Health & Wellness

How one woman overcame chronic pain to enjoy life

February 28, 2018
Chronic pain

Chronic pain


Chronic pain can be dibilitating and prevent us from enjoying life, but today I introduce you to a woman who hasn’t let pain stop her from living her life and providing inspiration.

Recently, I participated in the Forever Fierce Campaign 2018 and introduced six wonderful ladies who are living life in Midlife & Beyond.  I asked them the question: What does being ‘fierce’ actually mean to you in midlife & beyond?  Each had a wonderful response and I would love you to read their thoughts and inspirational words.

One of these women, is my guest today.  A woman who has not let chronic illness and pain stop her from leading a full, fun and fabulous life.  I wanted to introduce Ann-Marie to you because she is living life and really is an inspiration.  Although she suffers from chronic pain she still leads an active life and makes time to give back to the community.

Ann-Marie also has some great advice for us all and so I introduce you to Ann-Marie Hammond.


Being fierce in midlife means accepting and loving who you are and how you look, having confidence and embracing life to the fullest; not allowing anything to hold you back.

My name is Ann-Marie Hammond, I am 53 and I live in Devonport Tasmania Australia. For the past 18 years I have been living with chronic pain from degenerative disc disease, arthritis, knees needing reconstruction etc but I do not allow that daily pain to dominate my life. I live life to the fullest.

I have been a belly dancer now for fifteen years and during the earlier years got to fulfill a lifelong desire to be a professional dancer. I was lucky enough to experience work as a professional dancer at both large and
more intimate events to most appreciative audiences. I am very thankful. I also taught several weekly classes of belly dance and drumming of an evening as well as to schools, businesses and worked with social workers for various team and confidence building with their clients.


Although I have ‘slowed’ down more recently, I am still quite active in the community. As well as teaching belly dance classes and drumming each week; I also teach proper sword technique along with my husband. We
both have many years of experience in Martial Arts and so use those skills to share with others in our community.

I manage a group called Van Diemens Land Pirate Crew who are a group of people who dress as pirates and entertain children and their families with music, dancing and sword fighting with safe foam swords; so that the children and parents can have fun fighting the pirates. We train our pirates every fortnight with proper sword technique; so that it can look exciting for the audience when fighting together. I may be 53 but I am just as active in this side of the entertaining and training.

I also love sewing and have fun creating costumes for belly dancing and for the pirate group. As well as for other styles of dancing that my husband and I enjoy as a couple such as swing dancing, rockabilly, rock n roll,
tango and salsa. My other hobbies are learning languages and instruments; at the moment I am learning to play the guitar.

I am a plus size woman due to having polycystic ovary syndrome which causes weight issues as well as many other health problems and this combined with living with chronic pain does not help. I still work hard every day to eat healthy and be active. I attend hydrotherapy twice a week, dance at least twice a week and see my personal trainer each week to stay strong.

I have learned to love the body I am in despite being plus size. I still look beautiful in my costumes and I am very thankful that I am still able to be such an active member of my community and family. My husband is eight years younger than me and often jokes around saying that he is thankful that he met me after my injuries otherwise he worries he may not have kept up with me.

As well as all that I have previously mentioned, I have a 9 year old daughter who I enjoy being active with and take her to all her activities such as singing and Kung Fu. I also have 3 adult sons, 1 adult stepson and 1 adult step daughter; and two beautiful grandchildren Ariel and Bella who get to have lots of fun with their crazy fun Nana.

To those of you with health problems like me it is important that we keep moving; but we must pace ourselves to keep the pain at a manageable level. If we are active and enjoying life then we stay in the driving seat and not allow that pain to take over.

You can check out more about Ann-Marie and her fun activities in the two facebook links below:

Let’s Keep Sizzling!

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way

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  • Reply Christie Hawkes February 28, 2018 at 03:03

    Nice to meet you Ann-Marie. Your story is very inspirational. My husband suffers from chronic pain–cluster headaches and degenerative joint issues (in fact, he’s having another surgery tomorrow). It can be wearing on him, but mostly he manages to maintain a joyful, fulfilling life. I often wonder how I would handle it, if it were me. You seem to be doing a lovely job of not only surviving, but thriving. And what a fun job you have–dancing and playing pirates! You can’t beat that.

    Thanks Sue for introducing us to another fierce, sizzling, thriving mid-lifer.

    • Reply Ann-Marie Hammond February 28, 2018 at 16:37

      thank you Christie for your lovely comments. I am so sorry to hear your poor husband lives with chronic pain too. I wish him all the best for his operation and hope and pray that it will make a positive impact on his well being and quality of life x

  • Reply Natalie February 28, 2018 at 06:34

    Nice to meet you, Ann-Marie. Thanks, for sharing your story and how you live life to the fullest even with chronic pain. Your belly dancing, drumming, and martial arts are impressive. With the pirates program, you must be so loved by the children. Thanks , Sue, for introducing Ann-Marie.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 28, 2018 at 15:25

      Ann-Marie is great isn’t she, Natalie? I was impressed with how full of life she is despite her pain and I just love the belly dancing and pirate costumes. I’m sure the kids just love it all. x

    • Reply Ann-Marie Hammond February 28, 2018 at 16:39

      thank you Christie, Natalie and Sue for your lovely comments. I am so sorry to hear your poor husband lives with chronic pain too Christie. I wish him all the best for his operation and hope and pray that it will make a positive impact on his well being and quality of life x

      I get just as much fun out of everything as i give 🙂 i love being around children

  • Reply Donna February 28, 2018 at 09:34

    Thank you Ann-Marie and Sue for sharing such an inspirational story. It is so easy to say “I’d love to, but can’t because _______”. You are both wonderful examples of how not to allow our ‘challenges’ to become ‘solid barriers’. You have encouraged me to revisit my personal list of ‘can’ts’ .

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 28, 2018 at 15:27

      I was very inspired by Ann-Marie’s story, Donna and I just love how she lives life despite not being in the best of health. I love sharing these stories of inspiration with others. x

  • Reply Jo Tracey March 1, 2018 at 08:40

    You certainly do look beautiful in your costumes. Bellydancing, drumming, pirates & sword fighting – how much fun is all that? Thanks Sue, for bringing us this fabulous story of thriving.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 1, 2018 at 09:12

      I’ve always wanted to do bellydancing Jo and I believe you go sometimes. It looks like fun! x Ann-Marie certainly shows she won’t let pain stop her enjoying her life.

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl March 1, 2018 at 10:39

    Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring journey, Ann-Marie.

    SSG xxx

  • Reply Min@WriteoftheMiddle March 1, 2018 at 12:53

    I agree with Anne-Marie that she is beautiful in her costumes but also beautiful in general as well as very inspirational. I love her positive and generous spirit! Thank you for introducing us to her Sue! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 1, 2018 at 15:56

      Ann-Marie is a lovely person and I’m so pleased to have met her through the Forever Fierce Campaign.

  • Reply Leanne | March 1, 2018 at 12:58

    What a fantastic and inspiring story (and I LOVE your costumes) You have an amazing life and I’m sure most Midlifers would be looking on with envy (I feel quite boring atm). Lovely to meet you and thanks to Sue for sharing some more of your story – I was quite intrigued when she shared a snippet on her Fierce Fifty post.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 1, 2018 at 15:56

      The costumes are fabulous, aren’t they Leanne. I’d love to try belly dancing but I would probably feel very self-conscious.

  • Reply Lyndall @ Seize The Day Project March 1, 2018 at 14:08

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, inspiring story Ann-Marie (and Sue!). Chronic pain can be so debilitating. My mother suffered from it all my life and it was just so awful to watch. I think it’s a great idea to keep on moving. After all, we need to get out there and love life!! 🙂 x #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 1, 2018 at 15:55

      Ann-Marie and her attitude really impressed me Lyndall. I have back issues and pain although not constantly but Ann-Marie has shown that chronic pain doesn’t stop her in fact, I believe moving helps. 🙂

  • Reply Janet Camilleri March 1, 2018 at 15:10

    Lovely to meet you Anne Marie, I would love to try belly dancing … what a fun life you have! Definitely fierce!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 1, 2018 at 15:54

      I would love to try belly dancing as well Janet, it looks like so much fun, even though I would probably feel a bit inhibited at first.

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 1, 2018 at 20:15

    What an inspirational post Anne-Marie! It’s lovely to hear about your life and I love the pirate outfit you’re a part of. Keep doing what you’re doing – I too used to belly-dance and enjoyed it immensely. Thanks Sue for another great post for us.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 2, 2018 at 08:44

      Hi Deb, I’d love to do belly dancing and I’m sure it would be a fun way to keep fit. I’m so pleased I found Ann-Marie for the Forever Fierce Campaign and then was able to introduce her and her story to everyone in more detail. Have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Kathy Marris March 2, 2018 at 18:14

    Ann-Marie you’re an inspiration! It’s so heartening to hear your story and how you have managed your chronic pain issues without ever giving up on yourself. You look as though you live life to the fullest and I love that you’re a pirate!! You look absolutely fabulous in your costumes. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2018 at 13:08

      Isn’t she great Kathy! I love her costumes and I’m sure the kids would love seeing all the pirates. Ann-Marie shows what you can do with a positive attitude that is for sure.

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit March 3, 2018 at 07:16

    I’m a sufferer of chronic pain. Always have been with migraines since a very young age. Now add fibromyalgia to that … oh, and a nice bit of arthritis in my neck that is giving me grief … so I am going to book mark this and re-read it when I have more time. Thank you! #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2018 at 13:09

      It must be hard Leanne and you wouldn’t know looking at you – you look the picture of health.

  • Reply Grammy Dee | Grammy's Grid March 5, 2018 at 19:14

    Very inspiring! I shared your post on Fb, G+, Pn, and Tw ♥

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 7, 2018 at 07:29

      Thanks Dee! Have a great week and I’m sure you identified with Ann-Marie as you have your health issues as well. x

      • Reply Grammy Dee | Grammy's Grid March 7, 2018 at 14:31

        I did Sue, very inspiring! Does she have a website? The first Facebook link won’t work for me♥

        • Reply Sue Loncaric March 8, 2018 at 07:20

          No I don’t believe she has a website and I will check out the Facebook link. Thanks for letting me know. x

  • Reply Ann-Marie Hammond December 22, 2021 at 01:14

    I haven’t revisited this page since 2018 or so … thank you to all the lovely people who took time out to leave lovely messages for me 🙂 57 now and only recently stopped teaching dance as my back has gotten worse; the arthritis has made my spine very rigid and painful. However, I am still dancing for the fun of it with my daughter and husband. I continue to hire the hall i used to use to teach others as that is a commitment to keep going with my own dance practice. I am currently working on regaining mobility; but i have done this before 😉 so will do it again 🙂 Anyone living with pain can find me on facebook at ‘Positive Mindset Pain Management’ where the focus is on managing pain conservatively and using a positive mindset 🙂 We support carers there too. Our last pirate gig for the year was talk like a pirate day 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 30, 2021 at 08:02

      Hello Ann-Marie, I remember the guest post you wrote for me a few years ago. It is lovely to hear from you but I’m sorry that your back and arthritis are still causing you pain. Thanks for the sharing your Facebook page on Pain Management, which I will share. Best wishes to your and your family for 2022. xx

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