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What is disability like?

i have a failed fusion c-5 thru c7. They want to do a revision. I am not confidant they will not make me worse. Have any of you chosen to not have the surgery even though you were in a lot of pain? Have you chosen the road of pain managemnt and how hard was it for you to get disability. What is disability like? How do you pay your bills? I am only 36 and i am scared. I have a 5 year oldson and a husband who is never home. Hes a UPS driver. I need to care for my son. I am loosing faith in the system and doctors  and would love to hear from anyone who has had similar experiences. 



  • Hi.

    Welcome to the forum.

    I’m in a lot of pain and only able to work part-time. I somehow make it work. 

    I view disability as a last resort.

    You have to look at several things:

    - Your level of education (the more education the harder it will be to get approved)

    - Work experience (where you’ve worked and how long may have a bearing)

    - Your spouse’s income level may also have a bearing (the higher it is the harder it could be to get approved)

    - Your age (the younger you are the harder it will be). 36 is pretty young.

    - The medical evidence you have to support the disability route 

    I very rarely buy anything except essentials like food, rent, car insurance, etc.

    I’m single and spend $20 a week on food. Sometimes not even that.

    A lot of people experience depression or an increase in depression when they go from working to not working.

    No two surgeons are the same so I wouldn’t assume the next surgery would be a bust.

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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 919
    baileyp - I am highly recommending that you get at least one second opinion second opinion from a spine surgeon that specializes in complex spine issues.  Being 36 years old, you are too young to try to live with a failed surgery.  Depending where you live (I'm assuming you are in the U.S.),  you might need to go several hundred miles to find a surgeon that does surgery in complex spine issues.  If at all possible, get references of any particular potential surgeon. There are some fairly reliable published ranking of hospitals for neurosurgery.  Please private message me if you want to discuss it further. 
    It took 10 years of nasty chronic pain before I got my first needed ACDF.  That surgery did not resolve my primary issue.  It took another 7 years until I found a qualified neurosurgeon that worked with complex spine issues and I had my second ACDF.  My neck is so messed up from severe trauma that it took another 4 years of working the system until I got my third ACDF.  By the time of my third ACDF, my body had fused another two levels in my neck that I am now fused from C2 to C7.  I feel your frustration.  The trauma to my neck happened 40 years ago.  
    Anything I can do to "talk through" your situation, please post, either on this thread and/or private message.  I now on disability because of likely permanent spinal cord damage because of the lack of timely treatment of my neck trauma.             

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,521

    Getting disability approved also varies from state to state.  I know in the New York area (NY,CT, MASS) it is very difficult to get disability approved, while some states, one in particular, SC most people get it approved the first time even with only moderate medical problems.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 356

    Being on disability is like living (or existing) in a new life! I loved to work because I enjoyed the challenge and my colleagues were my friends too. I feel isolated and I am by myself a lot as the wife stays active. I'm thankful for my 2 West Highland Terriers (Westies) that keep me company and entertain me. When I'm up to it, we take a walk or they simply hang out on the couch with me or at my feet. I think I get as much enjoyment from giving them belly scratches as they get. It is lonely; did I say isolated? 13 years ago I felt better and went back to work and my family couldn't believe it! Why are you going back to work? You get disability, etc! I couldn't believe they wanted to sit around for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, I had to go back on disability almost 6 years ago. I miss work, I miss my colleagues, I miss the challenge. I miss the social aspect of work. I told my wife this morning that when I wake up in the mornings I often wonder what's the point. Oh, well. Sorry don't mean to depress anyone but disability is no fun. Have a good night and a better day tomorrow! <span>:smile:" alt=":smile:" height="20" /></span>

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  • Disability can be very hard to get especially at your age I am 55 and just had my seventh spinal surgery was turned down first time now in the process of appeals, don't give up on yourself find a doctor that you trust and follow his advice your too young to give up 

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Hi there, I am new to the forum but I saw that your fusion C5-6,C5-7 are failing. I have the same problem and didn't know why I was getting 24/7 migraines, An MRI w/contrast showed a whole litany of problems. To answer your question about getting SSDI. I was 45 when I finally got mine. Do NOT apply on your own. Get a lawyer. I applied 2 times on my own and was denied. My daughter is your age and needs neck surgery as well and has not had a job for 3 years because of it. She is applying right now  for SSDI with the lawyer I used. She home schools her 8 year old and her husband is gone a lot as well, so I know how you feel. Lawyers don't get paid if you don;t get your disability, but if you do get it they will take a chunk of your first settlement and get paid that way. I hope this helped you . Hand in there!!!

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