I’m a 42-year-old woman (unless you care to alter my birth certificate and make me younger…please) suffering with a variety of health issues that took up residence in my body beginning early in life but confirmed, named, in my 20’s. I suffer with Grave’s Disease, severe degenerative disc disease and a very, very rare autoimmune disorder called Still’s Disease. The case rate is roughly 60-70 new diagnoses per year (www.stillsdisease.org). That is equal to 0.16% per 100,000 patient life hours per year. Pretty rare, but wildly vicious. I’ll address Still’s in depth on another page.

I spent years as a Human Resources Director until, finally, a back surgery took me out of commission. My boss, a real gem of a leader, let me go. After all, who wants a disabled “face of the company,” right? The way he conducted himself was abominable, and I thought that change would destroy me. Turns out it was the best thing in the world that could have happened because it allowed me to pursue my joy. I am now an author published with a major house and represented by one of the top agents in the nation. Pretty good outcome, right?

But what about the pain? Oh, it’s there. Persistent. Never-ending. A constant companion I’d strangle with my bare hands if the bruises wouldn’t end up butterfly shapes on my own throat. Hence, this site’s name.

One of the worst parts of this evil cycle of pain is that depression is like salt to pain’s pepper. It flavors everything chronic pain sufferers see and do. I’ll talk about my depression a great deal because it’s a familiar bedmate of chronic pain.

Bottom line, I’m a chronic pain survivor. It’s never out of reach, some days rolling over me like a tsunami and other days a persistent hum in my bones. I don’t remember what it’s like to be “normal.” But this is my reality, and there are tricks, tools and tradeoffs to be made to get through every day. I hope some of my experiences will help you find your way through the maze of pain and into the light of living a fulfilling life.