Marianne Jordan: Back to the Skies after a Spinal Cord Stimulator

Giving up favorite activities can be one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with chronic pain. Often, pain and medications have already restricted one’s lifestyle, so when professional or recreational activities are curtailed, coping can be tough. For many, reclaiming cherished pastimes is key.

Prior to her spinal cord injury, accomplished pilot Marianne Jordan routinely enjoyed soaring through the skies. But when pain grounded her, instead of giving up a career she loved, Jordan decided to do everything possible to get back in the sky.

“I thought my flying days were over forever, except in my dreams,” she says. “But since my stimulator implant, I have been able to get off all pain meds. I have returned to flying, although until I am able to convince the FAA that I am safe to fly solo, I am only allowed to fly with an instructor.”

Jordan says that when she shares her story as an ambassador for spinal cord stimulator (SCS) manufacturer Boston Scientific, she is quick to encourage others to reclaim their lives and to reach out for support.

“I tell people to never give up and to fight with what you are able to fight with,” Jordan says. “Arm yourself with knowledge and talk with others in pain to learn what has helped and what has not. Be as physically active as you can be, and don’t be afraid or ashamed to see a pain psychologist. For me, the most challenging thing about dealing with chronic pain was realizing there were things I could no longer do and things that I had to fight harder to do.”

Jordan adds that she relies on her husband for support, as well as fellow members of pain forums.

“It helps to talk and have others understand what you are going through,” Jordan explains. “My husband never doubted my injury and pain, and has always been supportive.”

Jordan is taking her own advice about never giving up and plans to work with her flying instructor to regain her independent pilot privileges.

“I think flying solo is only a matter of time,” she says. “I’ve already gone from flying in my dreams to flying in reality. What more can I ask for?”