"Some women are lost in the fire. Some women are built from it."
—Michelle K.
The Fire Within Blog
Man-Made Women In Pain

Chronic pain is bad enough; but when it’s man-made, it’s especially heart-breaking.

Sunday night I watched an eye-opening documentary on Netflix called Gasland. Its focus was on “fracking” – the process used to extract natural gas from deep in the earth – and how it’s making America “energy-independent” at the cost of the environment and human health.

We’ve all heard about fracking, mostly because the price at the pump has plummeted due to our new-found oil and gas glut. Sounds like a good deal – who doesn’t want a few more bucks in their pocket? But when “Gasland” pulls back the curtain on the damage this practice is causing, it’s no deal at all. Except a dirty, painful one.

Watching this hard-hitting film, I learned that highly toxic chemicals (some of them neuro-toxins) are mixed with water used to break rock, releasing natural gas. Problem is this tainted brew is finding its way into people’s wells. These people are getting sick from tap water that can literally be lit on fire. Yeah, my head was spinning too.

As a result, our environment is being irreversibly polluted, animals are dying and perhaps most horrifying, people are developing chronic pain. Lifetime. Body-wide. Excruciating. Neuropathic pain. The way I see it the Energy industry and their political bedfellows are condemning people to a lifetime of CRPS-like torture for the almighty buck. Billions of them.

It sickened me to watch previously healthy people rattle off their list of symptoms – headaches, dizziness, cognitive difficulties, fatigue, joint problems and, worst of all, neuropathies. Sounds like my checklist. And it was all-too-familiar to hear newly “man-made” women in pain say, “I’m just trying to survive the day.” Some had lost their jobs, others were bed-bound.

It sickened me to watch nervous energy producers at a Capitol Hill briefing lie about fracking, how they weren’t doing anything wrong, how they weren’t hurting anyone. Essentially, hearing what I’ve been hearing for 33 years. That people’s complaints of pain were “all in their head.”

While swimming this morning my mind was swirling with anger and sadness. Each day more fracking wells are being dug, more tainted water is being served up and more women and men are entering the kingdom of the sick.

My environmentally-conscious friend who turned me on to this film tells me that the sequel, Gasland 2, among other atrocities, explores how fracking is causing earthquakes where none had existed and is putting towns at risk of blowing up.

I’ve never understood evil. As a schoolgirl, I spent my recesses in the library trying to discover how the Holocaust happened. People hurting people is the most mystifying, horrible thing on earth – and it’s hard for me to conceive of something worse than condemning a person to a life of pain for profit.

Women in pain, let’s help stop this madness. Let’s digest Gasland and other fracking documentaries and articles. Let’s get informed and call our legislators. Let’s do it for the earth, let’s do it for the animals, let’s do it for our not-yet sisters in pain…

XO Cynthia