Category Archives: Trauma Dolls’ Guide

Why I Added a Tip Jar to the Trauma Dolls Site

Money in a tip jar

Thank you for your support.

I thought about this long and hard. I really, really did.

When I started the site that preceded this one (The Tramadol Diaries), my intention was to use it to build a community and ultimately write a book about coping with chronic pain. Then the whole “Google hates the ‘T’ word” thing happened, and life happened, and … well, good intentions, road to hell, all that.

See, running a website requires time and money. There’s the cost of the premium theme that controls the way the site looks. There’s the yearly registration of the domain. There’s the monthly hosting costs.

In the beginning, I’d planned to recoup the cost of running this site via affiliate links to Amazon and such.

But there were a couple of problems with that. One was that Amazon pulled its program out of North Carolina, where I now live. But the bigger issue was that I just felt icky writing those posts with affiliate links. The fact that I never made more than five to ten bucks in any year was almost beside the point, but in the end, it was just one more reason to call it quits with that approach. I’ll be removing those links from the old posts over the next few weeks.

This has always been a labor of love for me. Chronic pain has isolated me thoroughly from people I love in the past, and it puts up a wall of separation between all of us and the rest of the world. Others may mean well, but they can’t live inside our skin — they don’t know what it’s like. We do. We can, and must, support each other.

That’s why I love getting email from readers. Every time someone writes me and tells me how hopeless they felt before they found this site, how relieved they felt when they read a few reassuring posts, how this site helped them in some way … my heart just swells. That? Is payment enough.

So why am I putting up a tip jar, then?

That’s a fair question, and like I said, I wrestled with this for a long time.

What pushed me over the line and settled the issue once and for all was this: Y’all know life has been financially difficult for me for the last few years. Chronic pain took a lot away from me, including a well-paying career and a home. I’ve been slowly rebuilding over the last year, but things are still tight.

Being minimally self-employed (I set up websites and help others with marketing their businesses online but due to my condition, can’t work enough hours to make a living wage), money is always an issue. My medical care comes from a community clinic with a sliding fee scale on which I pay the lowest fees. I’ve applied for disability, I’ve applied for Section 8 assistance, and I’ve applied for food stamps.

Life’s hard for all of us, even when things are going well economically. (Which, let’s face it, they aren’t right now, whatever the headlines might say to the contrary.) And for those of us with chronic pain, it’s even harder.

So, back to the story of why I decided to put up the tip jar: My best friend and I talk every day on the phone, and it was during one of those conversations earlier this week that I caught something coming out of my mouth that took me by surprise. We were talking about the thorny issue of having spiritual faith in God when things are so damned bleak-looking. I said this:

It’s like the lottery thing. I mean, the only thing we can say with certainty that if you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win. But if I really mean what I say, that I’m going to work on letting go of controlling things and have faith in God, then don’t I have to leave room for Him to work in my life?

That question stayed with me all that day. Was I leaving room for something better? Or was I letting my ego seize control of the “how” — how I would make the rent, how I would get the money I need to buy a car (I’ve been without one for eight months), how I would pay the hosting bill — instead of letting that be God’s business?

I don’t want to get too religious here. I completely respect others’ beliefs, or lack thereof. And it doesn’t matter. For “God,” you can substitute “the universe,” “the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” or “fate” or “luck.” There’s the stuff we do and are in control of, and there’s the stuff that happens outside of us but impacts us nonetheless. I can and should focus on the former. I absolutely should do all I can do to support myself and my child. That’s a good thing. But I should also recognize that the latter force is at work, too. And I should leave room for it to do its thing.

Then it hit me: the tip jar is “leaving room.” The tip jar is my way to recognize and honor that force, which I think of as God, and allow it to move and work to my benefit as it will. As He will.

So: I put up the tip jar.

I want to make a few things really crystal clear here:

  1. There is no obligation to donate. None. Zero. I mean that absolutely.
  2. I will do nothing with your email address except send you a thank-you note. Period. I freakin’ hate spam, and I would never sell those addresses to anyone. EVER. Seriously, if there were a way to make donations anonymous so that I wouldn’t even know so-and-so donated, I would. But PayPal doesn’t allow for that, to my knowledge.
  3. If you are moved to donate, you can donate whatever amount is comfortable for you. There are no set amounts, and zero expectations on my part. (See #1 above.)

If you’ve found this site helpful, and if you’re in a position to do so comfortably (and ONLY if), I would be grateful for your donation in any amount to help offset the costs of running this site.

And I truly, truly hope this doesn’t offend anyone. If it does, hey – let me know. Feedback of all types (as long as it’s politely worded) is welcome.

 

 

 

Good Doc, Bad Doc, and One Mother of a Labor (Another Trauma Dolls’ Guide Excerpt)

What is this?

Every so often, interspersed with the “how to” tips and advice on handling chronic pain and the posts where I shamelessly try to feed my kid via affiliate marketing (and for the love of God, please, people, go buy something, will ya? In case you hadn’t heard, I’m basically homeless, people), I’ll share an excerpt from my work-in-progress titled, shockingly enough, The Tramadol Diaries.

Unless specifically stated otherwise, I advocate trying NOTHING in these posts as a means of dealing with your own chronic pain (especially without talking to your doctor first). Except the humor. That works. Also? Use what you got. Eighteen months pregnant? You have power, sister. Nobody wants to see you get angry, trust …


The Bad Docs

So, there I was. Six months pregnant, suffering from sciatica, diligently going to physical therapy session after physical therapy session and getting zero relief (although the ice massage was a fresh kind of hell that made me marvel at the medical profession’s capacity for sadism). I couldn’t sit for more than 20 minutes; I couldn’t stand for more than 10. I could walk for five minutes, but every step was pure torture.

And to top it all off, I had apparently signed on with Satan’s own OB-GYN practice. For six months, they shrugged off my weight gain about which I was worried. I’d been 20 pounds overweight to start, and given the complete lack of morning sickness, coupled with the inability to exercise and the severe pain from the sciatica, I’d been medicating the only way I could: Tylenol and food. Every appointment, I asked if I should be concerned about my weight; every appointment, they’d say “Nah.”

Then, at the sixth month appointment (which was actually almost at the end of the sixth month), the doctor came in and began — you got it — lecturing me about my weight. Because of my condition, I’d had another appointment the week before. Now the same scale was telling me I’d gained six pounds in one week.

I stared at her, dumbfounded, for a few minutes, then asked my ex (who wasn’t “ex” at the time, of course) to leave the room. His eyes widened, and he glanced a little fearfully from me to her. Subtext: “Please don’t kill the doctor, honey. I don’t think we can afford the bail.” But he left, dutifully, and I turned what I hoped was my steeliest gaze to the doctor.

“For six months,” I began slowly, struggling to maintain control of my rage, “I have asked every single damned one of you people whether I should be concerned about my weight. For six months, every single damned one of you have told me ‘No.’ Now, when I gain six pounds in one week, you come in here lecturing me about biscuits for breakfast?! Are you crazy or just stupid?”

She pulled her skinny self up to her full stature of 5’2″ and stared down her nose at me, the red-faced whale in her exam room. “Well, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can accept responsibility for your feelings.”

I nodded slowly. “Then I don’t think I can accept responsibility for your outrageously padded bills.”

I waddled out as gracefully as I could manage and paused only at the office manager’s desk to ask for my records to be copied and mailed to me as my new OBGYNs would need them. The woman stared at me wide-eyed, and then stammered, “Yeah, yes, of course, sure.”

A week later, she called to tell me the records were ready and asked if I’d mind picking them up in person because she wanted to find out more about why I was leaving. I obliged her with a full recounting. She leaned forward in her chair and said, “What if I could guarantee you that you wouldn’t have to see that doctor again? You’re far enough along that I can …”

I shook my head. “Sorry, but you have a systemic problem here. On my second visit, I told another doctor – your senior partner here, if I’m not mistaken – about my sciatica. He laughed it off, then told me to use a heating pad. When I told him that I’d read in several books that heat could damage the baby, he scowled and replied, ‘Who are you going to trust? Some book or me?’ There have been other incidents, too, that I’d normally overlook. But that last visit? Last straw. I’m gone.”

I took my file and I drove down the street to my new doctors — three women who saved my baby.

The Good Docs

These women were amazing, as I found out during my first exam with them. The first woman I saw was a beautiful German woman who still spoke with a slight accent. She listened – at first, wearing the typical professional mask of emotionless attention – but as I continued to explain what had happened, her eyes grew wider and the mask slipped. By the time I got to the doctor’s “can’t take responsibility for your feelings” line, her mouth had actually dropped open a bit. After I recounted the whole speech to the office manager, she actually said, “You go, girl!” In a German accent.

It was awesome. I knew I was home. (She also ran some bloodwork to rule out insidious causes of the weight gain; ultimately, it was chalked up to a borderline hypertension and water retention, something I should have known about a lot sooner, and would have, had the first doctor actually paid attention to the problem, instead of focusing on her attempts to shame me.)

My next appointment was with a short woman my age who was eight months pregnant with twins herself. She could barely reach my stomach when I lay down on the exam table. That was funny.

Then the next visit, they increased my appointments to every other week, and I met Doc #3 – a tall, gorgeous African-American woman who could as easily have been a model. She had me howling with laughter from tales of her own labor and delivery of three kids.

And then, finally, my beautiful doctors told me that we had to consider induction. My princess was growing well — a little too well, in fact — and they were concerned about my ability to push her out if she got any bigger.

Labor, Aptly Named

I checked into the hospital on a Thursday morning — ironically enough, my best friend’s birthday (even more ironic because she, too, was pregnant and would end up giving birth to a baby girl two weeks later – on my birthday). Within half an hour, I was hooked up to a pitocin drip and had a long strip of hormone-cream-soaked gauze shoved up my vagina. (Sorry, guys.)

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Twenty-four hours passed. Then thirty-six.

Then the fun really began. The contractions were coming every minute or so. I was well and truly laboring. And mother of God, it hurt. Not so much the contractions, but the back pain that followed the contractions by thirty to forty-five seconds. I kept insisting something was wrong, and everyone – including my otherwise-awesome mother – basically patted me on the head and told me to tough it out.

“You people suck,” I moaned. (I consider it a huge source of personal pride that this was the worst thing I said during the entire ordeal.)

They tried Stadol. I hallucinated. They gave me epidurals. I enjoyed a brief respite — really brief, like thirty minutes, and then it just stopped working. Twice.

At four in the morning on Saturday (forty hours after the pitocin drip had been started), my German doctor came in to talk to us.

“Your baby’s head is pushed right against the cervix, and as fast as you can dilate, it’s bruising and swelling the cervix shut. You haven’t progressed one centimeter in four hours – you’re still at seven, and you need to be at ten. Now, I can let you go another hour, if you want, but …”

“Cut me open now,” I hissed.

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The Truth Hurts

I’ve been struggling with this post a really long time.

The reason for the conflict is simple: I’ve presented a fairly consistent  image of successful pain management techniques here. And for the most part, that’s been true. Heck, it’s been completely true – until fairly recently.

What happened was this: I found myself in a hellish situation — staying with some friends (now former friends) who … wow, how to put this? Let’s say “had some issues.” They, and their kids, systematically worked over the course of several months to make life harder than it had to be. And it all ended in a fabricated explosion designed to push us out — myself and my child, that is.

Well, you don’t have to tell me twice. Despite the massive amounts of stress and pain I was dealing with, I managed to pack us up and get out within a day. We drove two hours late at night, ending up at a hotel in Raleigh, NC, where I slept for the first time in over six months on a real bed. The next day, we met my brother for lunch, then took off yet again in the poorly-air-conditioned car – this time for Savannah, a good six hours away.

That’s where I am now — my daughter is spending a few days with her dad in South Carolina — staying with a true friend who needed some help and had an extra bedroom.

The truth is: I am quite literally homeless. Without a place to call home – at least, of my own.

That’s what chronic pain has done to me. I am unemployable, I have lost the law license I worked so hard for, and I have no home and no regular income — all because I have chronic pain.

The reality of this has made me even sicker, much as the insane additional amounts of emotional stress have contributed to it as well. The practicalities are that I have had to steel my body to do things it just is not capable of doing in the past weeks. And it is screaming at me right now.

“Do you get it yet? Has it soaked in through your incredibly thick skull yet? You are DISABLED, you moron.”

I hate it when my body yells at me. It’s so … rude.

I have no idea what’s going to happen. For the first time, I’m scared. Truly, bone-crunching-ly, soul-shaking-ly scared. This arrangement won’t last much longer — it can’t, because I won’t let my friend take on one more thing she has to fix at the expense of herself, and because … well, I just won’t let it. And what happens then feels like one huge question mark.

All I can do now is cry, while my daughter isn’t here to see me, and lie here on this bed, because I can’t sit up without wanting to scream. And while I know this current level of pain will not last — it never does — it will ease, and I will rise again — the enormity of the other problems makes it all seem like one great big giant taffy ball of evil trying to trap me in a box.

Perspective is hard to come by these days, in other words. So if you’ve come here looking for “thriving!” tips (gaaah, I want to rip that word from the English language right about now), you might want to go elsewhere for awhile. Or look through the happy/healthy archives. Stay away from current posts for awhile. Because I’m fresh out of thriving. Because the truth, quite literally, hurts like hell.

Pregnant Pauses, Pain, and Penguins (Another Tramadol Diaries Excerpt)

What is this?

Every so often, interspersed with the “how to” tips and advice on handling chronic pain and the posts where I shamelessly try to feed my kid via affiliate marketing (and for the love of God, please, people, go buy something, will ya? She’s already growing out of the three pairs of school pants I could afford back in January), I’ll share an excerpt from my work-in-progress tentatively and humorously (I hope) titled The Tramadol Diaries.

Unless specifically stated otherwise, I advocate trying NOTHING in these posts as a means of dealing with your own chronic pain (especially without talking to your doctor first). Except the humor. That works. Also? Self-delusion and self-imposed exile to Egypt — you know, the Land of Denial … well, at least it works for awhile …

“Does It Hurt This Bad For All Preggos?”

For nine solid months, and beyond, I hurt. Friends would ask, concern in their voices and eyes, “What exactly does it feel like?”

The first time I was asked this fairly simple question, I was floored. How to describe this hellish sensation that made walking, sitting, lying down, doing anything pure torture?

I thought for a minute, and then said, “Imagine it’s late spring and you’re in college. You’re wearing shorts. Short shorts, you know, the kind that barely cover the subject. Now imagine you’re sitting on top of a brick wall. OK? Now, say this really cute guy clear across the quad sees you. His eyes light up and he calls out to you, waving you over. You happily hop off the wall … and in the process, scrape the shit out of the backs of your legs. Got that?”

They’d wince, and then their eyes would go wide, and they’d nod. But I wasn’t finished.

“OK, now, while you’re in shock from that experience, the insane torture killer who just escaped from the local nuthouse comes careening around the corner and sees you in pain. You look just like his abusive mom, so he takes the fireplace poker he carries with him for just such a purpose out of his duffel bag with one hand, pulls out the flame thrower with the other, heats up the poker until it glows red and white at the tip, and then jabs that poker smack dab in the center of your butt cheek, then pulls it straight down your leg to your heel.”

At this point in the description, I’d get some strange looks.

So I’d shrug. “It’s like that.”

Colorful though the description may have been, it wasn’t overstatement or hyperbole. That’s exactly what it felt like. Most of the time, I’d be the girl who merely scraped the crap out of her legs on the brick wall. But at least once a day, I’d become the serial killer’s victim.

The worst part was I couldn’t predict when that transformation would take place. I tried, God knows. I kept logs — detailed logs of all my activities, my food and drink intake, my stress levels, my sleep — anything I could think of that might possibly be related to this awful pain. There were absolutely no commonalities. No pattern I could discern.

I was simply at the whims of some sadistic supernatural force that had decreed I’d be spending what should have been the most blissful time of my life — my first pregnancy — in screamingly debilitating pain.

And to make it even more deliciously sadistic? I was pregnant so I couldn’t take any good drugs.  Nor could I even take any diagnostic tests to figure out what the hell was going on with me.

What I could do was research. So I researched myself blind. I read every book on pregnancy I could find, assuming the pain was somehow connected to my burgeoning blessed state. Made sense, right? They both struck at the same time.

And in fact, in one of those god-awful pregnancy tomes — you know, with the paintings of the long-haired earth mothers, rocking a baby with some intricately knitted shawl delicately draped around her shoulders? — what I found was that this devilish pain had a name — sciatica — and it was in fact commonly experienced in pregnancy. Bingo, I thought smugly.

Then I read the next paragraph, and my smugness vanished, to be replaced by utter confusion and dismay: sciatica was commonly experienced in pregnancy — in the last weeks of the third trimester, as it was related to the pressure of all that extra weight pressing against your spine. But I’d been feeling like this since right after the little blue line popped up on the white stick.

Well. Damn.

So I know what it is, but not why I have it, I thought. Crap.

In a master stroke of irony, I experienced absolutely no other negative pregnancy side effects. No fatigue. No morning sickness. Well, I was hot as hell, perpetually. I cranked down the house thermostat to the point that my husband swore he saw penguins leaving in the middle of the night, shivering, muttering “Damn, it’s too cold in there.”

“Ha. Ha. I’m growing a person in here,” I snapped back. “It’s hot work.”

The worst time was nighttime. I’d lie there on one side then the other, a long body pillow stuffed between my knees and clutched over my bursting belly, desperate for one moment of … not feeling good since that was clearly impossible, but at least of sufficiently reduced pain that I could finally reach that blissfully unaware state of sleep.

Predictably, as I grew bigger the pain got worse. But sometime around the sixth month, I discovered that I had superpowers.

Specifically, I had the power of auto-suggestion. I could convince myself of anything, it seemed. Even that my pain was fading. Even that it was gone. All I had to do was lie there, quietly, and repeat to myself over and over “I feel good, I feel great, my legs feel great, I can sleep, I feel good, I feel great …” Within five minutes, the pain subsided long enough to let me drift off.

Excited at this epiphany, I started playing this game during the day. I was devastated to find out it only lasted a few minutes at a time, and required serious mental effort — more effort than I could give, since I was still working.  So I suffered through the days.

But at night? I was Pregnant Sleeping Cleopatra, Queen of Denial.

The Breakfast Incident (An Excerpt from Trauma Dolls’ Guide)

Every so often, interspersed with the “how to” tips and advice on handling chronic pain and the posts where I shamelessly try to feed my kid via affiliate marketing (and for the love of God, please people, go buy something, will ya? She’s getting skinny), I’ll share an excerpt from my work-in-progress titled, shockingly enough, The Tramadol Diaries.  Unless specifically stated otherwise, I advocate trying NOTHING in these posts as a means of dealing with your own chronic pain (especially without talking to your doctor first). Except the humor. That definitely works. Hey, it’s either laugh at yourself or cry, right? And crying makes me look ugly…

The Breakfast Incident

It started the weekend after I learned I was pregnant with The Princess. November, 1998. I remember sitting in a tony country club, having breakfast with my mother, brother, and husband, and shifting uncomfortably in my seat, painfully aware of the searing burning sensation running down the back of my left leg.

My brother, Tom, was being his usual sarcastically funny self. I honestly don’t remember what he said that set me off — something benign, because he’s never mean, and I usually take it and dish it right back with affection.

This time, however, something snapped. “Don’t do that,” I said. Something in my face or my tone conveyed the seriousness I felt, because the look on his face said volumes. Surprise, alarm, confusion, tinged with a slight hint of fear — he was obviously thinking, “Oh shit. What did I say?”

He recovered enough to say, “Come on kiddo. I’m only teasing.”

“Don’t,” I warned him. And then — God, I hate this about me — the tears started to well up. Every damn time I get angry, I start to cry. And I never cry pretty. Oh, no. My crying face is red, splotchy, puffy, and just really, really fugly.

Now he was truly alarmed. “Sherrie,” he began (and he almost never uses my name — the name he and our other brother Jim gave me at birth) … but I cut him off.

“I’m not kidding. I hurt, I don’t feel good, and I’m a little scared about it all, so just DON’T,” I sniveled.

To his credit, he backed off immediately. But the incident is forever burned in my memory because it was the first time I admitted to myself that something was terribly, terribly wrong with me.

I was a month pregnant, at the age of 33. It should have been the happiest time in my life. I had no morning sickness at all (never did), and this baby was very much wanted by both my husband and me — to say nothing at all of my mother, who had always craved a grandchild but had all but given up hope of any of her ungrateful weirdo kids ever giving her one.

And yet, I had just acknowledged that I was in pain — a pain that had come on strong and fast, with no warning or apparent cause, and had not let up once in days. The mystery of it frightened me greatly because of the pregnancy. All I could think was, “Is something wrong with Princess?” (I knew even then it was a girl. I swear I did.)

Those days would turn into months, and then a full year, before I ever found out what was causing this debilitating pain, which never once ceased its perpetual torment.

Welcome to “Trauma Dolls”!

Welcome! The first inaugural post of a blog should be something besides “Hi, hello out there in blogland, this is my first post.” So, I thought I’d do something a little different — an interview with myself. Hey, why not? I know what questions to ask. Plus, I won’t go all “that’s off the record” on myself, either.

Here we go!

So, Annie, thanks for the interview.

Oh, you’re welcome, Annie. My pleasure. Thanks for the interest.

First things first, I suppose. Why is this site called “Trauma Dolls”?

Well, Annie, several reasons really. Initially, of course, this site was called “The Tramadol Diaries” – because while I never wanted to take pain medication, when it came down to that (after everything else didn’t work for four long years), those little white pills saved my life.  And it was a little inside joke. See, I wanted this site to have a conversational, slightly confessional tone to it. So the “Diaries” part was a no-brainer. Together, it just sounds funny. Tramadol Diaries. Kinda like “True Confessions” or “Victoria’s Secret.” Maybe not as pretty.

But then Google dissed me. Or rather, my site. Or rather, my site name. It doesn’t like the “T” word. And then my good Doll buddy, Carolie Brekke, suggested “Trauma Dolls.” It sounds like tramadol. It calls up visions of gorgeous totally-not-Barbie-dolls in wicked awesome clothes doing wicked fun things. And thus, the site was (re)born.

Wait. Go back a second. Tramadol saved your life? That’s a pretty bold statement.

Well, it’s true. I wrestled with fibromyalgia symptoms and pain from degenerative disk disease and scoliosis for several years, using only over the counter pain relievers and conservative treatments. I tried everything that was available to me — chiropractic, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, supplements, guaifenisin, special brands of yoga therapy — nothing really worked for me, not completely. Then I read a study abstract that concluded tramadol plus acetaminophen worked well in some fibro patients. So, I tried it. And it worked for me.

What does “worked” mean, exactly? What was the difference in your pain level or your daily life, if you will?

It was the difference between “coping” and “living.” See, I was functional all along, although sometimes just barely. But I was always in a level of pain that prevented most physical activities, including playing with my daughter and housework. The housework part I didn’t mind so much but the playing with the kid? That one was bad news. The combination of tramadol and acetaminophen let me regain some measure of physical activity.

So are you all better now?

I wish. Far from it. I still have flareups — lately, I’ve had a lot of bad ones. See, as my other chronic conditions get worse they seem to trigger fibro flares. When that happens, it’s like a really bad flu, all the time. Horrible aches and pains, complete lack of energy. Even pulling the bedcovers up over my torso makes my arms feel like I’ve gone ten rounds with Tyson in the ring.

What do you do during flareups?

Cry. Whimper.

No, not really. I try to avoid that, if possible. It never makes me feel better to sink into that feeling. I try to embrace the concept that there’s pain, and then there’s suffering. Pain may not be optional for me, but suffering? Totally optional.

So, if I can muster the energy, I sink into a very warm bath for a long, long while. If not, I take an extra acetaminophen with a tall glass of cool water with a dash of lemon juice, and lie down wrapped up in blankets (warmth tends to relieve the symptoms). While I’m lying there, I try to quiet the negative self-talk and count my breaths. Anything to stay in the moment and away from that spiraling “what this pain is going to become tomorrow?” feeling.

You say it got worse recently. What’s that been like?

Well, it put an end to my legal career, prematurely. I’d planned to resign for some time but not quite this early and certainly not like that. But I had to face the truth in 2009 — that I just could not continue to do the job, not in the way the clients needed me to. So, I resigned. Now, I’m focusing on transitioning into full-time writing and coaching, two things I am very passionate about and love to do. Plus, I think I’m better at that than being a lawyer, frankly. Lawyering was always something of a tortuous exercise for me — it didn’t come naturally the way writing and coaching seem to.

And what’s next for you?

Well, I hope to grow this website into something valuable for all chronic pain sufferers. No matter what the underlying condition might be, we all have similar obstacles to face. We have to renegotiate life, basically, on completely new terms. There are legal issues, and relationship struggles, and parenting crises … basically every aspect of life is impacted by chronic pain. I want to help others navigate that obstacle course and do something more than just live through it. I want to help others bring joy back into their lives.

So, I’m writing a book, which for now is tentatively titled The Trauma Dolls’ Thrival Guide to Living Beautifully With Chronic Pain.

Anything else we should know?

I hate liver. Also: humid heat.

But you lived in coastal South Carolina. For — like, ten years.

Actually it was thirteen years. Yeah. I know. Not too bright, huh?

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