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dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
edited 07/26/2012 - 5:01 PM in New Member Introductions
No matter what subject matter you want to discuss, there are always a number of myths that surround them.
Same goes for folks dealing with spinal problems.

In no certain priority order, here are some of the more common myths:

1 I am too young to have these spinal problems The doctors won't operate on me because I am so young.

2 My doctor told me that my spine is like an 80 year old person.

3 There is no hope, my life as I knew has ended.

4 My doctor wont listen to me, I needed stronger medications and they refused.

5 I've tried everything, nothing works.

1 - Spinal problems and pain never discriminates regarding age. Spinal problem can be a result of trauma, genetic and other family environments, and other causes. Many of those have nothing to do with age. I have heard doctors say that they would prefer NOT to operate on a younger person. But that assumes there are no other options. In fact, there are some numbers that would indicate that younger people bounce back stronger and faster than those in later years.

2 - There are some 80 year olds that have spines much better than ours! Think about it, we are seeing a spinal
specialist or other doctor to help diagnose and repair the problems we have. It would be very interesting to compare a person in the young 20's with several herniated discs with a person in their 80's who walk, hike, swim every day...now who's spine looks better!

3 - Once you decide that there is no hope and your former self has ended, then unfortunately, you may be sentenced for many years of unhappiness and discomfort. There isn't a person here or anywhere that does not have the will, the power, the desire to push on. Positive thinking and positive attitude is what can help get us there. Not saying its easy, but its about the only thing in front of us, so make the most of it. Forget about you cant do and start thinking of all the new things you now can do.

4 - My doctor doesnt listen to me. I ask for a MRI, they wont give me one, I am in bad pain, but they wont give me more
pain medications. Doctors have an obligation to their patients. The review and medically examine all the information about the patient that is available. Based on that, some clinical examinations and good people insight, most doctor recommendations are perfectly sound. The problem comes with the patient who just wants more. Yes, they are in pain, so their view is more pain medications will help. That is never the answer.

5 - You might have tried 10 different forms of treatment and nothing is helping. Well, in that situation, I would discuss
with your doctor if surgery is the ONLY option. If not, then go back and try some of those treatments again.
I've been to Physical Therapy on/off for the good part of 35 years. Some PT was good, some PT was not. I had some luck with traction, but another time no, the same for acupuncture and endless other treatments. If one didnt work,
I'd want to know why and then make every effort to try it again and again if necessary. Several folks have asked for my
advice when it comes to having surgery. I am in no position to give out medical advice, but I always say, Do everything you can to avoid that first surgery . But of course that also has to be consistent with your doctors thinking also.

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


  • Dilauro:

    I totally agree with your post. I just want to add the "reality" part. Pain is real, and I don't want to diminish it, nor do I believe that you mean to do so. Spinal issues hurt and debilitate, but they don't "zero us out" as humans. Only we can do that.

    I have been on this list since November 2010 and in that short period of time I have noticed an increase in the number of members who seem to be "whough is me" or "the end is near," etc. Gloom and doom everywhere. No chance of improvement. That may very well be true, BUT that is the physical aspect of the spinal issue. The mental aspect is YOUR's to control. Don't misinterpret my statement. I fully understand that nightmarish cycle of job loss, uninsurability, financial ruin, relationship disintegration, life style change, depression, etc. But sometimes some of us talk ourselves into that vortex of "no hope" and we go down the drain.

    I am not trying to be "Polly Annish" about this. Life can really suck when you are a spiney, but negative self-talk can aggravate the circumstances. Consider the wisdom of the Little Red Engine ("I think I can, I think I can"), or the advice given to Bob in the movie What About Bob ("baby steps"). All humans encounter challenges in life, some physical, some mental, some emotional, etc. Each of us must either address the challenge or ultimately allow it to overpower us and eventually suck the very life out of us.

    Another random thought - current medicine is not perfect. It is improving at a rapid rate, but it is far from perfect.

    OK, enough from me. My next paragraph was heading in the direction of politics, sociology, etc.

    Let's all hang tough folks. Sometimes that's the only, and most effective, remedy.

  • Funny, we use that phrase so often but I have seen Polly Anna. It's an old film and book (I think). There are so many things to celebrate in life. So many things that can fill holes that are empty because of loss. Loss of health. Loss of money. Loss of loved ones. Celebrate any and everything you can. LOOK for things to celebrate. I volunteer as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) otherwise known as a guardian ad litem. I have a child now, 15, I am working with. I spend evenings (even with my back pain) taking shifts at a cancer center with him/her. Child has been abused in the worst possible sexual ways for all his/her life. Now is in a hospital diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma. And I complain??????????????????????? This child keeps smiling through all the chemo and losing hair and not being able to go to school and losing all family members due to assault. If this child can keep smiling, so shall I. It is an issue of human spirit. And for those of us who are believers, God.
  • I agree with all the above posts. I tend to just dwell on my pain and problems and you know what I have learned from this? I actually feel worse!!! When I am wrapped up in myself, my pain, my depression, my circumstances they seen to grow larger and take control of my life. I have been trying to concentrate on others who have much worse circumstances than I and it actually makes me feel better. I don't concentrate on the pain and depression nearly as much and I feel good to just make a call and ask how they are doing or say I love you.
    kathyy, I think what you are doing for this precious child is awesome. I can't imagine what she has been through and to have someone she can lean on and can trust is priceless.Thank you for reminding me that the world does not revolve around me and my issues:) I have learned so much from so many on this forum about compassion and putting others before myself. I have decided that I will try to be more positive and have at least one good thing to say about my circumstances and make sure I say at least one nice thing to someone else everyday:)

  • Everything about every single comment in here is just awesome.... I love the way that it was put about the 80 year old spine!! I had two doctors say to me that I had a bad (insert age here) spine. Also my first doctor was not even willing to look at the option of a fusion, due to me being 25. She performed a discectomy and then wanted to wait a year to see if it took, regardless of all the other issues that were going on back there. When my second, and current, surgeon told me that he highly recomended a single fusion I was hesitant at first because the comments I heard about my age. However, I thought long and hard and did research and came to the conclusion, as stated above that odds are my body will have more time to adapt therefore I feel my recovery will be more successful then if I were to wait and allow the damage that was going on continue just so I could be a couple years older.

    I also love the fact that you mentioned "What about Bob". Did you see my name?! :) I love that movie!!!!

    On another note I agree with surrounding yourself with strong individuals, even if they are young adults!! I am in the Military and my surgery was performed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Basically the epicenter of the wars reality! It is extremely humbling when you see individuals with limbs, faces and even worse organs or areas that you dont want to lose blown off or severaly damged. It makes you realize that it could be worse and the fact the 99.9% of them are in the best of spirits! So many I met are so optimistic and their hearts are full of hope, they are just thankful to be alive regardless of the struggles that face them. They're attitudes are beyond inspiring!

    Oh yeah a note on pain. We all know IT SUCKS! I personally only take pain killers when absolutely neccessary, mostly at night, not only because I know that addiction is rampade with back patients but I feel like it makes me tougher and most importently it keeps me in tune with my body so if something is very wrong I can feel the difference.
  • I have been lurking around this website for quite sometime before I joined. A whole bunch of the posts have so much negativity in them. Yes, I know that the pain sucks and you may just stay in bed all day to hide from it. I have had five surgeries, three in the past six months. I am going for an MRI tomorrow to see if I need my L5/S1 fused. I won't allow myself become victim to the pain and I have sciatica so bad I sometimes cannot bear weight on my left leg. I can't sleep in my bed, I'm stuck sleeping in a recliner. I lost my dream job and I have medical bills piling up again. I just filed for bankruptcy for all medical bills before my first surgery this year. I could be super depressed and blame myself for everything. I have learned that does get you anywhere except in a bad mood. I am for becoming as healthy as I can and possibly returning to work one day. After all I am only 32 and I filed for SSD. I pretty much know I am going to get denied cause of my age and education.

    I try to do things that keep preoccupied from the pain. I am strong advocate for mental illness. On top of all my back problem I have bipolar type 1 disorder. I strive to change the stigma that mental illness doesn't make anyone a monster or useless. My back issues actually affect my bipolar disorder. The pain affects my moods. I get depressed really easily. I have to go see my psychiatrist more often cause of this. He has increased all my meds. He is also proud that I have remained positive through this whole experience. I am also a volunteer for greyhound adoption. I am not as involved as I was before I had my fusion, but I still go to adoption events. I also foster retired greyhounds.

    Thanks for letting me tell you little bit on how I try to deal the worst of situations. We all are very strong people. We are spineys, we stick together and are there for each other when time comes.
    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.
  • Hi RTgirl2011, thank you so much for the encouraging and upbeat post. It is easy for me to get down and think poor pitiful me but I don't want to be like that. I want to think like you do, even though you are in pain you have not let it break your spirit. I realized that the way I act affects my entire family and knowing there is nothing they can do to help makes them feel worse and I don't want that. I started seeing a psychologist and had my medications changed and am starting to feel better mentally. I know there are alot of things I can't change but the things I can work on I am going. Thank you and I hope all goes well for you and you do get your disability or even better be able to go back to work one day:)

  • RTgirl2011RRTgirl2011 Posts: 512
    edited 07/31/2012 - 5:00 PM
    Thank you for making me feel so good. I am glad you are doing things to better yourself. Talking to someone is a great way to get those extra feelings and frustrations out. Plus it will have positive effects on the way you think. I didn't get my MRI yesterday, because my latest fusion isn't five weeks old yet. I have to wait to Friday to get it, at least its an open MRI. I'm worried about my back but I don't have smashed into the closed MRI. I have been put into the tube four times this year and it was time for a change. It used not bother me but since my back started hurting again the closed machine hurts me. I found out some good news from my old job if I don't have another surgery I can come back on an as needed basis. I am a respiratory therapist, it not to physically demanding but it is 12 hr shift and a lot of walking. I gotta feeling I am going to be having my third fusion this year just by the way I feel. If that's what I gotta do I will do it. I'll just remain optimistic and everything will be okay.
    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.
  • I've been on these boards for four years and have never felt like I do now - so sorry for myself that I don't even post anymore. That's never happened to me before. I'm facing my third surgery (lumbar fusion at L2/3,3/4) and have been so down that felt I couldn't do anything but have a pity party. I've already had a 3-lvl ACDF and TLIF at L4/5 and it keeps coming.

    Well, guys, thanks to you my party is over! I'm going to look at the bright side, start posting more, being more supportive and helpful, and share my experiences and thoughts with regards to others' pain and problems here.

    Thanks to all of you, and to you PapaRon for starting this thread, so that I can see everything that others are doing and going through that makes me realize I don't have it near as bad as so many others.

  • kamgramkkamgram Posts: 483
    edited 08/01/2012 - 5:29 PM
    Good for you Cathie...I also am going to be a better person and just be thankful for what I have and the good days I have. It is so easy to get wrapped up in myself but since the post above I have been calling and visiting family and friends who are in pain and struggling and it makes all of us feel better:) I am not saying I dont have bad days cause I do but just not gonna dwell on them anymore. It is starting to feel like I have a second family here;)

  • Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
    edited 08/04/2012 - 3:17 AM
    I'm glad for you and know it's hard to take your mind off your own problems, but sometimes we just have to stop being self-centered.

    This is a wonderful family because we all understand what you're going through. I'm glad you're here and enjoying your spiney family.

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