Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Winter Metaphor - Sculpturing Our Thoughts on Pain

Each season offers change and this winter reminds us of how different each season can be from year to year. We have seen some game changers, new records, and new challenges, because like pain, this winter is turning out to be anything but predictable. So as we think about the winter of our symptoms, maybe we can imagine the beauty of being able to sculpt our thoughts like the driving force of a winter storm creates a beautiful snow drift that inspires our imagination and leaves us in awe. 

The winter season is often compared to death. In this case, it is the dying off of old thoughts and destructive behaviors. Because of this, we must experience many feelings, good and bad, so we can be born into a new way of thinking about chronic pain and how it affects us all.… Confronting chronic pain takes constant reminders…motivation to stay focused on goals and achievements.… Come with us as we walk the barren winter land, appreciating the necessity to rid ourselves of previous perceptions and prepare for the spring season of rebirth.
 Excerpt from Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the SeeSaw of Chronic Pain, WINTER DEVOTIONS 
Day 34 - Ice Wonderland

The goal is to sculpt our thoughts so they lift us up, so they gleam like a beautiful ice sculpture. Paul Gileno, Founder/President of one of the largest pain advocacy groups, the US Pain Foundation   said in his pre-publication review of Winter Devotions what many of our readers have shared.

"Anyone with chronic pain can and will be helped by reading and using this book as a tool. It is the perfect blend of inspiration and helpful information to guide people on their pain journey, in fact, as a person with pain; I have learned some important techniques that have helped me."

So, as I look back to the beginning of winter, I reflect on what it has offered thus far. I spent four weeks recovering from pneumonia. I have had many interventional procedures for my pain and tests for those yet to come. But, I also celebrated with my dad as he reached a personal landmark in his life, ninety wonderful years. 

Talk about an inspiration. After bouncing over rough terrain as a heavy equipment operator nearly his entire adult life, his spine shows the wear and tear and it causes him pain. But that’s not all, he also has severe neuropathy, which has affected his ability to drive safely. As one who retained his driving skills to this day, this was troublesome. But, he did not wallow in self-pity; instead, he set about accepting the danger that could be involved, and began to think about how he could move forward. He got hand controls installed on his truck and passed the special drivers test with flying colors. The point is that in his 9th decade of life, he still knows how to adapt, to embrace change, and to make the best of a given situation. We talked after his big bash (over 100 people there). I asked, so dad, “what’s next on your agenda?” he said, “Well, I guess I will shoot for 100!” He is a champion; he has had more struggles than I would ever want for him, but despite any adversity, he sees opportunity. If his purpose is to inspire me, he has certainly done that.

So I leave you with this…I hope you will pick up a copy of Winter Devotions. You can use it as your guide every winter, because like the unpredictability of each season, our thoughts and ideas change too. We need reminders on how to go about creating a new sculpture, one different than the season or year before.  

One of the dearest people I have the pleasure of knowing, Myra Christopher said, “I love the very idea of 'Winter Devotions'. The struggle of living with chronic pain is compounded for many by the winter months when it is cold, damp, and often gloomy. Bones ache, joints hurts, and the spirit sometimes become depressed. This wonderful book provides a tool to help with those issues. The quotes, photography, and motivation of authors Celeste Cooper and Jeff Miller all bring much needed hope and relief.”

Myra J. Christopher, Kathleen M. Foley Chair in Pain and Palliative Care at the Center for Practical Bioethics, and Principal Investigator of the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a NationalStrategy.

An Amazon reviewer of the Spring Devotions book in the series shared her disappointment thinking the book was a Christian devotional. So, I want you to understand that each season (book) has daily “DEVOTIONS”, that offer inspiration, interaction, and information on how to care for ourselves. When we heal any aspect of our being by embracing the power of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, we reduce our suffering. Using our own experiences, we can inspire others who share our journey, and that is empowering. But, these books are not religious devotionals.

I encourage you to visit my website so you know what WinterDevotions is about by following the highlighted text. And if you are one of our readers, please leave a comment on Amazon. 


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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain ProAdvocate

Celeste’s Website:

Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's  blog. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

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

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Breaking the Shackles of Chronic Pain through Photographs

In my blog, The Setting, the Shutter, and the Power of Resolution, I talked about my 2015 New Year’s resolution - "Learning to use the manual settings on my new digital SLR camera". I think of that blog as a metaphor for transforming adversity into opportunity, a concept I use to cope as a person living with chronic pain and illness.

Photographs Speak All Languages

A universal language is revealed through photography. That’s why, as most of our readers know, my co-author and I use our photographs to convey feelings associated with the daily quotes and affirmations we share to inspire you to interact with through the exercises and questions we ask in the Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain series.

For this piece, I want to share a photo from my personal collection that is shared in our Winter Devotions book.
Day Twenty

This photograph is from “Day Twenty”, a day that explores how we deal with brainfog, which often accompanies chronic pain and illness.

We transform the pictures in our mind when we give them a name that expresses how we feel. Today, I think I shall name it…

Beauty in Obscurity: Enhancing Our Vision

As the poet Hannah Moore said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”   So, I propose this to you...

What do you see in the photograph? How would you title it today, in this moment?

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Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the SeeSaw of Chronic Pain,
WINTER DEVOTIONS is available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and  Kindle

Kindle reader apps:

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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain Pro Advocate

Celeste’s Website:

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The CDC Opioid Guidelines: Exercise Your Right to Be Heard

Many of you may know I am recovering  from pneumonia, so in an effort to care for myself, I have not been blogging, but this is perhaps the most important advocacy topic of this month. Holding the CDC accountable for questionable behavior and making our voice heard!

Why We Should Hold the CDC Accountable

We deserve to be heard, but the CDC tried to slide their guidelines under the radar, calling them "guidelines" knowing they would be embraced as a policy without having to undergo the rigorous process of establishing a policy. As taxpayers, we have a right to transparency, which they did not provide. Please take a moment to read my dear friend, Myra Christopher’s blog on why this is important to those of us living with chronic pain.

Holding the CDC accountable and providing this opportunity to comment is in large part due to Myra and the PainAction Alliance to Implement a National Strategy

You can read my comment, which was kindly shared by the National Pain Report. My Story: Has the CDCConfused Addiction and Tolerance?

How to Comment

Commenting on the CDC Opioid Guidelines as part of the docket is a valuable opportunity to protect our rights as people living with chronic pain. So please, I am begging you, and I seldom do that, leave your comment, get your docket number, your comment only counts when you do this. Use  the link, just click on the comment button IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER. You can remain anonymous. 

As of this writing, January 5, 2016, of the 100 million people who live with chronic pain in America, only 1,793 have commented.

Open Comments

Another opportunity has arisen, an open conference. My friend Myra Christopher has to say. "It is important for CDC to get this right, and they need our help to do so.” 

The following provided by the National Pain Report

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is hosting a public conference call on its controversial Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain Thursday, January 7, 2016, at 9:00 am ET. The public can participate via a conference call.  The dial-in number is: 1-888-395-7561, and the Participant Code is: 3954121.

I may be weak, but I am not done! We the People-ALL the People

Since our Congress questions the CDC’s authority to infringe on our Constitutional rights as stakeholders in this issue, and as citizens of these United States, shouldn’t we too! Read the National Pain Report article, Congress Questions CDC: Who Drafted Controversial Opioid Guidelines?

No one understands the effort it takes better than I do, and what I also know is that under no circumstances is procrastination our friend. Please do it today.

The deadline is January 13th.

We are not alone. Read the comments within the article Pain Advocates Urge Patients to Comment on CDC Opioid Regulations 

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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain ProAdvocate

Celeste’s Website:

Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's  blog

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

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
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