Good afternoon Barbara,
I am writing to express my sincere thanks for your help and understanding during the many times I met with you. I want to bring you up to date on where I am now.
After I stopped seeing you, I thought I was much better, but sadly, I was wrong. Over a month ago, I talked to Dr. Tetor about the crushing anxiety and she prescribed a med that had to be taken for two weeks to show results. It had something to do with seratonin levels; she also prescribed Zanax for short-term relief. The two week prescription did not make a difference; the Zanax made me practically dis-functional. She also ordered a couple of other physical tests. All came back with normal readings. So there was no physical cause for my anxieties.
That’s when I had an Epiphany. I went back to your suggestions for deep breathing, meditation, Tai Chi Chih, replacing negative thoughts, living in the present, being good to myself and centering. Also I reviewed the helpful information in the books you recommended – finding solutions to “what ifs,” imaging positive results rather than negative, repeating “I have the confidence to overcome dread, etc.” But the key to the whole thing was believing what you and the books said. In short, only I have the power to feel better. So I said to myself, “I don’t have to live this way, always worried and tense; I can change.” And that’s all it took! So from then on – well over a week ago, I instantly felt better. I couldn’t believe it.
And then the roof caved in. On 9/3, I was experiencing some pain; I asked my husband to put lotion on my back. He said, “I think you’ve got Shingles.” And he was right! On Sunday I went to the ER and they confirmed his suspicions, so they gave me meds to treat the problem as well as a narcotic pain med. (I had a Shingles shot in 2012.) I hallucinated while on the narcotic and cut the dose in half, but fortunately the pain was not that bad and I was soon able to discard them. I feel no pain now. Just dopey from the anti-viral which causes sleepiness, dizziness and a lack of concentration. (The cure is almost worse than the illness.)
So now I was posed with a situation. I had my life on tract and then Shingles came along to “rock the boat.” And here is where I feel so good about this whole experience. I have been able to separate my well-being from the pain, stress and anxiety over Shingles. I recognize that anyone – not just me – would feel stressed and anxious with Shingles. So I have been able to keep that experience away from my hard-won better mental health. I have accepted that having Shingles is quite apart from what I am and what I am feeling.
As I re-read this, I realize it is not as brief as I had hoped, but I wanted you to know that I think I am one of your troubled patients who managed to find her way out of the darkness. I am feeling okay except the dopiness from the med, but that Rx will soon be finished. I have no pain (probably due to having taken the shot;) my back is ugly, but I don’t wear swim suits or backless dresses, so that’s okay.
Again, I have no way to thank you enough. I hope this letter will suffice.