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The Sum of "US"?

William GarzaWilliam Garza TexasPosts: 2,356
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Chronic Pain
This subject has been touched on before, Who and what we are can be the sum of our experiences. We can be made in the image we wish ourselves to be, we grew up, we decided based on experiences what we could be, what we would or not try and for better or worse pointed the prow to the sun and cast off the bonds of childhood.

On the way, we reverted to learning again, contrasting experience with result and hopefully taking something positive from that.

There is no right or wrong here,
some stopped along the way,either the experience was too strong and the indelible mark imprinted, or, there was no need to move on...

life shapes our perception, i think.
John, The one of our esteemed spiney's has touched on CBT, but i just think for now, who are you? What has shaped your pain perception?

In our little spiney village on the web, we have soldiers, doctors, police officers, emt's, firemen,computor gurus, house-frous and the other brave folk whove been tossed by life to join us here.

what shaped you?
did you have experience with infirmity growing up?
did you have to take life on the chin?
did you have a guide who turned ya and kind of pointed you in the right direction? doctors, counselors and such?

you are here,
it doesnt matter,
You are right here
Right now.

This can be a new day for ya, cant it?
if you look hard enough, you can find the tools to butress against the storm here.

is it attitude
is intestinal fortitude
what has shaped your pain fighting (spiney fu)?

William Garza
Spine-Health Mod

Welcome to Spine-Health



  • Ranch,
    On the basis that our experiences are so unique the version of our own chronic pain could be seen as individual as our DNA, and those accumulative experiences define the way we cope.

    Our expectations have some cultural identity and we see many people arrive here un-supported and isolated, devoid of the necessary and encouraging environment needed to endure this daily challenge. We unwittingly build up a construct that enables us to cope, for better or worse and use these methods until we know better.

    I have commented before that it is vital that we use that metaphorical freeway or as close as possible, we will take many twists and turns, ask for direction and support or encouragement. We all get a bit lost over time and have to rest and seek the strength to continue, even retrace the route we may have passed earlier in the search for a more suitable strategy. Sadness would have been in not trying, not that those short diversions which were less suitable, it is easy to go down a route with the same expectation and enthusiasm, only to find it of less value that we thought when we set off.

    Experience teaches us improved methods and we are obliged to share those with others, it is a compassionate gift, pain changes us even without our explicit acceptance, as we adapt retrospectively. Perhaps as Ranch said, even the wrong way helps us find a better process and finding and developing a list that works just for us takes time, motivation and endurance.

    Chronic pain divides our life into two separate sections and we surmise the healthy us would be having a better time that we are now, in surviving pain every day and many here do, we already have the capacity to cope more effectively, those necessary skills are already inherent and it just needs the right environment to bring them to the surface. The accumulative knowledge and understanding for an acceptable plan is here, it is not a 12 step list of incremental improvement, nobody here has arrived at the terminus, we are all still on the journey. We all now have enhanced skills we had little use or understanding of before, it is too our credit that we have developed them.

    It is interesting that we allow changes to develop and then use CBT to change or revert to a better way, it may be more productive to make appropriate decisions in the first place, we should not blame ourselves for these inadvertent patterns as time will improve how we mature, hindsight is wonderful, we are not clairvoyant, left to our own devices and on the same trajectory we could survive in a less than happy place, we all want to envisaged a suitable approach to managing our pain more effectively.

    My own experience of challenging circumstance relates to my disabled son, who taught me how to survive, and the enthusiastic outlook needed, those pain veterans here who have serenity and aura, graceful on the outside while working furiously underneath, a knowing acceptance of the inevitable. The important thing is to know that we can change even when our options are restrictive, setting realistic and attainable goals. I behave in a positive way; the key is in finding what works for you and using more of that, perceptions can be changed in the way that we behave and not let the past dictate our potential for ongoing improvement.

    Take care and be kind to yourself.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    I enjoy these types of post so much. These are the kind that make you stop and think what has happened and where we are today.

    There are thousands of posts that talk about specific medical problems, questions, complaints, etc. Bottom line, somehow we arrived where we are.

    Its like when we go into a haunted house.
    Once we enter it, we really are not sure what to expect. As we move on, there is something that is going to jump out and give us a big scare. After that experience we calm down a bit and continue. But then again and again something comes out at us to surprise us. Time after time something bad things seem to happen. We loose our strength and are so confused and hurt dealing with pain.

    Finally, we exit that house and realize that all what we just experienced is over It's the past.

    Now, we need to understand why and what caused us this fright and discomfort, and do everything we can to avoid entering that haunted house again.

    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 I love the comparison. For me it's more like a rollercoaster. You are going along nice and easy. Maybe a slow climb and then the bottom drops out on you. You drop and twist and turn. But then suddenly you level out again. Hopefully there are some more climbs and even some little dips to make life interesting. And at the end of the ride you look back and measure your life against that ride. Did you hold on tight? Did you close your eyes until it went away? Did you hold onto the person next to you? Or did you face it with your head up and yelling at the top of your lungs? No matter how you handled the ride it is all part of who you are.

    This site has let me go through this part of my life with my head held high yelling at the top of my lungs....and Brenda sitting next to me so I can hold onto her hand for all I'm worth!! She's a kick-ass lady and if all else fails she's probably got a gun to scare the ride operator - hehe
  • Hi Ranch,

    Nice post. It got me thinking, which is a good thing!
    At the age of 37 I started on this journey of of chronic pain, spine falling apart, surgeries, etc.

    When you wrote "what shaped you, did you have to take life on the chin"? I thought about my past and all that I have been through. First marriage a complete mess:alchoholic husband, bancruptcy, lost his hard-earned business and our home, went through throat cancer and heart surgery (him, not me). I finally got the strenghth to leave and for years worked on changing myself and my life. I also changed careers (that was a leap of faith and scary).

    I re-married my current hubby, whom thankfully is extremely supportive. He had a fusion at 19 (no instrementation) and has had no further problems. Then my father passed away, very difficult for my Mom. Basically "life" happened to me, but I think I got more than my fair share!!LOL

    I guess what I am trying to say, is that I have been through a lot of crap for being only 44, however, all of those unpleasant occurences have shaped me to who I am and how I cope.

    However, I'll be totally honest: lately a bunch of the pre-school Moms (or should I say Haus-Fraus?!) that I see all the time have been busy getting in shape and losing weight with kick-boxing, jogging, etc. There's a little part of me (OK, big part) that is envious of them. They don't have to think twice about doing things like I do. When we do field trips they don't have to remember to put the lidocaine patches on and take their meds or be miserable, or say they can't do such-and-such because of their physical issues.

    I figure those are normal feelings, and I do think that I cope pretty well and just "suck it up" for my families sake. I think my kids are really what keep me going and not wallowing in my pain. When they say "Mommy don't do that, you'll hurt your back" it just brings tears to my eyes. I try to be as "normal" as the other moms, within reason, but its hard some days.

    Wow, sorry I'm rambling, I guess you hit a soft spot for me! I also think that since I joined this site I have so much extra support from my spiney friends. It is such a comfort to get and give support to those who are dealing with similar issues. Many times the great people on this site have given me a boost and helped me cope, feel better about myself and how I am doing.

    Hope I didn't stray too far off the topic, my memory is getting bad!

    I wish us all well, happy days ahead,

  • Let's see, what brought me here? 11 years as a gymnast, crashing a helicopter, chasing bad guys, flying for 30 years, life? Any one of these things is/has done this stuff to my spine, but you know what's scary? I would not have changed a thing! :):)

    Like you Kris, there are times I feel like life is a roller coaster - darn I miss riding those suckers! (G) The only solace in my mind is that I at least know most of what is going on with me, and thus that 'fear of the unknown' isn't there. The bad is that like most of us, we don't know how many "spoons" we have on a given day when we wake. I have a very light powerful vacuum cleaner, and most days I can vacuum the living room no problem. Today, heh, took me taking 3 breaks to finish it!

    In this life we will not escape alive, so while I have the 'alive' part? I am going to try and live it to the fullest. All of life's happenings have shaped me. The team sports, flying, catching people, hobbies and now a crappy spine, all make me - me! I feel that while I can't do much of what I wish, I am internally stronger for it! Does that make sense, or maybe I am just an odd bird. Peace all!! *HUGZ*


    Oh Kris, got your 6! And hand, wow you have some strength there woman!!! lol!
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • The Sum Of Us......add this and subtract that,maybe divide along the way.None of us know who or what we will be later in life from our young years but we imagine,dream and go forward to find out.MAybe we don't even know what we're doing but the tracks of our lives are lain in our early years.Whether they were strong straight lines or curvey,wavey ones we learned something.Made you stronger or weaker?

    Later,when we get to the point of being a "spiney", we all tend to reflect and I think that is a good thing.We all need to think and learn to control ourselves, our minds, our bodies as best we are able to.We learn our limits and some accept it, some do not.I have chosen to accept my "spiney life" and go on to enjoy what I can and live with other parts of my body, such as my eyes,watching...my mind, thinking....my heart, learning to love more.

    Would I change the bad back and bad stuff?Hell yes!,but I can't can I?So we have to improvise.Some days are rotten but we pull through.I thank each and every one of you here on Spine health.In one way or another you have helped me.Reading your post, responding to mine,helping me believe in myself again without you even knowing perhaps.I try to let you know when you've touched me.

    So, thank you all my fellow "spineys" and those supporting thier own.hmmm, did I just have a break through!? ~gentle hugs to all~
  • You Guys rock! hitting the idea right on the head!
    I figure the formative years may shape much of how we percieve pain when our time comes.

    Ime not disparaging, putting down, or in any way deriding anyone with the next comment...k?

    some folks may and do blow the pain level/actual pain out of proportion.
    I happens
    It happened to me
    It may have happened to you.

    The Newly inferm just have not had the time to assimilate and get to know the quality and quantity of the beast.

    Getting on meds and dealing with the effects of the masking, the escalation of the worry (how bad is this going to be?) and the lack of knowledge and time/experience to wrap the head around the matter

    all at the same time...dang

    but were you exposed to others at one time who had the time in(sadly) to come to terms with the facts at hand

    I am right here
    right now

    This is what happened
    This is what is happening
    This is what is going to happen.

    these concepts take time to develope no?

    I learned from dad at an early age to bear down and take the pain

    Did you learn from someone?

    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • Most, if not all, of us were born a normal, healthy baby, with parents or a parent and grew up with the normal knee scrapes, maybe a broken arm or a badly cut finger, a broken nose when playing baseball, or getting smacked with a wrist-rocket on the rear from a nasty big brother (no, that wasn't a random thought). All normal childhood accidents that come, but heal with a bandaid and a kiss from mom.

    We've since grown up, had our ups and downs along the way and at the time we thought how difficult it was to deal with these inconveniences. We all had dreams as we grew up and aged, some dreams were to be rich, some were to marry and have a family, some were to be the best at what you are. There were many, many dreams and hopes with a few fears and sadness thrown in for good measure.

    Then you become a spiney and everything you experienced prior seems minor in comparison. (Of course, there are things in life along the way that overshadow being a spiney like losing a loved one, or finding that someone you love is terminally ill.) Your dreams and hopes have now changed drastically and your sad and angry because now the dream is to just stop hurting, to live a normal life and wish our ups and down will be just minor again.

    Maybe you knew something was happening to your spine as you were growing up and it came upon you slowly but steadily. Maybe it was instantaneous with a car accident. Or maybe, like me, it just started one day without warning, thinking it was minor and having to eventually accept that it was major and life-changing. Whatever the case, I doubt that any one of us accepted our new "titles" quickly or easily. There was a fight along the way, there were tears, fears and then the inevitable acknowledgement that our lives have changed forever, unlike our neighbor, our friends, our family or most, if not all the people we know.

    I know the exact day I became a spiney and will never forget anything that has happened along the way. I know that my life now has changed to being a spiney above all with the hope that it smooths out for a significant amount of time before I'm faced with another issue that involves talking to a doctor about treatment.

    To me, this spiney journey is like riding in one of those old stagecoaches on a bumpy, dirt road every day, heading toward our future. A rock may shoot through the window and hit you in the head. You may hit a huge dip and go through a temporary bout of pain and injury. The horses may get scared and bolt, sending you flailing about, not knowing what's happening, but knowing it's not good. Then there can be the outlaws that come along and steal something away from you that you can never get back.

    But Ranchie, you're right: I'm here. It's now. I can't change the past and have to fight not to worry about the future. We eventually learn to move along with our lives, accepting what comes our way because there really isn't any other choice in the end, is there? Get the help you need when you can, do what you have to do to just live your life and accept the rest.

    To me, that's what makes Spine-Health so important. We're all riding in our own stagecoach and must suffer whatever comes on the bumpy and rough road, and enjoy the times where we can see some beauty and an occasional smooth ride along the way. We can share with each other, comfort each other, understand each other and simply acknowledge each other. We each come with our own set of experiences and outcomes, but we can still understand and choose to be there for another that suffers and cheer for them on a good day because we're there and understand.

    So get those guns out and try to shoot the outlaw, try to hold on as the stagecoach bumps you around recklessly and enjoy the smooth ride when you have one. We know there will be another bump in the road, but we can't worry about when it will come and what it will involve. We just have to be, as best we can.


  • Ranch I had lots of conflicting role models and maybe that is why I am always questioning what I feel and doubting that it is so bad.

    My mom is a one asprin a year person - maybe. She has gone through knee surgery and multiple eye surgeries in the past few years and never took the pain meds they give you for after - not one. She has the ability to just get through it. And I'm not saying that there was no pain just that she refuses to treat it. Not sure if this is good or bad.

    My dad is a hypochodriac and loves the attention of doctors. He has to have at least one surgery a year and more if possible. He may take one or two pain pills but that's about it.

    I grew up in a family where people didn't stay home because they were sick. Bandaids were only used if the blood was dripping. And OTC meds consisted of Robitussin if necessary. Nothing else.

    So here I am today living and working with some moderate pain. I know when the doctors read my reports they look at me funny when I say I am working. I know I have to time the neurontin so that I'm not driving right after I take it. And the PM was ready to write me scripts for anything I wanted.

    I know I went back to work too soon after the last surgery but taking it one day at a time I got through it (thanks mom). Now I am faced with the challenge of work or no work. It's really hard to go against what I was taught. But lots of other factors need to be considered.

    So I am what I am because of my parents.
  • Ranchhand, you asked....
    Did you learn from someone?

    I immediately thought of my mum (bless her). Growing up I always thought my mum and dad were always on my case. Trying to advise me, keep me on the straight and narrow, teach me right from wrong, etc. etc. I obviously rebelled - exactly the same way as my own two daughters do when I try and give them advice. They say "Yeah Yeah, we know all that mum" (when I know that they don't 'know all that'). But here's my point about my own mum....

    She had meningitis 15 years ago - it was touch and go. I lived in North England, my mum and dad in London. Anyway, I drove straight down to see my mum (even though my brother said she was fine) only to find out that she nearly died a few hours before! She made it, thank G-d, and although it left her with some health problems, she never complained.

    Neither did she complain much when she and my dad had a very nasty car crash (cos he feel asleep at the wheel) about 30 years ago. Every day of her life since was with pain. Months to get over the 3 broken vertebraes and other complications. My mum kept working - rested when she could in order to make sure she could carry on working.

    So, I believe that after her meningitis I got to feel that we had FIVE EXTRA YEARS with my mum - I was able to tell her every day that I loved her (since before this time our family didn't say things like that - stiff upper English lip and all that). Sadly my mum died very suddenly of chronic asthma 10 years ago while she and my dad were celebrating their 50th anniversary in Florida. All the dates I've put here are a bit hickledypickledy, but I think you get my gist.

    For the last ten years, I've been blessed with having the five extra since the meningitis. I have always said no to things before, but since losing my mum, my philosophy is that life is too short. I've done so many things, changed jobs, got qualifications, gone on holidays etc. that I wouldn't have done before. I've taken risks and chances.

    Being a 'spiney' as you say only reinforces my resolve to keep working (as my mum did), without complaining too much, hiding my pain as best as I can (because others aren't really interested anyway) and trying to still do things because life is too short not to. The trouble is, there are so many things I still want to do, but my back hinders me 100 per cent. I can't accept this situation totally because I feel driven to try and achieve the best that I can in the situation I find myself in.

    I hope that all makes sense somehow?

    G-d bless you all - this forum is so supportive (as I've said many times) - thank you to all who participate!
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • I can appreciate the working beyond the call of duty, it feels good to exceed oneself, but I just tend to push far beyond where i should have, and thats where ime at now, coming to terms with the reality of what I do and why. Loyalty? honor? duty, amybe a bit of all and more, but my elder buddy Bob, who is still running the roads, always tryed to reign in my enthusiasm with wisdom...
    ohhh as I should have listened.

    The self image and the reality have diverged, the roads are now going before me rough and ready to help me fall, Ime learning to slow down and not offend the headlong charge of life still in me.
    Maybe I could harness the energy into real immersion into life? that is, taste the subtle flavors in a Dr. Pepper, all 23???
    learn to smell a rose, besides just the sniff, inhale and hold, collect a memory

    And give up trying to be the hardest runner in the pack, and pace myself in this Humans race no?
    I know better, just applying the lessons is the rub.

    Sue, Ime glad you got to tell your loved ones your inner hearts desire, we had our ups and downs in life here in S. Texas. Hard times were just a paycheck away, but the resolve to keep family together overode any personal considerations, pain was put aside by dad to keep us fed n a roof over our head.

    that can be a bad thing too if a neglected self results in a body that just wont agree with the demands placed on it anymore, just one more time i would ask as each new day rose.
    here i am, and worn thin, but unbroken, many tools inside to use, but the shop is falling down around it.
    thats the funny thing about life
    it changes and yo find a new day and place every morning over head, a new chance to build a new life
    kinda cool innit?
    and Sue,
    and all my fellow travelers...
    Have a wonderfull new day!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

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