After a skiing accident left her with 17 years of constant pain, Magnolia’s Helen Dearman went through everything imaginable, in order to deal with it.
“I had been living with the pain for decades,” she said. “It wasn’t until years later when I got diagnosed with a broken back.”
Her journey is similar to many with chronic pain. Years of telling numerous doctors her problems before finally finding one that would listen.
“For many, many years I was a really angry and depressed person,” Dearman said. “I couldn’t play with my kids the way I wanted to, it impacted my career and I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me.”
After years of searching and battling those doubters, she finally found a doctor that listened -- and helped. She was retrofitted with an internal pump that delivers medication directly into her spine.
“It used to be that I would hover around a 7 to 9 (out of 10) on the pain scale,” she said. “Now I am down to a three.”
Her struggles and outspokenness eventually led her to work throughout the nation with various pain organizations, a weekly pain management internet radio show and patient conferences. She also became a member of the Texas Medical Center Pain and Palliative Care Task Force.
“I have a teaching background and one of my doctors asked me to get involved,” Dearman said.
Eventually Dearman decided to write a book about her experiences and how to seek help. It took her nearly five years to complete it.
“So many people have pain and it’s not validated by their doctors, family and friends,” she said. “You can live with pain and have a great life.”
“The essence of the book is focused on four key statements,” she said. “One, that you are not alone. Second, it’s your body and it’s your choice. Third is to go easy on yourself and that it’s ok to say no and finally to control pain before it controls you.”
Dearman said the book draws from opinions and the advice of pain experts across the country, including doctors, scientists, psychologists, rehabilitation specialists, massage therapists, acupuncture specialists and several other sufferers of chronic pain. The book and her lectures have allowed her to work with several notable people including Jerry Lewis and Dr. Patch Adams.
“It was interesting and enlightening to see and hear about (Patch Adams) work with children in pain,” she said. “He is as interesting a person as you can imagine.”
Dearman said that while the book talks about her personal struggle with pain, it is much more than merely stating, “look at what I did, I am fixed now.”
“I never advocate my personal treatment on others because everyone is different,” she said. “There is no missing puzzle piece, but hopefully the book can help you find your way towards something that works for you.”
Dearman’s book Pain Tamers: To inform, empower and equip the person with chronic pain, can be found at her website, www.paintamers.com, or purchased at amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.