Location: North Royalton, OH
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain ambassador since 2013
Pain conditions: Full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, dystonia, gastroparesis, diabetes, narcolepsy, myoclonic jerks, deep vein thombosis, and neurovascular dystrophy.
Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “I start off my support group with some advice to our newbies. I tell them and remind ourselves that we need to grieve for the old you. Most of us, especially those with debilitating injury or illness, those of us whose lives changed dramatically find it very difficult to accept these changes. To ask for help. To NEED help daily and to those who are extremely independent. LET IT GO! The quicker you do, you will have enough energy to find the NEW and IMPROVED YOU!”
City & state: Allentown, PA
Age: 42 years old
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2017
What type of health conditions you live with: Fibromyalgia, Tourette’s syndrome, small fiber neuropathy, migraine disease, trigeminal neuralgia, occipital neuralgia, chronic back pain, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “I want everyone to know that neither you or your diagnoses are invisible. There are people out there who understand what you are going through. If you are still undiagnosed, I urge you to not give up. There is a ton of information and resources out there that can help you and the doctors you are working with to assist you get answers.”
City & State: Madison, WI
Age: 28 years old
Pain warrior role: Advocate and ambassador since 2017
What type of health conditions do you live with: Daily cluster headaches, post-infection chronic mega-migraine disorder, and fibromyalgia
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “It has become my mission to spread the good word that we are not alone, regardless of how isolated we may feel at times. We’re so much more than any diagnosis or condition, and it’s imperative to navigate ways in which we co-exist with our suffering, all while refusing to surrender to it. I believe compassionate relationship with oneself is not only crucial, but that we’re also worthy and deserving of that as well as the same affection, love and respect that we would give away to anyone else.”
City & State: Eustis, Florida
Age: 53 years old
Pain Warrior role: Advocate since 2014
What type of health conditions you live with: Central pain syndrome post-stroke, stiff person syndrome, Grave’s disease post-thyroid cancer, hypercoagulation
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “There’s always a way! No matter your circumstance, keep looking until you find what works for you. Find you tribe, your support community and continue searching for that better quality of life. With technological advances progressing, there are more choices and resources to help pain patients than ever before. And never lose your sense of humor.”
City & State: Leesburg, Virginia
Age: 59 years old
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain ambassador since 2017
What type of health conditions you live with: I am living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, SLE Lupus, Type 2 diabetes, migraines, and chronic back pain.
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “My tip would be to keep a spirit of peace. I believe our attitude has a lot to do with our healing process. For me, I try to extract something good. Pain never feels good but doesn’t have to overpower you.”
City & State: Wasilla, Alaska
Age: 73 years old
Pain Warrior role: Advocate since 2015
What type of health conditions do you live with: Robert was wounded 6 times in Vietnam causing severe chronic pain. He also has rheumatoid arthritis and had surgery for bladder and prostate cancer 3 weeks ago.
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “I have faith in my Creator”
Fun fact about you: “I am portrayed in a new exhibit at the Newseumby Time-Life photographer John Olson, currently in Washington D.C.”
Age: 60 years old
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since the inaugural meeting of US Pain in CT
What type of health conditions you live with: Complex regional pain syndrome, spinal column injury, traumatic brain injury
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “I would tell the young boy scouts I used to lead up and down mountains who complained so much about the pain they were in “Pain Builds Character” (PBC). To this day, every time I hurt I would try to quote my own mantra to myself. I have now added the mantras ‘Such Is Life’ and ‘Life Is Good’. Therefore, at the grand old age of 58, I learned perhaps the most important lesson of my life and that is: SIL-PBC-LIG or in longhand, Such Is Life, Pain Builds Character, Life Is Good.”
City & state: Green Bay, WI
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since July 2014
What type of health conditions you live with: Vestibular migraine, cluster headaches, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “It’s important for me to show my children that living with chronic illnesses and pain does not mean you can’t lead a good life. Every morning I wake up believing it’s going to be a productive and great day. Even if my body limits me from doing certain activities, I’m proud of the fact that I tried my best despite whatever obstacles I faced.”
City & state: Modesto, CA
Age: 38 years old
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain Ambassador since 2016
What type of health conditions you live with: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome, chronic back pain, migraines, depression, and anxiety
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “The most important lesson I have learned about pain is to not let my pain define me. You have to get to know your pain: give it a name, learn to understand it, and become familiar with what increases or decreases it. Mourn who you were before the pain so that you can fully embrace the newly transformed version of yourself. Life doesn’t end with the start of pain. Find an amazing support group to lean on and learn to accept help. You may not be able to do all the things you once could, but with help you may find new ways to do old activities or find new activities you never would have imagine before. You are stronger than you realize so define your pain, but don’t let it define you!”
U.S. Pain is proud to announce Michele Rice as 2017’s recipient of the Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year. This prestigious annual award honors a U.S. Pain volunteer who has gone above and beyond for the pain community. After an open nomination period, one awardee is is selected by a committee comprised of U.S. Pain staff members.
Rice has been a California ambassador since 2014 and was an INvisible Project participant in 2015, when she shared about her struggles with reflex sympathetic disorder. Since becoming an ambassador, she has continuously kept U.S. Pain information and educational materials at her doctor’s office and regularly hosts awareness tables during important campaigns like Pain Awareness Month and Rare Disease Day.