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Stages of grief

After trying another Nuero for some options to the life I was told was ahead of me, I have realized that this has been very much like the stages of grief. I have gone through denial, anger, resentment, negotiating and in realizing this, I guess I am moving toward acceptance. I think that if I can accept that this pain is part of my life and how to move past it and learn how to live my life in spite of that pain.


  • It is a grieving process. I've been through alot of sadness in the last 4 years. I seem to be going back and forth between the stages. Havn't quite got to acceptance yet but I'm working on it. It's a hard thing to accept how much life changes with pain. How much we change as people by having to live with the pain and the things we can no longer do. Know that you're not alone. We all have our acceptance to do in the hope that we find some meaning and purpose in life again. Thankfully there are places like this forum to help us on our journey. Stay strong and be kind to yourself... :-)
  • and just like grieving the loss of a loved one.. I think I've accepted & started to move on with my life then something, anything can set me back to the start again.. but each time it happens I seem to get past it a little easier. The pain & loss will always be part of me. This is one of the greatest tragedies we will ever have to endure. My Dad lost his father nearly 70 years ago & it still saddens him at times. I started to loose myself only 7 years ago I think I'm doing pretty well all things considered...
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 03/19/2014 - 10:50 AM
    Anelsen. I think our ages have a lot to do with our very different perspectives. I was 36 before pain really started to impact my life. I was already married in a very stable relationship & I'd already had my first child. I've never really thought of my life as a series of accomplishments. I did very well educationally but I was 'smart' & did as expected. To be completely honest I was lazy & lucky I was born with my brain. My career was particularly successful but the choice to become a stay at home Mum had already been made. I have a life full of experiences, some I cherish & some I'd rather forget.

    I hate being in pain. The isolation really gets to be at times. Waking every morning 'Groundhog Day' style, in agony, forcing my brain past it's "I can't do this anymore" default mode is a grind (I've never been a morning person!). Some days are terrible but others turn out really good. Maybe having to fake it for my kids all day, everyday has helped me get past grieving..it's become 'real' more often than 'fake'. I still get angry, frustrated & depressed..don't we all? But there's so much more to life than a long list of things we can't do anymore, what about all the new experiences we can relish?
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • It is so good to have you to share with. I really can't share too much with my husband because he gets frustrated because he can't help so most of the time I keep it to myself. Having you all has been a blessing
  • I am 2 days into a dark place. I have no idea how I got here or even how to get out. I've gone thru so many huge life changes in the past year or so. At the moment I can't see any good things in life but I'm trying to find something. I think maybe if I get out more? I just don't know the way out. My days are dreary and gloom.
  • I have been dealing with pain half of my adult life. The last 4 years being the worst. I pray a lot, it helps. Today I went to a therapist. It was my first visit, and I am so grateful for her. I have a glimmer of hope, They say God puts angels in your path just when you need it the most. He did nine years ago when I met a man who is now my husband. It happened again today.I can talk to my husband but it hurts him to see me go through this. It is a wonderful feeling to have somewhere to go with it, and not hurt anyone. My heart goes out to all of you living in chronic pain. you are in my prayers.
    Brenda stratton
  • "A Day of Hope", beautiful! I love to hear people talk about medical proffesionals that way. We all need a little hope some days. Thank you ;-)

    Jelly Girl 61.. Take a look at the 'Depression & Coping' forum under 'Mind/Body/Spirit' we've been chatting about hobbies & interests (& just venting) anything to take our minds off of the pain. Hope to see you there ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Sorry Jelly Girl61.. That should of said 'Ouchithurts'. It's one of those days. If anyone finds my brain please return it!
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Just a hypothesis, I could be way off.. I do find it easy to compare my chronic pain journey to the grieving process. I look at myself now & I can clearly recognize the stages. I know when I received the news (my last MRI was the final nail in the coffin lid for me) I went into shock! I know what is wrong, I know what's going to happen, you could say I've been to my spines funeral. You're still in limbo. You don't even know its dead for sure. How can you expect yourself to go through the stages of grief without any closure? It really sucks for you. You've been through so many devastating experiences but I really think you need better answers & more effective pain management. I truly feel for you, I really do. I wish I had a better answer.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    talking about this.
    I made references to the various stages of grief when it comes to dealing with pain as it does with Cancer patients.
    The stages are not that much different, nor or the signs different.
    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
  • anelsen15 said:
    Yea sure ive met a few good peoe done a few cool things, pales in comparison to pre pain. Life was about fun and adventure and what it took to have that. For me if I ever say I accept this , It means I'm planning to end it, so I won't accept I won't be pain free one day. It might kill me and destroy my life but I refuse.
    It is so true that there is no comparison between life before and after intractable pain. Anelsen you made me cry and I never cry. I won't accept it either and at least I have more hope now that I have pain free days - but the life of adventure and fun - I lived all over the world - had an interesting and responsible job that I loved, had to totally change my goals in life because much as I would love to go parachuting or sailing or even swimming again - I made for the state championships when I was a kid for swimming - I live in a place that has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and I can't go swimming because of this injury - the pain afterwards isn't worth it.

    Seems a lot of people here were goal orientated, smart and extremely active in their lifestyle before this. That's to me what makes it so hard. I could do absolutely anything before - went to the gym 5 days a week morning and night - worked full time and studied at the same time, had my motorbike on the weekends - loved salsa - now all of these are out for me.

    I'm not accepting this either although I have changed my goals, but intractable pain for a person who used to rage and have fun, loved everything outdoors, went abseiling and diving, just sucks as it is so limiting and boring to someone who is so easily bored like me. I just can't hop on the bike and go for a ride when I feel Iike it. I have to wait for the pain meds to kick in before I can get out of bed and I never know how the day is going to turn out. Sorry for feeling angry but it's so tiring and completely boring for me who used to be action woman.

    My house used to be full of people, spontaneous parties. Now I don't even ask people for dinner anymore - used to at least once a week, it so hard to cook for everyone like I used to, I'm exhausted before I start and parties end up in me in agony covering the pain and still doing the old stuff I shouldn't be doing because my friends just don't get it. I actually never understood the movie groundhog day before my accident.

    Anyway enough moaning. At least I walked the Camino albeit without carrying a pack.I have a few goals which I know I can manage and it will bring some excitment back into my life. Just a different type of fun.
  • A full retirement with lots of travel and activity. Boating and biking were something that I planned for and looked forward to. No more. Doesn't make sense to travel when I can't snorkel , can't hike, can't even walk much. Might as well stay home and save my money for my son's retirement, lol. I just found out I am going to be a grandma and I have to find some Assistive technology so I can hold the baby and pick her . I will not miss out on this!
  • Congratulations Grandma! That's fantastic news, don't let anything take away from this huge milestone in your life. When my parents got the news that I was pregnant they gave up smoking..nothing in over 50years had made my Dad even consider it. The most wonderful gift I ever received ;-)

    I know it's early days yet but if you're planning on sleepovers check out co-sleepers. They're little beds that you attach to your side of your mattress. I couldn't put my kids in & out of a regular crib & hobbling through the house for night feeds wasn't a prospect I relished! It was a real life-saver for me. I also found a great harness (an expensive one for Mum's with lower back problems) that held my baby against my chest when I went for walks, it was great. I tried the cheaper ones first & they put too much strain on me. I wish you lived in North Texas I've still got a lot of my gadgets just waiting for a new needy home!

    Congratulations again on your wonderful news! ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Thanks so much! It is literally the best thing that has happened in so long.He is 22 and not married, but I really like his girlfriend and told them both how blessed we feel!
    Thanks for the tip on the bed and the harness. I have been looking at things but most rely on neck and shoulder which is out for me. I am looking at some of the baby wearing wrap techniques to see if there is something appropriate.
  • We have a huge Babies-R-Us near our house. The people who work on the registry desk were really knowledgable & helped me a lot. There's also a catalogue (total brain freeze! I can't recal the name but I'm sure another Mum will!) that lists so many gadgets, you'll be amazed! New Mum's with disabilities is big business..you name the problem & someone has thought of a solution. I didn't have neck or shoulder problems so many of my tricks won't work for you. My Mum used to sit with a 'Boppy' pillow around her waist so we could lay the babies on there, against her tummy..that took all the strain off! I'm sure you're going to have great fun investigating these things over the coming months. Do you know if you're buying pink or blue yet?

    Congratulations again! This is such an exciting time for you. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Im in my early twenties, Ive recently been in an auto accident and i was not at fault. The other party was and he is younger than I am. Im still in the early stages of understanding and knowing what all is wrong with me. What I know so far is, I have torn ligaments in my spine and at one point it is completely severed. I deal with chronic severe pain everyday, as well as twitching and muscle spasms all over my body. The degree I just received I can't even use. It is a medical degree working with patients. I have to start all over again and find my purpose while learning to deal with the pain. I still don't know what my future holds, I know ill need a neck fusion but I'm not sure how soon, paralysis is a possibility and so much more. Its SO nice to hear all of you talking about your similar troubles. I can't talk to my family either because they all just want to fix me and I'm "broken" as the doc says. Im un-fixable, Its a blessing to have this site and be able to just put my thoughts out there and know that someone who has goner through what i have in some sort of similar way is a blessing in itself.
  • Im new to this as in I just found this site today and I've been on it on and off all day. thank you for sharing your stories and thoughts.
  • Hi King I am so sorry about your accident. I would give a buck for every time someone on this site has said I wish my Dr had experienced this type of pain for just an hour - then he/she would believe me. Not that any normal human being would ever wish this type of pain on anyone. I have a couple of degrees as well, luckily I was able to use them for a while before my accident.

    I don't want to say everything will be OK but honestly if you can still practice medicine after this you would have patients lined out into the street to see a Dr who actually understands spine pain. You only need to have experienced it for an hour to get it. When I first had my accident and was in too much pain to sue - wasn't my fault either but they changed the laws in Australia from seven to two years to sue, I was advised it was seven, so I didn't get any money or payments. Guess what I'm trying to say in a long winded way is that no matter how much pain you are in make sure your lawyer gets the legal stuff right.

    I really hope you can find a way to practice medicine still, maybe in a different field like pain management. I worked in the military with soldiers being medically discharged and I could tell by their eyes who was in pain and who wasn't. It's one good thing at least you know if people are in real pain.

    I have put a link below which relates to what happened to me, I had a high security clearance and didn't understand that people would even think I was faking. Spine pain is so different - no-one can see it, and I still don't think our central nervous system is well understood. Most of the theories I have read about pain, I think are misguided.

    This manual was written by a Dr. I wish I lived in the States and I would give him a hug. I know it's early days for you, my accident was 9 years ago and it's the last place I ever thought I would be. I didn't plan for this. No-one understands except another person who has been though it - you just can't until it happens to you. Please just give a thought on staying in the medical field in some capacity. I heard a Dr on the radio here years ago who treated stroke patients then had a stoke himself. They used to think stroke patients couldn't hear what was being said about them. he said he was lying in bed unable to move with his colleagues all around his bed discussing him as if he wasn't there. When he finally recovered he went to every University in Australia and changed the way stroke patients are treated here.

    So I really hope you are still able to practice and change so many entrenched beliefs. You should have free access to the American Spine Journal at least. Here is the link to the Intractable Pain Survivors manual below.


    The cervical spine is quite well understood. My ex partner had a cervical fusion and he recovered really well and did not have any pain. He broke his neck in a rugby accident in PNG. I asked him about it the other day and he is nearly 70 now and he said he has never had any trouble with it. Mind you he was shot six times in PNG and they still couldn't kill him. He says the portrait in the attic is working overtime.

    Read it when you're ready. Welcome and thank you for joining the site. Know it's probably cold comfort at the moment. Most of the people here have had to do their own research. This stuff crosses all barriers, rich, poor, educated uneducated. I hope you hang around for a while.

  • it is to just get up and take a step. I took so many things for granted. And now I sit in amazement watching those that can get to where they want to go without even a thought....
    I have to think about the first step, how many steps to the designated area, and can I do it......Most times if there's no wheelchair then there's no me.....

    Fused from T-10 - L5-S1, 25 orthopedic surgeries includes 2 knee replacement and 2 plates in my right foot.....
  • Sorry for assuming it was a Dr degree. I didn't think.
  • Thank you both for your words and wisdom. Its so helpful to just come back to this page and know someone has read my thoughts and taken the time to respond. I can't really complain or talk to this with anyone I know because they don't understand. Yes, Anelsen, Its is a moment most people can't understand, your absolutely right. Although its nice knowing you can relate, Im sorry that you can. Working so hard towards something to only have it taken away right before you get it. Thoracic Spine Pain- It's ok you thought it was a Dr. Degree I didn't mention what it was but I have been working toward getting my Doctorate Nurse Practitioner degree and right now I'm only certified in phlebotomy but I can't even do something as simple as drawing blood because I get these muscle spasms and my hands, as well as every other body limb and my neck twitches. I can't put a patient at risk, I know I'm physically incapable and I may hurt someone. I wanted to get my DNP because I wanted to help patients. All my life I've had on and off health issues Ive had to overcome and I just wanted to be someone in the medical field that could make a difference. I've gone through so much in my life and thought I was finally going in the right direction. Just to get where I'm at just and be thrown into a physically worse condition than I ever have been is hard to cope with. Your right I'm no where near the acceptance step in this process. My doctor said I was broken or Un-fixable because he says that the PSL (posterior longitudinal Ligament) which is the main large ligament in your spine well mine has significant almost complete tears at C2-3 C3-4 and it is severed at C6-7 every time I move my head upward or downward the facets in my neck hook back and connect onto each other and snap back. Also the disks in those areas are being worn down every time I move. Because my tear is only on the right side its pulling really hard on the left side, creating friction and there is no surgery to correct what I have wrong with me. I will need a neck fusion once the disks wear down completely or herniate. Until that happens I just have to learn to live with the pain. Im also in the process of seeing other Docs and making sure this is correct. I don't want to be mis diagnosed, if there is something I can do to treat my injury I will. Thank you both SO much for your words and just being someone who understands, once again I wish this pain on NO ONE but i am so thankful for this website. Thoracic thank you for your link as well.
  • Yes I need a new doctor or a second opinion, I also have diffuse straightening at C5-7 I haven't even had my thoracic spine viewed on MRI yet. Only have had my cervical looked at. I have pain in areas that haven't even been viewed. I live in an area that has limited resources though its difficult to find a doctor, my options are limited.
  • Lmr106LLmr106 Posts: 119
    edited 04/07/2014 - 5:54 PM
    I think I go back and forth about the stages of grief relating to the stages of pain. For example, if I have a good day I start to feel maybe like I'm slipping back in the denial stage because I think about getting my old life back. Then I wonder if denial is what I consider giving up too easy. I lost my sense of self when I lost my job, and that's when I need the pain had really changed my life forever. It was the hardest change for me to accept, I think of trying to go back to work a lot. Then I will have a day like today, kind of what I call a learning/reminder day. I had manual therapy in the morning, in the afternoon I went to the dentist and had to get a crown put on, and then tonight I went to book club. I knew that I should probably not go to bookclub after spending about two hours in the dentist chair, but I hadn't gone in almost 6 months and I just wanted to do a normal activity again. Now I'm at home with ice, the heating pad, and my daily allotment of pain medication maxed out. So today reminded me why I can't work anymore. Again as I type that I can't accept it....
    2000- spinal fusion, complete spine due to scoliosis
    2012- pain began, started treatment for chronic pain
    2013- install of pain pump, procedures to address complications
    2014-blood patch, spinal fluid leak
  • I am so conflicted! I had an ACDF from c5-7 back in 2011 and have chronic pain from nerve damage at the root of C7, in April I fell and hurt my lower back and hips.My MRI shows spinal stenosis,herniated discs, neophytes at the facets and arthritis everywhere, I also have pain that feels like nerve pain in both legs and feet. I am 58 and have enough years to retire but I find myself fighting to keep my job on one hand and looking into disability at the same time. One day I am all about working despite the pain and showing them. The next day I can't wait to retire. This is the holding on to what was and denying what is.
    What kind of retirement will I have. I have spent the last vacation in my pajamas!
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