How You Can Live Your Life and Love Your Life, Even with Chronic Pain

How You Can Live Your Life and Love Your Life, Even with Chronic Pain

Community Hospital 07/07/2017

If you’re one of the many people living with the symptoms of chronic pain, this article is for you. There are many simple lifestyle changes you can make to find relief for your pain symptoms, and help manage flare-ups when they occur. This is great news for those who are living with chronic pain. 

For starters, some dietary changes could be very beneficial. Cleveland Clinic recommends reducing any foods that are known to cause inflammation within the body. At the same time, you might want to consider increasing those foods which are known to reduce inflammation. Foods which cause inflammation might include common allergens (such as dairy), wheat and grains, or even grain-fed beef. Instead, opt for grass-fed meats, dairy replacements (such as hemp milk), and anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables, such as bananas or leafy greens. 

If you are living with chronic pain, you may want to consider eliminating gluten, certain types of sugars (including foods containing FODMAPS), and MSG from your diet. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and alcohol – all of which can increase inflammation in the body and contribute to chronic pain flare-ups. In addition, if you are prone to frequent headaches, you may also want to avoid nuts and chocolate, which are known migraine triggers.  

In addition to changing your diet, there are also some other lifestyle changes you can make to help ease your chronic pain symptoms so you can get back to enjoying your life. Try picking up some healthy habits, such as tai chi or yoga, to help alleviate stress. Meditative movement techniques such as these have been used for thousands of years to help manage pain while assisting the body with healing itself. Breathing techniques such as meditation may also be helpful for those who are living with chronic pain.  

Now that we’ve discussed some lifestyle changes to try, it’s also important to consider some lifestyle habits that you might want to avoid. If you are living with chronic pain, you’ll want to avoid eating large meals, which can increase pain symptoms, and you should also avoid foods that are known to cause inflammation.  

You’ll also want to reduce the number of chemicals and toxins in your home, possibly even switching to all natural cleaning supplies. You should avoid letting your home become too messy and difficult to clean, as this can aggravate your pain symptoms. If necessary, consider hiring a housekeeper or finding someone to assist you with chores that trigger your symptoms. 

If, at first, you begin to feel overwhelmed while you are trying to change your lifestyle, don’t worry; this is actually quite common and can be easily remedied. Many people make the mistake of trying to implement too many changes at the same time, only to become overwhelmed and give up. Instead, it’s best to start by changing one habit at a time before moving on to the next one. With patience and persistence, you can gently begin to heal your body and create the life you want to live. Good luck!

~ Jackie Waters

Community Hospital Blog Contributor

Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Brooke Cagle


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Wild Peace

Community Hospital 09/05/2017

I wrote this five years ago to the day on May 9, 2012. May it inspire you to listen to the whispers in your heart and find your own “wild peace”.

I’m feeling uncommonly peaceful right now and as of 8:40 p.m. last night; our life has taken a wild turn. We are adopting our son who will be born on 7-09-12. Crazy? Yes. Calm? Crazily yes.

It hit me last night when I couldn’t sleep. Was it the major amount of caffeine I had consumed? Was it the dream with the snake in the ranch dressing bottle biting Johnny Depp? (crazy weird and scary…I HATE SNAKES!  And now I hate ranch dressing, too!) Or was it the fact that a birth mom, OUR birth mom, had seen our profile and decided our family with our “beautiful girls” (her words and mine!) would be the perfect family for her son. She said, “This is the biggest decision I have ever made.” We can only imagine. She also said, “This is a blessed day.” We agree.

And after the call, Chris said, “Are we crazy? What have we just done?!” I agree…but the crazy part is I am at peace with this wild journey we have just embarked upon.

I have a keynote presentation called “Live life on YOUR wild side”. You need to say, “YES!” to where you are at this moment in time. But I just realized, to say “YES!” confidently, there must be a sense of peace with that decision. That’s how you know your head, heart and gut are on the same page. It’s Yin Yang.

Yin Yang are not opposing forces but rather complementary opposites. (Thanks Wikipedia). When we feel that rhythm, we know that’s our rhythm. Wild excitement and a calm peace: that’s how I am defining my Yin Yang with the operative word being “my” in that sentence. Will people judge us? Ask us why we are doing this at our age? Call us crazy? Yes to all of the above. But I accept their judgment without another thought because this is our wild peace.

If you must know, we started discussing adoption, laughing about it, praying about it and trying to ignore it at least five years ago. We started the paperwork process including foster parenting classes and fingerprints in January 2011, and we had just started discussing whether it was time to throw in the towel. I was ready to file the papers away and call it a journey in spirituality.

Well, I guess the second leg of the journey has just begun…

~ Jana, MA, CHWC

Community Hospital Blog Contributor

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Brush Off Your Crumbs

Community Hospital 06/04/2017

We are well into 2017. The glitz and glamour of the New Year has worn off and along with it, many New Year’s resolutions have been forgotten. Spring is now upon us! A new season means new beginnings. It’s the universe telling us to not give up. So stand up, brush off the crumbs from your winter comfort food and set some new goals!

Today, ask yourself two questions:

  1. What did you learn in 2016?
  2. What are your dreams for 2017?

In honor of the new hospital’s one year anniversary, I asked a few people those questions.

Karl Stephens, Food Services Director for The Flying Pig

2016: Patience is a virtue. The hospital has accomplished so much and it has been a great opportunity for all of us. The Flying Pig has come a long way in the past year, thanks to the Food Services team.

2017: Now that we have our feet firmly planted…time to start moving forward. Each day we strive to improve quality and performance. We will be making some great changes to the patient menu, so come join us!

Karen Martsolf, Marketing and Communications Director for Community Hospital

2016: We are often much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Bringing a new hospital online while managing daily tasks of the current hospital was challenging at times. The staff at Community Hospital is incredibly dedicated to its continued growth and success and I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing organization!

2017: My goal is to continue to increase awareness for Community Hospital through proactive marketing strategies. Volumes at Community Hospital have increased 40% since moving into the new hospital and our inpatient market share is now 20%. The staff has worked tirelessly to impact these numbers and 2017 is the year to keep moving the needle to ensure patients have a choice as to where to receive health care locally.

Dr. Danny Mistry, Sports Medicine Physician and Community Hospital Board Member

2016: We can be better human beings if we learn to forgive AND forget mistakes, love unconditionally, and give without expectation. Love, patience and kindness are intangibles to the practice of life and good medicine.

2017: In the next year, I hope to…

–Find a way to give and share the endless ‘gift of time’ with family and patients.

–Continue to strive to be a better person and physician each day.

What did you learn in 2016 and where are you headed in 2017?!

~ Jana, MA, CHWC

Community Hospital Blog Contributor

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Celebration and Reflection

Community Hospital 17/03/2017

On Thursday, March 17, 2016, Community Hospital opened a brand new hospital which boasts over 140,000 square feet and features 44 private patient rooms, a new labor and delivery unit and a more robust emergency department. It is hard to believe how quickly this past year has flown by.

As we look forward to celebrating the one-year anniversary of our new hospital, we also take pause to reflect on the many other accomplishments Community Hospital has worked tirelessly to achieve over the years.

Community Hospital’s roots date back to July 1, 1946. Over the years Community Hospital has grown from a small 12-bed hospital to a state-of-the-art facility that offers high quality health care in a comfortable environment for a great value in the market.

In the last three years, nearly 50 new providers have joined Community Hospital. Physician confidence in Community Hospital continues to strengthen and we could not be more proud of the continued growth and success of our organization. In September 2016, we partnered with two fellowship trained ear nose and throat (ENT) physicians to form Grand Valley ENT and Facial Plastic Surgeons. The newest members of the Community Hospital family offer full spectrum ENT services as well as specialty services in facial plastic surgery and reconstruction and pediatric otolaryngology. We also continue to expand our primary care network and now offer primary care services spanning from Clifton to Fruita, with over 20 employed primary care providers.

Additionally, we continue to see growth in our medical and radiation oncology department, we have expanded services at the Colorado Mesa University Student Health Center to include behavioral health services for college students, we have expanded our Community Health Partnership (CHP) network and continue to help local businesses realize significant health care savings, and have already delivered over 550 babies since March 2016, including three sets of twins, at The Birth Place at Community Hospital.

We are undoubtedly excited about what the future holds. Your support and patronage over the years has helped make us who we are today. Rest assured we will continue to champion accessible, high quality and cost effective care for patients in the Grand Valley.

Chris Thomas, President and CEO

Community Hospital




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Genetic Counseling and Testing – Identifying Your Risks

Community Hospital 02/03/2017

February was cancer prevention month. There are several risk factors for cancer that are usually addressed when talking about ways to prevent cancer from happening.  Stop smoking.  Drink less alcohol.  Eat less red meat and more vegetables.  Exercise more.  These are risk factors that we can control through changing our actions and behaviors.  One risk factor, your genes, cannot be changed through your actions.  Even though you can’t change your genes, this doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about increased cancer risks.

Many different genes have been identified that cause increased lifetime risks for several types of cancer. These genes don’t just cause increased risks for breast and ovarian cancer.  Some genes may cause increased risks for colon, endometrial (lining of the uterus), thyroid, urothelial and other cancers.  Knowing that you have an increased risk for cancer can be stressful and scary, but it can also be empowering.  If you are identified as having a genetic change that causes increased cancer risks you can complete cancer screenings and risk reducing procedures to greatly reduce your risk of developing advanced cancer.  For example, if you have an increased risk for colon cancer you can complete a colonoscopy every year to detect and remove colon polyps that may lead to cancer.  You can’t change the genetic mistake that causes the increased risk for cancer, but you can change the way you manage the risk.  By completing genetic counseling and testing you can identify your risks and take actions to reduce these risks.

No one wants to have an increased risk for cancer due to genetic changes in themselves or their family. However, if a genetic mistake is present there is nothing you can do to “cure” this or make it go away.  What you can do is use the knowledge of this genetic change to take proactive steps to protect the health of yourself and your family.  In talking about prevention, one of the best ways to prevent cancer is to talk to your doctor or genetic counselor about your risk to have a hereditary cancer condition, and learn if genetic testing can help to prevent cancer in you and your family.

For more information on genetic counseling and testing, please contact Grand Valley Oncology at 970-254-3180 or visit

Katie Lemas, MS, CGC


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Life is a Beautiful Mess

Community Hospital 19/12/2016

Our old dog woke me up in the middle of the night…again. Grumbling, I dealt with her and then stumbled back to bed. Eyes wide open I stared at the ceiling, every unfinished project fighting for priority in my head. There’s wrapping yet to do, cards to be sent, the holidays fast approaching in addition to all the other commitments on my to-do list that have yet to be checked off.

Slipping back out of bed, I stepped outside in the crisp air to look at the full moon peaking out from the clouds. I took a deep breath and tried to quiet my mind by reflecting on the stillness of cold nights and bright skies.

If it’s true that the simple things mean the most then I challenge you to take the time for the simple things this season. Find beauty in the night sky. Be grateful for that tail-wagging dog who is happy to see you (even if it’s 3:00 a.m.). There’s a reason you can’t fall asleep. Maybe you haven’t spent enough time saying thank you today and realizing just how blessed you are.

When you get caught up in everything on your to-do list and your mind won’t stop swirling, I think that could possibly be the universe or God or your guardian angels telling you to count your blessings. Take a deep breath, exhale, and whisper “thank you”.

Your life may feel like a mess at times, but it’s a beautiful mess. And out of the mess of ribbons and bows and pretty paper you wrap a gift. Isn’t that the perfect analogy for life? It’s a jumbled mess, but at the end of the struggle of taping the corners just right, there is a gift. Be grateful for the gifts you’ve been given.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a new year filled with long walks, fairy tale endings and millions of kisses!

~ Jana, MA, CHWC

Community Hospital Blog Contributor

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The personal side of cancer

Community Hospital 26/10/2016

I had the honor of interviewing the physicians at Grand Valley Oncology this summer to write their bios for their website. Of course, education and experience made the cut, but I wanted anyone who read about them to see their softer side. Who they are outside of the cancer center. I quickly found out: who they are outside of the cancer center is exactly who they are at work.

It was universal: they love their job. There may have been different reasons they have chosen their profession and many different avenues got them to their current positions, but there was a collective, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be” theme.

They work hard. They continue to study and to learn in a field that changes daily. They see their patients on this life-altering journey and they walk beside them, helping them find hope. It was Dr. Virgilio who said, “I truly believe that cancer has its bad side but it changes people for the good. The living presence of God: That’s the good.”

What caught my attention was the resounding positive attitude they all have and the need to share that positivity with their patients. Dr. Miller said, “Cancer gives you a different philosophy on life. You can choose to live every day or die every day.”

And then an interesting point came up more than once.

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Ovarian & Breast Cancer: Why your family history is important

Community Hospital 05/10/2016

Ovarian & Breast Cancer: Why your family history is important

Get out your teal and pink colored ribbons everyone because September is ovarian cancer awareness month, and October is focused on breast cancer awareness.  There are many different topics that can be spotlighted for cancer awareness.  One that I believe is very important, and can potentially stop a cancer before it begins, is being aware of your family history of cancer.

The presence of breast or ovarian cancer in your family history does not automatically mean that cancer is hereditary.  Being aware of your family history and discussing this with a genetic counselor can help to determine whether you may also have an increased risk for the disease.  Research has shown that about 10% of breast cancers diagnosed are hereditary, and up to 20% of ovarian cancers are hereditary.  By determining if your family falls into the hereditary category you can become proactive in screening and reducing the risk for these cancers.

There are features, or red flags, to be aware of in your family history that may indicate a hereditary cause for breast and/or ovarian cancer.  Some features that are more concerning for hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer include breast cancer diagnosed under the age of 50, 3 or more individuals diagnosed with breast cancer on the same side of the family, individual with 2 or more primary breast cancer diagnoses, male breast cancer, and ovarian cancer diagnosed at any age.  This is not an extensive list of concerning features.  If you have questions about your family history and risk of cancer speak with a genetic counselor or physician.

If you are interested in discussing your family history of cancer and how it may affect your cancer risks please speak with your doctor about genetic counseling.  If you or a family member are identified as having hereditary cancer risks there are specific actions you can take to reduce your cancer risks or increase surveillance to detect cancer at earlier, more treatable stages.  One of the great benefits of genetic counseling and testing is the ability to change the pattern of cancer in a family going forward.  The cancer that may have affected past generations is not doomed to repeat itself when families become empowered to take action with genetic information!

Katie Lemas, MS, CGC

Genetic Counselor – Grand Valley Oncology





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Roses and Thorns

Community Hospital 30/08/2016

Shame spirals are real. They happen when you feel you have failed. When you’ve done something and you find yourself saying, “I’m not good enough.” It then spirals into something like this:

I am not talented enough.

I am not smart enough.

I am not organized enough.

I am not thin enough.

I am not enough.


Stop the shame spiral!

I was visiting with an old friend who is both a successful writer and landscaper. (I share he’s a landscaper because I think his analogy fits him perfectly. Keep reading. You’ll figure it out.)

I was in a shame spiral – feeling unworthy. And he shared this gem:

“I picture roses and thorns. For every thorny thought, I force myself to find the positive thought, to find the rose.”

Wow. Pretty simple but very poignant.

Often times, when we are spiraling down, we just keep pricking ourselves with the thorns. I can feel I have failed at something one day and then I manage to remember every failure I have encountered since I was ten years old. It goes something like this:

“Darn it, I missed my dentist appointment. I am a loser. There is a Lego tsunami in the living room and the breakfast dishes aren’t done. I didn’t exercise this morning…”

The spiral continues until I end here:

“Remember when I spelled the word ‘envelope’ wrong in the 5th grade spelling bee and lost the competition to Bennett, the annoying boy who sat behind me?



Today, I do roses & thorns.

“The breakfast dishes aren’t done because I was busy building the Lego zoo to house our new dinosaur (that retails at $1.99 but we spent $40 at Chuck E. Cheese to win). Rose!

Chris made breakfast and I didn’t have to do it. Rose!

I can get my exercise by cleaning up the Legos. Rose?”

(Okay, sometimes you have to stretch to see the rose but you get my point.)

Stop focusing on the thorns that hurt you today and find the rose. Then stop and really see it. Embrace it. Enjoy it.

Wishing you a bouquet of roses!

~ Jana, MA, CHWC

Community Hospital Blog Contributor






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Fuel Your Workouts

Community Hospital 18/08/2016

There’s a lot of information out there from people and organizations telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat if you want to lose weight, gain weight, or get healthy. All of that contradictory information makes it difficult to know what you should actually do. Maybe all you need to do is get back to basics. 

When it comes to weight loss nutrition is key and calories are king! If you are trying to lose weight it is as important to make sure you are getting enough calories as it is to make sure you aren’t getting too many. People like to throw around 1200 like it is a magic one size fits all number, but that’s not the case. Every body is unique and an ACSM certified personal trainer or exercise physiologist can help you figure out how many calories you should be eating every day.  

What is a calorie anyway?  A calorie is a unit used to measure energy, specifically a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree celsius. A calorie can be thought of as fuel that comes from macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines put out by the federal government: between 45 and 65 % of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 10 to 35 % from protein, and 20 to 35 % from fat.  

As an example: if an individual consumes 2000 Calories per day their daily macronutrient allowance may look something like this –  

2000 calories X 60% carbohydrate = 1200 calories of carbohydrate per day
1200 calories / 4 calories per gram = 300 grams of carbohydrate per day 

2000 calories X 20% protein = 400 calories of protein per day
400 calories / 4 calories per gram = 100 grams of protein per day 

2000 calories X 20% fat = 400 calories of fat per day
400 calories / 9 calories per gram = 44 grams of fat per day 

Following these basic rules should help get you to the healthiest weight for you. These guidelines will fuel your workouts and fuel your life. There is no reason to change your diet to compensate for your exercise routine unless you are an athlete training at high intensity for several hours per week – in which case your coach and athletic trainer will provide you with all of the nutritional guidance necessary. 

  • Always contact your primary care provider for guidance before making any significant changes to your diet.   For more information: and

Anne, B.S. Exercise Physiology

Community Hospital Blog Contributor


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