| Always on Me |

My Anti-Pain Card   

Is there something you always carry on you, even if it’s seen better days?

Project coordinator: Rachel Bachrach
Illustrations: Menachem Weinreb

I hadn’t been feeling well for a while. Some days I’d wake up with neck pain or chest tightness (way before COVID made it a thing) and I’d wonder who beat me up while I was sleeping.

My mother — who is smarter than any doctor and knows her hypochondriac son well — told me not to spend thousands of dollars on doctor’s appointments and tests for these strange pains. Instead, she had me buy and commit to read Dr. John Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. His work is based on the concept that the root of physical symptoms is the mind. I decided to try his program, which includes repeating to yourself that there is nothing physically wrong with you. After working the system for a few months, my pain gradually diminished and disappeared.

During this time, my mother attended a seminar based on Dr. Sarno’s method. The presenter gave out cards at the end of the class, summarizing Dr. Sarno’s 240 pages into eight typed lines on a three and half by two-inch homemade card. She told me she was going to send it to me. I figured it would meet the same fate as the blue bottled homeopathic dropper she once gave me, which still sits, unopened, in the exact spot she placed it — but this nifty little card has taken up residence in my various wallets these past eight years, nestled between my business card and oil change rewards card.

Of course, I haven’t changed entirely. I still can’t watch or listen to prescription drug commercials; when they run through the list of symptoms — for your fibromyalgia, IBS, debilitating migraines, whatever — and say, “Ask your doctor if this drug can help you,” I think I probably should ask next time I go. Sometimes I glance at this now-tattered Anti-Pain Pizmon card to remind myself that, baruch Hashem, I’m healthy and okay. And most times I don’t have to look at it, because just knowing that it’s there makes me feel a little bit better, and a little safer.


Zevi Rosenfeld is a real estate professional who enjoys cooking and writing.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 860)

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