• Julie Hawkins is our featured Hero of Healing
  • Ask the Fitness Expert-
    What can I do if I can no longer run?
  • Recipe of the Month–
    Chicken Cacciatore

I used to be a runner but recently have developed RSD. My doctors told me I will never run again, and that is devastating to me. Running was my passion and I miss it tremendously. While I know you cannot give me medical advice, I was wondering what you would recommend I do to stay active until I heal? I have faith that I will run again, and that I will overcome this disease. Thank you.

Trying To Find My Way, Washington

Dear Trying To Find My Way,

I applaud you for staying positive and moving forward with hope in a brighter future. If your doctor believes you should not run because the impact will exacerbate the pain, I would listen to him. I do not think this will be forever and I believe you will run again; however, I feel it is best to look at other exercise modalities for a while.

I would suggest rowing and light circuit weight training. Two other cardio options are the recumbent bike and the elliptical. The reason I prefer clients use the rowing machine is that it is a full-body cardiovascular workout with low-body impact. The most difficult part for all my clients is determining how far to push their bodies and how long to exercise. When dealing with a chronic pain issues, this becomes even more challenging because those in pain also need to determine the difference between nerve pain and regular pain. Be patient as you get to know how your body now responds to exercise.

My suggestion is to slowly progress. It is better to do too little than too much and pay for it later. Start with maybe two to five minutes on the rowing machine followed by ten-minute light circuit weight training. Some suggestions would be push-ups, sit ups, squats, and lat pulls; remember, it all depends on where you have pain and how you are feeling for that day.

Good luck! Please keep me posted on your success and if you have any other questions, send them to Rick at nicole hemmenway @nicole hemmenway.com.

—Rick Dyer, MS, CSCS, CPT (FIT, Los Altos, CA)

Just to make you Laugh

"What About Bob?"

This movie makes me smile and laugh. Not only is it funny, but the concept of taking baby steps really resonated with me, and helped me through my recovery process. I hope you enjoy!

My Thoughts

Being that I am part Irish, I have always enjoyed the month of March and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. This was a big holiday in my family. I remember every year listening to the Clancy Brothers and the Irish Tenors, attending the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in San Francisco, pretending to dance the Irish jig with my dad, and eating corned beef and cabbage. However, my favorite memories are of my brother and me drinking the green milk and eating the Lucky Charms cereal that the leprechaun left for us!

Since this month to me is all about the luck of the Irish, I felt I also should discuss Murphy’s Law. To those unfamiliar with Murphy’s Law, it is the notion that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. For many years, Murphy’s Law described my life. Regardless of the procedure or medication, I would face unusual side effects with every new therapy I tried. At times, I felt I cursed by this old Irish tale … only little did I know that in the end, the luck of the Irish would be on my side!

To my fellow chronic pain survivors who might also feel as if Murphy’s Law was written about them, hold onto your dreams and believe anything is possible. The luck of the Irish can turn in an instant! Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Sending my healing thoughts to you-

Believing in Miracles,

Heroes of Healing

I have been receiving many emails about how to join the Heroes of Healing Pain Community. “Heroes of Healing” is completely separate from my main website. This site, http://heroesofhealing.com, is where caregivers and those in pain can come together to share stories of struggle, perseverance and triumph. With twenty-five percent of our country’s population living in pain, seventy-five million Americans are looking for validation in order to feel understood and heard. “Heroes of Healing” is a non-judgmental, forum-based site designed for participant interaction. It is my intent that by bonding with others who are experiencing and dealing with the same obstacles, we regain our voice and rediscover hope. The helpful pain resources and connections obtained through the Heroes of Healing community empower us to see that we can make a difference. I invite you all to join, and to tell friends and family.

Nicoles Recipe of the Month

Chicken Cacciatore

This is such an easy meal to prepare and tastes very good. It is simple and satisfying. Hope you enjoy; bon appétit!


  • 2 Cans diced tomatoes (or 4 cups fresh)
  • 1 Onion, chopped finely
  • 2-3 Celery stalks, chopped finely
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ can black olives
  • 2-3 Bone-In Chicken Breasts (or 1-pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Basil


You can cook this either in the oven or in a crock-pot. I prefer the crock-pot because then I do not need to worry about it the rest of the day!

Crock-Pot Directions: Pour the diced tomatoes with its juice in crock-pot. Add onion, celery and garlic. Stir in oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Then add chicken. Cook on low heat for six to eight hours. Add olives a half an hour before eating.

Oven Directions: Preheat to 350. Pour the diced tomatoes with its juice in baking dish. Add onion, celery and garlic. Stir in oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Then add chicken. Cook for forty minutes, and then add olives. Cook another ten to fifteen minutes.


facts on pain
Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
-2006 National Institute of Health Statistic

Chronic pain is often defined as pain that lasts six months or longer.

More than 50 million Americans experience chronic pain that interferes with daily activities, according to the American Pain Foundation.

The American Pain Foundation describes pain as the fifth vital sign after blood pressure, pulse, respiration and temperature.

The American Academy of Pain Medicine states that the annual cost of chronic pain in the United States, including healthcare.

Helpful Links to Pain Resources

Motivational Song Lyrics

With the NCAA College Basketball Tournament held in March, I found it fitting to pass along the lyrics to One Shining Moment. I am unsure why this song resonated so deeply with me, but it did. One Shining Moment helped me continue to believe that I could heal. This song lifted my spirits when I felt I defeated, and pushed me to find my inner strength … and I hope it does the same for you.

One Shining Moment
Lyrics by: David Barrett

The ball is tipped
and there you are
you're running for your life
you're a shooting star
And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but now it shows...

But time is short
and the road is long
in the blinking of an eye
ah that moment's gone
And when it's done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew...

Feel the beat of your heart
feel the wind in your face
it's more than a contest
it's more than a race...

And when it's done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew...