It's 2018, and I have so many parts of me that hurt, and that have hurt for years, that a change has gotta come. This is my Week Zero. I made a commitment to start today. In a lot of ways I feel like a hopeless case, but I've read some of the success stories, and I know my problem is TMS (not quite sure on the venous stuff, see below). So much has happened... here's my story. I first became familiar with Dr. Sarno when I had recurring lower back pain in my early thirties (I'm in my fifties now). Reading the book helped and I stuck it on a shelf and forgot about it. Had two kids and moved to California, where we built a pretty great life. I was very active, hiking and walking my dogs, raising my boys, and remodeling our fixer house. My back gave me occasional trouble, but regular massages helped. I'd forgotten about Sarno and sold his book at a yard sale (I have a new copy now). On the surface, everything was great. Underneath, I had enormous stressors. My eldest was diagnosed with autism, and my youngest began suffering from high fevers that recurred every month and were very frightening. Being an incredibly motivated person who always found a way to fix things and make things happen, I got one son the help and support he needed, and after exhaustive research, resolved the fevers in the other one through a special diet. He's a healthy teen now. But the toll all this took on my marriage was enormous. My husband was the type of person who believed only in doctors and surgery, and anything else represented weakness. He lashed out at me and my eldest, verbally and physically. We patched things up and he went to anger management, and I swallowed more stress for the sake of keeping the family together. I was working some great parttime jobs that allowed my to be with my kids - as a newspaper reporter, then a real estate agent. I was a very energetic and motivated agent, but after two years in the field, my voice began to fail, and it hurt to talk. I cut my time on the phone, which made my husband furious and widened the divide between us. Sometimes I could speak only in whispers. Finally I took a leave of absence and began another career I'd always dreamed of, writing mystery novels. After I'd self-published two books, I landed an agent and sold the next two to a publisher. I was thrilled! But I was still unable to talk on the phone, and by now the issue had been diagnosed as GERD. My husband was unimpressed with my writing career as it was not especially lucrative. Then out of the blue, my lower legs began to hurt and swell, first the right one, then the left. No cause could be identified. I had, of course, a zillion tests, including an ultrasound checking for venous insufficiency, which came back normal. After ten months of elevating and compression socks, it got so bad I could barely walk, much less hike. My legs were hot and swollen, and I used to "ice dip," sticking them in a bucket of icewater for 60 seconds, then warming them, then repeating for an hour. Now here's where things went from bad to worse. At this point I was struggling with walking and talking. Two weeks after my legs got bad, I broke a tooth that had to extracted. The extraction site didn't heal, and I was in excruciating pain and unable to chew for 5 months, which is how long it took me to get seen by a competent dentist. An oral surgeon redid the extraction, and it healed, but my facial/chewing muscles had atrophied and I'd developed TMJ. I saw specialists and tried just about every therapy out there, and was always told, "It's just muscular." Sometimes I'd have great improvement, then it would flare up again. In September of 2016, my husband told me I'd never get better and he wanted a divorce. To say I was stunned and hurt (and ANGRY) is an understatement. All my issues flared, after being relatively calm. He moved onto a trailer on our property, and is still there. Okay, things have already gone from bad to worse, right? So here's where they went to ridiculous. We agreed to file for divorce, and over the summer, met at the courthouse to do the paperwork. As I was walking back to my car and crossing the street, with the light and in the crosswalk, I was struck by an SUV. My first ambulance ride and my first broken bone (fibula), plus concussion, whiplash, knee injury and tons of soft tissue stuff. It was a long slow recovery, and it's not done yet. The ankle healed, but just as I was getting back to walking, the inside of the ankle began to lock up painfully. And that's where I'm at today. Week Zero, with ankle pain that keeps me from walking more than a few blocks, GERD, TMJ that recently flared, and venous insufficiency (the ultrasound was redone and that was in fact the diagnosis). Even in hideous and uncomfortable compression socks, I have swelling and dermatitis on both ankles. I spend most of my day applying warm compresses or ice or lotions to various parts of my body! And I have fear. And anger. And anxiety. After the accident, I remember telling myself, "You don't have time to stress over the divorce, you have healing to do!" So those emotions got stuffed down. Will I regain my health? Will I have enough money to get by until I can work outside the house? Will my kids be okay? Should I have the venous laser treatment? Will I be able to travel? And hike? And eat a chocolate chip cookie? Wow, this is a lot of stuff. Thanks for reading - and happy New Year!