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Is post surgical anger normal??

I am so full of anger & rage right now that I'm not sure what to do with it - my normal personality is fairly laid back, happy go lucky, go with the flow, glass half full, everything works out Pollyanna-ish, but now.... I'm angry about everything!
I'm mad that I'm 33, I've have had major 3 level ACDF surgery leaving a massive scar (over 3 inches) across my neck, and will be having at least 2 more major surgeries (Lumbar fusion probably L2-S1 and at least the right SI joint, possibly both)
I"m angry that I can't sleep in my own bed with the man I love, instead I'm stuck getting what little sleep I can while sitting in a recliner.
I'm pissed off that I've already missed nearly a year of my "normal" life - birthdays, weddings, the births of children to family and friends I love dearly who live in other states. I'm angry that I haven't been able to visit my nearly 90yo grandmother & may not be able to give her a hug again before she passes.
I've lost time at work (and may still lose my job), I've lost promotions, raises, and huge opportunities, vacations, time with friends, family & loved ones. I've lost the ability to live my life on my own terms - I'm not even allowed to drive right now!!! (several weeks post ACDF - I know I'll probably get it back, but still).
I'm angry that I've transformed from an even tempered, happy, positive, confident, cheerful overachiever , to a woman who is a mass of insecurities, & wonders what her boyfriend could possibly see in her gimpy self. I've gone from yoga 5x/wk, ballet isometrics 3x (or more)/wk, walking the dogs 3-5miles most days, working full time, cooking elaborate meals, running all of our errands, keeping the house clean, managing a busy social schedule, etc. This weekend we went to a birthday dinner for a friend on Saturday evening, and I'm still paying for it with pain and meds. I can't walk our dogs - I'm not even supposed to take them out for a quick pee! I've gained 70lbs, I have next to no patience, and while I try to keep telling myself that things are going to go back to normal, I'm terrified that this is my new normal.
I'm also mad that my finances are completely f'd up now - my LTD covers 60% of my income (pre OT, of which I worked about 10-20h/pp), and i have to pay full insurance premiums, etc out of it, so it's more like 35% -40% of my previous income...I have huge medical bills, car payment, rent, etc etc etc - I am blessed with a wonderful, supportive boyfriend, but I'm terrified he is going to decide that this is more than he should have to deal with and will leave - I wouldn't blame him if he did!

I'm hoping that all of this anger and frustration is a result of the surgery & anesthesia, and it will go away soon, but I'm scare that this is what my life will be like from now on.

How do you do it? How do you handle all of the changes in your life? How do you handle the Long Term Disability if you're lucky enough to have it, and still pay for your medical care & rent/mortgage/car payment? How do you fit "fun" stuff into your budget, and how do you determine what your body can handle???
I have a claim pending with the liability carrier for the property mgmt company right now - I have no idea how that will go, but I do know that we won't be able to settle anything until after I've hit max med improvement which could be a few years from now!!!

I guess I just need to know how you all do it - I know some of you have been here & dealing with this for a long time.... how do you keep going & keep your relationship going when you can't be intimate (and if you can, please please please tell me know! It's been almost a year & I miss it so much - we tried once & I thought I was literally going to die from the pain)

I'm sorry if this is all TMI, I'm just having a really hard time today/tonight/this week & I guess I just need someone who has been here to hold my hand & tell me it's going to be okay.
Slipped on a wet stair case the morning of 10/31/11, landed flat on my tush & blew up my spine & both SI joints.
3 level ACDF C4-C7 7/11/12 (collapsed discs & severe cord compression)
lumbar fusion to be scheduled once healed from ACDF


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    edited 07/23/2012 - 9:50 PM
    One of the hardest things to face after surgery is the changes it brings to our lives. Trust me I know after 7 of them. Things will get better with time. I know patience is hard at this point. But "PATIENCE" is the key word. I know for myself personally after surgery I would be weepy for a week or two following surgery and I believe it was caused from the anesthesia. This did go away. I think just about everyone here has had financial hardships due to their medical issues. Myself I was just about homeless before I was permitted to return to work. Thank god for family. I lost everything I owned before all was said and done and I had no choice but to start all over again at the age of 48. Be thankful for the wonderful man you have that is by your side during all this. Be sure to Let him know how appreciated he is. Hang in there and in time things will begin to get better.
  • Thank you Susan. We are so lucky to have this community to lend moral support and remind us that we're not alone in our feelings - thank you for responding!

    I tell my boyfriend daily how grateful I am for him - we have normal issues, but he's an amazing man and i know how lucky I am to have him - I still wonder why he doesn't leave & find someone less broken though. He's the only family I have locally, and his mom is the one who flew in to help take care of me after surgery (she'll be back after the lumbar fusion), as I don't have any close family that could spare the time to come down & care for me.

    I'll try to be more patient with myself and hope that this horrible anger and self loathing goes away quickly & is related to the anesthesia since surgery was just 2 weeks ago tomorrow :)

    thank you again - I appreciate your response Susan.
    Slipped on a wet stair case the morning of 10/31/11, landed flat on my tush & blew up my spine & both SI joints.
    3 level ACDF C4-C7 7/11/12 (collapsed discs & severe cord compression)
    lumbar fusion to be scheduled once healed from ACDF
  • islandstylistiislandstylist Posts: 307
    edited 07/24/2012 - 6:59 AM
    Hi hon,

    I can TOTALLY relate to your post. I also have no family nearby, I moved here to be with my fiance, my mother has had to come stay with us to look after our 9 mos old son. I feel useless as I am not allowed to do anything with our son.I am just a few years older than you. I had a total breakdown the other morning. Refused to get out of bed in the morning and started bawling.

    You and I have JUST come out of surgery and I am sure things will get better. Our great men are with us because we are great women. You are still the woman you always were, just going through some stuff right now. You will be fine, just let him be there for you and come post to us whenever you want.

    Bug hugs honey. pm me anytime.
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • Your are working through the different stages of grief. It's grief of loosing your old life and you will eventually move on to your new normal. If you find that you can't get over it there are always counselors that can help you. I believe it is the most under utilized mechanism for coping with pain, just someone to listen to you and help you work through it. Praying you have better days ahead.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • I have had five surgeries. I get emotional after all of them. Almost like the stages of grief, trying not to be so blunt. I get angry and depressed. Just totally pissed at the world. I lost my job after i busted my butt to get thru school for it. I just graduated last year. Had a good job for about 4 months then everything went downhill. I go thru the why me phase. I blame myself even though I know I can't help the fact that have bad discs in my back. I am lucky that I also see a good shrink, so he is there for me when i go thru these waves of emotions. Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • We all get angry and emotions take over as its normal when life changes and pain controls our dailey life, Its been 8 years now when i had my 1 st surgery and life has never been the same after no mater how many surgery they done after that, You reach a point you run out of energy to be angry and realise life must go on and what dont break you makes you stronger mentaly, Best of luck and stay strong! We must view ourself as no less of a person as we was before our injury and those who dont understand that around us we simply just have to stick our good foot up there ass to see it sometimes,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Hi Shana,
    I am so, so sorry you're having to go through this extremely rough time in your young life. If you weren't angry with all the obstacles and problems you're facing, I'd have to wonder why. I can only hope and pray that things, including the pain will eventually ease up. I read your post several days ago and couldn't stop thinking about it, so I had to stop what I was doing and respond.

    When I had to have my first lumbar laminectomy (L3 - L5) almost nine years ago, I had overly high expectations that it would eliminate all my pain and I could get my life back. I could take up golf and horseback riding again, take my dogs on long walks and do all the activities I used to enjoy. My Doctor even told me that I could play golf again within three months of the surgery. This, however, was not to be. When the truth finally dawned on me, was I ever angry! And, yes, all the usual emotions like depression, apathy, etc., hit me like a ton of bricks. As I am a good deal older than you, I knew that I didn't have a whole lot of time left in which to fix my back and get on with things and what patience I'd had was wearing thin. Like a lot of people here, I tried everything - physical therapy, acupuncture, yoga, pain management, epidural injection, nerve blocks and so on. My best friend finally told me about a doctor I needed to see. I did and am scheduled for lumbar surgery on August 31st and September 4. I will be fused from T9 all the way down to the ilium. I'm wondering if I will be moving like a robot after it's over. I'm really just hoping I will be able to walk upright again as I now walk bent way over as that's the only way to lessen the pain. As far as coming out of the surgery pain-free, I really believe that any surgery to relieve pain is a crap-shoot. You "pays your nickel and you takes your chances."

    Anyhow, Shana, just know someone is caring about and thinking of you.

  • I am 33 as well and never in my life would I have expected that I would have hardware in my neck because of a freak accident!

    It upsets me that I can't do anything that I normally do. I'm a week postop and had an acdf at the c4-c5 level.

    Today was the worst. I hurt, my nerve pain is not gone, my ex-husband is being an a$$, and I just feel like this horrible day is going to be my new normal :(

    I just have to remind myself for every bad day, there are lots of good days and once I can drive again all will get better.

    Hang in there and know you are not alone.
  • kamgramkkamgram Posts: 483
    edited 08/21/2012 - 5:18 PM
    Cheeky, some days are better than others. Today was one of my bad days. I was so angry and frustrated I went in the bedroom and closed the door and rested so that I would not take my anger out on my family. It is so frustrating to want to do something and realize you can't. Hang in there!!! I always have better days after a really bad one. So after today I should have a good week..lol

  • ellencalieellencali Posts: 162
    edited 08/22/2012 - 1:40 PM
    I can totally relate, just got back from my post-op appointment with surgeon 4 weeks after having a 3 level fusion L3-S1. I think the depression and the anxiety that comes along with all of this crap MUST be normal. I too had a great job, 2 little kids I handled primarily on my own and in a matter of a couple of weeks I went to a woman that lies in a hospital most of the time and watches my life and my life rotate around me. I was seperated prior to all of this....actually had just got back togther and around 3 weeks landed in the hospital waiting for the always inevitable fusion to happen. Spent an extra week in the hospital with pnemonia....I am rambling a bit, sorry. Cheeky, your feelings are so freaking valid, i want to scream for you. I am very fortunate that I have such an amazing support system around me. My family, my kids, and their dad have stepped in and handled my life, without even a blink f an eye. Ithink for some of us women, that are used to being in total control of our lives, this becomes the hardest part. While I am so grateful, I am pissed. Everyone is handling everything...very uncomfortable. My money, my kids, my everything is in someone elses hands. My almost 3 year old goes to his dad instead of me for comfort, my 8 year old is pissed at me....she is scared and see it in her eyes and it sucks to be the mommy that can't fix everything, let alone anything right now. At my appointment today, the PA for my sugeon said of course you are depressed and full of anxiety...you had a very extensive surgery and your recovery will be as extensive. Sorry to say it but xanax is saving my sanity right now and today the PA said I was crazy not to be taking it regularly....your body can not heal when it is in a total state of stress and/or pain. Be thankful for that man who sticks by your side, not guilty, you deserve to taken care of! My anger gets the best of me a lot of the time....I try and put myself in check and remember to think of all of the thinks in my life that I am grateful for....sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt....trudging....somtimes that's all that we can do. Good luck to you and your recovery and thank you for your post....its sets my mind into a different direction when I think of someone else and their issues! PEACE, ELLEN
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • Oh wow - I just logged in after not checking the boards for a while, and I want to thank all of you for sharing your stories and support! I have tears streaming down my face, and I'm sorry that I haven't checked in lately.

    I'm feeling more positive than I did when I wrote the initial post, but I'm still struggling sometimes - I'm having more pain above the C4-7 that was fused (burning pain above the fusion, both ears throbbing, shoulder pain, can't lift my left arm above shoulder height or move my head in any direction, blah blah), and of course I still need to do the lumbar fusion, etc., and I can't help but wish they could have just done all of the freaking surgeries at once and been done with it! I'm tired of hurting all the time - it still hurts to shower!

    Also, I feel like my friends are going on with their lives (which they should!), and forgetting about me. I think most of them just don't know how to deal with what's going on with me, but I've only had a couple of visits since the surgery, and none in the last month. I still can't drive myself (maybe after my NS appt next week, fingers crossed), but I feel forgotten, and I know my boyfriend is having to deal with zero social life, too - he doesn't see our friends either because he won't leave me alone to go out with them, even though I encourage him to, and I'm not sure how to get across to him that I want him to go out and have fun, and that I'll be okay by myself for a few hours (I'm okay while he's working all day, not sure why that is so different to him, maybe because one of them is required and the other is fun? lol).

    There's a concert in Orlando this weekend that I wanted to go to (even have tickets sitting next to me!), but there's no way I can deal with more than 2 hours round trip, plus a concert, so the tickets will go to waste. Again.

    I did ask the PA for my NS about an antidepressant or anti anxiety & she told me that I'd need to see someone else for that, she doesn't rx "that kind of med". Seriously? I see my pain mgmt doc tomorrow, and I'm fairly certain he'll be willing to rx it, it's just frustrating.

    I would love to go back to the morning of the fall, pick up my cell, call in, take the day off, pull the covers over my head & spend the day in bed so none of this would have happened. I still want my life back, or at least some semblance of it.

    I still sleep on the recliner (I got a new muscle relaxer that knocks me out, so I've actually been sleeping!!!!! I never thought I'd be so happy to sleep!), I still miss sleeping in bed snuggled up with that amazing man of mine - I'm hoping I'll be able to sleep in bed for at least few hours soon - maybe I'll try again tonight - I see my pain doc tomorrow, so I might as well try it - if it hurts like crazy at least I'll be seeing the right man to make it feel better, and it'll bolster my request that my pain meds get bumped up to the post surg level (the post surg meds took my pain to a 6-8, which was tolerable at this point, my normal meds keep my pain at a 8-10, which isn't tolerable).

    on the bright side, I can almost spell LOVE with the hardware in my neck (Plate from C4-6, screws in a v formation in C7 & a spring or plate of some kind across from it that looks like a lower case "L"), and I'm halfway to bionic, so... I guess it isn't all bad, right? :)

    I hope everyone is having a lower pain & higher spirits day, and thank you again for all the support!
    Slipped on a wet stair case the morning of 10/31/11, landed flat on my tush & blew up my spine & both SI joints.
    3 level ACDF C4-C7 7/11/12 (collapsed discs & severe cord compression)
    lumbar fusion to be scheduled once healed from ACDF
  • susabellssusabell Posts: 238
    edited 08/24/2012 - 4:14 PM
    It well get better! Patience is Key.

    Tall Hugs

    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.
  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,338
    edited 08/24/2012 - 6:46 PM
    i was more upset and would cry at the drop of a hat .i was defeated at everything .i did not have the strength to be angry ! .now i just want to be well and pain free .
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
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