Living With Chronic Pain – International Pain Foundation President Barby Ingle
ONCE UPON A GENE – EPISODE 053
Living with Chronic Pain – International Pain Foundation President Barby Ingle
Barby Ingle is a fierce advocate, the President of the International Pain Foundation, a chronic pain educator and advocate, motivational speaker, Amazon best-selling author and reality tv personality. She’s received more than 20 accolades for her work in the chronic pain community.
Where did your journey begin?
When I was coaching, I was living all of my dreams. I got endometriosis, went through the treatment process and had a full hysterectomy. Just before my 30th birthday, I was hit by a van and injured, started physical therapy and discovered I had a rare disease triggered by the accident- a rare neuro-autoimmune disease called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). At first it was regional, but several surgeries complicated the condition and I was in a wheelchair for almost seven years.
Was there ever a point in your diagnosis journey where you lost hope?
Even at the lowest, there was hope. The worst moment was when I had a rib removed. The surgeon made a mistake, leaving two bone spurs going into my right lung and wrapped around a nerve bundle in my shoulder. I started having lung collapses, which was disregarded as something that sometimes happens. I didn’t know he was wrong and to push further. I experienced a lung collapse that led to an emergency surgery and my dad was there giving me support and hope.
What organization did your family help to launch that you’re a part of now?
Every year, my dad had us do a family project and we would decide at Thanksgiving what it was going to be. Sometimes it would be Christmas caroling at retirement homes or serving food to the homeless. In 2006, we lost my step-sister to the same condition I have, so when Thanksgiving came around my dad led us to start a non-profit. At that time, I was wheelchair bound, bed bound and wasn’t able to do much with it, but I was the face of the campaign, The Power of Pain. After the first year, the board decided we needed to broaden the scope to work with all chronic pain diseases. In 2010 I joined the executive board and in 2012 I was elected the President of the foundation. We have expanded internationally to 14 countries with the help of people leading projects to make their communities better.
What are you most excited about right now that’s happening with the International Pain Foundation?
November, or “Nerve-mber” is a big month for us with spotlights on conditions, sources of facts and information and the International Pain Summit, which will be held virtually this year. I’ll be speaking at the summit this year with my husband on empowerment for patients and caregivers with tips and tools for everyday life.
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