Dennis Kinch, a pain patient dealing with Paget’s disease walked the nearly 2,500-mile-long Route 66 for nearly nine months. That was six years ago – though it remains inspirational to him as well as thousands of other pain sufferers today. “I was doing physical therapy in the pool, and my therapist said something that woke me up,” Kinch says. She asked me, ‘Do you see yourself like these other guys?’ “And I realized that I was acting like I was 85 years old. It hit me all at once that I should have a better attitude. After that conversation I started doing three hours of physical therapy in the pool every day; I felt like I was training for the Olympics!”
Kinch began walking ten miles a day while visiting his children in Colorado. As he continued to walk, he progressively began to feel better. “I felt extremely powerful – mentally and physically.” After the Route 66 walk, Kinch developed a chronic pain course and wrote a book, Journey Through Pain: The Walk for Healing. Though Kinch is mostly bedridden now, the strength he gained – both mental and physical have not left him.
“I can walk around my apartment complex, and my sedentary hobbies like music have become my major life efforts. That’s my message. I tell people to ‘take their walk,’ whatever that walk is. It might not be walking across the country, but there is something they can take to an extreme level. My walk didn’t change my disease at all. It changed me.” Pain Pathways Summer 2013