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Dont follow my mistakes, please learn from them

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,868
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Chronic Pain
Most people know that I have been dealing with chronic pain for over 30 years now. Started with my first spinal surgery in 1978.
I look back now and its so easy to realize that I made so many mistakes and created situations that just invited additional spinal problems.
From the very beginning, after I recovered from my first lumbar surgery, instead of watching myself, I still went full force into the sports I played. I would go into the garden, lifting rocks, moving this, or that and just not paying attention to my situation. So, when the next lumbar disc blew, I should have said "Wait, I caused some of this" But did I? No, I continued down the path of being a young 30 year old man who could not be stopped. Well each year that went by, I slowly realized that I was being stopped.
It wasnt until I reached about 48 years old did I stop and think what I have been doing. I didnt do my exercises, I didnt follow my restrictions, I gained weight and so on.
Now as I am approaching 60, I have had some additional spinal problems, but these were not of my our doing.. Just a matter of time before the spine started to fail me.
So now, I am doing the correct things, I exercise, I watch what I do, I do wish I could lose some more weight, but I know I am doing what is needed to keep my spine as health as it can be considered it is damaged.
My story? Once you have had a spinal problem and/or surgery, realize what it is, do not think you can beat it or ignore it.
The better you take care of yourself immediately the better the chances you will be able to be more pain free in the later years.
I have pain daily and I wake up in lots of pain, but instead of feeling down, I am angry, because I know if I did some of the right things earlier, it would be much easier now.
I hope I can continue to perform the things I do today and that there will not come a time when I can no longer do that. But who do I have to blame , noone but MYSELF!
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • The problem is that we are in many ways much like the pets we keep. We look at the finger, not at what it is pointing at!

    We follow the lead, not where we are told to go.

    As hard as you may yell, "shoo, get out of here, you can do better" it will do very little good. You will have much company. Though for all your shouting at least we will know.

    We have been warned.
  • Isn't it good we reach the age of being able to look at ourselves in this way?
    So easy to think that you can do anything, just because you want to do it and think that you are able to handle it.
    Work through the pain and it will go away!
    I think back on all of the heavy gardening, brick paving, painting, computer work, mosaics and so on that I've done and are now paying for.
    With the paving, it had to be finished so I would just keep going until it hurt too much.
    I was paving around a pool and when I completed it the join was way out of alignment, so I had to take a lot of it up and redo it.
    I would always recover after a while, then there would be a new house and off we'd go again with the garden revamp, painting, wall papering and so on. All this while doing intense office work.
    It's just one of those things where when we are young we think we are invincible.
    Now, at the bottom of the well, it is a long, hard climb to the top.
  • I think it shouldn't be always to point to ourselves as at fault. There are many conditions such as DDD who picks and chooses people of all ages due to heredity or other factors. Many Drs have also evolved in their treatments to people and maybe even one of your Drs may have said work through the pain and if it doesn't hurt you're not working hard enough or no pain no gain stigmatisms like that day society crunches us on all sides. So although it may be that you overdid, there could've been more influencing factors in your life causing you to do things in the way you did. I hear what you're saying and heed your advice. 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
  • ... I will take better care of myself. Only this time I mean it!! :D

    I hear ya, Ron! I have been reminiscing about all the crazy stunts I did as a kid and teenager and wish that I had listened to my mother! She warned me if I wasn't careful with my body that I would hurt when I was old and to learn from her mistakes. I didn't listen and I just didn't anticipate "old" being 33! I wish I had listened.

    Shoulda, coulda, woulda!!
  • :) Ron I know where you are coming from but actually I disa :) :) gre with you............I dont actually think it is your fault, I feel that life is hard,so very very hard, you tried to go through life with what God has given you...........and in your case your spine issues.........which isnt by no means an easy task, ok you say you should have done this and that...........and mayb you should have.who knows,I feel you made the best of a bad situation and are continuing to struggle and deal with things everyday,dont beat yourself up Ron....I feel you have done well extremly well considering,you didnt give up and crawl in a corner.....you kept on fighting..which demands strength and courage.gifts that I believe god has given you, people say god dosent give you anything you cant handle.....boy I dont know about that one lol Im referring to be here lol, I wish you well Ron, I really do, I hope the osteopathy treatment really continues to help you and that you heal physically as much as you can and mentally so that you can cope with whatever lies ahead, in the meantime Ron as I said dont beat yourself up about what you should have done thing is you didnt ask for any of this and at the end of the day you didnt kill anyone so try and think about that,wishing you happy painfree days,weeks,months years lol.....takecare! :)
  • hey ron that first line is suppossed to read i actually dont agree with you............
  • i hear you and can identify big time.when i had my first surgery at the age of 30 .a week later i was picking my little girl up taking her to nursery {all that bending and twisting putting her in the car seat etc} it got so bad one day on the way home from nursery at the lights i had to get out of my car because the leg pain was so bad .to make matters worse i was going through a divorce and moving home and all that entails lots of lifting .and being in the building trade i did not want to live in a inferior house to what i has ..so i started knocking down walls and running cables etc i worked myself mad for 4 years never giving myself any time to recuperate from my operation .now at age 42 nearly 43 {may 14} i find myself really disabled and in a bad place both mentally and physically .i feel like i have wasted and ruined my life .at the end of the day no one want you when you become a burden on society
  • When we get older, whether we have health/spine issues or not, we tend to reflect on what we've done in our past. I doubt there are very many out there who can look back and honestly say "I did everything right. I would do everything exactly the way I did it if I had it to do over again."

    There were times when I picked up a boxes of postcards at my previous job (I doubt I only used my legs) because it was too much of a bother to go ask a stronger person to do it. There was a time when I picked up 250 paving stones and carried them into my backyard during a landscaping project because it was just me and my husband. There were times when I threw my head forward and back over and over again playing around to music with my friends.

    But, at the end of the day, when we look back, of course we made mistakes. But that's part of the human condition. That's what we do. The younger we are, the more we live in the moment, whether we're doing something right or wrong. We don't start to look at the future, the here-and-now, AND the past until we're old enough to know that we could've done things better.

    We all have to live with what we've done, good or bad. And I seriously doubt that if you told a 25-year-old, whose been in perfect health all their life, they really need to be careful with their spine that they would listen. They'd hear you, but they wouldn't listen.

    We can't beat outselves up for being human. Like Webmommy said, shoulda, coulda, woulda.

  • I look at it completely different. I refuse to live my life in a bubble, afraid of making things worse. The mistakes I made early on weren't really mistakes, they were choices I made at the time. It's like anything else in life, we make choices and some have better outcomes than others. As we gain experience, we learn and we adapt. I use better body mechanics today than I did before. It may or may not keep me from further injury.

    If I sit back and do nothing afraid of making further mistakes, then my condition has "won" and I lose. I'm only 47 and I choose today to continue on enjoying myself as much as I physically can. Yes I do it smarter, but the key is, that I "do it". So if tomorrow I blow something out, I'm not going to beat myself up for the choice/s I made.

    I wake up hurting every day. I wake up every night hurting and having to walk it off enough to try and go back to sleep. I have to charge my implant battery every week, which is a stark reminder of what has happened to me. I can no longer do some of the things I have always loved to do. I chose to work on aircraft, I chose to ride horses and motorcycles, I chose to lift and use heavy equipment. They were all choices I made while ENJOYING MY LIFE. These were choices that made me the person I am today. I like who I am, so how can I be angry?

    I don't know if I'm making much sense. It's just how I see things TODAY. Who knows I may see things differently tomorrow, but the key is, that's tomorrow.

    Live for the day, and enjoy it as much as you can!

  • Hey all,

    I don't post so much anymore but I just had to chime in here. Sure, I could have done some things differently, but I doubt I would. Life is meant for the living. Do what you need/want to and enjoy. You never know what is around the corner!

    I'm not talking about being stupid, but do what you can. Our bodies are amazing (in the "normal" state); we are meant to walk, lift, bend, swing, move, run, etc. Enjoy while you can!
    I would never switch up all the years of fun I had running and playing soccer, hi-impact aerobics, all of it!

    Live your life to the fullest. Be good to your body and mind, but get out there and live your life!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,868
    and living life the best you can is always the best route for you and your loved ones.

    I guess the only message I wanted to give, but didnt state it strong enough is Eliminate the Stupid Things. That really is the message. Those are the things that can really create problems.

    I have no regrets, I was a perfect angel, never did anything wrong, always prim and proper.....

    Yeh RIGHT!

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • must be awful hard to balance that halo on those horns every morning!

    image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" /> O:) =)) =)) =)) >:D<
  • That's great. image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" /> O:) :))(
    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
  • dilauro

    Thankyou for your openess in this forum. For almost a year I was waiting for someone to 'do something to me' to make my back better. I continued to work despite being in agony and having my legs give way beneath me some days and I did nothing for myself except wait for the surgeon to eventually repair me.

    I was originally down for a decompression, however, by the time the surgeon got round to doing pre-ops it became apparent that I actually needed a fusion for severe DDD in L5 S1. When I found out what this actually was (didn't know anything about fusion at the time), I started physio, hydroptherapy, changed my diet and gave up smoking and I don't push myself anymore in a bid to beat the problem to a point where I didn't have to have a fusion. The surgeon told me it was unlikely to help as the facet joint injections etc hadn't worked. I still have aches and pains everyday, but on the whole they are not as bad as they were pre physio etc. My legs no longer give way under me and I feel that I am more mobile than I have been in the preceeding year. I am now deciding upon whether to have the surgery.

    I feel a wee bit angry with myself sometimes for continuing to work (seated for 7 hours a day) and go on business trips with heavy bags when I had the back problem in the first place in order to meet other people's demands.

  • I really enjoy open dialog like this-and I learn so much from it.To me-a common sense type person-this is AS important a thread as all of the ones with the medical lingo and such in it.

    I can see too that every single person is right about their way of thinking..and I just love that.

    CHARRYS insight into Ron's post was fun for me to read,because I love seeing how people think and that charry saw and just knew that you Ron,were influenced possibly outside of your own decisions just made my day.I firmly believe that there is so much more that goes into what made us who we are other than what we remember,or even outside of what we know or control.

    Perception is amazing in how it differently it affects us all.

    I could have made better decisions and maybe made a few stupid mistakes,well,no maybes about it-I did actually-but had I known then what I know now I don't think life would have been near as much fun.
  • Thanks Ron, and everyone who put their two cents in... I have learned to really limit what I do, because overdoing it causes days of unwanted pain. I am at the point where I really WANT to pick up that rake, refinish my chair, do my planting, etc...but I've learned to control this for the fear of pain. I've had a pretty good week or so, and I don't want this to end!! But sooner or later, I WILL learn how to control the pain, and hopefully eliminate it. I am not saying I am giving up, just being cautious for now. I miss the old me, and I refuse to live the rest of my life on egg shells.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Ron, I'll save myself a lot of typing and just sign my name to yours. except I just turned 60.
    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!
  • This has been very interesting to read. It has left me with 2 thoughts:

    1) people like you who have continued to really "live" with chronic pain for so long are amazing. As someone who is a newcomer to pain/not feeling well I am in awe of you!

    2) if anything, I have probably been way too cautious post-surgery. It is as if I have put my life on hold until I somehow miraculously wake up one morning feeling like "myself" (rather than me occupying some alien body that I don't know how to deal with).

    Again - thank you.
  • I had my first operaton at 15 years old and after about a year I went back to my normal life as if I never had a back problem. Things went fine for about 10 years but I eventually had my second major injury, and now at 28 with 5 operations and in severe chronic pain I do look back and have some major regrets. After one major lower back problem it is pretty much a fact you are destined to have another problem at some time down the road especially if you are not cautious. If I would have taken care of my back, stretching, watching how I lifted things, and paying attention to how an activity could effect my back I really believe I could have possibly avoided this. I would definetl advise everyone especially younger people coming off if their first problem or operation to definetly take care of their back from now on. Its not too difficult to manage, the only thing difficult is that it can sometimes be something random that causes an injury.
  • I will not give up; I occasionally give in (but not because I want to, believe me you!). Like "C", I refuse to be dictated to and told what I can and cannot do - especially where my life (or, I should say "living") is concerned. I would not change a thing; the mistakes I have made (in all aspects of my life) are the very things that have made me who/what/how I am today.

    I do tell my kids there are 3 things you will miss when they are gone: your knees, your back and your mind!

    Was it Vince Lombardi who said "Getting old ain't for sissies!"? Boy - he was full of malopropisms, but he was usually right on the money.

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