Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pay It Forward

I have had strangers reach out to help me just when I needed it most. They did it out of the kindness of their hearts and then, just as suddenly as they appeared, they'd also disappear, leaving me with a huge desire to reciprocate and no one there to receive my gratitude. So I do the next best thing. If I can't pay back, I pay it forward. This is why I'm so overjoyed to find a home a HappyHealth. I can't say it enough... Here's a chance to do genuine good for the community that has supported me for so long.

I'm writing the design specs as we speak. I'm so exited that I have to remember to curb my enthusiasm! So many things are easier said than done, but I believe all the pieces are falling in to place to make this a dream come true... (Knock on wood!) Our focus group has provided a lot of good feedback, and we're responding to it with design changes. Our focus groups is where patients are helping make a website that works for them!

But the scary part is, it's so easy to fail. And my health isn't helping one bit. I've had to quit full-time work because I'm losing potassium to the point I was hospitalized for two days. That should not happen with my disease, and all the literature says to -avoid- potassium. So I'm a medical freak among medical freaks. Great!

But I'm not letting that cloud my vision. I want to give back to every health blogger, every active member in grass-roots, patient-built forums... I want to give back to everyone who gave to me, and that list is long! So I'm going to give my all into making HappyHealth a reality.

See, every other Health-Industry-supported patient-website out there is falling all over themselves to help people with the heart & vascular disease, diabetes, and/or obesity, as if those are the only health issues out there! But you and I both know that chronic pain is a far worse epidemic than anyone else realizes!

Millions suffer from acute or chronic pain every year and the effects of pain exact a tremendous cost on our country in health care costs, rehabilitation and lost worker productivity, as well as the emotional and financial burden it places on patients and their families. The costs of unrelieved pain can result in longer hospital stays, increased rates of rehospitalization, increased outpatient visits, and decreased ability to function fully leading to lost income and insurance coverage. As such, patient's unrelieved chronic pain problems often result in an inability to work and maintain health insurance. According to a recent Institute of Medicine Report: Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, pain is a significant public health problem that costs society at least $560-$635 billion annually, an amount equal to about $2,000.00 for everyone living in the U.S. This includes the total incremental cost of health care due to pain from ranging between $261 to $300 billion and $297-$336 billion due to lost productivity (based on days of work missed, hours of work lost, and lower wages).

Much more needs to be done to meet these challenges and to increase public awareness of them.
--American Academy of Pain Medicine, "Facts on Pain" (emphasis mine)

More does need to be done, and I believe we're the ones doing it.

Could you imagine saving the equivalent of a grand per citizen per year in health costs? Could you imagine taking 7 million people and putting them back to work in an environment custom-suited to their disability needs? These are very REAL possibilities at HappyHealth. This is what we're working towards, while helping doctors manage more cases with less time, while providing better patient care and support.

And if we can do this for the chronic pain community, then repeating our success for the other three health biggies should be easier to manage.

I know it's a big dream, but I'm not dreaming this just for me... I'm dreaming this for my Unicorn Sister, and Ellen Schnakenburg, and Kerrie Smyres, and everyone else who's given me support through the last decade, not to mention all my great doctors! There are too many people to count!

So not only do I want to do this with all my heart, but I believe I owe it to all of you to make sure I give this my best. I mean, above all, I want to save someone else from having to go through the hell I did with my disease. Now that I've done this for a decade, I've figured more than a few things out that I wish I had known from the very start. And I'm sure there are plenty of others who can say the same. If so, stay tuned here or at for when we start rolling out opportunities to let your expertise shine!

But in the meantime, I have a document to finish!


  1. Hey I have a quick question about your blog, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! -Cam

    1. Sure! Let me see if I can get Google+ to cooperate.... otherwise, feel free to email me