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Lene Andersen was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis at age 4. At 16, she was using a power wheelchair. Andersen has faced pain head on, something she says our culture is afraid to do:
Andersen: “People are so uncomfortable with it that it’s minimized and negated”
Andersen says pain is a difficult subject by nature. It’s invisible.
Andersen “It means we have no language to describe pain other than the inane 10 point pain scale and it has consequences, both on the personal level, also in healthcare settings where doctors don’t believe your description of pain. So instead of taking people at their word, they say ‘you have really bad coping mechanisms.’”
This angers Andersen who says she has great coping mechanisms, thanks to her parents, who taught her long ago that she could either laugh or cry about her situation. She chooses to laugh.