The man who saved my life

by Ken Malloy

The answer to my search came to me in the form of a man — John E. Sarno, M.D., the Mindbody medicine pioneer who has, for the past 32 years, helped thousands of people to become pain-free utilizing a revolutionary approach to treat common persistent musculoskeletal pain.  Dr. Sarno’s provides an educational program that uses only knowledge and information as treatment and cure.

Of course, I didn’t understand any of that when I first heard his name. In fact, I felt nothing in particular when my friend Scott recommended one of Dr. Sarno’s books. At that point, I had learned not to get my hopes up. However, since I had made the commitment to try everything, I listened. Eventually, Scott’s enthusiasm provoked my curiosity and so I read the book. I was cautiously optimistic.

“Healing Back Pain” by Dr. John Sarno was a major turning point for me. This was my first exposure to the doctor’s work and I was thoroughly captivated. It was as if the doctor was writing about me.

“Wow!” I thought, “this is a completely new way of looking at the problem. Just what I needed!”

The idea that all of my symptoms might be caused by a harmless and yet painful Mindbody condition was, at first, a little difficult to grasp. But, it did made sense to me. The more I read, the more I realized that Dr. Sarno’s revolutionary understanding, diagnosis and treatment strategies could be an answer to my prayers. I devoured the book and immediately  called the doctor’s office at NYU Medical Center, located just sixteen blocks from my apartment. I was surprised and thrilled to fill a recent cancellation and get an appointment with Dr. Sarno the following week.

Walking into Dr. Sarno’s office, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. “Please sit down”, he told me with the authority and compassion of a man seasoned by decades of dealing with the pain-stricken. The deep voice belied his diminutive frame. There was a certainty about him that relaxed me immediately. His face held together with deep creases surrounding deep grey, clear eyes. I relaxed into the soft chair and watched him as he studied me. I immediately wanted to know everything that this man knew but it was my turn to talk. He asked me to tell him the entire story of my pain. And so, I did so praying all the while that this was the last doctor who would need to hear my tale of woe.

“Is that your X-ray?” he asked looking down at the large brown envelope I held in my lap. He reached out, took the film out and slid in onto the light-box on his wall. He studied for a while, sat down and said. “There is nothing wrong with your spine. I think I can help you.” When I heard those words from Dr. Sarno, at that moment, somehow, I knew this was the beginning of the end of my pain. And it was.

So, I became Dr. Sarno’s patient and learned what he teaches.

Next: Learning to be Pain-Free