In Oct 2010 I had a L4-S1 PLIF. Ever since then I've fought through bouts of pain in my legs and in my lumbar area. I've done my best to not let the pain run my life but I have to admit it seems to be getting more and more difficult to pretend nothing is wrong.
The PM has tried me on Neurontin...then Lyrica...then by summer I was on 2 x 30mg Cymbalta daily. The PM told me the Cymbalta might also help the localized pain I was having in my back. Once it built up in my system I felt great and my legs hurt so much less. I could sleep through the night most times and felt pretty good in general. But like all good things, that came to an end maybe 1.5-2 months later. By September my leg pain had shot up again. I went from taking break-through meds (Norco 10mg most times) a few times a month to regularly taking them now 3 or more times a week...some weeks much more. I rarely sleep well, and I often lay awake contemplating whether or not I should take something).
Having said this, the Cymbalta clearly helps me. When I forget to take it I do feel it in the morning. So I am not really willing to stop taking it. What bums me out is that this med is making me forgetful and “spacey.” I am ok with this trade-off because it is helping my leg pain. But I am in the military and that “excuse” doesn’t bode well with my co-workers and boss(es). I drove home yesterday in tears because I was overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy and frustration. I sit in meetings and instead of being engaged in conversation, I am either “out to lunch” and/or am consumed by my pain. It took me months to realize I had to accept this forgetfulness if I wanted to feel better. But now I’m dealing with the realization that the military will never accept it. I am awaiting a medical evaluation board (MEB) and the doc tells me there is a good chance I will be medically retired. But until then I just don’t know what to do. I want to contribute to my unit, but whenever I volunteer to head something up I end up having to ask for help…or worse, having to hand it off to another person. I can see the disappointment in my superiors’ eyes. They don’t even greet me in the hallway…talk about feeling like you don’t matter!
I know there is no way to convey to a non-spiney what it feels like to be in constant pain and discomfort. I just wish I could escape this place, but instead I have been waiting months and have yet to even have my preliminary board meeting.
I'm sorry this is kind of disjointed. I know there are many people in more pain than myself. But I'm scared, confused and frustrated. I'm "only" 35 and am 12 years in to a successful military career. I have watched myself, once a proud, motivated military officer; now not much more than an empty shell.
Thank you for letting me vent. This is the only place where people listen and understand what I’m talking about. Please respond if you have had similar experiences, or think you know how I can help combat these feelings. I think we all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves…I just need a good shove.