Category: What works


Stellar Progress

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Does this happen to you?

You get so fixated on working toward a goal that you don’t acknowledge or notice the progress you’ve made.

Happens to me all the time. I could blame my perfectionism, which would be true to a degree. Or, I could blame being overly focused on the goal, which would be true to a degree. Or, I could blame it on not having marker points in my plan, which would be true in large measure.

You see when I set out to go Beyond The Pain I didn’t have a plan. I just found the first thing that made sense to me and tried it. And, then when that didn’t work I thought about what I’d learned and tried the next thing, and the next thing, and the nexdrt thing. I tried some pretty weird treatments, lots of pills, and a boatload of psychological treatment. At the same time I kept scrupulous records of weather, stress, and what now. I’ve since learned that keeping medication, pain, and other records is a keystone of the Self Management program at the Calgary Pain Centre. Good on me!

In the Spring of this year I confirmed something I’d long suspected. It wasn’t just changes in air pressure that triggered my pain. It was changes in air pressure coupled with temperature changes and alterations in wind speed, particularly wind gusts. Since I couldn’t do much about the weather, except dress up or down, I turned my attention to what I could control.

I determined five natural or mind-based strategies I would use in my research. Then I devised a spread sheet I would use to record details of the pain management strategies and whether they worked. The pain continued at a severely fairly constant level through out the summer. Then in August, based on non pain based symptoms I was experiencing I began to suspect that a medication my urologist prescribed for BPH was the maincause of pain. I would not have known that if I didn’t keep detailed records of all the symptoms I was experiencing.

I stopped the medication and informed the urologist I had done so. Within a week I was pain free and I enjoyed a September mainly free from pain. Then October arrived with tumoltous cold weather. And, I was back to early morning pain.

And, failed to notice something rather important.

Yesterday I went to my former therapist, Lynn Lambert, to address concerns I had about Post Traumatic Stress arisng from my car crash. When I discussed the progress I had made with Dialing Down The Pain she said something that suprized me.

She said, “Wow! That’s fantastic. You’ve found something that works most of the time for pain.”

We went on discuss the things I tried and what I had been like.

And, I got it.

This is stellar progress. It really is significant. I’ve arrived at a critical point. I need to acknowlege it.

One way of acknowledging it is this blog post. I need to ponder what I am going to do.

Thanks Lynn for helping me see what I wasn’t seeing.




The Truth About Pain

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Most of my friends, and even much of my family, don’t quite get the fact that I am in pain constantly.

That means, like, every minute of every day of every week of every month.

Some ask, “How can you stand it?”

I typically respond, “What choice do I have?”

If I choose to live, then I choose to experience pain. Because … so far … and I haven’t given up hope … I will find relief for this pain.

How bad is the pain? Well, the medical profession likes to ask you to measure your pain on a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced. I have problems with this approach to rating pain but that’s another discussion.

To convey how bad the pain is I say, “15 out of 10!”

The truth is the pain has gotten worse over the years. And, it’s not like I haven’t tried “pain killers”. They call them that because they kill the pain while killing you. I’ve tried more than a dozen medications and a half dozen alternative therapies. They haven’t worked.

In fact, all of the traditional pain drugs have created horrendous side effects. To quote “All medications have side effects.” I seem to be the sort of person who gets the most obscure, rare side effect of a drugs.


I have been obsessively collecting weather and other data, for the last 10 years, in an attempt to identify the cause or causes of my pain.

I knew that the unstable weather of Calgary provoked my pain. But, not always.

Finally, the other day, I got the solution.

It is weather plus my level of stress that evokes pain.

And, I’ve had a shit storm of stress lately.

Here’s the good news. I can DO something about my stress.

So, I’ve been dusting off all those stress management techniques I used to teach and using them myself.

Wish me luck!