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BruceMC
Last Activity:
Jan 20, 2018 at 12:30 AM
Joined:
Mar 17, 2012
Messages:
1,543
Likes Received:
971
Trophy Points:
121
Gender:
Male
Birthday:
July 10
Home Page:
Location:
Belmont, California
Occupation:
Senior Technical Writer/Publisher

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BruceMC

Beloved Grand Eagle, Male, from Belmont, California

With Empedocles on Aetna and about to jump in! Jul 29, 2017

BruceMC was last seen:
Jan 20, 2018 at 12:30 AM
  • My Story

    From reading Levine's Waking the Tiger, I can see now that my TMS pain originated in the trauma of a horrendous fall I took out bouldering one night just after I took a new technical writing job at Tektronix Corp. in 1989. I recall being really mad that night about getting suckered out of my old job into a new position and finding out it was really a step down in the world, so after work I went out climbing when the rock was still wet (subconsciously looking for trouble?). At the top of a problem, my foot slipped on a wet patch and I fell 25 ft onto hard rock, fracturing the occipital lobe of my skull and breaking my nose when I pitched forward after shattering the calcaneous (heel) in my left leg into hundreds of pieces. Well, the pain, as you might imagine was excruciating, but I recovered after 6 months of physical therapy and returned to full activity via a rigorous program of bicycle riding. About two years later, I didn't have any pain, could hike and climb again. In fact, I went on to new heights of athletic and professional achievement, motivated no doubt by my intense desire to overcome my injuries. However, I realize now that the trauma of this horrendous accident remained programmed into the pain pathways on the left side of my body. But I was very self-reliant, crawled through the rain 200 yards to my car and drove myself to Stanford U. ER and did a self-admit. Just remember: It's not going to be a good day if you can look into the rear view mirror and see you skull in the reflection!

    Then, in January 2001, my mother, who had always served as my emotional support and ally in our collective fight with my late father, died after I had been taking care of her in an retirement home, working two jobs and managing a host of wrongful death lawsuits associated with my tyrannical father's death from mesothelioma in March 1997. Sounds a lot like what Steve Ozanich calls, Phase 4 TMS, where the symptoms take place after a long period of stress and hyper-activity, doen't it? Well, to make a long story short, about six months after my mother's death, when I inherited my parent's house and assets in Belmont, California, I started to experience sciatica while out running. Every day it got worse, but I thought it was a hamstring pull and just kept running and stretching my leg. Well, one night I came back home from running and started stretching in the jacuzzi in the backyard (the same one I had bought for my mother when she came home to visit from the retirement home on weekends - a psychologically loaded object no doubt!). Then, I experienced what Dr. Sarno describes as a massive back attack in my lower left lumbar region and what my old family doctor, James Buckley, diagnosed as a "herniated disk" between L3 and L4. At the time, I accepted the conventional physical diagnosis and went into PT for over a year, at the end of which the pain began to subside. I never stopped to think that the pain was on the same side as my old injury or that it released its hold on me shortly after a large check arrived as part of the settlement from my father's wrongful death lawsuit. Well, I bought a new titanium road bike and started rigorous training again in the climbing gym thinking my back pain problems were behind me. Occasionally, there would be a twinges in the lower lumbar region, but I never stopped to consider that they occurred when I was under some kind of psychological stress, like having to go to an author's party in Berkeley to celebrate an article I published in Bay Nature magazine, or when I was offered a position teaching at a junior college, but had to make a long trip for the interview. Then, the back pain would start up mysteriously, preventing me from taking the drive up to the far north of California. Makes me think now about how TMS can be a strategy to avoid carrying on with your life, a point often made in this forum.

    Then, sometime in 2007, after breaking up with a ballet dancer (my father had always worshiped ballet dancers) in San Francisco, I took a fall out running on the game preserve near my house, flying through the air and landing after 20 ft on my left butt cheek. Well, I dusted myself off and ran in 1.5 miles, so I assumed I wasn't hurt. However, about three days later, while out hiking, I started to notice a little stinging in my sciatic nerve, which spread day by day until it enveloped my whole left side. When I couldn't stand on that side anymore, I went into Dr. Buckley who diagnosed hematoma and gave me a prescription for pain pills. However, there was no swelling, no redness, no bruise although I was in such intense pain I couldn't stand up, sit down or put on my socks. Well, about a year into conventional PT that also included Pilates on the reformer and cadillac machines, I discovered Healing Back Pain by Dr. John E. Sarno. In the three years since then, I have gradually come back from complete immobility to a full range of physical activities again. I guess I'm a slow learner, but looking back over these three years I can see an amazing improvement. My pain level is down at least 85%. I'm weight lifting, bouldering and road biking with more and more weight, for longer periods of time, and for greater distances. That's not to say that it's been really easy and without a lot of mental and physical anguish. Working my way through the structured program on this Wiki resulted in another level of improvement too. But I can still feel at the back of my mind the fear of another relapse, so I guess I'm not completely cured yet and have to keep working at it?

    PS- When I read my story today, it all seems so overdone. Really quite simple: when my domineering parents died I had to face all the emotions I'd been repressing since I was a little kid. Simpler to have TMS than face my rage against my tyrannical dad that had always been mitigated by my late mother's supportive love. When mom died, that emotional equation just didn't work anymore. TMS is really quite easy to understand once you get a little emotional distance on the process when the symptoms start to go down. I guess you have to read hundreds of pages of those TMS books until you figure out the simple answers behind your symptoms?
    Of course, I was picked on in elementary school and high school by the hoods and under-achieving bullies who didn't like me for being bookish, introverted and smart. And my parent's relationship was conflicted, even macho-sadistic, in the extreme. And as a child and adolescent, not surprisingly, I had a host of TMS-equivalent disorders like allergies, asthma and various rashes. As a result of the tremendous pressure put on by my tyrannical, belittling father, I have the classic TMS personality traits of over-achieving compulsive perfectionism. I can even recall back when I was 6 years old, my father paraphrasing for me the whole doctrine of the Nietzschean Superman, indicating that this was my approved path. Of course, this was also tinged with his own sense of inferiority and intense hatred of his own mother for placing him in a Catholic orphanage in Denver in 1934 during the Great Depression. When he disapproved of anything I did he said I was being worthless and stupid like my mother. Too much to note down here without writing a triple-decker autobiography, but this is a pretty good beginning sketch of my background.

    However, when I look back over this biographical sketch, I find there is one important detail I have left out (traumatic aphasia/amnesia?). Certainly, that fall I took in 1989/90 traumatized me as any catastrophic accident would. But back in 1979, when I returned "home" to live in my parent's house, the conflict I had with my father undoubtedly left me with unresolved emotional problems. My late father, who had been looking into corruption in the local union where he was an officer, lost an election where he was trying to kick out the bad apples with his own slate of candidates. Well, to teach him a lesson, a group of goons beat him up in a local bar. I still remember him laying in bed with two black eyes and broken ribs. Well, he took matters into his own hands, got a gun and went down to settle affairs. My mother called the police and they disarmed him en route, so nothing happened. But his rivals busted him and demoted him and made sure he never worked again as a foreman or union officer. It was in the aftermath of this terrible beating that we started fighting one night when my mother was away visiting relatives. Well, he pulled the gun on me, threw me out of the house, and made me justify my existence out on the front porch. I took off and lived on the streets in my car until I caught a cold and came down with pneumonia. My mother found me, took me back into the family home, got me a doctor, and nursed me back to health. But the father-son thing, needless to say, was never the same. I recollect now that the first time I ever had any sciatic pain in my left leg was not after my climbing accident, but when I took a 35 mile run in 1981, and on the way back my left knee went numb in very much the same way as it did in 2001 after the death of my mother. Then, in 1987, when I was on a long 8-day climb in Yosemite, after standing on my left leg for hours to drill a bolt, the next day my left whole left leg went numb for a couple of hours. I regarded both the 35-mile run and the super climb on Mt Watkins as attempts to restore my damaged masculine self-esteem. It sounds as though the unresolved emotional issues standing behind my TMS pain on the left side were already in place long before the catastrophic accident of 1989/90 and really emanated from self-esteem issues involving my ambivalent relationship with my abusive father that I'd repressed with varying degrees of success for years and years until they boiled over following my mother's death in January 2001. Can't quite understand why my TMS pain always occurred on the left side though, but it's interesting to note that all of my accidents and aches and pains have always been on that side: torn rotator cuff - left arm, dislocated shoulder - left shoulder, herniated disk - left lower lumbar between L3/L4, sciatica - left leg and knee, broken heel - left foot, skinned knee in bicycle accident - left knee with road rash, numbness - in left knee on ultra marathon. What it suggests to me is that I have some kind of left brain/right brain imbalance brought on by an internalized conflict between my maternal and paternal halves. Too, too many coincidences for there not to be something real behind that analysis! What Levine says about traumatic reenactment also seems very true in my case. The original traumatic confrontation with my late father produced a ripple effect throughout my life of subsequent traumatic reenactments in an effort to resolve the original emotions left over from the original traumatic event. Quite interesting if you can look at the whole sequence from a detached perspective.

    Re-reading all this introspection post-TMS, I can see that it's all pretty simple: My TMS started after the deaths of my dictatorial domineering parents because having physical pain was a way of avoiding confronting the emotional conflicts my psyche had inherited from their torturous relationship.
    1. plum
      plum
      My TMS is all on my right side. It is said the left side represents the feminine and the right side the masculine. Who knows? Who dares to dream?
    2. plum
      plum
      I'm so in love with your dramatic story and subsequent recovery. Maybe it is because we are very different..? An emotional distance that allows celebration of the other...Watched "Touching the Void" (again), thought of you, naturally.
    3. andy64tms
      andy64tms
      Hi Bruce, A wonderful bio - it makes mine look like "peaches and cream" - but we don't compare do we. I asked my wife to read it and she said that you need a good woman to love you and put up with you! I gave her a kiss!
      Joking apart, feel proud that you were able to write all this down.
      1. plum likes this.
    4. Lainey
      Lainey
      Bruce MC
      What a sad story of your early life. I once went to a seminar where David Levine was speaking. Purchased his book 'Waking the Tiger' and found it to be a good protocol for undoing physical trauma that settles in our bodies. (Unfortunately loaned it to someone and have not seen it since). I am glad you are where you are now. Savor your new you.
      Lainey
      1. plum likes this.
    5. BruceMC
      BruceMC
      With Empedocles on Aetna and about to jump in!
    6. Tomsch
      Tomsch
      Hi Bruce, just starting my MBS (TMS) journey after 4 years of intolerable pain. Climbing is central to my lifestyle and life. Was hoping we might connect. Would be helpful to hear your voice and any words of wisdom. Thx.
      1. BruceMC likes this.
    7. Forest
      Forest
      1. JanAtheCPA and mike2014 like this.
      2. View previous comments...
      3. Fabi
        Fabi
        Great video! I am also practicing with this feature of commenting on others posts!
        Oct 7, 2015
      4. BruceMC
        BruceMC
        But those bears are cubs. Mama wouldn't run away!
        Mar 17, 2017
        Forest likes this.
      5. Forest
        Forest
        True, that!
        Mar 17, 2017
    8. Forest
      Forest
    9. BruceMC
      BruceMC
      In the throat of the volcano
      1. Forest likes this.
      2. Forest
        Forest
        Don't fall in!

        (Were you on a literal volcano?)
        Mar 20, 2015
      3. BruceMC
        BruceMC
        In my old profile pic, Forest, I was standing inside Mono Fissure, which is an extinct volcanic rift near Lee Vining in the Eastern Sierra. Now I see I'm at Stanford in front of the bouldering wall known as 'The Torture Chamber'.
        Mar 21, 2015
      4. Forest
        Forest
        Ahhh... sounds like a tough climb.
        Mar 21, 2015
    10. PeterO
      PeterO
      1. BruceMC
        BruceMC
        The sideburns were back when my late father was trying to market me as a rock star. Another ill-starred project!
        Apr 22, 2013
    11. Jakedrum
      Jakedrum
      Oh Morcomm,

      Your story is full of pain. And you write so well. Thank you for sharing. It is making me reflect on my own situation with new perspective.
      1. Forest and MorComm like this.
      2. BruceMC
        BruceMC
        I also noticed an improvement in my back pain and sciatica after writing my story all down here. It was like I "had to write" once I got going and achieved momentum. That's when you write best, too, when you "gotta" get it out. Thanks!
        Apr 7, 2012
    12. Forest
      Forest
      Heya, MorComm, thanks a lot for dropping by! That's a great photo you've uploaded.

      I've always thought that you have a fertile mind, and I hope that you'll share some of your thoughts with us on the forum.
      1. BruceMC
        BruceMC
        Yes, Forest, high-standard technical rock climbers are always over-achieving perfectionists with a tendency toward obsessive behavior patterns. Okay, as long as you keep those traits focused on inanimate objects like rocks!
        Mar 17, 2012
      2. Forest
        Forest
        > high-standard technical rock climbers are always
        > over-achieving perfectionists with a tendency
        > toward obsessive behavior patterns.
        Makes sense... You can almost feel it just by thinking of the activity. It's so intense, and I imagine that one must be very driven just to do it.
        Mar 17, 2012
      3. BruceMC
        BruceMC
        But it's so, so relaxing afterwards. There is no better definition of 'mellow' than laying out on Tenaya Beach after a hard climb. What's that Levine says about initiating the relaxation response after trauma? Makes perfect sense. Just like running a marathon. You have to relax afterward, no way out of it.
        Mar 18, 2012
        plum likes this.
  • Loading...
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  • My Story

    Gender:
    Male
    Birthday:
    July 10
    Home Page:
    http://www.morcommpress.com
    Location:
    Belmont, California
    Occupation:
    Senior Technical Writer/Publisher
    From reading Levine's Waking the Tiger, I can see now that my TMS pain originated in the trauma of a horrendous fall I took out bouldering one night just after I took a new technical writing job at Tektronix Corp. in 1989. I recall being really mad that night about getting suckered out of my old job into a new position and finding out it was really a step down in the world, so after work I went out climbing when the rock was still wet (subconsciously looking for trouble?). At the top of a problem, my foot slipped on a wet patch and I fell 25 ft onto hard rock, fracturing the occipital lobe of my skull and breaking my nose when I pitched forward after shattering the calcaneous (heel) in my left leg into hundreds of pieces. Well, the pain, as you might imagine was excruciating, but I recovered after 6 months of physical therapy and returned to full activity via a rigorous program of bicycle riding. About two years later, I didn't have any pain, could hike and climb again. In fact, I went on to new heights of athletic and professional achievement, motivated no doubt by my intense desire to overcome my injuries. However, I realize now that the trauma of this horrendous accident remained programmed into the pain pathways on the left side of my body. But I was very self-reliant, crawled through the rain 200 yards to my car and drove myself to Stanford U. ER and did a self-admit. Just remember: It's not going to be a good day if you can look into the rear view mirror and see you skull in the reflection!

    Then, in January 2001, my mother, who had always served as my emotional support and ally in our collective fight with my late father, died after I had been taking care of her in an retirement home, working two jobs and managing a host of wrongful death lawsuits associated with my tyrannical father's death from mesothelioma in March 1997. Sounds a lot like what Steve Ozanich calls, Phase 4 TMS, where the symptoms take place after a long period of stress and hyper-activity, doen't it? Well, to make a long story short, about six months after my mother's death, when I inherited my parent's house and assets in Belmont, California, I started to experience sciatica while out running. Every day it got worse, but I thought it was a hamstring pull and just kept running and stretching my leg. Well, one night I came back home from running and started stretching in the jacuzzi in the backyard (the same one I had bought for my mother when she came home to visit from the retirement home on weekends - a psychologically loaded object no doubt!). Then, I experienced what Dr. Sarno describes as a massive back attack in my lower left lumbar region and what my old family doctor, James Buckley, diagnosed as a "herniated disk" between L3 and L4. At the time, I accepted the conventional physical diagnosis and went into PT for over a year, at the end of which the pain began to subside. I never stopped to think that the pain was on the same side as my old injury or that it released its hold on me shortly after a large check arrived as part of the settlement from my father's wrongful death lawsuit. Well, I bought a new titanium road bike and started rigorous training again in the climbing gym thinking my back pain problems were behind me. Occasionally, there would be a twinges in the lower lumbar region, but I never stopped to consider that they occurred when I was under some kind of psychological stress, like having to go to an author's party in Berkeley to celebrate an article I published in Bay Nature magazine, or when I was offered a position teaching at a junior college, but had to make a long trip for the interview. Then, the back pain would start up mysteriously, preventing me from taking the drive up to the far north of California. Makes me think now about how TMS can be a strategy to avoid carrying on with your life, a point often made in this forum.

    Then, sometime in 2007, after breaking up with a ballet dancer (my father had always worshiped ballet dancers) in San Francisco, I took a fall out running on the game preserve near my house, flying through the air and landing after 20 ft on my left butt cheek. Well, I dusted myself off and ran in 1.5 miles, so I assumed I wasn't hurt. However, about three days later, while out hiking, I started to notice a little stinging in my sciatic nerve, which spread day by day until it enveloped my whole left side. When I couldn't stand on that side anymore, I went into Dr. Buckley who diagnosed hematoma and gave me a prescription for pain pills. However, there was no swelling, no redness, no bruise although I was in such intense pain I couldn't stand up, sit down or put on my socks. Well, about a year into conventional PT that also included Pilates on the reformer and cadillac machines, I discovered Healing Back Pain by Dr. John E. Sarno. In the three years since then, I have gradually come back from complete immobility to a full range of physical activities again. I guess I'm a slow learner, but looking back over these three years I can see an amazing improvement. My pain level is down at least 85%. I'm weight lifting, bouldering and road biking with more and more weight, for longer periods of time, and for greater distances. That's not to say that it's been really easy and without a lot of mental and physical anguish. Working my way through the structured program on this Wiki resulted in another level of improvement too. But I can still feel at the back of my mind the fear of another relapse, so I guess I'm not completely cured yet and have to keep working at it?

    PS- When I read my story today, it all seems so overdone. Really quite simple: when my domineering parents died I had to face all the emotions I'd been repressing since I was a little kid. Simpler to have TMS than face my rage against my tyrannical dad that had always been mitigated by my late mother's supportive love. When mom died, that emotional equation just didn't work anymore. TMS is really quite easy to understand once you get a little emotional distance on the process when the symptoms start to go down. I guess you have to read hundreds of pages of those TMS books until you figure out the simple answers behind your symptoms?
    Of course, I was picked on in elementary school and high school by the hoods and under-achieving bullies who didn't like me for being bookish, introverted and smart. And my parent's relationship was conflicted, even macho-sadistic, in the extreme. And as a child and adolescent, not surprisingly, I had a host of TMS-equivalent disorders like allergies, asthma and various rashes. As a result of the tremendous pressure put on by my tyrannical, belittling father, I have the classic TMS personality traits of over-achieving compulsive perfectionism. I can even recall back when I was 6 years old, my father paraphrasing for me the whole doctrine of the Nietzschean Superman, indicating that this was my approved path. Of course, this was also tinged with his own sense of inferiority and intense hatred of his own mother for placing him in a Catholic orphanage in Denver in 1934 during the Great Depression. When he disapproved of anything I did he said I was being worthless and stupid like my mother. Too much to note down here without writing a triple-decker autobiography, but this is a pretty good beginning sketch of my background.

    However, when I look back over this biographical sketch, I find there is one important detail I have left out (traumatic aphasia/amnesia?). Certainly, that fall I took in 1989/90 traumatized me as any catastrophic accident would. But back in 1979, when I returned "home" to live in my parent's house, the conflict I had with my father undoubtedly left me with unresolved emotional problems. My late father, who had been looking into corruption in the local union where he was an officer, lost an election where he was trying to kick out the bad apples with his own slate of candidates. Well, to teach him a lesson, a group of goons beat him up in a local bar. I still remember him laying in bed with two black eyes and broken ribs. Well, he took matters into his own hands, got a gun and went down to settle affairs. My mother called the police and they disarmed him en route, so nothing happened. But his rivals busted him and demoted him and made sure he never worked again as a foreman or union officer. It was in the aftermath of this terrible beating that we started fighting one night when my mother was away visiting relatives. Well, he pulled the gun on me, threw me out of the house, and made me justify my existence out on the front porch. I took off and lived on the streets in my car until I caught a cold and came down with pneumonia. My mother found me, took me back into the family home, got me a doctor, and nursed me back to health. But the father-son thing, needless to say, was never the same. I recollect now that the first time I ever had any sciatic pain in my left leg was not after my climbing accident, but when I took a 35 mile run in 1981, and on the way back my left knee went numb in very much the same way as it did in 2001 after the death of my mother. Then, in 1987, when I was on a long 8-day climb in Yosemite, after standing on my left leg for hours to drill a bolt, the next day my left whole left leg went numb for a couple of hours. I regarded both the 35-mile run and the super climb on Mt Watkins as attempts to restore my damaged masculine self-esteem. It sounds as though the unresolved emotional issues standing behind my TMS pain on the left side were already in place long before the catastrophic accident of 1989/90 and really emanated from self-esteem issues involving my ambivalent relationship with my abusive father that I'd repressed with varying degrees of success for years and years until they boiled over following my mother's death in January 2001. Can't quite understand why my TMS pain always occurred on the left side though, but it's interesting to note that all of my accidents and aches and pains have always been on that side: torn rotator cuff - left arm, dislocated shoulder - left shoulder, herniated disk - left lower lumbar between L3/L4, sciatica - left leg and knee, broken heel - left foot, skinned knee in bicycle accident - left knee with road rash, numbness - in left knee on ultra marathon. What it suggests to me is that I have some kind of left brain/right brain imbalance brought on by an internalized conflict between my maternal and paternal halves. Too, too many coincidences for there not to be something real behind that analysis! What Levine says about traumatic reenactment also seems very true in my case. The original traumatic confrontation with my late father produced a ripple effect throughout my life of subsequent traumatic reenactments in an effort to resolve the original emotions left over from the original traumatic event. Quite interesting if you can look at the whole sequence from a detached perspective.

    Re-reading all this introspection post-TMS, I can see that it's all pretty simple: My TMS started after the deaths of my dictatorial domineering parents because having physical pain was a way of avoiding confronting the emotional conflicts my psyche had inherited from their torturous relationship.

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