Pain control

I had never been a pill taker. Twice I tried to quit the five-a-day pills with codeine I had to take to keep my post-lung-surgery pain in control and both times I had to go back to the pills the second day because the pain was so intolerable.

On my next regular examination at the cancer center in another city, they suggested I see the staff psychologist. We visited him on the afternoon of my departure. I explained to him that I did not believe in psychiatrists or psychologists. I felt I was an intelligent individual and I was able to control my thoughts without help.

He started off by saying that since I was leaving, he would be unable to treat me, so he would like to tell me a story. Subconsciously, this established my confidence in him, since he could have no personal motive.

He told me to picture myself walking across Main Street with a tremendously sore leg. Each step means excruciating pain. I am barely able to hop. In the middle of Main Street, I glance up and suddenly see a huge truck coming at me
at 60 mph. What happens? Suddenly, I have no pain and I am easily able to run the rest of the way across the street to avoid being hit by the truck. When I reach the curb and stop, the pain is back in full force. What does this prove? The mind is capable of turning off the pain if it wants to.

He recommended that when we got back home, we find a psychologist who treats pain. My wife did a great deal of research and made an appointment for me with a doctor. He explained that pain was a combination of two factors: tension and physical hurt. If I could learn to relax and get rid of the tension, the pain would be less severe. I always thought of myself as a very relaxed person but I did not know the meaning of the word.

On the first visit, he taught me how to relax. I was to lie or sit in a comfortable position, close my eyes and say to myself that each part of my body is relaxed. For example, my forehead is relaxed, my eyebrows are relaxed, my eyes are relaxed, and so forth down to my toes. Then I was to picture myself floating into an absolutely quiet room and from there floating into a beautiful garden with a quiet lake and the sun streaming through the trees and then lying on the grass surrounded by the aroma of fresh flowers.

Believe me, after this you are really relaxed. I was to do this every morning when I woke up and every night before I went to bed. On my second visit a week later, the doctor attempted to use hypnosis to stop the pain. It did not work. The third week he tried again without success.

On the fourth week, after relaxing me, he asked me to think of the most beautiful thought I could imagine and tell him what it was. I said it was my wife’s love for me. He then said that my body was filling with my wife’s love for me and repeated that it was completely filling my entire body. I took my good left hand and placed it on the left side of my chest and rubbed it across to my right shoulder forcing all the pain out. It worked!

From the time I left the doctor’s office that day, I never took another pain pill. Whenever my shoulder started hurting, I thought of my wife’s love for me and forced it up into my right shoulder and instantly the pain was gone.

I’m not trying to imply that you should quit pain medication. Each of us are completely different. What I am trying to say is that if you try some form of psychotherapy, it could possibly help and there is no way that it could possibly hurt.

The above is from the book, Cancer. . .there’s hope, by Richard and Annette Bloch. It is available free of charge, post-paid by calling the Cancer Hot Line, 800-433-0464 or 816-854-5050 or contact us by e-mail at