Published by Digital Journal
Chronic pain affects one in three Americans. Putting it in perspective, chronic pain affects more than diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined. Chronic pain is something that former cheerleader and gymnast Barby Ingle knows all too well. From the age of four, Ingle had trained in dance, gymnastics, and cheering. She competed professionally from elementary-aged straight through college, going on to start her own dance and cheer program. Her reputation as a fierce competitor and choreographer led to her being offered the prestigious title of head spirit program coach at Washington State University. Sadly, in 1997 she was diagnosed with endometriosis, which resulted in a full hysterectomy and left oophorectomy and then, adding to her physical troubles she developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in 2002. RSD is a progressive neuro-autoimmune condition that affects multiple systems in the body. If not treated early the disease can be disabling. Ingle eventually lost her physical abilities and became bedbound. The struggle to overcome the pain and live a normal life again gave her the motivation to share her story, first as an advocate and now an author.
“It was the lowest point in my life,” says Ingle. “I was in terrible pain; I could no longer do what I loved. There didn’t seem to be any help for me. After three years I was finally able to get a proper diagnosis for my condition. Sadly, it still took another four years to get the right treatment. I wrote my book so that others could hear my story, know that they are not alone in their suffering, but more importantly that there is always hope.”