PATTON, Pa. — For nearly 30 years, Linda Deen has been an integral part of her family’s fruit and vegetable farm. Whether guiding 3,000 children on school tours through their autumn corn maze; feeding the farm’s peacocks, emu, or pheasants; or preparing bakery items in the farm store, Deen used to enjoy the multitude of chores that needed done on any given day.
That was before, however, she became wracked with chronic pain as a result of multiple health conditions. Deen, whose farm is located in Mount Bethel, Pa., had coped with a degenerative disk for several years before having her spine fused and stabilized in January 2003.
Then, in May of the same year, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a painful disorder characterized by widespread muscle aches and fatigue, as well as, soft tissue tenderness and difficulty sleeping.
Most recently, Deen underwent a knee replacement to address necrosis, or the death of the tissue inside the bone, and will likely have to undergo a second replacement to fix complications of the fibromyalgia early next year.
She also struggles with tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, conditions that are causing numbness in her arms and legs and requiring her to sleep in a recliner.
In themselves, each of these ailments is deeply painful. Together, they create a degree of chronic pain that can be quite overwhelming.
“I find it difficult to talk to others about the extent of my pain,” Deen said. “For those not dealing with constant pain, the use of medication often is considered taboo. And since my conditions aren’t curable, I think people want to avoid talking about something that is unlikely to get better.”
These and similar issues will be the topic of a workshop for Pennsylvania farm families from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 19 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. Growing Well With Pain is designed for farmers, ranchers, and their caregivers who are dealing with chronic pain.
The seminar will be part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s annual meeting, but this event is open to the public and attendees do not need to be a member of Farm Bureau to attend.
Deen hopes to attend the workshop.
“It would be great to talk to others who are coping with many of the same challenges as I am,” Deen said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one out there who copes with pain 24-7. It would be nice to visit with others who share the same fears and concerns.”
More information about the workshop can be found at the AgrAbility Web site or by calling 800-416-6061.