Story of Hope (PDF)

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Author: Jenny Jacobs

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Hi Neil,
As we discussed, here is the story of my back
problems, I hope it isn’t too long winded, but once I
got started it was quite therapeutic!
I’m 53 years old and can’t remember a time when I
haven’t had to careful with my back. Almost any little
thing could trigger painful spasms and more
prolonged periods of stiffness and pain. Besides that I
kept myself reasonably fit walking my dogs, horse
riding when I was able and had a pretty normal life.
Just before Christmas 2001 I think, I bent to get
something from the oven and “wow” the pain was so
bad I couldn’t move, general opinion that followed
was a disc issue which took about 6 weeks to
improve. After that it made me even more conscious
and nervous about everyday movements and actions.
New Years Eve several years later and I got a virus
which led to Sarcoidosis my particular symptoms
being respiratory, bronchitis and constant coughing
and vomiting through that. Needless to say I hurt my
back badly with that, and after the operation to
remove a lump from my lung I had awful pain, not
from the operation site but of course from lower back.
Very soon after returning to work in a job I loved and
had been in for years the company folded, I was
redundant and not exactly a fit candidate for
anything! Shortly after that my dog had a bad
accident which then meant 6 months of treatments
and care at home and vet visits every week. At this
point my husband of 20 years decided that a friend of

ours would be a much better option for a fun life than
that with a sickly woman and her crippled dog. Enter
depression , stress and more back pain, and add
financial worries into that too, I was in a bad way. So
that was my life for the next 10 years, ups and downs,
living in total fear of my back going completely and
then being rejected by those around me in my work,
new relationship, and family. The whole time I tried
to hide my feelings as to how bad I really felt, how
often is it said those with depression outwardly laugh
and joke so you would never know?
I think probably the worst part was when both my
parents died within months of each other, my Dad on
Christmas Day 2012, and my Mum Good Friday 2013.
Things had been very difficult with them for a few
years as my Mum had dementia and I felt so guilty
that my back pain prevented me from doing more for
them. The day after my Mothers funeral my back was
so tight and sore I went for a long walk and tried to
forget things and have a good day, but that evening
going upstairs something “went” over my right hip
and into my lower back, and that was that, pretty
much permanent pain that ruled my life.
So then you try everything don’t you? Regular
medications didn’t work or made me ill,
physiotherapy made it worse! Chiropractic worked to
some degree but then ended up making it worse and
being treated for free, I had acupuncture with some
success, then again it got worse, hydrotherapy which
was good but was not affordable after the NHS
treatment. Just after my parents deaths I even went to

a faith healer who laid hands on my back whilst a
white dove of peace, ironically a right vicious
individual, flew about crapping on everything,
particularly a 7ft black statue with a massive afro and
colourful robes. I guess he had some significance, but
it was lost on me, no results! The only thing I found
helpful was a tens machine which blocked the pain
messages from the brain, I also found distraction such
as a good play on the radio at work, or a night out
with friends would give me something else to think
about and the pain eased. Generally though I lived my
life in fear and pain, anxious about anything and
everything and even about what may happen, I was
totally negative and an absolute pain to be around.
Thank goodness my GP recommended me to someone
who understood what was happening, and turned
everything I’d been told and believed upside down.
He diagnosed PTS going back years, then think
phantom limb syndrome whereby my brain was now
hardwired to send pain signals when there wasn’t any
pain! Sure I still have irritation to my nerve endings
which give me grief from time to time, but I am
learning to deal with these set backs, not an easy
thing to do. I needed to de stress, I took a month off
work, anti depressants, and learnt to relax and stop
running about. During those 4 weeks I had one day of
pain! Taking myself out of the situation broke the
cycle of pain = stress = pain. I took up gentle yoga,
having never attended an exercise class in my life I
was scared to death I wouldn’t even be able to get on
the floor. I needn’t of worried everyone had some
problem or another and we help and encourage each

other. I’ve found it a very positive thing to do as after
not moving for so long I found after a week or 2 I was
improving and doing more than I ever thought I
I know it can be really difficult to realize that actually
the very real pain you are feeling is in fact
manufactured by your mind, and to many people it
just doesn’t make sense, it takes a while to get your
head round, but once I did I haven’t looked back and
have apparently achieved such a lot in the couple of
months I have tried to turn things round. I am
naturally a pessimistic and negative person, but I
really do believe now that if you can open your mind
to the possibility that you have it in yourself to
change then anything is possible, and the sense of
achievement you get from doing the very things that
challenge you is a great feeling!

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