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I'm moving, but am I moving forward?

Just going to vent a little because I am stuck at home alone a lot lately and feeling very isolated during my recovery. I am struggling to stay positive about my future. In terms of my future spine health I think I am doing pretty well considering my past attempts at dealing with my situation. My nerve pain is gone since my surgery and I am more accepting that low grade back pain will be a part of my life. It does not prevent me from living so really I just need to learn to cope with a certain level of discomfort via lifestyle practices, cognitive therapy, medication, etc. I am hoping I can minimize my pain by taking a semester off college and work. I have all the time in the world to recover slowly, which I have never done before.

Point being- severe pain is gone! Woohoo right!? I am happy about that. I really am. But I am also really sad and lonely about where my 4.5 years of injuries, pain and 3 surgeries/recoveries have left me. I literally spend every hour of every day battling my negative thoughts. I am more successful than I have been at the past and I am thankful for that. Other point being- it is EXHAUSTING. Other than my counselor (and you guys) I don't talk to anyone about it. I know there have been good things in these past 4.5 years, but my spine health has dominated everything (partially because I've let it). So it's hard to talk about other things even though I don't want to talk about my back problems. There is just not much else I have experienced other than loss of some physical activities that I was most passionate about.

I'm unable to do heart pounding exercise daily anymore, ride horses, continue my part time job as a large animal caretaker at a vet med hospital or attend college for the semester. These are all things I wanted to be doing right now. I have very few friends and I hardly get to see them because of their busy lives. When I do see them I struggle to enjoy myself even if I try. I feel like I don't have much to offer them as a friend. My struggle to cope with things these past 4.5 years has prevented me from branching out, making friends, having a single relationship, etc.

I know this part of my life is just one part, but I feel so isolated and exhausted. Nevertheless, I will keep moving. I just don't feel like I'm getting anywhere.
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.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    moving, but its more of a circle than a straight line forward. I think its especially true for younger folks like yourself. Its one thing to face spinal problems later in life, I am not saying its any easier, but at that point most of our personal lives have already been shaped.

    At a young age, there is so much in front of you. Much of that, like anyone else is an unknown. But having medical problems do put a crimp in things. You talk about some of your previous passions about horseback riding, working with animals and exercise. Right now you in sort of a road block, or really just a hazard zone. You've learned how to get around the road block already.

    Here is where that circle comes into play. While avoiding those hazard zones, you may dart this way or that way, perhaps going back a few times until you find the path that you need to take.

    While you have some off time, figure out some ways you can get back to doing some of the things you love. You might have to make ad adjustment or two, but identify your objective and then set goals in meeting that.

    I dont like the words give up. I played sports well past the time I should have. At 35 and my spine, my playing levels (baseball/softball) had diminished. I saw that I could no longer swing like I used to or field like I did before. I love the game, I love sports, but it was time. I then channeled everything I had into coaching youth sports. I coached boys baseball, girls softball, girls soccer, boys hockey, girls basketball and young women softball. I did all of that in about a 18 year period of time There I could participate in the game, but not as a player, but an instructor.

    You will find how to move ahead.
    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
  • I think I could have wriiten that post. How the health of your (mine too)spine resonates in my mind. Exhausted - with your spine dominating every thought, movement! Exactly
    I do have a different friendships than I had before spine problems, but I have found some good ones, Most of us have some health issues, so we are each others sounding boards. I do think my 'old' firends' may have tired of me not wanting to do much, but occasionally we get together for brunch to catch up
    GOOD NEWS it sounds like you are doing better, so the future is brighter. Even though you can't do some of your previous activiites, you may be able to find activities similiar. I know they have a Horse riding program for special needs kids here and they are always looking for volunteers. They have the most gentle horses. I can't do a lot of exercises, but I walk, I have found meetup groups that just walk and talk and sometimes have lunch afterwards. The library here has programs to learn more about computers. different crafts, and Mahjong. I started playing, and it is a lot of fun. I thought it was a game for older women, but players ranger from in their teens to ~70. It is just a matter of getting out and doing new things. It is hard for me because I am not the most social person, but I decided it is better than being home alone.
    I hope you can find something you enjoy.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    hey SpineyKD23,
    Don't write off the activities you have been passionate about, it will come with time. Maybe not all of them, maybe you will have to modify some of them, and just maybe you will be doing something you never even dreamed of doing and do it well.
    Be patient, you may take a step backwards a time or two, but keep pressing on. You can do this!
  • SpineyKD23SSpineyKD23 IllinoisPosts: 89
    Thanks everyone,
    I was thinking of trying to find ways to still be involved in those things I used to enjoy while I have this time off. I know now that I can enjoy those things in a different way and that it may take some time, which is ok. For years I refused to accept anything less than what I wanted and that played a role in injuring my back more than once. This time off makes it hard to feel like a productive person, but I will have to work through that. So I guess even if I'm moving in circles it is better than not moving at all.
    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.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 10/05/2013 - 4:07 AM
    There are ways to adapt how you do those things that you love, and still participate in them, maybe just from a different method than the one you did previously..what about teaching riding or working with physically disabled children in a therapeutic riding environment......it would still allow you to be around large animals, and also children who really bring joy to themselves and those who are lucky enough to be in contact with them, and they get such joy out of being able to ride...as far as being a friend goes, you can still be that, in person, on the telephone, not being able right now to go hang out for hours is not a huge deal to those who really are your friends and not just acquaintances..My best friend of over 25 years and I have had times, when due to certain circumstances in our individual lives have been together almost every day, and then for months and at times even a year or two between when we last saw one another, but it was always just a matter of picking up the phone or dropping by one another's home, no matter how long it had been and it was as if we had just left off where we had been 5 minutes before..........We knew , without doubt , that no matter how long it had been or how often we saw one another, if the other needed us, we would be there, no questions, no hesitation......
    At times recovery is one step forward and seemingly endless steps backward or running/crawling in circles but eventually, you will get back to doing what you want and need to do, and you will look back and go wow, I really did make it..
  • mickkrmmickkr Posts: 166
    edited 10/08/2013 - 6:51 PM
    I am also a surgery success story and the "bad old days" are fast becoming distant memories although my body is quick to remind me when I try to do something I shouldn't.

    You just get used to not doing things you used to do, or doing things in a different way. In time it's no big deal.

    It's not just that your back problems lasted for years but also the overwhelming intensity of living in constant pain and discomfort and how much this dominated your life and defined who you were. As you recover you lose that identity and you start thinking "who am I now?" You want to be the person you were before things got bad but everything you have been through has changed you for ever physically, psychologically and emotionally so you have to reinvent yourself the way you are now.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • SpineyKD23SSpineyKD23 IllinoisPosts: 89
    edited 10/10/2013 - 5:12 AM
    Thanks guys,

    I still have my days/moments where I feel like I can't move forward, but the concept of reinventing myself is also a bit exciting at times. It really pushes you that's for sure.
    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.
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