This past Sunday I attended the 4th Annual Midwest Pain Treatment Education Expo.

The first I heard about this event was this past May from my fellow advocate & friend Sara Willy. Sara is the MN/WI Ambassador for US Pain Foundation & the Vice President of the GGPAIN Foundation. I honestly did not know anything about Sara’s work with the GG Pain Foundation.

After surfing the web this is what I found ~

Gracie Gean is a chronic pain patient diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Occipital Neuralgia, Spinal Stenosis, Spondylosis, and Degenerative Disc Disease. She also discovered that she has Lyme Disease.

“Gracie Bagosy-Young is an International Chronic Pain Advocate. She is the owner of Gracie Gean Chronic Pain Advocacy & Consulting. Gracie hosts the Midwest Pain Treatment Education Expo, which is the largest in the US. She speaks on chronic pain Nationally.”

“The Expo was born out of Gracie’s frustration with the lack of resources available to patients in the Midwest.” “The goal of this event is to help you become better educated regarding treatments, how to utilize your voice with advocacy efforts and help you find local support.”

The first year the expo was held had 80 attendees. Now 4 years later, the event had 300 attendees and over 9,000 registered to stream live.

This year the Expo was held in Northbrook, Illinois (near Chicago) presented by OSKA Wellness.

I have had an opportunity to try a lot of different pain relief devices and by far have had the greatest success using the Oska Pulse. I was excited to find out that Oska Wellness folks were going to be at the expo. READ my review on Oska Pulse.

This years event included 7 speakers & 30 different vendors/booths. View a list of speakers, sponsors and vendors at GGChronicPainAdvocacy/Events.

The expo was amazing. It is always great to be surrounded by those who understand your struggles. I have been to events where it is very hard to get time to speak with the vendors or the speakers and that was not the case.

I had an opportunity to try Kangen Water® I was totally shocked to see what is in the bottle water that I drink and thought was a healthy choice.

I used the AVACEN 100.

Although I live in a state that has not approved medical cannabis I was happy to receive information offered through Illinois to share with my support group members.

I met an amazing Manual Therapist Azlaan from Advance Sports Therapy located in Naperville, Il. He was offering wet cupping sessions and I signed up. It was great. He took his time to explain what was going to happen and as it was happening. I felt so relaxed after having that partial session and recommend him to anyone.

Mary Biancalana, Owner and Director of Therapy for Chicago Center for Myofascial Pain (Relief) who I had heard give a prensentation at the TAP Chronic Pain Conference in Washington, D.C. was there educating the attendee’s on trigger point therapy.

We need more events like this to educate the pain community and give them a chance to meet qualified people in their community. Please check out the great work that Gracie is doing to help those of us living with chronic pain illnesses. Videos from the event will be posted over the next few weeks.
WWW.GGPAINFOUNDATION.ORG

Who Cares?

Originally posted on Prohealth.com on October 8, 2016

whocaresWe have all done it. We have lied or told half truths when asked the question, “How are you?”.

How many people in our lives do we share our true level of pain we are feeling every day, physically and emotionally?

As I walk down the school hallways every day to refill my water bottle I pass a Teacher who always says “Hi!” and asks “How’s it going?

I smile (a forced smile), replying “Hi!, Good.”

I caught myself in my head the other day saying “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire”. I am anything but good.

When asked how are you by a co-worker or a store clerk it’s more of a common courtesy question. Am I being rude by not responding when asked how I am doing? Or is it okay, since they are not asking for real because “How are you?”, is simply a greeting not an invitation to unload your daily list of complaints.

Can you imagine if I replied, “My neck and back are causing me a new intense pain. It hurts to turn my head. It is causing headaches. I can’t get the right balance between not able to go to the bathroom or having to go to the bathroom ASAP. My right hand has started hurting when using scissors, etc. My knee feels like it is going out every time I try to stand. I had to be helped into the bathtub this weekend.”

If we began answering the truth how long would it take for that person to stop asking?

I get it. I have known people who tell everyone absolutely every negative detail in their lives. It gets old.

What about our family or the people that live with us?

Eventually for many of us those that we live with stop asking. Maybe they just assume they know the answer already. It doesn’t mean they have stopped caring.

My daughter is 16, she is busy surviving high school. I don’t expect it of her.

I mentioned to my husband awhile ago that he doesn’t ask me how I am feeling any more. He said, “I don’t have to, I can tell by how you get out of the chair and how you are walking.”

Ok, so he sees it but that really isn’t what is needed.

The past few weeks I have acquired new health problems and a very high level of pain. It has kept me from doing things that I would normally push through and has brought me to tears daily.

Then just this weekend we were hosting a cross country bon-fire and I was asked, “What do you need help with?” I muttered under my breath, “Just end it.”

It has crossed over the line of just physical pain and is now affecting my emotional well-being.
I am to the point where I have to let the truth out because if I keep answering “fine,” I will find myself on the road to depression.

Are we more likely to open up about physical pain than when we are feeling depressed?

I think it is easier or more acceptable for someone to comment “my knee has been killing me” than “emotionally/mentally I am …”

What if someone asked, “How are you today?”, and we replied, “I want to jump.”

Can you imagine how others would react? Instead, we answer fine, good or in my case on crummy days, “peachy”.

What if there is no one you can tell the whole truth? No one to listen to you cry? Crying alone is one thing but crying in a room with others without any reaction is being alone.

Often we stop sharing the truth when we answer because it is easier for us. It’s much harder to share our long list of ailments. We want to be polite. We don’t want to ruin the other person’s day. We don’t want to be “a downer” or “negative.”

Those living with chronic pain such as fibromyalgia often become isolated. It is so easy to focus on our pain. It’s easy to feeling alone when you can’t talk about how you are really doing.

Thank goodness for support groups where we can share the truth of how we’re really feeling.

Everyone needs someone in their lives where they can share the truth to the question…

“How are you.”