I am so excited to introduce you to Rebecca, a participant in my Healing Female Pain program who was diagnosed with pelvic pain 4 years ago, and who is now completely out of pain!! I asked her to share her story with you not only to give you another example of what the process of relieving pelvic pain using a mind body approach can look like, but to show you that there IS HOPE that you can relieve your pain too! I am happy to say she has generously agreed. Here is her story……
From Debilitating Pain to Profound Body Connection: My Journey
After nearly five decades of inhabiting a body that behaved exactly the way my mind instructed, it all began to crash around me in 2010.
That year I quit my job to care for my mom, got hit from behind on a busy highway (hello, back pain!), had to halt chiropractic adjustments to unexpectedly bury mom and return home to sort out my “perfect” marriage that was perfectly fractured.
It was as though I was living in some crazy traveling circus complete with jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists and clowns. Then, while juggling too many “balls” at once I suffered two big falls and cartwheeled myself back into physical therapy (hello pelvic pain!).
My tenacious physician left no stone unturned and for years I back-flipped into every pelvic pain specialist’s office and agreed to every test and procedure under the big top. (Okay enough of the circus metaphors suffice it to say my body and my health had become quite the spectacle!)
The Revolving Door of Treatments
My original symptoms began as low back pain that radiated over my right buttocks/hip region in concert with a constant annoying hypersensitive tingling pain between my right inner thigh and vagina. Lovely!
I was given several different medicines, for nerve damage, localized pain, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, seizure disorder and overactive bladder (what?).
Over the next 18 months, I dutifully showed up for physical therapy twice a week for “unexplained pelvic pain syndrome”, monthly acupuncture treatments and chiropractic manipulation, bi-monthly myofascial trigger release, and medical massage therapy.
I tried orthotic heel lifts, pelvic compression belts, spa baths, steroid injections, traction, hundreds of pelvic/back exercises, biofeedback, electronic stimulation, special diets, assorted pillows, mattresses, pads and soft balls – all in an attempt to make walking, lying and sitting for more than 20 minutes possible.
Nothing helped. At least not for more than a few days.
To add insult to injury most of these modalities were on my dime because they weren’t covered by my insurance. Plus, it felt like most of the caregivers could care less! UGH!
Forget about scheduling anything personal into my calendar – I had turned my life over to every specialist under the sun with his or her latest and greatest treatment plan of the month. It all felt about as disjointed as a Barnum and Baily contortionist. (Sorry I couldn’t resist one more circus metaphor.)
How I Became the CEO of My Own Health
In the summer of 2013 I was referred to a respected clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, where a supportive group of traditional medical specialists checked me out from head to toe. They diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and pudendal nerve entrapment.
They collectively decided against prescribing more narcotics, antidepressants and “nerve blocking drugs” (which weren’t dialing down the pain anyway). Instead, they recommended I research and seek out holistic avenues for pain management.
Could it be that they believed I could manage my care better than they could?
Imagine that! Traditional medical doctors suggesting I seek pain reducing modalities that feel “RIGHT” to me instead of taking scary drugs (with potentially scarier side effects).
They encouraged me to “Be the CEO of my health”! And I decided that was exactly what I was going to do.
Discovering the Magic of Mind Body Healing
I’d been introduced to the Mind Body healing approach in the Spring of 2011, and at that time I simply wasn’t ready to accept that my pain wasn’t from a disease or accident/fall; nor was I willing to implement any of the Mind Body tools into my life. So I put that information on a back shelf of my brain and filed it away.
Then, in December of 2013 I stumbled upon Lorraine Faehndrich’s website. This time the timing was perfect!
Lorraine’s story spoke to me in a way that ignited an ancient remembered truth: “I have everything I need within me to heal”.
As I allowed my mind to marinate on this, I signed up for her talk on Female Pelvic Pain. While waiting for that tele class, the magnitude of the notion “I have everything I need within me to heal” resonated louder and louder as each day passed.
Formula: Body + Mind + Emotions = Truth
Lorraine made an excellent case for paying attention to your body’s sensations instead of relying solely on your mind to give you important information. And for the fact that when you allow yourself to listen to your body and feel your emotions you access your personal inner wisdom and initiate true healing.
As I heard this, my body told me (with numerous goose bumps) that this was the absolute truth and my first step back to wellness. So I signed up for Lorraine’s group program, Healing Female Pain.
I absorbed the material like a rich, emollient crème compounded especially for my dry and parched soul. I soaked it in and developed a kinder relationship with my mind.
I learned to attentively scan my body for sensations, found the courage to befriend my emotions and eventually received unexpected clarity from my soul. (Sometimes just a word, but other times huge messages like thunder clapping “AH HA! Dig this!” messages.)
Gradually I unhooked from my “stories” by noticing my physical and mental decoys. I began to question my thoughts for their quality and truthfulness – especially when I knew they weren’t serving my highest good or kept repeating.
I noted my everyday stress and tension minimizing when I relaxed into Lorraine’s “Goddess Breath” meditation. Ahhhhh.
I learned skills, tools, exercises, and ways to be mindful, and the concept of “play” was reintroduced as yet another avenue to access joy. Could it get any better?
I joined a community of women on a similar journey with pelvic pain, lovingly lifting each other up within a safe and trusting space that Lorraine painstakingly created for us. I’m talking a soft blanket warmly wrapped around my longtime hurting inner child kind of support.
The Healing Spiral Continues
As I deepened my Mind Body practice, I learned that my pain could be a decoy from emotions and the rest of my life. In fact, at first when I began to go deeper into my emotions the symptoms did worsen and moved around, especially when we entered the “center ring” of the program. For example, the pain traveled from my pelvis to my back, to my shoulder, to my knee, to my heel, to my shoulders.
The adage “from breakdown, to breakthrough” took on a whole new meaning as I navigated the roller coaster ups and downs of being a student of mind body healing.
Are We There Yet?
A curious thing happened as we approached the last week of the program…my symptoms changed significantly. They were ALL gone.
As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months I slowly came off all my meds aside from one Aleve each morning.
I picked back up most of the treasured activities that I let go when pain was running my life. I now regularly enjoy walking, lifting weights, gardening, traveling, wearing high heels and, yes, pain-free sex. YAY!!
I no longer feel exhausted or run down, but instead lighter and more energetic. But I’ve learned to be mindful of the present moment. I celebrate presence by regularly practicing meditation, spending time in nature and noticing when my senses are engaged.
I schedule play into my daily calendar and refuse to break those appointments with “me” as though my health depends upon them. Because it does.
Truthfully, I don’t even think about pain for days….and that’s so crazy because just a few short months ago “pain” was my only thought.
Eureka! The formula works!
My pain journey has taught me that wellbeing resides inside, now, 100 percent of the time, always available, just waiting to be accessed and celebrated. Our Soul is always rooting for us and when we turn within to hear our inner wisdom we CAN heal ourselves.
(Oh and that circus? Those elephants pulled out a couple months ago and I’m still doing cartwheels!)
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