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How do you deal?

MomofthreeboysMMomofthreeboys Posts: 73
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
With telling your children no?, I can't, mommy can't do that anymore, mommy hurts too much. I know this is a little off topic, but its something I'm having a very hard time dealing with right now. I often push myself too hard, then suffer in pain because I want them to be happy. Don't get me wrong, I think they understand, but how do I make myself understand?
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


  • That pain had me up until 4 last night and I'm a sleep deprived mess.....
  • Big yawns to you, Cyndi... lol.

    I thank you for posting this, as I am right there with you. I only have the two kids at home now, but our 21 year old hangs out a lot with us... when he's not working.

    Some of the things I have to say "no" to... just hit me, right in the heart. Like you, I know they understand... but that doesn't make it any easier on us.

    I'll think of some examples to share with you and post them in a little bit. Would love to hear any examples of yours.

    I need to lay back down and hopefully sleep for over an hour this time... lol. I have been reading while laying down and my eyes are finally feeling heavy. I had an intermittant sleep (if you could call it that... lol) last night, too.

    Ta ta for now,

    Tammy I)
  • with you. I have a 8 year old son, and a 13 year old daughter. Luckily, my husband does most of the stuff with them I can't, so they are only missing out on the fact that I can't be there doing it with them. In the beginning it broke my heart, mostly because they understood. It's almost better when they throw fits, as opposed to them just being so caring and understanding. My daughter asked me recently if I could take her and a friend to the mall. I'm not comfy letting her go alone yet, and no way can I walk around the mall, so I told her no. She was so great about it, and it totally broke my heart. =((

    Your kids will understand. I have just come to terms (as best I can) that I just cannot do those things. It has been this way in my house for over 2 years, so now my kids just know.

    Just hang in there. It will get better. ;)

  • I have a 4 year old. I missed him so badly while in the hospital it was rediculous. We have time together everyday now. When he gets in bed with me i have a body pillow against me, he has to stay on the other side, except heads, for neck hugs. He brings books, or small toys to play fairly still with :). Sometimes we just watch TV or a movie, he doesnt mind if i fall asleep, and i dont mind if he wakes me, just that we are together. I let him eat dinner in bed with me. we sing and talk about the day. He is my inspiration for healing.He likes to "help" me, refilling drinks, or making sure there is a clear path for me when i take my little walks.He thinks my toilet seat lift is cool, he stands on the real toilet so he can use my "really high" one :) We have a "coloring date" scheduled for after dinner tonight.
    Hang in there, be patient, they really do understand and want you better.
  • It's different for each person, but I gain acceptance from my faith in God and being a Christian. Both my daughters and wife are also Christians and my simple answer is that we have to trust that there's a reason. We don't have to like it and it's okay to want something different, but the big picture which we don't always understand is what matters. On this side you may never know the lives you're touching. Think of the compassion that's building up in the lives of your children by them having to learn now to be understanding and how that might be put to use one day, and the lives they may one day effect by learning from what you're going through.
  • I have 2 girls, 4 and 7 years old. I cringe when I keep hearing myself say things like "I can't right now, I'm on the heating pad", or "I can't because my back hurts", etc. My first fusion was when my first child was 1+ years old, so I have been dealing with back issues for most/all of my kids' lives. They deal with it pretty well, but its me who feels the mental pain. There are so many ways we can be there for our kids without hurting our spines, we just need to come to terms with what that is and do it, sometimes easier said than done.
  • I completely agree with what everyone has shared. I always enjoy hearing how fellow pain members cope with this particular disappointment, because I can get that much closer to viewing this as a positive life experience for my kids.

    When you view this from the perspective of our down time actually being beneficial for our children, it is like a comforting bandaid for this particular emotional disappointment. Say for instance, the compassion our children are exposed to from the visitors we get at home... this is good for them to witness. Our children are already exhibiting compassion towards us, but it can extend itself even further. If my children grow up and automatically think, "Wow, my friend is really hurting. I need to make a dinner to take over to the family. Maybe on my day off, I'll run over and do some laundry for them. When I go to the grocery store, I'm going to give my friend a call and see if I can pick some stuff up for them and their family."... how awesome that will be. Kind of like second nature for them?

    Great topic, Cyndi.

    Thanks for sharing, everyone. :)

  • Excellent point Tammy,

    Our kids are learning some great life lessons; compassion, empathy, how to treat others who are going through a rough time, etc. A good way of looking at things.
  • my kids are 24 and 21, although i sound like a broken record to them when i say i can't help paint your flat or i can take you shopping in the car but i can't help carry the shopping. they do get where i'm coming from but seem to think i'm still supermum (not that i ever was )
    it's my grandson who i have custody of who amazes me, he is 5 and loves nothing more than calling on my neighbours to see if they are ok, they are elderly ladies and he says they must get lonely, he offers to carry their bags etc for them, he is a ray of sunshine. he tells me off if i try to push myself, he is a very wise old man in a little boys body.
  • you have kids. Mine are 16 and 10 now. My back and neck problems reared up when the 10 year old was just a baby. I was able then to get some relief from massage, heat, tens unit, and resting back then. The last 4 years, I've just pushed myself to take them to their practices, sit on cushions and the folding seats with the back. I ask them to walk with me sometimes. Both of mine have always been happy to carry things, bring me stuff, and you are right, it teaches them empathy for others.

    This year, my 16 year old pushed to go to the beach for a vacation and I kept being evasive. I had one ACDF 6/15 and another on 8/24, so there was no way I could make a 7 hour trip to the beach and back. She finally pushed me until I broke up crying and had to tell her how much I actually hurt and what riding does to me. She got it after that and apologized for being snotty. I told her there was nothing I'd rather do than to get to the beach and relax and spend time with her doing fun things. That seemed to mean alot to her. We just have to be open and honest with them about our limitations. I know about the guilt though. I've had lots of that! But I think guilt is part of being a good parent.
  • I am 32 years old and have 9 year old boy. I have been disabled for almost 2 years now. Yes it is very hard for kids to understand that there are times when we just cant. But honestly as time goes on they begin to understand just as we do. As for our body understanding that we cant do things they way we did before, I dont think that is possible. My body still thinks I can do things and then I pay for it later. It has taken my son about 1 year to understand that he cant be rough with daddy. I let my buddies play rough with him as much as possible so at least he has some kind of way to let out his frustrations. Also he plays sports, that helps to tire him out. I know that there have been 3 things that have helped me get through this 1.A good family 2. A great surgeon. 3. An awesome woman to be there for me. OH! and lets not forget all the nice people and info you can get here at spine-health, they have helped me through times when I could not get an answer from my doc. I have had nothing but great advice here. Good luck to you and keep your head up. Remember you need to vent. People will listen.
  • than people outside of our situation.

    I have two girls four and five yrs old and have been "a misfit" for just over two years. I can't take the girls to the park or help them ride their bikes or other active stuff, but I do do lot's of craft with them, we cook together, we read together every night. I play with their hair and paint their nails. I basically fulfil their creative needs whilst my husband fulfils their active needs. We balance it together. Even so I have had masses of guilt over the years and get really sick of saying mummy can't do that to them.
    But here's the kicker, you would not believe the amount of people who have said to me that my girls are the most delightful, polite, happy and well adjusted kids they've seen. And what's better, they're not just saying it to make me feel better, they actually mean it.
    So please, take it easy on yourself, you fulfil other needs your child has other than the physical and in the end the time you spend together shapes your child just as much if not more than playground time.
  • Exactly, immyali. Think about all the great wheelchair bound moms that are great moms. Your children will probably grow up better for it. They will be more caring and sensitive to others' needs.

    My then 25-year old son really stepped up when I had my fusion a couple years ago. He insisted on arriving at the hospital at 7 a.m. every day and stayed until my husband arrived after work in the evening. He felt I needed an advocate while I was on the strong pain meds, and he didn't want me left alone. I protested, but he insisted on staying all day, every day for the 3 days I was there. Then he did the same thing once I got home. Finally at the beginning of the third week, I convinced him I didn't need him by my side every moment.

    I really didn't know he had that sensitive side and was delighted to see it in good working order!!

    I think you are struggling with your guilt more than with the kids' feelings. They sense and understand more than we give them credit for.

    Besides, you'll be better soon, and will be able to do many of those activities again. Just don't push it and do things before your body is ready.

    Your 13-year old is certainly old enough to pick up some of the slack for you. Perhaps you could hire him for an hour or two every day after school to play/interact with the younger kids, so they all end up having something to do. And you need to just learn to give yourself permission to put yourself first for awhile. This is not a permanent change in your life -- so make yourself # 1 for awhile.

  • I do fall into the "rut" sometimes and that has been hard. I agree being honest with the kids helps. And I won't lie there are things that I miss being able to do.

    The more I focus on what I can do and appreciate what we can do, the things that I can't do fall by the wayside.

  • I have a 22, a 24 and a 7 year old.

    The 7 year old is the most kind loving and caring little girl ever. If I drop something, she immediately bends down to pick it up for me. She waits for me when I can't keep up with her. She watches out for me, 'mom, don't walk there, it's tippy' It's just second nature for her now.

    She does miss being able just grab me around the neck for a big hug - I can't take her sudden weight on my back. I haven't been able to carry her for years now, I used to carry her all the time: up to bed, big monster walk hugs and just to hold her. Now I don't. She also misses the 'hold onto mom and dad's hands and swing' we used to do. But then, all kids eventually get too big for that.

    My boys are very kind and helpful now too: Of course, I rather expect it of them - they are old enough to take good care of their mom now that I need them.

    I do miss being able to ski, go to theme parks and going hiking with them all. Now I'm the designated photographer from afar. Life just changes and you all adjust, ya know?
  • My Son- now 22 - knew me as someone who could play with him, but could not lift him too much. I would force myself at times when symptoms were low, but if I injured myself, it was a long road back.

    My daughter was probably 5 or so, when I coul dno longer lift her at all. I had gotten to a point where I was never going to knowingly hurt myself, no matter what.

    She is now a normal 16 year old, with all the confidence that she should have and maybe more self-confidence than she needs some days, LOL.

    With my experience, the kids understand the why of what we have to go through, even though we may put pressure on ourselves for what we think we should be doing. That is the diiference.

    I think it evens out in the end, it is just a matter of trusting in the longer term. That can be hard.

    Cheers on this sunny day!
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