Hi there... I'm very grateful to have found this community, and it's comforting to know there are other people in similar situations.
I'll try to give a quick synopsis here: I'm a 40 year-old guy with an amazing wife of almost 11 years, and two of the sweetest little boys anyone could ask for.
Almost 11 years ago - exactly one month after my wife and I got married - I was in a rear-end auto accident. Prior to this, I had always been totally healthy; never had any physical problems. But this car accident and the aftermath has given me (and my wife) an immediate education in dealing with doctors & hospitals, auto insurance companies, health insurance providers, etc. In the E.R. after the accident, they intially thought my neck was broken... thank God it wasn't, but I did have two herniated discs. It took several years and a lot of physical therapy to get my neck back to normal, where I could turn it without pain.
Unfortunately, my low back has been a different story. I went through nearly every treatment imaginable - nerve block injections, epidurals, TENS units, P.T., massage, etc... all in an attempt to avoid surgery. However, I didn't get any relief from any of these procedures, and I ultimately had a lumbar laminectomy about 7 years ago.
That gave me about 2 or 3 years of pretty good relief, but sadly, the pain returned... very slowly at first, but over time, it became just as severe as it had been before my surgery. A recent MRI showed that I have developed spinal stenosis, in addition to more disc herniations. My doctor mentioned that it had been difficult for them to see what was going on in the MRI - I have a great deal of scar tissue in my lower back from all the nerve block injections over the years.
In the first 2 to 3 years after the accident, I was able to work only sporadically... then ultimately I was taken off work altogether. Not long after my back surgery, I was able to get back to work, at a new job that I enjoy quite a bit, and that's where I work currently. I am able to function and enjoy a fairly good quality of life with the help of pain medications. I was fortunate to find a very good doctor, and I established a good rapport with him... he dispensed ample medications for me, and he trusted me with them... I never asked for early refills, I kept pain journals, etc. Sadly, a couple of months ago, my doctor decided to pursue an opportunity in a different state. Even more discouraging is the fact that the people who have taken over his practice do not seem at all interested in dealing with his chronic pain patients - they are rude, unprofessional and unconcerned. So I am currently scrambling to find a new doctor, hoping I can locate one who was at least as good as my previous doctor.
That's a very condensed version of my story, and I'd be happy to elaborate more if anyone is interested. I look forward to making as many new friends here as I can.