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Day 1 Scared

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Aquaboli, May 5, 2015.

  1. Aquaboli

    Aquaboli New Member

    My back has been hurting periodically since as long as I can remember and before my back I struggled with anxiety depression OCD migraines and frequent urination. I can recall the onset of the chronic back pain that I have felt for over two years now. After dating my now husband for three years we got engaged on father’s day of 2012. I remember feeling like I was supposed to be excited, but I wasn’t. He was and I as a result I felt guilty and deceitful. A few weeks before our engagement party I “threw my back out” after lifting heavy weights. I remember struggling to pick up my stepdaughter for pictures because of the pain. I was a total control freak in regards to the engagement party. I was unbelievably anxious, high-strung, mean, and controlling. Looking back I now realize that I took advantage of my mother and now husband’s seemingly unending patience. At the engagement party I had a severe panic attack. I kept obsessing in my head what love what supposed to feel like and convinced myself that I didn’t love my now husband. I pulled my mom aside and cried hysterically. Although not typically a big drinker I drank enough to get severely wasted and then told everyone I had to put my stepdaughter to sleep (but I just stayed in bed with her). The party continued for hours while I was sleeping. My back got better. I hurt it again four months later while lifting weights, ironically the week before my joint bachelor bachelorette party. This time the pain was more serious because it went from my back down my leg. I went for an MRI of my lumbar spine and it revealed a variety of scary terms (two herniated discs with one compressing a nerve, mild degenerative disc disease, minimal lordosis, mild dextroscoliosis, minimal anterolisthesis). I went to physical therapy for months and eventually the pain in my leg went away. During this time I began a doctorate program and worked as a school psychologist. My anxiety was so high. I kept thinking that I wasn’t smart enough and that I didn’t have enough passion. It was as if I was only going through the motions and I was afraid everyone could see through me. I obsessed over making the wrong vocational decision and again felt like I was being deceitful to my students and fellow classmates. The pain in my back remained and it was very difficult to sit or stand for long intervals. I got three cortisone injections into my L5-SI disc. They helped moderately, but it was all placebo. I had an injection a few days before my wedding. It didn’t work until a week later and had to take painkillers in order to enjoy my wedding. After the ceremony my dress was bustled and the pain was so bad that my brother’s friend had to bring me a different dress. I cried during our first dance because I was in so much pain and assumed people would think I was merely emotional from just getting married. Two days later we left for our honeymoon and took so much medication on the flight to Thailand. I don’t remember when I started to feel better, but I barely needed any medication on the flight. My back pain inevitably came back and since I had exhausted my conservative measures, I met with one surgeon. She recommended a spinal fusion, which petrified me. I saw another two doctors who insisted that a laminectomy and microdiscectomy would be sufficient. I got the surgery during a winter break so that I didn’t have to take time off from school and only two weeks leave from work. I was so nervous before the surgery that I thought I was having a heart attack. I made the doctors give me an EKG in the hospital and returned to a cardiac doctor two weeks post surgery when the chest pain didn’t go away. After the cardiac workout came back negative the chest pain went away. The pain in my back was still there and I begged my surgeon to let me go back to physical therapy early. The physical therapist massaged too closely to the incision and I wound up with an infection. I got an MRI of my spine to make sure that the infection did not spread to my spine and a week later my surgeon told me that the radiologist was concerned that he may have seen a syrnx, but “it was not likely.” By that point I had gotten pregnant and could not get a follow up MRI to confirm whether or not it was there. For months I obsessed about having the scary spinal abnormality. Every time I had a soar neck I was convinced it was there. Somehow I put my fear aside for the later part of my pregnancy. I was given very strong antibiotics for two weeks in order to stop the infection. A few weeks after finishing the prescription I started getting severe stomach pain. I ended up in the hospital and an abdominal sonogram came back normal. I was also seen by a gastrointestinal doctor who found nothing. The severe cramping lasted for about a month and then disappeared as quickly as it began. During this time I also started worrying that I had breast cancer. I made my husband, who is a nurse, check my breasts bimonthly. This fear dissipated after a few months and I stopped asking him to check. I had back pain during all of my pregnancy (except the first month during the morning sickness phase). I also developed such bad hip pain during middle pregnancy that I couldn’t lay on my right side. I went to physical therapy the entire pregnancy and the therapists said I would feel much better after I delivered. Then My daughter was born and the pain immediately intensified.

    I had so much lower back and hip pain in the hospital that I didn't feel much pain in my pelvic region. The doctors gave me percocets but they did nothing and I was forced to stop breastfeeding. I met with a physiatrist and pain management doctor a few weeks later. MRIs of my pelvis hip and lumbar region (plus the cervical spine which thankfully confirmed that I did not have the spinal abnormality) revealed that no additional injuries were present. Plus the previous surgery appeared to have corrected the structural issue beautifully. The doctors thought it was my SI joint and I received a cortisone injection. The pain came right back a few hours later. The pain management doctor apologized for not being able to find out the source of my pain and advised me to seek out other opinions. I saw someone from HSS who said I had slight facet joint arthroeis at one of my spinal joints and he recommended physical therapy. I went to a pelvic physiatrist who diagnosed me with pelvic floor dysfunction, piriformis syndrome and said that I had si joint issues too. She injected my piriformis through my siatic nerve and my prudential nerve (both two times). She also gave me an SI injection for good measure. It didn't help at all. She referred me to a pelvic floor physical therapist who I worked with for a month. She did myofascial release and again it didnt do much for the pain. I stopped seeing her when a friend referred me to a mind-body physical therapist. I had been taking tramadol since two weeks after delivering my daughter (a total of about 2 months). I was such a nervous wreck at this point that I saw a psychiatirst and psychologist. The psychlogist told me that my body was stuck in fight or flight. The physchiatrist gave me klonapin and cymbalata. It helped with the anxiety, depression and pain a little. In order to get more relief he switched my medication to a time release xanax, 40mg of cymbalta and 20mg of lexapro. I also have a fast acting xanax I am supposed to take when I am really anxious. The problem is I am always anxious, but not anxious enough to need a xanax. I had to stop taking the pain medication in order to take the anxiety medication because the risk of seratonan syndrome. At that point I was feeling hopeless and wished I was dead. The mind-body physical therapist attempted to address the pain anxiety and depression through AAT (look at this website for the description http://www.wellnessandperformance.com/about.html) . He was also doing manual PT and at home core exercises. He believed that my ligaments were weak and my muscles are overcompensating which was causing the pain. He said that my lower back was inflammed and that I had bursitis in my hip region. He advised me to ice. The hip pain got much better in the three weeks I have been seeing the physical therapist but that is all. I then went on two separate week long meditation retreats to try and reduce the pain. They stirred up emotions but did nothing to reduce the pain anxiety.

    Then I met with Dr. Rashbaum who diagnosed me with TMS. I went to his two lectures last month and started seeing a TMS psychologist this week which brings me up to date. I am scared that this is my last hope for a normal life and my pessimistic nature is doing a good job of convincing me that this won't work either. I am pushing through the fear and starting the SEP with a sceptically open mind. So here goes nothing...
  2. rcguy1982

    rcguy1982 New Member


    You have taken the right steps, and you will do great with this program. Just focus and stick to it and you will come out on top. It is hard at first, I am still new to this, but monitor yourself. Give yourself credit for the little things, even if you do not think that they will matter in the long run.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Aquaboli,
    I am glad you have arrived here. You are going through hell on many levels, not the least of which is the fear and anxiety. I am glad you have the physician and psychiatrist with direct help for TMS. All of us here have gone through our own hells, and many still are. You are among friends. Welcome.
    Andy B.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Aquaboli. Consider yourself very fortunate that you have learned about TMS. It appears to me and others that it is the cause of your symptoms.
    Now you just have to believe that 100 percent. Drive away any doubts because they are just your Inner Bully trying to keep you hurting.
    You subconscious is your friend. It is giving you pain so you discover what the repressed emotions are, perhaps going back to your childhood.
    And a perfectionist or "goodist" personality can cause pain.

    Your post tells how much you have done to heal yourself structurally but are still in pain and fearful. I urge you now to focus on TMS.
    The SEP program will walk you through that. Don't spend more than an hour a day on each step or it can be too much at one time.
    Try to enjoy yourself the rest of the time. Practice deep breathing. And I find it very helpful to just laugh.
  5. Aquaboli

    Aquaboli New Member

    Thank you Walt Andy and rcguy1982 for your support. I appreciate all the support I can get. I think only focusing one hour a day is great advice because it goes against my instinctual obsessive nature.
  6. Aquaboli

    Aquaboli New Member

    You are right about needing to give myself credit. I did a spin class today :)
  7. rcguy1982

    rcguy1982 New Member

    you are very welcome! Awesome news about the spinning class

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