Chronic Pain: A letter of encouragement

The chronic pain started in 6th grade.

Is your story similar to mine? Have you tried countless good advice, only to still hurt? No magic to offer, but I do have encouragement.

A diagnosis of arthritis and a series of tumors and throat cysts wreaked havoc on my functionality throughout my adolescence and young adulthood.

At some point in my mid-twenties, they called it Fibromyalgia.  I was weak, unable to function.  I was newly married, working a full time job, and was in the middle of writing a thesis for a masters degree.  Ironically, I worked with people with disabilities for a living and so my manager was supportive.

Chaya sick

I knew I had to do something the day I needed to lay down at work, and my boss actually tucked me in with a blanket.  This was not normal. 

I read a series of nutrition books and tried nearly every whim and fad I’d heard.  Nothing seemed to work.

I went to specialists.  They told me conflicting things.  The one thing they did agree upon was that I might not survive. They couldn’t even agree on the time frame.

The journey not just to relief—but to health—was a long one for me with a few setbacks along the way.  I cannot offer quick fixes or another fad to try for anyone.

The last thing anyone wants to do when facing chronic pain or severe fatigue is to stand in the kitchen. I get that.

But getting into the kitchen is what saved my life.  It required a radical change in diet for me—leaving the packaged foods behind completely.  It actually sounds more radical than it is—learning to eat how people have eaten for centuries—what is radical is the modern American diet.  Finding health for me took the form of baby steps…but every step closer energized me to keep trying, keep learning, and to improve my ability to take care of myself.

Healthy after Chronic Pain

Well over ten years later, here I am.  I live in Montana with my husband and three children; we kayak and hike and cycle everywhere in the summers.  I am so passionate about the changes I experienced, that I continue to help people every single day through our blog at Pantry Paratus, and by equipping them with good, old-fashioned (time-tested) kitchen tools to prepare foods the traditional way.

Chaya and Wilson on beach

No one should have to live in chronic pain.  The reasons for the pain are different from body-to-body, and so there is no “one size fits all” treatment or dietary change that can serve as a magic bullet for you. Pain, hospitalizations, and many surgeries later, this is my encouragement:  if the first 38 things you tried failed, don’t give up hope before trying the 39th.

There can be life after a death sentence.

Here’s to health,


2 thoughts on “Chronic Pain: A letter of encouragement

  1. Thanks for this post, Chaya! We all need reminders like that to help us keep going 🙂

  2. When you finally write a book about your personal journey to good health through eating REAL food, I will buy several copies. (Will you autograph them for me?) Seriously, you need to flesh out your “baby steps” and share them with the world. We’re listening.

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