Learning to Heal with Awareness – Gail’s Story

posted in: Recent, Stories of Hope

Gail is a woman who has been working with the DOC Journey concepts for almost a year. She had been suffering from multiple symptoms for over five years and they increased over the year prior to starting the process. She is beginning to break out of her pain cycle – both mental and physical.  Since we are unique regarding our genetic code and also life programming, there are an infinite number of possibilities of why the problems exist and also solutions. It is the reason why the healing journey must be self-directed in conjunction with usual medical care. Each person heals in his or her own way.



This is her recent email, and it highlights many aspects of the journey out of suffering. I have learned that self-help tools help, but don’t heal. Deep healing happens as your body rebuilds and regenerates itself. That occurs as you learn skills to provide “cues safety.” If the human organism did not know to heal, we would not exist.

Hi David,

I felt compelled to write you a note of gratitude and to share with you some of my thoughts and wins.

A shift began for me once I was able to stop trying to “fix” myself.  In the years where I kept sinking and getting worse and worse I had been constantly stressing over what if it’s this or that?  What if something is being missed?  What if the two different renowned specialists I was examined by are right and I do have nerve entrapment and I should have this extremely invasive decompression surgery that has such a low chance in helping me but there’s no other treatment that will “fix” me? 

BUT I realized it doesn’t matter if I did have a structural component to my pain or not because the body is capable of healing itself once it escapes from being stuck in a constant state of activated threat physiology. I was swimming in stress chemicals and inflammation for years. It also helped me significantly to know and accept the fact that after 3-6 months pain signals are sent from the emotional centers of the brain and not the pain centers of the brain any longer and no matter if an injury has healed or not that this is the case for all human beings not simply just me.  

Researching and understanding this process and hearing the same facts from multiple sources, multiple medical doctor’s books and medical professional’s books, and personal stories was the reassurance I needed to trust in this pain physiology science.  

The most comforting source of safety came from working with you Dr Hanscom. Hearing your personal story and knowing that you’re full of knowledge of human anatomy and physiology as well as specialized in the spine which is the message highway for all from the control center/brain. You gave me this empowering sense of safety I’ll never be able to thank you enough, truly.  You have been a source of knowledge regarding pain physiology like no other.  I know you are quite humble, but I think you’re brilliant. I thrive on the knowledge of the science behind all of this, and you gave me so much more of that than I had with other research before coming to the DOC Journey.

I have begun to spend less and less time in this activated threat response state. And yes, life will throw threat response activation moments at you, but it’s all about the amount of time it takes you to come out of the normal threat response to these stressors. You taught me this. I simply don’t stay there as long with each activation. Also, my threshold to being activated is so much higher where it used to be extremely low causing little to nothing to trigger me in the past.

Awareness of my emotions has also been key. Separating from my thoughts and emotions as I’m not my thoughts through expressive writing has been super helpful. Finally learning that trying to fix my issues in the expressive writing was counterproductive has been huge.  Dealing with my mother issues and continued emotional abuse from her has been instrumental as well. I practice self-compassion when triggered with awareness.  When I use my tools, I no longer seem to sink to the bottom with these issues. I will always be triggered by her and I know this but I have the tools to keep from being set back and I continue to wish her well. In addition, the book you suggested “Forgive for Good” by Dr Fred Luskin was extremely helpful to me and continues to be. They’re simplistic concepts but ones that are so amazing once brought to the forefront of one’s thinking process.

I have found working hard at active meditation successful to make it automatic and not something I often have to remind myself to do anymore because with all the practice it has become habitual for me. Being in the present moment is key.

Decreasing my focus on my pain and changing my relationship to my pain. It simply is what it is. I used to get so triggered at what seemed like setbacks with each and every flare up. Once I understood that its part of the journey and that the healing journey isn’t linear, I began to stop reacting to the “downs”.

Engaging in creative, joyful, fun activities because I simply want to, NOT because I’m trying to escape the pain has been incredibly helpful as well. Seeking joy for joy!!!

Knowing deep in my soul that this isn’t forever. Leaning into my faith in God, something my father whom I love and adore gave to me. To me faith and hope are everything!!

I have to admit that finding a medication that can tame my pain has been of utmost importance too. I tried so many drugs and nothing did much of anything for my signals until micro dosing of sublingual ketamine troches. This gave me an element of safety as well in the past years’ time. Prior, I feared going into a flare with activity, and I was a prisoner of the couch. This medication gave me some room to be more active without feeling frightened to do so.

 I just came from a weekend away to my niece’s wedding and I danced and danced and danced and walked and climbed stairs and sat longer than I have in years and no flare.  A year ago, this wouldn’t have been possible!!  I’m on my way to higher ground Dr H with a mentality of self-confidence that I never possessed before. A life I never knew was possible as you so eloquently say to us.

Thank you for guiding my ship and for being an inspiration too! me and so many!!

Warmly, Gail

My perspective

Normally, I make a lot of comments regarding a letter like hers about why she is healing. However, I would like you reflect on the overall flavor of it and understand that she is finding her own ways of allowing her body to heal. When a person reaches this tipping point, the journey has just begun. The healing process goes on indefinitely and people go on to thrive at a level that that did not know existed.



I am humbled for a clear reason. The levels of healing I regularly observe are stunning and far beyond what I can accomplish as physician. I encourage people not to try to generate belief in me or The DOC Journey. It is not only futile but counter productive. Healing begins with connection to every aspect of you. After so many years of suffering and dashed hopes, what is inside of us is deep skepticism. Paradoxically, it is also the starting point.

It is stories like hers that inspire me to keep moving forward.