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Nver thought I needed to worry about being depressed

Two weeks ago today marks my third spinal surgery. This is the first time i have ever felt an overwhelming sense of depression. True this was the lengthest of the three and I am older now and recovering very slowly. But I just can't even think about the future without tearing up. None of my friends truely understand. One retired on medical disability years ago but because her husband still worked, and carried all the benefits, she had no true lifestyle change. Another is encouraging me to retire on disability but she doesn't understand my economic situation despite my trying to explain it to her.

In 2008 my husband had some heart issues. He has since lived in the no man's land of some days being too sick to work yet others being too well for disability. Both his doc and I have asked him to apply but he is insisting that if he can get a cardiac abulation he will be fine. Our next hope of a doc actually performing one is next month. This has left me sole earner and benefit carrier. I understand his ego/depression etc at his own situation. But I'm afraid that if I don't go back to work full time we won't make it..yet right now I am having serious doubts about my doing that.

I know it's only 2 weeks out from surgery, I just never felt this down before.
Thanks for letting me venbt


  • hamrs_62hhamrs_62 Posts: 38
    edited 07/21/2012 - 5:48 PM
    to think what I was capable of doing, and what I can no longer able to do sometimes gets me really down, I was pretty capable of doing what I wanted to do three years ago at 53, now I can't even play with my grand kids the way I want to, and lack of pain relief, I mean total pain relief, I get it lowered with meds, but never relived,, my wife told me to get some depression meds, but never talked to the doc,,,
  • That's the post card my son sent me the other day. He's in Afghanistan as a private contractor and I don't want to add to his occasional bouts of guilt about being away. I have it hung on my refrigerator and use it as a kind of touch stone when I'm feeling too down.
    It's hard to find enjoyment in the things you used to do when you have to depend on others to help you. I have a rather extensive collection of carnivours plants and orchids. Some are temperate and are grown outdoors, the rest are being grwon under very controled conditions in my basement. I need to depend on my husband to carry water for me (from the rain barrel) so I can water inside, help me up and down the stairs, and to drag the hoses to water outside. Kind of takes the fun out of caring for them.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,837
    and really normal for any spinal patient, before and after any surgery.
    There is a lot that you have to deal with. Too many people seem to focus on the physical aspects of a medical condition. Sure, that is what is hitting you in the face every day and you try to find ways to reduce the pain and discomfort.

    But, its the emotional part of dealing with spinal problems that can be very difficult. There are so many factors that can either help or hinder this situation.

    - Support system at home
    - Support system outside the home
    - Financial impacts
    - Dealing with the change in what you used to be able to d
    - Dealing with what the future holds for you

    I can say from my own personal experiences and those of many members here, a Positive attitude and approach is so very important. We should stop thinking about what we can no longer do and instead focus on what we can still do.

    Your future can be bright, so much of making that happen is within your own control.
    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
  • As I told another member earlier, it "sucks" to be us. And getting the appropriate help, especially with depression and chemical imbalances is imperative. That being said......and please forgive me if this sounds trite (which it does)......but our attitude IS our altitude and our altitude is limited by our attitude. It can't hurt anything to keep focused on all the positives in life. There is absolutely NO downside. Thank you Ron for reminding us.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,837
    edited 07/31/2012 - 7:09 AM
    many bumps in the road, the ups/downs, the impacts of the roller coaster ride with chronic pain.

    I do really believe we can outlast our pain. But that takes alot of work, dedication to both the physical and emotional aspects of dealing with pain. Sometimes I look at how people deal with acute pain. For short periods of time they are really hurting, but they generally still do what they need to do.

    Granted , based on some of our surgeries and other problems, doing what we have to do sometimes is very difficult.

    We all have options.

    1 Allow the pain to consume our lives and it becomes the most upfront aspect of your day to day life. Its hard to remain positive if you follow this path. Once you are on downhill slide, sometimes its impossible to climb up that hill again.

    2 Stay in the flow, do all the things your doctor recommended, continue home exercise, watch your diet, etc. You basically are in a 'plateau' level. You can deal and manage your pain and discomfort, but you are not finding ways to do more to become both physically and mentally stronger. It takes both of those to stay ahead of chronic pain.

    3 Take a stand that you will not allow your pain to dictate your ife. It doesnt matter what kind of pain
    you are in, lumbar, cervical, thoracic, all of those, arthritis, etc. There may times that you are in a flare up or dealing with several days on the down side of the roller coaster. Its easy to get depressed about it, or just say, Pain is going to win ... Here where it gets tougher and only those that remain positive and refuse to be consumed will stay ahead.

    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 can deal with the pain, my problem is the loss of ability. i am almost four weeks out from surgery and still need a walker because without it if i lean the wrong way or move wrong I don't have the reaction time to compensate. Hopefully tyat will start to improve as healing continues. I still cannot do stairs easily, which means between that and needing a walker on both levels of the house I can not do things by myself such as caring for my plants. Normally a great source of joy for me. i cannot drive yet. I cannot go back to work yet as my company states you either can or cannot work. No light duty or restrictions allowed. And I cannot look for a different job without my 12 week FMLA passing and the doctor says that I cannot return due to medical reasons. Otherwise I have to payback the leave time i had been paid.
    This has me much more depressed than the pain.
  • anelsen15 said:
    Do you have short term disability or long term? Im guessing no if you took FMLA.
    Yes i have short term disability, on it now, and long term if it comes to that. All fmla does is protect my job, it has nothing to do with getting paid or not.
  • FMLA protects my job for 12 weeks. After that they can terminate me, or at least say that they can no longer gaurentee me the same type of job back. The disability is a seperate issue and fortunaetly allows me to have some form of income while i am out. Where the problem lies is that if I don't return to work without the doctor saying it is because of medical reasons, then my company can ask for my paid leave benefits back. it is perfectly legal for them to not hold a job after twelve weeks but as long as the doctor says I can not return to work than I can still collect the disability.
  • I received my termination papers a few weeks ago. My company (a small doctors office) has less than 50 employees so they dont have to follow federal laws. I only received 6 weeks of leave and now pushing 10 weeks being out. Last sugeries in Oct. and Dec. of 2008 had me out for 4 1/2 months and even though I was terminated I was allowed back because my doctor who I work with wanted to wait on me to come back. She has also said that this time but with all the complications not sure if I can return to work but will shall see.

    I would also like to just say a little about depression. I have suffered from depression for close to 30 yrs. Mine is not situational but chronic chemical imbalance. Now I will say that some situational depression sets after each surgery I have had including the last one on May 24, 2012. There is a big difference in the two. Sometimes you can soldier through a short term bout but when it is chronic and you add to chronic pain it can be overwhelming and I realize that I will have to take medication along with occasional therapy but the alternative would be much worse and I have expereinced that also when I attempted suicide in 1989 and had nothing to do with pain at that time.

    I am just so glad to have found this forum which I feel has been a big part of my therapy and talked to alot of people who have been kind and understanding:)

  • There is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist for depression or stress, or anything emotional whether it's chronic depression or situational, or a combo of both. It's good for you!

    I'm not saying you will click with every therapist, but just like any other doc, you just find another one, that's all. I like to ask the secretaries which one they think will work best with what I am dealing with (pain management). That has worked well for me when I have had to move or had insurance changes. I personally like to use a clinic with several therapists plus a psychiatrist just in case you need medication for a bit.

    I've learned a lot of coping techniques and a lot about how to control myself n stress levels, and even deal with family that doesn't understand chronic pain. I've definitely got a long way to go, though! LOL!

    Also, if you are really dangerously down in the dumps, call a 24-hr suicide/depression hotline to help get you through until your appointment. The have saved me several times! Just do an internet search for one and you will find many sources.

    God bless you all! May He give you strength, comfort, healing, humor, and The ability to be a blessing to others as well. <3
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