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I'm Sorry But (regarding anger)

MomofthreeboysMMomofthreeboys Posts: 73
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
How am I supposed to let the anger go when a little over a year ago my body could do anything I wanted it too and now I am so very limited?? It's so hard not to be angry at my body when my 7 year old says mommy I wish your back was better so we could play catch. It's hard not to be angry when I don't know if I will ever be a nurse again. heck, its hard not to be angry when its so difficult to make love to my husband. I can't walk more than a few minutes without a cane or walker when I used to hike for hours. I used to love to ride bicycles. I just sold my motorcycle and guess I may never ride again. I am not at peace with any of this. I am only 31. I know this all sounds like self pity and too a point it is but even more I pity my boys. I was whole, then one night with one combative patient, then I wasn't. Just like that our lives changed forever. I know God must have a plan, but I can't even imagine thru all this pain and turmoil what it might be. Can anyone even relate to me??
Mom to Tony 13, Gavin 9, and Donovan 7
Surgery 1/07/2009:
1. L3-4 decompression laminectomy and foraminotomy
2. Left complete L3-4 discectomy with decompression of L4 root.
3. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion, L3-4 with 10-mm Capstone cage and autograph.
4. Posterior spinal fusion L3-L5 with iliac bone graph and BMP
5. Legacy instrumentation, L3 to L5

Also still in PT 2land 1 aqua every week and also use a TENS unit.


  • its understandable you are angry. part of the healing process is getting over the anger. not easy. youre on a good start by talking to others here who have suffered.
    try to get it out of your system. time usually helps.
    think about what you have. two of those things are family and hope that you will improve. youve found friends here who will help. youll see..... a woman who joined 3 weeks ago was so angry. now i feel shes more relaxed. i know i'll be rooting for you to move along on this crazy road called life
    thinking of you.......pete
  • Cyndi,

    Boy, can I relate. Anger is an issue I struggle with daily. It's hard to "get over it" when someone else is responsible for your loss of function. What I've learned is that there is no acceptance when we stay in that anger phase.

    You can still be, and I'm sure still are, a wonderful mother to your kids. Children are resiliant creatures and more understanding than you may think. Although it's more difficult and involves help from others you can still give them all those moments in life they deserve....and be there with them while they experience them. Just because you aren't riding the rides at Disney doesn't mean that you can't watch them from the bench, right?

    I've found that a therapist has been a great help to me in finding some balance in life and some meaning after my accident. Anger is a form of depression and needs to be addressed before it eats you up, just the way depression would.

    You know that we're always here for you on Spine-Health as well. You never have to apologize for any emotion that you have here. Talking and venting helps no matter what the arena.

    I wish I could be of more comfort. Hang in there,
  • Anger is part of the pain cycle and over time we learn to manage it more effectively by giving attention to the negative aspect of what you cannot do naturally makes us all feel inadequate, this is a condition not of our choosing and nobody here would go with it, for a day longer than they need.

    To some extent getting it out is better than internalising and becoming more depressed as a consequence, although we are all progressing, some are walking backwards looking longingly and regretfully at the person we used to be and to some extent hard on ourselves for not being able to be that person or do the same things.

    It maybe a right of passage and nobody will go through this journey without being tainted by anger and frustration, how invasive its impact will be may need profession support guidance and encouragement, sad is making the impact of your anger as a lifestyle and although we all compare and contrast when CP develops we do more of that. Have you asked them what they think and understand, my 3 teenagers have lived through all my angry phases and I as you, have learned to manage it better and not make them more concerned than need be.

    Your time is the greatest of gifts and some of the children I meet are devoid of that time and contact, materialistic things are no substitute for seeing and encouraging things that are important to them. As you I have an increasing list of things I have not been capable of doing and will be unable to do, I am more than that, I have that same rage and angst for the past two decades and the only difference is that I have been helped to manage and keep it defined is a separate box, the person I used to be.

    The new me is more receptive to others, willing to share and see things that previously passed by without recognition or notice, you are a brave and honest mom for acknowledging your current needs and many others will proceed through life without giving sufficient examination to others needs and how to change for the better.

    Chronic pain like nothing else mandates us to be truthfully honest, we cannot hide from ourselves

    Take care and good luck, hug those boys and be king to yourself.

  • i know where your coming from ..before my operation my wife and i used to go to the beautiful lake district with our cock er spaniel and walk for miles i used to be a local at the gym and swam every day and walked the dog for 2 hours each night .not any more !!! i am to be found on my recliner for 20 hours a day sometimes when i am full of pain killers and feeling brave i may venture to the pool for a small swim butt as for normal life ...forget it ..carnt do it too much pain..all i can say to you is dont beat yourself up its not your fault do what you can when you can ..i have just returned {early } from a visit to the isle of man {the TT races>?} to see my 13 year old daughter but again due to pain all i could do was sit on my ex wife's settee .i could not take my daughter out anywhere and i felt so ill my 7 day trip was cut short to 4 days and that was 4 days too many!!..so i know how you feel
  • It is so hard not to be angry and sad. I have been seeing a shrink and therapist since Feb. but it doesn't help enough. The meds keep me from falling into a point of no return but other than that I guess psychologicaly I still have to go through the phases of grief with or without therapy.(?) I am an introvert so that's no help. I'm becoming agoraphobic at this point. I only leave the house for doctors appointments, PT and the occasional beach trip. Sitting on the beach is the only time I feel at peace. Don't get me wrong, I hide it all from the boys as best as I can. We play board games and I watch them play and swim (and I homeschool them but we are on break). But I still worry and I cry way too much. But I really appreciate you all replying!!
    Mom to Tony 13, Gavin 9, and Donovan 7
    Surgery 1/07/2009:
    1. L3-4 decompression laminectomy and foraminotomy
    2. Left complete L3-4 discectomy with decompression of L4 root.
    3. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion, L3-4 with 10-mm Capstone cage and autograph.
    4. Posterior spinal fusion L3-L5 with iliac bone graph and BMP
    5. Legacy instrumentation, L3 to L5

    Also still in PT 2land 1 aqua every week and also use a TENS unit.
  • Dearest Mom of 3: I just re-read your signature & it looks like you are only about 6 months out of a tremendous amount of surgery...you had a LOT done & altho you are probably healing, (and may not notice anything positive yet) you are very early in the recovery process, sep for a 3-level & all the extra things you had done. The lammy & discetomy alone are terribly painful + you have the fusion also. I don't need to go into detail, as you are a nurse, but your body has been greatly assaulted, indeed, your entire central nervous system is still in a state of shock.
    I am l.5 yrs out & have issues that are either resloved, still resolving and/or will never resolve. Anger is less than at first (John is so eloquent in his description of that journey) but there are many days that I still feel that longing for who I was b4 & what I was able to do, etc. That's perfectly OK to feel that! When we mourn a loss of any kind, we are grieving for something important, that was a part of us & meant a lot to us, so it would be odd if you did NOT feel as you do. Mourning validates how precious these areas of your life were & the loss you feel is a normal response.
    I wish you could sleep! You will heal & feel better if you do. But again, given the amount of surgery, your pain levels will still be high & sleep may be interrupted for some time yet. I didn't "sleep thru" the night until a year, & even now, I only get about 5 hrs straight-thru w/o waking up to take something. Have you tried Restoril? Ask your doc..it's an old one, but very gentle. Comes in 7.5, 15 & 30 Mgs. I'm sure you are familiar w/ it? (It's a benzo)

    I will keep you in thought/prayer today. Your children sound delightful! Perhaps today, in some way, they will help you in ways that comfort you & bring some joy, albeit tainted, to help you thru.

  • It had been coming on for some time, but since my surgery I
    don't want to go out at all. I can't even force myself to walk. I'm not 'afraid' to go out, I just don't want to. Perhaps there's a fear of having an uncontrollable attack of pain, but I don't think that's the problem in my case.

    I don't really get angry at my condition. I guess that I have been immobile due to back pain for so long, I'm just excited about what I might be able to do after I heal. It's got to be better than where I was and am right now).

    Please write if there's anything at all that I can do.

  • Hey, guess what? I am a nurse, was injured by a patient, I have three kids, my little girl says with each surgery, "Mommy, will the doctor fix your back this time so you can pick me up again?" I used to be very active, hiked, traveled, I even had sex with my husband, and I volunteered at the kids' school all of the time. Sound like you?

    I didn't ask for this b.s. I don't want pity. I want my life back. I want to be "normal." I have been PISSED for so long. On top of everything, got to deal with work comp b.s. But what does being pissed get me? Nothing, not a darn thing except occasionally I can use it to motivate myself to fight back(at work comp, for treatment, etc.)

    So, now slightly more than 2 years after my initial surgery(TLIF 2 levels, and no, I just can't remember how many more since), I think I might have chronic pain. Sounds absolutely absurd for me to say that, by definition, I qualified a loooonnnnggg time ago, but my brain refused to accept it.

    You have to reach the point of acceptance. You'll still cycle back to anger and denial, I'm sure. I'm glad you're taking meds for the depression and you have a happy place(the beach) to go to. But before you accept everything, just make sure that this really is the level you have to accept. I just want to say that you might want to get another opinion on why you hurt so much at this point, if you already haven't. Yes, you will always have some limitations, but make sure you don't have to accept all of them.

    Yeah, I hide a lot from my kids too, but they know anyway. You as a nurse know that kids pick up on a lot more than we think they do. My 4 year old, though she wants me to pick her up, is very proud of herself for picking up things off the floor for me and thinks she's a big girl(she has a play crash cart and has defib'd my back so many times it isn't even funny!) My boys switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer for me. It really is how amazing and protective my kids have become. Now, they still have their moments, trust me! But they are perceptive and know things are wrong. When I fell(from my meds) and had a seizure, my 12 year old covered my up and sat on the floor next to me waiting for EMS to arrive to make sure I didn't hit my head on anything.

    I have felt like I have been missing out on so many things, and I have, but at the same time, my children are learning empathy(not that this is the way I would like them to learn it) and caring. They KNOW that sometimes I just can't do it. They know if we go somewhere I'll ride the scooter so I don't hold them back and then they'll(in a nice way) laugh about how bad a driver I am.

    I cannot type here how angry I have been because the mods would probably have a heart attack before they had a chance to delete it! :) But where does that get me? Anger is good if you can use it to channel it towards getting something you need-2nd opinion, benefits, handicap parking tag, etc. I think we all go through some form of an anger phase. Somewhere along the line you'll get to some acceptance. Just make sure this IS what you accept, that you have had a 2nd opinion just to make sure.

    Like I said, more than 2 years after my first surgery, I'm starting to accept that I MIGHT have chronic pain. :)

  • Anger is certainly normal and is something we all need to let out and deal with. Stopping it in a bottle means that you have to deal with it some time. Anger is a normal emotion, what we do with it is what helps or hurts us.

    I hope you find answers. David
  • As a woman who could grocery shop, empty the car with 6 grocery bags on each arm, and then clean house without batting an eye. Then to be a woman who has to have someone with her to shop, load the car, empty the car. And even with all that done for me I'm searching for my meds. To have to have my husband shave my legs, help me get dressed. To know that I will probably never again ride a roller coaster, bowl, kick a soccer ball around with my kids. Boy do I know anger. Mine was not caused by an accident like you, so I can only imagine how much anger you have. I have DDD, so my anger is pointed towards my body, and my situation.
    I rarely make plans myself unless I know I can sit down. I miss out on a lot because there is either too much walking involved, or standing room only. I'm "afriad" to go out, I guess you can say, because I know I will hurt during, and when I get home.
    Like Griff said, you can still be a wonderful Mother to your kids. Just a less active one. The kids will be fine. I'm trying to tell myself that as I type it to you. :) I apologize to my kids all the time. Especially my 13 year old when she asks if we can walk around the mall. :(

    Hang in there. And please know you are not alone.

  • I know the anger as everyone has already described all of the feelings so well. I really miss myself, I am learning to accept the "new me" but I miss the "old me" too.

    But there is one thing nobody mentioned so maybe it is just me. You will have days where you feel more anger or sadness than other days. But one thing I want to tell you is that you are only at about 6 months out from surgery. When I think back I remember being more depressed, sad, angry, cried alot and had many "pity party" days myself from 4-6 months out. I hid it from my family and friends, felt so alone sometimes but I came to SH to help me feel normal. Then ironically my dr. told me at 6 months that I would start to feel better and stronger this side of recovery and he was right. You too will start to see some difference soon too!It is a long haul, the hardest road you'll ever travel...but we are here for you to lean on. Cry when want and then do what you can, when you can, laugh with your kids.....maybe you can't do it all, but do what you can! Feel better!

  • Ditto ditto ditto - what more can I say?

    If I think about it too long I'll just get back on that downward spiral that sucks me in and never lets go.

    Same ride if I get on the 'I wish' escalator trip.

    I try to still have hope. It's great to know that there is a cycle to this - that gives me added hope.

    I do thank all the powers that be that it's me and not my daughter (who was in the vehicle with me). It makes me feel like I would have chose this if I'd been forced to make a choice.

    It's just that it seems there will never be an end. There will never be a completely pain-free day. I will never be who I once was.

    There is no compensation possible that can make up for what I have gone through and what I have lost.
  • Momofthreeboys,

    I know exactly how you feel. I too was a nurse for 12 years all it all came to a screeching halt one day when working with an 82 year old lady. My life has never been the same. I lost my job and had to be retrained for something that would compensate my disability. I have had an office job on and off since 2002 and have been completely out of work since October of 2008, with surgery on May 11th of this year. Now I’m having pain in my abdomen which they think may be an incisional hernia. Also my doctors say that I will probably never be able to work again and to start applying for SSDI. Is this ever going to end? I am extremely frustrated like you; I have five children with two who are mildly mentally retarded. It is heartbreaking to try to explain to them that I will never be able to play with them the way that I use too.

    I am a very positive person and put my faith in god, but life keeps throwing me curveballs. I have been out of work for almost a year and I’m going crazy. What am I going to do the rest of my life if I can’t work? I can only read and play on the computer so much!!!!. My husband is very supportive and says that I should be thankful that I can walk because it was a good possibility that I would have been in a wheelchair within 5 years. I’m not the kind of person to just give up, why am I having such a hard time dealing with this?

  • Amen.

    If you really feel that you can do some form of work, try to get work comp to pay for vocational rehabilitation training for an online master's in nursing education. You can lay on your couch and do it. Then, you could maybe teach one class a week online to nursing students from home.

    Part of the nursing shortage is due to the nursing instructor shortage. I think I read that the average age of nursing instructors is 59; what will we do when they retire?

    I'm glad your husband is supportive. It is so hard for non-spiney's to understand how much we have lost. Do most of us want to stay at home? Heck no! I love it when my phone rings and I can tell my sister-in-law how to figure the dose of tylenol for nephew and niece(10-15mg per kg for any non-nurses interested. Get kg by dividing pounds by 2.2.) Is this what I want for my future? Heck no! I want to be useful. But I've got to find other ways to feel like I'm busy/making a difference/helping/something so I don't go insane.

    We just have to figure out ways to fulfill our needs with our current situations. Sounds really easy, but it's taken me a long time to get here, and I'm still working on it. Tomorrow maybe I'll be down again, but lately I've been having more upbeat mood days than down ones even though I hurt and spend most of my time on the couch with the heating pad.

    Take care of yourselves. I think it's really hard for nurses to sit back and be the patient, we have a need to help and fix others but forget about ourselves. Without taking care of ourselves, we are no good to anyone else.

  • My medical problems are not as debilitating as what most of you have described. I am still working, but mentally/emotionally I am in the same place: Very angry. I probably spent an hour writing about it, but then I deleted all of it because I don't want to bore you with my story. Mostly, I just wanted to say that I understand how you feel. It is hard to "move on" - as my surgeon told me I should do - when you have almost constant pain that limits what you can do and reminds you of what happened. It's hard to "move on" when you can't sleep well. It's hard to "move on" when you're worried about your future. (Will the pain get worse? Will I need more surgery? How much longer can I continue working with this pain? No job = no insurance. Then what? Etc.) I do not know what the answer is. I guess it just takes a long time.
  • Please don't ever compare your pain or situation to others here. It's a way for you to invalidate it and, as we would never do that to you, you should never do it to yourself. Your pain and the effects it has on your life are real and they deserve the attention that anyone else would get. Don't apologize for feeling the way that you do, okay?

    New limitations are hard to accept. When we're faced with a whole laundry list of them in a very short time it's devestating news to hear and hard to "move on" from. Doctors often tell us this because they have nothing else to offer us in the way of treatment (especially surgeons). Treatment doesn't stop with the knife- there are many things that you can do to make your life more comfortable such as massage, proper exercise and mental stimulation to keep the mind sharp.

    Just remember that we're here to talk about it and none of it is trivial.

  • I am a nurse of 30 years. As Angie states, its hard as we cared for others and now we are on the other side of the coin. SH has been the best therapy I have had. It has brought me out of my isolation and depression. At first it helped me as members here gave me support, and now I try hard to give back to others. Being of service to others is such good medicine for me. One of the things I remind myself of when I do my grateful-for list every morning, are the many wonderful, understanding and compassionate spiney friends I have made here. One of those friends, Liz from England who lives now in Morocco, is visiting me for 16 days!! Her first trip to America. She would not have been in my life, so there can be some blessings. We are having such a good time, how great is that!?!

    I have been disabled for over 2 years, omg the anger, denial and bargaining I have done since. I mostly have accepted my limitations. I am one year out from L4/5 fusion, and I have noticed improvements still. I do have to take chronic pain meds, but I have adjusted to them well.

    I wish you the very best on your journey. Take care of yourself and the rest will fall in place.....

  • Cyndi,

    Can't really advise you on the anger thing. It's something that you have to figure out on your own. As for your other issues, you should seek a second opinion (even if you need to pay for it out of your own pocket). I'm confused on a couple of things from one of your other posts:
    Momofthreeboys said:

    Then I finally got an appointment with a neurologist up north and its not until September 1st.
    A neurologist may not be the best type of doctor to see right now. These type of docs are very conservative and in my experience will allow problems to fester for a very long time. You should probably seek an opinion from a Neurosurgeon that will perform an MRI and/or CT to determine where you are in the fusion process and to make sure that the hardware is not hitting any nerves. Hardware issues can be very painful. DON'T DELAY ON GETTING ANSWERS, DEMAND SOME TESTS NOW (at least to provide peace of mind for you).
    Momofthreeboys said:

    My TENS batteries died so I couldn't even use that tonight.
    Is it really advisable to use a TENS so soon after fusion surgery? I thought this could cause problems with bone growth. I could be wrong and way off base, just thought it was odd. Maybe a good question for your doc or the 2nd opinion doc.

    I hope you find some answers.

  • I can't sit much longer as I have been sitting awhile to make sure i read each and every post, but I wanted to make sure I at least said thank you to everyone. The couch and heating pad are calling me and I've cried way too much! I promise that I will write better replies soon!
    Mom to Tony 13, Gavin 9, and Donovan 7
    Surgery 1/07/2009:
    1. L3-4 decompression laminectomy and foraminotomy
    2. Left complete L3-4 discectomy with decompression of L4 root.
    3. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion, L3-4 with 10-mm Capstone cage and autograph.
    4. Posterior spinal fusion L3-L5 with iliac bone graph and BMP
    5. Legacy instrumentation, L3 to L5

    Also still in PT 2land 1 aqua every week and also use a TENS unit.
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