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Hello all! I love reading this forum it is my saving grace! I am 21 years old and over the holidays I had an emergency surgery on my back to shave off my L5 disc that was causing nerve impingement. Most if not all of you know this surgery. I did not have time to prepare my home, work, school, family or myself for what was about to come in the next weeks, months and years. What I would like to know is how many of you have any sort of depression, anxiety or sadness of any sorts after surgery? I have had surgery in the past so I know what to expect with recovery but this one is particularly hard because I was not able to prepare myself, I am not able to be as independent as before, I must rely on others for any assistance. How does everyone else cope with this when you maybe a very independent person?
Thank you


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    edited 01/22/2016 - 8:43 AM
    What branch of the service did you serve in? You seem kinda young for that.

    Dealing with Post surgery is a given. It is something that everyone must face up to and learn how to cope. Sure, first time spinal surgery patients may have a harder time, only because this is so new to them.

    Please take a look at: Recovery, the most important phase

    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
  • Hi Caycee, as Dilauro said above I ditto that. I had several weeks to prepare because my stem cells were being harvested for my cages in my spine. I worked with a young lady around your age who had similar surgery to yours and she was back to work in no time and never had issues after. Maybe it's the youth on her side. Idk but that is not the case for all unfortunately. You have to just focus on healing. Being independent makes it difficult to accept help from others however that sort of stubborn behavior may not fair so well, least it did not for me. I didn't want to be down and out and have everything done and even be fed. I made things worse for myself because of it and if I had just surrendered I wouldn't of been as miserable. But see that's me and my experience.
    Hopefully with your youth you will bounce back after you recover. Just be gentle with yourself and patient. Lord knows I know no patience. Hind site is 20/20.
    Good luck to you!
    Live, love, laugh, it could always be worse.
  • Especially after major surgery. It is a side effect of the anesthesia, the lack of mobility and not being as independent as we were prior to surgery. Not what would be called PTSD, which results from severe trauma.
    Situational depression, anxiety about surgery outcomes are normal post op for many of us, and usually goes away or improved as we recover.
    If it continues, talking to your surgeon can help ease your mind.

  • Thank you everyone for the feedback! It's great to know I'm not the only who is feeling this. I went back to work right away because I felt so depressed at home after week 2 from surgery I just wanted to get back to normal. I know over time it will get better it's just hard accepting that it will never be the same. I follow up with the doctor in a week so I will talk with him about it than.
  • So early with your surgeon?
    Pushing too soon, too fast in your recovery can be a huge problem....so be careful and follow the post o.o instructions and limits.

  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,817
    You would be surprised what can cause PTSD for a person we see war but in reality the event and how it's precieved, and the impact it has on the individual is the real defining factor. There are many signs repetitive thoughts, dreams of the event, running it over and over in mind not able to stop. You say emergency surgery that sounds traumatic and life changing caught off guard and we really don't know if was an injury. Trama to the mind is cumulative not one off. Hopefully you just have post surgury normal issues , but if they don't let up won't hurt to see a psychologist cause you need your me to to get through all this
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • I read actually PTSD is 30% common in Spine Surgery patients. I have it and have developed "White Coat syndrome" From seeing so many Dr's my whole life and since that last surgery I refuse to let anyone touch me. But slowly but surely I am getting better. Its been 4 years which seems like eternity. But I am feeling better. Unforutently I just got news I now have to have a spine fusion from C3-C7 Feb. 23rd. I had time to research all of my surgeries and I still got it so I think some people are just more prone to getting it then others. Hope you start feeling better.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can you potentially develop in an individual who has experienced a traumatic event. Yes, we often hear of this issue affecting veterans (particularly combat vets), but natural disasters, rape, trauma/ER professionals, or being the victim of a violent crime (besides rape)can also be contributing factors. It's been seen frequently in adult survivors of childhood abuse, as well--including adult children of alcoholics.
    PTSD has a very clear-cut set of diagnostic qualifiers, as do anxiety, depression, etc. Although PTSD arises from traumatic incidents, you cannot have "situational PTSD" as exists within issues like anxiety and depression. Ironically, a situation CAN be a trigger for an individual to experience his/her PTSD symptoms, but things like sounds and scents can also send individuals with PTSD into a world of mental hurt.
    As I view this forum as a wonderful expander of knowledge for me, I just wanted to try to share what I know of PTSD so that we don't run the risk of automatically equating this disorder with military experience. Surgery is a trauma, too, but everyone's resistance in terms of how they will react to stress/trauma unique. A person with surgery-related situational depression/anxiety is wholly different from the person with PTSD arising from the same reason....
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,817
    edited 01/25/2016 - 3:30 AM
    Annabeller and jimmy 72 , very interesting conversation and points. I truly feel with how traumatic some injuries to spine are, surgeries can be and the aftermath where life often falls apart , that there are many more people suffering with PTSD than considered due to misconceptions. I know for myself I did not believe it when diagnosed by psychologist cause it's a war thing and I had been through so many large traumatic events since childhood I just couldn't grasp why now this would develop. One of my biggest trigger oddly is all my college books and the binders with all that hard work , and future taken by spinal cord injury, I couldn't often go in my room and see them and when I did I just would cry, or mainly want to curl up into a fetal position and sleep or sometimes anger, but every time horrible anxiety would overcome me. It was and is truly a strange thing, but I am hopeful treatment will continue to help. But the sad stigma of it is I would never tell anyone I actually knew this execept my girlfriend and mom because it does feel shameful and I feel weak that I couldn't get through it or let it affect me so different than other trama I've lived through and at times I have a hard time believing it. Learning more about it everyday
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • Kimmy72KKimmy72 Posts: 1,767
    edited 01/25/2016 - 10:20 PM
    Since you said you've only shared your feelings of despair with your girlfriend and Mom, I wanted to say for whatever it's worth that I commend you on your courage to share those thoughts and feelings here!! It sounds like you haven't had an easy way to go between issues stemming from your childhood and your spinal cord injury.
    I'm GLAD to hear that you've committed to working on these things through therapy--I hope that through your continued diligence in getting these matters settled within you, you'll come to find that the ways you've mentally reacted/coped with the stressors you were (and are) enduring are in NO WAY indicative of weakness on your part! My goodness, you are human! Just because someone else may seem to have had a "better" (and I use that word carefully!) outcome psychologically to life situations that may be somewhat similar to yours does NOT mean that you are less of a person, a coward, or weak. Putting the heavy burden upon your heart of comparing yourself unfavorably with either other people OR with what used to be YOUR normal is a tremendous weight to carry around with you all of the time. Weakness is not a word that comes to MY mind when I think about someone in your situation who's been able to bear THAT load and still have the guts and determination to keep on truckin'! Amazing!
    Opportunities to demonstrate courage come in many ways, from the obvious example of a firefighter running into a burning building to the person-- whom despite having been battered emotionally and physically--continues to get going every day and give"fighting the good fight" another chance.
    I wish you peace.

    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
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