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It's my life, I guess...

KilohanaKKilohana Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello everyone,

I've been browsing these boards for about a week now and decided that this would be a wonderful place for me to listen and learn. I'm a 41 year old wife and mother of one happy, beautiful girl. I'm having a terrible time adapting to my new reality.

I used to think that all of those people complaining about constant back pain were just a bunch of whiners who needed to 'suck it up' and get on with their lives. I thought most of them were "in it" for the attention or the pain meds.

And then I got hurt. But to make matters worse - I didn't get better. I always got better. How could this happen?! For someone whose entire life revolved around sports, outdoor activities and fitness, it felt like my entire identity had been taken away from me.

It's been a full year since my initial visit to the emergency room. Since then, I have had MRIs, x-rays and many, many treatments for what amounts to spinal stenosis and DDD in the L4-L5. I no longer classify my lifestyle as "active" - for the most part, I'm limited to basic household chores and short trips outside of the house because walking is so painful. I ride my horse twice a week, even though I know that it's probably not a good idea. For me, it's the last positive "quality of life" activity I have. It's the only thing that makes me feel normal - it's the last remnant of my old life. If I had to stop, I think I'd be consumed with depression.

I'm trying to avoid surgery at this point. Instead, my doctor and I decided to go with epidural/steroid injections. I've had nerves cauterized and several facet injections, as well. My pain is constant - I'm taking 15-20 mgs Oxycodone at least 4 times a day. I also take ibuprofen with every meal. After a recent MRI, my doctor informed me that my condition has progressed. While heartbreaking, it was not surprising. There are now times that my pain is so severe, the meds barely scratch the surface. I'm still learning about my condition and treatment options.

I feel as though the world has moved on without me. Old friends continue to play tennis and golf without me. My husband and daughter paddleboard and go on long bike rides without me. I'm no longer invited on shopping or walking trips with the other mothers at my daughter's school. They know that I can't keep up anymore. Any day that doesn't end with tears welling up in my eyes is a "good" day for me now. I can't believe this is my life...

But it *is* my life, and I need to accept it and find a way to make it work for me. It's just nice to know that I'm not alone in this - because to be honest, it certainly feels that way sometimes.

I look forward to learning from you all!


  • Even though it's difficult right now I hope there are other things that can help you including the epidurals. I'm glad I found this site also everyone gives me glimmers of hope when it seems futile. How wonderful you have a beautiful daughter and supportive husband and you still participate in your horseback riding. There's always hope right round the corner. 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
  • if you can avoid surgery ..i would do but i know that its not always possible ..in fact i am going today to see the surgeons for my 3 operation on my back {not having the operation today just going for the consultation} my first surgery went well {although i did not thin so at the time } i expected to be completely pain free !! but after wards i managed to live a normalish life with the aid of pain killers and rest i could do most things but as the years went on my back got worse and i could do less and less until 2 years ago my back went again and i had another operation ever since i have been in agony ! hence today's visit ..so as you can see it can be a slippery slope !! take care and please don't hesitate to ask any questions from anyone one here as we have an extensive knowledge between us .we are not allowed to diagnose or offer an opinion on scan results
  • I had spondylolisthesis of L4/5. Is this the same condition you have? The pain was unbearable, the spasms and inability to walk any distance was awful. I had severe incontinence as well when I had flare ups of spasms. After 6 months of conservative therapy and researching this condition, I opted for fusion. Its been over a year now since fusion. Those horrible symptoms are gone , just some chronic lower back pain is left, some difficulty walking and I have to take chronic pain meds, but my life is so much better. It will never be as it was before, but I have adjusted and have accepted my new "normal".

    Best wishes to you,

  • Hi,

    It's a long road to accepting your new life. We all deal with this, some better than others. Its OK to be angry and depressed. These are normal reactions to having our old lives taken away.
    You will find many helpful and compassionate people on this site who will listen and try to help you through the tough times. Keep coming back, and feel free to PM me, I'm a Mom of 2 (4 & 7) and looking at my second fusion this November.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Hi and welcome. I'm glad you found us. We're here to give and get support and understanding. I'm sorry you've had to give up so many activities you love. The acceptance is the part that I myself can't get a grip on. Hang around and maybe we'll learn together how to deal with it. I can't accept it and I fight it everyday. Kind of like getting older. lol.
    Take care and again welcome. Feel free to pm me anytime you need to chat.

  • :H I can't imagine how wonderful it must feel to ride your horse!! The closest thing for me is hanging on behind my self-propelled lawn mower set at its highest speed (LOL!)on a windy day.

    Yes, getting used to the new you bites the big one. I lost my job, income and some friends due to the change brought on my back issues.

    You have every right to be angry about the change in your lifestyle but after awhile you realize that you have one shot at the life given you and you stop wallowing in self pity and count your blessings and start to find happiness in the simple things each day brings your way.

    I hope your doctors will continue to work with you to provide the best quality of life based on your circumstances.

    Take care and you've found a great place to bear your soul and find friends. Your safe place!

  • Thanks so much for all of your kind words. It didn't hit me until I read through your comments: I am in the middle of the grieving process and I didn't even realize it! Wow. I honestly had no idea.

    I need to find a way to get a little of my old personality back. I know it's still in me - but it's just hard to be upbeat when so much is wrong. I guess knowing that I need to grieve first helps me understand that this is going to be a process - waiting to 'snap back' is a doomed strategy.

    Luckily, my doctors are incredibly supportive and caring people. They are doing all they can to make me comfortable. I feel that they have been incredibly aggressive with my treatments so far - it shows me they are serious about helping me.

    I am very concerned, however, with the amount of meds I need to be taking in order to control the pain. Can I ever expect to go completely off meds? Is it reasonable to have a goal of finding a long term plan that does not include medication at all? Are many 'spineys' able to do this? I ask because it seems my dosage just keeps increasing and I'd like to see light at the end of the tunnel...

    Thanks again for all of your kind words.
  • I don't know if it will ever be possible to be med free but there are long acting meds that only need to be taken once or twice a day. The side effects actually do get manageable after a while. Yes, we all go through a grieving process with any loss including that of our old lives. Depression is also very common in chronic pain patients so if you feel it getting to be overwhelming do not be afraid to talk to your doc about it. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • hi! :H i see you are new to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. it is difficult as we see our old lives falling away from us and our new lives taking shape around us instead. it is mind boggling!!! please take it slowly, take the ride with your SH friends and know that "every little thing will be all right!" Jenny :)
  • I totally agree with all those who have commented above. It's unbelievable to see your old life slip away and according to psychiatrists, there are 5 stages to the 'grieving process':-
    1) Denial
    2) Anger
    3) Depression
    4) Rationalisation
    5) Acceptance

    That's from memory so I hope I've got it right and am not sure whether it is truly classified as a 'grieving process' although it certainly feels like it to me!

    I hope speaking to people on here helps you move from one to the next, although there are no defined lengths of time for each phase and you can revert back when new issues arise.

    I used to ride as well, but that went out of the window a long time ago!

    Bye, Val

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