I write this as the sun is hitting my back through the kitchen window, Streaks of sunlight cast onto the screen of my computer, casting diagonal shadows on my keys, almost challenging me to type. On most days I would usually pick up my laptop and find a more conducive place to type; but not today.  Today, the sun feels good and I am not experiencing a pain flare.

 

I always find it strange that even on the sunniest days, I can be having one of  my worst pain flare-ups.  Little do I realize that it is going to pour tomorrow.  I make it  point to never look at the weather forecast.  I do not want to know if it is going to be colder, wetter, snowier, etc. I do not want to cheat myself of a possible better day, because I am worried about what lays ahead in the week.

 

Almost every person I know with CRPS, or chronic pain for that matter, is affected by the weather. In fact, if you were to look up weather related pain in your search engine, pages and pages will come up.  Shifts in the weather; changes in the barometric/atmospheric pressure, humidity, or temperature seem to spark a flare for pain for most chronic pain pressure. 

 

This past weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to hear Chief Meteorologist Eric Thomas from WBTV, Charlotte speak at the Fight the Flame Support Group Meeting. He patiently explained barometric pressure and what happens when the pressure drops. He also confirmed what many of us feel, that yes we would feel worse before a change in weather. I know for me, as soon as it starts to rain, my pain flare subsides.  One of the most interesting topics that the group spoke about was that even though doctors, scientists, and patients have an enormous amount of information about how weather effects our bodies; there is no medical science to back that information. Studies have tracked patients for months recording the pain and weather, showing the connection but this is only observational data.

 

There was an old wives tale “It’s gonna rain, I can feel it in my bones.” After suffering with chronic pain for over twenty years now, I think we can stop saying it is tale.

 

This past July was the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Tomorrow, we begin the month of October and Fight the Flame is happy to highlight and celebrate the ADA during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The ADA has protected all people with disabilities in so many areas: accommodations, employment, transportation, and has made programs and services available by our government.

I am grateful to know the ADA’s rules are there to protect my friends and me. I know when I enter a building, there should be accommodations for me to access all that is needed: bathrooms, elevators, doorways, etc.

I appreciate that people who have disabilities in the workplace cannot be fired or discriminated against because of their disability and must be offered reasonable accommodations.

Many large corporations, such as TIAA, even have a Diverse Abilities Employee Resource Group. An entire group made up of employees with diverse abilities and caregivers.  The goal of the resource group is to “Supporting employees with disabilities and caregivers of those with disabilities.”

When I was still teaching, my classroom was on the second floor.  There was an elevator, but it was on the other side of the building. Part of my job involved visiting classes on the first floor, and checking in with the office periodically, which was also on the first floor. I was on crutches, and walking great distances was not only painful but difficult as well.  In addition, I was unable to walk from the elevator to my classroom in the allotted four minutes to get between classes, especially with all the students in the hallway. Because of the laws put in place by the Americans Disabilities Act, I spoke to the school administers and my classroom was quickly changed to a first floor classroom.

Can you think of a time when the Americans Disabilities Act played a significant role in your life?