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FEARS - What are they?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in New Member Introductions
I know just by reading so many posts over the years and having to deal with my own medical condition, that fear is a one that strikes a chord many times.

You know by reading my posts, that I believe very strongly in how much a positive attitude and approach can help you.

Put that aside, What are your Fears?

I know over the years I have had many

1 - Would I be worse after surgery?
2 - Just what would I need to give up after surgery?
3 - Will I make it out of surgery?
4 - Can I resume a normal life?
5 - Will my loved ones support me?
6 - Just how will I be 10, 20 years from now?
7 - No doctor believes me
8 - I dont want surgery, what can I do?
9 - Can I return to my old job duties?

10 - ??? What are yours?
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


  • Ron,
    It is only natural that anyone venturing into this imposed future would be fearful of what might happen, we are all looking for that illusive answers that for many are impossible to project, it is understandable that we imagine what may happen, the key things is not to let those difficult time and periodic failure overtake the success we have.

    In reviewing what might happen our mind can extrapolate these known things as a measure of the future, it was suggested recently that positive people have parameters of these reasonable “what if “ questions.

    Our PM attempted for us to give some relevance to our inner thoughts and define them and a mythical parrot on our shoulder, this then gave us the opportunity to evaluate all those inner thoughts of what might happen in reality, intervene in that thought process and change the perceived outcome, a duel with oneself.

    Ron’s list is good in that is asks us to communicate those fears and in doing so we gain some ownership and vocalise what may be going on inside our heads that we all need proportionate help with as some time. Even with much experience I know getting it out is better than allowing it to fester and grow from within that can become so debilitating over time. Our minds understandably illuminate our inner fears and we need constant attention to not allowing them to grow bigger than they need, the reality is sometime sufficient.

    Anyone arriving here has this list of fears and many more, they can be very personal and it is important that we find some positive response in how true they might be in our future before they become unmanageable overwhelming and restrictive. Perhaps if we do write them down we can evaluate what element of truth was in any of these thoughts over time and how we overcame each one and the success we have.

    Many here survive chronic pain every day and in doing so having nothing to fear, they can achieve fantastic things, they just do not know or believe it yet.

    I have overcome many of my own fears and marched forward towards continuing improvement, adapted well to imposed change and restriction, I have faced them head on and won. I have accepted with a small a, my destiny, more tears of joy than disappointment from a challenging life so far.

    The light we have is within.

    Take care.


  • This is one of my favorite quotes. I have printed it out and leave it at my bedside to read occasionally when I'm living my life based on fear.

    Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future,
    concentrate the mind on the present moment.

    Best to all,

  • I have many fears as well

    Will I become totally disabled if I do not receive the recommended surgery?
    Will the meds I'm taking cause liver failure after so many years?
    Will my doctor end up refusing to prescribe me meds being that I refuse the surgery?
    Some days I can hardly walk standing up straight, what will it be like in 30 years when I am 62?
    We want more children, how can I carry a baby and also will my meds affect the baby?
    Will my husband get tired of living with my disabilities and leave me?
    Will my children miss out on things as they get older due to my inability to go, go ,go!?
    I have soooo many fears and never any answers, I have been sad, and down for years over this and my back is not going to get any better....what am I to do?

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    patients face. It also seems that many people face these fears and more without the support of doctors and family.

    The only way to approach a fear is to better understand it. So, many of your questions are the ones that doctors can answer for you right now with a high degree of certainty, And then there are some, they many times lie in your hands.

    - What will happen if you DONT have the surgery. That is something your doctor can and should answer.
    Sometimes when there is potential nerve damage involved, it is harder to predict the final results.
    But that should be in regards to nerve pain and not the actual disc surgery

    - Liver damage? Thats why my pain management doctor has me going in for blood work every 60 days. She specifically checks liver function results. Based on results, she may alter some of my medications.

    - I do know that some doctors will refuse to prescribe medication for patients who are non-compliant with the recommended action plans.
    However, unless Surgery is the ONLY option, I could not see any doctor refusing this as long as you went along with the other recommended treatments

    - I had my first back problem when I was around 15.
    First Lumbar surgery at 28, Now I am approaching 60, seven spinal surgeries later. Has this caused me to miss on certain things? Yes, Has it slowed me down? Yes, Is it harder to get around? Yes. But trust me when you start to deal with chronic pain, you find ways on how to manage it. We may never beat chronic pain, but at the same time, we can never allow chronic pain to beat us.

    - Future children? I wish I could provide more here. But again, your doctors should be able to give you more insight to this, especially regarding potential impacts of medications

    - I think spouses might walk away from the other's life for many other reasons. As long as their is love and open two way communications, marriages should last. Living with chronic pain is not only the patients hardship, its the entire families as well.

    - I found that my children accepted some of my spinal problems better than I did. Even at early ages, they always tried to 'protect' me and not allow me to do things I shouldnt. Now they are adults and still protect their Dad!

    Faith, your name alone is a word that you can use every day. Faith in yourself, the people that surround you. Always ask questions, over and over until you get answers. They may not always be the answers you want to hear, but you need to know.

    And most importantly, keep a strong positive attitude through all of this. Dealing with spinal problems, spinal surgeries and more can be very draining. Its so easy to give up, throw in the towel and just let things happend the way pain wants it to.

    Instead, become a fighter. Always do the things you need to do to keep your spine as healthy as possible. Even after spinal surgery, you can do so much. But it is so important to adhere to all
    restrictions and limitations.

    I know, I didnt, and I also know that IF I did pay
    more attention when I was younger, I wouldnt be having some of the problems I have today.

    Take care and be well

    Always know that this Spine-Health community is filled with members who understand what you are going through, understand your fears and will be there to offer support.
    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
  • Was the sum of my inexperience with the unknown. I didnt know, I had not experienced inability before.
    It was fear until I tempered it with intellectual and emtional assesment.
    I took a realistic and honest look at what I was fearing, and thought through the process.

    Fear, became experience through assesment and adaptation to the psychological impedimentia of ignorance of the facts,
    Ignorance is not knowing the facts
    stupidity is knowing the facts and ignoring them.

    fear is not the be all end all excuse for stopping your life.
    Fear can and is overcome through experience, but only if you let yourself go through the process.

    Fear is the noise on the other side of the door
    you can let your imagination build,contrive and deceive the rational mind.

    Fear will build and grow stronger in a feedback loop until it is too big to be overcome, you have internalized the concept.

    The only way to face the fear is to open the door.
    Be ready to face whats there
    Be willing to accept whats there
    Be able to move on when you see what it was you feared, and let it go.

    Not all can face fear in all its enslaving darkness
    fear is the doorway to self destructive behavior

    together, we can face fear and in the light of the truth can defeat the beast behind the door.
    Pain feeds on fear, it grows in proportion to it
    the more fear you have the worse pain/fear gets...
    Why feed a self destructive process.

    Be brave and truthfull and fight the dark behind the doors.
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • as you may know i may be facing another surgery this year {the 3rd} and looking down your list ..i think that you have nailed it !! i cant think of any more but your list is very much what any pre surgery patient would ask them selves ..good list
  • Ron,
    Newbie fear has its own credentials which over time some of the corresponding answers have become clearer if not defined by restrictive capability.

    “Fear can understandably push those negative possibilities into the probability category and acts as if they were a probability” . Roet 1994.

    As a long term chronic pain patient, my own questions are still relevant and unanswered, it is not that we are asking the wrong questions, we have expectation that someone must know and that is understandable. Healthy individuals want to know what is before them, pain illuminates those apprehensions as they swirl in our cerebral desert and gather momentum.

    Even with experience we have no crystal ball into your life as you tentatively follow in our footsteps, we can but wave, smile and share a kind word and ease your plight, though shared knowledge and empathy, if we have the answer we well tell you and spare you from our own experience.

    We are evidence that this life can be endured even at its worse for some, they are brave souls, strong and giving, it all takes time.

    Take care and be kind to yourself.

    Faitheals, that was my list in 1990, how did you get that !

    John *
  • I don't have anything surgery can fix. I have arthritis and some sciatica related to the inflammation and joints that don't move properly. Yep, just arthritis. I'm only 31, a registered nurse with two young children who rely on me as the sole bread winner. How long until the disease wins? I fought a big fight to get us out of the poverty gutter and now my body, which had always been so strong, is falling apart at the seams. Will my doctors believe that the pain is as bad as I say it is? I know what psuedo-addiction is and, boy, do I fit the bill. I am always asking to see a new specialist or try a new med or test. Always asking for a different med or treatment. Two of my sisters have substance abuse issues and while I truly feel I don't (I have PAIN issues) I live in fear that others perceive me as just another drug-seeking skeeze from the trailor park. I fear as well that my diagnosis is right, that it is "just" arthritis. How can simple arthritis move from my lower back with some nerve pain thrown in for fun, to my shoulders, my hands, my feet, my hips...Some nights,like tonight, the pain is so bad that I can't sleep. When I do drift off, it is no respite. I have dreams of being kidnapped and beaten. Of slamming my hands in doors. Of people telling me they will hurt my kids if I don't agree to jump down and stairwell...The pain follows me all the way down. My only ray of hope is my babies, and some days I am not such a fun mom because I hurt and haven't slept in days.
    I have an appt with a dermatologist. My GP refused to hook me up with a rheum you see...But I am not giving up that easy. The severe and fast moving pain began at the same time as a wide-spread, scaly, red, itchy rash. The GP says it's not psoriasis. I think it is and maybe the pain is an auto-immune disease called psoriatic arthritis. This is my last hope for an answer that explains how fast I lost control of the pain and it began to control me. The sad thing is, right now, my biggest fear is how low the level is in the bottle in my purse. The GP tells me take one pill at bedtime and I have done that...and a little more. I'm a nurse and don't take more than is safe, but I can't by right now without them. I tried and it was awful. So I really hope someone will fix me soon. I don't like the pills, but, I hate the pain. I'm afraid I can't keep going on like this forever. I have to go. It took me a long time to type this and my hands hurt, but I do feel better.
  • Will my kids look back on their childhood and more than anything, remember what mom didn't/couldn't do with them?

    My 8 year old wanted me to be a chaperone for a field trip this spring: 3 hours riding on a school bus and then walking/trudging through a museum. I wanted to go, but my common sense prevailed (for once) and knew it would be too much. She was disappointed, and I just wanted to slink away and cry.

    Will my very supportive husband finally have enough and start resenting me?

    Will I be able to find a job that my physical limitations can handle?

    Will my physical limitations stop me from doing volunteer work that I want to do?

    The only answer I have is that I have my friends at Spine Health to help me get through the rough patches, and hopefully I can help others.

    Thanks Spiney family, Lisa
  • too boring to read.

    I just try to keep the hope up and the fears at bay.
    This is the best place for me to allay my fears and know that i'm not alone.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    Through your strength and determination, all the positive things you identified will and come true.
    Those negatives, well, only if you allow them to happen
    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
  • You are absolutely right, we can do many things when we choose to be positive. Some days the negatives try to get to me, but I quickly try to kick them to the curb! All of the great people on this site are such a huge help, they help me put my worries in perspective, and if I am having a bad day, they cheer me up. I am fortunate to have my families support, as well as my SH family.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    I'll keep this brief, my biggest fear?

    "The Unknown"


  • LIsa I could copy and past your list for myself. It is comforting to be able to talk to people whom understand what you are going thru.

    I have switched jobs to meet my needs but no clue how long that will last. I guess I went to school for 4 years to become an Occupational Therapist to take care of myself,lol.

    I think my kids have taken the worst of everything. Pain isnt my worry, as much as the inabilty to be a part of their lives and give them what they need.

    Enough rambling, got to try and get s few things done.

  • Not knowing is the biggest one for me right now....
  • Hello,
    I have had pain for 20 years now and perhaps I would not have preferred to know what was ahead of me, what I know I would have wanted was support and guidance from those who had experienced and knowledge, that may ease my passage into the unknown.

    It is only natural to be apprehensive and getting into the mode of best practice quickly and efficiently from the invaluable information within this site is key, we have to be selective and only read what is appropriate to our cause and not frighten ourselves into what might happen. The unknown is in our heads, thinking it may happen does not increase the probability of it doing so.

    Take care. John

  • I got a glimmer of an idea.
    By internalizing fears, we in effect, condition ourselves, using the stimulus of pain, to either fail or succeed, with behaviors, learned or put in place by our mind filling in the gaps of knowledge.
    these behaviors may have been internalized or engendered during the initial experience, and right or wrong, we act, on the assumptions we make about the problem with certain behaviors.

    I think that if we are exposed to successfull pain management techniques, mind body and spirit, we have a greater chance at coping with fears of the unknown before us.
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • Ranch,
    This is the essence of CBT Chronic Behaviour Therapy within PM and the notion of catastrophizing, when we learn to see everything negative as a determinant of the next step, in illuminating that constant pain which is understandable, we set that learned behaviour into a constant strategy within ourselves.

    Pm attempts to brake that cycle and empower us to have some control, sometimes that learned behaviour is so engrained it is impossible to start afresh, The technique encourages positive behaviour and to ignore any negative traits so in that way our new behaviour and subsequent changes our perception, even though we still have to endure constant pain.

    This is hard to do alone and needs professional support and guidance, left unmanaged behaviours determine automated actions, is what is said, how it is said, and the words used. If we use the same negative strategy we will get the same results. It was said that it takes the same amount of energy to be negative and supportive of that behaviour, so why not be positive.

    As you say Ranch, the least we can hope for is the “greater chance” you mention and build from that, how individuals communicate pain is a measure of what is going on internally, living with pain every day and for the foreseeable future is not easy and an indication to just how strong we all are.

    We all have fears the idea is not to let them determine how we behave, here maybe for the first time we get them into the open, and with others help and support, change for the better, CBT is now more integrated from the start before those traits of behaviour become entrenched and early intervention is seen as the most effective strategy to managing them.

    Take care John

  • :| One of my fears is I have been on narcotics for years. I am addicted to them. Not in the bad way. I DON'T crave them. I NEED them for my pain. The dosage has been adjusted many times during the last 5yrs I would say. My fear is being taken off the meds and going thru withdrawls. I DON'T want that to happen. How did your dr's handle this issue? My regular dr. says he will probably be the one in charge of weaning me off the narcotic. He says he will do it slowly. I HOPE it works. I don't want the withdrawl symptoms. I hear they can be really bad for some. I have other fears bout the surgery it's self. Pretty much the fears you all have. I wish all of you a pain free day. So you can do this today. :D =)) <:P
  • >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< :* :* :*
    I hope your shoulder surgery went well. Does anyone know how Dilauro is doing? Please let me know. I have shoulder issues. Nothing that can be fixed by surgery. So they say anyway. I wish him lots of luck.
  • Ive been in pain for 20 years
    (scoliosis from birth)
    diagnosed with severe degenerative arthritis in my lower back (10 years ago)
    advised to find a diff line of work, which of course I DID not listen to!! ( work in a group home w physically challenged people my life's first love)
    so now, 20 years after the pain began
    10 years after being warned,5 years of serious hard to walk uprite pain,
    I pretty much blew my back out.
    I fear the future . how big will my disability be?
    How will I ever support my family again? (single parent)
    what if this spinal fusion doesnt work?
    My ortho SX said to not hope for pain free but less pain, ok, that i can take
    but he also said Ill never work in a group home again! (brings tears to my eyes)

    I guess Im afraid of my whole working future more then anything,as DR says i will always have a level of disability!!

  • My BIGGEST fear is that I will disappoint those who depend on and believe in me.

  • Lisa first. My childhood was watching Dad coping with chronic pain, How he withstood the day to day onslaught of the beast was ingrained into my character which helped me when my turn came to bear the cross. I watched, learned and now admire the grace, courage and most importantly the dignity he had when he was infirm. Every day, your showning your kids the life lessons they will carry forever and pass on to their offspring. what you do now echoes in the future. What people see, and react to is based on what you imply when they "see" you, that is analitically, when they are measuring themselves against you. some will fail, some will fall by the wayside, and the lucky few will learn from you.
    Keep that fighting spirit up and you will inspire courage for the battle.

    Thats where Jeaux comes in, duty runs so deep in you, to family, to state to the detriment of yourself. you inspire those around you with your everyday courage, which would bury most in depair,
    Its not hard to look for faults in heroes, every day small souls look for greatness and see their heros fall short of the mark. But for some they find someone who fits the character and a want, a need for belief is awakened in their souls. they want to believe there is hope, they have faith that there will be a better day tomorrow. they see through the struggle and souls strife when the load is to hard.
    but when they see the absolute courage, the gritting of teeth, the straining of body beyond that of mere mortal flesh, that is when you cause belief to turn to the steel those weaker then you need.

    You two ladies inspire and drive the will to hope in so many around you, if you fail, you fail,...
    but because those around you know that you tried the absolute very best, that there was nothing more to give...there was nothing left to try,
    they will see,
    they will take heart
    And you will be loved for it.

    You guys ROCK!
    thats what i see and how i see it...
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • That was so eloquent. Very inspiring to read. My Grandmother had MS and I saw her struggle but I also saw her depth of wisdom and strength as she slowly loss the use of her legs and one arm. She was my hero and wish I had the ability to manage life the way she did with what she was dealt. She gave me hope for tomorrow with all she taught me when I lived with her as a teenager. Role models are the ones who give you the courage to go on and despite her disability she gave me the ability to go on. Yes they will see your strength. 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
  • Thank you Ranch! Your post made my day and my week!!

    I need to keep reminding myself that my "limitations" and how I deal with them is, in fact, teaching my girls such a valuable lesson. We might not see that now, but it is there.

    Since they have been old enough to understand I have tried to help them become empathetic to others around them and try to help others in need. Its so nice to hear them say "no Mom, that will hurt your back, let me help".

    Another fear of mine is that my children don't embrace my ideas of helping others and just live for themselves, hoping that will never happen down the road.

    Thanks again for your kind words, we all have fears, talking about them is helpful.

    Take care all,
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    You are one of the best. Your attitude and deliverance is what makes this site so rocket solid.
    I can never thank you enough for the words that you use.

    Oh, and yes, no question
    LISA and JEAUX are TOPS

    Lisa by way of getting to know you...

    Jeaux, oh I cant tell you all how much becoming friends with Jeaux has meant to me.. I have a sister at hand, someone that knows me and I know her
    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
  • Although my own three teenagers have lived through my entire chronic pain journey, I have attempted to reduce that impact and give them the opportunity for success and encouragement for themselves and not taint them through my own restrictive capacity. It is perhaps easy to think that the belief they have in us will be diminished in not being able to provided or sustain perceived commodities.

    I have been able to give of my time and attended where possible the majority of moments and events that were important to them I asked them how my pain has impacted on them, emotionally, financially or practically. Sometimes our fears are not as important to others who have a list for themselves, children are encourage to have empathy through nurturing and example and I have seen my children use these acquired skills towards others. I am guarded of some of my frailty that in some way I will be equated for that alone, people who know me see beyond that.

    We are all trying not to let the natural fears that we have determine the future, inside we are the same if not stronger, people depend on who and what we are, rather than the practicality of physical restriction, pain does not diminish our integrity.


  • Ranch - you have a knack with words, no doubt.

    Thank you.

    You too, Papa! I mean - "brother from another mother"!
  • Thanks to you, too, for your kind words. You and the other "Pain Veterans" here have been very instrumental in helping me come to grips and adjust to my change in lifestyle. The help is very much appreciated and I hope I can pass on what I have learned to others.


  • When I allow myself to imagine the worst case scenarios, it scares the crap out of me. I immediately feel an urgency to fight. It re-energizes my motivations and will to advocate for myself and family. I can't let those fears become reality and I can't let my present situation stagnate. As many of you have mentioned our pain and level of functioning affects the ones we love. And when I think of this I cry because I'm angry. But I will never let this beat me. Thank you all for sharing.
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