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A New Year: Be Present

“Healing comes from gathering wisdom from past actions and letting go of the pain that the education taught you.”

Carolyn Myss

I have heard from multitudes of people that the year 2016 has been if not difficult, disastrous.  As I heal and enter into my next phase of working to bring another angel into this world, I realize that for me the year 2016 has come with many ups and many downs.  I have had some of the greatest moments in my life and honestly some of my worst.  I am truly trying to find the lessons that both the difficult times and amazing times have taught me.  With that said, I am going to share with you my New Year’s Resolutions.  I will also write down my very personal News Years resolutions that I do not want to share with the entire world, yes there are some things I do keep to myself and my close friends and loved ones.   However, I do want to share some of  my resolutions for all my readers to read in the hopes that some of you can relate to certain changes.  I know it is not yet Christmas but I feel that we can and should write down and think about resolutions many more times than just on a drunk filled holiday we call New Years.  So, here is what I have been thinking about regarding change, lessons, and things I would like to work on today and tomorrow and for my upcoming year as well.

  1. I am what one would call an over thinker, a worry wart, and a person who logically knows things work out but find it very difficult to turn my brain to belief instead of worry.  I do not know what came first: anxiety or chronic pain.  I believe I have had anxiety since I was a very small person and following my bike accident and subsequent chronic pain this anxiety only intensified.  Anxiety and chronic pain can become a vicious cycle.  Anxiety increases pain and pain increases anxiety.  I am going to truly work on changing my thoughts.  Once I begin thinking something that worries to me to no end such as the troubles we have faced having another child, I go into catastrophic mode and start thinking months, years into the future wondering what will happen, when it will happen, how it will happen, and then the what if’s come in which are much more daunting than the what’s.  What if’s are two words that I am cognitively going to start deleting from my conscious mind and my vocabulary.  I need to keep remembering and plan to write this down where I can see it every day this: “Everything I have ever dreamed of happening but have been caught in fear that it will not happen always ends up happening just not how I planned.”  I am going to practice following my dreams but not forcing my dreams.  I need to allow things to come into my life with open arms instead of worrying that my dreams will not come to fruition.  Like the saying goes: worrying is like paying interest on a debt you will probably never owe.
  2. Comparison is so called the thief of joy and I find myself comparing myself and my life with other’s which is not only illogical but causes me sadness.  As far as I have come in my journey with chronic pain, I still find myself almost annoyed when I see someone in acute pain (pain that will only lasts hours or at most days.)  People with chronic pain would be thrilled to have acute pain however, my reality is chronic pain and comparing myself to other people’s lives steals my inner peace and joy.  I should be applauding myself for how far I have come and what I great life I have despite my invisible illness.  There are many other things I find myself wishing I had instead of being grateful for what I have in this space and time.  Social media has a huge influence on societies personal views on their own lives.  As people look on sites such as Facebook and Instagram they only see the happy moments in a person’s life.  No one posts pictures of the hard times and the sad/difficult moments in their daily lives only the great ones, myself included.  We need to remember this if we are on social media sites.  Many of us would be better off taking time away from the internet if it is bringing sadness and/or distraught feelings.  If something does not make you happy, do not look at it.  We all need to stop comparing our lives to other’s lives whom we think have it all because I promise you if you lived in their shoes for a week you would probably miss your own life a lot.
  3. I have started practicing yoga more and have lessened the amount of cardio I do for both chronic pain and anxiety.  For about two weeks now I have practiced a solid hour yoga session each morning and see how much yoga truly touches body, mind, and spirit.  It is not only the poses and exercises I love, it is the words coming from the instructors voice.  I learn a lot of lessons both consciously and sub-consciously as I move through each pose. I love exercise as a result of chronic pain.  It truly helps me a ton and I love cardio more than any other form of exercise.  However, I am trying to work on my inner self more than my outer self.  I never imagined yoga would teach me so much.  I truly believe our school systems should incorporate some sort of yoga into our student’s daily life.
  4. I need to chill out.  I become so consumed with fear of the future and thoughts from my past that I forget to live in the present moment.  I used to tell my patients: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift and that is why it is called the present.” It is so easy to say aloud or even write down: live more presently but it is one of the most difficult things to do.  For example, when you are taking a shower in the morning are you thinking about how great your hair smells in the wraths of shampoo or are you thinking about what you have to do next?  We are rarely fully present and we miss out on so much of life’s blessings and joys because we are always thinking forward.  I have found that if I focus on my breath and calm myself down when I start getting anxious about the future (even if the future thought is ten minutes ahead of me) I can bring myself back to the present time.  My dad asked me for Christmas what I wanted and the one thing that stuck out was a very awesome day planner.  Right now I have like four different ones I use instead of just one go to planner.  I find that if I write down exactly what needs to be done each day I can let go of the thoughts of the future because they are already written down.
  5. Finally I need to tap into my faith.  I need to surrender my dreams to the Universe and allow what is going to come into my life to come without worry or grief.  I need to believe, surrender, and let go.  What if we spend all this time worrying and planning our future when the Universe already has it mapped out for us?  If that is the case then we are all carrying around fifty pound weights for no reason.  I plan to truly take one day at a time and some days will be difficult and some days will be amazing but there is some joy in every day.  One of the last presents I gave my Grandmother before she passed was a magnet that says: “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”  I think in this coming year we all need to cultivate more faith into our lives and let go and be lead towards our divine plan.


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12 Gift Ideas to Give to Someone with Chronic Pain


The holidays can be a very exciting, magical, happy time for many people while for others it is very stressful, depressing, and exhausting.  I remember during my darkest hours of chronic pain dreading my favorite holiday in the world: Christmas.  I have always adored the magic of Christmas: the lights, shopping for my loved ones, Christmas cards, Christmas carols, decorating with my family, Santa, and just feeling that sense of joy as the world went from brown leaves falling to the ground to streets filled with lights and stores windows stocked with festive trinkets.  Once chronic pain began to control my life I despised Christmas.  Everyone was so happy and I was miserable.  I was asked more questions than usual about why I was so sad and isolated.   People had always known me as the enthusiastic, vibrant girl who brought Christmas everywhere she went.  That girl was gone for many years and I thank my father who always believed in me, the Mayo Clinic for teaching me how to live with chronic pain naturally, and I thank myself for doing the hardest work of my life in my management with chronic pain to once again love this time of year more than I ever have.

I was recently asked what a person with chronic pain would want as a gift for Christmas.  The easy, most logical answer would be: a cure to chronic pain.  I wished for that for fifteen years but I am at a different place with chronic pain than I once was and can now answer that question.  I manage pain naturally and if I was still suffering as I once was with this invisible illness I know what I would want to receive as a Christmas present from my loved ones.  Here are the top twelve things that stand out more than anything when I think of Christmas and chronic pain.

  1. A hand written card that speaks from your heart to your loved one with chronic pain.  A letter expressing love and support without any pity.  Words that express how strong you believe your loved one to be and that although you are unable to understand what your loved one faces on a daily basis you are always there to support he or she in anyway they need.  People with chronic pain isolate themselves and feel beyond misunderstood especially from the people they love most.  They feel unworthy of love and need to be reminded that they are not their invisible illness and reminded of just how loved they are.  Most importantly they need to know you believe them; although you cannot see their illness you know it is there.  Words are powerful and will stick with your loved one far longer than any object can.

2.  A CD on yoga nidra.  People with chronic pain find it very difficult to sleep.  Many spent most of their days exhausted, excited just to get into bed and fall asleep and yet once their head hits the pillow they are unable to sleep.  Yoga Nidra is the meditative heart of yoga and is one of the most fantastic, helpful tools I have found to help me manage chronic pain.  It takes a tiny bit of ‘practice’ however all one needs is a CD player or an MP3 player, a pillow and blanket and he or she is set.  A half hour to an hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to about three to four hours of sleep.  It took me who is one of the most anxious persons you could meet about three times before I did fall into a deep meditative trance and awoke feeling like a new person.  You can find Yoga Nidra on http://www.amazon.com or any online site that sells music, books, and/or yoga DVDs.

3.  Essential oils such as Lavender, Eucalyptus, or Peppermint.  Essential oils mixed with Epson Salts create the most relaxing bath one could imagine.  There are times I will take a bath with Lavender and Epson Salts and just practice deep belly breathing.  I may listen to a meditation CD or just lay there concentrating on the scents and the feeling of my breathing.  Twenty minutes in a bath with oils is beneficial to anyone!

4. A gift certificate for a pedicure.  Pedicures are not only relaxing but very healing and grounding as well.  I love getting pedicures because it gives me a solid hour to just sit in a nice, light massage chair (which one does not have to use) and allow myself to be pampered.  I always bring a book as I do not like to talk during my one hour of relaxation.

5.  Candles!  I am a huge fan of candles and love practicing yoga in the morning surrounded by candles.  They are not only healing but they smell delicious.  One of the first things I do in the morning before I exercise is light the candles I have on our living room mantle.  Right now the candles are the smells of Christmas and one of my personal favorite smells is the smell of a Christmas tree so it is obvious to those who know me why my current candles are green.

6.  An adult coloring book along with a box of colored pencils.  Whoever came up with adult coloring books is brilliant!  My dad gave me my first adult coloring book along with a beautiful tin filled with colored pencils and I love it!  Who knew that coloring could be so therapeutic and healing.  I should have known I would enjoy coloring the beautiful pictures as I love coloring with my toddler.  However, coloring scenes of gardens, oceans, and designs is a little more up my alley than coloring pictures of Mickey Mouse.

7.  Pending on your loved one’s degree of pain and where he or she is in their journey with chronic pain a great gift could be either a yoga DVD or a gift certificate to a yoga class. Anyone can do yoga and I mean that.  There are multitudes of various types of yoga from chair yoga to power yoga to yoga for chronic pain.  If it was fifteen years ago and I was given this gift I probably would have cried because my mind truly believed I was unable to do any movement but now I love yoga and see that it is beneficial to everyone: chronic pain or no chronic pain.

8.  A journal that speaks to you about your loved one.  I clearly love writing and keep a journal however I find it easier to write in a journal when it is in my eyes beautiful.  Writing is an amazing outlet for anyone but especially those with chronic pain.  One can write down their deepest worries and their personal truth.  I find it very helpful to write down my worries before I go to sleep and leave them aside for another time.

9. A day planner.  It may sound ridiculous but just because someone has chronic pain does not mean he or she does not have a life.  Many people with chronic pain/anxiety often have a mind that never stops racing. I live for my day planner.  I write a to do list every night before I go to sleep and love the feeling of crossing something off the following day once my errand or what have you has been accomplished.  I exercise every morning but I still write it down on my to do list at night because it helps me to feel extra motivated and structured.

10.  Stationary: ok, obviously one can tell by now I really like writing!  There are many people who have chronic pain who do not know how to verbalize how they are feeling or their love for you.  Often times writing letters on pretty stationary helps a person with an invisible illness feel more human so to speak.  He or she wants you to know how much they love you but are often times in too much pain: body/mind and spirit to verbalize their feelings.  Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a letter in the mail instead of a bill?

11. As I come to the end of my list I remind myself that you know your loved one much better than I do!  I may know chronic pain better but you know what your loved one enjoys: books, music, funny movies?  Please remember that we as people with chronic pain do not want to be defined by our invisible illness.  Sometimes the greatest gift can be your loved one’s favorite movie.  Comedies are great because there are times where the saying: laughter is the best medicine is extremely true.  I use distractions constantly in my journey with chronic pain and I find that my hobbies help train my brain to not think about pain.

12. The title of my website is http://www.noonegetsflowersforchronicpain.com.  Therefore, get your loved one some flowers!  One of my favorite movies is entitled: “The Breakup” with Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn.  In the beginning of the movie they start arguing over who is going to wash the dishes after a family dinner.  Vince Vaughn sits down to watch the game that is on television and Anniston cannot believe that she is expected to wash the dishes after preparing the entire meal and cleaning prior to having their family over.  Anniston says to Vince Vaughn: “Gary I want you to WANT to wash the dishes!”  In turn Vince Vaughn (Gary) replies: “Why would I want to wash the dishes?!”  The argument escalates and Anniston ends up saying: “Ya know wouldn’t it be nice if you thought one day: ‘hey maybe I should buy my girlfriend some flowers.'”  Vaughn replies: “You told me on our very first date that you do not like flowers.”  Anniston then says with conviction: “Every girl likes flowers Gary!”  Everybody deserves flowers on occasion Christmas or no Christmas, chronic pain or no chronic pain.

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Your Cracks and Scars are What Heal You


“It’s easy to look at people and make quick judgements about them, their present and their past but you would be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides.  What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight.  And more often than not, its lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the soul.”


I am a person filled with cracks and scars that do go all the way to my soul.  For a good part of my life I allowed these cracks and scars to harden me and become a person I did not love or even enjoy being around.  Self hate is truly the most powerful hate there is because it can cause a person to act out in hate towards others when really the only person he or she is unhappy with is themselves and/or their life circumstances.  I am still filled with cracks and scars that are not visible to the outside world however I no longer hate myself.  I can be excruciatingly hard on myself and perfectionism can get the best of me but I do not hate who I am.  I am filled with more self love now than I have had in all my thirty five years on the planet.  I no longer look at my cracks and scars as my enemy but as the building blocks that are creating my present and future.  Life is ten percent of what happens to us and ninety percent of how we respond to it.

This year has been jam packed with ups and downs.  I have had the highest highs and the lowest lows.  I have had miracles arise and devastations arise.  Ten years ago I would pity myself without welcoming pity from others.  I would have allowed the bad things that have occurred to define my identity.  Now, I try and find the silver lining.  I try and find the lesson behind each great thing that happens and each difficult thing that happens.  There are many things that have happened to me to bring me to the place within myself where I reside now: chronic pain, losses, mistakes, and my daughter Kayci.  I have faith in myself and my future because of my cracks and scars.  Look at that little four year old girl above who is just about to see Santa Clause and is literally holding in her built up excitement.  I am the lucky person that she calls Mommy.  She believes in magic and she helps me believe in magic because in my eyes she is magic herself.  One of my biggest losses happened in 2010 when I lost our son at about nine weeks gestational age.  Had that little angel not left us, I would not know or have this miracle daughter.

I had my bike accident in my young teens and have had chronic pain since.  For so many years all I thought about was how to get rid of my pain.  I not only thought about it but pain consumed my life, the life of my family, and a multitude of doctors and specialists who could not for the life of them find a cure to my invisible illness.  A day did not go by in which I did not think about a life without pain.  I am thirty five now and still have chronic pain and had you told me fifteen years ago I would be living with chronic pain naturally and having a fulfilled life despite pain, I would have either laughed in your face or cried in your face.  But, here I am living a life where pain does not dictate my life.  I have written and said this many times but it is just so relevant and true to all our stories: “If there is something that you do not go a day without thinking about or wishing for than you will find a way to achieve whatever it is you wish for.”  I never found a cure to chronic pain but my life took me on a different path where I learned to live with it and be happy despite pain.  In many ways my wish that I did not go one single hour without thinking about did come true just not in the way I had expected it to.  As you all know, I do not go a day without thinking about having another child and extending our family. Clearly it is not happening how I had wished and hoped for it to happen but it will happen because if nothing else chronic pain taught me that you never give up on something you do not go a day without thinking about.   In the meantime I am going to do everything in my personal power to bring me closer to my dream while still enjoying and being grateful for what I do have in this time and place.

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Strength in the Midst of Pain


“No matter how justified you are in your negative emotion, you are still messing up your future.”

Abraham Hicks

When I first read the quote above I found it to be quite harsh however the quote stuck with me and every time something I read or hear stays in my mind, I know there is some meaning in it for me.  Everyone who has chronic pain is beyond justified to feel many negative emotions.  I lived, breathed, and survived through negative emotions for over ten years due to chronic pain.  You are all beyond justified to feel depressed, angry, frustrated, misunderstood, and at times hopeless.  Despite how far I have come with my personal journey with chronic pain I am still justified in feeling negative emotions at times due to my invisible illness.  However, there came a time for me and it will come for you as well that you realize you do have a choice in how you manage your pain and how you allow your pain to either better your life or destroy your life.  Pain destroyed everything in my life for a solid third of my time in this world.  Once I did the hardest work of my life and began to manage pain naturally and found ways to live with chronic pain without it controlling my life, my days began to get better and better therefore leading to a better future, a future I never imagined I would have.

As most of you know I had a terrible loss ten days ago and although I am still filled with a multitude of emotions and can cry at the drop of a hat, the cry of a baby, or even a commercial for diapers I have come to a point where I am once again excited to make and bring a healthy, happy baby into this world.  I never lost hope but I am now changing my thoughts (as much and as often as I can) into positive thoughts.  When I first heard those words ten days ago: “There is no heart beat”  I felt like my heart and soul were being ripped to shreds and I did lay in bed for days crying and catastrophizing.  I did not want to celebrate Thanksgiving and the thought of Christmas made me cry harder than one can imagine.  But, I awoke one morning and decided to get up and get back to living.  I got back to my natural management of chronic pain routine.  For a week I have been waking up at five am, exercising, writing, decorating for Christmas, and began to remember how much I have to be grateful for.  I took the picture above of my daughter Kayci on Thanksgiving.  She is an angel.  Had I not had a miscarriage on February 2nd, 2010 my daughter would not be here and the world would not be the same.  She makes people happy.  She has a zest for life that gives others a zest for life they did not know they still had.  I know from the bottom of my heart that the loss I just faced not only saved a baby from a very painful life but also is going to allow another angel come into the world, just as the loss I faced in 2010 brought Kayci into this world.

We never can say what, when or how emotional pain will settle (not go away) but calm down to a state of acceptance and we are not supposed to know as we all grieve in our own ways and no one can be judged for how they deal with their pain or grief.  There is no time limit.  I awoke a couple days ago and my first thought was not of the excruciating pain of the loss that just occurred but with an excitement to start over.  I believe chronic pain and other challenges I have faced in this world have given me an added boost of strength because had this happened years ago I would still be in bed crying.  I do not want to forget all I have while working towards what I want, what my family wants, what my angelic daughter wants.  It will happen.  Yes, I am still grieving and I would be lying if I said I did not cry once or twice a day but I am still grateful and excited for my future.  I am justified to have many negative emotions and I did live in those negative emotions for days.  I want to be positive and happy and I do thank God for my faith that dreams do come true but not on our schedule.

I want to dedicate this post to Kristen who recently wrote me an email and helped me see the strength I do have.   I know you all have that strength too even if you do not see it at this moment.

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Crying For Pain: PRINCE a Legend


“Always cry for love, never cry for pain.”


My daughter and I were driving to work last week and I kept hearing famous Prince songs: Purple Rain, Party Like it’s 1999 and so forth.  I discovered later that day that this legend in the world of music and life had sadly passed.  An announcer on the radio said that Prince would not want any of us to be crying over his death but to be celebrating life, love and music.  I was born in 1981 and graduated college in 1999.  Our class: the graduating class of ’99 seemed to always be singing: “Tonight we are gonna party like it’s 1999.”  The song Purple Rain has been one of my all time favorite songs since I was young and I can remember being at karaoke bars in college and someone was always singing the beautiful song: “Purple Rain.”  Being Jessica, I definitely shed a few tears when I heard of his passing.  I do not know if the legend Prince and I had much in common except for a love of music and life.  However, I recently discovered he too suffered with chronic pain.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (our newspaper here in South Jersey) wrote a column entitled: “In Prince’s Battle With Opioids, a Familiar Narrative That Begins With Pain.”  Ten years ago Prince had surgery on his hip and was put on opioids after the surgery, as any of us would most likely be put on.  Hip surgery is no joke and the pain following the procedure is astronomical.  I had brain surgery, to think of the neurologists not putting me on opioids seems insane, which it would have been.  Jan Hoffman writes: “At first glance, Prince did not appear to have the risk factors that addiction specialists have identified in many patients susceptible to opioid dependence which can include abuse of alcohol or other drugs, mental health challenges or a family history of substance abuse.  Indeed, much has been made of Prince’s abstinence from drugs and alcohol.  But some experts say the potency of the painkillers, and the very real effect of pain on a patient’s life, can send someone with no history of substance issues down a path toward addiction.”  As Elvis Presley said once (another sufferer of chronic pain) “Everyone is addicted to something that takes the pain away.”

Most, if not all of my readers have chronic pain.  It was a living HELL for me for over ten years.  I almost took my own life because of chronic pain and when doctor’s prescribed me opioids, such as Percocet I thought a miracle had happened.  It was a little white pill that took my pain away!  That miracle did not last long.  I then needed two of those pills to get relief: then three, then four and so on.  Hence why I no longer take pain medication or see any doctors for pain management.  Imagine being in pain twenty four hours a day, seven days a week?  That is what chronic pain is: it is like having the  worst flu you have ever faced non-stop and nothing helps but a certain medication.  Would you not take that particular medicine?  Before you judge someone who has chronic pain whether or not the pain is visible, think about being sick non stop and then a doctor gives you a medication that takes all the pain and ailments away.  Sadly, most people with chronic pain wish their pain was visible so they do no feel the need to prove their pain.  I do not take medication for pain nor do I self medicate as I once did over a decade ago but I will never judge anyone who is on medication or is ‘addicted’ to something that takes their personal physical pain away.  You truly never know how a person feels on the inside when they look so healthy and happy on the outside.  Would you even have thought that the infamous Prince had chronic pain????  Chronic pain does not discriminate.

This post is dedicated to the talented, heart felt musician who is now probably sitting on a cloud playing music: PRINCE.

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I Found My Miracle


“If you cannot find your miracle, be someone’s miracle.”

I listened to a motivational speaker this morning as I worked out who was born with no arms or legs and yet at the age of twenty nine is married with a child on the way, is a published author, and saving lives all around the world.  He could not be happier despite the fact that he was told his whole life he would never be able to find a woman, have children, or anything of value for that matter.  He was bullied by his classmates and told that he would never be able to pick up a child or hug another human being.  He attempted suicide three different times during his teen years.  What saved him was his parents and the true love and confidence they instilled in him.  They explained from the day he was able to talk the true value of living: love and passion, not what many of us believe to be important which seems to be money, status, looks, etc.  At the end of the lecture, he so enthusiastically presented he said has seen miracles happen.  He has seen people who are blind find a way to see and people who are deaf find a way  to hear.  He still slightly holds onto the belief that he will one day walk but it does not make a huge difference to him one way or the other.  He is happy and although he may not find his miracle, he is a miracle to others.  He met a mother and father who had just given birth to a child with no arms or legs and told his story to them and truly became their miracle.  They now know their child can find happiness, which is the true measure of success despite their child’s lack of arms and legs.

I held onto the belief that I would one day find a miracle to chronic pain.  I too attempted suicide, some say it was a cry for help and deep down I believe it was because to think of my dad standing at my grave before my time was too much to bear but I did think about ending my life on a consistent basis due to chronic pain.   I searched for my miracle: my cure to chronic pain.  I was bullied by my peers because I looked different when my pain was visible.  My accident left me with half a shaved head, a disformed face, and broken bones.  I ate my lunch every day in the middle school bathroom just so I did not have to face anyone who could see me or make fun of me. Once my pain became invisible is when I began my search for my miracle, my cure.  I searched the whole country, literally.  I drove from New Jersey to Philadelphia to New York to Connecticut to Colorado to Minnesota.  I spent ten years with one thought in my mind and that was this: “If I do not find my miracle, I will end my life.  I will never be able to be a mother, wife, or author with chronic pain.  I cannot even read a damn book because the pain is so bad.  I will disappoint the people I love most if I do not find my miracle.”  My search for this miracle almost killed me.  This quest came closer to killing me then even brain surgery.  I never did find my miracle but here I am: a college graduate with my degree in social work, a writer, and most importantly a mother.  I have been a miracle to many people who have found my blog and I am not writing this to brag or boast,  however I do appreciate when you write me and tell me I saved you or helped you because I know that although I never found nor will find my miracle, I was given this gift of chronic pain to be your miracle.

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The Fear of Pain


“The key to success is to focus our conscious minds on the things we desire, not things we fear.”

Brian Tracy

A woman from the Netherlands has written me multiple times about her own struggles in her journey with chronic pain and has asked me two questions that I believe would benefit most people who read my website.  One question is quite simple to answer: “Were you scared?  Not only because of non-medication and that part but also taking on a new road?” No, I was not scared: I was petrified.  I believed then I had been handed two choices and neither seemed hopeful.  Choice A was to continue on my path of self destruction in a way to escape pain with thoughts of death roaring through my head at night as I counted the clicks on the clock just waiting for more pain.  Choice B was to pro-long my life and appease my dad by entering the Mayo Clinic but I was (at the time) highly against the idea that I was to accept not finding a cure to chronic pain and learn how to live and manage it naturally for the rest of my life.  Neither choices were appealing but one was less scary: Choice A of course was what I was used to.  I had gone thru as many surgeries to cure the pain as I could, been to hundreds of doctors, on every medication possible and nothing worked except self-medicating myself but that really did not work either, lets be honest.  However, the thought of waking up and being totally alone with a group of people with chronic pain whom I did not know but seemed much healthier/happier than me scared me more than you can imagine.  I believed by just looking at them that I had it worse and my invisible illness: chronic pain had to be worse because they ‘looked’ happier.  Wow, way to pass judgement on people who I have been spending years trying to protect.  However, this was the first time in my life that I had ever seen someone who also had chronic pain and it just felt odd.  I was not ready to say: “I accept chronic pain as part of my life and cannot wait to learn ways to manage it without the use of doctors or medications.”  However, I tossed around my two options, slept in fear if I slept at all and chose Choice B: I entered the month long program at the Mayo Clinic the next morning, fear nipping at my heart the whole drive there.


I am now thirty four with a three year old who is crazy, funny, and I am making my dreams come true: family, motherhood, helping others with chronic pain, writing: the dreams I believed were stolen from me because of chronic pain are now here because I chose Choice B even though it was a much a scarier choice.  I still live way too often in fear.  I deal with anxiety every day of my life: what came first chronic pain or anxiety?  I don’t know but I do know they are very intertwined and I also know the fear of pain is so often worse than the pain itself.  At the moment I am going through procedures like IVF to extend our family and am unable to exercise in the morning: which was the one thing that helped me manage my horrible anxiety that gripped my heart each morning I awoke.  So, I have had to learn new techniques and turns out I can sleep in a tad more than I thought and distracting myself with our little wide-eyed crazy three year old is fun.  I actually did not mind watching the Lorax this morning with her under blankets instead of getting things done that would help me distract my brain from thinking about pain.

I have stayed on my path of managing chronic pain naturally but there have been times that fear has gotten in the way of good choices.  Living in fear is like living in hell.  I am on the journey of Jessica and I have no idea what this year holds or the next ten years for that matter.  However, I know the things I must work on and I know I will continue to follow my dreams and learn from past mistakes.  Learning to unwire my mind from fear and pain sometimes is the most difficult thing for me to work on but one year from now I hope to be further along on this part of my journey.

Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, Christmas with Chronic Pain, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Empathy, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Non Resistance, Peace, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, Suicide, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain

Laugh at the MADNESS


“I don’t suppose that if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.”

Calvin and Hobbes

This past Christmas was one of the best holidays I have ever had.   It was magical because of my daughter, simple yet filled with more gifts than I can ever imagine seeing (Santa!) and the warmest Christmas in NJ ever to be had: we set a record of seventy four degrees!  Our family wore t-shirts and shorts and the playgrounds were packed with children playing after spending a morning (extremely early morning in our home) un-wrapping gifts, playing, dancing and eating.  I will never forget the look in Kayci’s eyes when she first entered our living room which had been turned into what looked like a scene from just movies she has seen.  She is three years of age and this is the first year she truly got Christmas and I am a holiday nut case so we have been awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus since October.  She was so over-whelmed when she saw the gifts, the letter from Santa, the eaten cookies and carrots that she ran away crying.  She returned seconds later holding yogurt and opened her first gift.   She is truly the mini version of myself as she says the oddest things, loves the same things, and does the most random acts like running into the kitchen at five am to grab a yogurt, crying because she was so excited.  My dad got her a wagon: and he is very proud of this wagon: Radio Flyer with big wheels, can fit two kids, and his amazing girlfriend who is an artist painted it with Kayci’s name on it.  Granted my dad whom is the most amazing, generous, loving person I know put the wagon together wrong so no one can really see the name Kayci because it is backwards.  He is great at everything but anything to do with fixing or building things: he used to joke that if my car made a noise I should just turn the radio up.  Sadly, being gullible Jessica I took his advice as a young teenager.  I no longer do that: lesson learned.

After we made breakfast, we loaded the wagon with blankets and the four of us walked around the lake as Kayci chilled out in her wagon with a few of her new gifts.  It looked and felt like springtime.  People were jogging, walking, playing outside, and the playground was crowded with children getting out energy and playing with their new toys.  All people kept saying was: “I cannot believe it is this warm on Christmas!  This isn’t right.”  Clearly, it was odd as I have never not been freezing on Christmas but I definitely was not complaining.  You cannot change the weather so you may as well enjoy it!  We may never be playing at the playground in shorts on Christmas again.  The last thing I wanted to do was complain about the temperature or talk about Global Warming: it was Christmas!  Can we not take one day off of thinking and complaining?  No, I do not understand why it is so warm but I did enjoy it nonetheless and laughed at the madness and joy and confusion of Christmas.

So much in life does not make sense to the point that we have become a society that overthinks, over-achieves, worries about everything, and has forgotten how to truly live.  I have no idea  why I of all the people I know fell off my bike when all I wanted to do was get home and watch my movie I had just rented.  I have no idea why I had to have brain surgery and with that surgery a lifetime of chronic pain.  I have no idea why I have had miscarried so many times  or why someone as healthy as I am is having IVF in two weeks for the second time.  I do not know why terrible things happen every second of every day to great people.  I do not know why I was blessed with the dad I have or my family that I helped create.  I don’t know why the hell its going to be seventy degrees today and it is almost January.  Nothing ever seems to make sense or turn out how we plan and think our lives will be so sometimes we have to laugh at the madness and find a way to turn our troubles and pain into something meaningful.   Overthinking everything gets exhausting!  Laugh today, find something to laugh about and I know I preach this a lot but I am also reminding myself of things when I write: trust the process of the cards and life you are given.  Everything changes and nothing stays the same.  One day you are going to look back and think (myself included) : “Why did I worry so much about the future or expend my days over thinking the things I have no control over?!  What a waste because everything worked out just as it should have and I lost so many years in my worries.”

Thank you to everyone who reached out wishing me their thoughts, prayers, and happy holiday wishes.  And I truly want to thank Diane who not only reads every post I write but shares each and everyone with as many people as she can: that means the world to me!

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Never Give UP


“Good things come to those who believe.  Better things come to those who are patient.  The best things come to those who never give up.”


I gave up on myself and living for ten years of my thirty four years on this planet.  I gave up on my dreams, my beliefs, my morals, my health, and life as a whole.  I truly believed chronic pain had robbed me of my biggest dream in the world: family and children.  Ten years plus some (I lost count) can truly kill a person mentally and physically and if you have read my story you know how close I came to really giving up and how lucky I am to be alive.  Then I began to believe that I could live a life and follow my dreams despite chronic pain and the beginning was really difficult.  Accepting a life with chronic pain was the hardest part.  I then had to take the Nike approach and ‘Just Do It.’  I had a program and tools to manage chronic pain without treatment or medication and once I accepted my invisible illness, I began to practice what would turn out to be my lifetime routine.  It took a good year to see ‘results’ and that in no means is saying my illness was cured.  It took a year of patience and work to begin living and actually enjoying life again.  Slowly, very slowly chronic pain was not center stage in the play of Jessica but just something behind the curtains changing the set once and a while.  I had downfalls and set backs but I always got up and I never gave up.  All the dreams I believed had been stolen began to manifest themselves into my life: from the smallest things such as reading again to the grandest of things of graduating college, having a family, and bringing the greatest person I know into this world: my daughter, Kayci.

I hate to disappoint all of you, but no I am not yet expecting our second child.  Stop: no pity, or sadness as this is not a bad thing.  Even miracles take time.  I will be honest: this past Monday was one of the worst days I have had in a long time and I cried most of the night and paid the price yesterday but once I cried it out, allowed myself some meditation and rest in my busy day I felt strong again.  I feel good.  I am excited.  No, I am not excited for round two of IVF: needles do not bother me, the appointments/ultrasounds/blood work etc do not bother me but the medication does.  Giving a person with chronic pain and anxiety a ton of hormones in shot form is not a good time but in reality what is another month of being uncomfortable when the end result is a lifetime of joy with a second child and a sibling for Kayci: a girl of course as brothers are not allowed.  She is crazy about having her sister Kammi (yes she named her future sister before she was three.)  I believe, no I know I will have another child, I can obviously be patient and I have proved to myself I never give up on something that I do not go a day without thinking about.

I have no formal religion but I know there is something bigger than us and I truly believe the person we are bringing into this world is just not ready yet.  I had a miscarriage February Second, 2011: a DNC and would have a four year old son right now had I not miscarried.  However, my daughter was born February Second, 2012 almost to the hour of losing our son.  The same doctor who performed my DNC, delivered Kayci.  Some would say her older brother was looking out for her.  I am excited again and oddly I am not just saying that.  I did not hold my sadness in by any means: my swollen face was proof of that yesterday: man I can cry well!  However, the past is in the past and now I am lucky enough to show my daughter that no  matter what set backs happen in life, you never give up.

All of you who are suffering and truly do not have any faith left that your life will be ok despite chronic pain read my story.  I have not held back and I truly understand how you feel and how you feel is beyond normal.  Life is a journey: chronic pain is a journey.  All I ask is that you do not give up.  You will get to acceptance when you get there and when your mind and body are ready.  I am here for all of you and anyone who has emailed me knows that.

Always keep this in mind because it is true: “Something wonderful is going to happen.  I do not know when but I cannot wait.”

Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, Christmas with Chronic Pain, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, Miracles, Peace, self love, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, Worrying

Christmas with Chronic Pain


“All I want for Christmas is a cure”

Unknown but seen EVERYWHERE

I have always been described as overly sensitive yet extremely enthusiastic.  I love holidays, especially Christmas more than your average person in their thirties.  I began decorating our home before Thanksgiving just to be able to soak in the magic of Christmas for as long as possible.  My three year old and I (my rule for car music) only listen to Christmas Carols while driving.  she has now memorized the commercials on the station that only plays holiday music.  We have a game where we look for Christmas lights at night and see whose side of the car has more: she always wins as I do have to watch the road plus she is three, she always wins.  Yesterday, we went to see the play at our local theatre entitled: “The Snow Queen” which is actually what the hit Disney movie Frozen is based on.  As you can see in the above picture, Kayci is beyond engaged.  She was singing, laughing, and it was the first play (we have been to many kids plays) that she would not take her eyes off the stage.  She even used my favorite Kayci word: “beautiful.”  Each morning, I plug in the lights to our Christmas tree and every other Christmas decoration that requires electricity.  I light the Christmas candles and begin my routine.  Christmas does become more magical when you have children, how could it not?  Through a child’s eye, everything is more magical: throw in lights, Santa Claus, a  tree in the house, presents, music, cheer and plays and life just becomes magic twenty four seven.

However, for many people with chronic pain this is the most dreadful time of the year.  I hated Christmas for years when I was suffering from chronic pain.  I hated it because it was just one more thing that chronic pain stole from me.  I drank more with friends so that the physical pain would be numbed enough to enjoy some of the festivities but always ended up that night in bed, crying alone wondering how I would enjoy the best day of the year.  Yes, I got amazing gifts from my dad and other family members and no one understood why I was not more enthusiastic and happy.  I was so lucky to be blessed with such a giving father who at times spoiled me with tons of gifts under the tree.  What people did not understand was that I could not enjoy any of those gifts or the parties and traditions because all my world consisted of was physical pain.  I loved reading and I remember my dad buying me the book entitled: “The Lovely Bones.”  I had wanted to read that book so badly and yet when I tried, my mind went directly to pain and all I could do was cry.  All I wanted for Christmas was a cure to my disease: chronic pain.  No gift, no party, no Christmas tree would bring me joy because my life was pain.  Christmas only reminded me of how much I truly hated my life, my illness, and caused me more pain than joy.  It is hard to believe the person in the above picture still has chronic pain but is having a magical, wonderful season despite the illness.  However, I feel for all of you who are where I was for ten years ago at Christmastime and I understand why no gift, song, book, party, or person can make you happy right now because you are in the darkest depths of chronic pain.  Try and not feel the guilt that I did during those ten years because I know you have tons of guilt that is eating you alive.  You feel you are letting your loved ones down and feel un-grateful and are so angry with yourself that you cannot get your focus off of pain.  You did not ask for chronic pain and you must let go of that guilt.  Please, let it go.

There are so many days, years, and Christmas seasons ahead.  You will get to where I am now, you cannot force it but just do the best you can.  And to all of those who do not have chronic pain, please remember your loved ones are not being selfish or greedy: they are facing the hardest time of the year because they are supposed to be happy and feel as if they are letting you down.  This is when people with chronic pain need their loved ones the most.  The greatest gift you can give a love one with chronic pain is support and kind words: “I believe you” and “I cannot imagine what you are going through but I am here and I know you are doing the best you can.  We will get through this together.”