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to cancel or not to cancel? too much thinking

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Leslie, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    The chiropractor and massage therapist were part of my wellness routine long before the start of any TMS symptoms. The monthly appointments with each helped relieve stress and tension and gave me a general sense of well-being and a calmer internal state. When the symptoms were at their worst, visits with each of these wonderful people were increased to anywhere from one to three times a week. The massage therapist is a dear friend since childhood and the chiropractor is the one who suggested the possibility of an emotional component to my pain which led to me discovering TMS. Both have been incredibly supportive and accommodating throughout my entire journey.

    Doubt, goodism, and even some perfectionism to an extent kept me from completely stopping these appointments when I learned about TMS. I read multiple things written by doctors and experts that directed the need to end all "physical" treatments and they made sense to me but I guess I thought I could get around that by changing the frequency and my mindset towards these appointments. Instead of stopping the appointments, I went back to monthly visits with each. Afterall, that's what I was doing for wellness before the symptoms, my mind would recognize the change & believe I was all better, right? Plus, the massage appointments ensure a relaxing hour to catch up with a dear friend once a month. So, I've had 5, 4-week apart appointments with each and the severity of symptoms has been steadily decreasing.

    The were 5 weeks between my May and June appointments and I was feeling great, even at the end of the 4th week when typically (guess I have to admit conditioning here) the symptoms would increase. Looking back the symptoms started increasing when I reminded my husband of the appointments a couple days before. So, what I realized from these recent appointments is that the appointments themselves have not changed, but the patient has. Overhearing a conversation about symptoms caused me to be even more tense at the start of the massage. At one point my right foot was being massaged (hasn't been a tms location) and I remember thinking that it felt like a brick in her hand and consciously, unsuccessfully willing my foot to relax. The following day I realized I felt more tense after the massage than I had before it. Then I went to the chiro appointment that same week and I realized I was not able to make myself relax then either, which resulted in a very sharp pain traveling through my primary TMS location. I am very skilled at hiding my pain but this was one of those that was so sharp and came so suddenly that the quick, startled, audible inhalation was automatic, even scared the chiro. Fortunately the sharp pain had subsided within minutes.

    This post has taken a long time to write, I had no idea I would experience so much anxiety just from typing about it. I made my next appointments (went 6 weeks this time) with each and the more I think about it, the more it seems that the right thing to do for myself is to cancel them and see if I've been undermining my own healing progress by continuing them. I'm looking at what I've written here and I believe that's the advice I'd be giving to a friend struggling with the same decision. So I guess the real question here is not whether or not to cancel the appointments but how come I seem to be needing all of you wonderful people to tell me what I already seem to know? Is it my inner people-pleaser needing support to risk possibly disappointing these people that have been very good to me or maybe just a lack of confidence in my ability to make the right choices for myself? Well, whatever it is I've thought about it long enough. First all the analyzing of the frequency changes for the appointments, then going back and forth for several days whether to post about it here....maybe my mindbody will begin to relax now??
    Lilibet likes this.
  2. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    I like your cat's picture.
  3. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    Leslie, my advise would be to cancel the appointments. I am sure that the two people concerned will understand completely. As well as not going to any of the places I used to go to, I have also decided not to have the massages that I had when at my holiday home. I just know it brings back previous thoughts for me and as soon as they see me I know that will say 'how is your back'. I also have this fear that a negative statement regarding my protruding discs will set me on the wrong path. Sometimes the smallest little comment can linger in the mind.
  4. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    Just a thought. Is there an activity that you could do to replace these appointments. Something that will relax you, but also something that is brand new to you ???
  5. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    It is possible that your brain still depends on these appointments to keep you stuck on the physical.

    How about cancelling them and see how you fare? You already know you don't NEED these appointments to be healed. You could always catch up with these people at a coffee shop or someting if you want the social connection!
  6. AngK

    AngK Peer Supporter

    You sound like you know the answer :) And, yes, I agree with your reasoning. You probably do associate these visits with your physical well being more than you previously realized. My last crutch is my pillow... the memory foam, contoured type. It's the most comfortable pillow I've ever slept with... no fluffing needed, only need 1 pillow... I keep it mostly b/c of comfort. Mostly being the operative word. I started using it right after a bad neck episode. I admit I wonder what will happen if I dispose of it. I can see where things that serve dual purposes: comfort/relaxation and aid TMS, are difficult to part with. Do we need to make ourselves intentionally uncomfortable to prove something? I'm thinking maybe yes.. at least in the short run. I plan to get rid of the pillow... at some point (soon) :)
  7. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    I'm too new to be any real help, Leslie, but I think you're right to cancel the appointments for the time being. You sound like me...putting the feelings of these very nice people ahead of what may work best for you. I'm glad you posted this.
  8. Calum

    Calum Peer Supporter

    Hi Lesley, like Lilibet above I am relatively new to TMS, however I agree with the decision that you have already seem to have come to, to cancel the appointments. When I found out about TMS I cancelled my chiropractor and physiotherapist and stopped all stretches. This greatly reduced symptoms in my secondary TMS location and although it hasn't reduced symptoms in my primary TMS location it hasn't made them worse either.
  9. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    In his book "Healing Back Pain", Dr. Sarno states "Another essential for full recovery is that all forms of physical
    treatment or therapy must be abandoned..............Conceptually, prescribing physical therapy contradicts what we have found to be the only rational way to treat the problem; that is, by teaching, and thereby invalidating, the process where it begins—in the mind."
  10. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    Hi Leslie, when I found out about TMS I immediately stopped all physio appointments and the pilates classes I'd been going to for my back symptoms. It was actually a relief to me to do so as, over the course of a number of years, they had made little difference but I didn't know what else to do at the time even tho' I was frustrated by my lack of improvement. I feared I might become worse but, guess what, I didn't. In fact, I've had far more better days since I stopped all physical treatment than I ever had before.
    I really like Sheree's idea of finding something else to substitute for your massage etc. Could you use a sauna or steam room to relax for example? Could you just have a relaxing head massage or something like that?
  11. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Thank you so much for all of your support everyone. Even though I had hoped that returning to the "wellness" schedule of these appointment I had maintained prior to TMS would tell my brain I am well, it seems very possible that my brain is still using the continuation of these treatments to keep me stuck in the physical. I am very hopeful that canceling them will help me continue to improve. I stopped all the other "physical" stuff I had been doing when I read HBP (thanks for quoting it here Stock Trader, I loaned out my copy and it was a much needed re-read for me) because it was all stuff I had started doing after the onset of symptoms. Since the massage and chiro were things I had done prior to symptoms I guess some part of me really didn't want to view them as physical treatment. I am canceling both appointments today.

    I really like your idea of replacing them with something relaxing and enjoying Sheree! I think instead of massage and chiro appts I'll schedule facials and pedicures instead :D

    I also think the social connection is partly why I've been keeping the appointments, more so with the therapist than the doctor. The therapist is a long time friend of mine and since she has gone into practice on her own her free time is extremely limited. The appointments have been the only guaranteed get together time for a while and I realize that I'm afraid I might not see her at all without a massage appointment. I guess that's a chance I have to take for my own well-being. Besides, maybe having 1 less person on her calendar will free up some time for the 2 of us to do something that's fun for both of us right?
  12. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    Sounds like a plan, Leslie. Facials and pedicures are a great substitute. And now...we move on to the very important topic of what color you will have your toes painted. I'm partial to purple, myself. ;-)
  13. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Thank you soooo much for your reply Lilibet! I really, really needed that levity this morning!! I am so grateful for the laughter :) As for the color of the toes - that decision will be reserved for the way under-used spontaneous portion of my personality!
  14. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    How about bungee jumping or skydiving with your cat. This will be fun thing.
  15. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    You're so welcome, Leslie. :) I hope your day is filled with laughter and serendipitous spontaneity. Let us know what color your toes end up!
  16. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    Pleased to hear the decision you have made. Planning something that gives you fun as well as relaxation is the right way to go. During my time with pain my husband has jollied me along to go out with friends,etc. Many, many times I have groaned at the prospect, but it has always helped. In fact, it is those times that has cemented my belief in TMS. There have been times when enjoying and laughing while out that I have realised that had I been at home the pain while sitting watching TV would have been so much worse!
  17. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    one appt canceled, one to go (voicemail ugh!!). I would have jumped (pardon the lousy pun) at the chance to go bungee jumping or skydiving 15 years ago...now a ride on the tilt a whirl seems like an adventure for me. As for the cat (my own wonderful fuzz ball is a big orange tabby, I've never had the pleasure of kmowing my avatar but he personifies my ideals) someone ringing the door bell is his idea of adventure...actually it's his idea of terrifying, which results in a good laugh for me because his feet spin out from under him like in the cartoons! I will keep you posted on the color of the toes :D
  18. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow, just reading your post has increased my anxiety. I guess I know in my heart I should stop all my appointments, but I, like you, have felt if I just framed it in a different way, it would be okay. My acupuncturist is helping me with my peri-menopausal symptoms, not so much my pain. My physical therapist, who is also a good friend now after seeing her for 16 years, is supporting me in getting fit, not the pain. And my TMS therapist, well, that appointment is acceptable. I also have scheduled them 4-6 weeks apart. I guess I am just not ready and it is good to be aware of that. Its not like I can even afford any of these therapies so my perceived need of them is indeed very strong. I am trying to relax into my life and thinking about not having any of these therapies is definitely not relaxing. But perhaps this support forum will help. I have actually never met anyone like me, or anyone with MBS. My husband, family and friends are all relatively supportive but at the end of the day, how can they be? I often wake up and think "this can't still be happening, not another day of pain, panic and struggle". I am trapped in this body, they are not. And it has been my therapists that have been so understanding, patient and sympathetic, day after day, year after year. Encouraging, never giving up on me even when I wanted desperately to give up on myself. Its hard to let go of that.
  19. Lilibet

    Lilibet Peer Supporter

    Anne, I'm new here too. Are you going through the Structured Ed Program? I would keep your appointments until you have spent time on that. My sense so far is that these decisions need to come from a calm place of belief, not one of "pain, panic and struggle." The 42 day program will help us get there. :)
  20. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I couldn't agree more with Lilibet, Anne. You will know when and if the time is right to make changes to your treatment regimen. I've done the SEP and I highly recommend it. I've read several TMS books and have been participating with this forum and putting into practice all the wonderful healing techniques little by little over the course of the last 6 months and I'm just now getting to the point of stopping appointments (and as you can see from my need to post about it, the decision is not anxiety-free). I am a big proponent of "baby steps". Stopping everything cold turkey or doing a complete 180 is ultimately only going to undermine your healing; it's going to add new stresses and pressures and with those generally comes symptoms. I would encourage you now just to think about the SEP, do it at your own pace and be kind to yourself. Most definitely relax into your thinking and take courage and support knowing that you found a whole bunch of people very much like you when you happened upon this forum on the web! I have no doubt you'll find lots of support here and more often than not you'll probably read a post by another forum member and truly be able to say the person could easily have been writing about you, I can't even tell you how often that happens to me. Please do some deep breathing or something to lower the anxiety, I'm so sorry to know my post increased it for you, I know how unpleasant that is. And also know that you "should" not stop all your appointments. When and if the time comes to stop the appointments it won't be a matter of "should" (which is stressful in itself because it argues with reality - if you want some great lessons on removing that word from your existence & why it's beneficial check out Lori's posts) it will simply be a matter of is.
    westb and Lilibet like this.

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