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Trying to live a normal life...is it worth it?

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi fellow spineys. I've been posting replies, but haven't made a post of my own for a while.

I'm wondering about trying to live a "normal" life and what the toll will be, good or bad...

I've been looking for a job and have had quite a few interviews. Of course each time, I must get dressed up, wear heels, put on makeup, and at times had to drive myself downdown, which is quite a haul. The stress of these surely takes its toll. I long for those days that have been my normal for quite a while now - getting up at 6am to make sure hubby's ready for work (make his lunch, gather all his stuff together, see him off while training Wally to "get the frog" so he attacks it instead of hubby because he's made he's leaving), then getting on here for an hour while my meds kick in, taking Wally for a walk and finally, having the rest of the day to do what I want or need like grocery shopping, cleaning and of course, applying to more jobs, which keeps me on the computer more than I should be.

Now, today, I woke up with some pretty heavy duty pain in my neck and tolerable pain in my back, but nevertheless, I'm going to go and attempt to play 18 holes of golf (for the first time in over two years) with our best friends and then have them over to watch the football game.

How will I be tomorrow or even later today? Do you too plan a normal day and will go through with it, no matter how you feel, and choose to reep the repercussions rather than give up the chance to have a good time?

I'm thinking aloud here and suppose many of you do the same thing I do. You do what you MUST, no matter how you feel, and you also choose to do what you WANT, wondering what it will do to you the next day. I suppose for me, some of that comes from my hubby having the weekends off and my wanting to spend time with him and my friends at any cost.

I guess I'll see what happens, but for today, I'm going to live a normal person's life, hoping nothing shows on my face, that it actually is good for me and I won't be recliner-bound tomorrow.

I just want to get that job that's out there waiting for me, get my life back to a steady pace and not worry about every move I make. Sure, I have days where I feel pretty darned good, but if they don't come on a day when I have things I must or want to do, then I choose to move forward with life and deal with the consequences later.

So, are you like me? Do you just push yourself through what used to be a "normal" day and worry about what you'll feel like later or the next day? My guess is yes, that many of you do...we spineys are very persistent and long too much for even one of those good 'ol days not to take a chance when one comes up.

I just might have to change grocery shopping day to Tuesday this week instead of Monday...

Take care all and I hope you have a good day and your team wins (unless you're playing the Broncos).


  • Good morning to you! :)

    It sounds like you have a wonderful day planned for yourself. I hope the wonderful distractions you have planned, will bring you many smiles and a sense of accomplishment today.

    Yes, I absolutely feel that "trying to live a normal life" is worth it. I know I push myself sometimes more than I should when special events occur, but even though I always suffer the consequences... I never regret it! There are some things I just have to do, despite the pain keeping me down. If we go to a friends house, they always have a bed ready for me to lay down on. Sometimes our gatherings are literally in bedrooms, as I can't sit for too long. If I need to attend something outside of a house, I still need to use my wheelchair. My body isn't healing as fast as we had hoped, but I really do my very best to not miss any event that is important.

    I do pay for overdoing myself, when it's something important and meaningful to me. I am generally a mess as soon as we get home, but I know I have several means of relief waiting for me at home. Whether it's controlling my nausea from the pain or wrapping heat around myself. I can usually get the pain under control in a few hours.

    I look forward to being where you are at right now, in that I miss attending sporting events and just being able to sit through an entire football game with friends. I still have to leave restaurants during our meals, due to too much pain. But, it is slowly getting better.

    The job market is tough right now. Some of our friends are having a really hard time finding work. I wish you success in finding a good job.

    That is soooo cute about Wally and "get the frog"! I love it... lol!

    In closing, I would have to say "yes" it is sometimes worth the pain. There are times I need to cancel PT appointments due to excrutiating pain, but when it comes to family and friends... I will always do my best to be with them. I miss our time together so very much.

    Wishing you a wonderful day, Cath. Please let us know how you did and tomorrow just might be a day of laying low or spent in your recliner. We do know our limits, so I trust you won't "over do" should you start to feel lousy at any time today.

    Have fun today and I'm holding up my coffee cup to cheer you on!

    Love ya,

    Tammy :)
  • Good subject. Yes, I live a normal life. Those on the outside have no clue what I deal with on a minute by minute basis. I guess I'm lucky in that my transgressions do not cause me undo punishment for days on end but rather just the moment(s) at hand. The way I see, it hurts to do nothing and it hurts to do something. Might as well be productive if you can and enjoy life.

  • You got it right on the numbers "it hurts to do nothing and it hurts to do something. Might as well be productive if you can and enjoy life."

    Life is there for us to grab. We can either sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, or drag ourselves off our bum and do something. It's our choice.

    I always find it to be a personal victory, when I go somewhere or do something around folks who have absolutely no clue what I have been through and go through each day.

    I know that my body can only do so much before it puts the brakes on. It is up to me though to find out just how much I can tolerate before I engage the brakes. No one can tell me that I can do "XYZ" and nothing more. They can caution me and say I should use good judgment. So it is up to me to find out just exactly what I can do. Also it is up to me to find ways to do things that straight out of the box I am physically incapable of doing.

    I figure that if a person without arms can learn to use his feet to eat, to drive, to do normal every day things, then I should be able to find my own "adaptive ways".

    I have many years ahead of me and I certainly don't plan to allow my spine issues to determine the path I take. They may throw up road signs and construction zones, but I will still be in the drivers seat negotiating the path of my life.

  • are you trained at anything? and could you go back to it ?like are you a nurse or a secretary.and if so would you first be able to cope and would you want to.? or do you feel like you could do something from home .i sometime have a i wish i was working phase not so much now but when i was feeling better ..then i would have a flare up and thank my lucky stars that i don't have to work .i friend of mine {on here} is thinking about going back to work very soon after major surgery and i am a little worry for this person i am not naming them because its not fair to do so but this person will know who i am talking about .the reason this person wants to go back to work is financial ..i have been offered a job by a close friend of mine and even knowing my situation he still want me to work for him {because he still thins i am the person i was back in the 1990s} and i am not and i dont want to let him down i could not work now anyway .only you know if you are up for it cath but dont do anything you may regret .
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Yes I think it's worth it. I agree with Dave that it hurts to do nothing and hurts to do something. It hurts worse sometimes to do something but the feeling of being 'normal' and productive even for a little while is worth it to me.
    I hope you have an enjoyable day with family and friends and that tomorrow you can take it easy and rest. The groceries can wait. There will never be another today again.

    Have fun.
  • I just let it all out with my family yesterday. I can't go on like this. I don't know how much longer I can keep working. I can't afford not to work. Pretending isn't cutting it. We are looking at long term plans now. Thinking about selling our house and looking for something smaller/cheaper etc.

    We had the heart to heart and my husband thinks I need to give up one of my hobbies and he's probably right. It is very physical 3 days a week (like your golf). In the summer it is 3 nights a week and in the winter it is every Sunday.... As much as I love it it kills my spine and I end up trying to work from my recliner after a hard session. I was waiting for my doctor to tell me but I know I need to give it up. It breaks my heart.

    Last week for work I had 2 food show that were very difficult for me to get through and then I had a big day on Friday. I wore boots one day, short heels one day, and walking shoes on Friday. I am still recovering. I spent yesterday with my friends heat and ice and around the clock vicoden & flexerile (normally only take at night). I didn't have a chance to go to my club hobby at all and I skipped today since I am still feeling bad.

    So let me ask you this. What is "normal" to you?

    I think we should live our lives to the fullest that lets us have an engaging and entertaining non boring life. Don't sleep on the recliner all the time. Don't use the bad back as the excuse to quit on life but remember that it is the only spine you have. Don't give up. But, remember that this is you and unlike some one with a healthy spine there probably will be a price to pay for "playing".

    Good Luck & Hugs,


  • I can honestly say that before my surgery in July 2010, I was only existing to work. I would make sure I didn't do anything on the weekends that would mean I couldnt go to work on the Monday. And also, during the week, I didn't do anything in the evenings (apart from lay down!) to ensure I could go to work the next day.

    That's why I had the surgery in the end, because I want my life back!!!

    As I am 'still in recovery' after the surgery, I do understand that there will be certain things I shouldn't do - I don't want to undo all the excellent work of the surgeons, but if I'm honest, when I have good days without any pain or medication, I 'forget' about the restrictions and feel I could conquer the world. My back very quickly let's me know that I can't.

    I hope to return to work on 4 October (and I can't imagine who Straker, Tony, was referring to, ha!????), but if I find that I'm living a similar existence to my first paragraph above, then I'll have to reconsider my options. If I don't try to go back to work, then I won't know if I can manage it or not. Also, if I leave it any longer, then I may end up never getting back to work at all. Yep, it's a financial decision (why else do people work in jobs that they don't necessarily enjoy??). I can only suck it and see.

    However, in a couple of years time when my 2-level fusion has healed completely, then I don't see why I cannot do all the things that I've put off for the last five years. THERE WILL BE NO STOPPING ME THEN!!!!
    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 !!
  • As Sue said, interesting topic. I know for me presently, I don't *even* try to live a normal life. Ain't happening! Now is that a bad thing? I don't see it as such, as all medical remedies have not been run at this point. When I am out amongst the normals, most as was already stated here, don't have a clue. Not that I truly care anymore what others think, but I guess I 'try' to do some normal things.

    Do I do things knowing more likely than not I will pay for it later or tomorrow, yep, guilty. Do I 'rest' up to do a planned activity, yes. Is it worth it? I would say 95% of the time, yes it was worth it. I look at it as getting pockets of normalcy where I can. We all know fusions especially forever change our spine, and as such, we will never "be as good as new", and that's okay. But even if I had everything fixed, pain would still be a part of my life's ingredients, so I think the pre plan or the "I'll do this and pay later" days are forever going to be there. So Cath, with knowing and accepting that, *yes* it is worth it when all is said and done in my book. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I could be mistaken but I think it was John that once said on here,

    "As far as working. I realized that when I stopped working I released some of the pressure of trying to do the impossible. When the emphasis stopped I understood how hard I had been trying to maintain normality."

    A quote a remind myself of often!

    Like you Sue, I spent A LONG TIME living my life everyday just to go to work. Everything I did was an effort to manage the pain and conserve energy to get through a days work. I was totally unavailable physically and emotionally to everyone, including myself. Even that wasn't enough.

    Now people keep telling me you just need to find your "new normal." What the heck is that? I just want to be fixed, be out of pain and have my old normal back. Again, there's my problem with acceptance.

    So Cath, I greatly ADMIRE and UNDERSTAND your desire and need to get out there and do all those normal activities, willing to suffer the consequences later. I do it myself. My wish for you is that you have a blast and don't suffer a moments pain because of it.

    There are times I do it and everything works out OK. Other times I find myself asking, did the benefits really outweigh the risk? Then I'm willing to start looking for that "new normal" all over again.

    It's a roller coaster ride indeed. Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times.
  • To start, I'm glad this board exists so I can see that I'm not alone in these thoughts.

    Now, at first I thought you meant do I tell people I'm feeling 'normal' or good or not. I get asked all the time, how did the 2nd surgery go? how's your back. I am always torn on whether I say good or be somewhat honest. If I say good, they will think I'm back to normal which is far from true. If I say "better than last time", it seems to be the best answer but mostly it solicits more questions and I am tired of explaining to people what it feels like.

    In regards to normal, I'm very cautiously getting back into things. My goal is by year end to be more generous with myself in regards to activities. I know that it will mean occassional pain meds but like others, sitting around doing nothing is also depressing and unhealthy. I think we all try to find our own balance.

    The one thing for certain is that my job is a challenge. I have to keep it in check because they will have me working and traveling non-stop if they could. Since my physical workouts have reduced, i work more and find that I forget to say no sometimes. But for work, my husband and I always know there is a possibility now that I could, in the future, be out of work. I guess that's true for most even before back issues. That being said, we do live more modestly than we have before. If I'm able to work for many more years, the pay off will be early retirement. If not, at least we are already trying to save a bit for that day.
  • Cath111 said:
    How will I be tomorrow or even later today? Do you too plan a normal day and will go through with it, no matter how you feel, and choose to reep the repercussions rather than give up the chance to have a good time?

    Hi Cathie..thank you for your post. This is exactly where I am right now. As some of you know I am waiting for fusion later this year and have some key life events (a recommittment ceremony this upcoming weekend and a job transfer..offical on Friday). About a month ago my back went out..again. I got an ESI and it lasted two weeks exactly. Had a weekend not able to move and my pain doc put me on neurontin, uped my percocet and gave me a new MR..and gave me a second ESI two days later. Well it seemed to be working with some supplementation with meds and I was confident I would get to the wedding with no problem and be okay to work until December then..

    Normal life kicks in, I have been taking it easy (no lifting, exercise, etc) but my step father had bought tickets to sight and sound in lancaster and it was planned for months so yesterday I got up, drove an hour and 1/2 to pick up my stepdaughter (3 hours total) and when I got home my pain was escalated. Tried to ignore it and took a percoet 5 (the only one I can function on) and put on a happy face. Well, my husband drove us to my mother's (40 minutes) and then he drove to lancaster (another 1.5 hours). I could barely walk when we went to dinner and it was all I could do not to cry but trying my damnest not to ruin everyones day. I had forgot my meds so my mom buys me to aleves..does nothing. I sit through the play moving in my seat every few minutes and when it was over limped yet ran to the car, leaning on my poor 14 year old son who is so scared for me as it is...and I start crying from the pain 1/2 way to the car. I barely endure the ride home and take all my meds and fell asleep. Today I did not leave my bed and have been crying off and on all day. I was hysterical when my husband had to drive my stepdaughter home early I felt so bad not being able to do it.

    Sorry for the length but this is what normal can do! It sucks so bad I can't stand it and if I wasn't so smart I would be suicidal.

    Now I am worried to death that I won't be able to work all week (and I have two big all day meetings) nor be able to walk down the aisle on Sunday...or stand through the ceremony if i can drug myself enough to walk. I am in tears and by myself because my husband doesn't understand why I keep crying. I just want a week now..please GOD! Then I can fall apart.

    So Cathie I will do normal this week. I will get up, shower, take meds, have my meetings, get my nails done, get my hair done, pray that I make it through the ceremony, and then sit while people dance at our party.

    Best Wishes..

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    so I am a bit late in posting here.
    Living a normal life? What a great line/topic.

    My life is completely normal.
    I have a wonderful wife
    I have two great children that love me
    I have friends to enjoy so much
    I have a job after retirement that is filling my grass roots
    I have Spine-Health and the closeness I've been able to get with Tam, Jeaux, "C", Cathie, Dave, Cindy
    I have gotten to know so many different folks here, from different walks of life, yet sharing all so much in common

    Normal: The other day, I was asked what my pain level was. I have been dealing with all of this so long, that its so easy to say normal

    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
  • Cathie,

    I had tears in my eyes when I read about your courageous endeavors to get back into the workforce; your post really resonated with me. Your will to be normal is so evident, yet I wonder if you have been enabled to lead a normal working life. So, my question to you is: Has your doctor/ medical team enabled you to be comfortable enough to make it through the workday, especially when 2:00-3:00 comes along and your pain has accumulated to the point that you can't even sit at a desk or in a meeting, and walking around doesn't alleviate the pain? Until I recently got my doctor to get on board with the "all in" approach of fully living my life (with increased medication, if needed), rather than sitting in a recliner all day in order to minimize the need for medication (even that requires substantial medication), my life was on hold. They finally decided that working and being active is far more important than trying to reduce medication that is obviously helping me function.

    I suppose I had an advantage in that I still had my job, but between the pain and the medication, I felt rather incompetent at work. I was afraid that I could easily be terminated and that thought was terrifying -- I couldn't imagine myself doing what you are going through right now. I can barely muster up a smile, so how could I possibly convey a self-confident, positive image during an interview?
    Again, I admire your courage to go out there and deal with the challenge of interviewing.

    Regarding the social aspects of life, I have trouble going out to dinner because I have trouble sitting in a hard chair, which is often all that is available. I still can't travel very well, so I'm limited to staying close to home. I can't stay in one position for very long, so when people are gathered in the kitchen (again, hard chairs), I often have to leave the room. Right now, my priority is my wife, my kids, and my extended family. Later on, I hope to have a social life that extends beyond my family. I'm not sure how far I will get with that.

    I don't mean to go on and on about me. I wanted to support you in trying to live your life. In order to do so, I think it's important to have your doctor(s) fully support you with whatever it takes.

    Take Care,

  • Is there really any 1 definition of normal? I think that theres a lot "I wish I could do that", but nothing that is set in stone that we have to be like. I too, try to plan how my next day is going to go...work, errands, friends, time w/ Hubby. But, I also know that I may have to re-arrange things on the fly - depending upon my day and what else is thrown at me. Ive never been one to have a set 9-5 work schedule, so that makes it a bit easier to adjust to coming home, mid day to rest - or starting out a bit later in the day. Could you work part-time ? Im very lucky to have a job where I have a lot of flexibility, and Im not sure what your field of work is, but that may be the best for you too..??? Could you do something w/ pets? Maybe a dog sitter, even a dog walker if you still want to stay active (but maybe limit the size and amount of dogs you walk at 1 time).
    And tell Wally that Ike (my dog) says hi! :) Ike is a therapy dog and we work with kids in the midst of abuse/neglect situations. So, Ike gets to play dress up a lot and kiss kids as they tell their stories.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I hope your day went well yesterday and you're not suffering today for your efforts. Did you have a good time?

  • I try to live as normal a life as possible, but it is difficult to go more then a day or two. Then it catches up and I get to suffer the consequences.
    It doesn't stop me from doing things, just stops me from doing them on a continual basis. I work, in fact I am at work today when I really should have stayed home. Yesterday we took the dock a wave runner and a boat out. Delivered the boat to a marina that is about 30 miles on the other side of our home because they winterize for about $4-500 less than the lakeside marina! Yes, really! $4-500 LESS! Talk about lakeside ripoff artists. The lake marina has a "captive audience" of the rich who come over from the Baltimore and D.C area, so that marina charges as much money as they can get out of people.
    Today I am miserable. I took meds I usually don't bother to take in the morning and it is slowly coming down to tolerable. I think the nausea and fire combination is the worst I get right now. Well other than the fact it just plain hurts...

    So, yeah, I try to be "normal" I have learned a lot of my limits and am not afraid to say, "No, that would be a bad idea for me!" at work. They seem to understand it is as much for their benefit as mine. No need for me to go dropping something on someones head...

    Cath, I too hope you had a good golf day and it brings a smile to your face no matter what!

  • Hi all.

    Thank you so much for your stories and comments. I think that I'm better than many of you on here. Dave said and "C" quoted: "it hurts to do nothing and it hurts to do something. Might as well be productive if you can and enjoy life." That's not really my situation.

    I know that I can just sit in my recliner, get up now and then to walk outside, and have a good day with relatively little pain - usually. So for me the decision to go out and play 18 holes of golf was a big one. As it turned out, I was playing the game of my life. The good news is on the first 9 holes I shot a 43, the best I've ever played in my life. The bad news was that my husband (and my friends, as I learned later) made me quit playing after I tee'd off on the 13th hole. It was obvious that I was hurting and my husband said to me, "I'm not going to let you hurt yourself. I won't let you play anymore, it's too obvious that you're in pain." Yes, I was, but I would've kept going. I was even beating my husband, so I could make the excuse that that's why he made me quit. LOL

    But no, he was right. I pushed myself to the very limit of my activity level, so now I know. Today, I'm in more pain than most mornings, but I don't think that I'll be recliner-ridden all day. Hubby said he'll go to the store after work if I need him to, if I can't get out, but I think I'll be able to. It's just carrying in the groceries that are going to be difficult and possibly make tomorrow difficult also.

    As far as the job front, Tony, Debbie, Barb, both Daves, DNice, Frog, Sue, I'm a graphic designer by trade, been doing it for over 30 years, and the interviews I've been having are along that line, although the titles are different. The two on the horizon at the moment would allow me flexibility, although I'd certainly be working every day. I only hope that when my neck starts really aching while I'm sitting during a one-hour one-on-one interview, it doesn't show on my face - I work very hard to not let it.

    Frankly, I don't know if I'll be able to do it, it's been so long since I've worked full time. The problem is that I'm the one that carries the benefits in the family, as my hubby works in a 2-man shop and doesn't have benefits available to him. But I have no choice and figure I've got to try for my family's sake.

    Debbie, "C", Julie, Ron, Tammy, Brenda and Angela, I know that we all have new normals, but I wanted to have a day just like I used to back in 2007, before my spine problems began, where I could play golf for an entire four hours or more, then spend another four cheering on my team. So, I couldn't make the four hour golfing and there wasn't much need to cheer during the Bronco game, but I made it through the day and today I'll do only what I need to do and get plenty of rest with my hubby's blessing. But even just riding in the cart was nice because the golf course was pretty. I guess I might say that being fairly new (relatively speaking) to permanent spine problems (only since 2008), I still long for the days before it all began and yesterday, I tried to capture that again. And even though those days are like a butterfly that has flown away forever, I pushed myself to my very limit and am proud that I did. I'm paying for it, but I had fun and learned a lesson, too.

    So again, thank you for your comments, thoughts and caring posts. We are all so lucky to have each other here and I sincerely thank you for allowing me to open a part of my life to you and for you sharing a bit of yours with me.

  • Hi Fellow Spineys,

    This past Saturday I tried to be "normal" and I am still paying for it this morning!

    Saturday morning I drove for 30 mins. (pain in shoulders already starting!) to drop off our foster dog to an adoption event. She was so excited she nearly tore my arm off while on the leash, besides hurting my back.

    Then drove another 45 min. to daughters softball double-header. Approx. 5 hours of beach chair/standing etc. Then another drive of 30 min home.

    My body aches. Was it worth it? Yes. To be there to support my daughter when she strikes out or to cheer for a good play she made, I can't get those opportunities back, I have to be there and try to be as "normal" as I can.

    I think we all need to decide for ourselves what is important enough to us do and to hurt later. Its a balancing act. In a way our spine problems make us prioritize what is most important and/or necessary.

    Hoping you all have a good day,

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Lisa, you bring up a very good point. Sure, we can all go out and do things that we want to do without considering the follow on results. Many times, it is worth having to deal with days of additional pain, just to allow us to have a time when we can be normal.

    Cathie, golfing....... I am far from a golfer. My idea of golfing was going out on a golf cart, bringing some beers and food to eat. The score never mattered.
    Its strange, I live about 3,000 yards from a pristine private 9 Hole Executive golf course.

    I wish I could use it more, but all of my doctors advised me NOT to play golf. The basic reason is that the pulling, twisting and swinging is all things that are not natural for the spine. My doctor's suggestion was to go out and switch from lefty to righty each time you played. This way I would not overuse one set of muscles.

    Have I done that? No, its just not something high on my bucket list.

    Cathie, be careful, you might wind up paying a big price for some short term satisfaction.
    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
  • I tried like crazy for a couple of years to regain my pre-injury normal of working full time and diving and filming. It was tough and it was such a struggle, there wasn't any fun or perceived benefit from it.

    So then the big move and now being in a new environment, I found that I could make my normal out of something different. I have a job interview today for a part time job. I have my new son Waylon to work with each day and I have my wonderful husband who finally gets to breathe a sigh of relief, that I'm not always bummed and overly pain-ridden.

    The cool part is, that I have "no regrets" about anything that I try. If I don't get off my bum and do the legwork, I certainly can't expect some higher power to do it for me.

    Hey at least now you know that you can play at least 9 holes. It's a starting reference point for you.

  • Oh, Ron, if only I lived where you live it would be heaven. Since I know now that I can only play 9 holes, how awesome would that be? Ah - maybe sometime you can send me some pictures so I can live vicariously and have some pleasant dreams. :-)

    I'm lucky in that my surgeon talked to my PT prior to my starting therapy and asked him to specifically teach me how to golf so that I wouldn't hurt the rods and screws in my back. The PT guys was a great teacher and he not only considered the lumbar area, but my cervical area as well. So my swing is very, very different than it was before, and now I'm letting the club do most of the work, not my body. Unfortunately, it's my cervical area that's taking the brunt of the pain after my outings. It must be the "keeping your eye on the ball" thing - it's really testing my ROM and probably pushing it past what's comfortable for me.

    But thanks, Ron, I will be careful and I'm lucky that I have my hubby watching out for me as well.

    "C", you're so right that you really don't know what you can do until you try. It's like your taking riding lessons after all this time of thinking about it - you found that you can do it. You may have limits, but once you find them then you can be comfortable that at least you can do a part of what you love to do.

    I believe like you, that as long as you don't do something stupid that is almost sure to cause you permanent problems (like skydiving, for instance) then it's important to get off your rearend, go do that thing you want to do and see how far you can take it so you know what you can and can't do.

    There is a life out there even if it has its limits.
  • Not having been through what so many of you have, I'm probably not appropriate in posting here... but it occurred to me that people that have either recovered or are recoving from an injury or pain issue often want to get back to their old normal. Of course, it makes sense... and for those that have been away from their old normal... tend to forget that for everyone, time passes... uninjured people slowly adjust to the changes time brings... a slower walk, not as much stamina, whatever.

    Folks that have lost time, may forget... if they'd been "normal", these changes would have been going on for them as well... if you've been away from what you think is normal for 5 or 10 years... that's a lot of change you've "missed" due to your pain and injuries.

    Please, attempt normal... but normal for you, now. You aren't who you were 5 years ago, or 2 years ago... no one is. Change happens every day... and I tend to think we forget that time has passed (not that we've been in pain) time we've would have been affected by anyway.

    Sure, it would be nice if I could be climbing again, if I could walk 20 miles, take a break and walk another 5... but time has passed, pain or not, injured or not... I'm older.

    I think this is one of those pick your battles... 9 holes of golf is awesome!! But even more awesome is that your husband and friends weren't "blind" -they love you and want to keep you, preferably happy and not in too much pain.

    This is your time to choose your new normal... because seriously, there is no such thing "out there".


    Just a quick aside to Dave- I'd been bringing a cushion to the kitchen anytime I had to sit on one those chairs for ages! Last week I forgot the cushion and hadn't down to the table at all.... I get down there last night and my brother is using my cushion!!! I gave him a look, and he was like... whaaat?? The chairs are HARD! uh huh... I guess for all of us as we're getting older ;) Now we're thinking of replacing the chairs, or at least adding some permanent cushions so we're All comfy ;)

    So... sometimes it's not just you! Everyone else is just used to it... and "it" can relate to sooo many things we face on a daily basis.

    Take care and I'm so glad you had an enjoyable day yesterday :)

  • "Old normal vs New normal"... I think in some ways that is what a lot of this comes down to. How often on here have we seen said person either gradually, or suddenly due to injury, go through fusion, start healing well... Then they go right back to that "Old normal", that may well have caused all of this in the first place, and bing, right back to "spine square 1!"

    As we age normally we may not be able to wall climb anymore, well those of us with spine issues...we just aged that faction of our lives sooner. The hard part is coming to terms that our physical age is still ongoing as planned, but the body we were born in isn't. Does it mean we give up everything? Absolutely not. You have found that you can play 9 holes safely, but much beyond that, you hurt like the dickens. Your body is giving you a warning, so if you were to continue (and your hubby probably told you this), you would end up back in the spiney cycle! That is what I mean by 'new normal'.

    It's not just golf or sports, it's like most of us already said here, we know many times what does make us hurt, so we either plan to do it (go to the wedding, sit on the bleachers to watch a game) even though we will hurt some later. Or we limit what activities we in fact want to do within our new limits is all. One thing we can't do anymore is measure ourselves to what others of our age group does anymore. Just my thoughts there. I hope you are feeling better today Cathy! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I fully agree, that we should live life to the fullest that we are able to. To enjoy a few truly happy moments, is completely worth it to me. It creates memories that I can think back to, when I'm at my worst painful moment, which occupies my mind at that moment, and gives me something to look forward to doing again.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Brenda and Clandy, I agree that yes, our bodies age and if we didn't have our spine problems, we'd still be limited as time goes by, not being able to do the things we were once able to, but at a much slower rate.

    I think the problem (for lack of a better word) lies in that so many of us had such a sudden onset of these problems and coming to terms with that is more difficult than just normal aging limiting our activities.

    Up until April 2008, I was living a pretty active life. I took tae kwon do, bungee jumped, went hot air ballooning, river rafted, golfed in 18-hole tournaments, attended football games, walked around at street fairs for hours and even did the Walk for the Cure. I had the normal "over 40" aches and pains - sore joints at times, some lower back pain at times, etc. - but it all came to a screeching halt on that day in April. I was still confident back then that all would be back to normal after PT, but everything went down that hill and I've never been able to climb back up, maybe a little, but never all the way.

    However, with that said, I'm ok with my new normal. I've come to terms with it and like yesterday, tested my limits in one of my favorite activities. I was able to do the grocery shopping today, go to the pet store and haul it all in and put it away. It really is ok and there's a silver lining to every cloud. I hate crowds so now I have a good reason not to attend events where there are so many people. I can also say I've done all those things and have great memories of them.

    Wrambler, yes, it was indeed worth it and I enjoyed myself tremendously. My wonderful hubby said this morning: "Now aren't you glad you stopped playing when you did?" when I woke up with pain, but not as bad as we had all expected.

    Kelly, I love your attitude and what you said is so true.


    Aside to Dave and Clandy: Did you know that you can buy cushions for hard kitchen chairs at most stores? There's never a reason to have hard kitchen chairs when there's a WalMart or Target in your city. :-)
  • Cath,

    Good points there. Yes many do have the onset of spine issues quickly, so yes that is a bitter pill to take. For me it was gradual, so maybe that is the angle of my thinking in so far as "physical age" vs spinal age and comparing what we do to our friends of similar ages and related activities.

    Even though much of mine was gradual, like you, I'm still not happy with the limits many times. It is sad when you can't go shopping for any length of time, or go on nature walks - non impactive, but hell on backs! Mine caused me to retire 2 years ahead of what I had planed. I figure I am not going to let "the fat lady sing" for a looooonnnggg time! (G)

    Glad to hear you are feeling better today. :) *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Ok, that was a smart-a$$ remark. Maybe I feel a little stupid? I think my wife prefers the authentic look of her Hitchcock table and chairs, so I doubt that she will put cushions on them. And not to feel sorry for myself, but I'm not mentally at a point where I want to walk around carrying my own cushion. To be perfectly honest, I don't like the looks I get. You can call it insecurity, but it's one of those things that I can't seem to accept as "normal".

    I just realized that I should probably stay away today. I spent the night in a recliner because my wife and I had a fight about our daughter who is really struggling right now with RSD. My whole body is in knots and my attitude isn't very good.

    I'm sorry.
  • That was intended as a smart a**ed remark at all. A cushion for you would be no different than a cane, a wheelchair for some. I'd think in my own home if I needed a cushion to sit at the kitchen or dining room tables, I'd have one!

    I can understand the whole bad day thing, so.... I hope things get better.

    I started the day by scooping the litter box after 4 days of my son ignoring it, arg...then discovered I did not have my Jeep keys and was locked out of the house! For once it was ok as my wife was still home! Last time she drove 20 minutes home, unlocked the door and then went back to work.

    Normal, I think that it doesn't exactly matter what is wrong, or hurting us. Doesn't matter how many times we have sought a "fix" either. It still comes down to the fact of what we do to try to be normal and is it worth it? Or do we need to find a new normal? I think Cath is finding hers and I am glad!

    Mine is elusive, it darts and dodges me at every turn. Just when I get a hold of it, it does the gator roll and is off again. Work was what started this topic. My personal experience is that on work days, when I get home, I have nothing much left to give. It is a struggle to play with the dog, which I love dearly, but a struggle. Work seems to take up my energy and leaves me on empty. Sure, I can do it. It is just not the same. I get good hours now it seems, not days.

    There's a big car event in Carlisle, Pa that I really, really want to go to. I fear it will be to much. yet, as Cath did, I intend to go, unless the monsoon rains we are getting don't let up. Then the place is a swamp!

    Well, I expect in another half hour or so I will start to feel human enough to do some work. I've got my fingers crossed that it works out that way.

  • We recently went on a long overdue vacation to one of those lovely ocean tourist areas.

    As we walked the boardwalk just a few blocks each time (cause that was all I could walk) we would scope out places that might be fun to try for our next meal. Something I've never before paid attention to before occured to me. The seating arrangements in every single place consisted of benches and hard wood seats. Not a soft seat on the boardwalk. (A cushion is not something I keep handy either.)

    Obviously, we just don't go out to eat any more. Between not being able to sit and the hard seats... It's part of the new normal I'm having a hard time accepting,

    I hear you Reformed. I hope you get some rest. Things are always at their worse when we are tired and in pain or our loved ones are suffering. Heaven forbid you must face all three.
  • sorry, I meant no offense, nor did I intend to be a moron about it.
    My remark referred to my own home- someplace that since I pay for it, I expect to be comfortable in. If my friends don't like the cushion, they can... well, there are a lot of things they can go do... I'll just say they can find their way to the door, here.

    Outside is different-I don't much go out to eat anymore... for the same reason I got the cushion at home. I can't handle the next day or more, so I haven't been doing it.

    Hope you feel better.
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