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marsha Posted - 07/28/2010 : 11:41:22
After almost three years of constant pain I am at a crossroad.
Recently at my internists office feeling desperate for some relief I mentioned that I had see a commercial for Cymbalta on T.V. and did she think that might help me. She immediately went into her storage closet and brought out some sample for me.
Being me ,I hesitated taking this drug because I do firmly believe that my pain is psychosomatic. But then nothing has changed in almost three years and I was desperate for some relief so I took one. About three hours after taking a pill iI became nauseous ,dizzy and burning hot. In addition I couldn't speak. It felt like I had cotton candy in my head. I don't know if I had any pain because I was too sick to notice.
I decided to change physicians because anyone who would just give me a drug I ask for couldn't be a competent physician.
My therapist(analytical) who I have been seeing for about 8 months suggested I see another Physician. This new doctor has been listed as one of the best doctors in New York.
I did go to see him. He spent 2 hours talking to me , getting my medical history and asking me lots of pertinent questions. I had a copy of my last MRI, the one I brought to Dr. Sarno, who said that there was nothing in that MRI that would be a cause for pain. This doctor on the other hand said it was easy for him to see why I was suffering. He told
me he would show me how to bend and sit so as not to injure myself.
So , OK, I didn't say a word. What for? He gave me a prescription for Neurontin.I have not filled the prescription.
BUT, what do you do when there is no improvement. When your daily life hardly seems worth it.
I know my pain isn't caused by any abnormality. It moves around my back and legs constantly. The pain has a life of it's own and although it is not pathological it is reeking havoc on my life and spirit.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
art Posted - 07/31/2010 : 07:23:52

Ah but it was your Soulful meditation on perhaps the most vexing problem we humans have to grapple with that deserves the kudos. Death is easy compared to CONSCIOUSNESS.

We're all lucky to have you.
Wavy Soul Posted - 07/31/2010 : 01:13:03
he Buddhists say it's all an illusion. That's the only thing that makes sense to me because otherwise it just doesn't seem to add up

Yeah, I'm down with this.

Most of my realizations these days are about the unreality of what I used to think was real.

Thanks for your Artful critique. xx

Love is the answer, whatever the question
art Posted - 07/30/2010 : 09:13:56

That's what I call some high end musings :>). I used to spend a lot of time just sitting around trying to wrap my tiny mind around what it means to be me. There's something, well, not logical about it. How do I happen to be the I that I happen to be? I dunno. How is it that I'm this person and not that person? Dunno. Is identity "attached" at some point? Does it grow? Is it a seed or a flower? Is it there from the very moment when sperm meets egg? Why come if I had a 100 percent identical twin who also by some quirk had my identical history, he and I would still be as separate and distinct from one another, as fundamentally different, as me and Tennis Tom.

The Buddhists say it's all an illusion. That's the only thing that makes sense to me because otherwise it just doesn't seem to add up.

Edit: Just to add, your take is both poetic and compelling. Perhaps there's something there for me as well...
Wavy Soul Posted - 07/29/2010 : 12:12:04
I came to the board this morning in pain and feeling hopeless, with the question "what do I do?" and found this thread.

As I read through it I found I could relate to everything said by everyone. Hmm. Perhaps I have Multiple Personality Disorder. I am Marsha. I am Tennis Tom. I am the carrier of all the pain of humanity... wait a minute! Maybe I've got something there!

My point, and actually I do have one, is that, for me, the path is becoming a spiritual one, meaning NOT that it is about religion, but about my CONSCIOUSNESS. Not the thoughts in my mind, but my actual awareness, the background sense of "I" that holds this whole identity called Katie and is bigger than her. Within my "Katieness" is a whole history of pain and my attempts to resolve it, and sometimes those attempts become like a loop or an addiction which is, in itself, a distraction mechanism.

But here is the Biggie, for me. What am I distracting myself from? I know a lot about my thoughts and feelings. I know my own reservoir of rage intimately. I'm a professional in that field. And I've already identified, felt and released my childhood stuff umpteen times. I keep more or less up-to-date with my ongoing stressors (and I have lots of 'em). However, what I've come to realize, through a brain, darkly, so to speak, is that what I am really distracting from is the luminosity of my self, or you might say My True Self.

This could also be said like this: I am afraid of my God-self. And "I" am afraid of that infinite awareness. The small "I" fears dissolving into the big "I". When one hears about the ego in spiritual teaching, it usually sounds like some kind of proud show-off that is too big for its boots. But mine is more slippery, and shows up in a convoluted poor-me victim story of pain and hopelessness.

The thing is, I can let go of that story into the spaciousness of this moment, one breath at a time. I just found myself doing that. I'm not theorizing here. What back pain? Ah, if I go back and look for it, I immediately "reinstall" it.

I hope this is helpful to someone. xxx

Love is the answer, whatever the question
tennis tom Posted - 07/29/2010 : 11:54:50
Originally posted by marsha

I know that it is not enough to know what has happened in our lives..

This is incorrect. It is not necessary to delve into your past in an attempt to search out that "ah-ha" moment that was THE PRECIPITATOR for "all this". All you need to do is accept TMS theory: The pain is benign, harmless, and move on with your life--just do it!

Being "cured" of TMS is about moving on and ignoring the pain as best you can and do the things you want to. Ruminating endlessly about what was the black-bullet life event that caused the pain will just make it endure longer. It is not necessary to review and relive the past--it is necessary to read and understand the TMS information accurately, so that you can throw out the past incorrect conditioning and accept the new ideas and the correct TMS conditioning thoughts.


Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :
tennis tom Posted - 07/29/2010 : 11:39:17
Thanks for the reply Marsha. If memory serves me there is an entire chapter in Dr. Sarno's latest book about high-blood pressure being TMS, if that helps.

I've asked some questions that you have avoided answering. This is the internet and you can do anything you want to. I feel they were appropriate and obvious inquiries, given the help you asked for.

Dr. Sarno theorizes that TMS pain serves the purpose of protection from emotional pain that the subconscious decides would be more painful to deal with head-on. Perhaps you need to accept this and that the TMS answer is not your path. I won't ask you anymore questions. Good luck.


Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :
marsha Posted - 07/29/2010 : 09:24:36
Surely being in pain has a very negative effect on my life. Maybe I could have stated myself more clearly. I have a wonderful life...nothing going on that should cause my pain to continue. No triggers no stress. Really. If there is something I am completely unaware.

I have been in therapy with an analytical therapist for the last 8 months . I have been dealing with the emotional stuff from my past and present. I know that it is not enough to know what has happened in our lives..for some of us we need to feel the emotion connected to those happenings.


I know I am TMS sufferer. I believe that my pain is psychosomatic. I suppose I just needed permission to take pain medication without feeling like I have given up. I never believed the new doctor to be correct about his assessment of my MRI.(I have had faith in Dr> Sarno since 1999) I didn't say anything to him( New DOC) about my thoughts because it would not have changed his mind. I believe it is important to seek medial help. There are many things in life that aren't TMs and some TMS issues that must be dealt with medically.
I have thyroid disease and high blood pressure. Can't ignore those.

Thanks for your thoughts,
guej Posted - 07/28/2010 : 20:28:33
Tom, don't stop posting. You're down to earth and say things the way you see them. I've read lots of your old posts awhile ago, and I always enjoyed them. I'm pretty sure Marsha has tough skin and doesn't get offended easily.

Marsha, further to our discussion, I think you should forget everything people say about specific medications and find a doctor who will work with you on finding something that agrees with your system and helps you find some relief. Tramadol does nothing for some people. It was a God-send for me. Others can pop Percocet like tic tacs, and I wound up in the emergency room with shallow breathing when I took it. I remember someone telling me at my worst point that there is no reason I should be suffering. I had tried many different pain killers, and had horrible reactions to them all, so I was very anti-medication. When I first tried Tramadol it didn't help. After sitting down with my pain management doctor and going over all the options, I tried it again, stuck with it, and it really gave me enough relief so that I wasn't in agonizing pain 24/7. Consequently, I had enough emotional and physical energy to get my head together (that's when I embarked on my Sarno journey) and I became active again, which made me feel about 80% better emotionally. I'm not a pill pusher, but I really believe you need to give your body and mind a break from that onslaught. When you're in constant relentless pain, there isn't much room in your brain or in your heart to get on with other things in your life (which I really believe is the road to getting better).

Just my thoughts. Darko, I agree with your view that pain medication is just a tool. That's how I made peace with it too. Sometimes it just takes a lot of tinkering until you find something that works for you. It's worth trying as a temporary measure.

Tom, you hadn't been on the board in awhile. I did post that Dr. Sarno stopped the panel stories right after I first saw him last year (June). I went to one, and then they stopped. I was really disappointed, as hearing other people's similar pain sagas and subsequent recoveries gave me so much hope. I could have used a refresher a few times this past year when I got down about my lack of progress. He stopped the small group sessions even before that. I don't blame him. He is probably 87+, and I commend him for hanging in this long and still seeing new patients a few times a week. I'm not sure about a succession plan for him at NYU. I once asked to speak to someone in his absence last year (he was going to be out for a month), and I was told there is no one else. It's such a shame. With all these stressed out New Yorkers, there is certainly a market for some TMS doctors!
tennis tom Posted - 07/28/2010 : 19:08:04
Originally posted by marsha

I have a good therapist and I have a great life....

I am in therapy....

...I am still living a life filled with pain. Real , Intense, Disturbing and Depressing pain.

Dr. Sarno no longer has classes and he is not seeing patients anymore...

I don't think needing a break from pain is terrible or that I have abandoned the cause..I don't remember what is feels like to be pain free. I hurt all day every day.

Looks like I struck a nerve there. It certainly doesn't sound like life is great from what you are saying. It's hard to infer emotion on the internet but your words are pretty clear about your negative outlook due to your pain.

Thanks for the news that Dr. Sarno is not seeing patients or giving his group lectures. You're the first person who's mentioned that to my recollection. That's big time news! He well deserves to retire being in his eighties. Perhaps he will do some "scientific" writing to deliver the "clinical proof" that his detractors have so long been critical of him for.

Dr. Sarno does have physician colleagues at NYU Hospital who practice TMS medicine. When you found out he was no longer seeing patients, did he refer you to one of them? Are you seeing one of his TMS trained therapists?

Dr. Sarno doesn't think his patients should be in pain either and recommends they take pain-killers to help get them through.

One thing that strikes me from your posts, is that you refer to being "cured" of your TMS in the past. My view of TMS is that it is not something one is "cured" from. TMS is something we (hopefully) learn to manage. TMS is part of the "human condition" and depending on what is going on in our lives at the moment, can materialize providing us with physical symptoms as a distraction from the over-whelming emotions that our subconscious decide for us would be even more painful.

Marsha, feel free to tell me to stop responding to your posts and I will oblige. You won't be the first here to do so and I won't be offended in the least.

Good Luck


Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :
Darko Posted - 07/28/2010 : 18:36:44
Could it be that perhaps you are focusing on the pain too much and not on the emotional stuff? I know this is easy to do as I'm on my third relapse of pain....but I am getting better. When things were really bad for me I was very depressed and really didn't have any will to live another day as I didn't see the way out. What you must understand is there is a way out you might just not be able to see it at this stage. Here are some steps that I have been taking in order to get me off rock bottom, I'm still not pain free but my day to day life is much better and I know see a way to becoming pain free.....although I don't focus on that.

1- sleep was horrible, started taking sleeping tablets to get me into a new pattern, this helped with depression.

2- painkillers, I take them when I need to, it's a tool to help me not get down and out about the pain.

3- 5HTP and L-Tyrosine, google these tablets. They're natural and been very very helpful to me. Depression is gone, I am not stressed have more energy.

4- Lifesprings Colloidal Minerals.....Google it. Basically it's a drink that gives you all the minerals you need, which boosts energy levels. More importantly it stops the end of day fatigue. Highly recommend this one!

5- Faith....not religious, but working on "things will be ok" belief. I think fear has much to do with my pain.

6- Bodywork- these guys are massage therapists with a twist. They work on the trapped emotions in your body. Eg. He massaged my back and then applied lots of pressure to the area that was sore. Once I relaxed into it and allowed myself to experience the pain STRONG emotion come out of me. Very intense stuff but made me see that I have all this emotion trapped inside. I am now working on connecting with those trapped emotions which helps when I do.

7- I know you snapped at me last time I suggested this but I have been getting some NLP done ( Neuro-linguistic programming ) this has helped me with my fear and anger. It changes the programming in my head so I don't generate irrational fear and anger...irrational being the key word here. This has been helping my quality of life and that's all I wanted

I don't expect any of this stuff to cure me, but there is nothing wrong with getting some help in areas I don't quite understand. I was a firm believer that I had to do this alone.....but I spent 18 months suffering. I have changed my approach and things are on the improve. Another benefit of all of this is that I'm looking at parts of my life and changing direction. The pain is nothing more than a result of our emotions generated by the crap that goes on in out heads, via programming, beliefs and life situation. Am I completely pain free? NO! However my life is 10 times better and now I focus on that and improving it more, looking at my emotions etc. I don't focus on the pain......and THIS is the important step.

You might not agree with everything I've said and that's fine. It's obvious that you're really suffering so I wanted to contribute to you. I wish someone had have done this to me when I was in my darkest days.

I repeat....nothing I have listed is about the physical's all to focus on the emotional stuff. Try it and see if it can't get any worse right? It comes down to this, are you strong enough to do what needs to be done, learn what needs to be learnt in order to get your life back?? Most people get defeated, because of their minds.

The universe doesn't give us anything we can't's just our minds that trick into believing we can't.

YOU CAN handle this, you just need to take some action! What's that going to be?


susan828 Posted - 07/28/2010 : 15:46:35
Hi Marsha, I took low doses of Elavil once for tooth pain after an extraction. It helped a little. Then I was dx'd with fibromyalgia and given Effexor. I started getting the "electrical shock syndrome" where every time I turned my head, I heard clanking. I went to a neurologist and begged them to do surgery, anything. I walked into a glass door because I forgot that you have to open it first! I will never take an antidepressant again. Paxil and effexor have the worst record of this syndrome. Took months to go away.

I know that everyone doesn't go through this and if it helps them bear the pain, great. They also wanted to put me on Neurontin but I have a physical job and they told me no way will I be able to perform it while on Neurontin. Think hard before going on an antidepressant or anti-seizure drug. I personally can't see being on one forever, who knows the side effects of long term use. You have done so much in the way of trying to help yourself and I am sorry that you haven't found a resolution. My doctor once said "Sometimes there ARE no answers". We expect them to know but pain is a mystery, sometimes real, sometimes TMS and I think there are gray areas. I get so frustrated at times that I also feel it's just not worth it anymore because the pain has ruined my life. I find it to be so much related to stress and because I can't afford therapy and have never had a good therapist, I try to help myself with cognitive therapy. I truly have had therapists who have never heard of the foremost pioneers of psychology. I knew more than them so why bother, I quit and started journaling. I don't have an answer for you, just wanted to relay my experiences.
marsha Posted - 07/28/2010 : 15:31:36
I have a good therapist and I have a great life.
I have seen Dr. Sarno twice. Once in 1999 and then in 2007.
After seeing him in '99 I had 7 years pain free.Seven years later my pain returned. In 2007 I had another MRI just to check out and make sure I did not have pathological ailment. He once again confirmed that TMS is the culprit. He suggested a therapist. I am in therapy.
As for seeing an internist..There are things that affect us that aren't TMS. To not seek out medical help would be foolish.
I have not given up on the TMS journey. I believe as stated in my post that TMS is the cause of my pain but I need a break. Even after seeing Dr. Sarno and a analytical therapist I am still living a life filled with pain. Real , Intense, Disturbing and Depressing pain. Dr. Sarno no longer has classes and he is not seeing patients anymore. I reality the only thing he could tell me was that TMS is the reason I am in pain. I already believe this to be true. Dr. Sarno really doesn't do much else but diagnosis and give lectures which I attended in '99 and 2007.
I don't think needing a break from pain is terrible or that I have abandoned the cause..I don't remember what is feels like to be pain free. I hurt all day every day.
Humm! Thanks all . I think my response answered my own question.

Thanks Ursula..Your call was very helpful and I love hearing from you.
Dave Posted - 07/28/2010 : 14:49:41
I have to strongly agree with Tom.

You have gotten off the TMS path. You are seeking relief from medical doctors and drugs based on structural explanations for your pain.

You say you are at a crossroad, but you have already passed the crossroad, and taken the turn away from TMS.

This is certainly your decision to make, but if you go this route, you should not expect relief treating the symptoms as TMS.

If you can regain your belief and commitment to the TMS diagnosis, then why not give Dr. Sarno a call and/or attend his meetings.
art Posted - 07/28/2010 : 14:38:31
Hi Marsha,

But why all the doctors if you realize your pain is psychosomatic?

What to do? Accept that you have TMS and do your best to ignore the pain.
tennis tom Posted - 07/28/2010 : 13:12:57
Originally posted by marsha


If I were in NYC, I would camp out in the Good Doctor's office 'til I "got it". From what I understand, once Dr. Sarno takes you on as a patient, he will help you for life. WHY AREN'T YOU SEEING HIM?--or one of his hand-picked therapists?

BTW, there's a new book coming out written by two of his therapist associates.

As for your reaction to the Cymbalta, it sounds like you were already paychologically pre-disposed to not wanting to take it and possibly your TMS mind complied with a negative reaction. I had a bad reaction to Lexapro once that landed me in the ER, in the middle of the night, with what I thought was a heart-attack, but was only an anxiety attack.

According to TMS docs, small doses of anti-depressants have been found to be helpful for treating TMS pain. I played around with a mild dose of Celexa and found I made some progress down the TMS road.

My previous posts about it may come up in a search here if you put in Celexa.

Maybe you need a new therapist? (or a new life--not being flippant here).

Good Luck, I gotta' hit the road now.


Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :

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