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In the dumps

Hi guys ,

I'm almost six weeks out of surgery ant/post fusion .
But even though I'm making progress I'm still finding it hard to do the most basic of things like get to the shops or cook . I haven't cooked properly for my boys since the operation . Yesterday I took my youngest to the shops with me to get some food but had such bad pain on the walk there I had to come home and they had to have take away again .
My fiancé works very hard and is hardly ever around .
I'm just feeling so down and isolated .
I have no friends nearby as I moved here only a couple of years back and just haven't really met too many people . My family live a couple of hours away but nobody has visited . I get an occasional text and that's it . I mean I'm kind of angry that one of my three sisters can't be bothered but I understand everyone has lived going on . I just feel so isolated and lonely and so fed up of having to lie down for most of the day as sitting still really hurts . I don't want to take anti depressants as I've been through that merry go round before and don't fancy the withdrawal ! Well we all know it's hard with all our fears of what out limitations may be , I think that's the hardest part and of course just the long road to recovery and wanting to be at the end of it not near the beginning .


  • Michelle99MMichelle99 Posts: 57
    edited 09/22/2015 - 11:40 PM
    Hang in there, it is a long road and different for everyone. I haven't had a fusion but two discectomies at L5/S1 and a laminectomy all since December last year. I know how you feel, we live in a different country to our family as we emigrated 11 years ago so I only have my husband and two daughters. I had a similar experience when I tried to go shopping to buy a birthday present for my daughter. My husband dropped me off at a shop and then I arranged to meet him afterwards a short walk away. This was 5 weeks post op, by the time I had picked out a birthday gift I was exhausted and didn't have the strength to even walk over the road, I had to phone him to come and get me.

    You have made a good start and remember every day gets a little better, just hang in there and think how far you have come already. Just be patient, it is very hard I know and no one who hasn't been in our situation can fully sympathise or understand.

    I hope you feel better soon. Feel free to message me if you need someone to chat with or sound off to

  • ZoezoeZZoezoe Posts: 14
    edited 09/23/2015 - 9:10 AM
    Hi Michelle ,
    Thanks for your message . It's good to know there's someone out there listening !
    I know it's not nearly as bad for me as so many here with terrible chronic pain . Mines not so bad as long as I'm laying down . I do find it hard to deal with my own ups and downs and also my fiancé is suffering from depression too , which to be honest I just cannot handle at the moment and want to strangle him when he unloads on me ! I've even wondered if I can have a future with him after these last weeks of us arguing .
    I've found it unbelievable that he is lying in bed with me two weeks after surgery telling me how depressed he is . The worst thing is I just cannot find the compassion to look after him when I'm dealing with my two boys and just every day life like trying to get my [edit] trainers/sneakers on !
    The other night I was so ill as I'd had constipation for weeks and took laxatives , unfortunately they didn't really work and all night I suffered terrible stomach contractions and bouts of vomiting , the pain was excruciating , far worse than the surgery or any back pain . I was crying so much and had to stick a towel into my mouth to stop me screaming and waking the boys up and not once did he come and offer me a hand . I managed to work out a bath might help with the pain , that was my first bath since the op , it helped my stomach and I stayed in there for a couple of hours . My partner couldn't understand why I was upset that he hasn't even offered me a glass of water . Now he has a big meeting today and I'm trying to be supportive but I just feel so hurt and let down by his behaviour during my recovery . He's not bad at everything , he does try but he just can't handle illness . He'll lift and carry and pick kids up from clubs etc but emotionally he's just no support . So spine -health it is :)
    I hope you feel better also , sooner rather than later :)
    And thanks again

  • I hear ya! Illness of any kind is so difficult for our partners and i know that I too have needed that emotional support. You wil always get all the support and help you need here, someone is always there to help.

    Take care and as they say, keep calm and carry on xx
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    Sometimes mixes like Oil and Water.....
    Its not always easy. It takes work on both ends and a lot of open two way , honest communications.

    What you want is to have Oil and Vinegar so it blends so well
    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
  • dilauro said:
    Sometimes mixes like Oil and Water.....
    Its not always easy. It takes work on both ends and a lot of open two way , honest communications.

    What you want is to have Oil and Vinegar so it blends so well
    Yes I know ! I'm trying :)
  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 158
    Its been close to a year for my fusion. The only people that understand what its like are people that had back surgery. I have brothers and sisters near me. Sometimes they say, I would ask has your feeling but I know your back is the same. SO! It would be nice to talk, maybe get me out. Its hard from me to drive, I had a 7 level thoracic fusion done and its not going good. Why don't you call/text your sisters. Even email them. Share your thoughts, how you feel. Depression can sneak up on you fast if you let it. Even if you just take a short walk outside. The fresh air and being outside will do you good. Maybe get a cat or a dog? They can be a great companion.
    Greg fisher
  • It's still early days - it takes time to recover from such a big op. Our partners don't always know how to help us. It is especially difficult for them if they are used to you being the strong one. From the sounds of things, prior to the surgery, you were the one that was supporting him through his own difficult journey.

    My own husband is good at doing practical things like taking the dog for a walk, lifting things that I can't, occasionally washing the floors etc but he is hopeless at helping me when I am in extreme pain. It's not that he doesn't want to - he just doesn't know what to do. Once I have figured it out he thinks I'm fine and just leaves me to it. I find it best to tell him what I need him to do. If I need to be held, I tell him. If I need food or liquid or meds etc - I tell him. If I wait for him to figure it out I would never get the help I need.

    I remember once, many years ago, I was ill with a virus. He apparently checked on me at 9am and I was asleep so he thought it best not to disturb me. He thought he was doing the right thing by keeping the house quiet so he went out to the shed to do some work. Then he lost track of time. He finally came back inside at around 3pm and discovered that, in the 6 hours since he had checked on me, I had not been sleeping - I had been vomiting and I was so dizzy that I couldn't even get up and get a drink so I was extremely dehydrated. You see - it hadn't even occurred to him that I might need his help and he hadn't thought to even leave water within reach.

    When I was feeling a little better we talked about what he should have done differently and now he has a better idea of how to support me. I also learned that he doesn't necessarily know what I need or when I need it so now I don't just assume he will give me the support I need - I tell him what I need and I ask him to help me.

    When I am having a really bad time he has learned to ask me what he can do to help me.

    We have been married for 30 years and I love him dearly but I know his shortcomings. Instead of getting mad at him for not being able to figure it out, I have found a way to get the help I need without making him feel useless.
  • Sorry you're feeling depressed. I have found that depression goes hand in hand with chronic pain. If your surgery eventually makes your pain go away, that would be great. But it takes a long time to heal from some types of surgeries, such as spinal fusion. In the meantime, you may feel exhausted for a few weeks -- often due to blood loss during surgery -- and the exhaustion can increase your depression or even masquerade as depression in someone who is not depressed.

    The inability to resume normal activities can also be depressing -- it's hard to adjust to a "new normal," but while you're healing there will be things you cannot do, and if your spine is like mine, some of the activity limitations could be permanent. You may need to develop new interests and new ways of doing things.

    I don't understand why you don't want to take anti-depressants -- I'd probably die without mine. Literally, I'd probably DIE because I would not be able to cope with 24/7 pain and my huge host of spine problems, plus the inability to do most of the activities I used to enjoy. I would very likely become suicidal and that would be the end of it. But when I'm taking an anti-depressant (Prozac), I can cope with the constant pain and all the other crappy things life throws at a person, and I can even tell jokes, laugh, feel happy, and enjoy myself.

    I've met very few people with chronic pain who do NOT take anti-depressants. Those who don't use anti-depressants often have a tendency to self-medicate in other, more harmful ways -- with alcohol, extra doses of pain pills, street drugs, overeating, etc. Others just sit around, feeling very unhappy and, in many cases, dwelling on their chronic pain condition, which in my opinion magnifies the pain. It's particularly hard to avoid depression when you're coping with a painful medical condition and have very little emotional support from family and friends. But it's possible to get so depressed that you can drive others away, often without realizing it.

    By not getting treatment (anti-depressants) when they truly need it, some people can become so depressed that their dark unhappy mood makes others feel equally unhappy or uneasy, as though depression were contagious. A highly depressed person can thus "bring down" the mood of those around them, just by walking into the room. When that happens, other people don't want to be near the depressed person and begin to avoid or shun that person. I had a friend who became that way for a while, when going through a difficult divorce. It got so bad that I began to avoid her so that I myself would not "catch" her depression.

    Getting shunned can make the depressed person even more depressed, but it's human nature to avoid party poopers and people who rain on one's parade. Depression is a horrible feeling and I try to avoid it, whether it comes from within myself or if it's brought on by somebody whose severely depressed mood has become contagious, as happened in the case of my friend.

    But why should anybody suffer depression when they don't have to feel that way, and all it takes is one itty bitty anti-depressant pill? Some of these drugs even lower your pain levels. If one anti-depressant medication doesn't help or has too many unwanted side effects, there are plenty of others to try.

    I know nothing about withdrawal from anti-depressants because the idea is to *never quit taking them.* I've taken anti-depressants almost every day for 30 years because I strongly prefer to feel happy, rather than depressed. Depression is a medical problem, a change in brain chemistry that is NOT just "the blues" or "feelings of sadness." True depression is a long-lasting condition by definition, and it's nearly impossible to "cure" without anti-depressants, but even after the depression goes away, you have to keep taking the anti-depressant because the depression will likely recur if you stop taking the drug. And when you stop taking anti-depressants and re-start them later -- especially if you do this multiple times -- such drugs don't work as well as if you had simply continued taking them.
  • sparkledctssparkledct Posts: 120
    edited 11/24/2015 - 3:44 AM
    I felt the same as you after my ACDF surgery. A bit helpless and feeling bad for not being able to care for my children like I always had. It is a struggle now, but I hope every day gets a little better for you and soon you will feel better and be able to do the things that bring you joy! Stay strong
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