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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Just finished the Structured Educational Program

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by fbcoach, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Hi Everybody,
    I just finished the SEP. I consider myself another success story, although my journey isn't over, yet. Am I pain-free? No....but, there is more to this program than just the goal of being pain-free. Let me explain....I am writing this on my most stressful day since starting this program. I won't go into details, but I'll just say, I have been up since 1:00am, and after a full days work, I have mowed the lawn and helped my wife deep clean the entire house, and dare I say, found out my teenage son got into some serious trouble (hence, why I have been up since 1:00am).
    Let me start off by giving you all a brief synapse of my "pain" background :) I am 56yrs old, and I broke my neck playing Football for a local semi-Pro Football Team in 1992. I had broke several vertebrae and flattened my spinal cord in 3 places. This required a 14 hour surgery. Since that time I have literally seen and tried every single therapy, drug, or specialist the medical field has to offer. From being on 500mgs of morphine daily, along with the maximum dosage of Lyrica for 2 years (try going thru that withdrawal cold turkey) to having an Intrathecal Spinal Pump implanted. At the beginning of the program, I was on 200mgs of Tramadol daily with 5mgs of Dilaudid delivered thru the pump daily. So yes, I really have seen it all the past 24yrs.
    Now, about this program. Why do I say I am a success? Well, because I followed (as best as I could understand) the program as written, and I really learned some valuable lessons that I am 100% confident will lead to being pain-free eventually. Here are some things that have solidified my belief in TMS. I immediately stopped the Tramadol upon starting the program, as well as had my Doctor (Pain Specialist) reduce the Dilaudid in my pump (so far he has reduced it by 50%), And guess what? My pain didn't increase. This gave me the confidence to continue with another major fear I had to overcome. That was my fear of over exercise or over-training. I have been an avid Fitness/Sports guy my whole life. This has ALWAYS been a major part of my identity. After my accident, I had reduced my training (strength training and conditioning) to one hard workout every 5-7 days. That was all I could handle without debilitating fatigue and pain. Well, after starting the program, I immediately increased it to once every 3 days (2-3 days a week). Not only could I handle the stress without undue fatigue, but I actually increased my strength. Only this morning, I Deadlifted 405lbs for 5 reps and Benched 320lbs for 5 reps. Remember though, I have worked out consistently since I was 11yrs old. These were the most weight I have lifted since before my surgery. Ok..OK....I 'll stop bragging :) Seriously though, my point is that this is just incredible to me. I am 56yrs old. This would not had been possible if not for this program. I have tried to do this in the past, and I would just get weaker and feel exhausted, and this would increase my pain. Another fear I had with exercise was running. Not jogging, but really trying to run. Now, I don't think I have actually tried to run in over 10 years. Notice..I said tried to run. Well, I have done this a few times over the last several weeks, and to be honest, I am not setting any records, but I have seen improvements. Again, the point is progress. Any progress is progress, and that means you are improving and becoming better. I have also overcame some other fears, such as journaling the "TRUTH" and nothing but the truth about myself. I have never done the journaling thing, and I am impressed with what I am learning about myself. Again, honestly, I didn't like some of the things I was seeing, but I understand we all have so-called weaknesses or things we may need improvement on. Journaling helps us strive to be better and to show us things about ourselves we may have never really realized or understood. I always knew I had lots of underlying rage, but I never realized all the underlying sadness. I've always thought of myself as a happy optimistic person, and I am....on the outside.
    The reason I feel that this program was a success is I feel I am learning to overcome my fears. With practice, you always get better. I am learning to identify my stressors. This gives me some control over how my body reacts and to what it may react to. I understand that the goal isn't just to get rid of your pain. Trying too hard can actually exasperate it. But, to learn to manage it by using the tools this site is giving us. THIS is what will eventually lead to being pain-free. I am going to go thru this program again. I am sure I will pick up some new things the second time around.
    Before I forget, here are some things I have accomplished since starting the program:
    1) reduced oral medications to zero
    2) reduced pain meds in my spinal pump by 50%, and I will be off completely soon
    3) reduced my fear of exercise and physical activity
    4) I am actually learning to overcome all my inner fears
    5) I am learning a great deal about myself
    6) I haven't tried to find a TMS Dr yet, but I am working with the Pain Psychologists at the Hospital/Medical College I am a patient at: I am surprised at their openness about TMS.; they have offered to make me a case-study, for free services, and to look over this web site. I am not sure why they have been so receptive, but I get the feeling it is because I must be one of the few, if not the only patient that has a goal of reducing pain meds. This all just sort of fell into my lap, because I talked about this program, then asked for some help.

    Anyway, I hope I was able to articulate my thoughts well enough for all to understand. I am looking forward to my journey to recovery. To anyone that may be feeling stuck or just not getting the results you expected, just remember, any progress is PROGRESS, and you are getting closer to your goal the more you learn about yourself.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi fbcoach,

    How wonderful to read your post. So many things to comment on here, but the fact that you have had enough direct experience of the method that it is self-maintaining is probably the biggest. You have evidence, confidence, and you are focussing on your improvement rather than the remaining difficulties. So you're really there, and you recognize this. Thank you.

    I believe you should copy your post and put on the Success Stories page. You could title it SEP Success or similar. I am happy for you.

    Andy B
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow! Congratulations! what a story! you will be my inspiration!
  4. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Thanks Andy,
    I appreciate the encouraging words. I think I will hold off to post my success story until I can figure ALL of this out (talking about my triggers and why I respond the way I do). I have always been very inquisitive. I have to know the whys and how comes for it to make sense to me. I will definitely write my success story eventually, and hopefully inspire others to get to the bottom of their issues. I honestly believe if one person can accomplish something, we al can do the same if we are willing to search for the answers. Again, thank you for the encouragement.
  5. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Hi TG,
    I certainly hope so and vice-versa. I think we all bring different perceptions and ideas we can learn from. I hope to hear about your journey.
  6. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    DAMN!!!! Over 3 plates?!?! I can barely bench 2 plates.

    Congrats on all your other successes. The amount of them will keep growing.
  7. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Honestly fbcoach, with respect, I don't think this is critical. You're already a success story. I hope you post this in the Success section, and then again in a while when you know more. All postings there are encouraging. We don't have to have the perfect cure to inspire others.

    While I love your inquisitiveness and impeccable view, I have never found all my triggers 3 years in. I just accept that I am prone to TMS, and think psychologically. This acceptance is nice for me, in my own practice. It takes away the need to change or fix or improve, which are all forms of pressure, for my tension-prone personality. And saying this, I am not trying to improve your practice, just sharing with you as an admirer. Each person finds their own way. You are a success.
    Forest likes this.
  8. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Thanks Giantsfan,
    As I mentioned, I have been lifting and playing sports almost my entire life. I was also a competitive Bodybuilder in the 1980s. This has been part of my issue when visiting Docs. I stay in shape due to vanity:) and for health and mental well-being, then when they examine me, they look at me like I shouldn't be there. Anyway, I appreciate the congrats and inspiration. Good luck in your journey, as well.
  9. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Thanks Andy,
    I appreciate all the support you are giving me. I'm still learning and willing to share whatever I discover thru this journey.
  10. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Wow fb coach! I agree with Andy, that you should post your success story NOW! Don't wait for perfection; what you've already accomplished is awe-inspiring.
    I really admire your dedication to resuming your althletic training. When I started the SEP I was dying to resume my swimming/walking/hiking regimen. The SEP gave me my life back, and it sounds like it's doing the same for you.
    Just the fact that you survived the roughest day you've ever had without a significant increase in your pain levels speaks eloquently of your recovery.
    WELL DONE!!!
    Forest likes this.
  11. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Thanks Gigi,
    I''m still a work in progress. Thank you for the kind words.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, fbcoach. I too think you qualify for posting your success story now, because it could help others, but whatever feels right to you, keep working on your TMS emotions to feel even more free of any painful or stressful feelings.

    Your postings are truly inspiring.

    We're all works in progress. TMS has taught me so much about myself and dealing with others. It is really life changing, to make us better and happier people.
  13. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    fbcoach, thank you for posting your success story. I am on Day 15 and am needing some inspiration. I am recovering from pelvic TMS and recently got on a bike for the first time in 5 years. Your post reminded me that this represents a victory of sorts and I need to remember that. I might even try to get back in the weight room now. Thanks again.
    Forest likes this.
  14. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Thank you Walt,
    I agree. The SEP is more than just about getting pain-free. It is having a positive affect on my mental/psychological side. Not to go into detail, but the last few days have been extremely stressful, and the things I have been learning about myself are getting me thru this stressful time.
    Forest likes this.
  15. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Hey jcacciat,
    Yes, every bit of progress counts. Even when we don't see actual recorded progress, it is progress. Let me explain using an analogy about something I understand: Let's say I am trying to Bench 400lbs. There is no way possible I will get to 400lbs linearly, meaning just by increasing the weight every time I work out). It doesn't work that way. I understand I have to cycle my workouts. I may workout with 300lbs one week, then the next week I will try 305lbs. The next week I will try 310lbs, then 3015lbs. I will eventually hit a plateau where I can't increase the weight anymore no matter what. This tells me my nervous system is fatigued. So, I back off and use 305lbs the following week, then the next week 310lbs, and so on, until I hit a plateau again. I may get to 330lbs before hitting a plateau again. Then, it would be time to re-set the weights and climb up again. This is how our bodies work, especially the nervous system. It works in cycles. If we keep resisting the natural order, not only does progress stop, we begin to regress. BUT, all those workouts that I used with weights I could already handle were responsible for reaching a higher point, not wasted. The point of this is you may have setbacks which is normal and nothing to worry about. Because, if you stay the course, you will be in a better place eventually. I hope this makes sense. I wrote it not just for your benefit, but for my own. I am a NOOB at journaling, and I think I like it :))
  16. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    That does make a ton of sense. I am an old Iowa high school wrestler, and so I speak the weigh lifting lingo. Was a time when I could have hung with you on a pound for pound basis, but my wrestling weight was 112 lbs, and at 50 years of age I still only weigh 130 lbs. I think wrestling was a good fit for my perfectionist, over-achieving personality, although the weight cutting produced an unhealthy relationship with food. But it also taught me the value of persistence, which serves me well. The one thing I have never stopped doing is running, which I love. It has been a life saver. Your comment about not resisting the natural order resonates.
  17. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi FBcoach

    What a great story and congratulations to you!
    I want you to know that is absolutely an inspiration to me : because one can read all the instant success stories or all the pain free success stories,
    but maybe there is more to this than being pain free directly. In fact I am half way through and believe I have a long way to go and
    also not expect to be 'ready" in another three weeks.
    You accomplished so much: I am sure you will get there in your time and there is more to come for you i am sure
    You gave me some wise words the last couple of days : and now i know why.
  18. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Hey jcacciat,
    Iowa wrestler...WOW! Dude you have to be one tough SOB. No doubt your a Dan Gable fan.
    I hear ya about being a Perfectionist. Throw in some OCD, and it's a recipe for success, along with a ton of self-induced pressure.

    I wrestled in Jr High and High School, too. I have a lot of respect for the "wrestler's" work ethic. No doubt, you use what you learned as a wrestler, and you will be successful with the program, as well.
  19. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    I appreciate that Karina. I want you to know that this isn't just lip service. Since I wrote started this thread a few days ago, I am going thru an extremely stressful time. My pain has really increased, but that is OK. This is just validating that my pain is definitely Psychological. I am positive I am just missing one small piece of this TMS puzzle. I am going to go thru the SEP again, to see if I can investigate and find out what it is. It may be I am just missing a small bit of information to convince my brain 100% or maybe it might be some relaxing technique, or learning to be more mindful. Whatever it is, I am sure I will find it, and so will you. I have never been pain-free in over 20 years, but I do remember times, when I would be close to pain-free for a few weeks. I am trying to remember what made the difference (in my mind). I think I am getting close to the answer.
  20. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone,
    As I respond to everyone on this thread and other threads, I find it is sort of like journaling. I am drawing upon my experiences to respond, and it is causing me to think deeply about the situation. In my last post to Karina, I realized what makes me feel better. Although I am having some pain at the moment, I am looking forward to tomorrow. I am on Spring Break this week, and today we had to run errands all day long. But tomorrow, my wife and I will get up early to go work out, then go get a nice breakfast, then go to the Movie Theater, then get together with our neighbors. I find this very relaxing, and whether I am pain-free or not, I will enjoy it, because I will have the ENERGY to do these things. How do I know I will have the energy? Because if I don't, I don't have to do these things. There is no pressure. It is all about PERCEPTION!

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