Hello November and Pain Awareness Week!

November snow by Anil Reddy

Hi everyone! Sorry it took me a week to post! Today is the start of “National Pain Awareness Week” here in Canada. I’m hoping to feature some guest posts from other individuals who live with chronic pain in order to raise awareness (anyone who’s interested can email me katie.robertson@live.ca). I’m also going to be re-posting from my Canadian Pain Summit trip and speech and talking a bit about how things have started to changed here following the summit.

I finished the poster I’ve been working on for the ILC Foundation tonight. As far as I know they plan on publishing it to coincide with awareness week. I’ll be putting it up on the blog as soon as I can. I’ve got a few drawings here to finish up and then I’m hoping to blog a drawing challenge that I found. It sounds like loads of fun and I’m really looking forward to it.

As for how life is, this past week was pretty unpleasant. I’ve spent most of it with a horrible headache and the accompanying nausea. Most of the time all I feel like doing is laying down but my back disagrees with that notion. A few days ago one (or more) of my ribs dislocated, much higher up than usual. I could still bend where as when the lower ones are out I can’t. But, this one being so high up made it unbelievable painful to breathe. It almost ended with a trip to the hospital but that usually doesn’t do much good so I just tried my best not to breathe too hard or move the wrong way. It seemed to make something in my shoulder and collarbone go out a bit as well. Or maybe everything was just spasming because of the rib. Lucky for me the dislocation only lasted about 12 hours this time instead of the couple of weeks it took to go back in last time. I’m really grateful for that. 

I had an ultrasound last week on my gallbladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, appendix, bladder, stomach intestines and aorta. i’m not sure what the majority of it was ordered for apart from to check on my gallbladder polyp but I’m glad my doctor’s checking on things. I haven’t heard back from them so I’m hoping that’s a sign that everything looked good. The ultrasound itself went alright aside from my ribs not taking it too well and the technician telling me that “pain is good because it lets you know you’re alive” when we were discussing my chronic pain. I’m going to venture to guess that whoever first uttered that phrase hadn’t experienced a whole lot of suffering in their life. Oh the things I wish I’d said in response!

Anyways, happy November to you all! Hope your October was enjoyable! xx

One Long Week

Sorry for the lack of new posts, this past week has been super busy and filled to the brim with ups and downs. I got to spend the day with my best friend who’s back in town for the summer. We were out and about all day which is always hard on my body, but it was completely worth it. The day after that mom and I had to go clothes shopping to try and find something to wear to my cousin’s wedding this past weekend. About 10 minutes into shopping my back is always screaming at me to go sit down or lay down. That aside I’ve never been a fan of shopping, unless it’s an art store and we don’t have any of those nearby.

My brother and his girlfriend came over from Alberta to stay with us for a few days so they could spend some time in town before the wedding. Then on Saturday we drove the two and a half hours to Horsefly to the wedding. It was a pretty tough and long day, especially with the 2 hours of sleep I got the night before. But, it was wonderful to see so much family and I’m so happy for my cousin. The ceremony was perfect and the location was breathtaking. I got some pretty good pictures with my new zoom lens too. I was practicing with it first on my brother’s ridiculously photogenic girlfriend. 

We stayed overnight at a hotel in Horsefly to shorten up the day a bit and drove back home in the morning. My brother went back home Tuesday and now everything’s generally back to normal and I’ve been getting some much needed sleep and down time. It’s so odd when I think of how I could do all of those things endlessly before without being even a fraction of how sore and exhausted I was by the end of the week. Even now it takes some getting used to. 

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My cousin, being the amazing person she is, also made an amazing gesture; instead of doing party favors for the wedding they decided to make a donation to an organization that means a lot to me. With that I chose the ILC foundation because of how hard they work and how supportive they’ve been, and lastly, how important organizations like that are for young people in pain. I’m so indescribably grateful to them for not only choosing to make a donation but for involving me in the decision as well.

The ILC Foundation

Hi guys. I wanted to write a bit about an amazing foundation that was brought to my attention when I was at the Canadian Pain Summit this past April. They are called the ILC foundation and are dedicated to improving the lives of young people (up to age 29) suffering from chronic pain. They offer a wide variety of resources including one on one support, a peer support network (including live chats and webinars), an online library full of resources for specific age groups and ailments, along with a wealth of information and events to attend. There’s so much more on the site and I highly recommend anyone with chronic pain or those who have a loved one with it to check it out. You’ll be glad that you did!

I feel so lucky to be living in a time and place when resources and support like this is available to help me through my chronic pain journey. One of the hardest parts of chronic pain, especially when it starts at a young age, is the isolation. You begin to feel so misunderstood by those around you and alienated from other people who do understand what you’re going through. That’s why programs and foundations like this are so invaluable. They give us back a connection to the world and a feeling of support and access. The foundation’s creators/staff are amazingly kind, understanding and helpful as well which puts you at ease and makes you feel more comfortable contacting them with your needs and/or questions.

The ILC is also involved in heading Canada’s first ever “21-Day+ Pediatric Chronic Pain Rehabilitation and Wellness Program” alongside experts in pediatric chronic pain. I watched a video on their Facebook page the other day of different kids, teenagers and young adults talking about their lives with chronic pain and how things have changed since it started and the importance of advocates and support. The video was amazingly well done and I was in awe of how precisely each of their stories echoed my own. I suggest watching it for yourselves, it’s very educational and heartfelt (you can find it by liking the ILC Foundation’s Facebook page, the link can be found below). 

Click here to go to the ILC Foundation’s Facebook page and here to follow them on LinkedIn. I’ll also be putting a button link on the side of my blog for quick easy access to their website. I’m grateful to the ILC Foundation for the things that they’ve done for me so far and I know that they’ll continue to be an important and immeasurably valuable resource to me in the future. I’m so thankful to the dedicated and caring members who do so much for us young people in pain.