August 30, 2015
Living with chronic pain for over 12 years, Elaine Ladouceur first came to Chigamik two years ago, looking for a place to provide her with the support and care she desperately needed. She was happily surprised.
In 2003 Elaine went to the dentist because of the pain in her mouth. The dentist confirmed that she had several infections and needed to remove five teeth. The dentures that were given to Elaine did not fit her mouth properly and caused her even more pain, so she didn’t wear them. Unable to eat solid foods for over a year and still in a great deal of pain, Elaine was feeling helpless and noticed that she was getting worse. She started to forget simple tasks, feeling dizzy and falling a lot. Having to look after three children on her own, she needed help. After seeing a number of doctors and specialists, and being on antibiotics for over a year, it was determined that because of the infection in her teeth, Elaine had been suffering from a recurrent sinus infection.
THE CHIGAMIK EXPERIENCE
Shortly after the sinus infection had been resolved, Elaine was feeling better but was concerned about the pain she was feeling in her leg that was getting progressively worse. Elaine was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Being shuffled from doctor to doctor, Elaine felt lost and didn’t know where to turn. “A friend of mine told me to visit Chigamik. That same day, I was at Chigamik filling out the paper work, and I’ve never looked back,” said Ladouceur.
Elaine was placed into the care of Nicole Ayotte, a Nurse Practitioner at Chigamik. “Nicole is my life saver. Without her, I would not be where I am today,” said Ladouceur. “She was like a breath of fresh air.” Elaine was given a complete physical with blood work, and it was discovered that she had very low iron levels in her blood, which would explain the dizziness and fatigue. “It took me two years to get my iron levels back up to normal,” said Ladouceur. “But things were still not right with my leg. I couldn’t walk properly and the pain was getting worse.”
Nicole referred Elaine to a number of Chigamik programs to help her cope with the chronic leg pain including a support group for pain, stress reduction and arthritis, a nutrition program, Quit Café to help her quit smoking and an exercise program in partnership with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. “I was completely alone until I came to Chigamik. The support is amazing,” said Ladouceur. “I was willing to try everything to get my life back in order.”
After being referred to a knee specialist and finding two bulged disks in her back, Elaine was referred to a physiotherapist, Renée Scruton at Chigamik to help with rehabilitation. It was during these sessions that it was discovered that Elaine needed a hip replacement. “Renée is amazing. If it weren’t for her paying close attention to me, I would not be in the position I’m in today,” said Ladouceur. “I’m getting a hip replacement in the next couple of months and I’ll finally be out of pain. I’m going to have my life back and I’m so thankful to Chigamik.”
SUPPORT FOR THE FUTURE
After living with chronic pain for so long, Elaine wants to share her experiences and knowledge with others by starting a chronic pain support group in the area. “There are so many people in our community living in pain and not realizing there are places like Chigamik that can help,” said Ladouceur. “Once I’m in a better state, I want to help others get their lives in order. That’s my goal. Everyone deserves a chance for happiness in life.”
Elaine now visits Chigamik three times per week for physiotherapy. “It’s been a complete turn around from the state I was in one year ago,” said Ladouceur. “Chigamik offered me the support I needed when I was completely alone. Everybody works together at Chigamik and provides the best care for you in all aspects of your life. I’m referring everyone to Chigamik, it’s that good.”