(Moonee Valley Leader, Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Story by Carmel Green)
“We’re such a pill-popping nation – we’re taught to reach for the tablet and soldier on”
CONSCIOUS of her posture and sitting down for too long, artist Soula Mantalvanos would perch on a fit ball while working at her desk.
One day the ball burst and she fell on to the concrete floor, sparking more than a decade of pudendal nerve pain.
Prescribed opioid Tramadol and antidepressant Lovan, Ms Mantalvanos said at one point she was taking a cocktail of medications and, when the pain didn’t subside, her doctor doubled her dosages.
“I began to lose myself – I would have hallucinations at night that odd creatures were coming at me,” she said.
Through the support of her husband, Theo, and her self-awareness of what the drugs were doing to her, Ms Mantalvanos sought other methods of pain relief.
“We’re such a pill-popping nation – we’re taught to reach for the tablet and soldier on,” she said. “But we’ve made a lot of advancements in pain relief.”
One she sought out was a peripheral stimulation implant to help with the pain.
During her recovery she commissioned artist Colleen Burke to create a puppet in her likeness. “I could focus on her and remember who I was,” she said.
Ms Mantalvanos has also created a website to help people with chronic pain, founded online health record Pain Train and self-published a book called Art & Chronic Pain to help explain what it is like to have her condition.