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The Pain Project

A Couple's Story of Confronting Chronic Pain

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  • ISBN: 9781771648400
  • Tags: All Books, Biography & Autobiography, Kara Stanley, Medical, Pain Management,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 4/9/2024
  • 336 Pages

Ten years after her husband’s catastrophic injury, author Kara Stanley embarks with him on a journey to understand his chronic pain and find pathways into joy and relief.

Kara and her husband, Simon, are at a desperate crossroads. In 2008, Simon fell off a scaffold, causing severe injuries to his brain and spinal cord. He made a remarkable recovery, eventually adjusting to life in a wheelchair and returning to his career as a musician, but he continues to suffer from debilitating pain that is beginning to strip away his selfhood.

On the ten-year anniversary of the accident, Kara and Simon decide to confront Simon’s pain head-on by committing to a personal experiment. For one year, they will focus on researching, interviewing experts, and exploring both new, and age old, pain relief strategies. A decade ago, Simon was prescribed the pain-relieving drug hydromorphone. Can he discover an alternate therapeutic approach that is at least as effective as daily doses of opioids?

As they navigate a difficult year, Kara’s tenacity and Simon’s wit shine through in their honest conversations, insightful journal entries, and affectionate banter. Throughout, they seek answers to profound questions about the nature of suffering and pain:

  • Is it helpful to conceptualize pain as a disease, or not?
  • What does it mean to understand that pain is always a creation of the brain?
  • What is the difference between healing and curing? Is healing still possible even when all-better is not an option?
Globally, at least one in five people suffer from chronic pain, placing an enormous burden on medical systems around the world. Not just a medical but also a social justice issue, chronic pain continues to be poorly understood and poorly treated. It is a challenging topic to discuss with friends and family because, as Simon says, no one really wants to lead with their cloud. Deciding to accept this challenge, Simon and Kara’s experiment is a wide-ranging exploration of the definitions, treatments, science, myths, and meanings of the mysterious and multi-faceted force that is pain.

Kara Stanley is the author of Fallen: A Trauma, a Marriage, and the Transformative Power of Music and the novel Ghost Warning. She lives on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia.

Simon Paradis has been a working musician since he was fifteen years old. A serious fall in 2008 resulted in life-altering injuries, but after a long rehabilitation process, he has returned to music again. He lives on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia.