Who am I and what do I know?
Why am I writing this book and this blog?

Who am I? Well, for starters, who I’m not: I am not a doctor of any kind, not a neurologist, a pain management psychologist, or a certified practitioner of alternative medicine. Although I have become a (perhaps certifiable!) research junkie, and have done my best to educate myself, as well as being the recipient of several degrees in enforced education (read: the schools of hard knocks and health troubles), I am not an “expert” except in the most basic sense of one who has travelled well a road that you may now be heading down.

I, like most of my readers, am a person who suffers from chronic pain. In my case, this currently takes the form of full body RSD/CRPS, trigeminal neuralgia, osteoarthritis, colitis, post herpetic neuralgia and ongoing biliary disease. It is not unusual for a person suffering from one disorder of chronic pain to suffer from other chronic illnesses; disorders of pain, immune or central nervous system dysfunction often come to exist side by side in the same beleaguered body. In my case, pre-existing immune dysfunction made treatment of the RSD/CRPS all but impossible from the get-go, leading to a decade of indescribable suffering, but also a decade of an intensive search for non-pharmaceutical answers to a disease that up until very recently has been treated only with pharmaceutical or invasive surgical measures.

During that 10 years of terrible struggle, I was more than motivated to find every and any natural or non-pharmaceutical method to relieving pain, and then, as the disease progressed, to finding alternative treatments for the wide range of bodily dysfunctions associated with the immune and central nervous system changes we experience. It was a difficult task; many things I tried did nothing, some greatly worsened my condition. But one by one I found tools and techniques to help me. At last, after years of study, and trial and error in isolation, I began to make connections, started reaching out to other sufferers who generously shared their knowledge and experience with me as well. Bit by bit, it began to be possible to reclaim my life. I am not “cured”, I am not in remission, but I have regained abilities and mobility that I never thought to see again, I have learned ways to have a full and often happy life despite sharing it with a monster, and I have found a plethora of ways to ease suffering and improve functioning in almost every part of the body and mind.

The journey of learning to live fully and well with a chronic pain condition is truly epic. The pain itself is a demon; a determined, vicious beast, and there are many monsters large and small that must be vanquished, or tamed, to reach your goal. But you are not alone. Others have travelled this path, and they found treasure along the way; tools and tips and magic tricks, philters and unguents and incantations that have helped them find their way. Or to put it less poetically, there is a wide range of natural, drug-free, and self-care methods to help you deal with every part of this challenging journey. I had no choice; because of immune condition, I was forced to search for these with every resource that I had. And, with the help of my steadfast family, some caring friends, many fellow sufferers, researchers and alternative health practitioners from a great broad band of geography and history, and maybe an angel or two, I found more little pieces of magic than I had ever hoped possible.

I will be sharing more of my own story in “Taming the Beast”, both the book and the blog. For now, suffice it to say that l am a person who has dealt with critical and chronic health problems all of my life, and the unusual circumstances of my history, especially since RSD/CRPS came roaring into my universe, have lead me to possess a specific body of knowledge which I believe, and hope with all my heart, may be of help to many of you who must also fight the monster that is chronic pain. Because of these experiences, I am writing this book, “Taming the Beast”. I am writing this book because I want to share all these resources, all the hope I’ve found, with you. I want to take this body of knowledge, forged in the fire of suffering (mine and so many others’) and see it used to lessen suffering… especially yours.

Initially, I presumed I would perhaps write a blog once the book was finished and available, as a way to let other sufferers know of its existence, but I have been encouraged by both my family and by the many brave and brilliant RSD/CRPS angels in my life to share the experience of the work as well; thus this blog, here and now, despite the fact that this work is still in progress, a progress that waxes and wanes as my condition does. Through this blog I hope to be able to share some of the work as it progresses, get your feedback and learn more about your experiences (please, please, please take time to fill out my survey!!), answer questions, ask questions, and make sure that “Taming the Beast” will be the all-inclusive resource-of-resources that I hope to give my fellow beast tamers. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and to visit my blog. I look forward to getting to know you, and to sharing this journey with you.