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4 weeks out and depression is getting me

JustinkaseJJustinkase Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Depression and Coping
I had a plif at L5-S1 on the 24th of Jan. I am having trouble coping with the fact that I am 27 and feel like crap most days. Not just pain that is nothing new just thought that the after surgery pain would be better than it is, but also that every time I turn around I find something else that I can't do for my self. My wife has been a big help but we have a 5 month old baby and she is starting to burn out. And I understand the load she is carrying. I hate not being able to do for myself. I wish I could pick up my daughter but the Dr says no. So I can't even help her that much. And one of the pills I am currently weening myself off of, because it wound me up so that laying down to take a rest was very hard to do and gave me some very bad mood swings. Which are not helping with my relationship with my wife. Pretty sure she will tell me to leave if I have another melt down, so I am scared ****less as I don't have anywhere else to go except out in the cold and it is really cold here. The thing that bothers me is that I know why I am depressed, but I can't seem to get a handle on it. I don't know what to do, I probably need to talk to someone or take an anti-depressant but I have no way to pay for one, all of my medical right now is through work comp. And I have no idea if they will cover those kind of pills. I just don't know what to do. In 6 months I went from being a person who did for himself to being a person who can't put on my boots, well I could probably get them on but tying them would never happen.
Sorry for the long rant, but someone here has to know how I feel. It would be nice to hear from someone with any advice. Thank you for your time.
P.S. there is a storm here tonight and it is killing me, my breakthrough pain med is not enough for what these winter storms do to me.


  • Hi,

    So sorry you are going through all this and I can relate. I had my second back surgery in 6 months on December 14, 2010. After being home for 1 day I was taken back to the hospital with horrible back and leg pain. Long story short my pain meds were increased which seemed to help for awhile but I sunk into a horrible life threatening depression. I couldn't get out of it no matter what I did or tried.
    I had no energy to do anything including take a shower, I just blamed that on depression too. I literaly slept, ate, tv, sleep eat, etc...

    Finally two weeks ago desperate to try anything I decided to lower my pain medication even though I still felt pain at the dose i was at. I lowered it by 35% which is a big drop(I am not a doctor, I'm just telling you my experience). Within 48 hours of doing that I awoke with the depression lifted and amazingly I was in no more pain then I was before at the higher dosage. Now remember, I was thinking about suicide constantly and felt I could not live the way I was. Pain medication is a depressant of the central nervous system. I don't know what else you are taking that may add on to that.

    I would suggest you talk to your Dr about what your going through. I was so scared of my pain it took a long time and a great deal of mental suffering before I finally had to try something that seemed unlikely to me at the time to do any good, but it did wonders.

    I still take pain meds, just less and I am mentally so much better. That may not be your issue, but I know how painful depression is and what it can do to relationships. Also check for a community mental health agency, many work on a sliding scale based on income, hopefully there is one in your area that does so and the fee may be minimal based on your current income and may be 0 to $10.00. If toy are feeling suicidal or out of control go to a large hospital ER and they can get you help.

    I hope this helps in some way and I know it's rough going, but seek help from every possible area.

    God Bless
    AL S
  • First off, Welcome to Spine Health!!

    My spine surgeries so far have been cervical (pending lumbar), but you need to remind yourself of a biggie here. Your body went through a LOT of trauma for the surgery, and has been working hard to recover! You have to let yourself rest and heal. I know that is hard with a little one and your wife, but you have to realize you are early in your recovery.

    For some reason we tend to put limits on ourselves "when we should be 100%" and most times we are wrong, and our bodies are right. I was in the dumps for over 6 weeks after my last surgery. I feel it was a mix of the chemicals coming out of my system from the surgery, the medications I was on, and the trauma plus healing work my body was doing - lots going on there. Give yourself time.

    You need to follow doctors orders to a T. It would really suck to mess up what he did to help you get back to near normal. Give him a call with your concerns, that is what they are paid for. As for your wife, sit down with her and tell her what you are feeling. You might find that she wants to give you room to heal, and doesn't know you are down and feeling bad. Please let us know how it goes.

    Remember, spine surgery is major, it is not like getting your tonsil's out. Lots more healing needed with any spine surgery. I hope you're feeling better soon, and too find out what is going on.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • you need to understand that you have had major spinal surgery and your very early in your recovery, it takes months slowly recovering and getting back to being independant, its normal after spinal surgery to be unable to do the simple tasks

    it will get better with time and you will gradually be able to do more

    you have too look after your spine and let recovery take place, those vertabra take time to fuse

    in time you will be able to do more, dont feel guilty that you cant help your wife right now, and i would talk to her to let her no, that this recovery takes time, and if rushed can jepordize the fusion

    once that med your weening off , due to adverse reactions is out of your system, hopefully will help with your mood swings, have you explained this to your wife ?

    if your mood doesnt improve after that med is out of yor system, talk with your dr about it, some therapy may be appropriate
    hang in there, physically you will grow stronger, and if mentally your not improving, seek help for it

    if money is your concern re treatment, talk to your dr about what can be done
    take care

  • Thank you for the support and advice. I was starting to feel trapped and out of control. I know that I have a long way to go, I guess I let my self get to thinking that I would have the surgery and then I would be ok again. Unrealistic expectation. I knew from the moment that I woke up from surgery (trying to keep myself from screaming) that this was going to be a long hard road. I just let myself fall into denial. And that med for nerve pain did not help at all, that's the one I am trying to come off of. It wires me like having way too much coffee, which makes it hard to stay in bed and rest, the longer I stayed in bed the more agitated I would get. And then I would keep myself up and moving which made my pain worse, which in turn makes my mood worse. Then mix all that with not being able to sleep very well and I got a pissed off moody me.
    Now that I can admit that some of this is depression. I can start trying to do something about it.
    I also have to learn how to view myself and my progress in a different way. My expectations are way too high for myself. I probably have been pushing too hard at PT, I have been in the pool three days a week for almost three weeks. I did miss two days because of pain.
    Thanks again to all of you. I guess I needed to hear from people that have been though this. I hope today is a good day for you all.
  • Many people forget that anesthesia is a major depressant. It has to be to knock you out. My depression was worse after every one of my surgeries.
    Just like postpartum depression it can hang on for months before lifting and sometimes needs meds to kick it out.

    I would make a point of contacting either your doctor or whomever handles your workers comp and see if you have any options. I know from contact with others on here that sometimes workers comp will agree to treatemnt, but it can take the doctors support to get it.

    I hope you get to feeling better soon.
  • Wrambler brings up a big point. I don't know if each time our bodies change tolerance from anesthesia or what, but it seems to me, each time I have a surgery where I am knocked out, I am bummed out for a longer period post op? Anyone else with multiple surgeries noticed this? I've been under 7 times now, and yes Wrambler, my last - stayed "blah" for almost 2 months.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • This is my first back surgery but my 10th surgery over all. I never really noticed depression before but all the others were before I was 18 and not nearly as invasive.
    I will be talking to my Dr's nurse tomorrow when I go in for PT, but my Dr probably wont be there he works all over the state as do all the doctors there.
  • Justin,

    Not sure, maybe as we get older, we don't tolerate being put under as well? I know the pain meds I was on post op for both cervical spine surgeries were the same, length of surgery was the same. Dunno, I just noticed for me, I was down mood wise for at least a month on the first, and this last one about 2 months.

    I hope you can find some answers tomorrow. I'll send positive thoughts and energy your way for good answers.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am sure that there are a lot of factors as to why I am having issues with depression. The biggest being the med I am coming off of, the are a bunch of warnings that it could cause depression, suicidal thoughts, and more stuff than I care to list. It is one of those newer drugs that is great for some but for the rest it is a nightmare. I will be done with it after Saturday.
    And the other is that it is only recently starting to sink in that my life will forever be different, hopefully with less pain than before the surgery. I went from getting hurt to being in surgery in about five months, in fact I was hurt 11 days before my daughter was born. And also the way I was hurt was not a traumatic injury, all I was doing was digging a hole at work. Pulling the shovel out of the hole there was a pop in my back and then I was on my knees. The ER doc thought I pulled a muscle when he saw me. I did not know for three months how bad it really was. I had a discography done(ouch!)and that is when they found out how big the tear was. At that point I was given three choices; fusion, disc replacement, or pain management. So I looked at disc replacement and that was not for me, the stuff I have seen for men on those is not that great. So I picked fusion and hopefully in the end it is the right choice. If not then I am right back to the pills again and I can say that I tried to do something.
    I guess I started to rant again. My isolation is making me talkative.
    Thank you for your thoughts and advice.
  • Justin,

    I can understand the "isolation" aspect. Even with a wonderful hubby, the "miss" I have from retirement is the daily interaction with co-workers. Don't get me wrong, there are a few I still talk with (phone) and another that I hit for lunch here and there, but it is not the same. Honestly, I no longer miss the job, but the people....sometimes!!!

    The big key is you RECOGNIZE it..that is big. I go through my modes believe me. Having been on the brink of suicide as a teen, I know where I "don't want to ever go again?" That is a dark tunnel. I've learned that communication and feelings are the key, be it with loved ones, or the mental health professional types. We are here for ya!! Know that, please? Big support *HUGZ* to ya!!

    If this helps? I crashed a helicopter to which I wasn't suppose to survive never mind walk away from. My Chiro kept me going for another 18 years or so. I guess I look at it as by the statistics, I shouldn't have gotten that... There is good out of the bad, there really is!! Don't forget to look behind to see what you had...is it that bad? Yeah the future isn't pretty, but look at how many only got a few years. Dang...many of us are darn lucky! I went 42 years on this earth before the spine took control. Yeah, I'm odd I guess!! Oh, 48+ now. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ...is a big piece of the puzzle. I know it's different for everyone..but when the body is under such stress... body gets out of whack.
    I have chronic depression and so relieved to have meds that help me think better and help me cope.
    Money is always a consideration...but mental health is truly a priority.
    A huge part of my taking care of myself was that I needed to accept myself...whatever diagnosis... just take care of myself.
    I was so not happy to be "mentally ill", but with time...I don't care. Meds allow me to feelsometimes happy.. at least more content. In no way am I saying "all is well". I still struggle, still cry, still emotional or sad..but it doesn't last as long.
    With the crying that happens...I just talk through it. I believe I may not always see the effect on others...but even as imperfect as I am, I still can be useful in just the fact that I don't give up and continue to try.
    Most days I struggle with the waste of money, time, effort it takes to keep me going everyday. So,many people lose their lives before their time..and I'm still here...useless. I don't understand. But I have no choice...just continue to cope and try to be good example to not only my kids, but grandkids.
    I so do not want to teach that suicide is answer to anything...ever.
    I do have suicide hotline on my phone and periodically call for...reality check. Besides meds, I also have therapist..but sometimes I want to talk at 3am. That's where the hotline comes in.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I talked to my Dr's nurse today and they want to wait and see how I feel when that med is all the way out of my system.
    I did get a different brace to go under my lso. I had one of those corset braces with metal rods, the rods were digging into my back and causing my pain when I had my lso on and I have to wear them together. Now I have one that looks more like a lumbar support brace with a molded plastic piece, way better than the other one, but not as tall so I have to watch it when I don't have my lso on. I am supposed to be weened out of the lso in two weeks. My muscles don't like that, but the x rays show good bone growth.
    Thank you to everyone for your support.
  • Just wanted to pop in and send you some good thoughts! I had an L5- SI plif (that was supposed to be an alif) in December and I spent the first month muttering "I never should have done this" because I was in so much pain and dependent upon others. I had a new grandbaby soon after the surgery and I hated that I could help more with her. I had to content myself with having others hand her to me so I could hold her on my lap - then I could feed her and rock her at least.

    Today I am ten weeks post-op and I will tell you that I am finally starting to think I made the right decision. I am off the narcotic pain pills except for cases when I overdo and need them to sleep and the PT has really helped with my muscle spasms.

    I am older than you but still a "young 51" and I am looking forward to the nicer weather when I can get outside and walk and enjoy the grands - something I couldn't do last summer because of the pain.

    So hang in there - it gets better!

  • I've not had back surgery but have had another type & came to the conclusion that depression followning any type of surgery is universal.

    As was previously pointed out, it's a trauma all the way around. Your reserves are tapped out during recovery.

    I like to think that it helps to realize that the depression is a normal part of healing & it really will pass. This is the time to take the best possible care of yourself, including reaching out to talk to others who have been there.
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