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What is Normal?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,837
edited 02/03/2013 - 6:10 PM in Depression and Coping
Every once in a while I have conversations with other people regarding chronic and acute pain. Being a moderator here, I have read thousands of threads/posts about various problems, pain, failed marriages, bad relationships, bad doctors, etc.

Many times those conversations come down to identifying what is normal

Most of you know, that in my retired life, I work as a Wine consultant at a local Wine Shop. I started this back in the late 1960's then joined IBM in 1974. I retired in 2009, but along the way, I still keep close contacts with wine.

The other day, a saleswoman came to visit the store. She was from Italy and we chatted about all the different wines her company is providing. We set up an appointment so we could taste all of her wines. We exchanged some emails to coordinate everything and by doing so, I found out see was trained in therapeutic massage. One thing lead to another and I talked to her about my medication situation, etc.

She came back to do the wine tasting. She asked me if I was up to it considering the amount of medications I am on.
For me, I do not need to start any medications until late afternoon and then through the night. I told her I was fine.
I was Normal.

She looked at me and said Normal - describe that What she was getting out is that our normal is so different from everyone's normal. That hit me. I guess I've spent most of my life in pain, so to me this is normal. There are bad days and good days, but pain is normal.

How does that sit with everyone? I know people like Jon (terror8396), liz (liz) tamtam (tam) alex (alexhurting) sandi (sandi)
to name only a few that understands whats OUR Normal vs the Other Worlds Normal. The best part is folks like that know how to deal with our normality.

In the words of Sir-Alex -- Get-ir-done (or something like that)
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


  • You really know how to bring some things into focus. With each issue, with each new pain, we adjust to our new normal. We learn to deal with setbacks and are grateful for good news. Just a few days ago I had "syncope" - or in other words, I fainted. I got really dizzy suddenly and then my legs gave out and I was on the ground on the streets of the city. Luckily I had a friend with me because part of my new normal, I called my doctor who said I should go to the ER to get checked out. After all the tests, for some reason my blood pressure dropped suddenly. Why? Not sure, but I have to be aware of and pay more attention to what I am feeling. I am so used to trying to ignore or downplay pain or other symptoms as part of my normal that I thought I could just keep moving and deal with it. Today, I was out shopping and had that feeling start again, so i stopped and paid attention. Now, my new normal.


    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • There's a significant difference between accepting a condition/situation and surrendering to a condition/situation. Acceptance of a condition is not weakness; it is the cognizance of reality. Surrendering to a condition is too often the act of "giving in" or "becoming subservient" to the condition.

    Pain sucks! Doesn't matter if it is acute or chronic. I compare them to running. The sprinter knows acute pain. The marathoner knows chronic pain. In life, chronic pain requires the sufferer to learn coping skills that will last longer than moments, minutes, or days.

    I get tired of hearing myself moan and groan. I can only imagine how tired everyone else becomes listening to or seeing me demonstrate the effects of chronic pain. It is our life burden. This is the hand we have been dealt. It may not seem fair, or even be fair (how do we know fairness?), but it is our reality and we must deal with it.

    Over time, all changes in our lives becomes our normal. That does not mean that we may not / can not grimace, moan, bend forward with adjusted posture, sleep later in the mornings, decline social engagements, etc. What it does mean is that we have a choice as to how we are going to live the rest of our lives with these "new" conditions.

  • A sales woman comes in starts chatting to Ron and makes an appointment to sit down and taste all her wine ! Hmmmmm
    Interesting , Exchanging emails and just before geting together to taste her wine she just hapens to mention she is a trained in therapeutic massage !

    Does your wife know about this woman. Lol

    I have dated Italian chicks , They are smooth and slick !

    I hate to be the one to break it to you Ron, This was no wine tasting, You was on a date brother, Lol
    But don't worry what you posted on spine health stays on spine health,

    You old dog, Did not think you had it in ya ! Git-er-done

    There is nothing normal about living like this in pain ! It always depends how severe the pain is to each person resulting how they can deal with it, There is a level of function a person needs to be able to deal !
    For 1 who can get out of bed and still go to work it's an adjustment in life dealing with it day in day out,

    For 1 who can only get out of bed and be upright for short while before pain consumes them fall in another category and nobody in the world is going to convince them this is your new norm,

    We all been there as we could not move and could only lay back down even with pain meds never leaving the house simply fighting the pain to stay out of er ,While some of us have been there and know the mental stress it takes on us each day living in such way often even people who recover who been there forget not everyone gets beter with surgery ,

    Very often you will see family or friends as they fall to this sort of pain for a very short while they want to jump off the bridge because this is the only time they can relate to such pain, But as they get beter assume everyone else in the world should have recovered ,

    This mentality by society brings on the burden of insult on top of injury with many long term chronic pain people as myself along with others who are in this position, I learned society can be cruel and ignorant even within family and friends when 1 family member falls to this kind of spine injury as they can't grasp reality ,

    There reality and normal is simply not ours, Society is for the most part every man for himself , Others self worth is greater then them having the ability to have compassion for anyone other then themselves,

    It comes down to a very simple fact, In this world there are givers and there are takers !
    Takers have no ability give empathy or understanding because it's they who want it,
    Givers give suport and understanding untill they give it all away and well runs dry ,

    There is no such thing as normal ! And don't let anyone let you think any diferent, Everyone lives a diferent life walks a diferent path and haters will always hate and try to make you walk in there tracks while we make our own path even while dealing with our pain and struggle leaving bread crumbs behind for those who are truly lost !

    We do not follow what they call norm! Norm follows us !


    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • William GarzaWilliam Garza TexasPosts: 2,353
    edited 02/20/2013 - 7:48 PM
    or lack of it. whether or not you choose, that i think is the core issue.
    The Norms are simply a condition we chose to be comfortable as life reasonably allows, then come the change
    As the Hon Mr Dilauro spoke of, norm is a matter of perspective, its entirely subjective...
    Nature- Nurture determines the sufferants ability to handle the stressor no?
    your entire life story may determine the process no?
    from the Devastating onset,
    1. I think Spine Health is a valuable asset in aleviating the fear of the beast in the dark.
    You come in ,unknown, unknowing , unhappy, unsure
    Un Un Un...
    The darkness of fear,the darkness of pain. the darkness of the constant assault on the senses, and the beast grows larger and more fearfull...
    But I think of "here" as triage
    the beacon, the nitelight/
    Here is the information
    here is the company of fellows
    here is a active response- resource for those who only think...there is none
    2. once here, they see the darkness fade as the knowlege and consideration flows
    look at the wonderful story of "US"
    and follow the lead of those gone before
    slowly following the breadcrumbs of their curiosity toward a greater understanding, a greater good.
    3. here is the best part, the darkness is not as deep, and the fear not as sharp in the breast,
    they start accepting
    using the template of the "generations" gone before
    we lead by example
    every post
    every subject
    every thread leading toward the greater understanding of the spiney condition
    the TAO
    the way of Spiney

    not to be feared
    nor ignored,
    taken out of context, the fear is irrational, but compounded by pain and suffering, it is a hellish existence
    but we adapt
    we learn the way
    we learn the shape, size and character of this fear, of this pain...then..
    we learn the next.

    given time and patience, this to passes into the comfortable shadow behind us
    comfortable. because the person across this table, can see what is behind me, as I can see theirs,
    ands when the shadows come creeping
    deeper, closer
    we'll sit a little closer to the light, and the shadows disappear back to thier rightfull place.

    Adapt if you want to
    or not
    You cant save them all
    you save the ones you can

    and keep the fires burning bright against the nite, so they may take comfort, in knowing that there is a fire, that there is a place where the shadows are banished, where there are those, just like them, who have walked ther mile. who are willingto walk the mile with them.

    Each and every ,member here has a sacred duty
    to reach out across the darkness and take the hand
    outstreched in the dark.
    dont leave anyone behind
    in leading from the front
    in leading by example
    in showing adaptation can and does happen
    make the world a better place.

    these are the Humble and Heartfelt thoughts on the beginings of adaptation, thre role Spine Health plays in emergent Spineys, and the role we must play in shaping the course of who and what we are..as a community
    our place and care in the medical community( changing the perception of , and predjudice to..the spiney)
    and more importantly
    who we can become.
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • Hi,
    Normality, described in regards to a standard, is a design with regards to which we try to form our figures and our behavior.And this includes residing up to our individual prospective.The fate of normality is very much in the stability.

  • ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
    edited 02/21/2013 - 5:37 PM
    Noticed alot lately how my "normal" has changed over the last couple of years. It has changed as I went from having acute to chronic pain, and one surgery to two. It has definately changed very recently, as I have finally came to terms with my new "normal" and how this normal is probably my normal from now on.

    As I have come to terms with the chronic pain that I will always have, and have learned to try to make the most out of life, to try to do what I can, and not fret over what I can no longer do, my normal has changed. I find that now that I only do what I can in a day, take my meds as required without trying to cut back all the time, I don't moan and groan and complain as much.

    My husband has asked me if my meds are helping more, and others ask if things are improving when they ask how I am and I simply say "I'm good, or fine"

    No, it's not that I am doing any better or that my meds are helping more. It is simply that I have accepted my new normal, so that my every day pain is an "I'm fine" kind of day, and I save the "not too good" answer only for days that I am having an extra bad flare.

    Trying to make the best of "normal"
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Hello All,

    A short intro, I had a spinal cord injury from T1- T2, paraplegic and a host of other things but that thing about normal I can vouch for...as I'm writing this my life in the front view mirror is in shambles, girlfriend on the verge of leaving but I'm man enough to face that, just wish my body along with the pains and constant dizziness would disappear. I to have good days but this new life has gotten me to a point where even my use to be care free and silly nature, has transformed into some moody, lacking life kind of guy lol...All of the things I love for some reason don't interest me as they use to and all i can think about is how can I make myself normal, or better yet heal so I can genuinely laugh for a change.
  • lbfrndflllbfrndfl Posts: 38
    edited 05/11/2013 - 12:56 PM
    Sorry to hear the symptoms people are experiencing along with the chronic pain that we are living with as a result of our spinal issues. That said, thank God so many others are having the same problems I am because I was beginning to think that I was losing my mind. So I guess we spend so much time suppressing our pain and accepting our limitations that our "normal" brain processes are kind of messed up.

    Thank all of you for being here and sharing.

  • I love how I struggle sometimes to find the words to say, and then I'll come on here and someone says it perfectly. You know how there are some parents who'll say "I never wanted kids, but now that I have them I can't imagine life without them". That's exactly how I feel about my back pain only it's hatred not love. I never wanted this disease, but now that I have it I can't imagine life without it. I literally can't remember what it was like to live a day without pain. All day long it plagues me. Is this the way we were meant to spend our short lives here on earth? Hell no, but for now this is our new normal. I get asked all the time, what is your pain level at on a scale of 1-10 and my reply is well, for you it would probably be a 9 or 10, but I'm so used to it that it's probably around a 4 or 6. That's sad isn't it? If I'm not careful I can get lost in deep thought and sulk over the thought that I'm probably going to feel this pain for the rest of my life. I'll never have another chance to live with out "hurt" again, those days are gone. But then I remember a quote by Kobe Bryant: "If you see me in a fight with a bear, you'd better pray for the bear." So I keep on fighting!!
    Herniation at L3, L4, L5. DDD, facet disease, foraminal narrowing and mis-aligned pelvis.
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