I shared a message of what I hope was empowerment at the 4th Annual Midwest Pain Treatment Education Expo near Chicago in August, 2017.
For people who have to deal with chronic pain (and I might add their loved ones) it is critically important to know your options.
I am a person with pain. I survive (and I will add “fight”) a series of challenges – CRPS, Lyme Disease, Occipital Neuralgia, and Degenerative Disc Disease. I am a highly competitive person as any of you who have met me can attest. I didn’t want to be an advocate. I simply had to.
“I had, I simply set out to find people like myself.”
I call myself an “accidental advocate” because at first, as I was learning about the disease(s) I had, I simply set out to find people like myself. I would find them in person or on social media and share information about chronic pain diseases.
Whether it is a new treatment option that I or others had tried, how to talk with and try to influence (and even educate) doctors and tips on how to deal with insurance companies (who are a big problem with the payment for alternative therapies)
This has become my life work. I spend my time running online support groups, hosting support calls and meet-ups, and I host the largest pain treatment education expo in the US. The 4th Annual Midwest Pain Treatment Education Expo was held at the Hilton Hotel in Northbrook, IL. Over 300 people attended and 9,000 people streamed the event online. The videos will be posted online here.
“We have many options that are not covered by insurance-and many of them work! We only get this one body, and absolutely cannot screw it up!”
The Expo is about presenting options because quite simply, we deserve to know all of our options. Don’t stop learning. Your doctor is not the only source of info. Do your own research. Your insurance company should not dictate your treatment path. We have many options that are not covered by insurance-and many of them work! We only get this one body, and absolutely cannot screw it up! No one should be more invested in your well-being than you are. Take control and advocate for yourself. Learn your options.
Our next event will feature a growing option in dealing with chronic pain – cannabis. The Illinois Cannabis Education Expo is set for next spring. Like our Pain Expo, it will feature different opinions and options about how cannabis can benefit those of us with chronic pain.