I am truly at a loss for words as I sit before my screen and type this post. My heart is so full of love, life, gratitude, and happiness. Since last Thursday, I was in the company of true angels, chronic pain warriors together in pnce place share, love, hope, peace, advice, and gratitude for the efforts of the US Pain Foundation to bring us all together for the 3rd Annual Pain Ambassadors Advocacy Summit.
We were accommodated at the gorgeous University of New England campus in Biddeford, Maine; surrounded by beaches and water that was crystal blue. This all expense paid moment was literally like no experience I have ever had. Everything was accounted for and we were encouraged to be kind to ourselves every step of the way. How amazing! I’ve lived with invisible chronic pain for over seven years now and never have I been in the company of 50 + people that fully understand what I go through each and every day. This alone is enough to make me cry tears of joy, but US Pain gave us even more. Friday and Saturday we were educated by leading experts in the field of pain education, researchers, and warriors that give their real life stories and testimony of triumph, perseverance, positivity, and endurance. We were taught about advocacy at the local, state, and national level. How to get congress to hear our collective voices, to get better treatment, better care, and for professionals to understand what we go through day in and day out. We met Senators, scientists, a beauty queen and each other.
The warriors was the best part of the entire experience. The people connections that I made in such a short time are truly priceless. Strong bonds were formed. Deep alliances made to work together in the world of pain awareness. I wasn’t sure what to expect and now I declare that the entire experience was truly one of the best of my life thus far.
I have to give a huge thank you to Paul Gileno, Shaina Smith, Casey Cashman and Lori Monaco for organizing and managing such an organized and fulfilling weekend. Each of these people live with chronic pain themselves yet each one of them was selfless and fearless in their determination to make sure that each one of us was cared for and having an awesome time. The most important fact that was reiterated throughout the entire program is that we matter; #PeopleWithPainMatter. Every single one of us. We are more than stats and stigma. More than medications. More than prescriptions. We are everyday people fighting an invisible battle. Our voices will be heard.
Check out the photos of our time together below: