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Day 1 : My Story

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by beezy, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. beezy

    beezy New Member

    So I originally wrote my story in these forums as a response to a member who was having a hard time with the TMS diagnosis, so instead of writing it all out again I just copied and pasted it and updated it. I wrote this maybe 5 months ago after getting relief from a repetitive strain injury in my hands and wrists. The pain had gone away....but is back again. So Im here trying to start the SEP program.

    Im a normal dude, 36 year old male living in Nashville TN. I grew up playing sports my whole life, hockey and soccer mostly. Ive been dealing with chronic back pain since I was 18....18 years now, which is half my life. It started when I was 18 one day when I was helping a friend move, all I did was twist to the left to set down a light box....and felt a sharp pain in my low back that progressively got worse throughout the day until I could hardly stand up and was in a lot of pain. That was the start of my downward spiral, filled with "flare ups" (what I call those painful swelling episodes that would last for a week or longer, after feeling like I had pinched a disc or something and included a lot of swelling). Flare ups have been causing me much fear throughout the years, because if I get one, it means that I will be in immense pain for at least a week, can't get off the couch, and having to miss work, pissing off my boss, coworkers....causes my wife and I to get behind on bills, etc. I work in restaurants as a server, so you can't just call out sick...the place depends on you to be there. I can't count the times I have missed work....it is embarrassing too to be known as the guy who is always in pain. Your coworkers don't care what you have going on.....nobody understands.

    I used to get so mad and jealous when I would see an overweight person outside running or getting exercise. How can that person with all that weight move like that, yet here I am a relatively fit guy suffering so much?

    My back pain progressively got worse over the years, flare ups started happening multiple times a year instead of maybe once a year, and the pain would be worse and worse and would last longer and be harder to get over....until my back would just hurt all the time. Chronic. No more exercise. Just miserable.

    I developed Plantar Fasciitis in my right Foot 5 years ago and that flares up here and there. Ive had acid Reflux problems for about 10 years that comes and goes.

    The worst thing that has ever happened to me happened about 3 years ago when I developed prostatitis, inflammation and swelling of the Prostate. Very very painful, and it wouldn't go away. Ive had minor pain there before, but this time it just came on strong and wouldn't go away.....nonstop suffering. I didn't have insurance so I would just go the ER. Their ignorant decisions revolved around me taking very powerful antibiotics that absolutely destroyed me from the inside out....even though all of my bloodwork, CT scans, MRI's, every damn test showed no sign of infection. I was going to the ER about every 3 or 4 days, begging them to do something, but they had no idea what was going on. Sometimes I couldn't pee, I had to have a catheter for a little while....torture. I racked up over $30,000 in hospital bills......and still couldn't get an answer. The doctors were scratching their heads.

    One of the strangest things that I noticed was that the pain would jump around...it was mostly in the prostate area, but would travel all around my abdomen, up to my chest where I had to have tests done for heart issues (always came back normal). Pain was always somewhere in my body but never in multiple places at once. I asked the doctors so many times about this....it was the question I asked more than anything else: WHY IS MY PAIN MOVING AROUND???

    Never got an answer. The doctors were stumped.

    I suffered all day and night for 3 months....eating antibiotics which destroyed my insides. I thought that if I died then it wouldn't be so bad. I would never do anything to hurt myself, I love life, but the thought of living in endless pain just becomes unbearable. It was terrifying. I was a mess. The only time I got some form of relief was when I took a scalding hot bath.......and funny enough those baths would eventually lead to the answer of what was going on with me. Let me explain.....

    A friend of mine from Austin studies Oriental Medicine. I was talking to her about my problems one day and she asked if anything gives me relief....I mentioned the hot baths....and she said if the heat helps then it must be a MUSCLE problem. I started searching online for answers to that. My investigating led me to a whole underworld of guys who were suffering from chronic prostatitis, and there were these two doctors who had been studying this mysterious problem for a while, Dr Wise and Dr Anderson. The even wrote a book on it called A Headache In The Pelvis. Their conclusion: some guys just happen to store their stress and tension in the network of muscles and ligaments that make up the pelvic floor. These muscles constrict around the prostate and cause prostatitis. Some people store stress in their shoulders, Im one of the guys that stores it in his nether-regions. The pain started to go away about a month after my discovery. It was the sweetest relief ever. I was terrified that I was going to be like that forever. Thanks to my friend who said that heat helps muscle pain.

    Ive seen multiple urologists since then who have backed this dignosis for me. I saw a urologist just a couple months ago who said that only less than 1% of guys who have prostatitis actually have a bacterial infection......the other 99%+ have a chronic stress-storing problem down there. Unreal.

    Also worth noting that throughout this prostatitis episode I remember thinking how my back pain had pretty much gone away.

    But as always the back pain continued.....

    I had an MRI done about 5 years ago for my low back....it showed a couple herniated disks, and my L5-S1 had some degeneration. I saw one of the top spine surgeons in Austin and begged him to operate on me so I could finally lead a somewhat normal life. He showed me the MRI and said that although I do have some herniated disks, none of them were touching a nerve....and nothing gave him reason to operate on me. He didn't know why I was in so much pain. I left feeling so depressed that I couldn't get this surgeon to cut open my spine and pull some stuff out or fuse something together....anything! Thank god he didn't.

    I continued to suffer. The surgeon prescribed physical therapy which didn't help. I did acupuncture, ice, heat, blah blah blah....you know the drill. I even used some student loan money to do the Egoscue method, which is an expensive form of physical therapy where you see a therapist who studies your posture and gives you exercises that you do every day that work the muscles of your body into shape and fixes your posture problems. Egoscue helped, and I haven't had a flare up in the past year of Egoscue.......but it could never get rid of that one painful spot on my low back. That one damn spot. To the right of my spine on my pelvic bone. That damn spot that would never go away no matter how good I was feeling.

    Im in school for computer programming, Im on the computer a lot. I developed a pain in my right hand last January (now 10 months ago). That pain spread all over my hand, to my wrist. I diagnosed myself (correctly) with having a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). I started using the mouse with my left hand.....the same pain spread to that hand and all over that wrist. The pain would move up into my forearms and would hurt so bad that I would go get massages just on my forearms alone. My masseuse was puzzled.

    I saw an orthopedic doctor, he gave me a cortisone shot in my right wrist.....didn't help. Saw him again and told him the pain was in both hands and would move around and back and forth but never really in both hands at the same time. It would take turns. This animal of a doctor was like "well, lets just shoot up the left hand with cortisone". Yeah asshole, lets just shoot up my whole body. He was your typical American doctor, didn't think or listen, ready to just shoot anything up with a needle full of drugs and dollar signs in his eyes. He probably kept a needle in a holster on his hip, at the ready. I refused his shot but did try out a strip of Prednisone ( a steroid)...which barely helped but the next day after I finished my Prednisone was when I discovered Sarno and TMS......(so I firmly believe in TMS but there is some confusion there because I wasn't sure if the medication worked or if my discovery of TMS worked.)

    I got really depressed about it. My future as a computer programmer, the thing I had been studying and racking up student loan debt for was now going to go to waste. I need to find a job that is easy on my back, sitting and/or standing hurts it, and one that I don't have to use my hands. Hmmmmmmm..........I got nothing.


    In my desperation, I googled "RSI Hand Pain that moves from hand to hand". I found the blog of a guy who worked for Google, and had the same exact story of mine. Programmer, hand pain started in right, moved back and forth to the left, moved all over. He saw some of the worlds top surgeons, tried every treatment possible to no avail. A friend suggested the MindBody Prescription and his 2 year RSI was gone in 2 weeks.

    I found my answer.

    Now, I had heard of Sarno before, and had seen numerous posts in forums throughout the years from my numerous health issues, stories of people who were claiming to have been cured of this or that after reading Sarno's books.....and I always just thought it was bullshit. How could you not? I had accidentally even bought Healing Your Back Pain about 7 years ago, before getting home and reading the first chapter and putting that bullshit down. MY PAIN WAS REAL. Not in my head.

    It took me reading that Google guys story (and no other option left) to realize this could be the answer to my problems. His page also had a link to Harvard's study of RSI's and Sarno's work....on it was a 10 question quiz to see if you could have TMS....one of the questions: do you have a history of prostate issues or prostatitis?


    I was finally convinced that I had my answer. I stayed up all night reading success stories, I found the TMS wiki. I laughed and cried at the same time, as I had finally found my damn answer. It had been there all along. I fit the personality type for TMS perfectly....it desribes exactly who I am. In April I made an appointment with Dr Sklar (a TMS doctor in Fort Worth TX, who worked for a while under Dr Sarno), and he confirmed that I have TMS through a series of physical and mental tests. I knew it. Still somewhat hard to believe.

    My 5 month long RSI hand pain was reduced by 50% in a couple days. It went completely away until the stressful end of my school year in May, which coincides with the busiest time of year at my work. Super stressful. After that was over though it kept getting better. I have been writing this story now for maybe an hour and a half, I have a little bit of pain in my right hand. If I had tried this 2 months ago, I would've been able to write for maybe 5 minutes tops. Back then, the pain would start as soon as I touched my keyboard. So things are definitely improving, and up until I discovered Sarno things were getting progressively worse and worse. Im feeling great in my hands, but not at 100%......I would say 75% better though. I don't expect it to go away overnight.

    The main problem is the back pain. After reading Healing Your Back Pain, my back pain was unchanged. I started reading the MindBody Prescription a couple weeks ago, and again no relief in back pain.

    Today is Tuesday, I finished reading The Mindbody Prescription late last Saturday night. I woke up Sunday and throughout the day I noticed that I pretty much had no back pain.....90% pain free. I told my wife about it and said I wasn't going to get to excited yet, but thats what was going on. How funny it would be, I thought, that my back pain waited to go away until I finished reading the book. How ridiculous. But thats what happened. I thought that pain free Sunday was a fluke, a good day, but I don't have "good days".....as in ever. That one spot, that one damn spot....was always hurting no matter how good of a day I was ever having.

    But that one spot, that one damn spot, is still hardly noticeable and its been 3 days now. Its only 3 days, but for someone who has had chronic low back pain and specifically that one damn spot for as long as he can remember......3 days is an eternity. Ive been running a mile a day for the last 3 days. Before, if I ran for two minutes then I would be hurting for a week. I don't run.....until now, that is. If I want to run then I am going to run. I know what is going on and Im not scared anymore. Ive been lifting weight the past couple of weeks, pretty intensely too, and even that would have been impossible in the past. This is the greatest discovery of my life. It's still early, so maybe I will keep posting an update to see how I progress....or you can feel free to hit me up if you need a confidence boost. Im a normal dude, and my story is real. I almost can't believe it, and I won't be able to fully believe it until enough time has passed. I was excited when these books and stories helped my RSI, got worried when my back pain was still there, but now that my back is seeing improvement......I am utterly blown away that it is happening to me. If this fixes me, I will make it my life's mission to spread the word in hopes of saving others from misery and depression.

    UPDATE: So that was written last June, I think. And it is now October. Im living back in Nashville, moved back here from Austin to start a computer programming bootcamp. Im 1 week in and lo and behold.....my RSI hand pain is back. This school is going to be very stressful and intense, and it's no wonder that my pain is back.

    I need to be able to use my hands for this. I have a lot riding on this school....this is my big chance, my big shot at getting a good job and making good money for once in my life, my family depends on me to get through this, Ive moved us back to Nashville just to go to this school....and I cannot have this old pain come back and mess with me. So Im spending all free time outside of school studying TMS and working on myself.

    Back pain is still there...but I feel like it's not as bad as it used to be. Still have flareups here and there....but even those haven't been as bad.

    Let's see what I can do. Thanks everyone for your support....and thanks for this forum.
  2. mouse

    mouse New Member

    Hi Beezy! I just started SEP myself 3 days ago, also for RSI in the wrists from what I thought was lots of computer use. I read before that it's normal to have a pretty significant recurrence of all your old symptoms after a while, so I think it's awesome you weren't scared away and re-committed yourself to working on TMS.

    Like I said I'm brand new to this so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I do have a lot of experience with school-time stress. My personality had me killing myself for straight-A's all throughout my 4-year degree, and my TMS-symptoms were so bad that I couldn't even leave my apartment (except to go to class, of course...)

    I would recommend looking into some meditation and mindfulness stuff on Youtube, or just in general. Relaxation techniques that I learned back then to manage my "anxiety" are helping me a lot again now that I'm trying to treat TMS: for instance, when I'm trying to remind myself that a pain is all in my head, it's good for me to be able to do deep breathing and focus on that thought. When I'm trying to release the tension in my wrist, it's helpful for me to remember the feeling of progressive muscle relaxation, and imagine the area relaxing and oxygen going back into that area. Really, I just think being able to empty your mind, relax, and focus can help the TMS-treatment process along a bit! :)
    JanAtheCPA and beezy like this.
  3. beezy

    beezy New Member

    Hey! Funny enough....I read your story right before I posted mine. Thanks for responding.

    Also funny enough....I recently started doing mindfulness meditation using the Headspace app. Im 2 weeks in. Have you heard of it? It seems silly to use an app for something as personal and spiritual as meditation...but the guy who does the guidance is reeeeallly good. I love it. I started doing it just to relax my mind before this school started and help me sleep...I started doing it before my TMS symptoms came back. I actually missed a couple days this past week....maybe that's when the TMS creeped back in.

    I love mindfulness meditation and what it's done for me already. Some days are better than others...but I always feel calm and happy afterwards and feel like my mind has slowed waaaay down.

    Thanks for the great advice....I'll focus on the areas that are hurting and see if I can ease up some of that tension.

    How's cartoonery....cartoonining.....cartooning going? Hope you are well, and thanks for the nice thoughts and checking in.
    Good day!
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Beezy, and welcome back!

    It's funny that you mentioned HeadSpace, because Forest was telling us about it on the Saturday Chat today, it's recommended by TMS practitioner Georgie Oldfield from the UK, and Forest posted here to tell us all about it:

    I'm considering it myself, although right now I'm deep into the Mindfulness Summit and barely keeping up with one presentation a day for the whole month ;) I'm loving it, though. Every speaker has something different to offer, and they've made it so accessible, that I'm finally ready to commit.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, everyone. Lots of good exchange of thoughts in these posts.

    Beezy, you can thank yourself and the Lord that you discovered Dr. Sarno and TMS because the cause of your pain definitely says TMS.

    I'm doing the daily Mindful Meditation Sessions too and find them always helpful.

    Another TMSer emailed me today that she had an "ah-ha" moment doing MM:

    I think your idea about sharing more MM ideas is great. For me, the ah-ha moment was when I realized I could feel very strong emotions - like anger, rage - without either being reactive and yelling or getting mad at someone or without stuffing it down inside and having it get stuck in my body as pain. I had previously thought my only two options were to express it or to stuff it down. Then, I experienced that I didn't have to do either - that I could, instead, watch it, feel it, and then let it float up and out.
  6. mouse

    mouse New Member

    Sorry for the late reply - took a day or 2 off from SEP. Thanks for telling me about Headspace, I've never heard of it before and I want to check it out!
    And hehe, my cartooning is going just fine, thanks for asking!! :)

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