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Patient Story: John Wilen

Patient transitions from pain medication and again finds joy in music

John WilenJohn Wilen, from McGregor, followed his own advice — never give up. After struggling for years with pain stemming from a vehicle accident resulting in spinal, head and chest injuries, he tried four different clinics before coming to CentraCare Neurosciences Pain Center.

The 49-year-old had been on very high doses of pain medications for 17 years.

"I was not eating and had constant headaches. I slept one to two hours a night. By the time I came here, I was tired of the ups and downs of medications. I was miserable. I couldn’t ever think clearly,” John said.

“Music was my life. I started playing when I was four years old and played all instruments — guitar, saxophone, piano, accordion, lots of instruments. When I got sick, it messed up my memory and motor skills,” he said.

The Pain Center offered support for John. The opioid transitions program helped him get off the pain medications that had driven him away from his hobbies, put stress on his relationships and made the easiest tasks insurmountable.

Today he is back to enjoying his music and he recently vacationed with his family for the first time in more than ten years. About his new life without being in a fog from pain medication, John said, “It’s amazing how many more things I’m capable of doing. I would tell other pain patients to not give up. There is hope.”

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