‘It's painful to shower’: Woman’s daily battle with pain
FOR most, getting a haircut is a relatively pain-free experience, but for Tasha Turner, it means doubling her pain medication and spending the following day recovering.
The simple task of washing her hair causes excruciating pain, but there is no cure.
Tasha has three different types of neuralgia, which is stabbing, burning and severe pain caused by an irritated or damaged nerve.
On top of that she has chronic fatigue and osteoarthritis and has been denied the disability pension.
She describes the pain in a few different ways - the first like nerves firing all the time like an electric shock.
The second like the feeling of burning the skin off your hand, constantly.
To look at Tasha, you wouldn't know she records an 8/10 pain scale daily because hers is a hidden disease.
She is telling her story to raise awareness ahead of next week's National Pain Week.
"It's difficult to explain because its not visible. It's not a headache or a migraine, but its in my head," Tasha said.
In her efforts to classify her pain, Tasha saw 54 different specialists before she was diagnosed.
She moved to Toogoolawah in March last year in a bid to surround herself in a more relaxed and positive environment compared to that of a city lifestyle.
The move provided her with a better chance of recovery, and quality of life.
Prior to her move, she had six surgeries - two in Australia and three in US by the world's leading pain surgeon.
Tasha was not overly eager to travel to the US for more surgery, especially since her initial procedures in Australia were failures.
Her surgery involved severing the nerve believed to be causing the pain.
"I thought, I have no choice. I was suicidal at the time," she said.
"I had been told after my failed surgeries by specialists in Australia that there was nothing they could do for me. I was left with nothing."
She has also had eye surgery to try to relieve eye pain, but it was only 30 per cent successful.
"Surgeries are never a guarantee," Tasha said.
"Because of my extent of nerve damage and the failed surgeries, they could only do so much."
During her journey, Tasha discovered a passion for helping others and decided to become a qualified counsellor.
"Study is my biggest pain distracter - it's the best therapy for me because I focus on something else," she said.
"Through the study I did I learned a lot of techniques that helped me with my pain."
Tasha is a qualified therapeutic counsellor, and has recently started her own private practice in Toogoolawah.
By working for herself, she is able to manage her time and allow for plenty of rest breaks in between clients.
"I can only do a short amount of time before I need a rest," Tasha said.
"I can only see a few people a day because it consumes all my energy.
"It's difficult for people like me that want to work."
Tasha's advice for people living with chronic illness is straight forward: educate yourself, see multiple specialists to get a correct diagnosis, have a healthy diet, and smile.
"Once you get a diagnosis you have a starting point," she said.
"Facebook has so many chronic pain support forums and there's always someone online to talk to."
She also has a message for able-bodied people: "I'd like to ask the public to try and understand our lives, just learn a bit, and if someone says they're in pain, believe them".
"Don't look at how they look - it doesn't take any effort to accept what someone says," she said.
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