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Would like to suggest to friend he has TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Sarah79, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Hi Folks,

    I hope you're all doing well and in various, but positive stages of recovery from TMS.

    This post relates to a good friend of mine who, I think, has TMS. He's currently being shuffled between neurosurgeons who, having taken a look at his back MRI, are making all sorts of noises about risky and prolonged surgery to cure what is (I think...have asked for exact diagnosis today and am still waiting) - spinal stenosis, nerve compression, herniated disc and excess bone growth impinging a nerve (is this nerve compression? Probably). The neurosurgeons have said that he needs metalwork in his spine. He had one of these operations about 12 years ago, and also associated laminectomies.

    But the pain, particularly his sciatica, moves around. He describes it as 'burning, pulsating,' but its path of travel varies. He also needs, apparently, a hip replacement, and this has flared up at the same time as this back stuff, which has worsened considerably over the past year. What he DOES have, which I'm under no illusion about, is a blood clotting auto-immune disorder, for which he's on long-term warfarin. Whatever the trigger for that, he needs to be on anticoagulants for life. But back to the back. His life has been marked by events such as

    1 - losing his brother to bone cancer when he was 16
    2 - his parents not permitting either him or his sister to really express their grief
    3 - resentment towards his parents for that
    4 - three failed marriages, all to women that he didn't feel anything for
    5 - very financially successful; driven, hard-worker, perfectionist, takes on responsibility which far exceeds that which is actually HIS to take care of. Doesn't express extreme emotions - occasionally will say, 'I nearly cried today but held it all in.' He can be quite controlling, he can be defensive and his self-esteem is self-confessedly low.
    6 - he's with a partner now who fell very ill three years ago, and he's done all her nursing, while maintaining his business, and watched her response to his needs fall off a cliff. There's much understanding to be had for her attitude to him - she was close to death - but rather than trying to talk about it, he just pursues what he has to do each day, which is always for everyone else and scant else left for him. She also doesn't like the area where they live, whereas he loves it, so she's forced him to put the house on the market. There is resentment there which is expressed, but he might as well be howling into a void. Her illness came about through an action that she did which he asked her not to do, and because of that, three years of his life which could've been happy and functioning have been lost. I can only guess that he feels resentment towards her for that; he's intimated as such, but I've never pushed it.
    7 - he also financially supports all his ex-wives, plus his current partner and her daughter (who are not short of money), because he feels he must ease his conscience.
    8 - he's on pregabalin and morphine, the latter of which doesn't work at all. In fact nothing really works to solve the pain at all. It sometimes wakes him at night, but then again, it sometimes doesn't.

    His back pain and sciatica move around (hallelujah!) and he pushes through it all to exercise, such as rowing or doing 50 miles of cycling, during which time it also doesn't hurt. He's a very logical man, and both his father and son are doctors, so he's very much wedded to the medical profession. I don't know how to present this theory that he may have TMS to him. Of course, I'm not certain as I only see his personality; I don't feel it from the inside, but he does match most of the traits, plus his pain moves around. I dearly don't want him to pursue surgery that is very risky, with regards the outcome, when I feel that the topic of TMS needs some attention. I've thought of just buying him a Sarno book, or sending him a list of all the stressors I've written down about his life, but I know that he's not very interested in his feelings. He's currently trying to leave his partner, but even then, there is no confrontation and no overt expressing of feelings - he tries to manage everyone, including himself, and I watch from the sidelines thinking, 'just let it all out, please!'

    The back issue came about when we were rowing; it suddenly got a lot worse, but from having rowed for years, I know that unless you are hit by a boat when you're on the pontoon, nothing really bad can happen to your body on the water. He loved to play tennis, which he can no longer do, and he loved to row, which he sometimes does, but always very stiffly, and with clear pain. He's now switched to cycling and does hundreds of miles a week on that, without pain, but I'm just waiting for that to present a problem to him so he goes deeper down the wormhole of a physical cause.

    We live in the UK so there's not a huge TMS presence over here, but would dearly love him to even look at this idea.

    Any observations about his back / sciatica / personality would be appreciated, as would advice on how to raise the possibility of TMS with a loved one who you fear may not be very receptive.

    Huge thanks in advance, and for reading, too

  2. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Hanscom’s book “Back in Control”? Have you read it? Would make anybody think twice about back surgery that’s for sure
    Sarah79 likes this.
  3. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Marls! I hadn’t heard of it at all, but have just ordered two copies, one for him and one for me.
    Marls likes this.
  4. srton

    srton Well known member

    It's so tricky to suggest to a loved one that their cronic pain may be TMS. I've tried before and had success with some people (and they've seen Sarno as a literal life saver) and others who have felt I was being pushy and invasive and discounting their pain.
    Having the TMS personality of being a "fixer" I of course want to tell everyone about this miracle....but some people aren't able to understand and hear it.
    I wish you and your friend all the best!! Go for it -- as long as you keep an open mind and aren't insulted if he isn't able to hear the diagnosis you have nothing to lose!
    ps - when i think of my friend who overcame her crippling back pain after i sent her Healing Back Pain i could almost cry with gratitude
  5. Rainstorm B

    Rainstorm B Peer Supporter

    Hi Sarah

    I wouldn’t normally recommend this book here because it is by no means ‘pure’ Sarno TMS theory, however I have a hunch it might just work for your potentially sceptical, medically-minded friend and at least give him the idea he has an option other than surgery...

    It’s called “Back to Life”. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Back-Life-...ck+to+life&dpPl=1&dpID=51YDd4qTswL&ref=plSrch

    The reason I’m suggesting it is that it’s written by NHS doctors from the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham - this alone might make it more ‘legit’ in your friend’s eyes!
    It’s basically based on the ‘bio-psycho-social’ model, which posits that nervous system changes caused by stress lead to chronic pain.
    I know this approach is frowned upon by many TMS purists, and I understand why - it’s too easy for people to get caught up in the whole idea of nervous system ‘dysfunction’ and disappear down those rabbit holes instead....And there little or no emphasis on the role of unfelt emotions...
    However, it clearly states that surgery is almost never the answer to pain and at the moment that sounds like what you would most like to be able to convince your friend of. It sounds like you have a really good grasp of TMS theory, so if you could get him a bit on board you could maybe introduce him to the more full-on TMS ideas from there...?

    The book actually has a lot good advice about looking at the stressors in your life that might be causing pain. It doesn’t focus so much on the role of the unconscious, but it’s a good start. A halfway house, if you like.

    Anyway, it’s just a suggestion. In my experience many people can be very defensive about ‘straight’ TMS theory if they are not already fairly open to new paradigms. This book might give you an opportunity of at least getting a toe in the door to a different way of thinking about his pain.

    Good luck. Let us know how you get on. He’s a very lucky man to have such a good friend.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Sarah79.
    Just a note from someone who has been an evangelist for a couple of decades.

    I have passed Sarno on to many friends and acquaintances. BUT I have learned to not LOSE that friend or acquaintance, to just share my experience (e.g. I was permanently 'disabled' and now I am not) . I myself was more than angry when the guy who passed HEALING BACK PAIN on to me first approached. Early on in my recovery I am sure I likewise angered a few people, meaning nothing but good for them. The Idea that we have something to do with our own pain is insulting to the ego.

    Keep in mind that a lot of people for whatever reason NEED their pain. It is their grandest possession and to let go of it would be quite a shock. Your testimony about your own recovery will always be the best proof.

    It is that quality in OURSELVES that wants to help others that was partially responsible for our own symptoms.

    That being said, I have a 1.000 batting average. Of the people I have passed the book onto WHO HAVE READ IT, virtually all of them got better. So, instead of just telling them about it or directing them somewhere I have found that handing them a copy of the book is the most effective way to evangelize.

    ----vignette--- I have become good friends with My Boss. In the Fall his back pain got so bad he couldn't even come in to work. When I had mentioned Sarno in the past I got the usual eyeball roll "sure buddy". Than the Gnarliest attack ever came. He was trapped on the floor at home in agony.
    At the time, He was running the company, dealing with a spoiled brat daughter who had moved into his home and was using his grandson as leverage to rule the roost, leave messes and lounge about all day on social media. Our main client had disappeared and HE hadn't got paid in a month (He paid us because he's a TMSer), His son had disappeared to another state...yada,yada,yada.
    I took the book to him. Being completely homebound he finally had time to peruse it. He hasn't missed a day of work since and every couple of days we have a talk about what is REALLY causing his pain (Daughter, Goodism,Money,powerlessness)

    It is awesome to pass the message on. I just have to use my intuition on times and places. Blessings to you.
    lowella, MindBodyPT and Rainstorm B like this.
  7. lowella

    lowella Peer Supporter

    Baseball65, this killed me, drove the stake right through the heart - thank you!! Seriously. I've healed 99% now and have evangelized about 24 other people now because of it, and yesterday another person said "no" to healing and it agonized me. This morning I woke with a symptom very similar to his. But I also did some emotional work so it could've been an extinction burst - does anyone have a hard time knowing which, and playing mind games?! Anyway - we can't keep taking it all on. God how I wish I had never read "the catcher in the rye"!! I was too young and instead of understanding the story I think I had too much empathy and started being like Holden Caulfield....

    But anyway, relative to this - how do you stop caring?!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  8. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't know how to 'stop caring'. I do know that as I worked on my spiritual life, I have realized that a lot of that caring was actually ego DEEPLY disguised as concern for others. That need to save the world, get my point across has an implication that If I don't do it , it won't get done (agnosticism)
    The Gospel is full of stories about planting seeds we don't harvest and harvesting we never sowed. Passing on the truth is our obligation as children of God. Whether or not that person is ready (or even if I am for that matter) is in the hands of something far greater than myself.
    There are many great authors who are effective at outlining and describing the alienation we all feel, but simply identifying it has never been enough to banish it for me. I have always had to take a knee, disciple myself to something larger to get free...and there is freedom out there...all over the place.

    and... hanging around chatting about symptomology can be a pain in the ass (literally) in the early going in TMS recovery... the Nocebo that Sarno talks about was very real for me.
  9. lowella

    lowella Peer Supporter

    Genius, bro! I'm a Christian, and I didn't ever think of it that way. The parable of the sower. Glory to God.

    I am trying to play God through my empathy (I also read Jesus was INFJ, my personality type - I was honored until I realized what that actually means, that I am on a self-defeating path, trying to be all things to all people, except myself! Humbling.)

    I had a bit of a faith crisis throughout all this but of course we come out stronger & more enlightened in the end! Thank you again for your help. I think smashing some things really did help a lot, too!


    Baseball65 likes this.

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