Dear Doctor Sarno,
Thank you! Your work has changed my life.
For ten years I suffered from what I believed was worsening carpel tunnel, and sciatica, as well as excruciating lower back pain. It was common knowledge amongst my friends and family that no one could possibly be doing all of the strenuous and detailed carving work that I was doing on a regular basis as an artist, and not suffer the consequences.
I got on a treadmill of physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and anything else that held some promise to help relieve the pain. It was expensive, and time consuming, and while some of it worked, the relief was only temporary.
It got to the point where I couldn’t turn my head without my hands falling asleep. I couldn’t use my hands as well as I needed to, I stopped being able to ride my bike (my primary means of transportation), and at it’s worst I could barely sleep without waking up with aching and numbness in both my arms. It was a daily misery that was spiraling downward and I thought that at the age of 35 I had ruined my body. I felt old and done.
Then a friend recommended that I look into your books. She said a friend of hers who had been scheduled for back surgery had healed herself with your books, and was now a runner, who never had to get that surgery after all.
As soon as I picked up your books I understood that I had TMS. It took reading them all for me to believe that even my particular pains, the ones that felt so deep seated and undoubtedly nerve related, could also possibly be the ones you were talking about. I read all three books multiple times, listened to them all on audio, and did “The Mind-Body Workbook” by David Schecter.
It took a little while for my pain to completely abate, because, as I came to understand from reading related books by one of your therapists Francis Sommer Anderson, when you are suffering from deep seated childhood trauma, as I was, having grown up with severely drug addicted parents, sometimes the cessation of pain is a process that takes weeks, months, or even longer.
I made an appointment with Dr Rauschbaum at the Rusk Institute — the only availability they had was 3 months out, and by the time I got there, the pain had subsided. However, the day before my appointment, I was tying my shoe, and a new stabbing pain appeared in my heal and ankle. When I got to my appointment, Rauschbaum guessed the exact location of the pain, and let me know that sometimes the mind makes a last ditch attempt, on occasions like, before a TMS appointment, to convince the you that dire pain is your fate. As soon as I walked out of the office the pain vanished.
Now, if things get especially rough, like with a recent death in the family, I get a return of pain or other psychosomatic symptoms like hives or psoriasis, but, now I know what it is, and I just have patience with it, and if it doesn’t go away, I return to reread one of your books, make sure I’m keeping up with my journalling, or watch some testimonials on youtube of people who have recovered, and that’s generally enough to help it go away.
Now, not only am I largely pain free, but I am also am an emotionally healthier and more empowered person as a result of the process. It has deeply affected my understanding of physical health and emotional well being, and I’m grateful for this increased wisdom.
Also, I started learning to surf again this year (another thing I had had to give up because of the pain), and I feel like I’ve gotten my body back. I”m alive, and it’s incredible!