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It's possible to be young and in pain

karenikkareni Posts: 58
edited 05/02/2013 - 7:53 PM in Chronic Pain
I'm 34 and have had an ALIF of L5-S1 2 weeks ago and while reading this site it seems like there are those that talk down to younger people as if we aren't supposed to have chronic pain or we should be able to just bounce back. This is just not the case and I know there are more than a couple of doctors who would agree with me. I have experienced some negativity (dare I even say prejudice) myself and it can be very disheartening. I have been dealing with pain for over 3 years now but the problem actually began 6 years ago. I went to my GP because one day my knee went numb and I was quite concerned. They did an MRI and found that I had a herniated disc, no big deal I wasn't hurting so it didn't bother me and the numbness went away. Then 3 1/2 years ago I started having this terrible pain in my back and hips and down through my legs that would not go away. I went to an OS and he did an x-ray and MRI and said that my back definately had problems and I needed to have a fusion.I had spondylolisthesis, DDD and osteoarthritis. I cried in his office because it really scared me. I couldn't believe what he was telling me. I refused that idea and told him I would like to try other options. So I did physical therapy which didn't work. My friend suggested a NS so I decided to get a second opinion. He said we can try other things. I did injections many times only to have them last a week or two (They are supposed to last longer) Meanwhile we tried some medications, muscle relaxers and hydrocodone 7.5 and Cymbalta (terrible side effects from me). Then we tried a rhizotomy (deadening the nerves) which is supposed to provide relief up to a year it lasted 2 months. I begged him for surgery. He said that he would like to wait longer and sent me to PM. I was treated poorly there. I would go in they would grill me and give me medication, Hydrocodone 7.5 (1-2 a day) and a muscle relaxer and sent me on my way. There was no talk to something that was extended release or any other type of medications Believe me I understand there are those out there who lie to get medication but if a NS sends you there and they obviously have notes and your MRI then don't treat me like a liar! I decided to go to my friends NS and they said yes I need the surgery and it's ridiculous that I should wait for it to get worse. She was amazing and I am currently recovering patiently waiting to see the results. Sorry if I rambled but my point is don't assume because we are young that we are looking to get high. I have a full time job and a family to take care of and I can't afford to miss out on life due to back pain. No one should have to go through what we all go through. If this fusion doesn't work I guess I will just have to try to find a new solution just like everyone on here dealing with pain. Just my 2 cents.


  • Who shaming you for needing medication for pain 2nd timesacharm ? Often family and friends don't understand as they don't have to deal with the pain, But I am sure on this site nobody shaming anyone for pain control as we are all screwed !
    And I don't mean fusion screwed only,

    Nobody else knows how they would deal with this same situation if they found themself in our place,
    There ain't no shame in none of this, We can't blame ourself and they can't blame us for an injury we did not expect,

    We deal with it in the best way we know how, And if I have to walk around naked and it makes my pain beter who is to judge,
    But then again I have no shame !

    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • she is referring to me in her not too subtle way. oh the humanity. i am so ashamed. i am the older person who sucks on lollipops and uses constructive criticism. once again insults fly.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Thanks for the response. It is true that no one knows how we feel and it's almost impossible to describe it so they can understand. I am fortunate to have family and friends who are there for me and have helped take care of me. I'm also fortunate that I have finally found a surgeon who is willing to help. I just find it absolutely ridiculous that some are so easy to criticize. In other words don't judge unless you've walked in my shoes.
  • karenikkareni Posts: 58
    edited 05/03/2013 - 8:45 AM
    To me it seems kinda sad that some of those who have had to live with this condition longer do not use this forum to encourage and give some positive advice. We should all be trying to help each other out because as pain sufferers we have some general idea what the other is going through. I'm not specifically talking about one person Jon. I have seen several posts from many people, I've had a lot of time on my hands right now. I do want to hear others stories and what they have done to make life better for themselves, if they've had positive results from surgery, etc. I'm very thankful for these forums they give me information that doctors who haven't had this pain can't give. I have learned some valuable information and hope to continue. Thank you secondtimesacharm, it is nice to have someone who has been through the same experiences I have. Jon I would actually like to know your story and how you have learned to handle pain and everyday issues (I'm being truly sincere when I say that). Hopefully we can all learn from each other.
  • i'm sure there is a free mental health clinic in your area if you are that concerned about what one person says.
    good luck in your search for sanity
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • karenikkareni Posts: 58
    edited 05/03/2013 - 9:28 AM
    terror8396 said:
    i'm sure there is a free mental health clinic in your area if you are that concerned about what one person says.
    good luck in your search for sanity
    Sorry to burst your ego but I wasn't talking about you exclusively. You were the one who started to comment on my thread which is why I was talking to you. I would love to hear others as well. I hope it's not the pain that has caused you to be a bitter jerk.
  • If anything, I think more people--at least many on here--are oftentimes on the younger side when it comes to spine issues. I was 26 at the onset of my problems, and age 34 when I had my very first fusion surgery.

    I would really like to see everyone here get past the issues of these last few days (and I also mean myself, too) and work to help each other here. I apologize for my "choice words" on the other thread. I just want people to believe they can all tell their stories, without fear of judgement and discrimination.

  • karenikkareni Posts: 58
    edited 05/03/2013 - 1:39 PM
    Thank you I think the best thing is to ignore the negative also but I don't like being accused of being mentally ill because I would like to know how other people handle their pain. When I started this post I felt the need to vent a little about the age issue so maybe that was a negative and it invited negative people. I have learned a lesson I guess anyways thanks again for the positives.
  • karenikkareni Posts: 58
    edited 05/03/2013 - 1:49 PM
    I'm actually very scared that the fusion I just had will fail and I will be right back where I was or worse. That fear I'm sure everyone here who has had surgery knows very well so I feel the need to connect with others. My husband doesn't understand and it's a very difficult time for him as well. I worry constantly that I'm a burden, what if it becomes so difficult I can't work...what happens then. I know it's early and I know it takes a very long time to tell if the fusion is a success but I still have that nagging fear. Anyone have advice or can relate?
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 05/03/2013 - 2:03 PM
    I do agree with you kareni that sometimes it does seem that younger people get "talked down to" as I can remember having that same feeling "back in the day" when I was younger. But I really hope you don't get that feeling about everyone here because I totally understand what you are saying. I was in my early 20's when my symptoms first appeared but were not correctly diagnosed. It wasn't till my mid 30's that a nurse for a primary care physician got me on the right track and sent me to see the rheumatologist that found my underlying problem. By the way, she was younger than me.
    I may feel younger (in my mind of course) but most of my Dr's are younger than me. I hope you just don't feel all "older people" especially here don't support you. We need the younger generation as you are the future.
    I have been dealing with a lot of spinal issues and chronic pain but it is no excuse for me to lash out with sarcasm. We are all responsible for our own happiness, we can't expect others to make us happy.
    Don't know if I did anything here to answer the questions of your first post kareni, just wanted you to know there really are a lot of good people here that I have sought out over the years for there support. This is a good place.
    Take care,
  • charlie6017charlie6017 Posts: 412
    edited 05/03/2013 - 2:13 PM

    The link that I am putting at the bottom of my post here is a "Letter to Normals from a person with Chronic Pain." Perhaps it would be a good thing to have your husband read, and hopefully he will better understand the world that you and the rest of us live in. If he reads it, I hope it gives him a good understanding! :-)


  • Thank you Ranger I know not everyone who is I guess "more experienced" with pain is negative. I know my thread started off speaking my mind on the age issue but I really do hope to learn from others on this forum. I'm glad there are more of you than the more negative people. Thanks again.
  • I have found nothing but encouragement on this forum. In fact, that's the one reason I've stayed around. Pain doesn't know age. In fact, I know my niece was given morphine when she weighed less than 2lbs and had to be put on a type of "pulsed oxygen" that can be painful. (she is now over 8lbs, home with her twin brother, healthy and of course beautiful). I do believe though that the younger people are the quicker they do "bounce back". But everyone's bounce is different, we are here to encourage.... at least I am. And I have to say... I feel pretty dang qualified to discuss spine issues from the patients perspective....lol.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Thanks Charlie!
    I read the letter. It's perfect I will definately be showing this to him. It is so awesome to have all this info and people I can talk to about these issues we have. This forum definately has more positives than negatives. Thanks so much!
  • Thank you Allmetal. I'm feeling much better now that I've checked out some more posts and chatted with more people. The positives far outweigh the negatives! There are many that have insprirational stories and great tips and advice.
  • You're more than welcome. The person that wrote that deserves a gold medal!

    I hope all of you have an enjoyable, restful night.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 05/03/2013 - 4:50 PM
    I know this can be a hot topic. I have put together s standalone thread to deal with this matter. No question, younger folks have it difficult when it comes to the situation with pain medications.

    Enough said on this. But from some of the posts, I get a feeling that attacks are being made, judgements are being drawn and the LINE has been dug into the sand....

    Please , step back and look at the original thread and stay focused on that. Many times, our own personal experiences can push us one way or another. Then we have our own value systems, which again can make us sway again. Without too muh additional swaying, I think its best to just address the topic at hand..

    I respect many of the members who have posted here. Over the years, you do get to know and understand people. This is not a cause in who is wrong and who is right.

    I read the original post, and to me it was pretty straight forward and easy to respond to. However, it does hit a sore spot or vital link for others.

    Lets just try to keep this one on target......

    Ok, that will make my night and tomorrow day and tomorrow night that much easier. Cant we all be friends
    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
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 05/03/2013 - 5:03 PM
    Thank you for posting that Secondtimesacharm, I've never read that before. It reminds me how lucky I am and I constantly need to be reminded of it. So many others that don't have any issues really need to be reminded.
    Be safe all,
  • Thanks Ron I totally agree! I want everyone to get along and my intention wasn't to make anyone upset. I have found so many wonderful info on this site!!!
    Hope everyone has a great weekend!
  • Thank you secondtimesacharm! I tried to send you a pm yesterday don't know if it went through I was having problems with it. It's so good to hear from a young mom's perspective. I too feel pressure, either imagined or not, to recover and bounce back from this. I work so it's just another added pressure. I feel like if the surgery I just had doesn't work I don't know how long I can keep up the work and family while in pain 24/7. I have to be able to do things like go to my son's football games, take my older daughter to gymnastics (soon to be ballet she's changed her mind a hundred times..lol) anyway my main goal is to be there for them but right now I also need my job. What to do, what to do...I just don't know. Well for now I can just recover and hope that I will be somewhat back to normal.
  • This IS meant for a specific person.... Such an ego you have. Seems to me you can give what you think is an entitled critiziam but you can't take it. Now Karen, and Second time... I like your comments I agree with you 100 percent.
  • I'm 33, so according to the original post, I'm still "young". I needed that! Don't feel so young at the moment. I feel like that 80 year old's back we all hear about.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Im 28, and hear all of the time "youre too young to have arthritis or back pain" i had surgery on my back one year ago,and am still experiencing nerve and back pain. My spine doctor finally ran out of treatment options and sent me to a pain specialist. Ive tried numerous meds, physical therapy, shots etc, and now am a candidate for a neurostimulator. My biggest pet peeve anymore is someone older than me telling me im too young to even know about arthritis. Just because youre older than me, doesnt mean a thing.
  • At 34, I certainly don't feel as young as I am supposed to but my husband definitely acts young enough for the both of us,lol.
  • I second that motion from Charm!
  • Sent you a PM back :)
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 05/07/2013 - 6:27 PM
    I'm hearing you, stricken with arthritis when I was young due to genetics, they all said, "you're too young for this." Apparently
    none of them ever heard of juvenile arthritis which fortunately I didn't have. Now I'm a lot older and they still say the same.
    And keep up the good humor kareni, "my husband definitely acts young enough for the both of us." Finding humor in these situations is a good thing, laughter is a good med, it's proven.
    Hope you all have a great day,
  • I'm sorry you're having to deal with that kind of pain. It's an understatement to say that it sucks to be young and dealing with chronic pain. I can only hope that medically something comes along that will make a huge difference in all of our lives. For now we have to be able to have a place where we can all connect, get advice give advice or just allow to vent (all ages without being treated poorly).
  • Oh Karen, Thank You. I'm not as young as you. I'm 49. The disabling pain came when I was 36. I remember the reactions I got. You're a sweetheart because this thread is about YOU! Thanks for taking the time to make a response to me. Hugs and Kisses to you :)
  • karenikkareni Posts: 58
    edited 05/07/2013 - 8:12 PM
    I really have enjoyed meeting a lot of great people the brief time I've been on here. I think it's important to be able to connect. It's been a life saver to have something to do at 2am, my body clock has been thrown off since the surgery. That has got to change soon ;)
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