It is classically a bittersweet moment for those of us at the National Pain Report.
We are saying “Goodbye”.
When we started this idea nearly a decade ago, we asked ourselves a question:
“Is there enough content to sustain a news blog about chronic pain?”
Turns out the answer was yes.
There weren’t many information options for chronic pain patients, providers and family members back then. There are plenty now. It’s that quantity that allows us to leave.
You may ask why now? That’s a fair question.
We have always run the National Pain Report as a service to our audience—it’s never been a job (goodness knows it wasn’t for the money) but an avocation. In the past, when we were ready to shutter the operation, we never could quite do it.
We didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
But the decision is easier given all the other information options and social media sites that are out there.
The truth is we are burnt out—and the quality of the work has slipped and that is something we cannot stand. Our lives are taking us in different directions and don’t leave enough time to do this well.
So, we’re done.
But it’s not easy. We have met so many great people along the way—there’s not enough digital space to thank all of them, but we must note a few.
The U.S. Pain Foundation has been a great partner. The largest pain patient advocacy group has a great heart under the leadership of Nicole Hemmenway. We remain fans and friends.
Cynthia Toussaint (her partner John Garrett) and For Grace. Chronic Pain disproportionately impacts women and her leadership brings attention to that issue and her on-point columns about living with chronic pain (and now with cancer) were something we all looked forward to reading every month.
Terri Lewis Ph.D. She commented on one of our stories years ago and I reached out to her. Turns out we had lots in common. (Hint: Montana is the longest Main Street in the world) Her vigilance in pointing out how the system is broken and is failing chronic pain patients was driven by both her relentless intellectual curiosity and the fact her father and her son have endured this terrible malady.
Jim Broatch, the long-time Executive Director of RSDSA, helped me learn more about CRPS and introduced me to a number of experts and patients who educated our readers on this terrible malady.
David Nagel, M.D. Dave is a true healer—one who is trying to change the system from the inside out. His book “Needless Pain: How Society Fails Those with Chronic Pain” is a great read. His is an important voice in chronic pain because as Lynn Webster M.D. once wrote, “Dave never forgot why he went to medical school.”
Steve Ariens, a retired pharmacist who “told it like it is” even if it made his former profession and colleagues a bit (or a lot) uncomfortable.
Claudia Merandi and her Don’t Punish Pain Rallies. She’s a fierce advocate who has ruffled more than a few feathers not only in state legislative chambers but also among her fellow pain advocates.
Two of my favorite psychologists, Beth Darnall and Geralyn Datz educated me (and thus you) on the importance of mental health in the treatment of chronic pain.
Kerry Smith—the former minister and current wildlife artist—whose body is wracked by chronic pain and who never stopped looking for alternatives to treat his pain—and was always willing to share that journey with characteristic candor.
Our columnists—Ellen Smith, Liza Zoellick, Red Lawhern, Joanna Mechlinski, Katie O’Leary, Melissa Wardlaw and dozens more who shared their personal stories and expertise.
To my partners, Geoff “Geo” Sims and Doug Lynch, who quietly supported this effort, thank you!
And everyone else not mentioned, who wrote, called, emailed, commented, criticized, cursed or otherwise made their point of view known, you all became family.
A final thought if we may.
In covering the chronic pain community, in addition to meeting hundreds of really interesting people, it is also evident how the community’s fractious nature holds it back. Rivalries, which from where I sit look rather petty, prevent a unified voice for truly addressing solutions in fixing a broken health care system that simply does not work for the chronically ill.
Thank you for all your support.
It’s been an honor.