Hi. I’m Kim Sullivan and I’ve lived with chronic pain for 23 years after being electrocuted in a swimming pool. Like you, I spent decades on the medical merry-go-round consulting endless specialists, but nothing eased my intractable back and neck pain, crippling headaches, repeated attacks of shingles and depression.
The defining moment for me was when my pain specialist explained how the electric shock had disrupted the way my brain cells communicated with my spinal cord and nerve endings. The electric current caused a malfunction in the way my nervous system processed pain signals. My doctor reassured me that my symptoms were normal responses to an electric shock and that I could learn techniques to reduce their impact on my life.
I took part in a multidisciplinary pain management program and started a carefully graded exercise program, gentle yoga and meditation. I also learned psychological techniques that changed the way I thought about and responded to my pain. I learned to pace myself rather than my usual pattern of doing too much, triggering a flare-up and having to rest in bed for several days.
Through the program, I learned valuable techniques to manage my pain and reduce its impact on my life. Once I understood why I was the way I was, I stopped feeling stigmatised by people I felt judged me.
But I still struggled to keep track of my triggers, and when I went to doctors’ appointments, I forgot what I wanted to ask them. That’s why I developed my journal that puts everything about my pain management program at my fingertips. It helps me keep track of everything I do to self-manage my pain, and it puts me in the driver’s seat at doctors’ appointments. Keeping all my prescriptions in one place also helps me remember when they need to be refilled, so I never run out of medications.
I hope you benefit from using my journal. I’d love to hear from you about your pain journey and how the journal has helped you reduce the impact of pain in your life.