Yesterday, I was on Day 3 of a Level 8 migraine that required a trip to the doctor’s office for several injections and some prescriptions for oral medications. As I staggered up the driveway from the car to my front door (in a sunshine so blinding you’d never believe that a few hours later we’d be drenched in torrential downpours), I spied a box on the stoop. I picked it up, buckling under the weight of it, and squinted at the name on it. “Michelle Tracy”. Yep, that was me. Curiosity outweighing my pain for a split second, I tore into the box and found just the pick-me-up I needed: my acceptance letter from the U.S. Pain Foundation. I am now officially a Pain Ambassador! The package included all kinds of information and goodies: pamphlets, magazines, posters, and other information to distribute to those living with chronic pain as well as to donate to doctor’s offices and other areas where people living with chronic pain might frequently congregate. I also received a book, a manual, a tote bag, a “PAIN WARRIOR” bracelet, and information welcoming me to the U.S. Pain Foundation. I was even asked to provide information so they can print and send me my very own, personalized business cards! As someone who receives mostly medical bills in the mail, this package was a welcome surprise. Of course, I’m in this for more than the cool swag. The U.S. Pain Foundation and its Pain Ambassador Program are incredibly important resources for those of us living with chronic pain. There are opportunities to be Pain Ambassadors in each state, as well as other ways to get involved. Here’s what the U.S. Pain Foundation has to say about Pain Ambassadors:
“U.S. Pain Ambassadors are individuals committed to creating pain awareness and generating change within the medical community. They also empower those afflicted with pain.
U.S. Pain Foundation values and honors our ambassadors. We rely on them to connect with others and become the voice of pain and hope in their communities. In essence, our Pain Ambassadors make up who we are as an organization.”
In my capacity as a Pain Ambassador, I am expected to be a voice and resource for those living with chronic pain in my community. I distribute the aforementioned materials, participate in events, create support groups or other campaigns, and network with other Pain Ambassadors in my area and around the country to help educate and support the chronic pain community, as well as the medical community and society in general. This is not a job I take lightly and it is one I approach with great enthusiasm. If you would like to get involved as well, I urge you to first join the U.S. Pain Foundation by going to uspainfoundation.org/join.html. Once you have joined, share your story at uspainfoundation.org/share-your-story.html and browse the site. Should you decide you’d like to apply to become a Pain Ambassador, head here: uspainfoundation.org/pain-ambassador.html. Together, we can make a huge difference in our own lives as well as the lives of others! I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues and spreading awareness and information about living with chronic pain.