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Pain wipes clear my future - Spouse of a pain sufferer

FormerMagicLifeFFormerMagicLife Posts: 2
edited 01/22/2015 - 3:38 AM in Depression and Coping


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 12/30/2014 - 5:46 AM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    not looking for comments, suggestions, etc. But as a way to sort of clear your mind.

    But I do have to comment, only because you fit into one of thousands of other families. Your situation at home, with your wife and children is no different than many others struggle through.

    Its all about adapting. Sure, together you may not climb he highest mountain. But there is so much more in life.

    I had my first lumbar surgery when I was 28, here I am 64 still having surgeries. I was for a good part physically disabled, but I refused to give in, because mentally I could deal with anything. But in all honesty, I was only able to deal with that because of my wife and the support from my children. At early ages, they knew their Dad couldnt do this or that, so they help out. Today, they are 40 and 36 and still help out.

    No bad memories, no missed memories. I think the only one that has any missed anything is me. That was from guilt. But I realized that they did everything for me out of love.

    I am a happy man today. And I know that your family will be happy. You said those magic words. You love your wife. From there, everything else will be easy
    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 am so sorry you are going through this. As a wife and woman who has dealt with surgery after surgery for the past 4 years, I can kind-of relate to what you are going through. My husband tries to be supportive, but does the opposite and says things like "be strong", "mind over matter", "it's in your head" etc. This does not help at all. I am currently going through a back flare now and I'm looking at another potential surgery in my near future. I'm not so sure my husband is going to be supportive of my decision to have another surgery but it's my quality of life. All I can say to you, is that you have the right to grieve things that you wanted to do as a couple etc. It's not being selfish on your part at all. I do believe like another poster stated, couples adapt. In sickness and in health. Good luck.
    Microdiscectomy L5/S1 2010
    Revision microdiscectomy after reherniation L5/S1 2014
  • shouston7sshouston7 SOUTH CAROLINAPosts: 33
    What I have learned the past 10 years, I'm the wife in pain, to clarify. We grieve our lost capibilities, then move on to acceptance and learn to cope, to me it was a grief as profound as having someone close to me die. Sounds dramatic, however that is how I felt.
    Like you my husband has dealt with the extra work, expenses and the stress of seeing me struggle with things I used to be able to do. Of course you miss your intimacy with your wife,and I bet she misses it too.
    You love your wife, you want to stay and be a father to your children.
    It sounds like your wife is trying to keep her head above water, she doesn't want to neglect you, the house or her children, she is also having to learn how to cope with her condition.
    If you have family or friends that you can ask for help with the children and chores a couple weekends out of the month, don't be hesitant to ask them. You still need to decompress yourself. If you like hiking, find time to do that,take a brother, a friend and do it, your wife can rest too.
    It is OK to still enjoy life, talk openly to your wife about missing the romance, and intimacy, you both can still have a strong and wonderful marriage together, you both might have to be a little more creative, but that is what marriage is about,.
    You're conflicted because you already know what you should do, you work at making your Marriage work!
    Let your wife know how much you miss her and tell her you love her, tell her you feel so alone, it will help you to do that.
    I'm sorry that you and your family are going through this,
    Will keep you all in my prayers!
    PS You are never alone, look up at the night stars...

    S. Houston
  • airborne-ranger72aairborne-ranger72 Posts: 12
    edited 01/01/2015 - 4:52 AM

    Your post touched upon several issues, and many have already responded. I just wanted to add another perspective to the discussion.

    The final sentence in your post read..."I was wrong, this hasn't helped at all." Even though your testimony was pure, honest and filled with the "other pain" caused by spinal issues, I believe that your final sentence was the most profound. Let me explain.

    The majority of us on this forum are those who constantly live with the physical pain caused by spinal issues. On occasion someone who is a spouse, immediately family member, etc. will post seeking help from their perspective of one who lives with the constant emotional/psychological pain caused by their spouse's spinal issues. Both are hurting, in different ways, but for the same reason - spinal issues. I have been a member of this forum since 2010 and read it daily. There have been others just like you who posted similar scenarios and sought advice/relief. So, for what solace it may provide, understand that you are not alone.

    Back to your final sentence. During my tenure as a member of this forum I have gathered much information and learned so much from the unselfish, honest, generous posts that others have made. I learned from yours as well. So when you say...I was wrong, this hasn't helped at all...it has helped - ME and several others on this forum. Your post presented the negative effects of spinal issues from the perspective of a spouse, family member, etc. and that enabled me (chronic pain sufferer with multiple level lumbar fusion X 2) to become more aware of others in my life and what impact I am having on them.

    Just like dropping a pebble in a pond, your post created some ripples in my life. I hope that you return to this forum and read these replies. I also hope that you can garner some positive feelings knowing that you were not wrong, your post did help after all.
    Jim Bryant
  • shouston7sshouston7 SOUTH CAROLINAPosts: 33
    edited 01/01/2015 - 8:29 AM
    Airborne, you are so correct I had to ask my husband last night if he feels neglected, it affects everyone in your life, I hope that former magic life will find some comfort knowing his perspective helps the ones in pain rethink about the ones that live it too!
    S. Houston
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    I guess I'm the "would have been" if there ever is such a thing.
    My back injury happened when I was 8 years old and this added to another genetic issue always played in my head when I was getting into relationships. I kept all my boyfriends at arms length knowing that a long term relationship/marriage to me would mean no children and always having to consider my limitations before the relationship.

    I'm 48 with many friends but no one too close. I always thought I was doing others a "favor" until recently I was told that I was being selfish because I was making decisions for people before ever allowing them to get to know me. To me however, I'm sparing myself what I am afraid would be a world of emotional pain.

    But now I am also learning that there are new options and new ways to work around pain. I am having a few nights here and there where I sleep pain free! I have new doctors who are eager to help me have pain free days and weeks and months. Ah but now I have to learn an ever more difficult lesson; how to allow people to become close to me.

    And I have never said this sort of thing before but I was touched by your post. What it would be like being in a relationship with me. I can hear you saying that it's difficult. I realize that your situation isn't talked about in those "What it's like to be married" relationship books. But I hear you saying that you love your wife and your kids. That is so beautiful.
    I hear you saying that you cannot "do" things but I hear something deeper, I hear you saying you cannot do things with the person you want to choose to do them with.

    Thank you for sharing what you have. You have given me some reasons to work harder to allow people into my pain-filled life. I was being selfish not imagining that I am more than just a person who can "do things". There are parts of me that people would still want to share as you have found with your wife.
    Thank you for loving your wife in the best way you could.

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • One thing you can speak with your wife about is what she would be okay with regarding activities you and your kids want to do. I still go on vacations with my family, but they know stuff like white water rafting, skiing, amusement park rides, long walks, a lot of standing, etc is out of the question for me. I'm okay with that. I want them to have a good time and I can too by seeing them have their memories together. Life goes on and she can be apart of it in some form or fashion. It's up to you all as a family to figure out what might possibly work. Best of luck!
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • FormerMagicLifeFFormerMagicLife Posts: 2
    edited 01/08/2015 - 5:33 AM
    Thanks for all the kind words and comments. The realization I am coming to is this is not about lamenting the loss of things we cannot do but looking for opportunities in the things that we can. I've also realized that 'adventure' is for naught unless you are sharing it with the ones that you love.
  • I had back surgery in 2002 and it completely changed my life...for the worse!! I live with Post Lamenectomy Peripheral Neuropathy in both legs/feet from knees to toes. I have constant pain and the meds make me sleepy. I can't do what I used to do. My house and yard are a mess because I don't have the strength or stamina to keep them up anymore. I hate to cook because it hurts to stand at the stove for very long.

    My husband does not try to be supportive at all and he doesn't help me. He says I am holding us back from doing things in our lives, like moving to a different country. I suppose it's true as I'd have to worry about doctors, treatment and meds that will probably be more difficult in other countries. He says things like "be strong, mind over matter, it's all in your head," etc. This does not help at all. I can't make the pain go away! Then, I get depressed because I know I really am holding us back! I had plans and dreams too!

    Does anyone have a solution? I have pretty much given up! It's always going to be like this!
  • I don't think anyone can give you a solution to make your situation better. But, what we can do is let you know works for us and to see if you can get it to work for you.

    One of the hardest comments to overcome is "it's all in your head". To me, these are the people who don't understand or have the capacity to understand. This might be hard to hear but your describing your husband as being self centered. Most marriage vows say "in sickness and in health" and it sounds like he has forgotten that part. If he doesn't support you, I'd suggest marriage counseling. Perhaps someone else could get him to understand what it is your going through and that it's not a picnic for you either. Best of luck!
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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