stumbled across on the journey to understand chronic pain. SO blessed to have access to the internet!

In no particular order!

The amount of detail and resources available on these sites make every one of these sites  #1 in my humble opinion.

1.) The American Academy of Pain Medicine

I was really draw to the Patient Center. I found myself spending hours on this site going through general pain overview information.

AmericanAcademyofPainMedicine Screenshot

Website: http://www.painmed.org/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Academy-of-Pain-Medicine/82593146925

 

2.) American Chronic Pain Association

Since 1980, the ACPA has offered peer support and education in pain management skills to people with pain, family and friends, and health care professionals. The information and tools on our site can help you to better understand your pain and work more effectively with your health care team toward a higher quality of life.

I appreciate ACPA’s commitment to awareness. I was able to purchase this months support t-shirt and bracelet via this site.

AmericanChronicPainAssociationWebsite Screenshot

Website: http://www.theacpa.org/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Chronic-Pain-Association/113362482021895

 

3.) Advanced Pain Management

This is a pain management group. What caught my attention was the section of website labeled

Patient resources>Pain awareness month.

You will find some interesting facts and information on pain awareness.

advanced-pain-management Screenshot

Website:http://www.apmhealth.com/
Twitter: @apmhealth 

*Please note I am not endorsing or suggesting their services. I stumbled upon this site doing my personal research for this month’s project.

 

4.) International Association for the Study Of Pain

The advocacy section of the site is fantastic. I learned a great deal about the pain associated with headaches form their fact sheets.

International Association for the Study of Pain  Screenshot

Website: http://www.iasp-pain.org/
Twitter: @IASPPAIN  

 

5.) PainAction

Intensive libraries covering back, migraine, cancer, neuropathic and arthritis pain. I was very impressed with a medication safety library. 

Screenshot of painaction website screenshot

Website: http://www.painaction.com/
Twitter: @pain_ACTION 

 

P.S. YES I realize… some of these sites are supported by pharmaceutical companies ( This seems to be the case with several large health information databases.)  There are still GEMS of information you can find. As my Gram would say… “Mija… pray for the gift of discernment.” 

Much love,
Marissa

Pain is a disease? Who woulda thunk it!

I’m a pediatrician and anesthesiologist so I put children to sleep for a living (insert laughing audience…hahahaha). And I’m an academic so I put audiences asleep for free…

Bah dum CHING! Who doesn’t appreciate a doctor with a sense a humor.

While combing through chronic pain content for this month’s 12-12-12 project, I stumbled upon an awesome YouTube video.

You gotta check out Elliot Krane’s Ted Talk: The Mystery Of Chronic Pain.

It’s 8 minutes, 30 seconds, of rapid fire knowledge, spreading optimistic hope for the future of chronic pain.

*Heads up vestibular crowd. Ted Talk intro has a rotating, flying all over the place, animation.

Much love,
Marissa

Ouch! That was painful.

Woman holding onto shoulder in pain

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You hit your elbow on the table, shooting pain runs up your arm, and you yell out “ouch!”. Many of us have encountered a similar scenario. In that moment of pain you may be irritable, distracted, tense, even inpatient. The pain is sharp, intense, and after a few distractions the pain has subsided, and you go about your day. I have just shared with you an acute pain scenario.

Acute pain described by Web MD:

Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body…Acute pain may be mild and last just a moment, or it may be severe and last for weeks or months.

Have you considered what it would be like if that sharp, intense pain, never went away? You were forced to live in a chronic state of pain even if the injury is considered healed. Try and imagine the emotional and physical distress that mounts.

Chronic pain persists despite the fact that an injury has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years.

I admit, in the past minimizing a person’s suffering when I heared words like, chronic lower back pain, knee pain, joint pain, disregarding and not understanding the severity of chronic pain. With this newfound knowledge, I hope that we all reconsider how we treat people who bravely share with us that they are suffering from chronic pain.

Much love,
Marissa

It Has Arrived

So pumped to have gotten in this months awareness t-shirt and bracelet.

chronic pain awareness t-shirt and bracelet

Chronic Pain fact via the American Academy of Pain Medicine 

 While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.

 

Much love,
Marissa

12-12-12 Project: June-Chronic Pain

According to the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, 100 million Americans suffer from Chronic Pain.

Chronic pain not only involves the person with pain, but the family as well.

Almost two-thirds (59%) reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life.

74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain.

This month’s 12-12-12 project will feature Dale Lehn, living with chronic pain. In 2001, Dale was happily living life with his family enjoying a successful sales management career in information technology. He was returning home from the beach when a simple sneeze alerted him of a much greater problem. He quickly went from undergoing an MRI to having a benign tumor removed from his spinal cord. The tumor returned in 2005 leaving Dale restricted to a wheelchair. Dale has worked to enhance his life condition and is the cofounder of chronicpainanonymous.org  I look forward to learning more about Dale’s experience and spreading awareness about chronic pain.

Much Love,
Marissa