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When to give up?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Lower Back Pain
OK guys...nobody is going to like this topic ,but I am sure all of you have thought of this at one time or another.
My story: Sept. 4,2007 Spinal fusion L1 L2 L3 L4 L5. Laminectomy from L1 up to the Cervicals. Chronic pain 3 months before surgery treated with 80 mg of oxycontin per day. This was not enough so I added in Tramadol or Tramadex as it is called in different places.

Now all the screws move freely in and out of the spine and 4 of them are actualy through the muscle and into the skin.

The old Docs are bad news. The new Docs are wonderful!
The New Orthopedic surgion discovered that all my Thoracic vertebrae are self fused. Nature, God, or Budah did it.

So now they will fuse L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 T12 and T11 and maybe more. WE are waiting for the parts and the bone replacement material to come from the U.S..Today is Saturday here and Surgery is monday, not next week, but the week after...NOVEMBER 10th.

I am now given 60mg of oxycontin, 4 pills of tramadex per day. I use Tens and it has always stopped the pain, but the L2 screw are in the skin and the skin transmits the signal to the metal and that hurts!

I am looking at half a year recuperation plus or minus a half a year (quote from the surgeon). I closed my business Yesterday. I am alone. NO family. My daughter does everything, but she is "energy sensitive " and can sense when I am in pain. She can not take that and starts to cry and then I cry etc. My colegues are my friends and they walk into my house take one look at me and find an excuse to leave imediatley. When I call the suicide hotline and tell my story the person on the other end starts to cry.

I would like to continue living because I have a lot to do, even if its watching all the girls go by. I was in the middle of a multi year project of illustrating the old Testament with Photos of the actual Places where the events took place. I have a lot more to do. But I cant drive and the places I have not been to are 5 hours away! And I cant even lift the cameras!

I really cant take the pain any more and the Doc said just hang in there for 10 more days. I am scared that I cant. It would be very easy for me to take my own life.

Any ideas?



  • dr_eric said:

    I really cant take the pain any more and the Doc said just hang in there for 10 more days. I am scared that I cant. It would be very easy for me to take my own life.

    Any ideas?

    Please hang in there. You are NOT without hope since there is a plan to help you. Also believe me when I tell you that taking your life might stop your pain but it would just be the beginning of your daughters. I KNOW this from personal experiance, having lost a family member this way last year (he was 25 years old). I am so sorry that you are in so much pain. I feel bad that the surgery you had in the past has created more problems. But in so many ways you are lucky. You are lucky because you get to choose to live and there are so many people who have things like cancer who want to live and don't get to make that choice. You even have goals in life (things you want to do). And maybe you can't do them right now but there is hope that you will be able to do them in the future.

    Enough said, my hope will be to see you on here with better news and after surgery feeling lots better,
  • Hi Eric,

    Just like LJ said-Please hang in there. I know 10 days feels like an eternity, especially when you're in horrible chronic pain. Take each day one at a time-or even each hour one at a time. Break it down to more manageable amounts of time.

    I don't know what else to say, except I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers to help you find the strength to hang in and not give up.

    I also hope to see you after your surgery!
    Peace to you,
  • I had totally forgotten about the effect of parental suicide on the children! And it goes on for at least 3 generations. I have one daughter and one son.

    Almost made a big mistake.

    I just took out big pictures of both of the kids and I will put one in each room. That should do it.

    Pain is very dangerous when it gets to the unbearable stage....tears from both eyes with no real crying.

    You saved a life today...thank you from all of my soul.

    No pain to all of you, Eric
  • Your caring and kindness helps too! After reading the 2 posts the tears stopped! Now it is ALMOST unbearable pain.
    And I do not really know any of you!

    Thanks, Eric
  • I wonder what keeps me going since I have no children, except my husband. I have no friends and little family and friends from work stopped calling me long time ago. I had to get on an antidepressant that's helped. One moment in making a rash decision can be awful. If you say to yourself wait 5 minutes, wait for an hour, wait for a day and usually the thought leaves. I'm glad you're staying. Can you get out 15 minutes a day for a walk? Enjoy the birds or crunchy leaves if it's fall there.
    50+ magazine online has free dating or maybe looking for a friend. My Mom found her third boyfriend since she split with my Father and they're "just Friends" Now she takes off to the south with him. I hope your surgery goes well.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • HI Charry!
    What does keep you going?
    Try to put down the first things that come to mind without thinking. Let me know what you think of.

    Its midnight here and I just woke up with real bad pain in the muscles on my back around the belt line, and in my buttocks muscles. So I put 4 tens electrodes on. two on my upper buttocks, and two just over the pain line. It is starting to work. We have tramadex(Tramadol drops here) which work immediately so i Took Maximum dose and am waitng. I am afraid my hip joints are hurting either because they need replacing or more likely because I walk very bent over and that puts pressure on the hip joints in a way that they are not made for.

    Is it not amazing how friends from work , or just friends stop calling. It is obviously normal behaviour since it happens to all of us. But it sure is depressing.

    I cant walk very far, but there is a "bridge like" walkway from my apartment to the car. Both side are covered end to end with flowers! A man on floor one lost a son in the Yom Kippur war and I think this working on the flowers helps him. It sure does help me! I look at all the flowers and take pictures of them not in my professional way but just as sort of sketch. I bought a super light camera because I cant lift my professional cameras because they are way too heavy for me now.I used to take Pro pictures of them, and give him prints once a week. One day I told him that every morning when I am depressed I go out and look at his flowers very closely and they revive my soul. He grabbed me and hugged me in a very touching way. I can not imagine the pain of losing a child. And yet even though they know me since 1973 they have never asked me in for a cup of coffee, let alone a meal. Chronic severe pain seems to push people away.
    I have one single female patient that I have been treating for 30 years. She was run over 2 years ago by a bus. Crushed both her legs. She is fine now and has the same orthopedic surgeon as I do. She called me and offered to help espescialy after the surgery next week. She is single and has been in financial difficulty for years. I have been treating her years for free with an agreement that if she wins the loto she will pay me back. I will call her tomorrow and ask her to come over so I can show her how the house is set up for surgery. I am afraid to ask her if she would sleep over in my Son's old room (he lives in England). The nights after surgery are the worst and you cant do anything yourself. I have run out of money from the first surgery so no private nurses. I give myself my own injections, but I cant cut my toenails. Our national health sends nurses but there is a lot of buracrecy there and I hope my daughter will get me a nurse even though it is so nerve wracking.

    Well this is along message indeed, but has been therapeutic for me.

    Thank you from the HEART! Eric
  • If I could jet over there right now I would and would rally people to come and give you a hand. Just a crazy thought, but I wonder if there's a way to find some Internet friends that may be your neighbors and you don't even know it. They may be able to help you out.

    Also, I was wondering if your doctor can admit you to the hospital early so that your pain can be controlled better until the surgery. Is something like that possible?

    The others are right about how suicide effects so many others, even friends. I have also feared that if I were to take my life, what's the guarantee that my penalty won't be to live an eternity with the same if not worse pain! That thought frightened me more than anything!

    I used a TENS unit with lots of ice, to break the pain cycle and get things down to where I could at least be in a more manageable state.

    I am a professional underwater videographer. When I can't dive, I love to take photos and mess around with my still cameras. I bought a small lightweight camera to "play" with and have taken some of my most favorite photos. The camera is an extension of the photographer, the composition is the photographer. You can still be you.

    Hang in there Eric!

  • Thanks for the great comments.
    I was anxious about starting a discussion about the afterlife, but here goes,
    I have held many 20 year olds who were in hypovolemic shock (not enough blood)and dying with no hope. Really no hope...no lower body, no limbs and worse.
    When some one is in that kind of shock they feel no pain and they are lucid. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM SAID THE SAME THING..."I feel my soul is leaving my body and I see a white tunnel with a brilliant white light at the end. Promise me you will tell my Parents that I died with no pain."AND I PROMISED!
    I never had the time nor the safety to get their names so I look at it as if I did not fulfill their last wish. And I i did not!

    That is a burden that I have been living with since 1969!
    I understand that I could not say "one minute I will get a pencil and paper". I was afraid they would die alone. Also they were in so many pieces that I did not think I could get them in my lap again. And most of these horrific things happened while they were shooting at us or we were in the middle of an artillery bombardment. And I never got a scratch!
    The point is I felt their Soul leave their body and go into that white tunnel. So for me the afterlife is very real. And I too am afraid of eternal punishment...chronic severe back pain forever. FOREVER is a long time. That is what always stops me. I have a flashback of one of those faceless kids, and I feel like I would be betraying them all. They had no choice, I have lots of choices including an epidural tomorrow.

    AS to online friends, I just found one. You!

    The tens is working now and it is 2:30 am.
    Maybe I can sleep a little.
    When you enter heaven all your lenses are set to infinity forever. No more focusing problems!

    Take care and have no PAIN! Eric
  • Eric,

    That's a tough one. The thing about the promises you made, is that you never know if you will sometime in the future have the opportunity to make good on those promises. If you take your own life, that's when you flush those promises down the drain. As long as you are alive and living your life, you are keeping that hope alive, you are keeping those promises!

    I watched my mother die, frightened and in an incredible amount of pain. She knew she was dying and she also knew that she had gone against her own personal faith over the last few years of her life. As she approached her final time, she was absolutely mortified. Not by the fact that she was dying, but because she felt in her soul that she was going to suffer terribly for eternity. As her youngest child, it tore me up to sit and listen to her tell me this and to see by her body language that she honestly believed everything she was saying.

    Seeing that made me realize that I cannot take my own life no matter how bad the pain is, no matter how much I wish my life had never made this change. I see and feel her fear, anytime I have those thoughts. Writing this I see and feel her fear. No one should have to go through that.

    I am determined to fight whatever my body throws at me! I am determined to not let it beat me down to the point that I give in to the lure of suicide. I am here for a reason, I am having to suffer this body for a reason. So here I am today, and I'm really glad to be here.

    I extend my hand across the oceans to you Eric. I may not be able to go and get you a drink of water or bring you your pain meds when you return home from the hospital, but I will be here waiting to reply to any word from you.

  • Hi Eric

    There is a very good help link in my signature below. Please look at it if you need to, but I am sensing that you may not need to for now. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Your surgeon has given you hope and it is 10 days away. You have been through a lot over a long time - 10 days more sounds a long time on the one hand but on the other its not really that long, right?

    I know that we cannot be physically present, Eric, but you have friends here - one of the biggest things that helped me during my early, depression-filled days, was the caring compassionate members that I 'met' here on the forums.

    Take care, and keep checking in here with us.

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • That's great if your lady friend stays over. If not and you need help at home doesn't homecare ordered at the hospital send a visiting homemaker for some help? I'm not sure where you live has those services? What kind of Dr. are you? I'm an RN but off sick 8 months because of this back injury.

    PS I also believe in the afterlife. I've had patients in a coma and I talk to them about God, I know they heard before they left for a better world. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I just came upon this thread, so many of us have been where you were, ready to give up the battle, I'm so glad that you did not. You have made it this far-a feat in itself. I, too, would hop on a plane tomorrow if I could because no one should have to go through this alone. There is nothing I can add to your discussion on promises and afterlife except to say it strikes a chord / resonates. And I hope you're able to keep your promises. And you may keep them and not even know it...

    As for getting through the next few weeks, is there any kind of community center, or senior center near you that does outreach that could help you out for a few weeks post-op? [Something you said made me think of this, my mom can't reach her toes either, so she goes to her local senior center once or twice a month to have her toenails cut, and they have all kinds of random services.] Otherwise I hope your daughter is able to get a nurse for you, would make a huge difference.

    Sounds like your projects keep you going. Mine keep me going too (digital photography altered in Photoshop, printed and bound into one-of-a-kind handmade books; knitting and sewing; two-dimensional collage...) When you are ready - The places you need to get to that are five hours away, can you take a bus? You may need to go with a tour group but you know, that is a great way to meet people. I'm all about finding my way around, would you believe I'm 38 and never learned how to drive? Really. No I'm not exactly sure why.

    --Melissa :)))
  • For those who have truely walked the road of severe pain I know will be holding your hand over the next fews days.

    I share some of your thoughts and I suspect many others do as well, at times when we can' control the pian.

    You have come a long way yet, don't give up so close.

    I beleive in fate, of sorts. If i am supposed to die then I figure I'll stroke or something..but i focus hard on making sure i learn well from this experience and i am determined that I will make it a good experience and I am planning on helping others, once my own pain is conrtolled.

    With so much to give it would be wrong to deny someone your valuable experinces and positive outlook.
    Be strong.
  • Eric,

    Sounds like you are really thinking about a lot of things right now (not just pain). I think you will find a way to get the message to the parents of the boys you held in your arms so long ago as they left this world. It might be in pictures, it might be in words but I think it is part of your purpose and you will find a way. Keep that goal in mind over the next few days as you wait for surgery. Help comes in unexpected ways and I think that you may be surprised at the help you will find (both physical help and mental help). You have a lot of folks thinking right now and your strength will also give them strength. Remember that you are NOT alone as the pain gets bad and all those hands (our hands) that are reaching out to you are real.

    Better days are coming,
  • Hi Gals and Gals and Guys! (I like Gals!)
    Well last night I made a list in huge letters of what to do if attacked by unbearable pain, and placed it on the window next to my bed.
    Today I woke up in the middle of a nap with unbearable pain on the L2 screws (which now move in and out freely (in spite of the very different angulation!) My right leg joint seemed stuck and was killing me. My head was filled with pain and my world was only pain. I could hardly see and I could not hear a thing.
    I did what people who train for emergencies do...exactly how you trained.
    I got up with a big Karate type yell (helps) got an ice pack out of the freezer,and with no relief in about five minutes I noticed my shirt was all wet from tears. So I did a real "NONO" and chewed a certain pain pill which I have and I was pain free for about 2 hours.
    But after all your letters I did not even think of the window or the .45 which is always in reach.
    So thanks!
    Still hanging in there with 6 or 7 days to go. No Pain for all of us! A greatful Eric
  • I'm sure I'm not in any pain like you but I'm pretty bad right now. I just couldn't get any relief last night and I think I scared the crap out of my kids last night because I think it was the first time they really saw me in a lot of pain. One thing that really helped me was my youngest one (2 1/2 boy) came over to me, gave me a hug and said "Its OK Daddy, your Doctor will make you better soon." When he said that it was like a natural pain reliever, not a lot of help, but it did help. Try to be around family and friends in times like these because believe me, it really helps.

    Take care!

  • I have almost no family here in country and my friends won't come.
    One boy in the U.K. and one girl living with her Mom close by, but will not visit. She cant take seeing me in that kind of pain and it is just too traumatic for her. We went to a shrink to check it out and the conclusion was she would do errands and paper work but no sitting with me. Neighbors say OK but 5 minutes with me all bent over and in pain the say call me if you need an ambulance and leave, People just can't take it.
    Hard to believe, but much harder to take.
    Thankks for the note. Eric
  • I wish I could jump on a plane right now and give you a huge hug! I'm crying as I read this. I'm praying for you. I pray that your surgery date gets here quickly and that you find relief.

    The fact that you reach out for help when this becomes unbearable is a true statement that you want to be here. You have so much to live for. I hope that as you recover from your surgery and your pain becomes less that your daughter will be able to spend more time with you.

    Many many many hugs >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< and prayers for you.
  • Hugs help... even virtual Hugs. And if you can emphasize with me enough to cry then I have a new friend. A real one.
    So am certainly not alone after looking at this page and also the personal messages. I now have friends that have experienced what is bothering me, and care enough to write and open their Hearts to me.
    So I cant cop out and say I cant take this alone anymore.

    Now I really have to face music and dance. Maybe a tiny rumba, or whatever my feet tell me to do.

    I don't think you can really appreciate what you all have done for me. And is is a true international human endeavor.
    Its like "Doctors with no Borders"

    I just love the whole idea.

    NO PAIN, Eric
  • Hugs help... even virtual Hugs. And if you can emphasize with me enough to cry then I have a new friend. A real one.
    So am certainly not alone after looking at this page and also the personal messages. I now have friends that have experienced what is bothering me, and care enough to write and open their Hearts to me.
    So I cant cop out and say I cant take this alone anymore.

    Now I really have to face music and dance. Maybe a tiny rumba, or whatever my feet tell me to do.

    I don't think you can really appreciate what you all have done for me. And is is a true international human endeavor.
    Its like "Doctors with no Borders"

    I just love the whole idea.

    NO PAIN, Eric
  • You made it one day closer to your surgery ;))

    Sending positive vibes your way (laced with Vicodin of course, its how my vibes are there days),
  • Melissa is such a pretty name.
    Your Vicodan vibes are coming through loud and clear.
    And they help.
    Looking through this thread that I started the following song started singing in my head, and I think it touches on all of us in some way or another.


    Blessed are the one way ticket holders
    on a one way street.
    Blessed are the midnight riders
    for in the shadow of God they sleep.
    Blessed are the huddled hikers
    staring out at falling rain,
    wondering at the retribution
    in their personal acquaintance with pain.
    Blessed are the blood relations
    of the young ones who have died,
    who had not the time or patience
    to carry on this earthly ride.
    Rain will come and winds will blow,
    wild deer die in the mountain snow.
    Birds will beat at heaven's wall,
    what comes to one must come to us all.

    For you and I are one way ticket holders
    on a one way street.
    which lies across a golden valley
    where the waters of joy and hope run deep.
    So if you pass the parents weeping
    of the young ones who have died,
    take them to your warmth and keeping
    for blessed are the tears they cried
    and many were the years they tried.
    Take them to that valley wide
    and let their souls be pacified.

  • Eric--that song is so touching and beautiful. Did you write it?

    Remember, we are here for you. We are cheering you on. We want you to feel no pain. We want you to be able to do your photography again. We are sending you hugs, prayers, and positive vibes from around the globe. We love and think of you.
    (Words and Music by Joan Baez)

    The last time I remembered this amazing song was when my high school friend Ina from 1958 sent me an email three years go that simply said "Jessica died in a car accident today at 3:20"

    Jessica was 21 or 22 years old.
    I spent the next year on the phone and emailing them trying to do what in the song goes:

    So if you pass the parents weeping
    of the young ones who have died,
    take them to your warmth and keeping
    for blessed are the tears they cried
    and many were the years they tried.
    Take them to that valley wide
    and let their souls be pacified.

    The loss of a child is pain that sticks in the heart and never goes away. Our pain at least stops. I am in no way making light of chronic severe pain ,but no parent would make that trade. Not one!

    We need perspective no matter how bad we hurt. It just seems impossible to get enough distance from your pain to see anything else.


  • That is a wonderful song Eric. Doctors without borders is great. One friend I went to college with wanted to visit me and I told her no. I moan in pain all the time, I am not well. I told her to pray for me and her husband who is a Pastor. All my family know I'm ill and never received a card or a call. I'm just hanging on because I am here for a purpose as we all are. It's like being in the wilderness and not unlike Jesus who had a rock for a pillow and cried tears of blood. One of the proverbs says "With wisdom comes much sorrow" I think this darkness is a time for reflection and finding much joy as we will get out of this pain. He understands us and feels our pain and he will deliver us. It may be a crutch some may say but I believe we need to have hope even if it's just in each other. I hope no one is offended if they're a different faith. There is one God. Take care Eric. It's nice to meet you. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Eric, that song is so touching. And the way you reached out to a friend and helped them through such a difficult time is a testament to the type of person you are. I hope you are still in touch with your friend.
  • I think it is wonderful how quickly your International family is growing. The song by Joan Baez is terrific as well as tragic. In order to write a song like that, one has had to hurt like that.

    You said that you have a TENS unit. When you use it, where do you place the pads? Are you familiar with the Gate Theory of pain control? Here's a link to an article on Spine Health about it. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/chronic-pain/modern-ideas-gate-control-theory-chronic-pain I know many medical professionals are a bit skeptical about it. I have had some great success with it via a TENS unit and now my spinal cord stimulator. Certain placements of the pads from the TENS unit always helped me break the pain that had me curled up on the floor.

    Hang in there,

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    I'd come across the ocean if I could. But I can,t. I sent you a P.M.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Dr Eric,
    It is never easy being us and that pain all the time never something that anyone should have to endure, your responsibility it to yourself and the future, to share your gifts with others. Would you visit yourself, it does take great honesty and some humility to view how we are seen by others and you have more control of your pain that you think. Many here are enduring that same angst as you and it is a development process, you of yourself.

    In my time and thought lack of support and the right encouragement, I too blamed everyone and everything for my pain and that is understandable, it was up to me to manage my situation for the better, and not let the pain win or dominate my existence even though in reality it could have done.

    My sister had cancer and could have been viewed as the victim and with some understanding embraced that role, over time she developed a more useful and effective strategy, the pain and angst never diminished inside and rather than people not knowing what to say or cross the road, she smiled to the end, that took some doing knowing the future and what was to come. She did not do this alone and accepted all the help she could manage, it was a shining example of helping yourself.

    You are supportive of many others and should understand how much you are needed, if those around me are not as supportive as I would like I seek out those with a positive outlook, the danger of displaying and communication your displeasure is that you become just that person to others, and they do not know what to do or say to help. When do you give up, never, even if you only delude yourself that things will be OK that is sufficient, use your energy to help yourself in a positive manner and do all within your power to have some control, that others cannot rectify anyway, empower yourself, be kind to yourself and take your time.

    Your story helps others to get through this continuing phase and gives us all hope that we could do the same, and we need you.

  • Eric hi, i just read your post and had to reply.....I too have felt like you many times, and still do each and every day, im 32 and have back issues all my life, i have had spinal fusion with bmp[it is like a cement but gros like new bone],the thing is they fused my vertbre withthis stuff and they didnt put in any metalwork, they lift in the discs and 1 surgeon at our local hospital thinks this bmp stuff has overgrown i am having alot of weakness into my legs......im married to eamon and live in Northern Ireland. If i could go over there and take your pain away i would, i wish i could do something for u eric, i really do,your surgery is not too long away so please hold on.......hold on as tight as you can to the fact that god is with you throughout all of this, he will never abandon u, he is with you always...I always pray for healing Eric and i know I will to the day I die, I remeber my physio saying to me once.God chooses you , you dont choose him....and I thought and still do well why did he choose to give me this, why me, i question things all the time, even when i was at the chiropractor one tinme i said to him do u ever wonder why and he said why does young children get cancer?.there is a reason and i remember thingking to myself thats ok for u to say ur not going through what im going through,[not very christian of me i know], this world really is a valley of tears.........infact this thursday i have an appointment with my doctor, he wanted me to take anti depressant tablets.on 3 appointments he said will you please take them, each time i tore up the prescription...i didnt want to take them...........but on this appointment i am going to beg him for them.He is a good doctor who listens and is extremly understanding he once said to me u shouldnt be going through this at your age but you are..... All this is hard on a marriage too.....we wanted a family,my husband has to work to pay the mortgage and bills[i cant work].but im worried if we had a baby if i could cope, what if my husband had to give up work to lookafter us?.who would pay the mortgage?....my doctor said symptoms and function are important for u.......I do know what u are going through eric.....I wish i could take it all away but heah u know god has heard your prayer and maybe this surgery is your healing.I hope it is,Eric u will be in my prayers and today i am going to go to the church and light a candle for you....godbless Eric and takecare :)
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