Author, activist, motivational speaker, and former cheerleader Barby Ingle has been touring the country and appearing on TV shows advocating for people with RSD as well as others with chronic pain. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, Barby has become a fearless advocate for those in the grips of this debilitating condition. As someone who suffers from RSD herself, Barby is an inspiration because she does not let it limit her, but rather it makes her move forward at the speed of light. Barby also appears regularly on younow.com as a talking head, serving as a role model to young women around the world. A mix of beauty, grace, and a 'lil butt kicking spunk, Barby Ingle was easily this week's Panic Girl.
|Barby speaking and educating on RSD|
1. You are involved in an organization called Power of Pain, what exactly does the organization do?
The Power of Pain foundation is a charity dedicated to improving the lives of people with chronic care conditions involving pain. The POPF provides awareness, education, and support for Chronic Pain Patients, specifically those involving Neuropathy Pain, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), and Lyme disease. The ultimate goal is to allow chronic pain patients the ability to perform their regular activities in the community and to bolster society’s ability to provide full opportunities and appropriate supports for its pain citizens. Through supporting education for pain patients, family members, caretakers and medical professionals, we make an important contribution to the overall knowledge and treatment of chronic pain. This allows our foundation to affect the lives of the millions of people with Neuropathy pain nationwide as well as chronic pain patients, caretakers, family members and healthcare professionals. Chronic Pain affects females 3 to 1 over men, so many of our programs do address this disparity in our healthcare system. Unfortunately, studies show that there is an under treatment of pain in women and children verses men. You can get more information about the Power of Pain Foundation at www.powerofpain.org.
2. You are a chronic pain sufferer yourself. How has that placed limitations on you, and how have you overcome them?
I have been battling a Neurological condition for almost 10 years now. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a progress Autoimmune Neurological condition that affects multiple systems in the body and needs to be treated early so that disability does not take over. I know firsthand how hard it is to continue looking for relief, perfect answers, and then coming up against healthcare professionals who blow you off or do not believe what you are saying could actually be what you’re experiencing. As I search for a cure, I have become my own best advocate and work sharing the information so that other patients do not have to go through the same struggles that I experienced. Even after seeing over 100 healthcare professionals, having major surgeries I didn’t need, complications such as internal bleeding, medication interactions, kidney stones, tumors, and so much more – I did not give up or give in! I was tested to my limits and realized they are past the boundaries I placed on myself.
I had to become the Chief of Staff of my Own Medical Team. If I can do it, anyone can. RSD is a very progressive and severely painful condition that can also involve movement disorders, skin color changes, balance issues and other life changing challenges. I fought the disabilities every step of the way, but did end up in a wheelchair for a few years. Finally, I had a Portacatheter placed in my chest and I ended up receiving an Infusion Therapy, similar to the process of a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy. This treatment was over $100,000 to receive, and luckily for me, my insurance company helped pay for the treatment. I am currently in remission and out of my wheelchair. I overcame my limitations through my positive attitude, and inner drive to never let life’s challenges beat me. I also realized that I needed to give my anxiety and fear to God when it came to the pain and what might come from having RSD and focus on being the best me I could with the situation I was in.
3. You have written a couple of books. What are they called and where can we purchase them?
My first was, RSD in Me!, a patient’s guide to living with a chronic pain conditions based around my story of challenges and how I overcame each one. My second book is; ReMission Possible, based on the year long process of going into remission and what came from the experience. I wrote them to be books of motivation, inspiration and positivity. I want people to know that even when facing the toughest of times that there is hope and help available. The books offer practical advice, tips and tricks for better daily living and resolutions to the challenges of living with chronic pain. My story goes through a nine-year journey with twist and turns through the medical system and encourages the importance of thinking positive even in the worst of times. They are available at most bookstores such as Barnes and Nobel, Borders Books, Kindle, and Amazon. I decided to donate all of the money raised from the book sales to help further the mission of the Power of Pain Foundation, so that other people can reach the success that I have with my healthcare.
|Barby on the Dr. Drew show.|
4. Through your advocacy, you have met Paula Abdul, what was that experience like?
I have been a fan of Paula Abdul since the 90’s when her song Straight Up hit the scene. Paula has a very similar background to me. She did cheerleading and dance from a young age as well as singing. I found out in 2005 that Paula also has RSD. At that moment, I made it my mission to meet her and try to get her to speak out more often about RSD and the daily struggles 10,000,000 Americans with it, go through. In September 2011, I finally did it! I got to talk to Paula, before the premiere of X-Factor. I started by saying, "You are my cheerleader of hope and possibility" and she just started talking and we had great a conversation, and she hugged me, and we talked more and then got our picture together. I introduced her to my husband, Ken, and she got a big kick out of us being ‘Ken and Barby’, so that was awesome. I gave her a gift-bag I made for her. The message on the bag said, "You Just Totally Rock!”. I told her what was in the bag; info on RSD, my books (autographed of ‘course), awareness bracelets for her and her assistance, my cheer megaphone pin from my high school Letterman's jacket from 1988 when her first record came out, and a personal letter from me. It was amazing; she is so beautiful and nice. I don’t know if I will change her mind about speaking up about her RSD challenges or not, but at least I know she has the info, she knows she has support and she now knows a real-life "Barby and Ken". We had a great conversation and she was totally engaging. So, I am extremely happy and got another item checked off my bucket list! The next week in People’s Magazine, she spoke about having RSD in an interview, for the first time since 2005. I am hoping I had something to do with it and I hope it continues. About a month later, I saw Paula again at an event and she recognized me and yelled out on the microphone, “I know you”. It was awesome because people who meet so many other people, everyday, don’t typically remember most of the people they meet. I had hoped that I made a lasting impression on her, and it turns out I did.
5. You were a cheerleader when you were younger and are still involved in the sport. When people say that cheerleading is a negative thing for women, how do you respond to those critics?
I started cheerleading, dance and gymnastics at the age of 4. I told my father back then that I would be a cheerleader the rest of my life. I knew that was God’s plan for me, it is a part of me and will forever be who I am. I have learned so many life lessons from cheerleading; time management, athleticism, optimism, positivity, motivational skills, social skills, got rid of my shyness, confidence, trust, dedication, determination, equality, and I learned how to always be excited and up for any challenge. I learned business skills and creative fundraising and marketing ideas by having to fundraise for my uniforms, summer camp, private lessons, and competition entry fees. I cheered all of the way through college, and then started my own cheer/dance training company. I also became one of the youngest collegiate coaches at a Division IA school (Washington State University).
6. You have an adopted sister, Marby who happens to be multi-racial. Has this experience made you passionate about activism in other ways?
My sister is half black and half Thai. Our parents raised us as twins and we didn’t realize that people were different “colors” until we were bullied on the playground when I was in 2nd grade. We were picked on by both, whites and blacks, growing up because other children in our area were raised with racism in their family values. I have seen how differently my sister was treated specifically because of her skin color, even by other black people who saw her as “too white”. My parents were smart to expose us to all types of people with different backgrounds; disabled, different races, gay couples, etc... Having these experiences as a child helped me learn to accept people for how they treat others and not how they look. I really learned to appreciate that all humans have something to offer society and that there is no reason to bully anyone for race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or any other reason just because it differs from who you are.
|Just a typical day in the life of a Panic Girl|
7. You tour the country as a motivational speaker. What is your favorite city that you have been to and why?
My favorite was Las Vegas for the past few years because of the atmosphere, the lights, the shows, and even if you have no spending money you can just go sit down on the strip and meet people from all over the world. I love diversity and getting to know new people and that is what you get in Vegas. But this January I got to go to NYC and fell in love with it. I will be going back to both places later this year to do presentations and really looking forward to NY and the Pizza, Cannoli, and people watching at Time Square.
8. Dog person or cat person? If so why?
Dog, for sure! I have had both growing up and I like dogs better because they are more loving and interactive. My favorite dog was a Maltese named Tuci, who I had to give up for adoption after I was too ill to take care of her. I hope to get a dog again when I am not traveling so much, because I am feeling better now that I am in remission, and I miss the companionship.
9. If you could have dinner with one famous person from history, who would it be?
Jesus Christ. I’d have a lot of questions regarding human interaction/connection and lots of why this & why that type questions.
10. What does this Panic Girl eat for breakfast?
I enjoy a big breakfast. It is typically my biggest meal of the day and consists of scrambled eggs, hash browns, crispy bacon, and toast with grape jelly. The rest of the day I usually eat junk food and candy.
|Testifying, this Panic Girl is making it happen|
|Panic Girl Stats|
Name: Barby Ingle
Height: 5' Tiny but mighty
Weight: I was a flyer in my cheerleading days. 'Nuff said.
Sign: My sign is change. That's my sign.
Status: Married, and very happily so. Sorry guys.
Hometown: Queen Creek, AZ