An up-and-down day 3. I started off strongly, did a nice long walk with some music in the woods, took lots of pictures of all the mushrooms that came up after the rainstorms last night. It was very lovely to just walk, without really any pain other than an occasional pinch here and there. Each time I felt the pain come on, I talked it down ("I didn't invite you on this walk," or "You're not welcome here"). I find that acknowledging the pain in this way makes it less real to me, a reminder that it's not coming from anything structural in my body, but just from stress in my head, namely the fear that the pain will come back. A lot of my stress lately is around my wife's return from a work-related trip. Although her absence itself was stressful for me, since I have a full-time job and a VERY hyperactive dog to take care of, her return has also brought with it its own stressors. We get along very well together, but it's a reminder that we've got some stuff ahead of us : we're moving apartments next week and also trying to have a baby. She's 39 years old so the "biological clock is tickin'!" (thanks, Marrisa Thome). A little bit of stress around those things. We went to IKEA afterwards and there I felt some pretty strong stress accompanied by some back and leg pain. Nothing too too serious but some definite pinching and shooting pain. We were testing out mattresses and I couldn't help but stress out since basically you're trying to feel whether or not you're uncomfortable. That made me really focus on my back and sure enough I got some pinches. Then onto my side and my leg felt like it was spasming a little bit. But nothing too too serious. Made it through the rest of the trip without too much trouble, but was not terribly comfortable. Ditto for the grocery store. I felt like I just needed to get the heck outta there as quickly as possible. I'm discovering that part of the issue for me is being in public : in public, we are more or less obliged to repress everything we are feeling as part of the social contract. I can't really express anxiety or anger in a public place without being regarded as a loony, and that would just become a horrible feedback loop. I need to acclimate myself to being in public situations, to recognizing certain kinds of triggers and to let myself just come to terms with the stress and to cope with it. But it's good to start learning these things. Other than that, I RAN for the first time in a very long time. I didn't do much (mostly because of the heat and humidity) but I probably got a solid mile or mile and a half in. I used to be a pretty fast distance runner, and it's been depressing me that I haven't felt confident enough in my body to get out there again. Partly because of this TMS course and partly because the orth. surgeon whom I saw encouraged me to start running after he saw my MRI, I went for it. A little bit of discomfort in the lower left back at the start, but I just powered through it since I knew it was just the TMS trying to get me to play its game (keep the tension high to avoid dealing with emotions). I'm going to try to go a little further tomorrow. This past week has been much better than others, although it hasn't been without a few scares. I've had a couple of very intense moments of pain, but they have not lasted terribly long and have gone away when I lie down and calm myself down a little bit. I just need to get to know my triggers better and learn to manage them better, and to continue to read up on TMS. The more I learn about it, the more confirmed I feel in the diagnosis . . . although I can't get "medical" confirmation until I see a specialist. Unfortunately, the only specialist reasonably close to me isn't available until September. I've got an appointment, but I'm going to go ahead with the treatment anyway. It'll be worthwhile to check-up. I hope everyone here continues to find solace and recovery in their journeys through the program. Keep at it ! You can do it !