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Time to tell my story

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Jnew24, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Jnew24

    Jnew24 New Member

    I've had what I would consider active TMS for over 30 years. I think it actually started in my teens when I had some back discomfort. I went to the family doctor who did an x-ray and said I had some degeneration in a disk. Didn't think much of it then and was very active as a runner, basketball player and all type of sports guy all the way thru college. I got married right out of school. No money and had to go to work, quickly had lots of pressure and I was rising through the company ranks quickly. One night I went for a run and my back started hurting. Went to a doctor and you know the story. Same diagnosis (I think I told them of the earlier diagnosis) and into PT, no more running, be careful with your body, wear a back brace, possible surgery, etc. etc. etc. Condition got worse and worse. We had kids and I was always in a panic about what would happen if I couldn't work or be a normal husband, father, etc. I became fragile. Went to a memorable idiot Chiropractor who told me I had the back of a 70 year old and I was still in my late 20's. More PT, acupuncture, lots of drugs, lots of time fighting despair.
    Somehow at about this time I found Dr. Sarno's books (in the mid 90's without the web!) and I felt like I had a chance. I booked a trip to NY and met the Dr. Sarno and he told me I had a perfectly normal back. It was hard to believe and I'm not sure I bought into it 100% but I gave up all of my morning stretching and other back specific exercises and slowly begin to live a more normal life. I progressed in my acceptance of the diagnosis and eventually got into road bike riding which seemed to be a huge "FU' to my TMS. As obsessive as I am I was riding all of the time and I soon developed knee pain. Why I didn't understand this to be TMS I still don't know, but I think it was because I'd read that if you ride with your seat too low you can ruin your knees and I had decided that my seat was too low. Went to a specialist and ended up having "releases" done on both of my knees and didn't really ride again for over 20 years, enduring constant knee pain in both knees all along the way and believing the surgery that didn't work was the cause. As I look back on it now I know I was feeling horribly guilty about riding and being gone for hours at a time when I was leaving my wife and young boys at home. But as always, a structural diagnosis was easily accepted. I had some good periods where the pain was less, but it always present. I was using creams and taking supplements, more drugs, making "bone broth" you name it.
    At some point in there I was having back pain again, and once again thinking there really must be something wrong and ended up having another MRI. (When the pain returns it’s easy to doubt the TMS reality). This time, they said my back was normal for my age?!? The focus then shifted back on my knees. Oh, and about 5 years ago I was in a car wreck and I developed middle back pain. Not right after you understand, probably about a year later. This was severe at first, but would come and go afterwards. Again, I didn't think this was TMS and thought it was related it to the car wreck. I went back to the doctors, had an MRI, etc. but they didn't find anything structural that they could blame the pain on, and I finally started to accept it was another manifestation of TMS. Fast forward another year or so and I went to another PT for knee pain. The PT had me start doing light exercise and diagnosed me with "tendonosis" I increased the frequency and level of the exercise and eventually started thinking I could do more on my knees. I started light hiking and just kept progressing to the point I could do 5-6 miles at a time of reasonably challenging trails (I live in Colorado near the mountains). I was actually pretty satisfied to be at this level. Snowshoeing in the winter and hiking in the spring and summer and while I was still managing my knees, they felt better. I was still scared to death of bicycling though. I was really focusing on TMS. I was trying to think through all of my emotional baggage, everything from childhood to present, but was still dealing with the middle back and managing the knees.
    My knees still weren't perfect and I went to yet another specialist. Had an MRI and low and behold she told me she really didn't see anything wrong, things looked normal for my age and I should start riding a bike to get stronger. This was confirmation that this issue had been TMS all along. I increased the frequency of my hiking, (but still did not get on a bike). Then I suddenly developed a horrible case of Plantar Fascia in both feet. I thought this must be TMS and I'm not going to give in to it and just continued to hike as I had before which led to a complete shut down and feet so sore that I was reduced to wearing sandals on most days. This as you can imagine was somewhat of a low point. I decided however that if I couldn't hike maybe it was time to test out my knees again, which were feeling better all the time since the diagnosis that they were fine (So typical of TMS that this is when the pain shifted to a new area). Again another TMS clue. I ordered a spin bike and started with 5 minutes and increased by a minute or so per day. As I got farther and farther in to it and wasn't having pain I promised myself that if I could get to an hour I was going to get another road bike. Well I did and I did. I am now riding up to 25 miles an outing and doing fine. My feet were horrible but my knees felt great. I fought with my feet all winter but snowshoed or hiked every weekend. I developed an elaborate routine of rolling out my feet every night, doing arch exercises, etc. I also started reading and watching the associated online videos for “The Great Pain Deception” by Steve Ozanich. Renewed focus around challenging your limitations and pain by doing exactly what you weren't supposed to do but what was in fact normal activity. It was also really valuable to listen to the videos on youtube and to hear the "Wall of Victory" people tell their stories, stories which in so many ways were similar to my own. This has helped me to refocus and make the decision like I did so long ago after meeting Dr. Sarno, to give up my remaining“crutches” and proceed onward. It also reinforced that you have to believe: no cobwebs of doubt. Again, the book and videos have been a huge help and inspiration. I feel like the subconscious probes with TMS- it will keep throwing little things out there to see if the conscious mind will bite. I’ve come to believe it’s not even always about repressed rage. You can just be in such a habit of creating pain that re-occurrences are something you always have to be on guard against. I also now realize how dependent I’ve always been on the medical community appraisal and how easy it’s been to give up on the idea of TMS. As soon as you do that you’re losing the battle. As Dr. Sarno and others have said "there can be no doubt." In my case it just took a lot to pound that message through my head.

    Well there it is. There's probably more and I'm sure I've missed plenty. Now I'm in my mid 50's and although I realize how much time I've let TMS steal from me, I'm excited to have a life back that I enjoy living. I've wasted way too much time and money on doctors, tests, drugs, etc., but what's done is done. Yes, I'm a total Goodist, I try to manage everything for my family and make everything OK. I don't share my emotions easily. My friends think I've always been healthy and athletic and I've never shown the other side. I've made excuses for countless activities because I was scared of getting hurt. I have always fought low self-esteem and have fought hard to keep it hidden. I'm the typical person that gets TMS. I've got a dark side that I think I've come to terms with, at least in the sense that I know it's there. I'm ready to be done with TMS now. And I mean totally done. Reading back through this note it all sounds absolutely crazy. Such is the TMS life. If you're reading this you have a similar story as well. My advice would be to read the books, watch the videos and let yourself believe. You CAN beat this thing if you allow yourself to do so. Good luck and God bless.
  2. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Jnew24 thank you for posting. I know we have to believe in TMS fully and since I have developed a new awful symptom I probably am doubting it again. Done the testing, medical gamut and am emotionally exhausted from all of this. I think I will get back to Steven Ozanich's book.

    Congratulations on your new painfree life. I hope to be writing in this forum soon:)
    Jnew24 likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jnew24

    I enjoyed reading your story. So typical of the members here. How many times we can fall back into believing things are structural...

    This sounds like the pattern of "not being myself." I think so much in TMS work is about allowing who I am to BE, and this takes some courage. Good luck in your work.

    You might do the TMS Recovery Program and then the Structured Education Program at the Wiki. These are guided inquiry and education programs that many have found to be very helpful.

    Andy B
    Jnew24 likes this.

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