14 Miles from Wisdom
In the summer of 2005, I was in a violent rollover car accident in the remote Big Hole Valley of Montana—just past the sign that read "Wisdom 14 miles."
A C-4 spinal cord injury almost took my life—twice. I fought to stay alive and rehabilitate from the severe injuries. Months of therapy helped me relearn many of the motor skills I'd lost, until I became somewhat used to my physical limitations.
Then I encountered an even harder challenge: excruciating, burning, aching nerve pain—central nerve pain. The syrinx (cyst on the spinal cord) caused by the trauma was inoperable. I faced a life of never-ending pain—so unbearable I didn't think I could live with it.
My doctors worked hard to help me find a solution, but the best medications for nerve pain didn't help. Narcotics didn't even touch the pain; they just made it harder for me to cope with life. I was trapped in my body and desperately wanted out.
I prayed for answers and for hope. Referral to a pain clinic gave me training in pain management, knowledge of the mind-body aspects of pain, and tools to make desired behavioral changes and reach measurable goals. I now had some tools to help me cope.
I continued to research pain and to collaborate with my medical specialists, but I recognized that a piece was missing for most people in pain: ongoing support and learning how to personally manage pain. This sparked an idea that soon became my passion: helping others with chronic pain learn effective ways to cope with and live beyond their pain.
I recognized a piece that was missing for most people in pain:
ongoing support and learning how to personally manage pain.
I founded Take Courage Coaching® with a vision to share what I was learning—how to manage my pain so it wasn't the center of my universe. In time I gathered a group of professionals in counseling, coaching, and communications who are equally passionate about making life less about pain and more about living. Through the courage of those who know how to enjoy life in spite of their pain, others are finding their way back from the brink of despair. My dream is to make pain management available to everyone who has chronic pain.
Today I still have the same 24/7 pain, but it doesn't have me. I live in beautiful Utah, and share life with my husband and dogs, Ruger and Quigley. And every day is filled with helping others learn and practice strategies that enable them to thrive in spite of their pain.
Wisdom is no longer just the name of a small town in the middle of high-elevation hay fields.