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What am I trying to prove and WHY?

sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Chronic Pain
Well, it was good while it lasted. I've been working like a 'normal' these past weeks. Painting, tiling, landscaping. Then...helped my son work on his truck yesterday. He said "mom, will you help me a minute?" Well I crawled right under there and helped him hold up the transmission pan and bolt it on. Sounds harmless enough doesn't it? Today I can hardly move my head. Muscles are very angry to say the least. My lower back/butt/thigh is aching from shovelling mulch and gravel last week. So now I'm wondering why I try? Why?? It just feels so good to act 'normal' for a while. I know better...but I'll never learn.

Thanks for reading. I just needed to whine a little.



  • Debbie,

    It looks like your body is giving you a gentle warning for your activities. I know I am not the only one that still feels you are doing way too much too soon. I fully understand wanting to go back to a normal life, but we will never have that. If we're lucky, we can with some restrictions get almost back to normal, but it only takes turning the wrong way, yawning, bending wrong, lifting something wrong, and another level can go.

    Please, please be careful, and LISTEN to your body. Okay? Worried about you woman. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • I wish you could have seen my face when I read what you have been doing!


    Be careful. You don't want to muck up all your surgeon's good work.

  • So sorry Debbie you are hurting!
    I know how much you (and all of us) want to be NORMAL again, but Brenda hit the nail in the head. We are not normal maybe one day some of us will be as close as possible, who knows?

    I'm sorry I don't recall when your surgery was, but it appears from posts that it hasn't been too long ago. I hope you find relief from your current pain. Please take advantage of your recovery time to get well! No do overs.... listen to your body and let yourself heal and get well.
    Take care.
  • I read your post and smiled to myself. Not because you are experiencing more pain, of course not, but because you've done exactly the same thing as I have done (but different situation) - but I still haven't learnt my lesson yet.

    I don't know why we do these things. I can only speak from my personal experience though. Perhaps momentarily we forget about our situation when we're having a 'good' day. And if people are asking for our help with anything, perhaps it makes us feel good to be 'WANTED' and 'USEFUL' for a change, because maybe we have felt inadequate when we had to rely on other people's help after our operations, I don't know.

    Trouble with 'listening to our bodies' is that our bodies don't SCREAM at us until AFTER the damage (if any) is done - but this can be anything from immediate to a couple of days after the activity, so it's difficult to know if we've overdone it or not.

    WHY do we do it? Because we can I suppose - because it does make us feel more 'normal' when other people are asking for our help and because we don't like to say 'no', especially to our children.

    For me, I always think that if I do something too strenuous, say 2 months ago, and it hurt my back alot then - if I do it again now and my back is fine then it is one definite sign to me that my back is improving and getting stronger. Do you know what I mean?

    Anyway, Debbie, I hope you'll soon be feeling tons better. Just be very careful, take things slowly and rest up for a couple of days OK.
    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 !!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I can't believe you :jawdrop: It's only been 6 mo. Are you crazy?! :O You will re injure yourself girl. I know what a tranny weighs. And that's something you probably never be able to do. Let alone doing it at 6 mo.
    Because I did that same crap. My adjacent disc went out. And then again.
    Ya really want to end up like me??? It ain't fun! X(
    Listen to Brenda and all of the rest who have been there done that :S
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Thank you all for your concern and support. I know that I bring extra pain on myself and then wonder why. I know that you're all right. I tell myself that my surgeon said I can do anything I normally would...which he did. Then sometimes I'll wonder what he'd think if he knew what my 'normal' is? After all, I'm only a stay at home mom/housewife so how much strenuous stuff could I do right? You know they ask do you work and when you say no I guess that means you sit back and watch everyone else do the work right? yeah, that's it. lol.

    I'm sure you all get frustrated with me--I'm like a kid who just won't listen I know. O:)

    It was fun while it lasted. Not so much now but since it's turned cold here again for a while I'm back in hibernation for a few days anyway. When it's sunny and warm outside is when I usually get myself in trouble. It's all that natural vitamin d--it makes me a little crazy I guess. haha.

    I think my neck is fine and it's just the muscles. It is a reminder that it would be easy to end up right back where I started. Oh, Jim, I was only helping him hold up the pan that goes on the bottom--it wasn't heavy at all it was just the position I was in and holding my head up that way. Believe it or not, I DON'T lift a lot. I'm not completely crazy--just sort of.

    Thank you all a bunch. It's great knowing I can come here and whine to you. I could say that I won't do it again (overwork or whine to you) but I know I'll do both. I am more careful when doing things though because I always remember each of you and your experiences. So, thanks. It really helps.

    I hope that you're all doing great and that the sun is shining where you are.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,874
    You know I am not the one that is going to tell you that you did a bit too much, but I will! Just as I know you would easily tell me if I did too much.

    I know we are so willing and wanting to do just a little bit more. Especially when we start to feel a bit better, the weather gets nicer, its almost natural to want to expand just a bit.

    And you know from the past when we do those type of things, we pay the price. Hopefully only for a couple of days and we bounce back.

    My only concern for you and for all others, is that when we do push for that extra mileage, some day, that price we are going to pay is going to be a lot longer and perhaps a bit more serious.

    (I know, I've done it, been there and have paid)
    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
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I know that you, like the others, understand how easy it is to do to much. I know that you're right in that one day it may not be something that a couple of days of taking it easy will relieve.

    I can forget I even had surgery most of the time except for the fact my neck/arm is so much better than before. The lump feeling in my throat is still very aggravating though and I'm beginning to think I'll have to have the swallowing test just to check it out. I think that at almost six months it should be better don't you?

    Hope you've recovered from dipping out all that water!

  • I'll tell you what my brother says every time he sees someone screwing up. "Some kids just have to learn the hard way." Yep. You'll push the envelope. You'll think you're invincible. And then will come the day you blow the disc at the next level by your surgery site. And then you'll say, "Why did I do this?" And this time the pain won't go away.

    So go ahead, learn the hard way. Sometimes it's the only way you'll learn.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Isteller Ouch! Lol!! I tried to get my point across that for me all it took was a bloody yawn to blow the next level. Your brother is not only wise, but correct!! You listening to all of us Ms. Debbie? Hello? We care, okay?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    10/4 enough said! image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • In my former career, we would ask "What's your 20" - cop speak for where are you at? Hehehe! Great response! Debbie, we allllllll care!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Yep. Your brother is right. That's the only way I've ever learned anything--the hard way.

    I'll never give up "doing" though until I can't drag myself up and out to do it. That's just the way I am. I know I have bad levels above and below so I am afraid it's only a matter of time. Invincible? Me? I wish.

    I've been sitting here thinking up excuses and thinking about how I try to not do things that could really hurt my neck. Now I'll be honest with you and myself and think of some of the things I've done in the past few weeks that were just crazy considering the risk. I'll tell myself how my family 'expects' me to do everything like normal and if I don't do it no one will but that's really no excuse. It's all me. See I do get it. I'm happy when I'm fooling myself into thinking I can do whatever I want, when I feel useful. I pay for it most everyday and night when I'm unable to sleep for my back killing me. (Neck's pretty good though ;) Yet I do it over again so I guess it must be worth it to me or I would get the message?

    Sorry, to much thinking on my end this morning. It's hard to explain your feelings when you don't understand yourself. It was a long night and I didn't do a thing yesterday! So I guess sometimes I think that I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't so why not do? I even think to myself that I don't belong here on SH because I don't have nearly the problems that most here have. I tell myself that I can't give advice or support to others who have been through so much more than I have. I feel like a wimp for even whining about my problems when others have it so much worse.

    Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble. I just meant to say that I know you're right.

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Hey! You know I'm listening to you. If I didn't want (and need) all of your advice and support I wouldn't ask. I know that I need some sense smacked into me sometimes. I am crazy. No doubt. In my above post to Istellar I tried to explain my thinking concerning 'overdoing'. It's hard to change a lifetime way of thinking and sometimes I guess the hard way is the only way?

    Hopefully with all of you helping me I'll figure it out. I really appreciate all of you.

    Hope your day is good my friend.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Hi there my friend. First thing that comes to mind is "do as I say, not as I do". :D I can give out the advice way better than I can follow it...just like others I know and I quote "Because I did that same crap. My adjacent disc went out. And then again." :D

    Sorry buddy. I just couldn't resist. Hope you know I'm just kidding with you. I really appreciate that you care and don't want to see the same thing happen to me. I'm trying to change my thinking Jim but it's hard to do...old dogs and all that you know? lol.

    Hope you're feeling much better.

  • Ms. Debbie,

    Snickers...chuckles...smiles... I think in some ways we are ALL that way. It is very hard to change our habits when they have lasted a lifetime!! Glad to see you are listening to what we are trying to tell you. Most of us have "been there, done that, still have the stinking shirt!!!" *HUGZ* Just be careful girlfriend is all we ask! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • to be mean to you, I'm trying to be honest. If your family expects you to do things, try not doing those things for a bit. When someone gripes, explain why it is a bad thing for you to do and find a way for others to cover it. Do you really think that your family actually expects you to damage your body in order to make them happy? That sounds pretty silly doesn't it. Picture yourself lying in a hospital bed with your family by you while you are waiting to have some huge spinal surgery? Can you imagine that they are happy you are there because you did 5 loads of laundry and scrubbed the kitchen floor on your hands and knees when you shouldn't have? NO!

    We all do things we probably shouldn't but we've all learned how to do the things that won't hurt us and learned to let others help us do the things that will cause us pain. No one is going to give you a medal for being silly. Believe me.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Nah they wouldn't be happy. They'd probably be worried about how many loads of laundry they'd have to do before I could do it again. lol. Just kidding.

    I don't think you're being mean. I know you're being honest and I appreciate that.

    I always think that my family expects me to do everything but I know that *I* am the one who expects that. My husband and son would do everything and never say a word. It's not their fault when I do to much. I am really trying to learn to be more careful. If I hadn't already promised people I'd do these jobs for them believe me I wouldn't be doing a lot of it! (I can guarantee I won't be under any more trucks lol) I always just tell myself that there are many others worse than me who go to work everyday because they have no choice. That's where I am right now but at least when/if I can finish these next two jobs I'm not getting myself into anything else this hard. (And yes, I probably said that the last time too)

    Thanks for your help and concern. I appreciate it I really do. I hope you can tell that. It's hard to read the emotion in a post. Maybe mine especially since I have a funny sense of humor. 8} Like this morning, I told my husband to go pee for me so I could go back to sleep instead of getting up and he said he did but guess what?? He didn't really do it--see how much help he is? I have to do everything myself.
  • It's great to hear that you have been out living life once again. Bravo! As soon as I read your original post, the first thoughts I had were "she held her head up off the ground for an extended time and tightened all the muscles". Anyone who has ever done any kind of work underneath a car, a boat, a house and aircraft etc ... knows how much we tighten those muscles to hold up our head. Of course the shoulders too!

    I subscribe to a different thought process than most. Consider this ... most of us prior to surgery are limited by our injury in range of motion and activity. Our muscles begin to decondition and weaken. Then the insult of surgery and on to recovery for several weeks to months, further deconditioning our muscles. Physical Therapy can only address so much, whereas normal daily use pushes our bodies to adapt and condition in order to accommodate our activities.

    My neurosurgeon recommended that I return to activities I felt I could do and not focus on developing any specific muscles, because I would most likely cause further unbalance. He said that the body knows better what the body needs. So like anyone starting a conditioning program, initially it will hurt and be uncomfortable. We can usually tell what is discomfort from overuse or new use versus discomfort from something being injured or irritated.

    My neck is very asymmetrical as well as my shoulders. I tried the PT route and then chose to listen to my neurosurgeon and just went about my life doing the things I felt I could. Over the last couple of years, what I can do has multiplied tremendously and I have conditioned my neck and shoulders in a balance that "works for them". Initially I would suffer sore stiff muscles and wonder if it would ever get better, but I held on to what I was told and it has gotten better.

    Yes I have to be aware that my body has been damaged and repaired and may not be "good as new", but sometimes rebuilt parts will outlast new or original ones. I can't live in a bubble or a padded-training wheel world. I suffered through surgery in order to regain my life. The doc did his part and now I am doing mine!

    I guess what I am trying to express with all of this, is that it is possible to learn to gauge what is pain and stiffness due to using long deconditioned muscles and what is "going too far". I trust my doc not to throw me out the door and give me bogus advice. So I live my life and do what I feel I can do. It's fun. It's rewarding. It's awesome!

  • (No I'm not referring to a peeping Tom 8} )

    I work on my car and have found the laying on the horizontal to be the best position I can manage.
    I bought a 6 wheeled creeper that has a very low center board between the urethane wheels mounted on side rails. It pushes around even on rough concrete pretty easily. What you need to do is remember. Don't hold your head off the head rest cushion! That is what it is there for!

    If I don't want the creeper due to needing to change positions like when I replaced my bumpers a few weeks ago. Then I use a big old overstuffed comforter, it keeps me from being in direct contact with the cold concrete.

    Yes, I do pay for my hobby. But I take it slow and when I have overdone it, well, then I let sleeping dogs lie for a few days until it stops hurting so much.

    Like "C" says be careful and take it slow, give yourself time to heal and gradually find out where your healing will take you.

  • Hi There, I just wanted to say I understand how you did what you did. I have the same problem sometimes. On those rare times when I am having a good day and push myself to get stuff done, It feels soooooo good to be "normal" again. The next day or week I pay and the damage is done. But sometimes I think it was worth the pain to have that time of the old me back. Also, when can you say "No" to your son when he asks for some help? I know I can't. LOL
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