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On Chronic Pain and Teddy Roosevelt

On Chronic Pain and Teddy Roosevelt

In 2017, I was rear-ended on the freeway twice. The first time was at high speed, and then eight months later I was hit in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Although the second accident was less severe, I found myself affected, because I was still recovering, and I was also pregnant and more susceptible to injury. This set the stage for several changes in my life.

To compound the issue, I had taken so much ibuprofen that my small intestine suffered perforation, and the food in my gut was falling into my bloodstream. I met with a naturopath, who had hundreds of five-star reviews. In one of our sessions together, she compared me to Christopher Reeves. I couldn’t believe it. She prescribed a host of supplements and a strict SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) diet, which I was on for two years. During that time, I found inspiration in Teddy Roosevelt. I remembered reading about him in school, and how as a child he suffered from debilitating asthma. His father told him that he had to make his body strong, and I resolved to do the same:

“Theodore, you have the mind, but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make your body.” 


Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Prior to the accidents, I had worked as a medical and legal interpreter for over ten years. I sat in on hundreds of workers’ comp visits, and some of those were with an incredible psychiatrist in Oakland, who taught her patients a form of self-hypnosis.

As an interpreter, I was never told what my assignment was going to be about. I’d show up, check in and walk into the psych visit with the patient. I’d often get the same patient several times and hear their stories out of order, Memento-style. At times, it was like being in a suspense thriller. After five or six visits, I’d hear about the accident. Wide-eyed, I had to keep going, translating their stories and doing my best to catch every word. This is how I mastered the art of self-hypnosis for chronic pain management, after translating the technique to countless patients.

I’ve helped laboring women, people with spinal injuries, an elderly woman that I met on Clubhouse. We talked, while her grandson was crawling all over her, and after a few minutes she thanked me. Her pain was gone! One time, I had a woman on the phone, who was driving, and I explained that this would only take a maximum of five minutes. By the time she reached her destination, she confirmed that she was pain-free.

There are several tools in my toolbox for pain management. I run or swim every morning, in any weather. I use heat and cold. Lately, I discovered the FlexBeam, an innovative wearable device that promotes healing with infrared light. Apparently, it can cure carpal tunnel, too. It helped me heal a frozen shoulder in four weeks. My physical therapist confirmed last week that I was on the mend.

If you suffer from chronic pain and are interested in learning more about self-hypnosis, please do not hesitate to reach out. I’ll send you a five-minute video that can teach you how to practice this on your own. The technique doesn’t work on everyone, but there’s also no risk involved. And since I’m not a medical professional, I can’t charge for this. I’m happy to help, if at all possible. In the meantime, have a wonderful and restful holiday.

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