WellnessIQ / How Pain has Shaped My Life

How Pain has Shaped My Life


Dylan Pipkin, Senior Sales Executive shares his story on how his life as an active, healthy individual was impacted by lasting pain. In this blog we hear not only Dylan's story, but how he took control of his mentality and made time for self-love to heal.

Beautiful young people running together in the city in front of glass buildings.


My name’s Dylan Pipkin, I was born in San Francisco & grew up across the Golden Gate Bridge in the early 90s. As a kid, I played every sport I could. From baseball to soccer, basketball to golf, skateboarding to tennis, and everything in between. Birthdays & weekends were spent under the redwoods with a handlebar in one hand & a Nerf football in the other. Competitive spirits were high & movement was engrained into our upbringing. Our knees were scrapped, our elbows bloody & our smiles were wide & crooked. Getting hurt was just part of the daily experience, regularly adding to the fun.

Luckily, I made it out of my early childhood with minimal damage, countless scars, no broken bones, & only one serious hospitalizing concussion.

Once baseball season came around my freshman year of high school; after taxing football & basketball seasons, my body ached & hurt. I was physically & mentally exhausted. At such a young age, this didn’t feel right. Regrettably, for the first time in my life, I decided to take a season off. While I continued to stick with football in high school (as this was the only sport we didn’t play growing up, making it new and exciting), the concussion count grew, joints got separated & fingers and ribs were often broken. Doctors would quickly prescribe painkillers, while I stubbornly & impressively played from one injury to the next with no understanding of how this would affect my pain receptors in the future.

I took a year off after high school to follow my dream to live in the mountains & snowboard at Mammoth. During this time, with plenty of days on the mountain & entirely too little training involved, I decided to go play football at SBCC, the following year. We wasted no time, diving right into two-a-days during the summer. Like many soccer seasons growing up, I believed I strained my groin on the first day of practice. Being new to the team & attempting to make up for a year of no training, I continued to play. The pain progressively got worse & more painful as the summer went on, every step hurt. After a couple of months of unbearable pain, I decided to go to the doctor to get it checked out. The day after making the team, I got my unexpected results back.  I was diagnosed with bilateral combined Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) and needed to get surgery ASAP. Over time, the combination of bone growth on the ball and socket had scraped away all my cartilage, resulting in both hips being severely bone against bone.

Only in retrospect, did I realize my body was telling me something was wrong. I had felt many forms of discomfort running through my body in the form of chronic pain from a young age. Despite having numerous internal & external relationships on how I’ve dealt with my pain, this has never completely stopped me from moving & pushing myself to become healthier — physically & mentally.

To me, although sometimes full of frustration & plenty of pain, the opportunity & ability to move my body & be active is crucial to my wellbeing. I continue to be grateful I can do so in some capacity & I’m continually impressed with how resilient our minds & bodies can be.  

As I began writing this, laying on my back, covered in icepacks, 4 weeks out of a lumbar microdiscectomy surgery & over 10 years after my FAI surgery, I thank you for your time & interest as I dive into my story of pain, healing, & growth.

Physical Pain

At times, there’s a certain adrenaline that comes with pain. However, like stress, there is good pain & bad pain. This can just as easily, drive you up as it can drag you down.

There were few times in my life where chronic pain didn’t control how I lived. It was a shadow in my existence. I was able to stay active. I was able to stay healthy & live life to the fullest. When you feel good, life is fun, life is easy. This was often taken for granted.

On the other side, there have been many times in my life where chronic pain dictated how I lived. It was a part of every step, every movement. It radiated through my body, through my mind & into my everyday life. It affected my mood. It affected my relationships. It affected my activity level. When living life is out of your control, everything feels wrong, and every day gets harder.

These are the times when we are challenged to continue to be the best version of ourselves despite what we might be going through. During these times we can shift our mindset by showing compassion for ourselves & others. Everybody has a different journey. Be nice to yourself, be nice to others.

With support we can wade through the pain, rediscover the beauty of life despite the difficulties & experience everything this life has to offer.

Every minute is a new opportunity to change our outlook.


Throughout the years, I have dealt with my internal pain in many ways. It has left me completely defeated over time & I have battled through it.  From being bed-ridden to couch-ridden, one tends to go inwards. Fortunately, through experience and practice, you grow stronger.

Chronic pain has often been my emotional state shaping my perspective and mindset.

I’d often found my emotions were tied closely to my mental state. My mental state was tied closely to my chronic pain. My chronic pain often controlled my life.

Over the years I’ve found that regardless of your situation, you can shape the outcome.

Through my teens, I was the victim. I was constantly injured physically, & naturally, this kept me very frustrated, “why me?”. This pain feedback loop was deeply hardwired into my mind to the point I was mentally injured, as well. I was only happy when I was active & healthy. It wasn’t until my life altering hip surgery that I noticed how foolish I was to have thought that way. For me, it was a wake-up call of how lucky I was, and that life was to be lived despite these ongoing setbacks.

Don’t get me wrong, during my 6 + months of being bed-ridden; I saw some very dark times accompanied by a ton of support, endless poker nights, & had the consistency of baseball season to keep me occupied. However, during that time, it provided me the first visible opportunity to reshape my perception of life, ultimately leading me to where I’m at today. (Always a work in progress, but *damn* I’ve come far)

Over the past 20 years, I have constantly been forced & made the choice to “start over”. Every time I was on a roll I’d hit a wall, often in the form of tossing out my back & of course strengthening that physical & mental feedback loop.

The last 5 years have been some of the most difficult but formative years of my life. I’ve met my out-of-pocket max for 4 of the last 5 years, continuously fought the medical system, added another 2 major surgeries & spent 30+ months with severe sciatica & slipped discs all while navigating new jobs, new locations, and of course this whole life thing we got going on.

As of today, I’ve never been in a better mindset. I’ve never been as stoked for surgery. And I’ve never been as excited & energized to get healthy as I have been today.


It is hard to accept our attributes that we see as “faults”. Whether this is a new or lifelong struggle, it hits deep. Whether it is based on societal pressures, our upbringing, or a change in how we see ourselves, it’s much easier to think about the “what if’s” in life. These tend to be tied in with physical, mental, & emotional states.

Personally, it has always been easier to provide care & love for others. Most likely influenced on all the above mindsets. As an empath I’ve always believed that people need more love & respect in the world. A smile can help someone’s day more than we might know. A smile can also help your own day more than you might believe. The kindness of others can help daily stressors in our lives, and it can also help rewire our internal monologue by constantly filling our bucket full of positive thoughts and experiences.

As many people experience, along with chronic pain, I’ve lived with self-doubt, confidence issues, anxiety & depression. When we feel like our body is currently under attack, it’s easier to attack ourselves for what we don’t have rather than be grateful for what we do have.

At times, It’s not fair. However, we can gather the positive & negative experiences that shape & grow our life, knowing that we DO have the choice for small improvements day by day. Without judgement of ourselves or of others we can go inwards to accept the life that we’re living to help control how we react to challenges & to appreciate our many successes & experiences we encounter daily.

New Outlook 

Life’s a work in progress. Life’s a rollercoaster, there’s high highs and low lows. The more I’ve learned to be grateful & go with the flow has helped me during those good times.  It has helped me understand that we can choose to have a positive outlook even when times are tough, knowing that we will get through the next hurdle. I’ve recently seen my latest surgery as a reset to my life. How can I reshape & grow from this point forward?

We can only live our own life, as I can only speak to my own experiences through my own pain. This isn’t to create a baseline or comparison. You have not experienced my struggles and I have not experienced yours.

As I continue my ongoing journey to become unstuck, physically & mentally, I ask that you continue to stay strong, stay positive, & stay kind to yourself & others. Let’s grow together & help others along the way.

This brief look into my why, has opened myself up to alternative medicines, doctors, nutritionists, along with many platforms that reach a broad audience. Ultimately, it’s led me to the position I’m in today to support different perspectives, outlooks, awareness & alternatives to create conversation. For that, I am grateful.

Although, as a society we continue to be solution oriented, my adventurous side always brings me back to the sayings, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” If something didn’t go wrong, was it really an adventure?

With each branch of the journey, we can always continue to grow upward.

My outlook will continue to shift throughout my experiences, my work, & my ongoing education. I will continue to work on filling my cup up, staying stoked & finding a place of contentment regardless of what is going on in my life. I truly hope you do the same.

With wide eyes & crooked smiles,