My name is Joey Lee, I am now 51 years old. I am a Gay Disabled Man living in NorthEastern Pennsylvania, sharing my life with my ''Life-Partner'', David*. We have been together for 24+ years.
As for my "Life" on the web, it began in 1994/95. I had been a Counselor for Sexually and/or Physically abused children and teens, a job I loved with all of my Heart.
Having been physically and emotionally abused as a child, by my Father, I felt I would be able help the children/teens by understanding some of what they go through. As a counselor, I believe I was able to help many of the children/teens. - February 18, 1992 - The Day My Life Changed Forever -
On February 18, 1992, the residential setting I worked at became the scene of a sort of riot amongst these children. Many of the elder kids began to fight, throw furniture and create complete havoc. I was among only 4 staff members at the time, as there were, at least, 15-20 children involved.
Being the smallest in size of all of the staff, I still felt like I had to do something. So, as the other staff waited for more back-up, I decided not to wait, and headed right for the largest of the two children fighting. It was then, that while struggling, the larger of the two fell and landed on my right leg, crushing most of it and doing considerable damage to my right knee and just about everything attached to it.
After that accident, I required various re-construction surgeries. Along the way, I was treated with ''Prednisone'', a commonly use Steroid. An adverse reaction to Prednisone is a Bone Marrow Disease called Avascular Necrosis. AVN is a Disease that smothers the blood vessels that lead to the bone marrow causing it (the bone marrow), to, literally die, or ''rot'' from the inside out. I was diagnosed with AVN in both Knees, not just the inital injured one.
So, more surgeries had to be done. Eventually all that could be done to my legs, had been done. Although I still had trouble walking, and am using a chair more and more often, the Pain in both of my legs began to get more and more intense as weeks, even days, went by.
Although I tried returning to work several times, the Pain, lack of mobility, and the medications took quite a toll on my body. Eventually, I could no longer work and was declared "legally and permanently disabled" by a federal Judge at a federal hearing, back in 1995.
As months passed, the pain intensified. Doctor after Doctor could not figure out why I was having this amount of pain. Many, if not most, even told me that it was "psychological", one Ortho even said I was a ''Pansy'', others said it was simply "in my head". Many others even went as far as calling me a "Drug addict".
It wasn't until late 1997 that I finally met a Doctor that truly cared; A Doctor that was determined to find out exactly what was causing the severe pain.
It was shortly after that I was then diagnosed with RSD - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. An severe Chronic Pain Syndrome with no known cure.
As time went by, and the pain worsened, oral pain medications became much too dangerous. In April of 2001, a Morphine Pump was implanted into my abdominal area, which has helped greatly.
Throughout all of this time, Support, whether it be from, most of my ''former'' Family members, or long-time Friends, support quickly diminished. However, recently I was reminded that at one time, I had mentioned the abuse I went through as a child, on this very website. The reasons why I have been very open about this painful topic seem to have been misunderstood; by a few (grin). People, like Myself, become a part of a ''club'' that NOONE wants to be a part of. There is often Guilt, shame; but ultimately, the horror of living with this type of past, without ''speaking Out, can be ''Toxic''.
When I first applied for my job as a Counselor for Physically/Sexually abused Children and Teens, I lacked the College degree that was usually required. However, during my interview, I spoke at length of my past, and the Physical and Emotional abuse I endured. With that past, I felt it gave me an ''edge'', so to speak, enabling me to truly understand much of what these Children, and Teens, had gone through. And, despite my lack of a Degree, I was hired.
As I stated previously, I was recently reminded of this, by an elder brother of mine. The ''misunderstanding'' was, that I have and still do, play the ''victim card''. It has been many years since I have received any sort of support or communication from my father or my brothers. The question of ''why?'', haunts me each and every day, as it has for many years. However, due to the recent statement from one of my older brothers, I guess I now have some idea as to their reasoning, or lack thereof.
This is, and has been, extremely difficult for me to understand, or accept.
It has been through a lot of time and therapy, that I have come to terms with what I went through as a child. And, in my heart, I have even learned forgiveness.
Although this lack of support has been extremely difficult, I still have found many reasons to feel Blessed.
I have the unconditional Love of David*, whom has stuck by my side for over 16 years now. As well, I have a wonderful base of Friends, many of which are online.
Back in 1994, after receiving a "settlement" from my workplace, I purchased a Computer. Never did I imagine that this "Computer" would become my outlet to the outside world.
I soon began joining different on-line chat areas and Bulletin board Groups. I soon became a Volunteer, first with The Microsoft Network, then TheGlobe.com, and now, with Yahoo! Groups.
Spending much of my time in these chat rooms and posting to these "bulletin boards", I soon found there were many many more people out there in similar, and worse, situations than myself. So, that is when I first began to reach out to others by creating a web-site devoted to Support and Information.
Through word of mouth, and through my volunteering, I quickly began to receive many emails from others reaching out. One by one I wrote to each and every one; and still do. There are some that write in desperation, some so much in pain; so frustrated with 'the system', they're ready to end their lives. Many wrote to me that were terminal with their illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS.
It was through these People I gained my own Strength again. I was able to literally Help these other people from every part of the World. My "Life" began to have "meaning", once again. The feedback from these people was incredible. My self-worth was once again restored.
To this day, I am now able to be Thankful for ALL that I have. Despite my disabilities, my newly founded abilities are astronomical. Through websites like TheGlobe.com, MSN, and now; Yahoo! Groups, I am being rewarded with real and true Friendships, and I, me, was able to actually help others to LIVE with their illness, much like I had learned.
I still have David by my side, and my Life is filled with Love. By being able to offer support, a shoulder, a listening ear, to so many other people, I learned to live again; as I was able to find that my life now had new meaning.
Although many people still believe that a disease like RSD is the end of their ''regular'' life, for ME and as well as it can be for any one else reading this, it's just a new and different way to live.
If You'd like to email me, click below: Email Joey
Due to many changes since I first started this ''Bio'', of sorts , instead of constantly rewriting it, I will simply be adding additional sections to it. As my ''Main'' Disease, RSD, continues to get progressively worse, I hope that just by writing about my own experiences with RSD and/or Chronic Pain, I just might be able to help others that are also living with Chronic Pain and/or RSD.
My hope is that by writing my experiences, and how I deal with them, I just might be able to help others to find a way to live with chronic pain.
If you'd like to email me, do so any time at JoeyLee.com .
down below are a few other resources and links to information regarding chronic pain and/or RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)
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resources, contact, and personal information To learn more about RSD/CRPS, I have created a comprehensive page titled; ''What is RSD?'' page, copied from the National Neurological Association. Go to What is RSD?
And, I have also written a separate story on just what it's like TO live with Chronic Pain, just click here
I have also created a ever-growing list of Resources and Information pertaining to RSD and Chronic Pain.
Go to my RSD Resources page.
Please, feel free to contact me via Email at JoeyLee.com