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September Pain Awareness Month – Day 10 of 30. I’m Still Fighting For A Presidential Proclamation

September is Pain Awareness Month--The month of September is Pain Awareness month and as many of you may already know since we are in the 10th day of September, it is a time where many across the nation will help raise awareness of issues surrounding the need for effective treatment for millions of Americans around the world who suffer with pain.

As a semi-silent pain advocate and one who is truly passionate about the cause of pain awareness, I try my best to do what I can when I can to make a difference. Before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a host of other conditions that cause me to suffer daily with chronic pain, I could not imagine what it would be like to be in pain indefinitely. Or knew of anyone who experienced what I find myself experiencing every day for over the past 10 years. Even so, I cannot imagine one individual that does not know someone who suffers with pain.

What I have learned throughout this pain journey, it does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any given time without any warning. You never know when it can happen to you. And sadly, I find it is not until someone experiences pain at a level beyond comprehension that will last past infinity, they may never understand the significance of the need for effective treatment and care. It is my hope one day, new treatment and new research develops that will help other American pain sufferers find some form of normalcy and have a better quality of life as a result of their findings.

There are a number of organizations that offer information and resources to consider during the month of September. Please take a moment to see how you can get involved. It can be something as simple as calling a friend or love one you know who suffers with pain and letting them know they can count on you for support just by checking on them from time to time. Love and compassion can go a long way.

Lastly, you can visit websites of various pain organizations like U.S. Pain Foundation, National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA), or Power of Pain to get involved with planned events and activities. And by all means don’t just get involved during the month of September but show your support throughout the year. You don’t know how much your support, no matter how big or small, can change a life.

As for me, I have been fighting for a first-ever Presidential proclamation naming September National Pain Awareness month for the past four years. I am still hopeful one day God will send a divine connection in answer to my prayer and the proclamation will be signed. I won’t give up. I will continue to fight until a proclamation is received.

As such, I created a video with the help of my family in 2011 titled, If There Was Less Pain, I Could…. in response to a campaign held by the former American Pain Foundation (APF) organization. The video, which can be found on YouTube, represents my message to President Obama detailing, in a poem, what my world would be like and what I would do, if I could, if there was less pain.

The door in the video symbolizes people like myself who hide behind the mask of pain. It speaks volumes of what we have come to know as the “hidden epidemic of pain” or the “invisible disability” no one knows about or wants to get to know about. Although you can see the door, you can’t see the person behind the door, longing waiting to be free; free to be ME. Please feel free to check out my video when you get a chance.

In the meantime and in between time, if you haven’t done so already, I urge you to become a part of and show your support for the cause and help millions like myself raise awareness. Join me and help spread awareness and support my efforts to secure a first-ever Presidential proclamation by sharing my YouTube link as well as my blog link on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and any other social media outlet. Thanks for your support.

Let’s make this one of the best Pain Awareness months ever. Show your support. Wear PURPLE!

Be blessed! – JD

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In Support of September Pain Awareness Month

In support of a cause I am truly passionate about for those who suffer with ongoing chronic pain, as a pain advocate, I decided to dedicate this post today to lend my voice in honor of September Pain Awareness Month.

Having lived with chronic pain for the past eleven years and being diagnosed with various conditions, I became an  advocate with various chronic pain association organizations to help raise awareness. Although my efforts are limited due to limitations and challenges I face, I do what I can when I can to make a difference.

When I became diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2009, with the help of my family,  the first step in my journey  as a pain advocate began with submission of my story “Joy” to the APF Action Network. The story can also be read at http://action.painfoundation.org/site/PageNavigator/Voices_of_Pain.

To raise awareness about the need for effective pain care in response to the American Pain Foundation’s  (APF) “If I Lived in a World with Less Pain, I Could…” campaign to SECURE A FIRST-EVER PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION OFFICIALLY NAMING EVERY SEPTEMBER NATIONAL PAIN AWARENESS MONTH, my family helped create this video “If I Lived in a World with Less Pain, I Could…” to share my voice as well as spread the word to bring awareness to what I believe is such an important issue in the lives of those who live with pain.

The video represents a poem of my message to PRESIDENT OBAMA of what MY WORLD WITH LESS PAIN would be like. It gives me an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others as I work to bring national awareness to the “hidden” epidemic of pain (APF) so that those who suffer with pain will have a right to effective care and treatment; because “pain” is not just an individual or local problem. It is a national healthcare crisis. It does not only affect pain sufferers but it affects families, friends, associates and anyone who is connected to its world. Even though it may not directly affect every individual, the physical, financial and emotional affects can be devastating to the pain sufferer and the families of those who will ultimately suffer. But with your help, we all can make a difference.

APF ceased operation last year and is no longer active, but I am still campaigning and fighting for a presidential proclamation.

Please join me in support of this cause and spread the word DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER or UNTIL A PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION IS SECURED by asking others to spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or any other social media. Your support would be greatly appreciated! -JD

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Don’t Settle for “Good Enough”… Settle for God’s Best

Social media has become the catalyst upon which some have made the crucial decision to build a foundation in search of fame, fortune, and success. While there are some who use the same platform to honor God in the process.

I often hear about people who have become so addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and even WordPress, to name a few, that they will start the morning off by reaching for their phones looking to see activity before they even get out of bed. And I must be honest, for the most part, this was me. With the exception I would pray, give thanks, and talk to God before getting out of bed and/or reaching for my phone.

I found myself becoming so consumed with the networks that I felt I couldn’t live without knowing who liked, favorited, responded, retweeted, reblogged, or followed me wherever I existed. It had become a habit that led to a morning ritual. I had to take a step back long before yesterday and examine my motives as to why I’m here, coming to the realization that this is not what God intended nor was it what I intended when first seeking out the platforms I chose to engage in. With the help of God, I decided to change some things.

All was going well until yesterday that struck home, where briefly I was having “a moment” after looking at my visitor views on WordPress and noticed in the past few days how much my numbers had decreased. My first thought was “What’s going on?” I began to question myself asking whether I had done something wrong. Wondering why did it suddenly cease. I even began to question whether I was fulfilling my initial obligation to God, while reasoning why I’m here in the first place; to serve God. I took it even further and called my sister friend seeking advice, to validate my illicit behavior and thought. That ended with an inquiry to the WP forum to see if there was a problem with the stats.

It was not until I woke this morning I felt dimwitted. After prayer and meditation I was convicted in my spirit. I felt I needed to confess to God my guilt. After reading the WP response to my inquiry, to be honest, I felt silly. I had to take a step back. In that moment I had to re-evaluate my behavior and asked God to forgive me in areas where I began to slack. I lost focus on the right things and began to focus on the wrong things.

I said, “God, I know that it is by your doing that I am here wherever I am. I must not allow social media or any other thing take precedence. I’ve been called to serve God’s purpose and share encouraging messages as I work to inspire and motivate. I mustn’t take my eyes off the prize while I wait. It was never my intention to become proud and rely on the response of man to deny glory to you and not fulfill your intended purpose in all I do.”

I talked to Him and said, “I am becoming reckless in certain areas of my life Lord and I need your help.” I told him, even though he already knew, “The last few weeks I was doing well. I had established balance and minimized my activity on all platforms to make sure it did not become a priority over you. Nor did I allow them to take precedence over you. I admit, I need to get in the right standing. I need to refocus my attention and priority. I accept responsibility. I will do my best. I will be consistent. I won’t settle for less.” Thank you, God for listening.

God is truly blessing me. He has given me a new vision for a design project started long ago that marks my new beginning. God has opened doors leading to new possibilities. He’s blessing me with new opportunities. God is guiding me every step of the way. I am thankful to God for imparting wisdom. This is my declaration today. May it inspire, should you find yourself in the same place.

With social media, there will be some people you know. And there will be some you personally don’t know. Don’t let social media become your first priority. Let your words and motives be a reflection of who you are in Christ Jesus. Sow good seeds into the life of others. As a believer, use the platform to rightfully spread God’s message. Give sound, spiritual advice. Don’t get caught up or become addicted to social media as a means to an end, only to live an unfulfilled life. Don’t change your original perspective or intent. If you lose focus, reflect, redirect and come back to it. If necessary, change the climate.

Honor God. Make him your one and only priority. Spend waking moments in meditation, prayer, and worship. Glorify Him. Don’t become consumed with likes, favorites, followers, shares, or views just because. In the end it won’t matter if you’re doing it for yourself and not God.

God desires our complete trust and worship. Surrender your all to Him. Don’t allow any man, woman, or thing to come before Him. Do what pleases him.

Don’t settle for “good enough.” Settle for God’s best. God is not through with you yet.

Be blessed! -JD

1 John 3:21-22 “Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.” (NLT)

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Listen To The Cry of A Silent Victim

I’m going off subject again today.
My mind’s scattered. Thoughts are all over the place.
I woke to some disturbing news the other day
And have not been able to sleep or shake it all week.
I tried to put it in the back of my mind, but something is not letting me.

It keeps surfacing in my thoughts so I must release it to clear my head.
Things like this cannot be left unsaid.

My heart is heavy laden.
An innocent teenager took his life the other day.
He sent a message on a well-known social media platform
Earlier that morning, that same day
No one paid attention.
All I could do was pray.

He posted a goodbye in the wee hours of the morning.
So it definitely was not a time during heavy traffic where it could not be noticed.
Sadly, there were many clicks on “likes” by his friends.
I’m confused. Why didn’t anyone see the warning signs then?

He seemed uneasy and restless. He blamed himself for the mess.
He apologized before whatever was planned by him to happen
Clearly during his time of distress.
He seemed unhappy, as tears welled in my eyes.
Then he ended the post and said goodbye.

My heart sank. Tears of sorrow filled my face as I cried.
It took all the strength I had to accept what I knew already happened. He died.
I know he either had parents or someone who cared about him
That could have been notified.
This child was clearly crying out for help before he took his life and died.

Social media has a massive process of notification for everything:
Mentions, promotional ads, retweets, even notice of ones who are trending.
Even more disturbing is how easy it is
For officials to track and catch potential culprits in a place like this.

But when it comes to things like this, sadly there’s no app for it.
Why isn’t there an alert to track key words of potential suicide victims?
Who may connect to lines to aid in suicide prevention?

My prayers are with this young man’s family.
My heart aches and is torn in pieces.
It hurts tremendously.
Words cannot express the sadness or pain I feel.
I pray for peace, comfort, strength; that his family may be healed.

While I cannot blame social media for the events that have occurred,
I can only hope that in the same way we use social media to spread the word.
Not only of events that matter most to us,
But place a greater significance on things such as this that should disturb us.

Not that we may find recognition or potential success.
But because it is imperative we find a way to take notice of things such as this.
In the hopes we may help save a life.
Assured it is not remiss but will help because of our sacrifice.

This child’s life may have been saved
Had someone taken responsibly and taken the time to carefully read his words
And took heed to his warning.
Instead of ignoring and acknowledging his effort by clicking “likes,”
When he silently cried out for help before ending his life.

Suicide is a serious issue oftentimes I feel we fail at recognizing; miserably.
We don’t take it seriously.
We ignore the warning signs after it’s too late.
If only someone will only listen to the cry of a silent victim before it is too late.

Let this be an example of what we can do
As a society to rightfully help potential suicide victims make it through,
In a platform that gets the most attention.
Use social media to your advantage, to get the right attention.

If we take heed to the warning signs when it comes to saving a life.
We can be the person that may help save a life.
Know that a cry out for help clearly calls for our attention.
Let social media not be just to gain potential followers,
But alert anyone that will listen.
Listen to the cry of a silent victim.

Thank you for listening. -JD

For more information on how you can help someone who may be suicidal on social media, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/Online.

God, I know you’re listening.
Please hear my prayers as I pray.
For the family and friends of those
that lost a loved one today.

Comfort them in their time of need.
Restore whatever strength they may have lost.
Help the family find peace.
Give them hope for tomorrow.
Assure them all is not lost.

God, I know the pain may be unbearable.
And it may be hard for them to overcome.
But I know you can and will help them get through this.
No matter how hard it may be for them. Let your will be done.

To be absent with the body is to be present with the Father.
Though, they will be sorely missed.
Bring the family to a place where they can receive joy in knowing this.
And understand they are in a better place and is no longer in pain.
They don’t have to cry another tear or feel sorrow ever again.

God may the family find rest in your arms.
Hold them safely in your hands.
Handle them with care.
Comfort them as only I know you can.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

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Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is Sunday May 12, 2013!

I couldn’t help but step outside of my comfort zone of what I normally post and share a “Save The Date” post to acknowledge a cause I am very passionate about to bring awareness.

We all know that Sunday May 12th is Mother’s Day but what some may not be aware of is it is also Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.

When I saw this photo taken from Fibromyalgia Awareness’s Facebook page, it struck me and its caption totally captured my full attention when I read these words, “Things are not as they seem. I may look great but right now even my hair & clothes hurt. Invisible, but Present.” I couldn’t help but share not only the photo but briefly share information regarding the day and the reason for the cause.

I took the liberty of posting an article we stumbled upon written by Karen Lee Richards, Co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Assn. that I believe will be extremely helpful for those suffering with this condition. I also believe it will help to solidify my goal to promote awareness, attention, and involvement in light of this cause so that others may have the opportunity to participate in Awareness Day. Please see the excerpt I’ve included below from the following link: (http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/c/5949/160652/fibromyalgia-awareness ).

“Whether you’re one individual person who wants to make your voice heard, a large group sponsoring a city-wide walk to raise funds for FM research, or anything in between, the NFMCPA can provide you with a FREE Fibromyalgia Awareness Day event kit to help you accomplish your goal. For more information or to order an event kit, visit the NFMCPA’s Awareness Day 2013 Web page.”

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a condition that is greatly misunderstood and misdiagnosed. It is complex and has numerous symptoms associated with the condition. Commonly referred to as an “invisible disability” largely due to a wide range of symptoms that are not easily detected on the surface, there are up to 10 million Americans who suffer with this condition http://www.fmaware.org/PageServerc145.html. I am one of them.

Although it is recognized around the world, it is commonly ignored and in most cases many patients do not receive proper treatment or support from medical professionals, family and/or friends. As such, I believe it is imperative we come together as a nation to take this seriously by increasing efforts to raise awareness in the hopes of finding a solution.

Too often doctors choose to ignore or recognize this as a valid condition and will not support the fact that it even exist. However, FMS affects people of all ages, race, and sex. And sadly, many are in so much pain they feel like getting out of their own skin they don’t want to be in.

There is a tremendous amount of physical and psychological strain where many have lost jobs and have become disabled as a result of it. There are some who will experience depression and social isolation. The impact it has on one’s life can bring hopelessness, despair, and devastation. But there is still hope. We can make a difference.

If you or anyone you know have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, please understand you are not alone. Nor is it all in your head or you are “imagining things” even when your symptoms don’t make sense. It’s real. The symptoms do exist. I know. I am one of those people.

My hope is that one day the medical community comes to recognize and fully understand this terrible, debilitating condition in the hopes a cure may be found.

“Save the date” May 12, 2013. And please, feel free to share. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thanks! -JD

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