This part of my site is targeted at physical pain, but of course, physical pain and emotional pain are two sides of the same coin. They are processed in many of the same parts of the brain so that it becomes impossible to disentangle them. Physical pain is associated with emotional pain; emotional pain is associated with physical pain. When it dawns on us that our pain has been around for a while and everything we have done hasn't made it go away, we may have to face the realization that our pain, whether physical or emotional, or both, is probably here to stay. If that's happened to you, please know that it's natural to feel hopeless and in despair. And you are in good company. Many of us feel like you do. Our lives will never be the same; so much has changed. During my physical chronic pain journey, starting when I suffered irreparable nerve damage from a botched surgery in 2012 which cascaded into other serious health issues, I have been there, many times. The loss of my beloved son Chris during the pandemic was like a tsunami, on top of a tsunami. But I've learned a lot about how to chip away at this monolith of pain, like a sculptor, to reveal the "real me." While I sometimes feel hopeless, despairing, even angry and sad about the way things have turned out, some of the time, I think it's made me a better person, than I would have been. Perhaps I'm more compassionate, I certainly live in a slower world so I notice more beautiful things around me. For more and more of my days, despite the almost crippling pain of losing Chris, and the persistence of the nerve pain, I now have my emotional and physical pain under control enough to live a joy-filled life. This has meant learning what matters most to me: being with the people who mean the most to me and doing the things that matter most to me. And then figuring out how to get there: I'm honored to share what I've learned with you.
I am available to speak virtually and in person at select locations in Southern California and north-west Montana on the following topics:
The Spirituality of Pain and Suffering
When Your Child Has Died: Growing Through the Agony
An Introduction to The Neuroscience of Chronic Pain
Children’s Spirituality and Their Response to Death
Pain Coping Education
I am a trained facilitator of the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) and facilitate no-charge support groups that meet monthly/bi-monthly. These meetings are held virtually and in person at select locations in Southern California and northwest Montana. In all ACPA support groups, facilitators have chronic pain themselves. The groups address the 10 steps “From Patient to Person” as well as topics selected by the group. Email Judith.Foy@lmu.edu for more information and to register for the free one-hour meetings. For more information on the ACPA see https://www.acpanow.com
I am also certified through Stanford University to teach Empowered Relief, a trade-marked pain management program developed by a Stanford pain psychologist. Based on strong scientific evidence from nationally funded research in the U.S., Canada, and Denmark, the single 2-hour class is held virtually. Email Judith.Foy@lmu.edu for information and to register. Now delivered in 22 countries and 7 languages, Empowered Relief is offered as standard care for pain in multiple U.S. healthcare organizations, including Cleveland Clinic Spine Surgery and Cleveland Clinic Comprehensive Neurological Institute (led by Dr. Sara Davin), Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allegheny Health Network, Veterans Affairs Healthcare (Phoenix), and the Canadian VA.
Book: When Pain Persists
(by Judy Foy, coming soon)