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 My Story

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Kerrybrett, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Kerrybrett

    Kerrybrett Newcomer

    I have a long history with TMS. I have experienced many forms of TMS over the last 30 years. It started with reflux that lasted for about eight years . This was from about 1984 to 1992. In 1992 I started experiencing back pain which turned chronic. I was diagnosed with a bulging disc, told to undergo physical therapy and all of the typical physical prescriptions for back pain. I struggled for many many months and buy a stroke of luck came across Healing Back Pain. The book screamed out to me and it was apparent that I fit the typical TMS personality and that my back pain was due to TMS and not to any structural problem. In addition to ridding myself of back pain, my reflux disappeared. My back pain disappeared literally after reading Sarno's book. Nevertheless I made an appointment to see him, went to his lectures and was very happy to be cured of my back pain.

    In the ensuing years I experienced intermittent knee pain, ankle pain, extreme doubts of debilitating vertigo.
    In each case a specialist diagnosed a specific condition that turned out to be wrong and I managed to conquer each condition after understanding that each was a manifestation of TMS (the Symptom Imperative at work).

    The most amazing thing happened in 2001 after I underwent routine LASIK surgery. After the surgery I started experiencing the typical dry eye symptoms, however, those symptoms along with extreme eye pain continued for many months. My doctor had no idea what was causing it and was clearly worried. Fortunately a very close friend made the observation that the symptoms seemed to get worse when I was stressed and suggested that I call Dr. Sarno. It did not take long for Dr. Sarno to state with great confidence that this unusual symptom, not previously in my mind a likely symptom of TMS, was indeed another manifestation of my TMS. The horrible eye pain that had been going on for months and had brought on thoughts of suicide disappeared within a matter of days. Needless to say, Dr. Sarno save my life.

    In 2002 I developed atrial fibrillation, which is a TMS equivalent. It clearly served as a distraction to me.
    I became obsessed with the condition for 4 years. In 2006 I had surgery to correct the condition. The surgery was a total success in curing the condition. However, after the normal time for healing, I had chronic pain symptoms in the area of the surgical site. I didn't attribute this to TMS (unfortunately). After dealing with the pain for about a year, I followed the advice of a cardiothoracic surgeon who told me that after the surgery, my xiphoid process, a small bone at the base of the sternum, did not heal properly. All that needed to be done was a simple removal of the bone and the pain would be gone. Boy was that a mistake, as after that very minor procedure, as compared to open heart surgery, the pain symptoms exploded. What started as localized pain in the xiphoid sometimes emanating up from that area which made exercise almost impossible, the pain spread all through my rib cage. So now, intermittently, I have all kinds of pain or discomfort sensations, sometimes like the original pain, sometimes in the muscles beneath my rib cage, sometimes pain in the ribs themselves, and so on.

    In 2008 after living with these much worse symptoms for a few months, I went back to Sarno. He assured me that the entire pain process from the beginning was TMS and I went back into his program, which in the fifteen years since I saw him, had morphed into an amazing treatment regimen. Not only lectures, but small support meetings, large monthly presentations and a plethora of written materials. I followed the program but to no avail. In retrospect, I don't think that, despite my vast experience with TMS, I fully accepted the diagnosis, which as we all know, makes healing virtually impossible.

    After spending years thereafter, pursuing every form of pain treatment, I reconnected with my TMS and began seriously rethinking my failure to accept that my pain symptoms were entirely due to TMS. Perhaps because I had surgery attributing the pain to a physical abnormality seemed more plausible. For most of the time, I thought the structure problem itself was nerve damage due to the surgery. Perhaps its because I find myself sensitive to various foods, which for some reason caused the belief that it is more of a structural issue. Actually, I would think that sensitivities to various foods that affect the autonomic nervous system is consistent with TMS, although I haven't seen anything in the literature that discusses this. Perhaps some on this board have had similar experience and would like to weigh in. And I also, despite no doctor offering an explanation for the pain (except for scar tissue), thought that perhaps the removal of the xiphoid, which does connect various muscles to the rib cage, caused an orthopedic problem that causes stress to the muscles resulting in pain. I should say that Sarno assured me that this was not the case and that thousand of people every year lose their xiphoid process in car accidents and other traumas and don't experience chronic pain.

    I should say that since then, I have had every kind of test possible to determine if there are any structural abnormalities. All tests are negative. Both surgeries were done properly, my body healed perfectly and everything is where it should be. And yet I continue to suffer the pain.

    I have made good progress in working on my doubts, but I'm not sure I am 100 percent there yet. Nevertheless, I decided to commence this program. I have recently read "Think Away Your Pain" by David Schechter, which has helped me greatly in accepting that my TMS is the cause of my symptoms. So the journey begins.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Kerry, welcome back to "the work" of TMS, and a big welcome to the wiki and the forum! I'm glad you found us and are joining this great community where we share all kinds of questions, ideas, struggles, successes, and wisdom about our different TMS journeys. There are many universal things about TMS, and yet so many different ways to experience it and recover from it!

    If you are saying that food sensitivities are probably TMS, I would say that's there's no "probably" about it. Based on my own personal experience I have no doubt whatsoever that they are TMS. And I'm definitely not the only one. As you read more posts and stories on this forum, you'll come across plenty of people who found that in addition to recovering from pain, their digestive issues, meaning everything from chronic heartburn to full-blown IBS, totally resolved as they did this work.

    Keep posting, and keep us posted!

  3. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    Hello Kerry,

    Welcome back to addressing TMS. You're in the right spot - I completed the SEP and my symptoms are gone now. It works, but I definitely recommend following the program through until the end, and doing all the "assignments".

    Best of luck and keep at it!

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Kerry. I couldn't give you better advice or encouragement than Jan and Kevin gave you, but echo it and encourage you to believe that your symptoms are caused by TMS. You can also gain encouragement from Kevin in his recent posting when he was 95 percent cured. He says his symptoms are now completely gone.

    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.

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