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The positives about all this

Shell2ySShell2y Posts: 80
edited 11/21/2012 - 1:51 PM in Good News
Hi. While on my slow downward spiral with spine issues, and now still slow recovery from the PLIF it necessitated i certainly have had my down days and whinges, but I also had a brief moment of clarity the other day when I went through the good things that this whole experience has taught me. So for me, here they are. 1. I have realised how important and uplifting it is to enjoy the moment when something good happens, no matter how brief or little, so I love it when I sit outside in the sun now and it feels good after so long inside, or now when I can enjoy at treat like honeycomb icecream without feeling sick or even when just looking at my garden in bloom makes me smile, despite the weeds 2. I have learnt that I can't control everything and don't need to - so if my family hang the washing different than I do, or something at work is done differently in my absence, or my family adjust to doing things without my help or intervention, that is ok - it doesn't mean I am useless or that the world will end, it just means life goes on and I don't have to stress about those things (this is a major change for me) 3. I have learnt patience - this recovery is slow and I pay for my impatience in pain if I push the boundaries' so I need to listen and realise I can't just force my body to recover through sheer willpower 4. I have learnt I am loved for who I am, not for what I'd do for people and how much I help them,, so I am blessed 5. I have had my view that all people are intrinsically good reinforced as so many friends, casual acquaintances and even complete strangers have been happy to help as I recover, so whether its the work colleagues who drop in during their lunch to bring me good coffee and gossip, or the stranger who gets up and helps move chairs etc out of my way when I am trying to get through with my walker, I am grateful. 6. And I am so grateful that I live in a country where that lack of income doesn't impact at all on my ability to have great healthcare and excellent surgery. For all those in countries where the help that I have had is not an option I really feel for them. Anyhow just thought I would share ( p.s - also very grateful to live in this time when the Internet makes it so possible for people with similar experiences to share their stories, knowledge and support in forums like this - its been wonderful)


  • Yep, an "attitude of gratitude" is one thing that is really helping me through this. Every time I get discouraged, I just pop in the DVD of my MRI and take a look at the preop images (my neurosurgeon was great about doing some teaching with this preoperatively.) And I remember what he said postop--that when he got in there he realized I was one of the worst cases of spondylisthesis who was still walking preoperatively. Plus, I'm walking postoperatively, only bothering with the walker when the psoas spasms get particularly intense. Although I think I liked it better when my left thigh was numb postoperatively for about a week, in a weird way, I'm grateful for the pain: It means the nerve is intact and healing.

    Grateful, too, for the excellent care I got in the hospital. Today I finally got around to calling up the head nurse of that unit and thanking her, complimenting the staff, and asking for the names of two of them so I could send some sort of letter to hospital administration. WITHOUT AN EXCEPTION, every single nurse and attendant who worked on that unit was caring, responsive to my needs, and truly seemed to love what they were doing. Two, however, stand out particularly in my mind: The RN who was assigned to me on the night of surgery: Apparently, I was breathing pretty shallowly, and the breaths were registering really low on the apnea monitor. He came running in, saying, "OMG, OMG, OMG!," which woke me up. I have a memory of slurring "am I coding or something?" which reassured him that I was indeed breathing. I suggested to him to get an order to get the basal turned off on the PCA, and he was concerned about whether I'd be able to handle the pain. I slurred, "well, if I'm in that much pain, I'll wake up enough to hit the PCA," which reassured him. The rest of the night was uneventful, and surprisingly not too uncomfortable. The second staff member was a hospital attendant who sympathetically but firmly managed to talk me into getting out of bed and reassured me by his presence and attitude that I would not fall. He inspired enough confidence in me that I started getting up and walking the halls around the nurses' station three times per shift after that.

    I'm grateful for the CNA and PT who are coming to my home to ensure that I'm doing my exercises and maintaining my house from growing a carpet of beagle hair and a mountain of dishes. I'm also grateful for my WC attorney, who has been supportive and aggressive through the entire process of negotiating workers' comp, the coworkers who keep me caught up on office gossip, and of course, my plow guy, who keeps my steps cleared above and beyond the call of duty (and the plow contract) to make sure I can get out to walk the driveway several times a day.

    My husband is on the road during the week, but took time off when I was first home until he was satisfied that I could manage pretty well without exceeding my limits.

    And of course, I'm grateful to my neurosurgeon for his expertise and supportiveness, as well as his PA, who is similarly supportive and helps me maintain my sense of humor about everything that I've been going through. I have access to the workers' comp reports from my providers: Apparently, they like me, too, because I'm always described as "a very pleasant American Indian woman currently presenting with..."

    My church has maintained me on the "pray for the sick" list. I don't care what someone's specific religious beliefs are: I think that all that positive energy generated by people even thinking good thoughts for the sick helps somehow in our healing. I've seen a couple of studies about perioperative patients with serious surgery who were assigned to either a "pray for" list, or not put on any kind of prayer list. The "prayed for" cohort had a lower mortality rate, and recovered faster than the control cohort. You can't convince me that it doesn't have SOME kind of influence! I'm also extremely grateful for our church's deacon, who brought me Holy Communion at home on Christmas eve, prayed with me and my husband, and assured us of continuing prayers.

    You're absolutely right: Most people are basically intrinsically good, and want to be helpful when they see someone who seems to be in dire straits. I've only encountered one snotty person, a colleague who seems to think that everyone who claims to be injured at work is milking the system. I told her that despite her miserable attitude, I wouldn't want her to have to experience what I have gone through. Heck, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy's pet rat!
    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
  • Odile. Love your fabulous positive attitude and thankfulness.

    Cracked up at the pet rat part. How true!

    Yes, So many of the nursing staff are really wonderful.

    Thanks for your post.
  • Life teaches us many wonderful lessons and it is always a blessing to have a renewing of the mind experience. However I wnat to ask a question concerning the previous complaint "pain when sitting". Have you ever been to a chiropractor or had a neck injury? I experienced this same sort of pain gradually over a number of years after visiting a chiroprator who twisted my neck and cause ...all kinds of things to begin happening from headach to sitting discomfort to nerve discomfort and now bladder issues. I'm going to try acupuncture because the doctors treat symptoms and can't find a symptomatic diagnosis.
    Carol Anderson
  • since it all started in 1998, i was at my lowest point last month. i had to move from my beloved san francisco to phoenix, where i knew no one. my ability to perform adl's was shockingly limited. i felt isolated, hopeless and useless.

    three days ago i got the news that i am a candidate for L4-L5 fusion.... i was speechless with relief. initially, i didn't sleep the entire night after the visit. i was doing internet research about my condition, and became overwhelmed. TMI, i guess. i am not religious, but i am spiritual and have been praying for calm and clarity, along with the ability to maintain a positive attitude.

    the spine health site is excellent. i am fortunate to now be a member. my life is at a crossroads, but it's a really good one. i never thought i would be happy to cook, do dishes and housework, but if i am truly given the chance, i will whistle while i work!

    i thank everyone here in advance for their support and sharing. best of luck to us all!
  • My little triumph to share today is that Im post op 6 days and I slept on my stomache last night and went 9 hours!!!! My face was not a pretty sight but I couldnt believe I could lie down, relax and have an experience of no pain. I had been mamging in the day but sleeping on my back or side brought a lot of pain in my right leg. So....I am a happy bunny. Has anyone else found this?
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    So true Shell2y & the others here. For the most part with time and "life changing events" we realize what is and what is not important in life. We take a step back and look in from the outside. You don't have to look far to see things could always be a lot worse than they are. My life is good, I wish everyone else could feel the same.
  • So grateful for this site and for all those who provide support to one another. I'm almost 6 months post ACDF C5/6/7 and about to have a total redo of same in 10 days. Am scared. I'm a single Mom with 2 kids and worry about something happening - condition becoming worse, OR you know... First doc left a screw sticking out of the plate, then I fell and it re-ruptured one of the discs he had operated on. He did no follow-up xrays and kept me floundering for too long. While I know folks live with disabilities, I've been racking my brain to determine if I can keep living like this - versus just having it redone and getting on with life. I know it's not that simple, given the complications that can arise. I'm trying not to let Fear get the best of me, but right now it's like the black monster sitting on my chest. I know I need to surround myself with positives and am definitely trying to. Anyway, it could always be worse.
    Mom of two children: ages 16 and 7...workin for the Feds (when not recovering from surgery) and trying to stay Positive!!!
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 08/09/2013 - 11:32 AM
    I am sorry that you are in need of having your ACDF redone.
    What type of surgery will you have this time? Anterior approach or posterior this time?
    Having spinal surgery doesn't get any easier. After my lumbar fusion, I was so relieved that it wasn't as bad as I had feared that I felt if I needed any other spinal surgeries, I wouldn't worry nearly so much. Wrong! I needed a 2 level ACDF and I was so worried again. Yet again, it wasn't as bad as I feared, and after the first 3 or 4 days, I coped very well.

    Can I suggest that you join the August Surgery Buddies thread? It will enable you to talk to others about to face spinal surgery and afterwards, while you are recovering, chatting with others in a similar position is very helpful. Here is a link to it:


    I really hope that you will have a successful surgery that will go to your surgeon's plan and that they will keep you comfortable afterwards.
    I will look forward to reading how you get on once you are able to post here again.
    If you have any questions then please do ask. We are a friendly bunch and will be happy to share our experiences with you.
    There is a thread of useful items for after surgery which may be healpful reading for you. Please be aware that this is for lumbar and cervical spinal surgery, so you won't need it all!


  • SpineyKD23SSpineyKD23 IllinoisPosts: 89
    This thread is wonderful to read. It's so nice to see others working towards a positive outlook. I got a few chuckles out of the comments about enjoyment of cleaning, "carpet of beagle hair", etc. Reading these posts was just what I needed. Today started off as a downer day. Sometimes I come to this site to read others struggles and relate. Today I came to the site to find positivity. I told myself I'm not getting off this site until I have found it. Since signing on, the sun is out, my tears are gone and once again I feel like I can do this. WE can do this.
    25 years old: Herniated L4-L5, L5-S1 December 2008. L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2010. L5-S1 microdiscectomy March 2012. Redo L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2013. Redo microdiscectomy Oct 2015.

  • It is so good to read that your visit here has helped you to feel you can cope. :-)

    There is nothing quite like hearing what others are coping with to make us feel that we are not alone. That helps us to cope. This is a great place to come for support and even laughter!

    We can share tears some days but on others we laugh together.
    It is such a helpful place to come, and doesn't even cost anything!!

    One warning though, it can be addictive! Lol! :-)

    I hope that you will have a good day today.
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