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Neuroscience of Change

Pain and the Neuroscience of Patience

About twelve years ago, several years after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I began to have regular episodes of neuropathic pain.

Every few hours, there would be some intensity of sensation in the area of my right shoulder blade, right shoulder, or down my right arm. On a scale of ten, where zero is no pain, and ten is unbearable agony, these episodes would be between a three and a seven. At least once or twice a day, I would negotiate a nine, which means the pain was so intense that I would sit still, in a kind of stunned, submissive acceptance, and wait for it to pass.

By every few hours, I mean that for those years, I never slept through the night. I was chronically sleep-deprived. For some episodes I would be awake and in pain before I even understood where or who or what I was. The body is an amazing thing.

Each time was different. They evolved. I named them. The chandelier was where every small movement sent excruciating cascades. The lava flow was a burning flow...

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