Jen had begun suffering from unexplained pain. “I was struggling with unbelievable pain all over my body.” She replied when I asked what she had been dealing with. “On October 8th, 2010, a fall spiraled my life out of control.” The fall amplified the pain Jen had been suffering from before. Following her fall, Jen went to the doctor with pain spread across her entire body. With few answers, she was prescribed pain medication. It turns out; the prescription would change her life in an unexpected way. “I began transitioning from working to a person who was doped up all the time.” Previously, Jen had worked in the caregiver field. She didn’t want to be on the receiving end of that care. “The pain meds kept me in a state where I didn’t care about anything.”
The pain Jen had been going through was unbearable to the point that she kept returning to the doctor hoping to find relief. Unfortunately, relief came in the form of stronger narcotics. With the inability to move without pain and her exploding medical bills Jen began spiraling into depression. Yet, as Jen will tell you hope wasn’t far off. That hope came in the form of Freedom Resource Center.
“I was referred to Joyce at Freedom from a person at Hope Unit. Joyce was going to help me find resources to get through pain management and navigate my way through the Social Security process along with many other systems.” With her condition going downhill fast, Jen was facing threats of being forced into a nursing facility by her doctor. “A nursing home would have killed me,” she said, “I wasn’t going to let someone tell me to give up and die.” Jen’s personal belief was that going into a nursing home was, “a sign of giving up.”
Fighting to stay out of a nursing home, Joyce became Jen’s lifeline. “Joyce helped me to begin thinking positively, to stop lying to myself, and don’t worry about the judgment of others. Positive thinking helped because if I focused on how many times things have gone wrong, I’d never leave my house.” With the help of Freedom Resource Center, Jen was able to avoid going into a nursing facility.
Nearly three years after finding Freedom Resource Center, Jennifer has gone from just “surviving,” as she used to say, to taking control of her life. She has also given back to so many others in her community in need of help. A frequent volunteer in Freedom’s Wahpeton office, Jennifer has helped invite people to monthly Freedom in Action events along with helping organize the office. “Our relationship has evolved from her needing my assistance to me needing her assistance!” Joyce explained. “It is just fun to be there, help organize, and ask people to come out and get involved.” Jennifer stated.
Deciding to further her education for a potential career, Jennifer is working to earn her degree in Social Work. “I want to be like Joyce, an advocate for others, and I want to work in an environment like Freedom Resource Center and your model of helping others.” Jennifer said. Joyce replied with a smile, “She often reminds me that she wants to literally fill my chair when I retire and I, for one, have no doubt that she could.”
Jennifer is beginning yet another journey in her life and moving closer to her children near the cities in Minnesota. Her goal is to be out there sometime in February. The journey won’t be easy, but both Joyce and Jennifer are confident she’ll make it work. “I’ve already transferred to online classes and look to join St. Cloud State University next fall to continue my degree in Social Work,” she said.
“Since coming to Freedom, Jennifer has become a person looking for answers within herself and not from others. She is also finding programs that are there to assist people in moving forward.” Said Joyce. “She has met a majority of her goals and the ones she hasn’t she is still working on. I see nothing that is going to stop her.”
Donate to Freedom Resource Center on February 13th and have your donation MATCHED!