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Can you deal with it? Can I? Can We?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
edited 12/21/2015 - 6:30 AM in Depression and Coping
I try to read as many posts as I can. Many times, its the subject line that draws my attention.

Over the past several years, and even beyond that, I think one of the major areas of discussion is HOW we deal with all of this.

There really isn't one easy answer, but since I've posted words like this over and over, I wanted to do it here.

1 We have medical conditions that have saddled us with pain. For some of us, it may be only a few months , for others its been decades and longer.
2 Pain medications alone have not taken care of our pain levels and we are always looking for something else.
3 We get so frustrated and depressed because we see how we are today and can only imagine what our future will be like.
4 We can not do the things we did before all of this happened.
5 People do not understand my situation. Friends I had before begin to shy away. Our family members may also question our pain and what we have to go through every day
6 We have problems with our current doctor(s). They dont understand our situation, they say they can't do anything for us, they dont prescribe more pain medications, etc

1 This is the way we are going to be for the rest of our lives
2 My life as I have known it is over
3 There is nothing the medical field can do for me
4 No body cares
5 I am basically useless
6 I could end it all and it wouldn't make a difference

1 Stop thinking that there is a magic pill that will fix all of this.
2 It is not the fault of others, doctors, surgeons, etc that I am in the pain I am today.
3 Doctors dont care about me.
4 My family, my spouse will give up on me
5 I will never be the same

- We can control our situation, we can manage our pain, we can learn to deal with our pain.

- We NEED to stop focusing in on what we can no longer do, instead we need to put our efforts into figuring out how much more we can do.

- We NEED to stay positive. If we give up, we might as well be sentencing ourselves for a life of misery.

- We NEED to be STRONG. So when those roller coaster rides are on the downside, we can handle it.

- We NEED to have FAITH. That means in whichever way that takes you. It could be in your spouse, your doctor, your therapist, your religion. Whatever is the driving force to keep you on top.

- We MUST NEVER NEVER GIVE UP. Sure, we have had some tough times and will probably have some tougher ones up ahead. But that can not allow ourselves to throw in the towel. No matter what we are faced with deal with it and make the best of it.

There is a simple phrase that really says it all


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 found this site just over a year ago and have ran through the gamit of emotions over and over. I dont post much but I do read alot and I want all of you to know that you help me alot. There is something comforting about knowing people understand what you are going through. Anyway I want to say Thank You to all here. Donna
  • I liked that Ron :)

    I get to wanting a pitty party every now and again but as bad off as I am I know other are much worse.

    I feel like such a baby so I try to focus on things I can do (almost to excess). When I need a good cry I put in a sad movie and let it out then (weird I know).

    DOING REALLY WELL- WHAT I CAN DO WELL -it makes up for what I can no longer do well or do at all and it makes me feel good about myself again.

    KEEPING BUSY also helps me take my mind off of my pain or limitations. I have a hobby (in a club) and when I feel up to it I work on editing an instructive booklet I am writing for "new club members". I also started a few smaller projects that we needed and even though I don't have the physical strength like I used to I can still use my noggin and feel needed and appreciated.

    Stay Positive My Friends!

  • If life gives you lemons. Stick it in your corona botle, Its so much beter then lemonade,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Thats good Ron! If this was facebook I'd "like" it!
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • I joined yesterday, for this exact reason... The depression is the one thing I haven't really dealt with. I figured this post was made years ago, but so glad you posted it. It really hits home, specifically #3 on the Facts and #1 on the Myths. I definitely need more faith to deal with those.
  • I agree, I think we should try to make as much money as possible and try to start charaties that focus on the erradication of our respective illness/es.

    Thats my plan at least, might as well try to find a cure for others.
  • Ron-

    You state it is a myth to say this is how we are goign to be for the rest of our lives.

    That may be true for some, but not for me. When I had my fusion surgeries, it sealed my fate as far as my back is concerned.

    I am depressed both because I have unemployed for 3 years, and because when I look in the mirrow I see the me I used to be and I really, really miss that person!!
  • julie - maybe I should not post this since Ron's post is what you are responding to.

    However I will post about that from my own personal view ;)

    My injury is the same as it was 1, 2 and now going on 9 yrs ago. Actually it is worse then when I was first injured.

    BUT I am NOT the same. So Ron saying - this is not going to be how we are going to be for the rest of our lives - is true.

    I am now able to dress myself, I can now tie my own shoes and shower alone. I can do a LOT more then I could even 3 months ago. No surgery (except I had my knees replaced last March). To look at me I seem the same. But to know me you can tell I am not, nor is my world/life. :)

    Once I came out of my depression I was willing to find ways to change my life for the better. Every "little" change I made THRILLED me.

    I lost the company I had built & ran for 30 years. I had to give up my home as I could no longer function in it. I lived out on a farm and had to move into a town house in a large town. My marriage went down the tube and is still not great, as of my husband being so angry and not understanding of my limits.

    Literally my whole life changed!!!!

    When I joined this site I was in a deep depression and was thinking life was no longer worth living.
    The members here supported me. They told me about new things to bring up to my Drs. They were my strength when I was weak. They would not let me fail at living.

    Even had I not been able to improve with doing things for myself, I still am not the same INSIDE. So if you can't change your physical challenges, then try to take charge of your inner ones.

    I hope you give us the same chance to help you learn how to live (really live) in your new normal world :hug:

    PS:sorry Ron for the thread high-jack ;)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    response like you just made. MsHumptyDumpty, you completely understand the message I was making here and in so many of my other threads.

    I know from reading so many of your posts, that even though you have your medical problems, you are not going to let them run your life. I applaud you for that.

    Spinal problems are real. They do impact our lives.
    But we have the choice to decide who is going to win.

    The pain or You

    Put me in a room with 1,000 people, and I know that the majority is going to say We(You) win and not allow the pain to take control.

    It takes a strong individual to understand their situation and to make the most of it and still march on. Its always way too easy to throw your hands up and say, This is it, this is the rest of my life
    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
  • We NEED to stop focusing in on what we can no longer do, instead we need to put our efforts into figuring out how much more we can do.

    Since nobody has a crystal ball, we cannot see into the future and attempt to figure out how much more we can do.

    A crystal ball, however, would help us to see the future ramifications of the decisions we make about the treatments we seek for our back issues.

    Since we can have no knowledge of what is down the road in our future, we are relegated to looking over our shoulders to see the person we used to be and the things we used to be able to do. In many cases, this involves lamenting and mourning what our back problems have taken from us. We should not avoid looking at the past since we can't see the future.
  • Julie, I can (as I'm sure everyone else here can) really empathize with you and how you're feeling. I found this site not too long ago, and one of the first posts I saw was this one from Ron. I thought "wow! This is exactly what I was looking for" and have tried to really focus on the things I can do, the things that his post really points out. We may not have knowledge of the future, but we can take steps to guide it's path. You're not just relegated to looking over your shoulder. That's one big thing I got from his post, and I think you should try to see also. Take those lemons and try to squeeze out even a little bit of juice. Even if it's walking 1 block. Who knows, in 2 months you might be walking 1 mile! I tried to lose some weight starting about 3 months ago, just a little bit. I ended up losing 30+ and still going down. It's amazing how 1 little decision to do something small can snowball. Start with those little things, you're not going to be running a marathon tomorrow, but if you start by walking 1 block every evening.. you might run a marathon in a year or two. You have to start now though, stop lamenting over and mourning the past. Start with today, 1 or 2 steps, tomorrow 3 or 4. Next week a block, next year a mile, year after that a marathon.

    We're all here. We'll support you. We'll cheer you on. We'll also understand and "feel your pain" on those bad days. But we each have to make our own decision to squeeze the lemons, I hope you decide to do that.
  • I think adjusting might come more easily when you have diagnosis, treatment plan, meds, etc. During the diagnosis phase it is very hard to move forward cause you are just waiting on answers and a treatment plan. I dont mean you cannot keep exercising and reasearching, but the moving forward in life part seems a little tougher.
    Herniated T6-7, multiple herniations in cervical, tears in T5-T8. Stenois at levels and smorls nodes from thoracic thru lumbar
  • This should really be a sticky post. I find myself referring back to it often, as well as posting the link to it for new folks who inevitably ask, "is there hope?".
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    It is now a sticky thread.
    I am glad you have found it helpful
    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 am new here and it is amazing how as humans,how sensative we all are. It is true, must try to remain strong, and I admit right now I am going thru the hardest time in my life. This was very helpful.

    Thank you!
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • I was so inspired upon reading this post. I believe you really made an effort to tell other people that hope is still existing. We need to be positive about our future.
  • This has been a tough week especially for my husband, Ove the past 4 years he has had 2 major back surgeries to include a fusion and hardware put in. He has had blocks and abations and permanent nerve damage down his right leg that never stops hurting or causing pain for him and he has started falling alot due to his leg giving out with no waning over the past 8 months. Last September I almost lost him because he all of a sudden started going into a dabetic coma - doctors said it was related to his injury. He is off of the insulin now and is under control with diet and glucophage. He feels that he is less of a man now because of the back and leg pain and not being able to do what he feels he should do as a man and feels like a burden on everyone. Everyone has forgotten about him since he has been hurt and do not believe he s hurt. I love him with all my heart and I am going to stick by him and take care of him and work through this with him day by day. He just has been soo depressed it scares me because he tells me that he cannot handle the pain anymore - medication and everything else does not help and the pain is wearing him down. He tells me that I am the only reasosn he is still here / alive. I love him with all my heart and it breaks my heart to see him suffer but I need some advice on what I can do to help him. He is a proud strong man. I love him more now than I ever have and want to help him and understand what he is going through. I have neck and back problems myself but nothing that compares to his - so I do have some basic understanding - but I am a female and do not understand the way a man feels and thinks and handles things. I know that men handle things differently and tthat this is very hard on him physically and mentally. So any advice woud be helpful. Thank you!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    edited 06/30/2012 - 6:39 PM
    I do feel that I am qualified to talk about it, at least in terms of emotions. I started with my spinal problems in my late teens and had my first spinal surgery in 1978 at 28 years old. Since that time, I have had 7 other spinal surgeries and then tag on 3 total joint replacements. This has spanned over 35 years. During that time, I was unable to do so many of the things, we a men think we should be doing for the family.

    Instead, my entire family picked up the slack. My wife, not only working full time, had to come home and take on many of the chores (ie house painting, mowing, roof cleaning, etc) that men generally did. She did this without batting an eyelash.
    My children back then also helped out in so many ways. Today, even though they are out of the house, on their own at ages 34 and 37, they still come back home to help out.

    I was an avid sports player. Football and Baseball being my favorites. I played for many years on a men's softball league doing well, in spite of my spinal problems. But when I reached around 40 years old, I couldnt do it anymore. What used to be my strongest sport, high batting averages, home runs, etc finally dwindles to a batting average of .142 The team even
    made a shirt for me at the end of the season with that number. They thought it was all in fun, and in their eyes it was.

    But all along, sitting back watching my wife do all the work, watching my kids taking care of me, watching my body slowly start to fail me and I was depressed. I didnt even care about the pain. I have been living with that so long, its just part of my daily life. But, I felt I was a failure, letting everyone down.

    Then one day, when I was in the rehab center for one of my physical therapy sessions, I sat next to a young boy, perhaps12 years old, strapped to a whell chair, missing one arm, unable to see as others do and could only mutter a few sounds. That hit me so hard. Here I saw a young boy with so many serious problems and knowing that there wasnt really much that could be done to help him through life. Though, he always had a big smile.

    That kicked me in the rear and made me take a different approach to everything. I started to realize just how lucky I was and that I would trade my life for anyone

    But please, this is a very serious matter. Depression regarding physical problems/pain easily lead to more emotional tyhpe of problems, such as feeling useless. And those feelings can snowball very quickly.

    I would suggest that you talk to your husband about seeing a counselor to help him deal with some of his feelings. Many people shy away from this, because it sounds like they are weak of they need that type of help. To me, counselors, and those trained in dealing with emotional problems are really no different from seeing your pain management doctor.

    Sorry for writing so much, but this is a topic that does need some details. Good luck and if you have questions or concerns, please post them here.
    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
  • He is seeing a physciatrist but all they want to do is put him on all kinds of mind controlling mediation and with him being a nurse and what he has seen happen with these types of medications and also when he has tried them they made him want to commit suicide we cannot go the medication route. He has his ups and downs but this past week has been especially bad for him. He seems to be getting a little better now. We have talked alot but it is hard on me as well, not knowing what to do and feeling helpless. I love him with all my heart and yes I do pick up the slack and try to include him as much as I can - based on what he can handle that day. He is 57 years old and has always been a very active outdoors man as well. Always worked with his hands and could do anything he wanted to do with no limitations. I am his only support group that is why I needed a male perspective on things so I would understand more on how to talk with him about what is going on and try and help and understand more than I do now. He has seen cases like what you have talked about when he was a nurse. But when he gets depressed he also mourns the lose of his son. His 15 year old son died in his arms when he was in a boating accident. His son died of hypothermia. My husband used to fish the semi pro bass circuit and it was a father son outing and he blames himself for his sons death even though it was a freak storm that came through. But again thank you! I wil pass your story on to him and it may help.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    edited 07/01/2012 - 5:49 PM
    Live one day at a time -
    Thy will not my will be done -
    Live life on lifes terms, not mine -
    Grant me the strength to accept the things I can not change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
    If you have one foot in the past, one foot in the future, you wind up pissing on today.
    We have all been given a wonderful gift today, called the "Present"- Accept it ... live in it ... try to love it. defects, trageties, blessings and all.

    Keep Comming Back,

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • MsHumptyDumptyMMsHumptyDumpty Posts: 1,567
    edited 07/01/2012 - 11:46 AM
    I have a strong belief/faith that EVERYONE can do SOMETHING!!! I was not able to dress myself, shower alone, run my own business that I had fought to build up over 20+ yrs, cook, clean etc. Yes this is from the female end. However I think i have a tad more testosterone then required lol ;)
    My pain was unreal. I could not finish a sentence without gasping out loud in pain. I wanted to die. No if and or buts about it - I was outa here!

    The members here at SH showed me that we each DO have a purpose. Without a purpose on any level going on living with such a large hardship is not easy by any means.

    I said all that to say this - try to get him to be willing to find a hobby. I don't care if he make pot holders and gives them to nursing homes. We each need a purpose. Having a purpose gives us a reason to hope and with hope comes the strength to fight.

    Please keep us updated how BOTH of you are doing - we care :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • I do try and get him busy with hobbies and activities but this past week has just been especially hard on him pain wise and depression. We are trying to take it day by day right now. You know sometimes it is hard to deal with the pain at times and is overwhelming to handle. I love him dearly and will do anything and everything in my power to help him and take care of him to the best of my abilities. Thank you all and I will keep you updated. But still - any more male insight would help me understand more of what he is dealing with and how you men deal with things.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Sadly, for the most part we don't. So many things could be going on and in general men keep things to themselves. I guess its part of the old traditional, when men were stoic, not allowed to cry or show feelings. But we all know that is totally impossible. All of us have feelings and emotions.

    Men to avoid showing that 'soft' side tend to clam up. Nope, nothing is wrong, I am fine Again, its sort of a macho thing, if you admit you are not doing well, then you are also admitting that you are soft, not a man, etc

    Its a shame that society has placed these certain 'standards' on men, as well as women. Why cant we all just treat each other as another human.

    Anyhow, as a man, I know there is a level of personal pride, not wanting to allow our partners to do the things that we should be doing. Its as if we are failures, even though that is the furthest from the truth.

    I think overall, just getting a man to open up and express his feelings, good or bad, to laugh, to cry, is so good.

    (PS: I am so sorry to hear about how your husband's son died. That had to be one of the most traumatic things to deal
    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
  • tuffluck13ttuffluck13 Posts: 36
    edited 10/23/2012 - 6:01 AM
    Ron, I joined this forum for this reason alone. When I read your last two posts I started getting teary eyed. I am a man and currently dealing with everything you have stated above, my wife does everything I feel less than a man and ashamed that I can no longer do the things I once could. My daughter (5 years old) wonders why her daddy lays on the couch and no longer plays with her. If it weren't for them I wouldn't have a reason to live anymore. I joined this forum this morning and your words have truly inspired me ron. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have a long and painful road ahead but I feel for the first time I have a place to get all of these emotions out and maybe get help from people like me and maybe even help a few others along the way. Again thank you ron (dilauro)
    L5 s1 degeneration, annular tear and bulg with nerve compression. Dr says its normal wear and tear lol
  • But I suppose I was meant to see it almost a year later and it helped me tonight.
    I have been trying to keep up a happy face at home and work but doubt and depression are starting to stalk me.
    Funny thing is, instead of looking back and mourning, I find myself wanting to rush forward to get out of the present.
    In the process I miss out on enjoying some things that I still have in the present.
    By the way, I'm female but I too have fears of becoming a useless burden relegated to a window seat somewhere while the rest of my family and friends leave me behind.
    My surgery may be delayed because of cardiac concerns. I've become irritable and impatient with the pre-op process even though intellectually I know it's in my best interests. Then I start wondering if this is the universe telling me I'm not supposed to have this surgery. Then I remember the MRI comment about cauda equina compression and, bam, I'm in that mental hamster wheel that's so hard to dismount from
    Glad this is a sticky so I can find it whenever I need a booster shot of hope.

  • krissykkrissy Posts: 12
    edited 03/16/2014 - 12:33 AM
    Each and every positive thought, word or deed we can have, and hold on to, is what will get us through! ♥
  • A great post by the mod!
    But when your fear of never been able to work again in the job you love that supports your children and provides them with a home,is on the line because of your back pain, then I think its very hard to be positive! finances are a constant worry for people with cronic pain syndromes!as we all need money to live,and if you cant work???
    The sad part is the back pain wins 9/10, it stops you doing so much....
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • I know how hard it is living in constant pain, the beast is always lurking. Sometimes it takes strength & determination the likes of which we never believed we could muster. Sometimes it steals more from us than we ever appreciated we had. Sometimes it's relentless, sucking the joy out of every aspect of our lives & we want to scream "What's the point?". Sometimes we have a fantastic Mothers Day & know the answers to that question.

    Fight! 1 in 10 are pretty good odds. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • My profile pic was took in Italy last year one month befor all my back pain started look how happy I am !!LOL
    my smile is false now and has a tendency to crack and fall off :-/
    Trying my best to be positive,but it's so hard !
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • KarsinKKarsin Posts: 2
    edited 05/18/2014 - 6:21 PM
    I am in chronic pain with my back, I get shots, I take cymbalta, I have pain meds, a tens unit and a cold air pack and some days I am in so much pain I do not want to get up and live my life like that. I have a job which requires horrid lifting - I am a death investigator - so I climb, move furniture, move and lift bodies, some days are excruciating and I fear that by the time I get to retirement in 3 years I will either be too crippled to enjoy my retirement or too depressed from the pain. I am to the point that even in plain clothes the weight of my gun cuffs and radio feels like I am pregnant again... if I am in uniform my vest and gear weigh over 30 lbs. I hurt my back at work but it was a little at a time over a couple months so since I could not pin point the date they decided I must not have done it at work so I am screwed. I have burned through so much sick time with treatments and injuries that I am screwed there too. I feel so hopeless most days. the pain is exhausting.
    thanks for letting me vent....
    Regards, Karsin
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