In 1962 at the age of 21, Renée was involved in a serious car accident that kept her in an English hospital - in a 40-bed geriatric ward - for nearly two years.
Regulations meant she was unable to see her baby son as she recovered from major surgery following which she was treated with morphine and later aspirin coupled with barbiturates to help her sleep.
While in hospital, Renée's famous father Sir Eugene Goossens, the chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and director of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, died. Renee was devastated to hear this news on the hospital radio while lying helplessly in bed.
When she was finally able to leave hospital, Renée's husband left her for his pregnant girlfriend. Wheelchair-bound and with a two-year-old toddler to raise, Renée discovered that a pram made a good walking frame. She used it to walk every day to get strong, beating the odds to be able walk unaided again.
She managed for about 20 years without a wheelchair until her spine collapsed while lifting a computer. Renée has required a wheelchair since 1994.
Her pain requires percutaneous neurotomies to the cervical spine twice yearly. These are done at Prince of Wales Hospital by "the wonderful Professor Matthew Crawford". She said that often nursing staff and some registrars did not understand that additional pain medication was required post-surgery.
"This procedure is painful and frequently hospital notes post-surgery have not always been signed off on, meaning I am denied even the medication I have at home," Renée said. "This is a very common occurrence for almost all chronic pain patients and must be addressed."
Since returning definitively to Sydney in 2001, Renée has had 15 such procedures, all requiring four days' hospitalisation and time off her various voluntary government committee duties.
She said that the treatment and care that enables her to participate in community life, "so vital to one's feeling of belonging and also usefulness", is ongoing and will be for the rest of her life. Like many other sufferers of chronic pain, she remains unable to work for financial gain due to bad days as well as good ones.
"I have had to endure the much disliked 'You look perfectly alright to me' sneer from those who do not know what an effort it is even to get dressed let alone to be out and working for a few hours each day," Renée said.
"The National Pain Summit is hoping to address, amongst other issues, the fact that many of the 3.2 million Australian sufferers of chronic pain are only able to work as volunteers as their condition is too unstable to allow for paid work. This is a fact of life they may accept but also adds to the difficulties of financial management."
It took Renée five and a half years of research and forty five years of living with pain before she wrote Pain Management: learning to live with pain in which she shares not only her own coping strategies, but those of over one hundred families she has interviewed in England, France and Australia. It also includes the advice of medical practitioners and complementary therapists.
Pain Management is a practical guide for families suffering from physical and emotional pain and includes insights on how to recognise the right doctor or specialist, the medical management of pain, methods of distraction from pain for adults and children and pets as therapy.
Pain Management and other information and Renee's other reflections on pain management can be found at http://reneegoossens.com
"There is no family anywhere in the world who has not experienced pain, be it physical, emotional or in the form of grieving for a loved one," says Renée.