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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by MaryanneS, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. MaryanneS

    MaryanneS New Member

    Hi everyone! My name is Maryanne. I recently learned about TMS after downloading the curable app and a lightbulb went off for me. I don't want to self-disgnose and am fortunate enough to live in the Midwest, so I made an appointment with Dr. John Stracks for next month to see if I should try a TMS-based approach or if I need to continue standard medical therapies. Or perhaps, it is a mix for me? It's really hard to know at this point.

    Here is a quick timeline of what I have gone through in case anyone else here is in the same boat:

    - 2003: diagnosed with hypothyroidism and alopecia areata after living in a other country for a year (alopecia was quite severe and I lost about 50% if the hair on my head). I continue to be medicated for thyroid disease to this day.

    - 2004 alopecia went into remission

    - 2005 alopecia resurfaced after death of fiance.

    -2006 alopecia went into remission

    -2008 diagnosed with vulvodynia after entering into my first serious relationship since my fiance passed away. Went into remission in 2010 after treatment by a pelvic pain doctor with medication. Still flares up sometimes.

    -2009 GERD and acid reflux. Coincided with stress with the economy tanking and potential job loss. Went into remission when I got a new job.

    - 2015 diagnosed with IBS shortly after I got engaged and while planning a wedding.

    -2017 alopecia flared up again right before wedding and when father became very ill.

    - 2018 diagnosed with vestibular migraine (I feel light-headed and "dizzy") after a medication reaction. This has been persistent to this day and happened during some nutritional things I was trying for my IBS. I still will get IBS symptoms occasionally, but 90% went away when the dizziness started.

    - 2020 following a viral infection (possibly Covid) I started having upper abdominal pressure, nausea and reflux symptoms all the way into my mouth and throat. This is way worse than my previous GERD episodes. This started off intermittently, but is persistent now every day and is very painful. My gallbladder was problematic (filled with stonez distended and surrounded by scar tissue) so it was removed, but symptoms actually got worse after removal. Upper GI scope was normal except for several small ulcers in my stomach and a biopsy which was suggestive of reactive gastropathy, although I take no pain medications and I don't drink alcohol. Doctor suggests this could be from bile (although only a small amount was in my stomach), stomach acid, or both. Tests negative for h. Pylori and celiac. GI put me on PPIs and Carafate which I am taking now to heal the ulcers and it only helps some.

    - Also in 2020, I was diagnosed with metatarsalgia on my right foot and a muscle pull in my left calf despite no preceding injury or intense activity. I literally woke up with these pains.

    Active issues at the moment: dizziness, gastropathy with small stomach ulcers and metatarsalgia

    If you are still reading this, I'm general I feel broken at the age of 40.

    Does the above pattern or "diseases" sound familiar to anyone? I am curious what the doctor will say.

    I think my biggest question at this point is regarding the gastropathy and ulcers. As it is clearly something that pulled up on a test and through biopsy, I wonder if this is separate from TMS or not. I have read through old threads on here and there seems to be controversy regarding ulcers, gastritis and the like. As not treating this can cause pre-cancerous changes in the stomach and esophagus, this issue causes me the most uncertainty.

    Sorry for the long post. I promise future ones will be shorter.

    Thank you for having me and I look forward to supporting others as well.
    TrustIt likes this.
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle


    Based on your info., there are certainly emotional/TMS components but there also seems to be actual physical issues (hypothyroidism and ulcers). The question is what is causing most of your suffering now? You listed a lot of evidence pointing to TMS...links to onset of symptoms with emotional/stressful events, a history of several different forms of TMS (IBS, vulvodynia, migraines, mysterious foot pain). It's hard to say how much of the G.I. issues are stemming from the brain and how much is "structural". Using the mind body approach can only help you either way, but I suggest you contact Dr. Schubiner (or Dr. Stracks) or any MD who specializes in TMS so you can form a plan.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi MaryanneS, and welcome!

    I am glad you've found this "TMS" approach. It seems to apply, as I read your story, in many ways which I think you're already aware of.

    Gastritis is commonly considered to be a TMS equivalent, so it is treatable with this approach.

    Metatarsalgia is a new word for me, but from first hand experience, and working with many people, most foot pain is TMS, if it becomes chronic, or moves around, etc.

    I am glad you'll have a consult with a TMS physician. In the meantime, you might use our Structured Education Program at the Wiki, if you want a program, in addition to your Curable ap. In any case, treating something which is possibly physical with both physical approach and with a TMS approach is harmless, and may be beneficial, even if it is not a "purist" treatment. I think in your case you can work with confidence with the ulcers/symptoms in the stomach, since you're getting the physical treatment, and finding out more soon from Dr. Stracks.

    The benefit with the TMS work here can be in reducing fear around symptoms, learning to feel more, learning to be more yourself, learning more self-compassion. So if you take this as a learning journey, rather than a "fix it" journey, this is probably helpful, and you can try to connect your emotional/stress experiences to symptoms, probably with benefit. I think from your past there is evidence that you're prone to some forms of TMS. Treating one symptom will likely generalize to effecting positively other symptoms, and you'll learn to handle future symptoms. So I really think you're in a good place right now to proceed.

    Good luck in your process, and try to have confidence that it will work out.

  4. MaryanneS

    MaryanneS New Member

  5. MaryanneS

    MaryanneS New Member

    Hi there! Nice to "meet" you! To answer your question, the biggest issue for me now is the stomach problems because it makes me feel so physically ill--I feel constantly nauseous, have upper GI pain/pressure, and reflux like symptoms like chest pressure, throat sensations and a horrible taste in my mouth. It really limits my normal, healthy diet and I've lost 20 pounds since it started because eating a normal meal is challenging. I will be curious what the doctor says as I have seen several discussions on these boards and there have been varying opinions on stomach ulcers and if they are TMS or not. I don't want to neglect a real physical problem, but all of the medication trial and error and testing over the last several months without feeling better is getting me down. It's both mentally and physically exhausting and the stress of it isn't helping. So it seems to me at a mindfulness approach can be complementary at the very least.

    The dizziness is also ongoing, too, but ebbs and flows from day to day and it doesn't bother me in the same way. When I get foot pain, having been an athlete my whole life, it just doesn't bother me as much because I inherently trust that it will just go away and it eventually does.
    TrustIt and miffybunny like this.
  6. MaryanneS

    MaryanneS New Member

  7. MaryanneS

    MaryanneS New Member

    Thanks for the wonderful words of wisdom, Andy! I'll certainly check this out. I'm still learning the various parts of this forum and how they are used.

    I'm curious as to how the evaluation process typically goes for TMS. It's an odd feeling knowing many of my issues are likely TMS-related while others could be a mix or more structural in nature. How does a TMS physician figure this out?
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    When "nothing I am doing works," this is supportive for TMS work, TMS diagnosis, but of course not the end-all assessment. I really don't think it can hurt to take the meds prescribed and go deep into a TMS approach, particularly as I say, looking for even slight correlations between emotions/stress, and symptom changes ---good or bad.

    The only downside to this "dual" approach is that you're not "all in" on a mind-body approach. It may help to just know that you're "taking care of the physical" and actually beginning to work on the root causes with the psychological. I use orthodics for instance for my shoes. I don't want my TMS activation kicked up around that I might not be supporting my feet. A purest might object. I don't.

    I am not sure how a TMS physician figures this out, but he/she will have a broad experience with successful treatment with various conditions, and know what might be dangerous.
  9. MaryanneS

    MaryanneS New Member

  10. MaryanneS

    MaryanneS New Member

    I love your analogy about the orthotics! It makes total sense. I feel that's why the approach I'm taking at the moment for my stomach is a prudent one as I navigate this. I don't want the ulcers to get worse and excess stomach acid and not protecting the stomach lining could result in more harm, so I followed the doctor's advice started taking the PPIs and Carafate and have a follow-up in about 6 weeks to figure out next steps, but can reach out before then if I feel worse. By then I will have been in the meds awhile longer and can see how I feel and I will have met with the TMS doctor for a review as well.

    I must practice patience, but it can be so hard. :)
  11. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes. And it is good to know that the urgency for "safety" or for symptoms to stop can perpetuate/increase symptoms. As Dr. Sarno said, fear is a greater distraction than the symptom. So patience, trust is to cultivated.

    I suggest the core of the work is "thinking psychologically." It is in the moment, real-time interactions of events, history, and personality which fuel symptoms. Here is an article I wrote, which is "pure Sarno."
    http://www.tmspainrelief.com/pain-relief-using-psychological-inquiry/ (Pain Relief Using Psychological Inquiry | TMS Pain Relief with Andy Bayliss)
    MaryanneS likes this.

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