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"A road painfully travelled," is how Will Geerts describes his experience with chronic pain. Geerts, a UHN patient, traces his story back to a broken toe eight-and-a-half years ago. Even after his bone healed, the pain persisted. He eventually had to stop driving, a loss of independence which inevitably impacted all areas of his life. His social life came to a halt. Geerts sought treatment and advice from multiple doctors—40 different doctors, in all—but hit roadblock after roadblock as nobody seemed to know what was wrong. Unable to even sleep, Geerts came to Dr. Angela Mailis-Gagnon, Director, Comprehensive Pain Program, TWH, and chair of ACTION Ontario. Dr. Mailis was able to provide him with the treatment and support that he needed to manage his pain and regain an active quality of life.
Geerts recently spoke at the 3rd annual National Pain Week Symposium, held on November 9. The symposium—Patient Input for System Change—brought together patients, clinicians, researchers and others to share ideas on how the Ontario health system can more effectively meet the needs of people suffering from chronic pain.
The patient panel of three patients, including Geerts, and two caregivers, each shared their own personal and unique stories. Their stories, and many other similar ones, are what drives ACTION Ontario continue to urge the provincial government to develop a comprehensive pain management strategy to help patients like Will Geerts achieve accurate diagnoses and effective pain management.
ACTION Ontario, a not-for-profit organization comprised of doctors, researchers, other health care professionals and patients, advocates on behalf of neuropathic pain sufferers. ACTION Ontario is committed to increasing awareness about the cost of neuropathic pain and improving the diagnosis and care of people with all forms of chronic pain. It's chaired by Dr. Angela Mailis-Gagnon, Director of the Comprehensive Pain Program at TWH.
The symposium was a great success with over 100 people in attendance, including many patients, as well representatives from the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadian Pain Coalition and the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and industry supporters from Merck, Pfizer, Janssen-Ortho, Lilly, Medtronic and Purdue.
ACTION Ontario continues to be committed to increasing awareness about neuropathic pain and advocating on behalf of those who suffer from it.