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Where I End
by Katherine Elizabeth Clark
In Where I End, Katherine Elizabeth Clark shares a chance accident, a moment in time, that altered her life and the lives of her family members forever. She describes and analyzes the event and her journey to healing from the viewpoint of a Christian. Although she did not have a “leap to her feet dancing” experience, she did eventually regain the ability to walk, which her surgeon regarded as a miracle: “I can take no credit. God did this.”
Although Kate is left with residual, fairly dramatic difficulties and constant pain, her progress has been remarkable. As she shares her story, she relates how God worked in her life through family, friends and strangers who ministered to her. She tells of the humiliation and frustration of being unable to do even the simplest things for herself. Before the accident Kate was employed as a writer by a Christian organization so her prose is excellent and well thought out and her ideas are clearly expressed. She backs up her theological positions with Scripture references and quotes from Biblical scholars. She shares her story not to put a focus on herself, but on Jesus, who was and is with her through the trials and pain of the accident, surgery, rehabilitation and daily renewal of her hope and trust.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Moody Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Memoir, Christian
Publication: January 2, 2018—Moody Publishing
In that moment, my steady world, where bodies work in harmony with brains, was bartered for an unrecognizable universe, something resembling a Salvador Dalí painting; I felt as if I had slipped into a surreal, disorientated dream.
Yet though our Father promises to hear the cries of His children, He has not promised to exhaustively reveal His mind or plans. We must trust Him, and sometimes in the dark.
When Scripture speaks of not being afraid, it is always cloaked in the presence of the Lord. Be not afraid, not because the situation isn’t terrifying, but because you’re not alone. You have a Good Shepherd who hides you beneath His wing.
It is a great mercy of God that we cannot see the future.
Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection
by John E. Sarno, M.D.
Dr. Sarno, through many years of treating patients with back pain, has discovered what he considers an epidemic of back pain in the U.S. and states that usually the cause is not an accident or a degenerative disease. He attributes it to repressed emotions, usually anger or anxiety, and says that the stressful situation that causes the Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) does not always have to be resolved for the pain to go away. The patient just needs to recognize the mind-body connection that he is experiencing.
I have not tried to apply Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection’s seemingly simple techniques; I have only read the book. Dr. Sarno’s detailed discussion of the failure of traditional medicine’s handling of back pain does make sense. He advises someone with back pain to consult with a doctor to get that perspective, but then evaluate their symptoms in the light of his thesis. He also says many other conditions such as eczema, headaches, and irritable bowl syndrome may be attributable to repressed emotions also.
Dr. Sarno cites a lot of anecdotal evidence as well as data gained from surveys of patients to support his theory. He does not claim to understand how the brain can exert such powerful control over the body, but reminds the reader that there are many things about the way the brain works that are not completely understood yet. Dr. Sarno is a medical doctor, not a salesman, not a slick businessman ready to perform on morning TV. His background is displayed in his writing style, and my 4 star rating reflects that. His bold stance against the traditional and unsuccessful medical view of back pain and his obvious enthusiasm for helping those with back pain rates 5 stars.
- Much of the book is technical. The chapter about his technique is vague, maybe because it is so simple and we expect more bells and whistles from modern medicine. Because of these factors, I found the Appendix particularly valuable. It is comprised of “Letters from Patients” and shows concretely how various patients have applied his theory and their results.
- Having finished this book on the mind/body connection, which deals primarily with the power of repressed emotions, I was amazed as I started a fictional book to discover at least four prominent references in the first chapter to how the characters realistically reacted viscerally in various ways to stress inducing moments. I reflected that if people instantaneously respond physically (tightening muscles, a sinking feeling in the gut) to anxiety, then Dr. Sarno’s connection of repressed emotions and body pain seems rational even if ignored by the medical community.
Publication: Original 1991, Kindle 2001—Hachette Book Group
Though the low back is the most common location for an acute attack, it can occur anywhere in the neck, shoulders, or upper and lower back. Wherever it occurs, it is the most painful thing I know of in clinical medicine, which is ironic because it is completely harmless.
It is not the occasion itself but the degree of anxiety or anger that it generates that determines if there will be a physical reaction. The important thing is the emotion generated and repressed, for we have a built-in tendency to repress unpleasant, painful, or embarrassing emotions. These repressed feelings are the stimulus for TMS and other disorders like it. Anxiety and anger are two of those undesirable emotions that we would rather not be aware of, and so the mind keeps them in the subterranean precincts of the subconscious if it possibly can.
Traditional medical diagnoses focus on the machine, the body, while the real problem seems to relate to what makes the machine work—the mind. TMS is characterized by physical pain, but that acute discomfort is induced by the psychological phenomena rather than structural abnormalities or muscle deficiency.