Battle Ground resident Toni Woodard released a book on June 7 that details how people can manage various chronic pain conditions.
Woodard wrote the book, titled “I’m FINE: A Practical Guide to Life with Chronic Pain,” to offer a different perspective and to provide a resource for people who experience chronic pain like she does.
“(The book) is about living life with chronic pain,” Woodard said. “It’s different from other books that are out there in that it covers a wide range of aspects of life with pain. A lot of books that are out there are medical or clinical, or they address perhaps one way of dealing with pain, which might be exercising or diet or something like that.”
She said her book takes a “more comprehensive look” at life with chronic pain. Woodard talks about the emotions associated with chronic pain, the effect it has on relationships, what happens when someone gets surgery to address the issue and the aftermath of the procedure. She also touches on aspects of being on long-term disability, which she said comes with extensive “emotional baggage.”
“This is sort of a broad but deep look at what life is like with chronic pain and how to navigate it and still be able to do life, because it can be hard when you’re in pain to feel motivated or even have the energy to kind of embrace what life has,” she said.
For Woodard, writing is therapeutic. She has crafted blogs about her disability in the past, which provided her with the inspiration to write her book. She started writing it in May 2020 right before she underwent foot surgery.
“I decided if I was going to write and I wanted to include the surgical aspects in it, I needed to start writing while I was preparing for my surgery,” Woodard said. “That’s why I started in May of 2020.”
She said writing a book during the pandemic was challenging because she had “a ton of time and not a lot of motivation.”
Woodard has degenerative disc disease, which she said has recently become more manageable, but she has experienced pain for over 25 years. It’s caused her to go through bouts of depression since she had a hard time finding support when she was first diagnosed.
“I’ve got a support group. There’s seven women that are scattered across the United States and we have a secret group on Facebook, and they have been a godsend,” Woodard said. “We all have chronic back pain and a number of us have had the same surgery, or surgeries, so just finding that tribe of people has been very helpful.”
When Woodard received her second surgery, she had to leave her career as a marketing research manager in San Francisco. That work required a lot of travel, which would have caused further complications with her condition.
Woodard has a few key takeaways she hopes readers can gain from the book.
“I want them to know they’re not alone,” Woodard said. “I want them to know there is hope and joy in life, even in the midst of pain.”
Woodard said family members of people with chronic pain who have read her book have gained a better understanding of the condition, which has led them to have more compassion toward their loved one.
The book is available for purchase online at Amazon.
Woodard also sells the book at a discounted price to local residents. Anyone who is interested in a copy can email Woodard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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