Major Pain

Major Pain

Major Pain launched in 2021, creating a library of stories and experiences from people living with chronic illness, chronic pain, disability, invisible illness and undiagnosed disease. Our goal is to foster community around something that is often experienced in solitude, to share ideas that may be helpful for individuals in need, and spread awareness about living with chronic health challenges. You can share your thoughts, your story, or inquire about appearing on the show at majorpainpodcast@gmail.com. Major Pain is hosted and produced by Jesse Mercury, a content creator with a long history of chronic undiagnosed illness. Learn more at majorpainpodcast.com.

Episodes

November 24, 2021 92 min

Eight years ago Christelle was hit by a texting driver while riding her bicycle. Her head went through the driver’s windshield, fracturing her skull and causing a traumatic brain injury. Three lobes of her brain were affected, resulting in a variety of symptoms including issues communicating, emotional dysregulation and difficulty sending signals from her brain to her body. Although life would never go back to how it was before...

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Achieve Tahoe is a nonprofit organization offering year-round outdoor recreation activities for people with cognitive, sensory, and physical disabilities. They offer a wide variety of accessible activities including snowsports, water skiing, hiking, archery, climbing, equestrian skills, paddle sports and sailing. Their goal is to make these activities available to people with any level of disability. The only requirement is tha...

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November 10, 2021 103 min

Joseph Kibler is a 32 year old actor and writer who was born HIV positive. As a baby he wasn’t expected to live past 4 years old, but an experimental drug trial run by Dr. Fauci in the 80s gave him the chance to thrive. The virus altered the gray matter in Joseph’s brain, causing symptoms that are functionally akin to cerebral palsy. Joseph grew up disabled, but didn’t become aware of his own HIV status until he was 11 years ol...

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Aimée has been experiencing chronic pain and increasingly debilitating neurological symptoms throughout her life. She was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia at just 12 years old, at a time when that diagnosis carried little to no actionable recourse and significant stigma. Due to a lack of helpful doctors in the face of progressing symptoms, she took it upon herself to learn as much as she could about medicine and healthcare in ...

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October 27, 2021 61 min

Chris Stigas is an entrepreneur and accessibility activist. His first accessibility product, the HandiCup, fills the need for a simple, effective solution for carrying a beverage on a wheelchair or walker. He is the recipient of the 2020 Patti Dawson Activist of the Year Award for his work with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, advocating and educating on behalf of his community. Chris never set out to become an accessibility product...

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Jimmy and Charles met when they were 18 and 19 years old, just a few years after Charles had been diagnosed with idiopathic ventricular tachycardia (IVT). At 13 he underwent surgery to implant a pacemaker, which regulates his heart rate during IVT episodes when his heart beats chaotically. Charles was initially nervous to disclose this information to his new romantic partner, but Jimmy’s effortless acceptance would become a hal...

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Brooke has been diagnosed with over a dozen health conditions. Her diagnostic journey began with relatively manageable diseases including asthma, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s disease, but took an intense turn in her late 30s when she experienced heart failure, discovered an adrenal tumor, was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, POTS, mast cell activation syndrome and gastroparesis, all before discovering...

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Elias has a trio of chronic pain syndromes, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia. Ankylosing spondylitis is the least well-known of these conditions, and involves a cycle of inflammation, calcification, scarring and bone formation that can actually fuse vertebrae together over time. Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel syndrome, and of course fibromyalgia refers to widespread chronic pain, so Elia...

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Nolan had been living with unexplained exhaustion for years before their health flare-up kicked into high gear. Suddenly they were experiencing seizures, weakness, gait issues and vocal/motor ticks. When seeking answers from doctors they were often brushed off, having the reality of their symptoms denied when answers were not immediately apparent. It wasn’t until they switched hospitals to seek care at the University of Washing...

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Frankie’s life has changed dramatically since developing nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP). She has the fibrotic form of the disease which causes permanent scarring of the lung tissue, making it harder to get oxygen into her lungs. Describing how it has changed her life she says, “I never sat still. And now…if you don’t sit still, you can’t breathe.” Frankie also has mixed connective tissue disease, which often present...

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At 11 years old, it was common for Emily to play in the grassy field of the buffalo farm where she grew up. One day she was bitten by a tick, developing a bullseye rash around the bite. Within weeks she developed a severe fever and hallucinations, but unfortunately the […]
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September 8, 2021 89 min
Many people don’t understand the complex severity of crippling social anxiety, and how it can prevent individuals from seeking experiences that might involve social interaction. An individual won’t just experience anxiety in social settings, but before and after those interactions as well. This anxiety manifests as fear of being watched, […]
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September 1, 2021 92 min
Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, or have experienced some form of environmental sensitivity in their lives. But for Elizabeth, navigating the world with histamine intolerance means she must be constantly vigilant about the foods and environments she is exposed to. Histamine intolerance sounds like a sensitivity to histamine, but […]
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This week on the Major Pain podcast we have a special double episode with Dr. Chris Fowler, a research health scientist with his PHD in clinical psychology. In this wide-ranging discussion, he shares the current understanding of chronic pain as a biopsychosocial condition, affecting not just physical well-being but also […]
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Mak lived with health issues for years, but didn’t realize she might have an underlying illness until Covid-19 shut down the world. A musical theater performer and dancer, Mak was accustomed to her body being in pain after strenuous use and assumed it was normal. But when the world went […]
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Stacey experiences a wide variety of complex health issues that impact her daily life. Doctors have diagnosed and labeled her with many things, including autoimmune diabetes, fibromyalgia, severe anxiety with agoraphobia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Living inside such a multifaceted symptom picture has been extremely challenging, especially since doctors can’t […]
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Six weeks before finishing her residency in internal medicine, Summer started experiencing bizarre neurological symptoms in her left leg. Instead of focusing on becoming a doctor she suddenly became the patient, searching for answers to her mysterious symptoms. Summer was initially misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis, learning years later that she […]
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As a child, Morgan didn’t realize it was unusual to be in constant pain. She thought it was normal for joints to constantly pop out of place, to be hyper sensitive to foods and environmental factors, and to experience constant dizzy spells with risk of fainting. As she got older […]
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Imagine performing without being able to see the edges of the stage, or worrying that your eyes could rupture before the show’s end. What sounds like a horrible nightmare was a reality for Sarah, a Seattle based actor living with keratoconus. This rare eye disease causes a bulging and thinning […]
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Shawna has been through more than most 29 year olds. She has diffuse scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, a disease characterized by hardening of the skin and potentially life-threatening effects to internal organs. While this disease normally effects older individuals, Shawna started noticing symptoms at just 14 years old. […]
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