I have degenerative disk disease and 4 disks are effected—2 in lumbar/low back, 2 in cervical/upper back & neck. Required 2 back surgeries-1st in 1996 at age 24 when my right leg went completely numb (L5/S1), and 2nd in 2008 when left leg had pinched nerve (L4/L5). Left with neuropathy in both legs and feet which causes balance issues, weakness & falling sometimes. Due to doctor’s recommendation, I have not driven since 2006 and remained mostly homebound to prevent further injuries and keep pain level reasonable. Even though complete disability was recommended in 1996, I did not file for Social Security Disability until 2006 and was not approved until 38 months later in 2009. After 9 years of endless typing as a paralegal, I also have carpel tunnel in both wrists and arms with moderate nerve damage in both. Occasional panic attacks helped to diagnose PTSD in 2009. My disabilities do NOT define me. They are my life’s challenges and I choose to be positive and thankful. That’s right-Thankful! Without my issues, I would work full time and only get nights and weekends with my husband & 2 children. Instead, I am here every day to make breakfast and eat with all of them. I am here when the kids come home from school, and love helping with homework & school projects. I make dinner and cook as often as I am able. My husband and I share household chores and responsibilities. Due to my disability, my husband works out of our home and we get quality time together each day. I have had the time to rediscover my love of writing and make daily connections through Pain Sufferers Speak’s community which is my passion! I love sharing FREE health/wellness information, doing webresearch 5 days a week, helping people to feel less alone in their pain, and encouraging others to share their pain in a healthy way. I feel truly blessed and excited about the future!