1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 1

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by sberky, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. sberky

    sberky Newcomer

    First, my story:

    It all started my second year of the MFA program. I had gotten into a small and prestigious grad program that I was scared to even tell people I had applied to, for fear I would never get in. My whole first year I was thrilled to be there, and pushed myself to my limits to prove that I belonged. I loved learning and being challenged, and I was proud of the work I was creating. During the middle of my second year, I started noticing tingling in my hands and wrists that would persist as long as I was on the computer. I went to the campus clinic and they told me it was most likely from repetitive strain and then sent me to physical therapy.

    As I worked to finish my thesis project, I struggled daily with pain in my wrists. I wore wrist braces and tried stretches, exercises, and electrical stimulation. None of it helped. I decided to push through it and graduate, then maybe my wrists would heal if I gave them a break from all the computer work. And they did stop hurting for a little while.

    I applied to a bunch of jobs and ended up getting a highly competitive position. At first, I enjoyed learning all of the new skills, but after a few weeks the routine became much more monotonous and revolved around computer work. My pain came back intensely. Now activities I used to do with no problem began to bother me. Driving, writing, typing, cooking, washing dishes...anything hand and wrist related would be so painful. It would start in my wrists then move up my forearms. My shoulders and neck and upper back started hurting as well. It became excruciating to get through a day of work, and I was petrified to tell anyone because I was still so new. I continued seeing physical therapists, and began searching for alternative therapies. I tried acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and osteopathy. Sometimes it would help temporarily, but certain activities always seemed to trigger the pain to come back.

    I began seeing a neurologist who ran some MRIs and said that nothing was detectably wrong with me. Then my mom, who works in the medical field, discovered an article about Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and thought the descriptions were shockingly similar to what I was experiencing. I agreed that it seemed to describe my situation, and started to see a specialist. Through some basic tests and my descriptions of my condition, the specialist told me he thought I did have TOS. Now that I felt I had an explanation for my pain, I told my work about it, and left on disability. At first, I took off a few weeks to see if I would get better with rest, but that did not help. I came to terms with the fact that I might never be able to return to the job. I felt utterly defeated.

    I began exploring options for surgery. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is believed to be nerve pain caused by pinching in a nerve passageway in an area roughly between the first rib and collarbone. To alleviate this, a larger passageway is created by removing the first rib. I felt that if I did not have the surgery, I may never be able to work in the field I dedicated myself to. The surgeon told me he thought if I had the surgery it was a 90% chance I would recover fully. I decided to do it.

    The surgery was very difficult. It took me about a month to even get out of bed and move around again, and the pain medicine prescribed to me gave me terrible side effects. After months of recovery from surgery, I discovered the pain was still present when I used the computer. I had no idea how to move forward.

    After several more months, I knew I needed to do something. I started devoting more energy to activities that made me physically and emotionally feel good. I became a certified yoga teacher, and that really helped me overcome a mental barrier of feeling disabled. I found that I could physically push myself a lot farther than I had thought before.

    I have just discovered and read about TMS, and it seems quite logical to me that this could be the case in my situation. I need to figure out how I can better deal with my patterns of pain when they arise, and build my career again while maintaining my health- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I feel like it's possible to move past this, and it's heartening to hear stories of others who were able to do so. I'm at a point where I know I need to get on with my life, and I feel like I've tried everything else.
  2. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    You have come to the right place. If you have not yet ...read one of Dr Sarno's books. My favorite is The Mind Body Perscription.

    Start the 42 day program on this site. You will learn so much about yourself and you will have great success.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi sberky, and welcome to the forum and to the SEP - it sounds like you're on the right path and, as Stella said, in the right place. It also sounds like you have the perfectionists tendencies that result in TMS - and the very first thing you told us about yourself, which is that you hid your grad school application from everyone, is also very telling!

    As you will learn, TMS is all about your brain hiding and repressing uncomfortable and negative emotions from your consciousness. Might I suggest, when you do the writing/listing/journaling exercises in the SEP, that you really listen to your brain as you write things down, because it will do its best to keep you from writing certain things - it will try to tell you they aren't important, or, worse, that they are embarassing or shameful. My brain definitely did this to me, but I fought the impulse to repress those things, I wrote them down anyway, and they turned out to be quite useful in exploring my childhood emotions, and contributed to my recovery.

    Good luck, keep posting, and keep us posted!

  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, sberky. Your symptoms definitely look like TMS to me.

    Here is post to give you confidence in the SEprogram. He posted a few days later that he was 100 percent pain free.

    Kevin healed 95 % from SEP

    Welcome to the SEP and to the path of recovery. I am on my final two days of the program and I can say with complete confidence that I am a changed man. I started after 6 months of nasty low-back/butt/leg pain, could hardly walk, stand, etc. was in physical therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, pain medications, etc.. the usual. My MRI showed 3 disk bulges/herniations touching nerves, so that is what I believe it to be....that is until I read Dr. Sarno and found this site.

    I encourage you to really get involved, follow the instructions, do the journaling, take time to read all the suggested readings, and watch the videos. I'd say I'm 95% cured. There is still some very light lingering "annoyance", but I still have some work to do. I've been walking miles with hardly any pain these last few weeks. But even more, if the pain comes on now, it just doesn't bother me like it used to, I sorta just see it, acknowledge it, and go about my business. It took working the program to get to that point, but 6 weeks compared to 6 months is nothing! I made more progress in the first week than I did from two months of PT!!! It's going to challenge you and your "beliefs" in medicine, but you have nothing to lose. We generally wind up here when all else fails.

    So give it a shot, especially before considering anything invasive like surgery. If you put the work in, you will get better. Have you read Dr. Sarno yet? I assume you have since you're here, but in case you haven't, definitely readHealing Back Pain. Again, it will challenge everything you've believed about your pain, and backs in general. You'll be encouraged to resume life as normal, i.e. stop ALL "therapies" (PT, chiro, etc.), stop taking medications, and most importantly, stop thinking STRUCTURAL problems are the cause of your pain and shift to psychological as the reason.....again, this can be difficult and takes some time to sink in, so be patient and kind to yourself.

    It was a process for me. A few of the bigger moves in my case were: I ripped up and threw out my MRI test results (I found myself obsessively reading over them and comparing them to other results I could find on the web and even here on the TMSwiki site...); I got back to the gym and stopped using a weight belt; and I even cancelled an appointment I had made with aTMS doctorbecause it was more than a month away and it was hindering my recovery (that is, my 100% belief in TMS was lagging because I had this pending appointment, but as soon as I cancelled it, my recovery sped up significantly). Everyone's journey is unique to their situation, but I've found that really committing to the program and brining what I learn from it into my daily life has had profound results. Also, sharing along the way here in these forums has been extremely helpful - there's something about knowing that you're not alone in your TMS recovery that really helps. I encourage you to look through my past posts for some insight into my experience with SEP. Like I said, I'm just now finishing, tomorrow is my final day, and I feel like a changed person. It's amazing. And I feel as though it is something that one carries on with, not just like a one time 6 week thing and that's that...it has helped me to get to know myself and taught me tools to "deal" with my emotions. Learning and accepting TMS is a life changer for sure.
  5. sberky

    sberky Newcomer

    I did read the book. I've noticed small changes already, but I guess I need to keep at it with the wiki.
  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi sberky,

    Reading your story, I am touched by what a miserable medical system we have. Right off the bat when you experienced pain in the grad program, it would have been so helpful to have someone who understands personality, tension, and pain to sit down with you and explore your life a little, educate you about Dr. Sarno's work.

    Then onto the miserable surgery! I had 8, yes 8 physicians ready to operate on me, with diagnoses ranging from plantar fasciitis, to nerve entrapment, and peripheral neuropathy. I think these guys actually believe in what they do, but what a shame! I was very lucky to not have surgery, but I was scheduled for it.

    Reading that after the surgery you still had the symptoms really touches me. I think I would have been in the same situation. That must have been very, very hard!

    I am so happy you have found Dr. Sarno's work, and that you are starting the SEP. I am touched by your bravery to keep finding the real source of your symptoms, and not let your other medical experience hinder you. Good luck in this work.

    Andy B.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think this is right on the mark. Good place to support inquiry into personality patterns. I think many of us here can relate.
  8. sberky

    sberky Newcomer

    Thanks for your responses and support! I agree that I have a pretty driven and perfectionistic personality. It's interesting for me to start exploring these things, and I hope it helps.

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