Category Archives: Thalidomide-Induced Painful Peripheral Neuropathy

Conversations Between Colin Froy, A British Foot Nerve Pain Patient (1952-2013), His Pain Team And The Pain Researchers

Featured Image taken from The Pain Detective (Video), courtesy of Mosaic

Dear Pain Matters readers,

So what is it really like to have nerve pain??  The best way to find out is to actually talk to a patient who suffers from nerve pain.  And that is exactly what the excellent video called ‘The Pain Detective‘ (by Barry Gibb, film maker) did.

Colin Froy, one of the millions of nerve pain sufferers in the world and a policeman who retired in 2011, was diagnosed with myeloma type cancer in the blood (light chain deposition) in 2004.  He received chemotherapy for 6 months including thalidomide drug treatment.  Unfortunately, the latter led to ‘tingling toes syndrome’.

The term ‘tingling toes’ does not do justice to the severity of Colin’s nerve pain.  This term drastically understated the intensity of Colin’s thalidomide-induced nerve pain in his toes from 2004 until his passing in 2013.  In Colin’s words:

‘… the side-effects of thalidomide, they call it tingly toes. Because tingly toes, you think, you know, you get sort of tingle and it goes away, but it’s not like that [laughs], it’s painful toes. I mean, the nerve endings are all shot to pieces, like a dead tree. It gets worse and worse, and you just can’t walk as far as you used to. Now, if I’m lying in bed sometimes, I get this sensation as if someone’s just pushing a needle through the toes, and it lasts for four or five seconds and then it’s gone…’

(Above quoted from ‘The Pain Detective Transcript’: )

The video added that the economic cost of pain in the USA alone is around USD635 billion per year, more than the costs of cancer and cardiovascular disease combined.  In fact, pain is the Number One Reason why people see their GP.

Without further ado, I urge readers to simply watch the 30-minute video (and also read the narrative) that presents many interesting, lively and heart-warming conversations between Colin Froy (1952 – 2013), his caring pain management team and a talented pool of pain researchers who are passionate about their goal to ease nerve pain and suffering (see video link and references, below).

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Images taken from The Pain Detective (Video), courtesy of Mosaic

Despite his unrelenting severe nerve pain, Colin had a positive outlook on life, where ‘his glass was always half full’ instead of ‘half empty’.  Although his nerve pain was enduring until his final days in 2013, his sense of humour and warm smile will always be endearing.

May his message, and that of others with chronic pain, reach our collective heart and soul so that all this pain and suffering is not in vain.

Sabina Walker

Pain Matters Blogger


(1) Gibb, Barry J. The Pain Detective (Video) – On The Hunt For New Ways To Treat Pain. Mosaic – The Science of Life (24 June 2014).

(2) Gibb, Barry J. The Pain Detective Transcript. Mosaic – The Science of Life (24 June 2014).

(3) Gibb, Barry J. Making The Pain Detective. Mosaic – The Science of Life (24 June 2014).