Pain seems to disrupt the relationship we have with our bodies. Through the experience of broken hearts, broken limbs, ailing joints, disease, or disturbed souls, we have all known pain. The good news is that there is a cure or remedy for nearly everything that ails us. Whether by pharmaceuticals, surgical means or just time and healing, most pain can find relief. What many of us don’t know is that there are millions of people who suffer excruciating pain and have run out of places to turn to for hope. Their pain haunts them day and night.
Having recently come across several people who suffer from chronic pain, I decided to search for some answers. In amongst all the horror stories I found, Nicole Hemmenway is the one bright and shining bit of hope that I can offer my readers who suffer from this condition. I had the pleasure of interviewing her in search of some answers.
Nicole, tell my readers a little of your story: “At seventeen, I was a high school senior looking forward to a fabulous future. I had so many aspirations for my future: going to college, traveling abroad, finding an exciting career in a BIG city and living on my own. However, all my dreams vanished the moment I became injured.
A fluke incident causing me to pull two tendons in my right hand resulted in a long and painful nine-year journey through the medical system. Diagnosed with the neurological and chronic pain disorder, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), I suffered twenty-four hours a day with excruciating pain. Living in chronic pain meant the debilitating agony followed me everywhere: there were no breaks for holidays or weekends. My life came to a screeching halt while I had to watch my family and friends continue to live normally. My life was in shambles.
The dreams I had for my future were gone. With no use of my right hand and minimal use of my arm, I soon became a twenty-one year old who lived at home and depended on massive amounts of narcotics to survive each day. The next five years I dealt with the nightmare of navigating through the medical system, as mainstream medicine viewed my pain and symptoms as being untreatable and incurable. Isolated and ashamed, all I had to hold on to was hope. Hope that my miracle would someday arrive…and it did.
After years of living with pain that was so paralyzing I faced periods where I was bed-ridden or wheelchair bound, I found my cure. I found my answer, and my way out of the darkness.
Now I am here to make a difference – one life at a time.
After a lengthy battle fighting the medical system, fighting the pain, fighting for my life, I am ready to share my story. My aim is to spread hope, present answers and allow others to believe in the unimaginable. It is not my story back to health, but a culmination of our stories back to health.”
At your lowest point in your journey through the pain, what is it you were feeling? The most challenging aspect of the pain was not the physical torment, but rather the emotional agony. There were many times when I felt completely alone and misunderstood. In the very beginning, I was ridiculed and held suspect. Many specialists mocked my perseverance and questioned my inability to move my hand. No one believed I was in pain, and that was devastating. I remember screaming out, but feeling as though no heard me.
It was from this heartache that I made a vow to do whatever I could to help my fellow chronic pain survivors. No one should ever feel alone or ashamed of their pain. That is why I created my heroesofhealing site where caregivers and those in pain can come together to inspire, support and connect with one another. Seventy-five million Americans are looking for validation in order to feel understood and heard. My hope is that the Heroes of Healing community can give twenty-five percent of our population peace of mind while starting a universal grassroots movement.
It is also why I wrote my book, No, It Is NOT In My Head: The Journey of a Chronic Pain Survivor from Wheelchair to Marathon.
READ MORE OF NICOLE’S BRAVE BATTLE WITH CHRONIC PAIN at Pain: A survivor’s journey Part II
© 2010 Robin Cain http://www.robincain.com