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Day 1 My story

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Jane G, Jun 25, 2021.

  1. Jane G

    Jane G New Member

    Dear readers who I don’t know – I hope it's ok - this is long – I took this opportunity to get it all down. And out. I am hoping the vulnerability of this is the right first step for me. Thank you for the forum to do this.

    In November 2016 I began to have severe pain in the bottom of both my feet, like they’d been beaten with a plank. Like the heels and the balls of my feet should be black and blue. I could not walk barefoot (something I have always done with great pleasure) and most of my shoes became intolerable. Average pain level 7/10. I invested in indoor and outdoor shoes (discovered oofas which I highly recommend anyway), gel pads, foam pads, inserts, toe separators, etc.… I went to a podiatrist who blamed it on bunions that were barely visible to me, but he said inside they were pushing the metatarsals together (thus the toe separators). He never addressed the heel pain. He did give me a cortisone shot (my first) which hurt like a mother. It did nothing. He said I should consider bunion surgery. The wide toe box, memory foam, yoga pad inserts, shoes and accessories piled up. Over the next 18 months or so I self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis and planters’ warts and tried all sorts of treatments some of which gave temporary relief. At the same time my right collar bone protruded visibly, and I began to have pain in my neck, shoulder, upper back. I was no stranger to neck pain as years before I had neck and jaw pain and severe headaches eventually “cured” by a dentist who made a night guard for me (teeth grinding). So now its 2017 and I have pain in the bottom of my feet (avg pain 4/10 with the right shoes) and pain across my upper chest, neck, right shoulder, and upper back (avg pain 7/10).

    Somewhere during 2018 the foot pain just faded away as the new pain area became worse. Right collar bone sticking out and right shoulder mobility decreasing. Went to a few doctors, started PT, had acupuncture. No change. Then on vacation playing shuffleboard!!! something acute happened in my right shoulder and now I can’t do much with it. To the orthopedist, xray, mri. Torn labrum. Surgery. PT.

    Under impressed by the last PT, I was careful in choosing the next one – looking for someone wholistic. I found a good one and began the shoulder rehab but told her everything else. I saw her three days a week and whatever was the dominant pain of that day she would work on: Guasha, cupping, spinal adjustments, myofascial release, etc.…

    During this time, the collar bone lowered, and the pain moved to my upper back (T6,7,8) and wrapped around the ribs. I could not wear a bra or anything tight around the rib cage, was taking 4 Advil at a time several times a day. My right hip started periodically “popping” and a pain in my right butt cheek developed becoming excruciating when sitting – the worst when driving – sending shooting pain down the butt, back, outer right thigh and into the calf, occasionally getting to the foot but usually stopping in the calf. Driving for more than 15 minutes became intolerable.

    All of 2018 and into 2019 - PT 3 times a week, restorative yoga, the franklin method. I would have good days and bad days. Never a day with no pain at all. In 2019 I started seeing a massage therapist who did deep tissue work (believing the issue to be matted down fascia in my back) and on that table something acute happened causing terrible pain T6/7 and to the left side, burning and shooting pain, constant aching pain, numbness, tingling, fire. Avg pain 7/10. This is the pain that remains with me today. It moves up and down, sometimes crosses over to the right side, better in the morning and worse as the day goes on. And the butt/leg pain got worse.

    end of 2019 - a regular chiropractor, a kinesiology type chiropractor, then Covid happens. That solves the driving issue. Back pain, numbness, rib pain some days at an 8/10. At home stretching constantly, lots of advil. Later in 2020 back to PT for more Guasha etc. Spine doctor. Xray. Mri showing degenerative changes and a tiny posterior disc bulge at T6-7 – dr said not of concern, not unusual at my age – my pain considered to be non-structural. Recommendation = cortisone to the joints (did this twice). Started taping the ribs to pull them back. Thought this actually worked as the pain now has left the front ribs. I haven’t mentioned the elbow and wrist pain, finger joint pain, knee pain. That’s all small comparatively.
    Throughout - feel grateful that I can keep moving as walking (with the right shoes) feels great. So does lying down. Sitting and standing in place are the worst.

    My history - Some significant trauma in childhood happened (to me? my siblings?) but I have no conscious knowledge of what. My sister has memory of sexual abuse by an uncle, is an addict in recovery, has had multiple surgeries in both feet, nerve damage, chronic pain, TMJ, depression, anxiety, has a tens like unit implanted inside of her body to block pain signals, has not been able to work in over 20 years. My brother started drinking and using drugs at age 12. He is 60 years old and to my knowledge has never had a day sober. What his pains are physically and psychologically I couldn’t begin to imagine.

    I started smoking cigarettes at age 9, drinking alcoholically at age 10, smoking weed at 11, drugs at age 12. My father had an affair and when I was 12, he left with her, moved 3,000 miles away, sent money and birth control pills (he’s a gyn), didn’t see him until I was 15. Between age 12 and 15 I got kicked out or asked to leave 3 different schools and halfway through my sophomore year at the 4th school a friend’s dad, an educator, intervened, helped me apply to an early college, got accepted, moved out of my mother’s house, and started college right before my 16th birthday. Drank and used for the next 10 years, moved 20 times, lived in 7 states, went to three different colleges, may or may not have graduated at age 23, and at age 25 got clean and sober. Married, had two daughters, fell in love with someone else, divorced, blended families with true love and loving each other 20 years later.

    In 2016 our youngest graduated high school and we moved to a new state for his job opportunity. I was hopeful that my employer would keep me but in another role as I felt burnt out on what I'd been doing. They seemed upset to lose me in that role, but did nothing to try and keep me and I wonder if this may have been the proverbial straw that broke the narcissists back. Because that’s when the foot pain started.

    I have spent most of my sober life (31 years) in an intentional practice of gratitude and positivity. In reading Dr Sarno’s books and all the other helpful resources, it’s clear to me that expressing disappointment, resentment, negativity, anger, rage are all things I have worked hard at not doing. I am realizing that it’s not “real” to only allow for half of that equation. The cup can only be half full if the other half is empty, right?

    Thinking now of stresses, resentments, things I might be angry about and listing them out now for the first time. My father’s abandonment, mother’s denial, brothers withholding, sister’s entitlement and blame, stepsisters lies and manipulation, half-sisters’ privilege, stepmothers’ treachery, children’s self-centeredness, first husband’s weakness, husband’s confidence, mother’s dementia. Last year sold our house, bought a house, 6 month renovation, primary caregiver for mother with dementia, moving mother next week to assisted living, intense job that I don’t love but recognize it’s a good gig.
    The big stuff…pretty angry, sad, and frustrated that at my core I believe I am not lovable, not worth fighting for, not worth staying for. I have fear of success, fear of failure, fear of getting caught, fear of being found out. So pissed off at all that "weakness". I can be manipulative, selfish, self-centered, and material. I take prescribed meds for add for the right reasons, as prescribed but I constantly feel fearful and judgmental that I’m doing something wrong. I judge myself that it is not ambitious enough or respectable that what I want to be when I grow up is a grandmother. I have so much fear that I will be in pain for the rest of my life. So much fear that I will not be the kind of partner in life that I want to be with my husband. So much fear that he is aging better than I am. So much fear that I will hold him back from enjoying our last quarter of life in the ways we have envisioned. So much fear that he will have to care for me, that he will resent me.
    There it is.
    Thank you.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jane, and Welcome!

    I think you're in the right place, finding Dr. Sarno's work, and applying it to your life.

    In my TMS story, I had terrible chronic foot pain, used the Sarno method, and found great success. Like you, I spent a huge amount of time and money before I found Dr. Sarno's work. I think I spent about 20K in one year on medical and alternative therapies.

    Your understanding of your life, symptom onset, personality is a great start in this self-work. The more you can correlate your life's experiences, the way you respond to life and stress, and how you learned this in childhood, and symptoms ----to the basic understandings of TMS work, the more you're likely to progress. It will help to notice symptom increases or decreases with stress changes or relationship events day-to-day.

    The more you see yourself in this work and the more you connect the theory of this work to your life, the more this process will go deep. I suggest patience and understanding, rather than self-pressure, hoping you develop confidence of the truth of this process in your life.

    You have a strong self-rejection tendency and this is also common in TMS folks. I suggest you might try listening to this from Neff, which is a nice 5 minute self-meditation. And learn to witness, and disengage from your Inner Critic.


    I suggest you embark on the Structured Education Program which is free at the Wiki here. Many many people have gotten great results from this program. You'll learn a lot. Some of the links may be broken, but you can often find something close by googling.

    Also, it is very helpful to read a Success Story every day, and disregard the specifics, seeing yourself in the story.

    Also, read some of Dr. Sarno's work, or others in the field like Dr. Schubiner's or Alan Gordon's, Dr Schechter's every day.

    The process, if you undertake this in depth, will probably be life-changing as you learn more and more about yourself. This is commonly reported, whether it is that "I am friendlier with myself" or "I am able to be more myself with my husband, and remarkably he understands, which I never thought was possible." So this is a beautiful, important opportunity in your life.

    Ellen likes this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great summary of the TMS approach, Andy!
  4. Jane G

    Jane G New Member


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