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So, I'm almost 4 months post op of a two leveled spinal fusion. I'm 23 years old and have been experiencing back injuries for about two years. After so many failed therapies, I had no choice but to undergo surgery and hope for the best. With the doctors seeming so certain with my health and age of a speedy recovery. I guess I couldn't help but assume with all the positive words, my daily depression would subside. I knew this recovery was not going to be easy, and even a "speedy" recovery is rather lengthy... but I am still experiencing pain daily. granted, it is a different kind of pain... (I'm hoping it's the healing of muscles and nerves!) But, with waking up each day in pain....and working and going to school both full time... it's very difficult to juggle everything. My boyfriend has been supportive, but he works third shift and his lack of sleep and my edginess can't help but to bang heads sometimes. It's very frustrating that he can't understand such torment being in pain each and every day- but how can he? He's never experienced it! I'm iffy on seeing help just because I've had bad experiences in my past with one- granted I should try to see a different one; any advice on other ways of coping with this? I feel like I'm losing my mind some days, I just assume everyone can understand that I'm always looking aggravated not because I'm mad, I'm just burnt out... I hate not being able to remember the last time I went an entire day without being in pain! any advice?!


  • Hey Melissa. I've seen you around lately & you seem like a very smart, driven, caring lady. Remember who you are deep down inside, don't let chronic pain rob you of too much. It's so bloody hard waking up to this everyday isn't it? I describe it as Groundhog Day again & again & I never seem to get it right! Ugh!!
    I've been suffering for over 8 years & my kids are 8 & 4 years old. I know from a different thread that you're thinking & stressing about your future lately. Please don't worry about milk that hasn't spilt yet. If (& it's a big if) chronic pain becomes a permanent part of your life you'll find a way to cope, you really will. It's hard for me but I remember that there are all kinds of lives being lived out there. It's life & I love mine. Pain sucks but it doesn't need to be the focus of your life.
    You're pretty new to this & you're still recovering from surgery. I don't know why surgeons aren't more honest with people. I'm currently caring for a neighbor who's recovering from a 2 level lumbar fusion. He was told it would be hard for the first 6 weeks to 2 months!! That made him feel like something was very, very wrong when the 3 month mark came & he was still struggling & experiencing crippling pain. He's an older gentleman with a lot of complications. He now realizes that it could take over a year for his nerves to recover because they'd been compressed for so long. I'm not suggesting you're in the same boat, I'm just saying that these things can take a LOT longer than surgeons say before surgery.

    You've got so much on your plate with school & work. It's fantastic that you're coping with so much. I know you're feeling low at the moment. One day you'll look back & realize what an inspiration you are for others! Very few, at any age continue functioning as well as you are this soon after fusion surgery. Depression is normal after traumatic surgery. It's so hard on your body & it's a natural way of slowing you down. Chronic pain also causes depression! You've got the double whammy!! You're not a super-woman (pretty close in my opinion) & you can't defy the laws of science. I hope your depression will be a little easier to handle with this perspective. You know what I mean?

    I saw a chronic pain psychologist & she really helped with practicle coping mechanisms to help me get through everything I have to do daily. It was good to have someone to talk to who really understood how hard all this is. Maybe your pain management doctor could refer you. In my experience most of them have one either connected to their practice or one they work closely with.
    I was prescribed Cymbalta for pain & depression. It helps many people. It didn't do much for my pain but I'm sure it got me past the worst of my depression. It's easy to come off of with the right titration plan. It's one of those meds you can't just stop suddenly but it's not hard to quit like some doctors warn. It made me a bit sleepy for a week or more but that passed.

    The best thing I did for my depression was talk about it. Joining this site is a great start. It took a long time for my husband to really understand that I was suffering more than just spine pain. It's very hard for anyone to truly 'get' the unrelenting, emotionally draining side of living with this. We often say that no-one can understand but they can get pretty close!! Have your boyfriend read 'Spoon Therory' & 'Letter to Normals' from the Chronic Pain forum. That really helped my husband & it makes it easier for me to explain "I just don't have enough spoons to do that!". Discussing other peoples situations from the forum also helps us. No relationship is sunshine & roses all the time. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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