Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pained Ink Slayer Series: Mindfulness and Chronic Pain

Delicate Strength©  Celeste's Photography

Coping strategies can vary among each of us. I write and advocate as a way of coping. I am open to learning anything that will help me avoid the pitfalls of negative thinking and one of those is to live in the moment, to be mindful.


When things seem out of perspective, I realize the importance of focusing, living in the moment, being aware of my surroundings, and giving my body the loving care it needs. Mindfulness is a learned ability to live in the moment without judgment or fret over intruding thoughts. It’s about visualizing details without becoming emotionally involved. For instance, to breathe mindfully is to use all my senses, the sound and feel of air traveling over passageways, the smell of my surroundings, and I can see the crisp air of fall because of my breath. I realize the beauty of a flower is the sum of its minute detail, aspects that can only be captured by getting close. If I am lucky, I will catch a honeybee sipping on its sweet nectar. I would never get that snapshot if I let fear of being stung overcome my desire to capture the moment.


Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives.
It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment.
~Jon Kabat-Zinn, Molecular Biologist, University Teacher, Writer, and Physician


It takes practice, but we can learn to be mindful of our pain without judging it. After all, it is our body crying out for attention, love, and caring, not ridicule and disturbing dialogue or worry. Denying the reality of it or catastrophizing it will only make it worse. So, why not use pain as a teaching tool for focused redirection creating an environment that helps us live fully.​


Mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, and promotes relaxation. This is extremely important to those of us living with chronic pain because we unconsciously assume postures and hold muscles in an effort to guard against pain. Only when we become aware can we train ourselves not to react to it emotionally. Over time, we recognize the powerful energy mindfulness has in our lives and change happens. Will mindfulness make the disease that causes our pain go away? No, but it certainly changes our perception in the moment.


From our book, Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain, Summer Devotions edition©:

·        Take a couple of deep breaths.
·        Focus on the colors, shapes, smells.
·        Identify and release thought projects. 
·        Appreciate that your mind is clear.
·        Fill it up with the present moment.
·        Enjoy being present


Living mindfully promotes awareness, acceptance,
lenience with self and others, and tolerance of change.


Get as comfortable as possible in a place where you can keep distractions at bay for about 20 minutes.

1.     Begin by doing a body check for discomfort, numbness, weakness, or pain. Without judgment, color each area with a hue that reflects the disease you feel. I (Jeff ) use orange for aches, blue for numbness, grey for weakness, and red for acute pain. If you are aware that a disease will occur if you move, or don’t move, add it in as if it were already present. Whatever system of ouchies and colors you pick will work just fine.
2.     Begin breathing as deeply as practical and keep the body map in your mind’s eye. Accept this map as “where we start”.
3.     With every breath note the intensity of the colors fading a bit. Note how some colors fade quickly, some more slowly, some completely, others less so. Which might change and in what way? Focus on the colors and how they shift. As your mind wanders off task, bring it back gently to breathing and observing.
4.     When you sense the fading has reached its peak, begin visualizing warm, gentle rain that blurs the colors beautifully like a soft watercolor painting. Enjoy what you have created; residual pain is always interesting.
5.     Close by affirming your intention to observe and learn from these sensations

There are many good books and many stress reduction programs available on mindfulness and meditation; I have a repertoire of them. One of my favorites is Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn. In my meditation playlist, I have guided meditation and mindfulness exercises by Deepak Chopra and music like Meditation Movement from Charles Lam, which encourages me to get up and rock out some T’ai Chi, another favorite coping mechanism of mine.

Additional reading:
Making the Best of AFFIRMATIONS by The Pained Ink Slayer
Pained Ink Slayer Series: Avoiding Lockdown

In healing,
Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

“Listen closely; I hear the sweet sound of existence.”

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

All blogs and comments are based on the author's opinions and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Never Again Will I Travel Without My Oska® PEMF Device

Most of you know I am a firm believer that Oska®, a portable convenient pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) devise, works to minimize my pain—so—why on earth would I NOT follow my own advice? I learned a valuable lesson that I need to share with you so you don’t make the same mistake.

As I have stated in previous posts, I happen to be one of the folks that must stay on a maintenance program that requires everyday use. I knew this, but I was doing so well I thought I could surely do without it for one week while on a relaxing vacation. WRONG! I forgot (not once, but twice, now) how much pain my body could be forced to endure until it WOKE up like a sleeping giant full of rest and waiting for me to mess up. I have been put in my place.

Oska, I am home.

If Oska isn’t helping, please learn from my experience.

·        Some of us require constant diligent care.
·        Something I knew, but forgot, is that Oska Pulse goes through four different protocols within each 30-minute session. Each protocol has a unique purpose to target various cellular components. The final protocol is also the most important (and proprietary), which is why we should complete a session in its entirety.

If you are considering Oska, please remember these things.


No two of us are the same. My dad had a noticeable difference right away, but as I said, I was more resistant. My progress was gradual, but the relapse sure wasn’t, and the giant was anything but gentle. Lesson learned, Oska, I won’t leave you hanging over the back of my recliner again!

Oska offers a 30-day free trial period. Learn more about at the Oska Pulse at

Be sure to use my #sponsor code CCRN60 at check out to get a $55 discount if you pay in full. This discount is only available at the OskaWellness website.

Additional Information:

·        Oska Pulse is clinically proven.  Study published by Practical Pain Management.
Shurman, J., Wiederhold, BK., Kasendorf, R., Qian, J., Miller, I., Wiederhold, MD. Treating Chronic Pain Using the Oska Pulse Device: A Double Blind Clinical Trial Using Placebo. Practical Pain Management. 2018 Feb.

·        Other PEMF Peer-Reviewed Studies

In healing,
Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

I may be a warped mass, 

but when you place me at the top of a sleep grade 

and give me a swift kick, I gain momentum.

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

All blogs and comments are based on the author's opinions and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Update: Fibromyalgia FM/a Blood Test and EpicGenetics Landmark Clinical Research Efforts

Download the Brochure

According to a spokesperson, the genetic studies on fibromyalgia are well underway – with the assistance of the University of California, UCLA, and University of Illinois at Chicago. There has been a strong response from the fibromyalgia community in participating in these efforts. As you may recall from my blog, The FM/a® Blood Test and Campaign 250: Participation in Fibromyalgia Exome and Treatment Study, EpicGenetics is allowing up to 250,000 participants in this research effort and the opportunity to enroll will likely end later in 2018 to allow for the analysis of the genomic surveys and results announcement. So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to look into getting the FM/a test now, so you can be part of this important research. Participation  in the research first requires a positive FM/a® Test, and if you do receive a positive test result, you will receive a direct communication from EpicGenetics inviting you to participate.

Researcher investigating possible fibromyalgia vaccine

Additionally, the clinical trial set to take place at Massachusetts General Hospital to evaluate the BCG vaccine as a direct, effective treatment continues to progress toward enrollment and trial initiation. Plans are to initiate the trials during the first half of this year. You can read more about this breaking news in my blog, EpicGenetics Announces Major Clinical Study to Locate Genetic Markers Unique to People with Fibromyalgia and Explore New Treatment Approaches.


Thank you for taking this journey with me. 

In healing,
Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Making the Best of AFFIRMATIONS by The Pained Ink Slayer

Celeste’s Photography in Spring Devotions©

“Words of affirmation are powerful.
Words change lives; words and ideas change the world.”
― Bryant McGill

Affirmations are powerful. They tweak perceptions and provide light in the darkness of chronic pain and chronic illness. Following are tips for writing these personal tidbits that promote positive direction.


A study in March of 2017 investigated “whether patients’ expectation to pain reduction was associated with pain intensity after morphine treatment in opioid treatment-na├»ve patients with various types of cancer.” What they found is important to understanding how our perceptions affect our ability to cope. Patients with high expectations that morphine would ease their pain had a significantly lower pain intensity experience. Measurable evidence in this study supports the notion that when we expect good, we do better. And that's where affirmations come in. Changing our internal dialogue can have a powerful effect on the way we cope with pain. 


·        They encourage positive thinking.
·        They help us express our gratitude.​
·        They present us with purpose.
·        They incite change.
·        They create positive self-awareness.
·        They set examples.
·        They touch our spirituality.
·        They empower us.
·        They connect us to all living things.


·        I have no duty to be perfect.
·        I always have options.
·        I am not my mistakes.
·        This is a learning experience.

A few of my personal affirmations

·        Let my spirit be filled with the melody of joy.
·        I embrace detours; they take me to undiscovered places.
·        If I listen closely, I hear the sweet sound of human interaction. 
·        I am sick, I am sexy, I am sixty-ish; I am a scud missile; don't mess with me.
·        I choose my words well and create a voice for the benefit of others.


·        Write them as thought they are happening now.
·        Affirm what you want.
·        Keep them short and easy to remember.
·        Keep your favorite affirmations written where you can see them frequently.
·        Personalize them with words such as, I, my, me.
·        Start with thought provoking words that you typically use in your daily life and focus on the goal.
o   I am...  
o   I hear...
o   I see…
o   I feel…
·        Make it positive with words like:
o   grateful
o   smile
o   thank
o   forgive
o   inspire
o   promote
·        Put motion to them with verbs:
o   create
o   do
o   make
o   give
o   follow
o   seek
·        Commit yourself to one affirmation at a time and read it frequently.

* If you have favorite quotes, pick key phrases that bring you in and write it from your personal perspective.

"Defeat is a possibility of try, but to quit scars the soul."
Celeste Cooper, Fall Devotions

​Grab your pen, pencil or keyboard NOW!

Additional Reading:

In healing,
Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

“To unleash victory, I must have an open mind and willing heart, judge not, embrace change, and be a steadfast observer of self.”
Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

All blogs and comments are based on the author's opinions and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A PATIENT's VOICE – Life in Chronic Pain with Frank Elliot

Since the CDC Guidelines on Opioid Prescribing were published, I have been bombarded with requests for help. The number of contacts became too much for this one-person to handle individually. So, I have posted a FB Note, The Pain Advocate’s Corner: How to Raise Your Voice. You will find many links for contacting or interacting with federal and state legislators, medical associations, advocacy organizations, insurance commissioners, and more. Sharing your story is not only a cathartic experience, it is helpful to others, including patients and those who write policies that affect us as a patient community. Becoming involved in movements like No Longer Silent is empowering and a good anecdote for feelings of isolation.

Sit Awhile – Tell Me Your Story© Celeste’s Photography

Many thanks to Frank for sharing his story as a Google+ comment and allowing me to share it with you.

Frank Elliott’s Story

When I hear or read the reporting about the bad side of opioids, I cringe, Celeste. There is seldom any reporting on people like you and me. Many of us need something in addition to meditation, relaxation, pacing, non-opioid pain medicines, and medicines like Lyrica®, which provides pain relief for a small proportion of people and can have horrible side effects. Lyrica® gave me a terribly debilitating and chronic case of inflammatory lymphedema, which has led to me being bed bound and homebound for months at a time. Nothing even approaches the relief I get from 15 mg a day of methadone. My pain drops from an 8 or 9 level to a 2 or 3 level. I've reduced the methadone from 30 mg a day to 15 mg a day as my peripheral nerve damage gradually heals. In nine years, I haven’t had any problems with methadone. I remain very stable on a gently declining dose. Severe constipation is an issue, but I address that issue with daily use of Mirilax®.

I'm a diabetic, have severe, persistent asthma, have chronic pain from nerve damage, a hypothyroid condition, and I am depressed from time to time because it can be difficult to live with a long list of chronic illnesses. If my burning, frying, electric shock kind of pain is under good control, my life can be very active. I don't know how I would be able to handle things or cope if my pain was out of control again. When it was, about ten years ago, I thought passing away might be a viable option. That tells you something about how overwhelming the pain was.

Thankfully, I am much better now and my chronic illnesses are not endangering my life. I am fortunate to have access to a wonderful university teaching hospital pain practice. Still, I am very concerned, like you, that the stories of people like us aren’t being heard. I don't like having to take methadone. I have to be very careful, chart every dose, and make sure I don’t make a mistake. Still, after 9 years with the hospital pain center, the doctors and nurse practitioners trust me. I'm very reliable and steady. My practitioner says, "Frank, if I could only bottle you!" She knows we've tried everything else gradually and only methadone controls my neuropathic pain from peripheral neuropathy.

I think a good place for me to start is with my two senators from my state. I bet they haven't heard the stories of the millions of people who use opioids because they work effectively to control our pain. We are not addicts or drug abusers. We use opioid pain relieving medicines only to control our unrelenting and unmanageable pain. Thank you for listening, Celeste.

Frank’s Afterthought

I enjoy your pieces on lymphatic drainage system massage. My inflammatory lymphedema is in a flare, so it’s time for monthly drainage massages, what my medicine doctor calls Frank's tune-ups. Eight to ten sessions and doing the things they teach me will allow me to regain control. Working together, we've found patterns of my disease and identified warning signs so we can intervene in a timely fashion. I have made a great deal of progress because of the people at the pain clinic. It’s encouraging to me. The teamwork and communication between patients and my wise providers is a wonderful thing.

Celeste’s Note

I am not a journalist; I am a registered nurse and I am a fellow person living with chronic pain. As lead author of five books on “integrative” care, I believe we should have all tools available to us, and for some that includes opioids or state legalized medical cannabis. Access to any treatment that improves our function in any direction, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual is the right one. 

Have you shared your story?

Additional Reading:

No Longer Silent – I hope you will join us.

 In healing,,Celeste
Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

“Listen closely; I hear the sweet sound of existence.”

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

All blogs and comments are based on the author's opinions and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Thyroid and Fibromyalgia: Is there more than a butterfly connection?

Citrus Butterfly© Photograph by Celeste Cooper

It’s been said that thyroid disease is occurring at an alarming rate and that could certainly be true. According to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, and up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease don’t even know they have it. So, there's no time like the present to raise awareness, It’s January!


I wanted to cry when I read Hypothyroid Mom’s™ article, Hypothyroidism Broke My Brain. I live with Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disease where my body attacks my thyroid) and fibromyalgia. These two things robbed me from a lucrative and much loved career as a registered nurse. I was once the head of a training center for the American Heart Association, someone who wrote continuing education programs for the Missouri Nurses Association, someone in charge of hospital-wide education, and a board certified emergency nurse. It’s not about all that, but that I thrived in that environment—until—I didn’t. Fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, constant headache and insomnia was swallowing me whole. A neuropsychological exam scored me in the bottom 10% of cognitive function when related to my peers with equal schooling and age. Five years later, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and seven years to diagnosis of ME/CFS. It was another ten years of symptoms I was sure would kill me before the cause was finally identified,  Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I have often thought it was very possible there was more than a casual connection between FM, ME/CFS and my thyroid. I have also though it possible thyroid resistance was a precursor to this autoimmune thyroid disease that is still somewhat of mystery because I can swing suddenly and drastically between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

The problem is that thyroid problems are generally not considered a big deal, that is, unless it is happening to you. And that’s why it’s important to raise awareness.

Is it any wonder we are perplexed?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, one minute we are climbing the walls, a nervous bundle of energy with our heart racing in our ears, pounding until we have a headache, the next minute it is completely done, leaving us with extremities that resemble cooked spaghetti. Both cause extreme fatigue, one because the body is metabolizing overtime, the other because it isn’t metabolizing well at all.

Over this last year, I went from extreme hyperthyroidism with symptoms lasting well over a month to extreme hypothyroidism, all within two weeks, and will labs to prove it. I dropped like a rock in a bottomless pit, but the endocrinologist didn’t believe it. My rheumatologist is the one who got the confirming blood work. Now, I have a standing order for thyroid labs to be drawn anytime I feel the shift, so it can be treated appropriately.

That’s Not Nearly the End of It

In an article I wrote last January (2017), Fibromyalgia and Thyroid Dysfunction,
I relate the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and pose the question, “Is it fibro or thyroid dysfunction?” The answer is yes. It can be one or the other, or both. Thyroid dysfunction can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse when they co-exist or it can lead to a misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia. You can read the full ProHealth article, here.

Thyroid problems are generally not considered a big deal, that is, unless it is happening to you.

The Many Faces of Thyroid

There are many diseases of the thyroid, but those with the closest relationship to fibromyalgia are hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and thyroid resistance. I hope you will take a minute to read my latest article for ProHealth, Thyroid Resistance and Fibromyalgia, it could offer an “ah, ha” moment.

If you suspect thyroid problems after reading the articles at ProHealth, keep at your doctor; don’t give up, so you don’t lose your mind!

Additional Reading:

 In healing,,Celeste

Celeste Cooper / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

All blogs and comments are based on the author's opinions and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
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