In the summer of 2005, I was in a violent rollover car accident in the remote Big Hole Valley of Montana—just past the sign that read “Wisdom 14 miles.”
A C-4 spinal cord injury almost took my life—twice. I fought to stay alive and rehabilitate from the severe injuries. Months of therapy helped me relearn many of the motor skills I’d lost, until I became somewhat used to my physical limitations.
Then I encountered an even harder challenge: excruciating, burning, aching central nerve pain caused by a cyst on the spinal cord. It was inoperable. It seemed I faced a life of never-ending pain—so unbearable I didn’t know how I could go on.
My doctors worked hard to help me find a solution, but the best medications for nerve pain didn’t help. Narcotics didn’t even touch the pain; they just made it harder for me to cope with my pain. I was trapped in my body and desperately wanted to get out.
I prayed for answers and for hope. Referral to a pain clinic gave me training in the science of pain, knowledge of the mind-body aspects of pain, and tools to make desired behavioral changes and reach measurable goals. I now had a way to decrease my pain.
I continued to research pain and to collaborate with my medical specialists, but I recognized that a piece was missing for most people in pain: ongoing support, learning how to personally manage pain, and motivation to make lasting change. This sparked an idea that soon became my passion: helping others with chronic pain learn effective ways to decrease their pain experience and permanently manage their pain.