When the drugs and the doctors and the physical therapists failed her, Katie Pumphrey had one choice left: She could run from pain or confront it, curtail her lifestyle or push it as far as pain would allow.
Pumphrey, a 26-year-old swim coach and painter who has been in chronic pain for nearly two decades, had discovered along the way that intense, exhausting exercise brought some relief from the strange symptoms of her fibromyalgia, a controversial neuromuscular disease with no known cure. And so she decided to go for broke.
The Baltimore woman is now preparing to swim the English Channel, a physical and logistical undertaking so enormous that pain will just have to get in line with the other challenges she has decided to take on: hypothermia, tides, oil tankers, wind, waves, saltwater, jellyfish, injuries, the financial cost and many more.
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