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How do I get a grip? (long post)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Depression and Coping
Just to give you a little glimpse of how I got to this point, here is a quick timeline of significant events during the past couple of years:

September, 2006: We helped our daughter and her husband move and I injured my back (my 5 year old grandson ran into me accidentally). I have had problems with my back intermittently since my teens, but pain from this most recent injury has been constant and I have taken a variety of medication off and on since 09/06.

December, 2006: My daughter and her husband separated after a turbulent 13 year marriage.

March, 2007: My mother's health began to deteriorate rapidly. She was in late stage congestive heart failure.

My daughter filed for divorce and her little boy/my grandson began going back and forth between his parents.

My cervical spine was diagnosed as collapsing at C4-6. Surgery would be needed in time.

April, 2007: I had cervical epidural steroid injections that helped with pain and numbness for a short time.

June, 2007: My daughter and her husband's divorce was final.

July, 2007: My mother passed away. We were close and it was very rough.

November, 2007: ACDF surgery for C4-6 recommended by neurosurgeon. Scheduled for early December, but I got sick and it was rescheduled for January.

January, 2008: ACDF, C4-6 on January 7th; recovery at home for 4 weeks.

February, 2008: Lumbar MRI showed the same herniated L5/S1, bulges at L2-3, 3-4 and 4-5; mild to moderate scoliosis and stenosis; arthritic changes.

June, 2008: 6 month check up for cervical spine showed fusion coming along slowly. Neurosurgeon recommended ALIF for L5/SI if/when pain can't be controlled with meds or ESIs.

August, 2008: ESI for L5/S1. No pain for 24 hours; since then side effects have been brutal -- hot flashes, night sweats, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, etc. Do not intend to have more injections. Do not want another surgery.

September 1, 2008: I am two years down the road of continuous physical and emotional pain and discomfort and feel like I've hit a wall. I don't know what to do to get my life back on track or how to accept it if I can't. My body constantly hurts and I feel like someone from another planet most of the time. How do I get a grip? How do I accept my limitations? How do I know when or how to make changes in my life so it works better? Any suggestions would be most welcome. Thank you. ~kathleen



  • First off, know that there are many folks around the globe that do really care about you and want to see you get back to a manageable state.

  • Do you have a good friend close by that you can talk to without reservation?

    I found that I have to "unstack" all that you have stacked up in your post. If you notice I don't have all of my injuries, surgeries and tragedies listed in my signature. I can't. If I had to look at it or think about it every day, I would collapse.

    So I deal with the moment. I do my utmost to live in the moment.

    When I allow the weight of the "stack" to come down upon me, I don't even want to be around me. So I figure that if it efects me that way then no one else would want to be around me either.

    So I have to be a person that is approachable. When I become that person each day, then I can deal with the day. And I press ahead.

    We are here for you!

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  • kathleen- My feeelings are to take care of yourself 1st and others 2nd as being a caretaker can take a toll on your body and mind. Trust me, I know as I am speaking mainly of myself. I try to take it day by day and believe in a higher power.. :))) jade
  • Thank you, C and Jade!

    I can see now that "stacking" things up does make the whole situation seem bigger than it has to be on a daily basis. Thanks so much for pointing that out -- it is obvious now but wasn't a few hours ago. I'm also a care giver (the "glue" of the family) and seldom consider my own needs first, so will try to figure out how to do that.

    Part of what is going on with me right now is due to the effects of the steroids and the insomnia they caused for the past 2 weeks. Sleep deprivation equals dark moods for me.

    Thanks again.

  • I will also post this in the spinal injection section, but wanted to update my message from yesterday. Today I went in for a re-check after a lumber epidural steroid injection two weeks ago that gave me terrible side effects. The doctor strongly recommended that I never have another steroid injection because of the serious side effects I experienced. Because I have a significant herniation at L5/S1 with increasing radicular symptoms, he is referring me to a microsurgeon. Hopefully, a less invasive surgery than ALIF might be a possibility, since I would like to avoid another major surgery if that is possible.

    He also thinks that many of my emotional symptoms, we well as the physical ones, are directly related to the steroids and said the symptoms would dissipate over the next 2-4 weeks. That is already starting to happen -- thank goodness! Thanks again for your comments last night -- they helped me to start thinking a little differently.

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  • kathleen- it was interesting that the dr agreed that the steroids were causing problems and stopped them. I have had terrible reactions to steroids in the past...Hope the surgical consult(s) provide some possible solutions..jade
  • Now that I've been "kicked out" of steroid injections as a treatment option and am waiting for an appointment with a microneurosurgeon on September 29, I am in the midst of a terrible pain flare that began on Saturday. No idea what triggered it, but it's a doozy -- hurts to do anything, even breathe and it's pretty much impossible to sleep. I'm taking Tramadol (barely touches the pain) and trying to go through my normal daily schedule as much as possible, including my part-time job, but it's a major challenge to be in this much pain and focus on anything else. I don't know what else to do though. ~kathleen
  • Where no one else can hear you and scream and yell and cry until you are exhausted and then go home and rest.

  • Today I went for a routine mammogram that was followed up with an ultrasound because something didn't look quite right. Then the radiologist came in, and in very hushed and somber tones told me there were two very suspicious spots on one side and I need to have a biopsy this week. He brought in a nurse who is a breast cancer survivor to talk with me -- it was really scary and I'm a wreck. The biopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning and I'm very worried that the results will not be good. My focus has to shift from my painful back to this problem, so I'm taking Tramadol and doing my best to stay afloat emotionally. ~kathleen
  • Don't stress too much (i know it's hard I've been thru it I'm a cancer survivior). When it comes to lumps in the breast, a lot of times they are beneign. Both my mother and grandmother get them from too much caffine, and the exess that their liver can't get rid of grows as a lump in their breasts. I've also had a friend that this happened to with caffine.

    While I know it's hard, please try not to stress too much. It can be sooo many other things other than the big C, which always is the first thing to come to mind when we find something like that wrong.
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