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greetings fellow spineys

writistewwritiste Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in New Member Introductions
I've been 'lurking' here for some time and finally decided to join during a new low (every time I think I've hit bottom with this little adventure that we all share, I live through it somehow, find a way to cope, soldier on ... until the next bump). A lot like life, I guess.

It'll be been six years for me Sept 1. Mostly left lumbar (all of it) plus some adjoining S/T not to be outdone: DDD, stenosis, sciatica, OA. I think that's about it. Major scarring (what did he use, a bulldozer?) and nerve damage from failed discectomy L4-5 in 2008. Had pretty much every kind of injection they've got + RFA + chiro, PT, TENS, biofeedback, acupuncture, meditation, psychotherapy (you live with constant pain levels 5-7 24/7 and NOT be depressed!), vitamins, herbs, Reiki, massage. Cocktail hour: tramadol, roxycodone, gabapentin, piroxicam, baclofen, effexor XR. Provigil keeps me awake. Lidoderm, ice, heat, biofreeze.

So my latest MRI (2 weeks ago) showed amazing progress of the bulge at L4-5. It looked like something out of a horror movie. Even the radiologist was impressed. Surgeon (consult #7) wanted to do 2-level fusion immediately, possibly yesterday. My pain doc agreed. Well, thanks to rigorous PT, I have tons of pain but minimal weakness - the leg hardly ever buckles anymore. What really scares me is, I'm a single woman, with no family. I'm still working (computer analyst) but it takes a huge toll. I have insurance thank goodness. I'm a contractor, so no sick time. Was told I can't get short term disability because this is an existing condition. But no work, no insurance. The recession took care of my savings. Huge medical bills took care of my once-excellent credit rating. How on earth can I pay for this - even 20% of it, let alone be off work for, what - up to four months, best case? I know there's no guarantees, either.

I feel up against the wall, you know? Of course you do. I hate feeling trapped even more than the pain ... more doors closing... Any ideas? Please?

Thanks for your patience!


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,449
    So sorry to hear about your situation.
    I have been on disability for about 2 1/2 years now. I just couldn't push through it..the pain..anymore.
    It was the best thing for me.
    I was paying like $10,000. for private insurance...
    which took a lot of anything I saved. As with you, the medical is non ending bills..a nightmare.
    Medicare kicks in for me soon. That is not 100% coverage and it's not free...but less than $10,000.
    Trying to figure it all out, take care of myself, try to control my pain...full time job. This is toughest job I've had...really. It's painful, isolating and lonely.
    I too am alone...grown kids don't get me..we don't see each other often. Everyone so busy.
    This site has been like a lifeline..helps a lot.
    Hang in there and keep in touch.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. financial problems are a big concern for all of us spineys.. it may be time for you to think about going on disability and accepting what is offered through their services. i am not at all sure how that works but i am sure you can apply for your SSI.. just know that you are not alone and that all of us here are on your side and here to help in any way we can..be sure and check out the "Health Insurance forum" for more input... good luck to you! i am sorry you are in so much pain!! another thought is "teaching hospitals.. i am sure there are some in or around your area so check them out, they are usually attached to larger universities.. Jenny :)
  • I really hope it's okay to answer both at the same time? Please forgive me if not!

    Jenny, I didn't even see the health insurance link. I don't know what's worse, the pain or the financial problems. There are a few teaching hospitals here. So, donating my bod to science ahead of time LOL? Why not?

    Yeah, pushing through it about sums it up. I guess there are different kinds of 'alone' - Savage, when I thought about what you write, it might be worse to have family around who are too busy and don't get you, than to have them dead or severely mentally ill (my brother). So sorry they're not there for you. I was longing for family as a safety net, but they're not always are they. My therapist says I have to create one for myself. Being more or less crippled by pain, so exhausted by my two jobs (work + pain) and sometimes feeling desperately needy, I was thinking that I'd scare off potential family members, even if I had the energy to go out and meet new people (which I don't) - sheesh, who'd want to "adopt" someone like me? But I think participating this site is a good start. What a relief.

    I've been resisting SSI almost as much as more surgery. Stubborn, huh. Both feel like giving in but that's not the same as giving up - is it? No one here on SSI sounds like they've given up... not at all. I've got this belief that as long as I can push through, show up at the office no matter how much it takes out of me, that I've got some control of my condition. But the last films say I'm millimeters from some kind of spinal disaster. Dunno if surgery will help avoid it or trigger it. Fusion is a gamble. But you're both right, I should start the process for SSI. Or at least check it out. Gulp.

    Thanks again.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,449
    It seems like this site may benefit you as it has me.
    I can relate to so much of what you say. :)
    Re' the disability...I got a lawyer from the very beginning.
    The lawyers..by law...do not receive any money if you do not get accepted for the disability. And if you are accepted within 6 months..they don't get paid.
    I went to the lawyer the week after I stopped working and did everything he said.
    Disability accepted me and gave me disablity at 6 months.
    So, he did not make any money from me...but a friend of mine went to the same lawyer and she received 2years back pay...and he received his money from that case...but none of his money came out of my friend's pocket.
    It's amazing to me there is such protection and benefit to individuals under this law.
    So, if you decide...lawyer up right away is my suggestion...for whatever that's worth. :)
    Take care...and keep in touch! :)
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • writiste, it sounds as if your mind has already been doing some changing just from the short time you have been visiting!! scroll down the page and you will see the "Health Insurance Issues" forum.. it is below "Exercise and Rehab." really do some thinking about your SSI and what that entails...it is not giving up at all, as i see you are beginning to see for yourself.. but moving forward in a different direction to protect yourself.. once again i wish you alot of luck.. keep us informed.. Jenny :>
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