Dec 112013

Love Gratitude and DadThose of us living with chronic pain and illness know all too intimately the suggestion to find the good in our circumstances. We pour over positive affirmations and self-help books, journal, meditate, bang our heads on the wall and stomp our feet. We ask, scream out, the question: ‘Why? Why me? What does it mean?’

And we do find it in ourselves to persevere and lift above our experience. Become bigger than it alone. We find strength we never knew we had, compassion and empathy for others and the vision of a life better. I’m not alone, and have moved through all of these at different times, and continue to.

How is it we might find our deepest wish in life fulfilled as, by what might seem, the direct result of our circumstances. And which may not have happened otherwise? How do we resolve that? And does it really matter that we do?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading these last few weeks – I’m on vacation! I’ve made my way through The Hidden Messages in Water, Secret Life of Water and The Shape of Love: Discovering Who We Are, Where We Came From, and Where We’re Going by Masaru Emoto. As well as Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl and am currently reading my way through The Power Of Appreciation and Wishing Well: Making Your Every Wish Come True. Each of these warrant a few lengthy posts of their own.

I see a thread weaving through them all. Threads of Love and Gratitude, Vibration and Resonating. This last week (the Universe, my God, whom or whatever you might call it) has shown me an abundance of each of these. In more ways than I can write about here.

I have wanted a lot of things in life. Some things really badly. A job, a raise, an education, to dance…but there is only one thing I could describe as a Wish. And that was the Wish to have a (loving) relationship with my father. It’s a whole other story (maybe) that we were separated when I was very young – too young for me to have a conscious remembrance of him.

I always had something of him with me though. And like when you squint at the night sky to see that flicker of a star, so was my hope to reunite with him. Just that glimmer. It was enough for me as a little girl and has remained enough for me throughout adulthood.

I was recently blessed when that glimmer broke through a dark sky and my father, mon père, reached out to me when word had reached him of my current state of health.

So the question is, does it matter that after all this time it took these circumstances to connect us? My answer is a resounding ‘No!’ There are no needed explanations. No questions I need to ask or have answered. All that matters is ‘now’, the present moment. And that we have connected.

I believe the love and gratitude I’ve been nurturing within myself has laid the foundation for this moment. And could those vibrations and (well) wishes I’ve made have had anything to do with the unfolding of recent events? Maybe…

Our past stories may unfold over time, but it’s our future story that we’re now writing.

Je t’ai toujours aimé mon père et toujours!


Have you experienced unexpected love and gratitude through your experience of chronic illness? I would love to hear your stories of serendipity, synchronicity or (well) wishing  in the comments below .


Sep 072013

Dave and I had been roommates in Salt Lake when I met Cody back in 2000. He was always quiet and funny, waxing poetic about moldy coffee or snow leopards. Cody and I were both surprised when he and my other roommate began running half and full marathons, regularly. Soon a cute girl kept showing up in Dave’s photos and Cody and I jokingly wondered how regular old Dave had landed such a babe. They married, continued to run races and you could always tell how in love Dave and Sheila were in their photos.

Earlier this month Dave changed his profile picture, it was a good one. The two of them sitting in the back of a truck, Sheila looking up at Dave with all the love in the world. I noticed a comment left by a friend that said “I’m so glad she had you to share her life with.” I started reading other comments, then posts from other people, all condolences and love. Then came the obituary.

His wife had passed.

I offered my condolences, and feeling helpless asked if he’d ever be willing to share her story, to share awareness of the misunderstood and rare disease that Sheila was diagnosed with earlier in the year. He was reluctant at first “I’m not a writer.” But when it comes to sharing something you care so deeply about, it doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or not. Dave loved Sheila, Sheila loved Dave.

Dave tells the story better than I ever could have, my only ability is to share it, ask you to share it, and hopefully help even one person with Sheila’s story.


I had never heard of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or Causalgia) before my wife Sheila was diagnosed with it earlier this year. In April of 2013 her big toe went numb for no apparent reason. The numbness, accompanied by weakness, quickly spread up her leg until her entire right leg below the knee was rendered useless. Within about 10 days the pain set in. She was diagnosed with CRPS in May and she passed away on July 29th, 116 days after her toe first went numb.

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Aug 072013

How to be a better friend, spouse or relative to someone with FM or a chronic pain condition.

Do you know someone who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FM) or a chronic pain illness?  Perhaps they are disabled from working due to several conditions associated with these illnesses. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to expect of yourself and the person you care about with the chronic illness.  Perhaps the following practical suggestions can help you better support your friend, spouse, or relative who has FM or a chronic pain condition.

Educate Yourself

FM is a pain amplification condition. One’s central nervous system is sensitized to experience a lot more pain than others would under similar conditions. For instance, for someone with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other conditions, those conditions are much more painful for them than for someone who doesn’t have FM. It’s as if the “pain switches of the brain get locked on.” As you educate yourself, you’ll be less likely to blunder into saying things like, “It’s all in your head.” (Medical research has shown, for instance, that there is more Substance P [which facilitates the transmission of pain] in FM patients’ spinal cords. Also, they have significantly reduced dopamine synthesis in multiple brain regions.)

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Jul 192013 – Chronic pain can make it hard to feel connected to others. Pain puts a strain on friendship – whether you have fibromyalgia, headaches, back pain, arthritis, or any other type of chronic pain. You may have found that you see friends less or that you feel disconnected when you do get together. You may have lost touch with some friends who you feel are too active – you may believe you just can’t keep up.

I know it sometimes take real effort on my part to stay connected and reach out to people. What about you? How have stayed connected, or re-connected. Share your experiences and tips in the comments below about what worked. Or what didn’t work.

Blessings, Jacqui