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Being "reckless" with my health?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by PaperCrane, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. PaperCrane

    PaperCrane Peer Supporter

    Recently, I made a sudden improvement with my neck and shoulder pain and my insomnia, which have my most problematic TMS-related symptoms. I'd been in a really bad place for a while, then made the decision that I was going to try my best to enjoy my life despite my symptoms and in a matter of just a few days, saw a big improvement in my mood and all of my physical issues, as well.

    For the first time in months, I slept a solid 6 hours and was really thrilled! Then, the very next day, I suddenly started getting pain in my right hand (mainly my thumb) and wrist and some mild pain in my left thumb. I hadn't had a history of wrist or hand problems, just a popping noise in my right wrist that wasn't accompanied by any sort of pain.

    A while ago, I'd had a consult with a rheumatologist (some of my chronic pain problems had been attributed to osteoarthritis from an injury that had never healed properly) and while I was there, he did a thorough check of all my joints. He noticed that the MCP joints in both of my thumbs have absolutely no range of motion--at all. It's like they are fused together or something. The doc made a rather big deal about it, but I insisted to him that I'd never had any pain in those joints and that it was fine, then pretty much pushed it out of my mind for a few weeks and told myself it was just a congenital abnormality or something. I was actually planning to cancel the follow-up appointment I have coming up with him next week.

    In learning about TMS recently and realizing that I am someone who always has to have something to worry about, I really think that this sudden onset of pain has come about just as I'm starting to make progress, in order to keep me focused on my body. And, I think that doctor's comments about my thumbs had scared me on some level and that's why my mind chose this particular form for the pain this time around.

    But, in talking about this new problem with some other people, I've been told that I should keep my rheumatologist appointment to be checked out for arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteo. And, that those are serious health problems and ignoring them is being "reckless" with my health. I'd agree, except that I think spending the next few weeks waiting to see the doc and then for any test results could be a big step backwards in terms of the progress I've made.

    I realize no one is able to give me medical advice and am not asking for it, but am curious as to what you might do yourself, if you were in my position. I've already heard from people who think TMS is bunk, so I'd like to hear from some experienced TMS-ers, just to sort of balance things out. Thanks!
    Jilly likes this.
  2. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    Hi PaperCrane, Of course it is completely up to you to keep your appointments or not, but where I am in my own journey is...I am not going to the doctors for these types of things. We all have anatomical anomalies and function just fine without pain or difficulty in spite of not being text book perfect. Watch the video in the media section on Gabor Mate' - "How Stress can Cause Disease" ... I have gone back to the days and ways of my Grandmother. She would go out into the garden and pick herbs to heal ... she NEVER went to the doctors and she too was a nurse back in the days of Florence Nightingale and lived well into her 100's in wonderful health with her anomalies. She was not afraid of her body or mind and was one of the most influential persons in my life. I hope this helps * hugs
    MorComm, eric watson and PaperCrane like this.
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    PaperCrane: I believe you would know almost immediately if you had rheumatoid arthritis. You'd be flat on your back in really great pain. Now, taking Jilly's caveat into account that we're not here to diagnose or prescribe, you have to realize that everyone has osteoarthritis - to some degree - after their 35th birthday, but that although osteoarthritis can limit your range of motion, it doesn't have to necessarily be painful. I realize that the MDs fight about this all the time, but osteoarthritis and pain are two different animals. Some people have tons of arthritis and no pain at all. Some people have arthritis and hurt like all heck. For instance, during my TMS relapse in 2008, my left hip hurt so much I was limping everywhere. I started dreaming about hip replacement surgery and getting way scared, so I went to the best hip man in the world, Dr. Mow, at Stanford Orthopedic and Athletic Rehabilitation (SOAR) in Redwood City, California to have it checked out. He ran his range of motion studies and said my hips had the range of motion of a 25 year old. And Dr Mow is the team doctor for the 49ers and the SF Giants. But then he added: Now, the back, that's quite another matter. You just can't figure out how it factors in and how long it will take to "heal" and what kind of weird symptoms you'll have (like pain in the hip, my symptom). He seemed to be saying in a very professional way that my pain was psychosomatic or as Dr Sarno would have it TMS or PPD or whatever you want to call it.

    But by all means keep your appointment with your rheumatologist if that will set your mind at ease about your symptoms. If you get a clean bill of health, try to notice whether the pain goes down. A positive diagnosis will lessen any fears that might be intensifying your symptoms. Then, you can proceed with a body-mind approach with a clear conscience.
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  4. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    Hi MorComm ;) ...How is your hip now and what was the progression of the hip after your appointment with Dr. Mow ?
  5. PaperCrane

    PaperCrane Peer Supporter

    Oh, I do realize that. (That is actually why I'd intended to cancel this appointment before this new issue cropped up). It was the suggestion of it being rheumatoid that scared me, as much as I know it came from someone with family who has RA and whose mind naturally went there, which means I should just take it with a grain of salt.

    I hate to say it, but I think I may indeed wind up keeping the appointment. I've been trying to get this new worry out of my mind, but I think the seed's been sown at this point and that may be what it takes to get rid of this new fear, as much as my conscious mind understands it's probably ridiculous.

    Looking at my calendar again, I notice the appointment is actually two weeks away, rather than next week, so maybe I may even be able to work through some of this and start feeling a bit better by then. I'm planning to take a day trip tomorrow and am hoping clearing my head and distracting myself will help a bit in the meantime. I guess we shall see ...
    eric watson and Jilly like this.
  6. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    Well, whatever it turns out to be, it has gotten your attention and that's the main goal of TMS and repression. I like to use this analogy... pain locating to a new place or a new symptom cropping up is much like a child changing costumes on Halloween and then going to the same houses to get more candy while Trick or Treating ! Tricky little buggars ! Be well, and enjoy your weekend and day trip * hugs * :p
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  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's a long, long shaggy dog story, Jilly. I'd had a so-called herniated disk in 2002-03 starting 6 months after my mother's death. Then, I gradually came back doing physical therapy like a fiend until I was running trails again and climbing with my male-friendship group at the climbing gym. I sold some property, got the money, and published a new edition of my rock climbing guide. Took a year to research and write it and I was pushing myself again real, real hard. Then, one day I was out running, shortly after being unceremoniously dumped by a ballet dancer in San Francisco, and took a fall on my left hip after tripping over a root (drop foot?). What started out a few days later as a little tingling kept growing and growing until my hip was in so much pain I couldn't stand on my left leg. Went to the family GP and he said a bad internal bruise (hematoma), but no swelling, no red marks, nothing. My doctor got very sick (he died a short time later), so I was concerned enough to get a diagnosis from Dr Mow at SOAR. About which you can read above. This was about the same time I picked up Dr Sarno's Healing Back Pain and started noticing all the disturbing parallels between my hip pain and a TMS diagnosis. Unfortunately, I also still believed enough in the structural diagnosis that I went back to physical therapy and started doing exercises again; this time, Pilates on the reformer and Cadillac machines. Slow improvement. But I bet the same thing would have happened if I had done nothing. Then last March, I abandoned all physical therapy and started the SEP and this group. Ever since then I just keep getting better and better, especially since abandoning the physical and accepting the psychological completely. Seems like I'm finally addressing the underlying psychological problem behind the herniated disk in 2002 and my relapse in 2008, was it? I'm sure it's the preoccupation with physical symptoms that kept me locked in the TMS pain cycle.

    One thing I remember Dr Mow saying back then that really stands out in my mind now. He mentioned in passing, based on his experience in Boulder, Colorado, that "You climbers sure like to hurt yourselves!" I realize now that this was another hint that my pain problem was largely psychogenic in nature. It's just so obvious from all the climbers that I have known through the years that as a group we're hard-driven, narcisist, perfectionist over-achievers who are completely obsessed with our bodies on a day to day basis. Sounds like a recipe for TMS, don't you think? If you ever glance at the Forum in SuperTopo, the climbers' blog, you'll immediately be struck by the hundreds of strings about strange physical ailments, aches and pains. Seems like everyone is always having their knees, hips, shoulders, and feet operated on. Also, some entries go on and on about chiropractic regimes and acupuncture schedules that some climbers adhere to like they're some form of occult religion. It goes without saying that if you're always putting extreme pressure on yourself to perform on a daily basis that you're going to generate some pretty strange symptoms.
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  8. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    It's a great story of your journey...So many interesting parts to this story. Sometimes I decipher stories through symbolism. The ballet dancer and the stumble over a tree branch while running is so symbolic. The hip injury was intense as I am sure the wound and blow to your heart as the dancer was symbolic for a comfort, respite from the pain of the family issues but her actions forced you back into a corner, no relief from the family issues brewing deep inside. Ballet is symbolic of balance, inner harmony, and balanced feelings. The ballet dancers movements are precise, delicate, extremely difficult and beautiful, perhaps your need to be precise is internally emphasized and could have produced a certain amount of strain to achieve; where as hers seemed to flow so beautifully and effortlessly through her dance. Intoxicating I am sure.

    Tree roots can be symbolic either of feeling "rooted" in one spot, stagnant and unable to move, or the roots may "run deep" indicating a sense of home, stability, and ability to find nutrition (physical, mental, spiritual) in hidden places. Trees that are uprooted can symbolize feelings of chaos, disarray, despair, or instability. Kind of eerie when you take into consideration your personal story at the time .. running. What were you running away from and that tree had to push its roots up, cause you to fall to catch your attention ?

    I think your'e so right on with your healing ... kudos my TMS brother ! :cool:
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  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    And of course I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on W.B. Yeats and Arthur Symons who were both involved in the formulation of the dance aesthetic at the close of the 19th century:

    "Oh body swayed to music,
    Oh brightening glance,
    How can we tell the dancer from the dance?"

    W.B. Yeats, "Among School Children"

    Arthur Symons even had an ill-starred affair with a young dancer at the the Alhambra Theatre in 1896 that changed him forever. And there is more! When I was very young, perhaps 8 or 9, my father took me up to San Francisco to meet the dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet when they were staying at the St Francis Hotel. He brought along his new fangled Nikon and got a couple of them to come down from the second story of the hotel to meet us for pictures out on the street. And what in the heck did I do when I went up to the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance to watch HH perform during their annual summer dance intensive? I wore one of my late father's fancy French suits and carried along my new Nikon DSLR on a strap over my shoulder, exactly the way my dad had twenty-five years earlier. Deja vu!

    But until I started doing all this TMS journaling therapy, I wasn't even conscious of all the parallels and symbolic equivalents in the whole scenario. I wonder if I was trying to court HH and turn her into a substitute for my late mother? You betcha! No wonder I was so intense and obsessed with the dancer's image! And the whole plot continues like a novel. I met HH's choreographer a couple of years ago in Antioch where she was rehearsing one of her dancers for a performance scheduled later in the month. After the rehearsal (which I photographed with a new lens!), the choreographer and I went out for coffee at a nearby Starbucks. Then, Renee B, the choreographer, asked me about my "crush" on HH! And I felt forced to spill the beans about what the whole thing meant. RB and HH had obviously been discussing the whole matter over in Hawaii where Renee has her dance troupe on Maui. HH is now married though to a very rich guy with boats and property in Santa Cruz. No children yet though and HH is as beautiful as ever.

    Everything is interconnected and runs back into itself! Interesting too that Renee turned to choreography after she developed chronic pain while dancing as a prima. Does anything really ever end?
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  10. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    OMG ! This story is AMAZING ! Nothing never really ends, your'e right it just keeps cycling through
    eric watson likes this.
  11. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    And there is even more: Back before I was born, my father left my mother for a Russian girl who lived down the street in a boarding house in SF (there was a scene and he came back though). Hence, his fascination with the Bolshoi and all things Russian. His bedroom was lined with copies of Soviet Life! Then, when I was in Junior College, I answered a note posted on the wall at school for a guitarist to play back up for a singer, who turned out later to be an actress with American Conservatory of Dance who got a big contract with Time Warner down in Hollywood where she attended acting classes. We were both just kids and the relationship was Platonic. However, she was Russian and the daughter of a Russian girl and the American Air attache to the Soviet Union during WWII. All that Lend-Lease aid. Sure seems like these kind of recurrent themes interconnect from generation to generation within families and even nations. I remember my late father seemed fascinated with Natasha K. He must have seen in her a reflection of the Russian girl down the street! I remember he even suggested once that Natasha and I should get married since we were both so much alike.
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  12. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Escape from family issues is more like it, Jilly. For years, my greatest fear was getting stuck back in my family's house. When I inherited it was exactly when my lower lumbar pain and sciatica came on. No doubt about it! This is the very same house where my late father grabbed a gun and chased me out into the night back around 1980. Bet those implicit memories are still buried unconscious, so when HH closed the door, my child mind really freaked out. Quite symbolically perceptive there, Jilly!
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  13. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    WOW ! both stories are amazing in their own ... both have so much weight and energy. Your fathers story reminds me of someone so pained and the Russian girl he saw as an escape or a remedy to a deep flaw he saw in himself that prevented him form achieving something or being someone.

    The Russian fascination could be symbolic of the rules which he wishes administer at any cost. Wonder what happened in his past to create his issue. Russian culture is symbolic for iron fist rulers and tyranny. We govern our own lives and set rules, sometimes we can't live up to them...we keep chasing our tails. He needed to lay down the law but he was ineffective and lacked the tools and therefore he accommodated with too much iron fist ruling. The girl brings the feminine aspect to the equation, life requires balance; the feminine aspect softens and balances the male, almost intoxicating is the lure.

    I do see the parallel between your fathers experiences and your own. It sounds as if subconsciously you took on his patterns, feelings, emotions, and pain but had no idea where they came from or that they were even his in the first place. (but they were'nt yours, they were his anxieties). You learned and modeled his patterns and it didn't fit the real you, so that's why the internal struggle and not wanting to accept the house. By accepting the house it brought back all that you worked hard to overcome and it almost seems like in the end his way is thrust upon you ...the iron fist once again, whether you like it or not..."It is my will against yours and what I want is all that matters". And to add another thread...the boy always looks to his father as an example of how to model himself...it was a model you rejected but subconsciously carried it out. We all have to follow a archetypal model for survival.

    The gun chasing episode...that was him chasing out his own demons. I think somehow you triggered him possibly he saw his own reflection in you and he rejected it with great fear, so much fear he had to resort to violence to avoid looking at himself.

    The girl and her family sound so interesting, intriguing ! You got to live some of the fun parts of the life he wished he had .... so it isn't all dark. Somehow the Russian theme was his escape and you got to live it...handed to you without any effort on your part, just answering an ad and you end up with the Russian starlet (I know platonic). Just another reason for him to secretly envy you and bring forth tension between the two of you out of his darkness. He sounds like a complicated and pained man. I wonder what happened to him as a youth. And I do see the correlation with families and generational patterns. We subconsciously keep the energy flowing whatever it is. Whether negative energy or positive energy, the flow of energy is occurring and it is being kept alive by our sheer attention to it, we push on it and it pushes back.
    Wow ! Great stuff,MorComm ;)

  14. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    My troubles with papa really came on (although they were always there in potential) when he lost a Union election at the same time I was stuck back in the family home when I couldn't get a teaching position with my Ph.D. We were at each other's throats! He'd bought a gun to protect himself when he was looking into corruption in the Union and running his own slate of candidates to get the "bad apples" out. After he lost, some goons beat him up in a bar to "teach him a lesson". Then, he grabbed the gun and went down to settle matters. My mother called the cops and they stopped and disarmed him. Interesting how a gun is purchased to defend yourself from something outside, but then it gets turned inward against your family. Familiar pattern so say the cops.

    Gosh, Jilly, your analysis is so symbolically perceptive! Amazing really.

    Interesting that my father's father abandoned the family and my father's mother then placed the kids in an orphanage in Denver. Double abandonment! Then, where did I go to get my Ph.D.? The University of Denver! Trying to rub shoulders with "those rich people" at the Denver Country Club where my father had worked as a golf caddy during the Great Depression. You're so right: These psycho-symbolic themes just run on and on, generation to generation. And yes, my dad was a tyrant: Read me long passages from Nietzsche down my the SF Marina when I was a little boy: "The Will to Power". I was obviously supposed to compensate for his own feelings of helplessness when he escaped the orphanage and road the rails out to California in a box car. Big themes! I ought to write a thinly veiled novel stretching over three generations. Something like Thomas Mann.
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  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    PaperCrane, Jilly made a great suggestion with the Dr. Gabor Mate video. Dr. Mate believes that autoimmune conditions result directly from the stress of repressed emotions, and he is not the only one anymore, not by a long shot. I'm halfway through his book "When The Body Says No" and I am finding it astonishing, shocking, and wonderfully life-affirming.

    Dr. Mate writes about studies that are observing real physiological changes that occur simply due to psychological stress. Now, I'm not any kind of medical professional, I'm just an "experienced" TMSer (I like that term) but I have to ask: what can it hurt to put off a visit to the rheumatologist while you explore the emotional aspect of your pain? You've clearly already made progress, and goodness knows it's normal to have doubts. But I don't think that RA is a condition which is immediately treatable, is it? I mean, it's not like putting off a visit to the doctor if you find a lump in your breast.

    According to the NIH, "Lifestyle changes" is one of the treatments for RA. For most of the autoimmune diseases, that translates to "stress reduction" (as defined by western medicine), because it's pretty well-accepted by the medical profession that most autoimmune conditions are made worse by stress (even though the profession is not ready to embrace the radical notion that they are caused by it). And, by the way, "stress" (repressed emotions) are definitely passed through families - not genetically, of course, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

    So what I'm suggesting is that you build on the success you've already experienced, and take it a little further, dig a little deeper, and explore even more about the mind-body connection. It's pretty amazing stuff.

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  16. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    I'm telling you...it would be a hit ... because it's true and these themes run in many families. And the symbolism, I became interested in it during a college English class, it's really interesting how a story can be told and then interpreted through the symbolism. Sometimes two completely different stories emerge.
    MorComm likes this.
  17. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    I agree with Jan...take a chance...she provided a great commentary to wait, there is no harm in waiting with this diagnosis. ;)
    MorComm likes this.
  18. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Paper Crane, I had a similar story. As soon as my sciatic pains began to go away, I got pain in a shoulder that had never bothered me. But it was exactly where once, at least five years ago, a physical therapist told me I had a rotater cuff problem. I began to baby it, then finally caught on. Now I give it a good workout, and still get a twinge now and again, but nothing much. This may not be your case, of course, but it really impressed upon me how true it is that TMS is sneaky, and well meant comments by professionals can have a dramatic effect.

    I second Jilly's recommendation of Gabor Mate, that is really good material. And I agree with Jan-- whether you keep your appointment or not, and whether you decide it is TMS or not, there is so much value in reducing stress, journaling, keeping a positive attitude, etc it can only help to make a better, healthier life.:)
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