A Chorus of Change

The movie “Cake” starring Jennifer Aniston will be released Jan. 23rd. I will definitely be in the audience when it opens, and I urge everyone else to see it.

Aniston stars as Claire, a woman who suffers from chronic pain. She becomes obsessed with the suicide death of one of the members of her support group, and she enters into the life of the late woman’s husband. It is a decidedly unglamorous role. Aniston wears no make-up, except that used to construct scars on her face, scars no doubt tied to the source of her chronic pain.

It is my fond hope that this movie will raise awareness of  the public health crisis and national shame of our chronic pain problem as notably as Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book “The Jungle” helped to spotlight the horrid conditions at meat processing plants.

That is probably too much to hope for, but any help in calling for reform in our healthcare system to treat chronic pain is much appreciated. While researchers believe that interdisciplinary treatment is most effective in treating chronic pain, it is widely unavailable due to a lack of insurance coverage.

“Cake” is directed by Daniel Barnz and the screen play was written by Patrick Tobin. Aniston stars with other great actors, including Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy.

I would like to think that the voices of everyone in the cast and crew can join mine in a chorus that will be heard, a chorus that demands coverage for behavioral counseling, physical therapy, and alternate modalities other than prescription pain-killers. The movie will no doubt give us a glimpse into the broken lives of those suffering from chronic pain. We need to remember that these movie characters represent real lives and real suffering, and that we need to fix our broken system.

Those who read “The Jungle” created such an uproar the government passed the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in response.

Let’s see the movie not just for the sake of entertainment, but for the sake of the nearly 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain.

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