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Diagnosed and Depressed

jmy1975jjmy1975 Posts: 1
edited 08/29/2015 - 6:31 PM in New Member Introductions
Hi, I'm Mike. I just turned 40 and have spinal stenosis caused by arthritis in my spine.

I worked manual labor for 8 years and worked out very hard for 9 and though I occasionally got the pinched nerve (sciatica) I had no idea my back was in trouble. It never hurt. Well in February when I was pushing my dad's truck out of the snow I got sciatica again and this time prednisone, etc. didn't work that well.

After months of it getting worse I finally saw an orthopedist in July who said I had arthritis in my spine . However when he told me this he said I would be able to go back to my previous activities. He saw an X ray of my lower back, and it has spurs.

After getting a referral to see a back specialist, I was given an MRI and an appointment to get an injection, which I had last Wednesday. By the time I had the injection I was peeing in a bucket upstairs, going through vicodin and kratom, and doing a lot of screaming and crying. The injection has helped, I'm around 75-85 % better.

But doc told me, "Jame,s, you've worn out your back. It's destroyed". And he told me in the future I may need surgery to fuse some discs. He told me that it was bad, and he didn't want to be the one to tell me, but that is how it is.

Instead of it taking me 90 minutes to get up in the morning, it takes 30, and that's OK. I'm in pain, but not nearly as bad. The pain. My God I don't want to go through any more pain. And I'm only 40. I'm quite depressed. I don't know what to do or where to go or how to deal with this. I always prided myself on my work ethic and strength, and now, well, now it will only get worse. And I have what, 30 years at least?

I walk with a cane and I need it...but I've gained 30 pounds and am near 300. I gained a lot of weight becaues I can't eat healthy anymore- I can't stand long enough to do that. And I'm depressed. Really just in despair.

I hope to be able to read about coping techniques, pain management tips, and the like. I hope this is an active forum.

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  • Jmy1975, give yourself the grace grieve. You are in pain, your life has been turned upside down. Of course u r depressed, I want to meet the person who would not be! I think you are brave to be so honest and I admire that you realize -yes I think you are realizing- you need some help and support. It's very hard for people to say that, especially given you are so young and obviously so physical. So what to do:

    Get to a back specialist. Ask your doctor who he recommends. It sounds like it was hard for him to tell you, because he must care about you. He will give you a name or two. If not, Google is your friend, Google ortho and neurosurgery dr in your area. When u r getting help, them being nearby will help. If not, then look at nearby cities.
    It will take time to get into a new dr. In the meantime organize a med file you can take with you. A binder of your mess, your health and surgery history.
    Back dr is gonna give you initial consult and order X-rays or ct or Mri probably. If possible get your current dr to order the Mri to save a step. Keep the report and copy of disc in that folder of yours.
    Keep every single thing related to your back with you.
    Start a pain journal. Do you take meds? Simple as that, write down the time of day each time you take. As time goes, maybe add your pain level so u can see trends. This helps u and doctor. As you go maybe add more.
    When doctor prescribes meds, take them only as directed. Don't work? I don't care, take them until u see him/her and then tell the dr. He has got to have u do exactly what he prescribes. You have to be a coach able person for him. Is is so important in what I call back land..your dr is your solution, and they can fire you for not doing what you are suppose to do.

    Do not ever give up trying to find a pain free life.mmaybe that pain free life isn't as physical as it once was. I know how that feels. I am starting therapy this week for it. I look at it as a point guard for my medical team of physical therapist, pain management dr and neuro. This person is gonna help me deal with the emotional parts and help me be okay with my new normal. Yes, chronic pain is depressing. I think I could very well cope on my own. But why should I?

    You are an amazing man. Remember that, you help your family and you are a hard worker. Those don't go away. So you have eaten food to help. Give yourself a break for that. Forgive yourself. Now move forward.

    Oh I can hear people yelling now: I smoke. Not proud of it, have quit and started for years and years. I've been a no smoker for 5 years and then decided to smoke again. It's how I cope. It's not good and I have to quit again because I have a fusion coming up. So I'm hoping therapist will help me get thru that and stay quit. I don't want to gain a bunch of weight. So I have to find a new strategy. So I'm sharing this with you because we all cope in some unhealthy ways. We make mistakes. We forgive and move on.

    Forgive and move on. We r here for u.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    It sounds like all this news hit you recently. I know, well for me, it was emotionally quite numbing and overwhelming at first.

    With the necessary lifestyle changes, I needed to quit my work, and that independance and work ethic were very strong in me, also.
    It did take me time to readjust my thinking, accept my limitations and realized I'm just as worthwhile on this planet as before, just in different ways. And realize all, myself included, have worth no matter how society or my old mind set would judge.

    I realize depression often accompanies chronic pain, but it should not be accepted as normal.
    Realizing this early on, I sought out psychiatrist, as I wanted a specialist, to evaluate me and prescribe meds for depression and anxiety. I also did some talk therapy and eventually found someone who specialized with chronic pain and depression.

    For me, that was most helpful. Although I haven't felt the need for talk therapy for three or more years now, if I feel I am slipping to old negative, and for me, destructive habits of thinking or feeling, I will not hesitate to contact therapist.
    At the very least, I wasted so much energy being too hard on myself and slow to readjust my thinking ...and that energy is much better spent on taking care of my pain....taking care of me...communicating with doctors.

    I have a primary doctor who believes in referrals to specialists, which I'm totally in favor of. I have issues that complicate each other, as many people do, and I like the new eyes on my situations, and I like specialists for their keeping up in their field.
    I would never expect my primary care doctor to know the best in all areas, and I respect her telling me about new meds being discovered and specialists best for that.

    All that to say, I don't think it would be a bad idea to ask your primary about maybe a referral to see dietician.
    When you mentioned you "can't stand long enough", I am thinking you mean re preparation of foods. A dietician would be able to help you keep your diet healthy, and even to lose weight if you wanted, while suggesting specific foods, approaches.....things that have not yet and may never cross your mind, re more ease, less physical exertion, etc...
    I totally understand the pain and the fatigue factor. I've been using disposable dish ware for...years now.

    When you mentioned your interest in coping techniques, you may find an older post...The Blend...helpful to you.
    Personally, I think it's impossible to fully rely on medications to stop or control my pain. There are a number of other...lack of better word...distractions, to help me with my focus to be on more pleasant things. "The Blend" addresses some other distractions. It may also trigger thoughts of your own that would benefit you.

    Just use _ search_ on this site, upper right on page and type in ..The Blend. There is a lot of information on this site you can access with the search. Just type anything that concerns you. I find I often develop more questions.
    Sometimes I continue to search, but often, I write list for when I see doctor.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I have 3 relatives and 1 friend that had the lumbar stenosis surgery. My mom never had the surgery but 10 years ago they told her it was very bad. At 84 she can hardly walk but as she states to old for surgery now. The others I spoke of have had successful surgery. Took away pain in legs, butt and so on and able to do all as before. According to my PM 2 options for severe stenosis is SCS or surgery. Injections for my Mom was temporary. I myself just had RFA which is nerve burning to relieve the back and leg pain but I have different problem so not an option for my mother, we both have same PM. Do some research if able look,at all options because I completely understand about pain. It turns you into someone you don't reconize and day to day responsibilities become impossible. I had 4 level cervical fusion do to servere cervical arthritic stenosis with spinal cord impingement so surgery had to be done no other options. I guess not having a choice probably helped me into a decision promptly but I did get many opinions. I had a tens unit, muscle relaxer, nerve pain med and vicodin. I will say that Advil or aliieve worked the best but due to stomach inflammation I'm not able to take. Every now and then I sneek a couple. Having sciatica in past chiropractor told me pain meds don't work only 800mg of ibprophen every 4 hours and ice 20 on 20 off. Plus him working the knot out. It did work and I haven't had a bout with that for long time.
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