Daily exercise and pain relief: Meet @jenatsky

Mar 10, 2023 | John, Volunteer Mentor | @johnbishop | Comments (29)

Jenatsky member spotlight

JOHN: How did you find Mayo Clinic Connect? What motivates you to take part in the community?

@jenatsky: I was looking for answers to questions pertaining to my chronic pain and associated symptoms. Answers from doctors and my own research had not yet satisfied my curiosity. I have a 20-year employment history in nursing and 10 years of medical record auditing and medical coding. But I was never involved in chronic illness or rehab and had never taken care of chronic patients like myself as well. It was unfamiliar territory.

Members on Mayo Clinic Connect share numerous stories and concerns about so many variations of illnesses. It’s refreshing to see what people had tried and either failed or succeeded to alleviate their symptoms. I felt I could contribute and offer my educated input considering my medical background as well as experiences from my own back ailment.

JOHN: What about Mayo Clinic Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?

@jenatsky: I’m pretty much an open book and call things like I see them. Having worked in the emergency room of a large city hospital in critical care and public health nursing, I tend to look at illness as just part of a lifelong journey to the end. I try to offer advice that might help someone improve their situation.

JOHN: What support groups do you participate in?

@jenatsky: I participate in the Spine Health, Neuropathy, and Men's Health support groups.

I especially enjoy the Men’s Health support group and hope it will continue to grow. The Neuropathy support group helps me with my own issues with neuropathy. 

JOHN: What surprised you the most about Mayo Clinic Connect?

@jenatsky: Sometimes I see members make suggestions about medications, which concerns me. I try to obtain clinical information to correct potential errors that I see. 

But equally surprising and welcome are the vast number of resources available to members provided by the volunteer mentors in their fantastic responses. And speaking about mentors, I think the information and resources posted by you @johnbishop and @jenniferhunter have been especially helpful. They have shown me what Mayo Clinic has to offer reference wise. 

JOHN: What energizes you? How do you find balance in your life?

@jenatsky: I have a long history of volunteering. At the age of 14, I volunteered at a hospital near my home and later as a young adult, I volunteered with the community ambulance in my hometown. I’m an active blood donor and an organ donor. 

Participating in the Mayo Clinic Connect forum is another way for me to volunteer, which considering my physical limits, is all I can currently offer.

Luckily my wife is a clinical psychologist. She helps keep my head on straight and keeps me balanced. 

I center my day around pain relief. I exercise to relieve my pain, walking 2 to 3 miles daily and performing my home exercise program (HEP) twice a day or more if needed. My pain medications and cannabis alone don’t do the job completely and I have found I can start out exercising in pain but end up with no pain afterward. 

JOHN: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.

@jenatsky: I get the most enjoyment out of cooking, which I learned in Boy Scouts. For people who may not know, in Scouts when you cook, you don't have to do KP (kitchen patrol). I preferred cooking rather than cleaning up after cooking. 

Even when I traveled for work, I cooked on weekends, preparing meals for my wife to have during the week. She doesn’t cook. Now that I’m retired, I get to cook every day and absolutely love trying new stuff.

JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?

@jenatsky: “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”

JOHN: What food can you simply not resist? 

@jenatsky: Very easy answer: dark chocolate!

JOHN: Puppies or kittens? 

@jenatsky: Dogs when I was young and healthier. Now, we have a 6-year-old rescue kitty.


Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.

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Hi @jenatsky, What a pleasant surprise to get back inside from my most unpleasant physical activity, clearing snow from the driveway and sidewalk, to read your Member Spotlight. Thank you for allowing members the opportunity to get to know you a little better!

Hoping for a pain free day for you and all my Connect friends!


@jenatsky, Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself in this interview.
I had to laugh about your Boy Scout cooking and KP duties. I think you made a wise choice. I remember my boys discussing the same options! and to this day, as adults they both cook and clean up for themselves.

I am an organ transplant recipient, and I want to say, Thank you.


This is my lucky day. Welcome, @jenatsky. I am glad it is your turn to be in the spotlight. As I mentioned to you before, you are so often my checkpoint, especially with issues surrounding the appropriate use of medications and medical cannabis. I told my mentor colleagues that I had asked you to be my checkpoint to make sure I didn't say too much or forget to explain both sides of a medical coin. I often check your posts before I begin a response to see if you haven't already done a good job earlier.

What I didn't know was that you loved to cook. Now that is just amazing. I dislike cooking, When I moved to Minnesota a few years ago, my sweet life partner, Jay, wanted to know what box my cookbooks would be in. The look on his face when I said that I didn't own any cookbooks, reflected sudden concern.

I do like setting and decorating the table and I don't mind doing the dishes and cleaning up. So....we are still together and firmly entrenched in our non-gender roles.

Thanks for being a great colleague member.


@jenatsky It is always a pleasure to read a member spotlight, and discover more about our fellow members! We all come to Mayo Clinic Connect for various reasons. Your journey here underscores how diverse we all are, and that we each have our story that will help others.


John, thank you for your comments dealing with pain and how exercise helps you. I agree that walking really helps me too and I am a newbie to this road with pain. So, hearing coping skills that help you, really gives me hope. Hope that someday this scar tissue will dissolve and the pain will greatly minimize or go away. I am massaging the tissue daily and using heat which helps. And sometimes the treatment seems to increase the pain afterwards for awhile. So, I walk. Peace to you and all writing here, and may you have a comfortable and peaceful day, BB


I am having difficulty walking without a cane for support. I have neuropathy in my hands & feet. I had both knees replaced-13 years apart. I also had a hip replacement. In the last year, my pain has increased when I walk-it starts with my feet, then my knees, hips & lumbar. I tripped a couple years ago & had to have my right shoulder & elbow replaced & my left wrist reinforced with a plate. People call me the “bionic woman”, but replacement parts are not as good as the original. Any suggestions?


I walk every day, 2 plus miles, to keep weight stable and to fight the fatigue that comes with chemo and
CLL, and to forestall a relapse of my cancer. I’m 2 weeks from starting my fourth year of remission, and generally feel well, I simply try to ignore the chemo caused neuropathy in my feel. Life is a journey with ups and downs. Be well, stay happy! Richard


I walk every day, 2 plus miles, to keep weight stable and to fight the fatigue that comes with chemo and
CLL, and to forestall a relapse of my cancer. I’m 2 weeks from starting my fourth year of remission, and generally feel well, I simply try to ignore the chemo caused neuropathy in my feel. Life is a journey with ups and downs. Be well, stay happy! Richard

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You're an inspiration to those of us with fewer ailments. Keep it up and keep us up to date.


@jenatsky It was lifting reading your journey and thanks for your motivation! My husband & I have a passion for cooking and eating (healthy). In the past, I was the prep and cleanup person, while he was the chef like you see on TV with all of my chopped up ingredients in front of him and of course the dishes always being removed and countertops wiped down as he’s moving. Our roles are reversed now; it is no longer safe or wise for me to have a sharp knife in my hand slicing & dicing. But I can stir and whisk up a storm! But @artscaping I am sorry to admit that some “gender” roles still exist: I still wind up with doing all of the dishes, and all outside grilling and garbage toting is on him 😀.
Thanks again for sharing @jenatsky - I keep eating dark chocolate; I’m sure it provides the emotional support that a pill could never provide, so I’m not giving it up!


You're an inspiration to those of us with fewer ailments. Keep it up and keep us up to date.

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The fatigue and weakness won yesterday, much better today after 8.5 hours of sleep (drug assisted)

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