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Finally sucked it up and got a cane....

MingMMing Posts: 1,127
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Chronic Pain
I know we've discussed this before and I was having trouble finding one of the discussions I remember having months back so forgive me for starting a new one.

After finding out that I had a failed fusion and broken screws I had mentioned to my dad that I was thinking of getting a cane cuz I'm having a hard time standing and sometimes my leg gives out plus I have a hard time bending down and getting back up. My dad lent me a cane he had and I used it for the first time today. I realized yesterday after standing for 2 hours in the rain at a friend's funeral that I really should have a cane. I was in so much pain.

I stopped at one of those stores that sells equipment for people with disabilities and bought my own cane. It is pretty cute and has cats all over it. I love kitties :X

I've been putting this off for months now hoping I would not need one but I am just getting progressively worse instead of better. At only 31 it was a very tough decision until I came to the realization, why is it embarrassing to use something that may assist me in being a little bit more comfortable. Being in pain is not trendy!

So for any of you out there that may feel they are too young to have to depend on a cane, please do not be ashamed. Chronic pain does not discriminate by age.


  • I want one! Where did you get it/who is the manufacturer? I bought a basic black cane after my second ESI--I thought I would only need it for a few days so I didn't care what it looked like.

    My leg has gone out on me several times recently without warning, so I've been using it a lot lately. I was really self-conscious about it at first, but then I realized that it really does help.

    Anyway, I was just telling my husband yesterday that if I had known how much I would be using it, I would have gotten myself a really nice one with cats all over it! We have 7 cats, so I think it would be appropriate...

    We're too young for this, but at least we can hobble along with style!
  • I got it at a durable medical store called hangers. Send me a PM if you would be interested in a link to a cane store that a fellow spiney sent me awhile back. I believe these canes are quite pricey though. Mine was $22. Some insurances cover this, however, mine wasn't one of them. I can't go in my room to check the brand right now cuz my hubby's in bed sleeping. He's a grouchy bear when I wake him up and it's midnight right now. Send me a PM and remind me to PM you with the name brand tomorrow.

    I've looked at a bunch of different stores such as walmart and couldn't find any stylish canes. This Hanger store I went to had some pretty neat designs. I told the lady it was the first time I've seen stylish canes. I would really love a hot pink one at some point lol. I think it's important to be able to customize your own cane. Atleast if we have to have one at our age, we can be somewhat trendy. I think it helps to cope with the fact that I am needing a cane as well.
  • I'm not sure if you're having pain or weakness just in one leg but you have to use the cane on the strong leg side. I got my cane last fall and it's helped me when I go for walks as my leg gives out too, I was going to get the cane with the seat but I think they're a bit heavier to carry. I even met a young lady in her 30's and she was using a walker to get around, and finds it easier on her back. I just figure there are younger people out there who break an ankle and some people prefer canes rather than crutches. Some people waiting for knee operations use canes so now that you have a cane you'll see more people with canes. When I chose my cane I got the one with the black handle because it matches my purse. ;) The cat cane sounds cool though. I would want a leopard coloured one and I'm going to look for one! B) It looks like the warm weather's coming in so I'll be able to get out for walks since I haven't been out but one time in the winter. Take care. 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
  • It's nice to be stylish, but the safety factor is what is important too. You don't want to be falling down, that wouldn't be stylish either! :))( When I thought I might need one, I just googled canes...it's amazing how many really neat ones are out there! And in all price ranges. So take care, and remember, now you have something to hit your dr over the head with :D

  • i know what you mean about a cane {we call them walking pole/stick} i have a black one .and i dont like to use it but i have found out that when i have used it .rather than people making fun of me .i get better treated {like people holding doors open and offering to carry things etc!}
    when you are in pain you have to do what you have to do .good luck with your new cane
  • I've been using my stick/cane for around 12 months now, but mainly when my back is really bad. I already wear a carbon fibre leg brace on my left leg for the foot drop that I have since my last op, but even that is not enough at times!! I inhertited the cane from a friend of my mothers who is no longer with us & it is getting a little scabby around the handle where I keep dropping it when I'm walking the dog - I can't co-ordinate - everyone knows men can't multi task LOL stick/dog/pop-a-scoop dummy. Without the leg brace or cane I would have to resort to using a crutch to get around, never two for the reasons metioned LOL
    lke Straker has said I get better respect from people when I use my stick - but what really confuses people in town is some days they see nothing (leg brace is invisible under work trousers & some days there is a cane. Any one who sees me in the mornings only ever see me with the cane as my old collie (15 1/2 rs old) will never give me time to put on lace up shoes so I can't use the brace. I would love to get an antique silver topped one but I am scared that it wouldn't be srong enough - i'm getting chubby again LOL db
  • My hubby was at a med trade. He saw this cute cane and he was impressed with the new hole hardware (the previous holes would wear out to quickly) Now that is not a problem.
    http://www.fashionablecanes.com/1855.html this is simlular tto what he got for me. I keep it in the car it goes in a nice lil bag. But it is still sad that I get embarresed wwhen I use it. It should not be this way. :??
  • Instead of fashion, I opted for the foldable cane. It is more convienent to put aside when not in used. For example, when I entered a store, I use the motorchair, I fold up the cane and place it in the basket. I used to have a straight cane, but found that it dropped many times, especially after I sat down and not holding onto it, e.g. in a resturant. When I travel, I used the wheelchair services, and thus don't need the cane, I folde and place it in my medicine case. Worried about other people looking, heck no. More worried about me falling and hurt my back more.
  • Hi Michelle, I've been using one for over 2 years now and it took a while before I got over the embarrassment. Why should we feel like that, I wonder. All of us have legit conditions and cannot risk falling down and busting our a$$es. I've done it too many times- my leg (the one with permanent damage) will give out unexpectedly at the most inopportune moments, and there I go. I have the ugly, run of the mill cane because I didn't think I'd have to use it long enough to justify indulging in a nice one. Of course I'm not trying to start a fashion craze, although it was fashionable for men to sport it back over a hundred years ago. I want a nicer one, now that I know I need it on a long term basis. So don't feel shy, too young, or embarrassed to use it. :)
  • Thanks for the advice. I didn't know I was supposed to use on the strong leg side. I've been using on the weak leg side. Obviously, I've never used one before :/ I just guessed that the cane would take place of the leg that is not working as it should. I will try the other side from now on.

    I find that if I lean on the shopping cart at the store's it helps my legs and back so I can see where a walker would be helpful to some.

    Thanks again for the advice.
  • LOL I could use it on him. Maybe it would do him good to knock some sense into him =)) It's easier to reach the kids and pull them closer when they are misbehaving too lol.
  • You crack me up. I am getting visuals with your detailed descriptions =))

    I too noticed I got more respect yesterday. Due to my age I get some dirty looks and stares when I park in a handicapped spot or walk around with a limp or with that sourpuss face cuz I'm in so much pain. It seems people don't beleive until they visually see you depending on devices to walk. Just because I don't look like I'm in pain doesn't mean I'm not in pain. This has really helped to change my outlook on others as well. I must admit I am not so quick to judge people as I once used to. Girls can be so mean }:) lol.
  • hi guys,
    it has finally dawned on me to just get on and start using a trecking pole. it is one of those that you can use for hiking.
    i feel much safer using it now in work i dont tend to use it but out and about it is a life saver.

    it is hard at our generally young ages (39) to have to resort to using an aid but you are right at least now when i get on the bus to go to work i feel more able to sit in the seats for the disabled and on the tube people will give up their seat for me which is not only very kind but it means i am less likley to end up on my butt.

  • I have been using cane for prolly 12 months now. and using walker/cane since surgery.
    It was a real hard thing for me to do.... buy that first cane
    I used my daddy's first then my sister gave me my uncles which was real old and lite in weight and more my size.
    then the day my son and I went out and purchased my very own cane was the same day we had to go to medical store.(doc gave script but ins wont pay)I got new shower chair that would fit in shower and bars for my toilet and a new soft collar (i have about 10 soft collars all different)
    back to my cane it was hard cause well you all know why.I got a pretty blue sparkly kinda one.My grand kids and I have put special butterfly stickers on them and a few ladybug stickers. makes them special. I have 3 canes now and I use them all.
    I got over the embarrassing part of using cane. I would hang on hubby or son, daughter, or friend before my cane days before the weakness got so bad I would get to the cart and go go go. cant do that no more 5 min. and i have to sit I get very weak.
    since R side is worse arm and leg of course cane has to be used on left side that was hard to get used to... now im finding it doesn't take long for L arm to get weak now to. I have found it very important to have your cane at the right height and I still wear my nursing white shoes because they are the most comfy all little thing make difference.
    Personalize your cane make it special. also my grandkids have a blast playing with mine and with the walker to.
    hey can I mention the grabber LOVE IT...
    one suggestion before surgery feb4th never used a walker before that day after i was using one and mostly still using one trying to use cane when I can. but in hosp. they had me buy ugly silver everyday walker.. if I would of known 2 months later I'm still using it I would of got one of those v shaped ones that are easy to get around in.Also cost 150 dollars more buying it at hospital then getting it at are local drug store.
    oh I forgot I also have a quad cane, but for me at this point it just messes me up trying to get around.Patsy
  • I've been using the cane on my left side, which is my bad side, but someone posted that it should be used on your good side? Which way is right? Or does it matter?

    I've actually started to feel more powerful using my cane. Now I always have a very handy weapon against anyone who irritates me! =))
  • Hi. the right way to use a cane is........ The cane should be on the strong side. I know its hard. specially if you have no weakness in the arms.
    My R side is my weak side (but i have weakness in L but not as bad as R)
    Its very hard to change specially if you have been using left side but if you have no weakness in arms you need to start using cane in R hand.you might find after awhile it makes a big difference. let me know.. good luck 1977. Patsy
    my opinions only
  • Congrads on using a cane. I felt the same way in the beginning but I got over it soon enough tho. You go girl! =D> Have a really great day!

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • With 3 kids of my own (2 seniors in HS and an adult), I feel you. Early in my recovery, they actually fought over who had done the last thing for me, I got extremely depressed, and cried for hours. In my life I, as well as my kids, have always seen me as the strong one, and they just can't understand, or don't want to, that I'm not that person anymore. If they only knew how much it hurts us to be reduced to what we are now, I can only hope they would understand.... but words just don't and can never really enlighten them to how we are feeling about our conditions... Sad but true. Hang in there, and keep striving for that 9th cloud you lived on before the pain took over your life!

  • I have to just type this out to hopefully feel better about it sense I can't talk to anyone at home about how I feel. Today I picked my 13yr old daughter up from school because she stayed after. I took her to the store so she could pick out icecream to go with the brownies that my dad made for us. I go to get out of the truck and I have my cane in hand cuz I've been running around all day getting my meds filled for the month, son had dr appt then to hospital for chest xray. My daughter looked at me and said "come on mom, do you have to use that in there?" I was crushed. My daughter has never said a hurtful thing to me ever. All I could muster up was to tell her to stay in the car if she was going to be embarrassed by me. She said I didn't mean it that way but do you really need to use that in the store. I shrugged it off and got the icecream and on the way home I did tell her that it hurt my feelings that she said that and that I don't like the idea that I have to use one and that I'd rather not have one at all. I explained that I didn't ask for this and what is she going to do if she has to wheel me around in a wheelchair. She didn't talk the rest of the ride home and hasn't really said anything to me at home.
  • It's such a difficult age, for you as well as your daughter. She's probably feeling a combination of things, and at that age, they feel so very deeply.

    Obviously, I don't know your daughter, or anything about your relationship with her, and I do not have children. However I do have a BA in Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent behavior. What I'm about to suggest here is based solely on my education and my own memories of what it was like to be 13, so please don't take it for more than it is worth.

    Most teenagers would rather not admit that they have parents. They feel like they have become adults to some extent, and parents become awfully embarrassing--regardless of how much they love them. They become socially conscious to the extreme, and are afraid of appearing "different" in front of their peers. To her, your cane probably screams "I am different."

    They get mad at you for no apparent reason, and their moods change forcefully and often without warning. Children lash out at their parents because it is safe. They know they can yell and scream and be unreasonable, and you will still love them anyway.

    On some level she's probably feeling a lot of the things you feel about your condition. Frustration, anger, and fear. Moms are supposed to be indestructible. She could be afraid and angry that you can't walk on your own, and your mention of the possibility of a wheel chair was probably reinforcement of those feelings.

    Children and adolescents are normally and quite naturally self-centered. I don't mean this in a negative sense, it is just how they process things--in terms of "how will this effect me." Although she may understand that this isn't your fault, she's probably angry. Angry that this has happened to you, and in turn is also angry that has happened to her. This makes your family "different." She probably also feels guilty for feeling that way.

    Adolescence is such a confusing, emotional time. Talk to her, ask her how she feels about your situation. If she admits to being afraid, try to help lessen her fear. If she reacts with anger, try not to take it personally. She may need time and space, or she may need a hug and a good cry. Often it's a combination of both. If she's anything like her mother, she's a good kid. It may take a lot of work and patience on your part, but don't give up.

    Sorry about the long post, but I hope you find it at least a little helpful. Good luck, my thoughts are with you.
  • I respect your advice and I agree with everything you said. It seems I've always been the "cool" mom to her. She always tells me how her friends say that her mom is really cool. I don't try to be "cool" or be their friends. I always am a mother first but I'm still young and enjoy a lot of the same things as my daughter. She has to sacrafice a lot since my condition has become impossible for me to work which was Feb2008. We didn't go on summer vacation to ocean like we wanted cuz my surgery was in july and I was recovering. There are times when I am stuck in bed and she doesn't get to spend much time with me. I don't take her for our "girl" days like I used to as much cuz it's hard for me to get out. Also she has had to pick up my slack and help me out with her brother and chores that I can't do anymore. I try to give her extra time to be a kid and to do things with just her and I but it's hard. I do make sure that I tell her often that I love her and appreciate all the things she does for me and how grateful I am for the help she gives. It's still a lot and quite a burden for a 13 year old who is struggling to discover who she is and juggle all the different emotions and hormones going on.
  • and they have a hardtime in understanding why it takes so long to get well. Because all they know about sickness is you get a cold / flu / fever, take medicine, and well after a week or two, not months or years. They wonder why you don't go as often as you used to to their games, competitions and even volunteer in school. I used to teach the gifted children in the school, but now I have to give that up; I also haven't been to most of their activites.

    At one stage, my younger one actually got so frustrated, she felt that she lost her dad, and out of the blue, she came over to me, while I was kneeling on the floor due to pain, and she kicked me. (She actually loves me very much because I was the one who changed her diapers and fed her, while my wife look after the older kid). After I had a nice talk with her, I found out she couldn't stand watching me in pain, and she thought it was an excuse for not able to see her performance in school. But she apologized, hugs and kisses me till this very day. That was 2 years ago.
  • Like me, I think my kids expected the surgery to be the fix that I needed. Now it's been 9 months and mommy is still in pain and at times more pain that before surgery. They can't understand why I got surgery but I am still hurting. My little guy has the worst time with it cuz he misses playing hide and seek with me. He says it all the time. My daughter loves me very much and I'm sure it breaks her heart to see me in so much pain. I toughed it out and went to almost all her basketball games and even some of the away games that were 30-90 minutes away. Sitting on the bleachers was excruciating pain but I toughed it out for her. My kids are my life and I hate disappointing them with my own disability.
  • I guess it must be hard to accept illness in their Mom. Try getting a bear and put bandaids on him and make him a cane. She'll start to get it in a different way Take care Ming. 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
  • Sorry to hear of the difficulty your daughter is having. My daughter is now 28 and we have always been extremely close. She lives 1 1/2 hours away and when she was in high school I remember that age as the year we didnt always click. It passes. She went to college for 7 years and now is an attorney, no children yet, but she calls me on her way to work and on her way home. 13 was a difficult year, and I was feeling fine. Just hang in there. They have alot of changes going on in their bodies and emoitions, but I am sure she loves you, just the peer thing going on. She will get used to you using your cane, and it wont be a big deal. I was like you, best friends with my daughter, but always a mom first. Hang in there. She loves you, and I am sure it wont be a big deal once she is used to it. Keep you chin up there are better days ahead. You sound like a great Mom, and I am sure thats why it was hard for her to see you using a cane. She has to accept that things might not always be how they once were.
  • Buying my first cane was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I completely understand how you feel. Through the years my children have learned to be compassionate. Early on my son said "I feel sorry for you that you have to use a cane." I said "Don't feel sorry for me, I'm okay." His response was "That's how I feel and you can't tell me not to feel that way." He was only 7 years old, and so very smart. Ming, my PT told me to use the cane on my strong side, and you must have it at the right height or you can mess up your arm and shoulder. I believe the height needs to be at the bend of your wrist. I taught preschool with a cane, children can be very understanding when they know what's going on. Give your daughter time, and talk openly and honestly with her. Let her share her feelings with you, and you with her. My daughter thought I might die, until I told her different! A little information goes a long way when it comes to kids. I feel so fortunate, I haven't used my cane since fusion 1 year ago. Good luck to you Ming!

    Faith M
  • I have no choice but to use my mic stand as a cane. I can't seem to walk too far without it. My back locks up and then I scream in pain and fall over, then I pee all over the place. I am 36 years old. Without my cane I would have to hold onto people to walk. I have not seen a doctor just saying it's that bad. I wish I could walk without a cane. Until the pain is dealt with I might end up in a wheel chair. I sometimes have to crawl on the floor to get to the bathroom..I then use the towel racks to pull myself up. I might need depends to because I cant hold my bladder. I get tired of peeing my pants.
  • Thank you all for all of your kind words and encouragement. I know she loves me very much and it breaks her heart to see me this way.

    I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. Here I am complaining about my hurt pride and you are dealing with so much more. My dad got to the point you are at. It's so hard to see a loved one go through that. I've seen my father cry cuz he's not the man he used to be and depends on us for help. He has to pee in a urinal thing that he got from the hospital cuz he can't make it to the bathroom most times.
  • I cannot tell you how much this thread has helped me. Thank you Ming =D> , and everyone else =D> who has posted.

    I am a 65 yr old lady (I know I am alot older than all of you but, mentally I think I am 30 8} ), who still works full-time, am very active, love to travel, and have had a horrible time accepting I must use a cane. I have been diagnoised with severe degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis and have trouble walking any distance and standing for any length of time. I use my cane if I am somewhere no one knows me and will drive to a grocery store some distance away just so I can use an electric skooter. I really thought I was the only one to feel the embarrassment at using a cane. You all have made me feel I am not alone.

    After two doctor visits this week, I have decided I must come to terms with my physical condition or I will not be able to do anything. I came on the computer this morning looking for support but, was not hopeful of finding any. Thanks to all of you, I am going to get a cool cane today and USE IT =D> . God Bless you.
  • i've had one for 5 years and to tell the truth, my boss, job, other teachers could care less and i believe even think i am milking my pain and disability. for teachers who are supposed to be supportive, liberal and kind hearted, they are a bunch of crummugins. they don't care and never offer to help me if i am having a problem. my principal is the worse. just a big mouth flea bag who cares about no one except herself. she backs up the kids and not teachers. teachers lie and not kids according to her. well offf the subject. keep more that one cane around because i tend to lose mine. it really helps when i walk and i have tons and i mean tons of pain when i walk. walking is one more accommodations my school and principal seem to ignore. i can use an elevaator but the kids use it the ones who are not disabled and it is a mess. paper, pizza covers food etc on the floor and even with a cane i almost fell. also kids take it and almost ran me over one day. you guessed it, i complained to all of the administrators and so did the kids in wheelchairs and those who need it and guess what? nothing has been done even after complaining a half a dozen times. keep the cane and use it. it has helped me for years and helps me walk with the pain.
    good luck
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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