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marriage stain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:20 AM in Chronic Pain
hi all, i'm new here but not new to pain. had back surgery in october and been in severe pain since. docs have me loaded up on oxy. seen pain doc. ( i am a vet and am in the V.A. health sytem) he said this is as good as i'll get. i am fighting the pain going to physical therapy 3x a week doing exercises on off days and taking meds like i'm supposed to. the pain meds take the edge off, i take 3 doses of oxycontin a day, 60 mg in am. then 2 doses of 45mg 8 hours apart. so enough babble, the hard part is the strain its putting on my marriage. i don't complain about the pain, try to help my wife as much as possible with housework, i still hold my full time job. so i'm not just sitting around the house moping and looking for attention. i just feel she is getting a little fed up with the pain. does anyone else have this problem and if so what can i do to get things better. i am going to a psyciatrist this week to see if he can help. thanks


  • I'm so sorry. This is a problem that many of us with chronic pain issues have, unfortunately. There are many ways to help cope with it and I'll just chime in with a couple of my suggestions. I'm sure many will come along with their own.

    Honesty is key here. I found that the more I try to "hide" how I am feeling the more strained my relationship with my husband becomes. The reason? We try to become super-people who do it all through the pain and it makes us hurt even more. Then we pay the price by hurting more and I don't know about you but I'm not fun to be around when I hurt beyond what is "normal". I find that when I can admit that I'm not up to doing chores that it makes things easier in the long run because I'm not trying to hide the pain afterwards.

    Take your wife to your medical appointments. I believe that our doctors can be more honest about our conditions with our spouses than we can. I know that I try to sugar coat everything because I'm tired enough of it myself and don't want to burden him with anymore of it. It's a protective mechanism and hard to break. If she goes with you there's no hiding from it.

    Try to do things that you did when you didn't have these problems. Remember back then? LOL Sure, we may not be able to do things the same way but you can always have a romantic dinner or watch a sunset- both are spine friendly. Make sure you make time to romance her like you used to. My husband is so afraid to hurt me that he is hands off. By doing that all the romance has gone away. We're still human after all, pain or no pain, and what woman doesn't want to be told how much you appreciate her?

    Give her a copy of "A Letter to Normals". There is a sticky with it posted at the top of this page. This may give her a new perspective on how things are for you now. Few people that aren't experiencing this can truely understand it and I was no exception. My mother, who I care for, was a chronic pain patient for years before I was. I admit that I didn't "get it" until I became one. I wish now that I had all this information then!

    Good luck to you. Please feel free to PM me if you need anything else, to talk, to rant. This board is full of amazing support and wisdom and you'll get lots of it.

  • weel as i sais i'm a disabled vet and my wife actually works at the VA hospital i go to. she's not a nurse but it gives her the chance to go to the docs with me. so she knows what i'm going through and was there when the pain doc said this is as good as i can expect. maybe it's just me and meds messing me up, but it seems like she keeps getting more distant. as for the romantic times i still love it and want to have it ( thank god for viagra), but alot of times it's like "why don't you just go downstairs and lie down". so i feel rejected and start to get upset. i think i;m making to much out of nothing and am really sensing depression set in thats why i;m going for some mental help this week. i don't want our relationship to die but............
    P.S if i can figure out what PM means i'll do it to you, ( it's nothing dirty is it?), just kidding but really don't know how to do it yet
  • Very cute, PM is a private message that you can send to someone. Its private, so you can talk about anything that maybe you feel you don't want to put on the forum. If you want to PM someone, the option to do so is under their picture, but you need to type in who you would like to send a message to. I find it easier to click on the picture itself, then click on the option for send private message, that way I don't have to try and remember the persons name, its already there.

    As for the strain on your marriage, let me tell you this. I felt the same way just a few months ago with my husband. I am 27 years old, and for 9 years he has dealt with my issues with no problem, since I was able to deal with them. As the pain got worse however, and I started to become unable to do my normal activities, I could feel that vibe from him. Like he was just getting tired of all of this.

    Since I finally got an MRI, and have been taking him to my appointments with me, he understands that I truly am in pain. I really cant bend over, to load the dishwasher, with out terrible pain. He is so much more understanding, and even after working 16 hours, he comes home and offers me a hand. He is constantly asking me to "be careful" even if I'm just giving my son a bath. Which by the way is also a brutal task.

    The only thing I may suggest, would be to see a therapist ~together~. That way, you can both get your feelings out in the open. It may be hard for her to tell you how she feels, just as you may find it hard to tell her you've been feeling "rejected" It's a great way of learning how to communicate, and you may just find out its something simple, and nothing to worry about.

    Good luck darlin, and you can PM me too if you'd like *hehe*
  • I too am guilty of not truly understanding chronic pain until I had it myself. My husband was in a car accident several years ago, injuring his back, shoulder and knee. Since then has been on painkillers and does far less than he used to. Now that I have my own issues I "get it." I get that it can take an hour or more to get going in the morning. I get that after work you just don't feel like doing anything, let alone household chores. But even before I experienced it first-hand, one thing I never did was make him feel bad about it or insinuate that he was lazy. If I felt a little depressed about doing extra I did my best to not show it. He obviously felt bad enough already.
    Try not to take on more than you can and see if you can't find a way to have a heart to heart with her. Avoiding the issues can contribute to that distant feeling. If you have a hard time figuring out an approach then your psychologist may be able to help.
    You know that theory about men being "in their cave" until they are ready to come out and talk about it. My husband finally did and we were able to work together and move on. This has brought us closer together.
    I feel for you in your situation and I wish you the best.
  • i hear all you guys ( or gals ) are saying. first i want everyonr to know she isn't being a b__ch or anything like mean, it seems like there is a gap growing and i don't like ie and feel like it's my fault. we have been married for 24 years and like all marriages there are ups and downs. but i think she is getting frustrates and feeling like this whole thing is getting old. sometimes things feel great but when the pain starts really bugging me i can see it in her eyes, " here we go again. alittle history, had a fusion of L3 to S1 in oct. bad stenosis from a burst fracture i had 20 years ago on L1. the docs are saying this is as good as i'll ever get, bad neuropathy in left leg and the pain will not get any better. so, i don't really know what to say right now except that it sucks and really feel like a burden sometimes. the next option is a pain pump ( i'm only 46) so life as we knew it is pretty much over. and when i bring up the reality of the situation she puts up a wall. i really think alot of it is in my head, and i don't think all the narcotics help any. so how do i get out of my funk before i screw things up. chronic pain is the worst thing that can happen to a person, does anyone else find it hard to concentrate, feel happy and love life again? are other people out there on really high doses of narcotics for a long time and if so does the pain ever get better? i want to happy and i do love her to death but the pain just seems to mask so much.

    thanks for letting vent I REALLY NEED IT

  • I can tell you from the spouse of someone that has chronic pain that sometimes what you see in our eyes is helplessness... We have to watch the people we love the most suffer and there isn't really much we can do....

    Don't get me wrong, I do try to do everything I can... Including the "why don't you go lay down". It is meant with the best of intentions... We just don't know what it is like and we have a hard time comprehending what you are going through.

    I would suggest telling your wife about this website, I can't say "I get" what my husband goes through on a daily basis but I can say that it has helped me understand a little better. Also, do talk with her. Don't try to keep the bad days from her. Tell her what you need from her even if it's to just let you do what you want to do... (I have a hard time with that one, I want him to take it easy)

    Also, keep in mind we are human and we are in a learning process.
  • i do feel for my wife. i think that chronic pain is just as hard, if not harder, on the spouse of a person with chronic pain. she didn't sign up for this and it really isn't fair to her. but i also didn't sign up for this and get just as frustrated. as far as counsling goes i asked her about going also and the answer was, i'm not the one with the problem, you need to fix your problems first. and i guess i agree with it. does dealing with chronic pain make others feel isolated also?
  • Oh yes, I'm incredibly isolated! Not only physically (we live in a very small rural community in the country and my husband travels for work) but emotionally as well. My husband has been a little more blunt about his feelings. He's upset by the fact that I can't be the person that I was. Hell, I'm having a hard enough time accepting it and we need support! Like all of us, I didn't sign up for this and anger seems to permeate my world on a daily basis. I usually just shut up about it in order not to start world war III, or for it to become all about my husband and HIS anger in regards to the situation.

    You need to explain to your wife how you really feel about it Jlavalla, reaally sit her down and tell her all the things that you've written here. She may not be aware that she's giving you those vibes or that it really IS important for her to attend counseling with you. Like I said before, honesty is the way to go (yea, I know, I don't do it myself but that doesn't make it right). It sounds like you have had a great relationship up until this and you need to figure how to get back there with the new you...you're not dead and not gone. Make yourself heard.

    Face it, it's hard enough for us ro deal with the fact that all of this is happening to us....how DARE it? Imagine how those who love us feel. They can't feel the pain, they can't fix anything, they can't carry the burden of it. They are pretty much helpless and, if that were me, for what it's worth, I'd be mad as hell too.

    Glad someone explained the PM thing LOL

  • Hi J...

    Pain is selfish. That is its nature. When you are in pain you have a tendancy to think mostly of yourself. As such you may not be paying attention to other things in your life ( Wife, family etc ). How you deal with pain will often times determin how those around you treat you.

    I'm 10 years into my third marriage. I'm in pain most days. I try hard not to take alot of my load and place it on my wife. I don't overly complain. I do house chores. I go to work most days. I tell my wife how much I love her daily. I hug and kiss her effectionatly. I listen.

    Talk to your wife J... But remember to listen...

  • I agree with what you said, about keeping your own workload, not complaining, etc, and I know deep-down that the chronic pain sufferer effects the life of the spouse and family but, I have to be honest and say I'm just not feeling sorry for anyone else having to deal with me. I do the best I can, I do work (alot!) and while everyone else is off having fun and playing sports and doing whatever, I do my best to not sit home and cry about it. That's it. Thats my contribution to them; that's what I give back. Sorry if this offends anyone but its the best I can do at this point. And, you're right, pain is selfish. Often, I do think I spend waaaay too much time thinking about myself but I'm not sure how much I can change that with this constant pain battle going on inside my head. }:)
  • That really hurts me to read what she said. I suffer from chronic pain as well and I would be absolutely devasted if my husband said that to me. And you're right, neither one of you signed up for it, but you promised to love each other and be there for each other through good times and bad, sickness and health, etc.

    My husband is a counselor and he would insist that your wife come with you. You definitely need to work on the communication problems that you guys are having and having a biased 3rd party would help, as long as both are willing to talk.

    I wish you the best!!

    God Bless,
  • Hopey...

    Picture a DMV waiting room full of people. Folks have been there for hours. In comes a woman with a baby. The baby starts crying and continues crying. Watch the reations from the people there. Responses will be anything from compassion and caring to out right rudeness. As time goes on and the crying continues you will see more and more people with negative reactions.

    Everyone has thier breaking point. Some spouses will break much sooner than others. I really don't want to find where my wifes breaking point is. Adding divorce/family discord on top of chronic pain would be too much for me.

    All I can say is do the best you can and try not to put additional stress/drama on your spouse and family. Even though you have alot of pain you still have control over alot in your life.

  • Don't let things get further apart, sit dowen and talk NOW!!!!!!!!!! I waited until it was too late and my husband walked out! leaving me in pain, 3 months out of surgery, no car, no money and i'm stranded in a small town.
  • I agree that chronic can make us focus more on ourselves and less on the world around us - especially on the bad days. And I also understand that our spouses didn't sign up for "this". But the reality is that no matter how much it sucks, these things happen. This time it has happened to you, but it could just have easily been her or someday it could BE her. If she is beginning to feel resentful, or to have issues, go to a counselor NOW, and make her go with you. The chronic pain may be something that you have to suffer on your own, but the marital issues are something that you are both suffering. And you can't fix the issues on your own. It takes two to make a marriage and it takes two to break it.

    My husband recently announced that this wasn't what he signed up for and he wanted out. He travels constantly and I didn't realize that he was at that point. Maybe if I had been paying more attention, I would still have a marriage. I don't know. But since you are seeing signs now, my best advice is to be proactive. Adding divorce to the mix is really a bad situation.

    Good luck and hang in there.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I just couldn't say it any better than Cathy, and I second her motion, go get counseling together!!!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • My wife didn't understand what it was like to be in constant pain, until it happened to her. Now that she knows 1st hand what I'm going through, she is much more sympathetic and we actually get along much better. Don't get me wrong... our marriage has pretty much deteriorated since my constant pain started over 7 years ago. But at least we're still together & parenting 2 wonderful teenagers.

    We went to marriage counseling prior to her hip issue, and after several weeks of sessions, I broke down in tears & walked out of the session. I think if we were to have counseling now that she's in pain too, things would be different.

    Anyway, my advice would be to be honest with your spouse and kids about your pain. Don't try to hide it like I do.
  • That y'all talk NOW!!! I agree with Cathy 100%. I mean I am almost 2 weeks post op. My ACDF with plate and my own bone was on July 23,2008, and my husband has been there with me through it all. Yesterday when he asked how I was doing and he saw me shaking my right hand he acted like it aggravated him when I told him I still has numbness and tingling. We then talked about it and I explained everything I was feeling and going through he wrapped his arms carefully around me and actually apologized to me :jawdrop:. So jlavalla PLEASE take your wife to counseling with you so y'all can straighten all of this out before it is to late!!! Good luck hun and God Bless You and your wife!!! Also, if need be you can "PM" me as well. I will be happy to listen to you vent. :)
  • jlvalla- I think pain does put a strain on a marriage or any relationship. I did send my spouse the letter to normals. He did understand it but I think it is real hard for a painfree person to really understnd the 24/7 aspect of pain. My sister hurt her back once and said to me, that wow I really did not understand constant pain until it happened to me. :O jade
  • I have had 3 surgeries in the last 5 months and the pain gets worse everytime... It really does put a strain on a marriage and no they don't understand. I just try to have the mind set that it is painful but the pain won't kill me and I try to work through it... I have had to sleep on the couch for months and I mean months, little or no help around the house and miserable. I try to hide the pain but it takes over 90% of the time.. Hang in there we are all here to support each other and know that we all can understand the pain...

    2 epi injections,
    L5 S1 laminectomy X2 and 1 Radi.
  • It is down to my grown daughter and I. She is real good about coming by everyday to tend to the litter box for me, do some groceries or bring the ice for my Polarcare machine. HOWEVER, with a total knee replacement last summer and 2 level back fusion this summer she has told me to take next summer off. Think she is getting a little tired. We have talked about it and she is going to help at least through the end of the month. I go back to work on 25th and we will how I handle a full day of work and home chores.

    I try to find something else to talk to her about, be it a TV show, my neighbors or even what I have read here. She is beginning to get a glazed look when I bring up too much about it, but she does know that the worst of mine will pass and we will be back to normal - whatever that is.

    I agree with everyone, keep the lines of communication open. It is the only way to survive.
  • my wife is sometimes understanding then the next day she can be a problem with my pain. it is schizo to say the least. if she gets frustrated that i can not go out and do anything, she will rag on me about no doing anything. then the next day if my pain is so bad i moan and groan, she can be understanding. i believe it to be like this with most families. i feel the worse for my son who is `12. i feel guilty that sometimes i can't do anyting with him. i can't play catch or run or any physical activities and i can't go on rides. he seems to be more understanding. sexually this is where my wife is frustrated. just part of the problem with chronic pain. we need to deal with it and hope our spouses become understanding most of the time
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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