This week’s post is an update on my recent progress and some interesting self realizations.
As some of you may know, I had tremendous success with Mirror Therapy (see my previous blog entry) and as a result I decided to wean myself off all medications.
Well… I didn’t know what would come my way. I had a week from hell as some call it. I experienced withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict (not that I would know, but can only imagine. Hey just a moment – I do know, at least now…).
It was really hard! There were may times when I was tempted to reach out to the ‘bottle’ and take a ‘small dose’ (medication that is), just to calm things down. This inner struggle started on a mild level and as days passed it got bigger, more aggressive and much more challenging to handle.
Fighting hand over fist this mammoth feeling inside drove me crazy. How can this be? I was only on some strong painkillers and a nerve pain control medicine for 6 weeks…
This experience ignited my curiosity about addictions and I decided to study more about human addictions, how and why they happen and how we deal with them.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a psychology research essay here, all it is, is a reflection on self and where I’m with it. I decided to share this as I believe we all have hidden ‘addictions’ in our lives that we just don’t acknowledge or know what to do about them. The bottom line is that everything is connected to change or the fear of it. How to identify it, let go and change – this is the question I’ll will try to answer this question in the next few months.
As soon as started my research I found many studies about the BIG addictions, drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, money etc. I must admit that at that point, I thought to myself that I have no serious addictions in my life :-)
I’m a pretty grounded all round guy, living a stable life (short of one foot). Yes the meds I was on are addictive and I understand why I experienced withdrawal symptoms, but I couldn’t help myself from digging a little deeper – is it possible I have addictions in other areas of my life that I’m not aware of, or maybe dismissive of? What will happen if I will discover them and try to wean off them too? Will I experience similar symptoms?
Then the floodgates opened, once the veil was off, and I allowed myself to be honest, I found LOTS of them!
My most obvious personal addictions are mainly behavioral / physical.
I am addicted to the Internet/computers and its many hidden heads: time spend in front of a monitor (be that a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone), the need to be connected and know what’s going on, endlessly checking email, Facebook updates, YouTube and so much more. My best excuse is that most of it is work related, personal development related, information search related. You name it - I’ll agree with it. But realty is reality.
Another obvious one is my morning ritual – it is so much the same that I’m startled by the mere thought of changing it (you know, waking up earlier, exercise, prepare nutritious food for the day etc.)
Others came in the form of eating habits, from certain foods I crave for to how I consume them and how I reason with my inner voice that it’s ok to go for the ice cream, chocolate or whatever it maybe.
Now this is just a short list of behavioral / physical addictions… then came the BIG ones: They are all emotional!
Emotional addictions come in many forms and shapes. The need to feel worthy, respected, needed. The fear of change, doubts about self confidence, the future, the need to plan and be in control, constant need to achieve, social acceptance and the list goes on and on.
The reason I share this, is to invite you to the conversation and share your own ‘hidden addictions’ – I would love to hear about your insight and experience.
My intention in the next few blog posts is to identify several major addictions I want to change and go on a self initiated rehab program. By sharing this with you I’ll be accountable (and please let me know when I’m off track) and I just think it will be a very interesting experiment with how we deal with change and what does it take to let go of certain self limiting beliefs we got so addicted to that we don’t even know they exist and control our lives.
Over the years, as a student of life, I developed a very successful system that enabled me to initiate change, follow through and reach new heights in my life. It is my intention to share it with you and invite you to put it to the test in your own life.
I hope you’ll join this conversation and share your own stories. I’ll be happy to help and shade light on my process – see where it all goes.
A quick update:
I’m doing very well! I think I’m over the hump (one out of xxxxxxxxx) so for now I continue my rehab sessions in GF Strong, 3 hours every day! + I was fortunate to find a supplier in Vancouver that rented me a handcycle. I’m so exited about it!. It gave me my freedom of movement again, I cycle everyday and loving every minute of it.
Here some pics of what I do in rehab and my new wheels
See you soon
Your ever well wisher
Hello my friends,
In this post I would like to share with you my amazing personal success with Mirror Therapy.
Months prior to my amputation I spent hours upon hours researching the web and like many in my situation found information pertaining the revolutionary, yet controversial, modality used to alleviate (and at times eliminate) phantom pains called Mirror Therapy.
I was determined to try it out and indeed had the fortune to so 4 weeks after surgery.
My experience in one sentence:
Mirror Therapy completely and utterly eliminated ALL my phantom pains!
For those of you that want more detailed information just keep reading below and watch the video
I suffered immense phantom limb pains days after my amputation. Nerve pain sensations included: shooting, throbbing, burning, hyper sensitivity, clenched toes, muscle pain and everything in between. Pain was so intense that at times, without any warning, I would feel a burst of pain that would shoot down my leg to my ‘foot’ and have me jump right out of my skin.
At the beginning I felt as if my foot was still there. What a mind boggling conundrum! How can that be? I see with my own eyes that there’s no foot and yet I ‘FEEL’ it. This is the bizarre experience many amputees report on, and until recently had no treatment to deal with it nor any understanding of what causes it.
A few years ago, Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, uncovered answers to the deep and quirky ways of how our human brain function. He developed a detailed map representing different parts of our brain and how they relate to phantom pain. His pioneering research shed new light on the deep architecture of the brain. His work in the area of phantom pains is extraordinary and instead of me introducing it I highly recommend you watch his TedTalk (2,169,000 views can’t be wrong so watch it – it’s worth every minute). Discussion about Phantom limb pain starts at minute 9:30.
His worked inspired me to dive deeply into brain function research and discover this amazing modality.
I also encourage you to watch this documentary where you'll see his actual discovery of Mirror Therapy while working with and amputee.
And if you really wish to dive deep into his amazing research read his book:
Phantoms in the rain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind.
Now back to my story,
I live in Vancouver Canada and was fortunate enough to be admitted to our local rehabilitation centre: GF Strong. To my utter delight I found out that Linda McLaren, BSR (PT), the main rehab physiotherapist had begun to implement Mirror Therapy 2 years ago!
Linda is a living legend here and helped 100s of amputees gain their mobility through though love, hard work and good humour. I work with her each day for 3 hours and learn an ocean of knowledge about rehabilitation and what it takes to overcome obstacles and daily challenges most of us don't even think about.
She is an angle and I'm grateful to have her on side!
We had 10 sessions all together (Linda follows a structured protocol that was devised by Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. several years ago) and as I mentioned before – all of my related phantom pains are GONE!!!
Now here's a disclaimer I want to make. Mirror Therapy is not a silver bullet solution to all phantom limb pain symptoms, and not all results are the same.
In my particular situation, I had sustained severe nerve and artery injury to my ankle 2.5 years ago. Pain patterns were reinforced over this period of time and I almost 'got accustomed' to this new pain, and referred to it as normal.
However, since this was an elected amputation I made a choice to learn and understand how my mind work and therefor was able to prepare for Mirror Therapy in what I consider to be a unique way.
I'll explain what I mean: Mirror Therapy, in my mind (ha ha) has a lot to do with how open 'minded' the penitent is to allow it to work. One must disengage his analytical, reasoning mind and abandon the need to understand and figure out the process. From my personal experience, once you just allow the process to happen and 'flow' with it, real progress can happen.
It's a pure mind game, how can it be that a person who lost a limb will look in a mirror and sense it again as if it's there? doen't make sense right? well it doesn't and I think this is the secret to Mirror Therapy success.
The human brain is the most complex living organ known to men, we barely understand 10% of it's capabilities and function and therefor in order for one to engage in a therapeutic process like this, (s)he must let go. Energy and vibration are barley understood by us but they play a major roll in how our world function and how information is transfered. I stress this point for one reason: if one doen't allow this process to take place, results will be diminished substantially.
There's no room for "I need to understand this" attitude.
7 weeks after my surgery I'm happy to report that I'm off all medications!!! (Hydromorphone and Gabapentin) and hope I will not need any of them in the future. Yes I do feel pain and hypersensitivity at times - after all my foot was chopped off, but this is minor compared to where I was 3 weeks ago. I experience uneasy withdrawal symptoms from these medications but will swap that any day with being sedated, unclear, sleepy and basically numb. Yes I'm grateful to have used them when needed but at the same time grateful to have so much success with Mirror Therapy and now be in a position where I don't need any of them.
I hope my message will reach those who haven't thought or knew about Mirror Therapy - may my personal experience inspire you to at least give it a chance!
I you are interested in instructions on how to perform Mirror Therapy please ask for it in the comments and I’ll email you directly.
Your ever well wisher,