The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 1

Episode 14

S1E14 – I Was Always In Pain, Part 2 with Christopher Blakeslee

In Part 2 of my talk with Christopher Blakeslee, we’ll talk about his work and how he helps his clients recover from chronic pain. Christopher lived with autoimmune diseases for thirty-five years. For fifteen of those years, the symptoms and excruciating neuropathic pain from them disabled him. Now he’s completely healthy and on a mission to help others with chronic health problems to achieve their best health!


Christopher is an ADAPT-Certified Functional Health Coach who helps people with chronic illnesses and chronic pain. He’s currently writing a book with former Mayo Clinic doctor Jim Lemons about how lifestyle changes, mindset work, pain neuroscience, and Functional Medicine form the best approach for dealing with chronic health problems.

Connect with Christopher:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Christopher-Blakeslee-105443384451256

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/BalanceHC

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/balancehealthcoach/

Online: https://balancehealthcoach.com

To learn more about Dr. Lemons, visit his website: http://www.lemonscenter.com

Listen to Episode #14

About our Guest

I lived with autoimmune diseases for thirty-five years. For fifteen of those years, the symptoms and excruciating neuropathic pain from them disabled me.

Now, I’m completely healthy and on a mission to help others with chronic health problems to achieve their best health! I am an ADAPT-Certified Functional Health Coach who helps people with chronic illnesses and chronic pain. I’m currently writing a book with former Mayo Clinic doctor Jim Lemons about how lifestyle changes, mindset work, pain neuroscience, and Functional Medicine form the best approach for dealing with chronic health problems.

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S01E014: I Was Always In Pain, Part 2 with Christopher Blakeslee

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Podcast Transcript

Hello, and welcome to The Natural Evolution, produced by Rebel Health Tribe, a radio show focused on providing you with inspiration, education, and tools for true healing and transformation. I’m Michael, and I’ll be your guide on this adventure as together we explore the very nature of the healing journey. And I am here with Christopher Blakeslee. Christopher, thank you for joining us.

It makes absolute sense that the breath is probably the most immediate and available way to modify our physiology more than food. And there’s an immediate physiological response to every breath that we take and our breath patterns change due to physiology. It’s a back-and-forth loop pattern relationship between our physiology and our breath that exists at all times. 

Michael Roesslein:

And this is common knowledge and the basics and the foundations of yoga, Ayurveda, the vedic texts, traditional Chinese medicine, indigenous culture. As long as humans have been paying attention to what makes them feel differently, the breath has been at the top of the list. And I see it overlooked in almost every functional medicine conversation. That it’s not an important… Nobody ever talks about it. They have an immediate impact on your nervous system.

Christopher Blakeslee:

It really is essential. It’s one of those things where so far, I’ve had a hundred percent success rate with all the clients that I’ve worked with. I think it’s 29 people now. And it’s one of those things where I always have that arrow in my quiver for addressing the breath side of things and because now… I mean, Dr. Lemons and I have talked about pain neuroscience stuff. I’m an expert on it.

I’ve written two medium articles, which are also on my website about it, where I’ve gone into the deepest level of this stuff where it is amazing how you can change your pain responses through how you think about your pain, which is where all the horrible, it’s all on your head and you’re making your pain comes up kind of understandably. Because it’s like, oh yeah, I can change my pain responses simply by if I fixate on them with fear, it absolutely makes my pain worse.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Whereas bringing awareness and like acceptance towards it and… That’s actually a Tibetan Buddhist. They have meditations for pain. And it’s like bringing the awareness into the pain, as opposed to avoidant or resistance or angry or whatever. And that they can show drastic changes on levels of felt pain.

Christopher Blakeslee:

But you definitely have to reach that level of acceptance that it’s there and not fear it. And also because the brain gets so involved, like pain is not actually a place where you hurt. It’s in the brain. It passes the no subception, goes up, it passes through multiple parts of the spine and such, and then gets to the brain. And the brain says, yes, no.

Michael Roesslein:

And the brain then tells you where it is.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. And the brain says send the pain to that spot because of this. And it can just get into a pattern where I’m pretty sure with myself, they did a scope on me and after I’d done the lifestyle stuff and the functional medicine supplements and such, my bladder looks fine now. It doesn’t look bloody anymore on the cystoscopy, but my pain IS still there and the brain can form these things called neuro tags, where specific parts of the memory and the sensory parts of the brain can all get wrapped up in the pain experience And you have to try and untangle these things.

Sometimes you have to go head on into it. It’s like revisit the experience of an onset or just a repeated experience and start thinking about, okay, it’s there, but I don’t have to freak out about this. All right. If I start having some more positive experiences, it can shift and start building a new neural network, get you some new brain cells. And maybe this neuro tag that’s been activated so many times can stop getting activated and can start atrophy.

Michael Roesslein:

Those are like behaviors, too, and other things. The metaphor I’ll use is either like water making of river, like the grand canyon, or like skiing, going down snow and the pathway that keeps getting gone down is the pathway everybody’s going to go down. So it’s easier to go down and it’s out easier to trigger. It’s easier whatever. And I’m curious, that now makes sense to me because I’ve studied psychedelics and other types of off the beaten path depression and things for mental, emotional.

I know ketamine therapy is used for chronic pain conditions and the way it works in depression and behavioral and addiction is that it kind of wipes those in a way to way over simplify it. It shuts off the default mode network in the brain and it kind of smooths those grooves a little bit so that you have an easier capability to form new grooves. I’m wondering if that’s exactly how it works with pain too.

Christopher Blakeslee:

It very well sounds like it because I was about to say that the breathing fits beautifully into it. I mean, breathing is the number one way to tell your body that you’re safe. You do not breathe deeply if you’re in fight, flight, freeze. You can start snapping out of that. And then there are all these biochemical benefits from the endorphin release, which helps with pain. You get oxytocin. I mean, there’s serotonin in there.

Michael Roesslein:

Improve circulation, nitric oxide, vasodilation.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Right. And it starts growing new brain cells in your prefrontal cortex and it actually atrophies the amygdala, the fear center of the brain. So it is working in with this. It’s just hand and glove fit. And it’s this integration between mind and body to do all these things. And then Dr. Lemons, hilariously, his therapist shows me the first thing to do to get me better and it’s just this: put hands in front of my face, then out to the side, and then back in front of my face again. And I literally say, “Are you kidding me?” And she said, “Oh no, I’m not. You’re going to not injure yourself and you’re going to train your brain that this is safe again.” And you can start doing that all over your entire life. And it was slow. I’m not going to lie. It was hard work. It’s not like I was great.

Michael Roesslein:

No. These practices take…

Christopher Blakeslee:

Years.

Michael Roesslein:

Brain retraining programs take a while.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Because I am still getting better. I mean, yesterday was the fifth time in 25 years that I’ve had no pain and that’s it. I forgot there. I had an amazing day. I see the nice correlation of being happy. And I started weight training last year and I had to learn very carefully how to tease my pain for that because it sets off the occipital and trigeminal nerve irritation so badly and finally figured out I have to take an ice bath immediately afterwards to stop that inflammatory pattern.

And now I’ve been slowly been able to build throughout that. Well, I shouldn’t say slowly. I put on 32 pounds of muscle, so it’s going pretty well. I can do everything now, but really that’s why I say the disability didn’t end until last year. I met Dr. Lemons nine months into my recovery and I’m four and a half years into it.

Michael Roesslein:

So it was like two and a half years of working with him before you were off disability?

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. I mean, I worked at his clinic for a little while and did some coaching stuff.

Michael Roesslein:

You’re probably the star patient.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. They told me poster child at one point.

Michael Roesslein:

Well, yeah. You were probably as extreme as anybody who’d ever come in there. And the turnaround is remarkable. I mean, six years ago, if somebody had told you you’d be lifting weights and you’d put on 30 pounds of muscle, you’d have thought they were insane.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. I mean, people ask me why I’m so happy all the time. It’s like, because I know where I’ve been. It’s like, I don’t think suffering really teaches you that much. I think it gives you the scale of how bad it can be.

Michael Roesslein:

What experience can be. It gives you the scale. Because we operate in this little scale most of the time. You see the scale actually goes over to here. This is pretty awesome.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yes. And now it’s like, I’ve geared my life to live in the great space to such a degree it’s like I have no toxic people in my life. I work very hard to make sure of that. I take care of my body is the first thing I do before I work every day. It’s like, I know I got to stay on top of this. I got to do my Tai chi. I have to do the deep breathing. I cannot slack on these things. I got to walk my five miles every day. I have to take care of that.

And it’s like, I’m shocked because I used to think I reacted to every food via just the auto immunity, I kind of did. But I started doing some intermittent fasting. That made a big difference. I just needed a pause from food. And then I started doing extended fast in 2019 halfway through and that was just a game changer. I started getting better much faster. It was harder at first. And thankfully there were some good resources out there on the internet. I heard Dr. Peter Osborne and Dr. David Jockers talking about it, about the fasting. So I was like, no, you can make stem cells that way. I can’t afford stem cell injections. I’m going to give this a try.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Fasting cheaper than stem cell injections.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. It’s the cheapest thing in the world. I mean, you don’t even have to buy food.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Breathing and fasting, two free, powerful ways to modify… You mentioned going for walks, being outside, being in nature, being exposed to sunlight, seeing trees, all of these things cost nothing. I mean, I’m sure doing the work with Dr. Lemons, there’s costs there, and doing a lot of work with practitioners there’s costs there. But there’s so much that people can do that don’t cost a lot of money.

Christopher Blakeslee:

There’s so much that can be done. And that newest article on my site’s called the… I forget the exact title, but it’s the eight best ways basically that you can help your chronic pain and they’re all free. All of the are. It’s like, there’s a lot that can be done there, but they take so much commitment to do them. I love working with my clients about it. That’s why I start with the consultation, is to teach that.

Because like Dr. Lemon says, we’re not born with knowing this stuff. It’s like, you have to learn how to live with chronic pain. We know how to deal with acute pain. You stop. But if you do that with chronic pain, you turn into me where you nothing and you don’t get better. You just keep getting worse over and over and over again. So you have to learn a new set of rules there and it’s a whole set of behavioral tactics.

And it’s why he and I sat down and talked. It’s like, we got to write a book because as far as I can tell, if you put together lifestyle changes with mindset work, pain neuroscience, and then use functional medicine as needed, I think it’s the best way to achieve a health outcome in a chronic illness or chronic pain situation to this point.

Michael Roesslein:

For sure. Yeah. And I’m glad that he agreed to do that. Because practitioners like him, there’s all these outliers that I’ve managed to come across and find that are doing absolutely amazing work and they’re not the ones that you see on the health summits or on the conferences or the conventions. There is no correlation between the size and scope and power and reach of somebody’s marketing and how much they can help people. I’ve seen no correlation there.

Some of the best practitioners, people ask, “Who do you guys work with as your doctor?” Because I’m pretty open that my wife has some pretty serious autoimmune conditions and chronic illness. And when I tell them, they’re like, “I don’t know who that is.” I’m like, “Yeah, because he doesn’t do marketing.” I had to find him. And people like that, every time they write a book or create a training for practitioners or do something, their experience and their knowledge and their skill and their gift is not lost. Because he’s not going to do it forever. That’s great. And I’m guessing people probably travel to see him.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah, they do. It can be difficult because of the extended amount of time to go there, but he really does get amazing results. I don’t know if this is accurate now. It’s been a few years since I saw that document. But I think his success rate was 69% of his patients get off and stay off of narcotics just from what he does. And it’s like, that is astounding.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s pretty amazing. I wonder if he’s been on Joe Tatta’s podcast. Do you know who Joe is?

Christopher Blakeslee:

I do not, but I know Dr. Lemons hasn’t done any podcasts.

Michael Roesslein:

Joe Tatta, I’ll give you… He’s doctor Joe. He’s in New York.

Christopher Blakeslee:

You know him. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

He’s got a podcast and a practitioner training and a website and all kinds for like really outside the box pain management and pain reduction stuff. In our little functional medicine online world, I think he’s probably got the largest platform for pain management and chronic pain conditions. And he’s often talking to people that are doing work of that nature.

Christopher Blakeslee:

That’s good to know.

Michael Roesslein:

I know Dr. Joe. I might be able to pull some strings to get them in touch with each other because I think more people learning about what he’s doing can’t hurt. I mean, look at the opiate epidemic in this country.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. I know people need this. And really, the deep breathing now is more effective than the narcotics ever were for me, which is just I’m shocked. And part of me is I’m an excellent litmus test. Like I said, I should be like a food inspector. If I go to a place, I can tell you that they have industrial seed oils. I cook with that. I could tell immediately with the breathing because of the extreme nature of my pain.

Michael Roesslein:

That it shifted.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Wow. Okay. I can break my attention on this and it’s like, it’s not really there even though I’m getting stung constantly by all this pain.

Michael Roesslein:

Hey, if you’re are enjoying the show, make sure you head over to rebelhealthtribe.com/kit. That’s K-I-T. And grab the RHT Starter Kit, which includes a sampler of four free videos from our professional master classes and webinars, the RHT Healthy Sleep Guide, The Wellness Vault Coupon Book, which will save you money on all of our favorite health related tools and resources, a professional product guide, and a coupon for 15% off your first order in our shop.

That’s rebelhealthtribe.com/kit. K-I-T. And you’ll get all that delivered right away. Also, if you’re on for Facebook, we’ve got a fun, engaging and supportive group over there as well with thousands of health seekers, just like yourself. Just search for Rebel Health Tribe and you’ll find us. Thanks for listening. And now back to the show.

What was that like when you started working with Dr. Lemons? And you were probably a little skeptical because nothing else had worked. And then you started to notice a positive momentum to the point when you started to trust it. Because you mentioned that there was a while where you couldn’t trust anything that was like a switch. So do you remember when you started to trust like this is working? I’m getting better.

Christopher Blakeslee:

For sure. It was the greatest feeling in the world because I need the science for everything. And on that second day of the program, they gave me the science. I’m like, okay, I can see how this is going to work for me. This has been the missing piece. It all fits together there. And I started, okay, I’m going to buy in at least to the program. That was the first step. And Dr. Lemons even contends it’s one of the reasons why I started getting better so fast in the program was, I was doing all this other stuff and I was just on board from day two. So I was with that.

And about three months in after I graduated the program and before I’d started working there, I’m seeing enough improvements and I get off the narcotic. And I was like, it’s a different world now that really… And I can see now how it’s really weird to say how you can see how the negatives don’t really matter. That they’re just this destructive thing that make nothing in the world. And in comparison to everything that I’ve done in my life and how I’ve built myself up, it’s like, I have all this confidence now because I solved this. I stuck with it all these years and I just see the impotence of all that pain and such.

And it felt so powerful for all those decades of my life. And now it’s just, even when it’s still present, like today it’s like a one. It’s just sort of tingling in my shoulders. It just doesn’t matter anymore. I can still have the full life that I want now. And that is just an epiphany and it’s such a beautiful moment and I just felt a flood of endorphins whenever it happened. I felt my pain go down whenever I realized it was going down.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. I’m sure. Endorphins are powerful. A low-dose naltrexone is used with chronic pain conditions a bit and it works on endorphins. It blocks endorphins and then your body makes more of them. My wife takes that and it’s an interesting medication. I’ve seen it help with a lot of people with auto immunity and inflammation conditions, but it’s all endorphins. And the breath work produces endorphins and the thinking you’re going to get better makes endorphins.

But that’s why addicts chase endorphins. No one’s chasing heroin. No one’s chasing meth. No one’s chasing the drug itself. They chase the body chemicals that are created or received as. It’s endorphins. It’s dopamine. It’s the neurotransmitters that we chase and there’s.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Right. Even with food, it’s that way, too.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. For sure. I have that. That is my…

Christopher Blakeslee:

And I used to.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. That’s tough.

Christopher Blakeslee:

I weighed a hundred pounds.

Michael Roesslein:

People scoff at that when I talk about addictions, like lumping in food with other things. I still catch myself doing that. If something’s stressing me out or I’m uncomfortable, people think with work that I’m like super confident and reaching out to other these people and doing all these things and whatever. And I’m not. I’m anxious a lot about like, what if they don’t respond? What if they say no or this thing or that thing?

There’s a lot of things that trigger me to these like fears that I have. And I’ve noticed now if I’m having a day of work of doing stuff that like is kind of triggering to me, I’ll be in the kitchen. I’ll find myself browsing through the fridge and I’m like, I’m not even hungry right now. But it’s because I’m anxious. And if I eat the thing, whatever the thing is, then I’m not anxious. And my body has learned or my mind like subconsciously has learned like anxious, food, not anxious. It’s an immediate thing.

Christopher Blakeslee:

You got that conviction there.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. I always have. I grew up in a family where if something bad happened, oh, you go out for pizza, you have ice cream. And that makes you feel better. Or if something good happens, oh, you order a pizza, get ice cream. No matter what the emotional spectrum was, food was the thing that was related to it.

Christopher Blakeslee:

It’s right there. I mean, it’s so little of an effort. You just have it on your tongue.

Michael Roesslein:

Anywhere, anytime, any place, access to any food.

Christopher Blakeslee:

I know. I totally identify with that. I understand why anybody would go into that. It’s like my life was so devoid of value.

Michael Roesslein:

It’s like, what else did you have in your situation that would bring any remote amount of pleasure to anything as some sort of delicious food?

Christopher Blakeslee:

Like, give me my honey Greek yogurt. And I had Nilla wafers in there and I’d stir that sucker up. And I was like, that was the nighttime thing.

Michael Roesslein:

But there’s still an emotional connection to those foods now. So those things taste good, but they don’t taste as good as they’ll taste to you, just like everyone has their own foods. But we’ll go off on neurotransmitter sideways. I don’t know a ton about chronic pain, so this is all really interesting to me. I’ve never viewed autoimmune pain as… I viewed it separately from different types of pain.

Christopher Blakeslee:

But it’s really the same thing.

Michael Roesslein:

Pain is pain is pain in the nervous system.

Christopher Blakeslee:

And there is so much that can be done with it. It’s like just thinking back to that moment, too, where I had decided my central purpose in life was to try and inspire other people to be their best through my writing. That’s the type of novels I was going to write, is going to be these fun adventure stories like, wow, this is why I’m living to get to that next day. What’s around that next corner?

So then I start getting better with my health and I think I got to do something in health. I can inspire people with what I’ve gone through and I know how I got better and I can tell people it’s like, hey, biochemical individuality. What I did is not exactly what you’re going to need. But there’s certain principles that underlie, diet, supplementation.

Michael Roesslein:

There’s stuff that is universal to everyone.

Christopher Blakeslee:

And medication reduction is huge. I mean, that’s what was holding me back. And then there’s the toxins and the parasites. And on top of that, the pain neuroscience helps all these things. So there are principles that set the base for the foundation to work. It’s become my life’s mission now that I don’t want anybody to go through what I went through because it was entirely unnecessary and shockingly reversible. I mean, I never thought my body would heal like this. I had nerve pain off the charts. I couldn’t eat sugar for years.

Michael Roesslein:

I wouldn’t even known it was possible honestly. And I’ve seen a lot of pretty remarkable recoveries and I wouldn’t set those kind of expectations for somebody in that condition. That’s like so over the line of what I’ve ever seen somebody recover from.

Christopher Blakeslee:

I set my goal as an abstract improvement because I was like, I don’t know what the ceiling is for me.

Michael Roesslein:

I can feel better than I did yesterday.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. Better in three months is what I’d say. And a lot of people don’t realize, they think like with me it was just a hundred percent successes, even when I started getting better. It’s like, no, I kept going across the line and flaring up.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. This is not linear.

Christopher Blakeslee:

That I had histamine intolerance and I had to address that. And just so many things around the margins where there were these failures and such. But there are so many things that could be done in those circumstances for this, just the pain, oh man.

Michael Roesslein:

The pain makes everything else harder, too. And I didn’t understand that until my wife started to develop a lot of chronic pain that was really severe. And I would notice like this last year, she worked full time as an ER nurse during her flare. And she started at a new hospital and then a pandemic happened and then she’s in a pandemic, in a hospital, in an emergency room, in an autoimmune flare, with pain. And then saying, “I’m having a really hard time focusing at work.” And I’m like, of course you are, because pain and the brain and the focus it’s like, everything is like this.

Christopher Blakeslee:

A cool neuroscience analogy there is that I can’t remember if it was Lorimer Moseley or if it was Adrian Lowe that I read that said it’s like your brain’s at a pain meeting. It’s calling one person out of each of these regions where suddenly, why do you have problems with word finding and memory? And why can’t you speak? Why can’t you feel as strongly? What’s up with your emotions? Your brain is busy with that signal because it’s saying stop what’s at the root of this and address this or you’re going to pay. So it just keeps…

Michael Roesslein:

Stop doing those things that you’re trying to do and deal with this. Pay attention to me.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Right. Its so hard to break those associations, especially once it’s that pattern because you get like phantom limb pain, where the limbs not even there and it still hurts. So there are so many things and that’s why I am fascinated by that piece of it because I’ve continually seen people improve with this. And one thing I wanted to touch on just about pain and improvement is that another thing people expect is, well, everybody wants like a vertical line for their improvement and they want it yesterday.

Michael Roesslein:

It is not going to be like that.

Christopher Blakeslee:

And it’s not even linear. You’re up and down with it, as long as the trend line is good. So it’s like, I don’t even measure success. I won’t let my clients because we work together sometimes few months, sometimes longer than that, if the condition’s serious enough, but I won’t let them make a pain improvement goal, specifically to go from like a six to a four on a day. Because there are many times in this process where my pain was no better for like a year and a half, but I could do more. And that was improvement then.

And only here now in the last month that I finally set the goal as like pain-free. It is possible. I’ve seen it now four days in the last three months. It’s clearly there. It happens after the extended fast. I think I can get there now. The way you have to look at this. And it’s why I went into coaching because I almost went to Institute of Functional Medicine because it’s like I am intimate with all these things. I hear alpha-lipoic acid. I think my [inaudible 00:25:42] to help my nerve pain.

All these nutrients, that’s how I think about them. I have a very selfish interest in all this stuff. So I thought about going there and then I thought, but this other side of coming back and implementing the plans, I have so much experience here with that, that I was at the very worst and figured out improvement plans. I should do that instead. And I have all this empathy because it hurts me so much to think this is going on all over the place. I’m not the only one like this. And I know how to help people make their realistic goals and have enough knowledge to stop them from going too far and burning out.

That just I can give people a whole lot of hope with it and just help be there alongside with them. And that’s really why I said earlier that I don’t feel like I work ever. It’s just so rewarding to see these people getting out of it. And I even had a client that was really refreshing to me, had the same sort of thing going on that I did. And I was like, oh, alright, this is the truth moment. I keep saying that I could have prevented this. So let’s see. And lo and behold, seven factor improvement in the early stage of interstitial cystitis in one month of working with me. It was just, oh man, that makes my chest swell and I feel so happy.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s amazing. It’s all so amazing. Your journey is the longest and most difficult one I’ve probably ever heard anybody talk about. And it’s really remarkable and I can’t even pretend to understand it. It’s not. I was in pain and I broke my leg once. I actually fell down yesterday getting off my bike and a stick went through my finger and I have a huge hole in my finger. That’s pain to me… I have never suffered from chronic.

I had a back pain for like 10 years. But I knew the things that I had to not do to make it not hurt. So I just didn’t do those things. I’ve been the close witness of pretty severe pain condition now for a few years on and off. And when it’s on, it’s like the worst damn thing that there is. It is so horrific and horrible and I feel so helpless and I can’t do anything. We try this, we try this, we try this, we try this.

Now I know we’re going to call you. But it’s so debilitating and watching the toll that it takes on somebody not just like, I can’t do this. She likes to do power lifting. She likes to make pottery. She likes to do ceramics. She likes to do these kind of things. It all goes away. It’s all gone. And then it’s like, what am I doing? Her nursing thing, she couldn’t nurse, she couldn’t work. And nursing to her is like her identity. She couldn’t work. She couldn’t do ceramic. She couldn’t do pottery. She couldn’t do power lifting. It was literally just like try to make it through the day.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. Just survive.

Michael Roesslein:

But there’s no carrot there. It has to be reframed. Unless there’s help in reframing, it’s literally just survival. And there’s resentment. And there’s like people not understanding and then wanting you to do things. And then people being like, oh, well, just take some Advil and go hiking with me. It’s like, I can’t get out of bed.

Christopher Blakeslee:

I know. It’s like, I can’t even function on the most basic level. It’s like, I’m having urinary incontinence. I mean, I just am ashamed of how I am. And that is huge. And that has to be addressed. Feeling alone in this is the most natural thing and I detest it for people. People tell me, it’s like, I can’t believe you’re so generous with your free time, just giving free 90 minutes to everybody up front. It’s like, well, all that matters is establishing a connection because they’re in a tunnel right now and they can’t even see the light at this point.

Michael Roesslein:

And they need somebody who can see that.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. Just to know that there’s a way out. And sometimes people kind of get intimidated. They’re like, “Oh, I’m not as bad as you. I don’t know if I need to come see you.” It’s like the principles work.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Let’s not set the goal of getting as bad as I was.

Christopher Blakeslee:

I know. And I always say, do not be me either. Because it’s like, I refer out all the time. If I ever think somebody needs a functional medicine practitioner, I include it in the consultation because sometimes you need a protocol designed for you. Don’t be me that took 15 years to design his own and to figure it out. That’s really inefficient and really miserable to go.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Don’t use me as the example. I say that when I’m doing other type of coaching work now. I’m like, I ran myself into the ground for like 15 years with unhealthy lifestyle and things and it took me almost killing myself to dive into the type of healing work that I’m doing now. And people are like, “Well, I’m not suicidal.” And I’m like, great. Awesome. Let’s talk about these things before we get to that point because it’s not necessary.

All of these things can be done and shifts can be made and changes can happen and you can make adjustments without being in years of hell or being suicidal or being in like just unfathomable… Even your pain scale, I loved how you said the pain that I used to think was a six or a seven, but now I know is a three or a four. I’ve watched Mira’s pain scale change too when she says like, “I think I’m a six.” And what she used to think was a six became a three because she learned that 10 is a lot higher than she thought it was. And the days where it’s close to a 10, it literally kills me to see it.

Christopher Blakeslee:

It’s the worst thing.

Michael Roesslein:

It’s so horrific. And hers is full body. It’s something I wish nobody ever had to go through.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Same here. And just knowing that these principles are out there. And thankfully functional medicine’s getting talked about. I tell everybody, lifestyle changes really were like 80% for me. It was so much of it was just committing to that. And I was doing the common sense pain neuroscience without knowing it. But so much of that was what was important. And just the pain side of things. It is so bad to see that it gets so bad, but it can get reversed. And hopefully other people don’t get to quite that level. It’s man, that is just a really hard place for people to be. And I’m so sorry that anybody’s through that.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. It’s so horrific. And so if you’re out there and you’re going through that, we definitely see you. There are lights at the end of the tunnels and there are other doctors and practitioners doing things like Dr. Lemons like this. There are ways through these things if you find the right guides.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. If you give the body what it needs, it’ll fix itself.

Michael Roesslein:

So how do people connect with you?

Christopher Blakeslee:

My website is balancehealthcoach.com. And like you said, that’ll be under the video and such. That’s my primary. I mean, I put stuff. I am like rainbows and unicorns on my social media because it’s like, that really is my life. It’s gotten to almost like fictional for me that it got so good that it’s like I’m just there and I’m loving every second of it. I have this one video I made where it’s like, this is where I want to see everybody.

The dream with chronic illness and chronic pain is back to doing what you love. And whenever you get back to that level, it is just this beautiful cathartic moment. I had tears of joy and that’s whenever I saw. I was like, that’s the purpose here going forward, is other people seeing this and just trying to get as many people on board and fix themselves.

Michael Roesslein:

I went to your site. I see your before picture. And it’s just remarkable. It’s so incredible. I know that you know that now. That you appreciate that. I know people tend to like downplay how significant something they’ve done is sometimes, at least I’m guilty of that. People are always like, “You do all these,” I’m like, “Whatever.” But it’s really remarkable. That should be like a movie. So turn your book into a movie.

Christopher Blakeslee:

We’ll see about that. I hadn’t really thought about that one. My dad said it at one point, but I was like, “Wouldn’t it be really boring because it’s like 15 years of me sitting in one place hurting?”

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. But they can make that seem… You could go into the inner world at that point.

Christopher Blakeslee:

And speaking of my parents, just seeing them, what it’s done for them, it has lifted so much from them. And we have such an amazing relationship now. We are so close and man, I love them with all my heart. Just having a good support system is like nothing else, because I always knew no matter what, they had my back. And I got this crazy lab of experimentation with my myself, where I could try everything and that was my full-time job.

I mean, I was doing it 16 hours a day sometimes. I was like, I’m reading health stuff all day. We’re going to look at this until I’m exhausted to try and find a way out. And just having them and now seeing how happy they are, how much they smile, just the weight of the world is not just off my shoulders, it’s off theirs. And I want to see that for people’s families too. Because like Dr. Lemons, he runs a support group at nights, once a week for the families of people with chronic pain. Because he said as hard as it is to live with chronic pain, it’s hard to live with someone that has chronic pain.

Michael Roesslein:

It is. And there’s like a guilt around even saying that sometimes. I don’t even like to tell people that because it seems like I’m making it about me. But it is really hard. It’s really hard. Caretaker role is like no joke. What your parents did is, again, pretty remarkable.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. I will do anything for them. I mean, really, just to support them back. It’s like, I’ve come back. Ever since I moved, it’s like, I can’t go more in a couple of months without seeing them.

Michael Roesslein:

How far is Austin from Overland park?

Christopher Blakeslee:

It’s only about two and a half hour flight. So it’s not bad.

Michael Roesslein:

Do you fly to Wichita?

Christopher Blakeslee:

No. Straight into Kansas City.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, Kansas City? Okay.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. Because Overland Park’s just…

Michael Roesslein:

Oh yeah. It’s closer to Kansas City. Yeah. It’s like a suburb of Kansas City, right?

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. Southwest.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. That’s not that far of a flight then.

Christopher Blakeslee:

And that’s where Dr. Lemons is. I can’t believe he was seven minutes away all those years.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, he’s been doing it for decades, too, right?

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. He’s in his late seventies and he’s been down the road for four decades.

Michael Roesslein:

Seven miles, you said?

Christopher Blakeslee:

Seven minutes.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, seven minutes, like in a car?

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. And because the doctors, they just don’t think that… I think that a lot of them honestly think that lifestyle changes is just why you talk about them because nobody’s going to do them. And then they don’t think that the thinking side and they don’t fully understand what he does. I mean, who understands these nerve movements and how Tai Chi works and such and how that calms you down.

Michael Roesslein:

Tai Chi and Qigong are good stuff, man.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. I did both during my recovery.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Qigong has been a big part of one of the two trainings that I’m in just in an aspect of it. It’s like an energy medicine is part of the training and Qigong sensitizes you to subtle energy so much. The more I practice, I’m able to like feel at a different level. I guess that’s good even with chronic pain. But I don’t know if feeling more is your agenda there, but moving energy through the channels and having that energy move through the body, like stuck energy contributes to pain. This just got way less science, but this is stuff that has been known for millennia.

Christopher Blakeslee:

It seems like the answer to all this stuff is really, it’s like the body has certain requirements and it needs these things. That you have to give it certain nutrients. And it’s like, your macros are going to vary and such. But it’s like, there’s some base foods that are safe and things. It’s like, I did autoimmune protocol three years, but now I can do 80-20 if I want to.

It’s like nothing really bad happens. But just, why would I do that to myself? So I don’t do that. I don’t want to go back there. But so much of this seems like it’s like get your nervous system back in alignment with things because the modern lifestyle is really hard on the nervous system. It’s like a red light. Whoa. It’s like lie and slam on the brakes

Michael Roesslein:

I have work to do on mine. I’ve noticed that since Mira’s latest flare, I startle, like I jump. If she comes up behind me and touches me, I’ll jump. If there’s a sound, I jump. I never used to do that. And since the last flare, I’ve noticed that. And so I still have some work on my nervous system that it’s increased my natural hyper vigilance more.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Right. Because you don’t feel safe. I mean, someone close to you is in danger. I call it like the background radiation. They look through a telescope and they see the heat out there. It’s like all these things it’s hard for me to even explain to somebody who hasn’t gotten through it, but there was a background heat to my nervous system that was hard to put my finger on.

That now I speak more slowly. I have this feeling of calm and groundedness that I never used to have that I think I’ve been basically stuck in fight, flight, freeze for most of my life. I think it was on some level, even though I’d be like, “I’m fine.” If you ask me. But I’d startle. My brother would say, “Something’s wrong with you.” That I would just hear loud music and shiver. Just, whoa, what was that? But there’s a whole lot of stuff going on there with the nervous system.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. And we could go on about that too. And maybe we’ll come back and do another chat just specifically. This season’s about the healing journey. So I really wanted to focus on that. But the next season is around education and information. And so there’s a lot of education and information that you’ve gathered that most people probably don’t have. So we could get all nerdy on the nervous system and pain stuff.

Christopher Blakeslee:

I literally can talk all day about it.

Michael Roesslein:

So cool. Well, we’ll do that. I’ll put you on the list. We’ll do it. We’ll come back for season two and talk about pain science and neurology and those things. Wow. Okay. All your links are down below. I’ll put Dr. Lemon’s website down below, too, just because you mentioned it in the episode. And then we’ll put your link there. Go check out his website and reach out if you think you need to. And just thank you for sharing so much and for turning such a horrific deal of cards into something that you’re now helping other people get out of that.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah. It feels so good.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, it is. I can feel it. I can feel how genuine when you are and how just excited you are to be doing what you’re doing. And not only the work that you’re doing, but like the life that you now have. It’s like how incredible. I remember when Mira started having her first pain-free days at the end of this last flare, I said, “I’m never going to take this for granted again.” Normal now is awesome. If we can just go around, walk two blocks and you’re not in pain and we’re walking the dog, that’s like the coolest thing we’ve ever done. And trying to keep that perspective.

Christopher Blakeslee:

For sure. But the word for me is just cherish. I cherish my life. And I was never one to take my life for granted, but man, every good moment I just seize onto it and I feel it as full as I can. I mean, I emote. I am just grinning from ear to ear.

Michael Roesslein:

You got some catching up to do with absorbing good moments and fun times and that. You deserve it. A lot of people probably didn’t make it through similar experiences.

Christopher Blakeslee:

Yeah, I know. And it’s just, whenever you said that about people saying that they haven’t got to the suicides, like please don’t. Because two weeks into Dr. Lemon’s program, I balled in there when I finally let the walls down whenever I said, how do you trust yourself again after you had a thought like that? Can I trust myself ever again? That’s a hard thing to work through, but it can be done. And I hope anybody that’s there just can find somebody to work with to get out of there or to just never get there in the first place.

Michael Roesslein:

For sure. Well, thank you so much, Christopher. This has been a joy to hear your story, as painful as it is, too. And just kudos to you for all that you’ve turned it into and what you’ve been through. The way you’ve turned it around, it’s completely remarkable. So thank you so much. I’d love to have you back to nerd out on pain neuroscience. So we can do that in another episode. And just thank you. Thank you for what you’re doing.

Christopher Blakeslee:

And thank you right back at you. I mean, for the platform, even. I’m happy to be able to share it so that more people can hear that it doesn’t have to be that hopeless.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Well, I’m grateful to have you on, so we’ll do it again.

Christopher Blakeslee:

All right. Will see you around.

Michael Roesslein:

And this brings us to the end of today’s episode. Head on over to rebelhealthtribe.com/kit to access the RHT Quick Start Bundle, which includes four full-length presentations from our RHT master classes, two downloadable PDF guides, and a 15% off coupon, which you can use in our retail shop. If you’re on Facebook, come join our Rebel Health Tribe group over there. And finally, if you like the show, please subscribe, leave a review, and share with your friends. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you again soon.