Voices Across America

My Patient Story

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Tom

State: California
Congressional District: CA37

Diseases

Cancer, Chronic Pain, Heart Disease, Lung Disease

My Story

Hello! I am a happily married, medically retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel (23 years) who has lived with chronic pain for the past 33 years. My pain started as a result of excess radiation treatment for testicular cancer. Since then, the pain has spread to almost all of my body. (I can say that my right leg doesn't hurt!)

To help manage my pain initially I joined the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) in one of their support groups. Since then (for 26 years) I have facilitated several chronic pain support groups throughout the Los Angeles area. Presently, I am actively facilitating two support groups that reach across the United States. My weekly Zoom group has 330+ people with various types of chronic pain interested (thankfully, 25 show up at any time!) My weekly phone support group has 25 elderly members who discuss their lives with chronic pain. Personally, I am managing the chronic pain I experience using my faith, the love Marianne (my wife) and I have for each other, Virtual Reality (VR), the lessons I have learned from the ACPA, and routinely epidurals. My goal is to empower people with chronic pain to help themselves to deal with the challenges presented by chronic pain.

I am trying to improve my advocacy skills at the grassroot level because there are so many problems that people encounter every day. Many people just need some guidance or direction to start on the right path of managing their pain and find their quality of life. I believe that each of us has the ability to help ourselves and each other.

My Motivation and Inspiration

“Believe in yourself and in your dream,
Though impossible things may seem
Someday, somehow you’ll get through
To the goal you have in view.
Mountains fall and seas divide,
Before the one who in his stride
Takes a hard road by day
Sweeping obstacles away
Believe in yourself and in your plan
Say not – I cannot – I can
The prizes of life we fail to win
Because we doubt the power within…”
– anon

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