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Depression after fusion.

 Thank God for this message board. I didn't realize depression hits such a high percentage of people after fusion surgery or other major back surgery. I'm always wanted to try and put on a happy face and move on. But there are times since my surgery 3 weeks ago that my mind has gone to some really bad places. I worry I stress. But as I read through this message board it's really par for the course.

Everybody tells me I'm doing very well in my recovery. Even still I have a hard time not being able to jump in and take care of my 4 and 6 year old kids. I am two years removed from my divorce. I have split custody of the kids. It's frustrating because one of the reasons why my ex divorced me was because of my back problems I have had for the past 10 years. I have major fears that I will lose custody of my kids because of my health. In some regards I have already accepted that I could possibly lose custody of my kids and not be able to work and going disability. But that is my mind going to some dark places.

The flip side is I take my time off that I have for the recovery and I get better. I just had no idea how many people have the same worries depression and anxiety because of their surgery and back ailments as I do.

Thank God for this website. I've been spending a lot of time reaching out to  and my network of support. The bottom line is it kills me to not be able to help my kids. The kids have grown to rely and expect Super Dad to be there. But it's hard.

One of my brothers that's helping me told me it's completely normal to feel the way that I have been feeling. I can't drive I can't cook for myself I can't clean for myself I can't stand for more than 30 to 45 minutes without having to go lay down for hours. My independence has been taken away from me. And there's no guarantee my back will heal the way I wanted to. So it really is one day at a time for one hour at a time one minute at a time. And to not live in the future or the past because all I have is right now.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,434


    I am glad that you did find this site and have found it to be somewhat comforting.   Here you will find so many members who have had or going to have some type of spinal surgery.   So, they all understand the fears, the worries and the depression that comes with all of this.

    Normally, I would ask at what levels did you have your fusion.  I do that only because there will be so many others here that have gone through the same surgery.   I am looking into the future.   Spinal surgery takes time to recover from.   The more difficult the condition was prior to surgery and the more complicated the actual surgery was all plays part in determining how long will it be before i can .....      Please take a look at  Recovery, the most important phase   Recover always has its ups and downs, many ways like a roller coaster.  One day you are feeling pretty good, and the next day you feel like you need to be in bed all day.   And you dont even know why or what you did.

    Depression and coping go hand and hand with any surgery.  Please look over these sets of articles  

    All about Depression and Coping

    So many of us have had spinal surgeries, many more than once.   Myself, I have had 8 Spinal surgeries, 4 complete joint replacements, Achilles tendon reconstruction surgery and a quadruple heart bypass.  I started by in 1978 when I was 28.  I am still doing many of the things I did when I was 28, just a bit slower and some I cant   But as we age, there are many things we no longer can do.

    My biggest and most important advice I can give anyone going through surgery, is to make sure you do 100% of what the surgeon said you can do.  Follow all the limitations and restrictions.  Do the proper exercises and maintain a healthy diet.   That will not guarantee  that you will not have another surgery, but it will make the odds in your favor.

    You have joined a family here.  My moderator team will always provide you with encouragement, details and suggestions.   And the member community here is so compassionate.   You now have one of the best support groups you can imagine.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Thank you for taking the time to respond. I think one of the biggest things I'm learning is that when I do recover from this I need to carry the support to the other people that need it. As I have received support from you guys. I've been told it's going to be a process of two steps forward one step back. This is one of those days where it's one step back. This process is teaching me more about compassion.

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  • Vegas, Ron is spot on with his advice! I can tell you that approximately 80% of people going through spinal surgery will face depression! It truly is amazing that the percentage is that high. I myself spent over a year in a hole that I dug that I never thought I would climb out of it! So.know you are not alone. I would also recommend seeing a Psychiatrist and have some mental /emotional therapy. You’ll find out that many of our members including myself have undergone therapy as well. Please keep us posted!...David


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

  • Vegas

    Ron is 100% correct, depression is very common after spinal surgery or any major surgery for that matter, my way of combating it has always been to keep my mind occupied, be it by reading, tv, games and of course this forum which has been the best thing for me, being able to communicate with other people that are or have been in the same situation is very beneficial, you are still very early in the recovery process, I will tell you that when you start turning the corner things start happening quickly, the main thing is when that happens, don't overdo, and always remember we are here for you.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,473


    You just had surgery!! You are not supposed to be cooking and cleaning. You should (probably for once) concentrate on you. If you try real hard to recover well (please read the link Ron gave you on recovery, great article) then you will be super mom like you were before, except better!!
     A positive attitude will get you a long way. Sometimes we have to look in the mirror to pull our inner strengths out and realize we can do this. It also helps to know you have a lot of support from us. I personally do not know what I would do without all of the great members that have supported me over the years. That's why I love giving back.

    We are here for you. If you have any questions just ask.
    Take care and keep us posted.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
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  • Vegas-

    I have just reached my 12th week post op.  Soon I'll be facing going back to work and trying to resume my life as before only hopefully in less pain.  Someone asked me yesterday if I am still spending much time in bed and it was then that it occurred to me, unless someone initiates and outing (partly due to I can't drive yet), I do spend the majority of my time propped in bed, reading or surfing the net.  My husband made mention of this too as to when I plan to start spending more time outside of my hideaway, sitting with him to watch TV--or just being in the same room. I need to rejoin society and get back into a normal social routine.  I'm hoping that once I am cleared to drive I won't give it another thought and will once again start living again.  I have become too comfortable being reclusive.  When I go out, I have a great time and I know my limits not to over do it.

    I am a bit concerned at how content I am to retreat and if I wasn't asked the questions mentioned above, I might not  have realised how much time I have retreated, using my recovery as an excuse.  I still have a long way to go from my c2-c6 fusion--still having problems with headaches and pain, but come May 20th when I see the surgeon for what I think will be my "release" from his care, I'm becoming more anxious about returning to work and rejoining and enjoying life.  I don't know if any of this makes sense, but I hope in time (you're still in the early stages of recovery) you'll bounce back and be the Mom you really want to be.


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