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how can i be supportive?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
someone very close to me has had 2 fusion surgeries...

i'm not familiar with the language yet, but he's written down L-4, L-5 for the first and L-5, S1 for the second. (i hope i have that correct)

i would like to be a supportive person, but i don't want to ask too many questions as it's a sticky subject. his surgeries have caused a tremendous amount of pain and disabled him~he can no longer work. (thank goodness he finally has gotten through the social security maze successfully)

i know about chronic pain as i have chronic pain all over from fibromyalgia and undifferentiated tissue disorder.

i realize that this can be a difficult topic as it has damaged his soul and has taken away so much from his life. i also realize that it has a lot to do with pride as well, therefore i don't like/want to ask questions. i'm sure i will be able to see the pain on his face.

sorry this is so long and not w/capital letters. (the lack of capitals helps my hands)

he no longer takes any type of prescribed pain meds as he felt it was robbing him of clarity in his life...so basically the pain is excrutiating for him. i can tell all of this from phone conversations~the pain that is.

thank you for any suggestions, your time in reading this and for being a good shoulder to lean on...so to speak.
for those of you in pain, i'm sorry. it's not a fun ride. and for those doing well, congratulations, that's fantastic!


  • I'm glad you want to be supportive of your friend. I would try to read as much as possible on the subject (like you are doing) -- and continue to ask questions.
    It's awful to have pain consume your life, and take away any joy that we may have had before. I would like to mention that possibly another doctor visit may be in order (maybe a new doctor). There are so many advancements in back pain relief that maybe he can get help. Also - changing medicines may be posibility also. (i.e. vicodin makes me crabby/hateful - but percocet is a better fit).
    Hope all goes well for you and your friend. Take care!
  • That you are trying to be the best friend possible! I'm not good at links, but someone posted "A Letter to Normals" a while back (just put it in the search). Most people don't want to hear about someone else's pain, so being receptive when he needs someone to talk to alone would be great. Also, what does he feel comfortable doing? For example, my pain goes through the roof with prolonged sitting, so haven't been out to dinner, movies, or any roadtrips in over 16 months; my old friends just don't get it and they think I'm being anti-social, when its just that I truly dread extended sitting. I also don't feel comfortable driving any distance in case I do need to take stronger meds.
    I completely understand how your friend doesn't want to take meds because of how they make if feel, but I also agree w/Vivster about how important it is to have a doctor that is willing to try different meds. Even in one class like narcotics the side effects can be very varied, one needs to keep an open mind when trying something new. Plus, there's lots of non-narcotic options for pain control (neurontin, lyrica, amitriptyline etc.).
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