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When to give up?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Lower Back Pain
OK guys...nobody is going to like this topic ,but I am sure all of you have thought of this at one time or another.
My story: Sept. 4,2007 Spinal fusion L1 L2 L3 L4 L5. Laminectomy from L1 up to the Cervicals. Chronic pain 3 months before surgery treated with 80 mg of oxycontin per day. This was not enough so I added in Tramadol or Tramadex as it is called in different places.

Now all the screws move freely in and out of the spine and 4 of them are actualy through the muscle and into the skin.

The old Docs are bad news. The new Docs are wonderful!
The New Orthopedic surgion discovered that all my Thoracic vertebrae are self fused. Nature, God, or Budah did it.

So now they will fuse L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 T12 and T11 and maybe more. WE are waiting for the parts and the bone replacement material to come from the U.S..Today is Saturday here and Surgery is monday, not next week, but the week after...NOVEMBER 10th.

I am now given 60mg of oxycontin, 4 pills of tramadex per day. I use Tens and it has always stopped the pain, but the L2 screw are in the skin and the skin transmits the signal to the metal and that hurts!

I am looking at half a year recuperation plus or minus a half a year (quote from the surgeon). I closed my business Yesterday. I am alone. NO family. My daughter does everything, but she is "energy sensitive " and can sense when I am in pain. She can not take that and starts to cry and then I cry etc. My colegues are my friends and they walk into my house take one look at me and find an excuse to leave imediatley. When I call the suicide hotline and tell my story the person on the other end starts to cry.

I would like to continue living because I have a lot to do, even if its watching all the girls go by. I was in the middle of a multi year project of illustrating the old Testament with Photos of the actual Places where the events took place. I have a lot more to do. But I cant drive and the places I have not been to are 5 hours away! And I cant even lift the cameras!

I really cant take the pain any more and the Doc said just hang in there for 10 more days. I am scared that I cant. It would be very easy for me to take my own life.

Any ideas?



  • dr_eric said:

    I really cant take the pain any more and the Doc said just hang in there for 10 more days. I am scared that I cant. It would be very easy for me to take my own life.

    Any ideas?

    Please hang in there. You are NOT without hope since there is a plan to help you. Also believe me when I tell you that taking your life might stop your pain but it would just be the beginning of your daughters. I KNOW this from personal experiance, having lost a family member this way last year (he was 25 years old). I am so sorry that you are in so much pain. I feel bad that the surgery you had in the past has created more problems. But in so many ways you are lucky. You are lucky because you get to choose to live and there are so many people who have things like cancer who want to live and don't get to make that choice. You even have goals in life (things you want to do). And maybe you can't do them right now but there is hope that you will be able to do them in the future.

    Enough said, my hope will be to see you on here with better news and after surgery feeling lots better,
  • Hi Eric,

    Just like LJ said-Please hang in there. I know 10 days feels like an eternity, especially when you're in horrible chronic pain. Take each day one at a time-or even each hour one at a time. Break it down to more manageable amounts of time.

    I don't know what else to say, except I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers to help you find the strength to hang in and not give up.

    I also hope to see you after your surgery!
    Peace to you,
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  • I had totally forgotten about the effect of parental suicide on the children! And it goes on for at least 3 generations. I have one daughter and one son.

    Almost made a big mistake.

    I just took out big pictures of both of the kids and I will put one in each room. That should do it.

    Pain is very dangerous when it gets to the unbearable stage....tears from both eyes with no real crying.

    You saved a life today...thank you from all of my soul.

    No pain to all of you, Eric
  • Your caring and kindness helps too! After reading the 2 posts the tears stopped! Now it is ALMOST unbearable pain.
    And I do not really know any of you!

    Thanks, Eric
  • I wonder what keeps me going since I have no children, except my husband. I have no friends and little family and friends from work stopped calling me long time ago. I had to get on an antidepressant that's helped. One moment in making a rash decision can be awful. If you say to yourself wait 5 minutes, wait for an hour, wait for a day and usually the thought leaves. I'm glad you're staying. Can you get out 15 minutes a day for a walk? Enjoy the birds or crunchy leaves if it's fall there.
    50+ magazine online has free dating or maybe looking for a friend. My Mom found her third boyfriend since she split with my Father and they're "just Friends" Now she takes off to the south with him. I hope your surgery goes well.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • HI Charry!
    What does keep you going?
    Try to put down the first things that come to mind without thinking. Let me know what you think of.

    Its midnight here and I just woke up with real bad pain in the muscles on my back around the belt line, and in my buttocks muscles. So I put 4 tens electrodes on. two on my upper buttocks, and two just over the pain line. It is starting to work. We have tramadex(Tramadol drops here) which work immediately so i Took Maximum dose and am waitng. I am afraid my hip joints are hurting either because they need replacing or more likely because I walk very bent over and that puts pressure on the hip joints in a way that they are not made for.

    Is it not amazing how friends from work , or just friends stop calling. It is obviously normal behaviour since it happens to all of us. But it sure is depressing.

    I cant walk very far, but there is a "bridge like" walkway from my apartment to the car. Both side are covered end to end with flowers! A man on floor one lost a son in the Yom Kippur war and I think this working on the flowers helps him. It sure does help me! I look at all the flowers and take pictures of them not in my professional way but just as sort of sketch. I bought a super light camera because I cant lift my professional cameras because they are way too heavy for me now.I used to take Pro pictures of them, and give him prints once a week. One day I told him that every morning when I am depressed I go out and look at his flowers very closely and they revive my soul. He grabbed me and hugged me in a very touching way. I can not imagine the pain of losing a child. And yet even though they know me since 1973 they have never asked me in for a cup of coffee, let alone a meal. Chronic severe pain seems to push people away.
    I have one single female patient that I have been treating for 30 years. She was run over 2 years ago by a bus. Crushed both her legs. She is fine now and has the same orthopedic surgeon as I do. She called me and offered to help espescialy after the surgery next week. She is single and has been in financial difficulty for years. I have been treating her years for free with an agreement that if she wins the loto she will pay me back. I will call her tomorrow and ask her to come over so I can show her how the house is set up for surgery. I am afraid to ask her if she would sleep over in my Son's old room (he lives in England). The nights after surgery are the worst and you cant do anything yourself. I have run out of money from the first surgery so no private nurses. I give myself my own injections, but I cant cut my toenails. Our national health sends nurses but there is a lot of buracrecy there and I hope my daughter will get me a nurse even though it is so nerve wracking.

    Well this is along message indeed, but has been therapeutic for me.

    Thank you from the HEART! Eric
  • If I could jet over there right now I would and would rally people to come and give you a hand. Just a crazy thought, but I wonder if there's a way to find some Internet friends that may be your neighbors and you don't even know it. They may be able to help you out.

    Also, I was wondering if your doctor can admit you to the hospital early so that your pain can be controlled better until the surgery. Is something like that possible?

    The others are right about how suicide effects so many others, even friends. I have also feared that if I were to take my life, what's the guarantee that my penalty won't be to live an eternity with the same if not worse pain! That thought frightened me more than anything!

    I used a TENS unit with lots of ice, to break the pain cycle and get things down to where I could at least be in a more manageable state.

    I am a professional underwater videographer. When I can't dive, I love to take photos and mess around with my still cameras. I bought a small lightweight camera to "play" with and have taken some of my most favorite photos. The camera is an extension of the photographer, the composition is the photographer. You can still be you.

    Hang in there Eric!

  • Thanks for the great comments.
    I was anxious about starting a discussion about the afterlife, but here goes,
    I have held many 20 year olds who were in hypovolemic shock (not enough blood)and dying with no hope. Really no hope...no lower body, no limbs and worse.
    When some one is in that kind of shock they feel no pain and they are lucid. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM SAID THE SAME THING..."I feel my soul is leaving my body and I see a white tunnel with a brilliant white light at the end. Promise me you will tell my Parents that I died with no pain."AND I PROMISED!
    I never had the time nor the safety to get their names so I look at it as if I did not fulfill their last wish. And I i did not!

    That is a burden that I have been living with since 1969!
    I understand that I could not say "one minute I will get a pencil and paper". I was afraid they would die alone. Also they were in so many pieces that I did not think I could get them in my lap again. And most of these horrific things happened while they were shooting at us or we were in the middle of an artillery bombardment. And I never got a scratch!
    The point is I felt their Soul leave their body and go into that white tunnel. So for me the afterlife is very real. And I too am afraid of eternal punishment...chronic severe back pain forever. FOREVER is a long time. That is what always stops me. I have a flashback of one of those faceless kids, and I feel like I would be betraying them all. They had no choice, I have lots of choices including an epidural tomorrow.

    AS to online friends, I just found one. You!

    The tens is working now and it is 2:30 am.
    Maybe I can sleep a little.
    When you enter heaven all your lenses are set to infinity forever. No more focusing problems!

    Take care and have no PAIN! Eric
  • Eric,

    That's a tough one. The thing about the promises you made, is that you never know if you will sometime in the future have the opportunity to make good on those promises. If you take your own life, that's when you flush those promises down the drain. As long as you are alive and living your life, you are keeping that hope alive, you are keeping those promises!

    I watched my mother die, frightened and in an incredible amount of pain. She knew she was dying and she also knew that she had gone against her own personal faith over the last few years of her life. As she approached her final time, she was absolutely mortified. Not by the fact that she was dying, but because she felt in her soul that she was going to suffer terribly for eternity. As her youngest child, it tore me up to sit and listen to her tell me this and to see by her body language that she honestly believed everything she was saying.

    Seeing that made me realize that I cannot take my own life no matter how bad the pain is, no matter how much I wish my life had never made this change. I see and feel her fear, anytime I have those thoughts. Writing this I see and feel her fear. No one should have to go through that.

    I am determined to fight whatever my body throws at me! I am determined to not let it beat me down to the point that I give in to the lure of suicide. I am here for a reason, I am having to suffer this body for a reason. So here I am today, and I'm really glad to be here.

    I extend my hand across the oceans to you Eric. I may not be able to go and get you a drink of water or bring you your pain meds when you return home from the hospital, but I will be here waiting to reply to any word from you.

  • Hi Eric

    There is a very good help link in my signature below. Please look at it if you need to, but I am sensing that you may not need to for now. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Your surgeon has given you hope and it is 10 days away. You have been through a lot over a long time - 10 days more sounds a long time on the one hand but on the other its not really that long, right?

    I know that we cannot be physically present, Eric, but you have friends here - one of the biggest things that helped me during my early, depression-filled days, was the caring compassionate members that I 'met' here on the forums.

    Take care, and keep checking in here with us.

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

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