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Struggling to accept

My vent for today:

I am 22 years old and I feel trapped in a body that won't let me be the person I want to be. The two things that give me the most joy in life, horseback riding and CrossFit, I have not been able to do since my last surgery (see history in signature) and probably will not be able to do again. I will likely have to sell my horse because I can't ride anymore and I have lost the sense of community at my CrossFit gym because I can only do body weight strength workouts in the corner by myself.
I lost 40 pounds doing CrossFit 6 days a week and my injury and current limitations have severely limited my ability to lose weight. I have gained 20 of those 40 pounds back so that means I currently need to lose about 70 pounds. I am depressed and angry about my situation and it is hard to get up every day and stay positive. I know my weight contributes to my back problems and I would give anything to lose weight, but it just doesn't come easily since my symptoms flare up and my depression gets the better of me. I feel like a failure and a horribly unhappy person that has been denied the things that make me happy. I deserve more than this. I deserve more than I have been given and I deserve more than I have limited myself to because of my back problems and excess weight.
This life is hard, disappointing, and lonely. It is hard to believe it will get better or that I will succeed.
22 year old. Herniated L4-L5 and L5-S1 in December of 2008 in horse riding fall. All non-surgical methods failed. L4-L5 micro discectomy in Sept. 2010. Further herniation of L5-S1 disc in Nov. 2011 and had L5-S1 micro discectomy March 2012.


  • I am always using my neck problems, or elbow tendinitis, or plantar fasciitis as an excuse why I can't exercise right now, yet taking the weight off would help with the medical issues as well as the depression. Quit drinking, and traded one addiction for another- eating! Four years ago I did lose 60 pounds, felt I looked great, but hated feeling denied all the things I liked to eat. Swore I would NEVER go back to my o.d weight, but, here I am now at my heaviest ever. I'm lucky I am tall, it hides the weight better, but I hate wearing plus size clothes . Anyone that tries to help with ideas, I completely shoot them all down with excuses. It's a vicious cycle!
    I'm not much help, am I? I guess I'm just letting you know you are not alone, and venting is good when venting to others that feel the same way.
    So, having ACDF surgery tomorrow, and hoping the relief I get, along with new job, will motivate me to make a fresh start with eating healthy as well......it CAN be done, I did it before, you can too!
  • I like you loved riding and competed in barrels and went to all the horse shows , if you dont have dont sell your horse , just brushing my horse or spending time in the barn was good therapy for me as far as stress went..Not being able to ride was a big thing for me and I have tried a few times but its taking a risk and it hurt like hell, you are not a failure just one of os special spiney people..Just keep trying with your doctor to find something that helps ..
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,858
    edited 11/25/2012 - 5:34 PM
    Then add to the equation is that you went from being Person "A" to now Person "B"
    It takes time to realize the situation and come to terms with it.
    But, by now means is it the end, or the termination of the life you lived before.

    But what is more important to me and I know that many here who have suffered with Chronic pain for years is your statement about that you do not deserve this or that you deserve more. I know this will seem cruel and harsh, but what makes you any different than the thousands of others here how have experienced what you have and much more!

    I have a difficult time when I hear from members about how much they have lost and that they can not succeed or make anything positive again. Once anyone believes in that mode, then yes, they wont succeed and more than likely they will be very unhappy and lonely.

    I encourage and will support anyone that tries. Keeps a positive outlook and approach to their situation. Instead of saying what they can no longer do, start thinking of what you can do from this day on more.

    I could write pages and pages of what 35+ years of Spinal problems, followed by total joint replacements and living with pain medications to get by. BUT NO, Yes, I know what I can no longer do. Does that get me blue time to time? NO, not now, but Yes, years ago it did. So, while I may sound cruel , harsh and un-caring, I do understand where you are coming
    from. Its not that unusual, you like many others suffering with spinal problems for the first time feel.

    I only wish I could tell you all the correct things for you to do and think to give you a better outlook. But, I can not, that is something you need to come to terms by yourself. Many times, the pressure and stress in dealing with all of this can be too much to handle by yourself. Seeking professional counselors may be a very real option.

    You are not alone. Things will get better, as long as you want it to
    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
  • quicksilverqquicksilver Posts: 126
    edited 11/26/2012 - 3:20 AM
    As far as I know, nobody "deserves" anything. We get what life hands us. For those of us with faith, we get what God gives us. The big question is this; will I learn to live with the new me, or will I simply dwell on the past? To me, the first sin is to give up. If you ain't dead then you still have a chance and hope. That hope, that chance, may be incrediblly long shots, but they're still there.

    As for me, I slipped and fell square on my butt on an icy driveway 5 years ago this week. Starting with the occasional spasm, I have been in increasing pain since then. My current pain levels run between 5-7 during the day with scattered spasms (8+ on the pain scale) throughout the day. On the bright side, I have been waking up to nearly normal levels of pain and stiffness in the morning.

    I've now had 2 L5/S1 fusions and the pain and spasms still test my limits. While recovering from the second fusion I'm forced to stay off work. I've tried all sorts of ancillary cures and procedures. Some work and some are a waste of time and money.
    Disability retirement
  • Since I posted this on one of my "downer days" I do think it is important that I include how I feel on most days. My daily motto (for most days) is that you don't get what you deserve, you get what you get and what you do with that is up to you. I know that I am no longer the person I used to be. I have to look forward and live life to the best of my abilities- my new abilities. The world will not end, I will feel better, and I will learn to accept things. There are so many more people with pain and limitations far greater than mine. Nobody does get what they deserve and on my downer days I I choose that phrase because I tend to blame myself for the situation I am in so that phrase seems to be my way of letting myself know that I am not a failure and there are things I can't control. I don't deserve more than anyone here. On other days, I give myself grief for complaining because my problems "don't count" when compared to others. I tend to bottle up my negative feelings, so only my downer days I spit out all of my "childish" or instinctive feelings. My mental struggle with my situation has only been exacerbated by previous struggles I have had with depression and some life changing events. Because I was injured and have dealt with problems from the time I was 18 (just turned 22) I find that many friends have "found themselves" or enjoyed this young time in their life and though I do appreciate some things I have experienced during this timeframe, what has defined me (for the most part) has been my back issues. I don't feel excited or ready for the future of a soon-to-be-graduating college student because I feel more lost than when I was a teenager in high school. I will figure it out and life will go on- I have to remember that.
    22 year old. Herniated L4-L5 and L5-S1 in December of 2008 in horse riding fall. All non-surgical methods failed. L4-L5 micro discectomy in Sept. 2010. Further herniation of L5-S1 disc in Nov. 2011 and had L5-S1 micro discectomy March 2012.
  • My earlier message was written as much for me as for anybody else who chooses to read it. I was not singling out anyone in particular. As I said, I'm in pain just like everybody else here. Some are doing better than me, others worse. I too have moments when I despair, scream, kick, and cry. I just hold the words "the first sin is to give up" in front of me so that when I do pick myself up I have a target to shoot for.

    As a side note, I've just learned that my position at work will be posted real soon. My job has evaporated on me. I am grateful that my manager managed to hold my position for me as long as she has (6 months last year and now 4 months this year). If I had been able to return to work by next January she may well have been able to hold my position for my return. However, after 6 months of absence, they can't afford to wait anymore. Thankfully, my company does provide both short and long term disability.

    Remember, the first sin is to give up. I'm getting my chance to hold on to this thought. Happy holidays.

    Disability retirement
  • CharleyLLCCharleyLL Posts: 4
    edited 11/27/2012 - 8:14 AM
    I completely empathise with your situation. I used to ride profressionally and was trampled by a horse at the age of 25, which casued a disc to rupture and i had a fusion at L5-S1. I too felt the same as you; i lost my treasured passion in life - horses - my career, my home, my physical ability, my job, my ability to have children and soon after, my fiance too. It is A LOT to deal with and accept at any age, especailly when you are so young. A few years down the line though, i did accept what had happened to me. No it is not fair and although it feels like we are being punished, none of deserve it.

    Like our moderator said in a previous comment, i too look at my life as pre-accident and post-accident. I accpreciate the full physical life i had before the accident and have learned to enjoy new hobbies post-accident. I cannot lie though, i will miss riding until the day i die. I did ride a few times 8 years after my fusion but it was far too risky and too painful. Whatever your surgeon says, my advice would be not to ride again. There is no way that i can guarantee that the complications i am having now are not due to my riding.

    Anyhow, back on track, i am so sorry that this has happened to you but you will slowly start to accept this new chapter of your life. Making friendships outside the horsey world helped me in the first few years. Now i can step back into it, see my old horsey friends and my old horse (who is now 22 and lives with my mum) and not be upset. I hope this helped a litte. Take one day at a time and cherrish the good days.
    Pelvic crush injury, L5-S1 fusion 2001, screws removed 2010
  • Quicksilver,
    I am so sorry to hear about your job and I hope that things look up for you. The first sin is to give up is a great motto! :)
    Thank you for sharing your story- horses are definitely a passion and something that non-horsey people have trouble understanding sometimes. Horses have caused me to be the happiest I've ever been and the saddest. Riding caused by back problems, but it is so hard to give up that part of my life because they are such a part of who I am and how I express myself...or how I used to. My first horse broke his leg and was euthanized, my second (the one I fell off of) I was forced to sell because I could not ride let alone function for 2 years. My third horse is perfect and sweet and safe, but now I cannot ride without my back acting up and the thought of falling off (it would happen at some point if I kept her) scares me because I don't want to live with pain because I took the risk. I am beginning to realize that I should sell her, but currently am unable to because of her health. She was recently diagnosed with EPSM (metabolic disorder- hard to manage because she needs constant exercise and I can't ride), and even as a 5 year old her stifles have problems that currently prevent her from being sound. Even if I wanted to sell her I don't know how I would be able to market her. I fear for her health once she leaves my hands so a clean cut speedy sale is not what I am interested in. I'm not sure what will happen, but I know I cannot afford to get hurt riding if I want to avoid pain later in life and I know I cannot provide her with what she needs without sacrificing other parts of my life. :(
    22 year old. Herniated L4-L5 and L5-S1 in December of 2008 in horse riding fall. All non-surgical methods failed. L4-L5 micro discectomy in Sept. 2010. Further herniation of L5-S1 disc in Nov. 2011 and had L5-S1 micro discectomy March 2012.
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