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Nobody in my life really gets it

CDW123CCDW123 Posts: 25
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Depression and Coping
I did something bad today as a Mom. After putting up a brave front of being excited that my daughter got accepted to a college on the other side of the country (after weeks of hearing that she was settled on one in the NE - within 6 hours of home) and listening to her change her mind in front of me - she asked me why I looked so upset. Instead of do what I intended, which was to speak of my terror to my husband in private, I let her know that I am having to strongly consider going on disability (and give up my business) and may need more surgery soon.
My life is a living hell. I am the primary bread winner for our family. (My daughter is always nervous about finances, adding to my pressure.) I co-run a very stressful business in order to do this. I have been working for a solid year in horrible pain, chucking pain pills to make it through the day. I had surgery 6 weeks ago that hasn't helped. (Yes, I am back at work! Only really took one week off. Welcome to small business,) My husband, while supportive in helping me get medical help, get to Drs., been a shoulder, etc. continues to be a depressed, out of work freelancer. I am lucky to have some potential financial help from my mother offered, but leaving work is not simple. I have to get a lawyer, negotiate with my business partner (who I have yet to tell), figure out some kind of replacement for myself, which could take a great deal of time. The repercussions are not pretty & I stand to lose everything I have worked for. My disabiilty policy will not kick in for 90 days and won't come close to covering everything, especially with a child heading off to college. (Now one that may require expensive plane tickets, etc. I can't sit for more than 30 minutes. How am I supposed to see her off at college or visit???)
I'm being told to "grow up" and "put on a happy face" for my kid. I have worked and sacrificed everything for my only child for the past 17.5 years. I love her more than anyone but all of this is too much.
I hope someone out there understands how hard this is and will give me a break.
MY BFF has been through several of back surgeries, etc but has a husband who has supported her financially for years. She has always been able to take the time to heal and get better. I'm not saying she had it easy, but even she has no clue what I am up against.
I wake up every morning dreading the day. Now I feel guilty, crappy and immature.
Thanks for listening to my rant.
Soon to be out of work, poor, empty nester with no real solution to my back problem or pain.


  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    HA! Sounds like you are the grown up, responsible one.

    I can't really offer you advice since I'm one of the lucky ones who has a husband who works long hours and I'm a stay at home worker with no paycheck, vacation time etc...I do get room and board..lol. sorry, I'm kidding. I also have a 21 yr old son who helps me a lot when I ask with doing my "projects" I get myself into.

    What I really wanted to say is, in my opinion there comes a time when "YOU" have to do what's best for "YOU". No one else knows your pain and suffering no matter how much they say they understand, or how many well-meaning offers of "advice" they give. It's your life, your body, you know how you feel, you know your limits. I can tell how much mental anguish you are going through. I wish you the very best.

  • CDW123:

    I am responding as a man typically does, analyzing and then offering solutions. Been married to the same lady for 40 years and I still have not learned the successful knack of responding as an affirmer of her communication/fealings instead of offering solutions. So why change now?

    It appears to me that there are 3 main issues described in your post - health, finances and relationships.

    Each of us on this Forum live, or lived, with the impact of substandard spine health. All by itself it is a challenge. Mix it into "life" and it becomes even more of a challenge. Your situation is a classic example. There may be a remedy for your health, or there may not. If so, it could occur soon or much later. No one knows, so we proceed daily (as you stated) and plod along. Chronic illness and pain will wear out even the most energetic and persistent person. It's a matter of time.

    I suspect that few, if any, members of this Forum are independently wealthy. So, the rest of us must do something to generate sufficient income to maintain an acceptable standard of living. When the person who is afficted with substandard spine health is also the primary income producer then financial fear increases and exacerbates the physical pain. We ask ourselves..."what if I can't...?" and then our level of fear grows. To quote the Kinks from a 1960's song..."paranoia - mean destroyer." That redirection of positive energy depletes our reserves. Another quote that I read on the wall of a military gymnasium - "Fatigue makes cowards out of us all." Chronic pain wears us down and then it becomes even more difficult to think clearly.

    The subject line of your post alluded to the relationship issue. It speaks for itself. Even a bone headed man like me picked up on that.

    So what do I recommed, even though you did not ask for any recommendation? Well, deligently pursue medical recourse (second opinions, alternative medical interventions, etc.). Consider altering your workday or work space so that you can get short and frequent rest cycles. For example, alter the times of the day when you and your business partner work. There may not be any need for both of you to be there the entire time. Also, consider a bed with heating pad hidden away out of sight somewhere at work that would allow you to mimic the rest haven at your house. Five minute reclines are equivalent to the power naps that some people take.

    Financial recommendations are tougher. Discuss the seriousness (potential outcome) of the situation with your business partner. She may have some solutions or may be willing to agree to alternative work schedules as a result of knowing the seriousness of your medical situation. Strongly consider the possibility of having your husband help in the business venture. Leap of faith here, I don't know what the business is and that may preclude a male's participation. Perhaps identify someone who could physically "stand in" for you and you pay that indiviudual a salary.

    Now for the relationship recommendation. I am a parent of three and went through the college selection/departure event several times, so I speak with experience (maybe not wisdom). Maybe if the college of choice is too expensive at this particular time then it is no longer a college of choice. My opinion here - too many parents, and students, spend so much money on a college degree that it borders on insanity. The debt load is enormous and follows someone (parent or student) for a long, long time. It may very well be time in your family unit to discuss the realities of finances. There is no parental responsibility law that requires parents to pay exorbitant amounts of money so their child can too often flitter away the educational opportunity while not personally having any financial liability in the event. It's a teaching/learning moment that is missed because too many Americans get caught up in the hullabaloo of college. I forgot to mention that I am an adjunct teacher at a college, so maybe my comments either seem well founded or insane.

    The entire family unit is impacted by any and all events that each family member experiences. Some are positive and some are negative. When those events impact a critical component of the family unit, such as income, then the entire family unit is impacted and the entire family unit should respond to the situation.

    Perhaps I responded with too much opinion, but your post hit several of my hot buttons. Good luck.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ...you are going through. It does sound very complicated, but making decisions step by step as not all will happen at once. But you sound like you have a doable plan.

    It is not easy, esp. as mother's heart is so full of love it's amazing that the guilt has room to grow, too...but it does. I know.

    But you are doing no good to yourself and then of course to anyone else by having surgery and hurrying back to work...putting yourself and the surgeon's work at risk.

    Change is difficult under the best of situations and certainly with fear of the unknown in the future it can be all consuming. That's where your plan with one day at a time comes in and your pain a gentle or not so gentle reminder of the urgency to take care of yourself.

    Your daughter may not understand now, but hopefully with time she will. And really, your example of how to care for yourself is priceless..as God forbid..we never know what our children may need to face some day.

    Takeing care of yourself now also helps the odds of you being in better shape to see..maybe dance..at her wedding...grandchildren...you know.

    I have always had to ask people to "Pls put that child on my lap" :)
    Being with limitations may be difficult for others to understand, but doesn't make you any less worthy or loveable...or needed in the life of your family an family to come.

    Never worry about a rant here..and there is no guilt.
    We are here for you any time. We do understand.

    Take care and please keep us posted with how you are doing.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385

    Very well said.

  • Very nicely said, And i could not agree more!
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Debbie, Jim & Savage -

    Thanks you so much for all you input and advice.
    Today I was told to "Put on a happy face." no matter what in front of my daughter for the next 4 months. I guess I will try my best. If she decides to go the the west coast school I guess I'll have to pretend to be happy, but I'm not going to be. If I weren't going through this hell, ii wouldn't be having as a big an impact on me, but I am and it's harsh. Of course I want what she wants for herself as she has worked hard and has gotten in to two v. good schools.
    To answer Jim's comment on the cost of college. I agree about debt. Our girl is going to one of two Canadian schools. Problem with the WC school is the cost of getting back and forth among other added expenses that come with being far away. With the likely onset of extreme financial tightening, this is causing me more anxiety. The selfish part of me doesn't want her so very far away so soon. I guess I feel extra vulnerable.
    Regarding business, I am already working less for a lower wage than my partner. So far, it isn't really helping enough.
    I'm starting PT soon and am praying it will help me. After having gone through months of PT prior to surgery with zero results, it is hard to be hopeful. I'm going to try and see a lawyer about my options regarding my business and I'm looking for a good shrink. If I have to stop working I guess I will. Maybe it is time to be selfish for once. Maybe it will dawn on my family finally how easy it was when good ol' Mom brought home the bacon and there were no worries and how putting my hand out to my mother for constant help isn't so great either.
    Thanks again.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    Jim, did a much finer job at posting a reply then I could have. He covered all the bases.
    Great job Jim...

    CDW. The understanding is out there.
    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
  • CDW, I hope that you can find the help and support you need as you go thru this very difficult time.
    I can imagine that you must feel upset with having to share your feelings with your daughter. I have 2 great daughters and I had tried for a long time not to worry them or my husband and extended family with my own health issues. I tried to down-play the pain and put off surgeries for so long that I did more damage than I ever expected.
    I hope that your daughter will as my own did come to understand and be 2 of the most supportive people I know.
    wishing you more comfort and less pain,
  • I too am so sorry for what you are going through. In 1995 I had my first spinal surgery which included Degenerative spondylosthesis L4-L5, Severe spinal stenosis L4-L5, Massive left L4-5 facet joint cysts and left leg L4-L5 radioculopathy.
    I was 45 years old and way to young to have this type of surgery but there was no choice after reviewing the MRI with my Doc.
    I lost my home and my job and was off work for more than a year. It was such a dark time for me but I DID come back.
    I went to work for a wonderful company and for the last 16 years traveled the world. Eventually it caught up with me again and I my last spinal surgery was in 2008. The surgery was in 2 parts and lasted 2 days. They took out the old hardware, put in new and did additional multi level fusions. I have the spine of a 90 year old woman according to my Doc.
    It has been 3 years now and I am on total disability. It HAS been hard. I gave up a job that I loved, friends, family and am in the process of mourning my loss. My children have no understanding of what I am going through. I guess they think I just retired. They aren't speaking to me because I don't jump in my car and go to my Grandson't football game or wrestling match. They insist if I wanted to I could come down. 300 miles is a long way when you drive through L.A. traffic on narcotics. I can't sit or stand for more than a few minutes at a time much less sleep in any old bed if I sleep at all. I have tried everything my Doc and I can think of to try and relieve the pain but it is an uphill battle.
    I pray that your situation will get right and my guess is that if you shared your fears with your daughter she might respond in a way that will make you proud!
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