There is good news to not having any change in my condition. I haven't gotten worse. But I still have days that are grueling to get through. Sudden cold weather spells, rain and anything else that can stress the mind and body is very hard to cope with. Since I am on a different type of pain medication than I have ever been on, I generally find it hard to pinpoint my pain levels at any time. I can feel my body reacting to pain; breathing irregularly (catching my self holding my breath), sweating, tightening of my muscles in my core and sometimes using my arms or shoulder to hold myself up at my desk, but I cannot say that I am experiencing intense pain but my body is reacting as if I am. I feel pressure, I feel strain, I feel dull aches and mild sharp pain constantly. I guess I am feeling the medication blocking the pain signal to my brain but my body still knows it is there. How do you put a pain number on that?
I have very little, if any limitations to mobility but once I start moving I can feel the "rust" in my body. I strain and grunt to move all the time. I have no problems lifting fairly heavy objects, I can do much of the stuff I did before but I really pay for it in the hours immediately after and some times even days after. But even when I am in intense pain I can still move. However the more I move, the more my body hurts later but I still get no limitation of movement. I can work very hard and keep working through the pain and push myself but the pain I will get later often makes me afraid to do anything else, even though I am still able. And that's when the pain meds don't make any difference. My pain is much much stronger than any of the meds I have ever taken.
I cant remember a pain free time at anytime in the last year or so. Meaning, 100% of my day I experience some form of pain but I know meds only mask it some. The closest thing I can compare it to is, after getting your wisdom teeth pulled and you are on RX meds for the pain. You know you should be hurting and you can feel where the pain should be coming from but you just aren't getting the signal. You are even exhausted by the pain that you don't feel. Dealing with my pain is very close to that. I am exhausted all day and every day experiencing pain consciously and subconsciously. It wears me down whether I feel it or not so much.
I just thought of 2 better ways to describe the pain I am in. Imagine this, you are sitting on bleachers. Remember those old metal bleachers in school? Sit down on them for 4 hours. You know that ache you get in your bones if you dont have any padding? Imagine that pain when you lay down. When you drive your car in traffic. When you are reading bed time stories to your kids or grandkids. Imagine that pain during intimate moments with your significant other. That is about half of my pain. Ok, here is the other way I feel it. Imagine laying on your stomach. Now, get someone your size or bigger to stand on your behind. Your breathing gets heavy and labored, you can feel your pelvis straining. You can feel your pelvic bone structure flexing from the weight. It's beginning to be too much. You cant take it anymore so you ask the person to step off of your rear. Now...... get up. You feel instant relief right? Not with my condition, I walk and it feels like they are still on me. Sitting I still feel the same strain. Walking doesnt help. Stretching does nothing. Chiropractors do not help, Swedish massages dont provide any relief. It isnt muscular...its all in the part of your nerve root that branches off the spinal cord. There is nothing that can fix it. It is called EPIDURAL Fibrosis (sorry I put wrong word in there when I originally typed this). Scar tissue on and around the nerve root.
There is nothing that modern surgeons can do that wont cause more scar tissue.
I am a slave to my meds and pain. I am told this is a permanent condition. This website let me know that I am not alone in the world. However, I am alone in my home and family and as far as I know, in my region too. No one understands and I am tired of explaining it to my wife. She has hard days at work and she has her pains. I wish I could give her my pain for a full 24 hours... not to hurt her, but to let her know what I am dealing with when I decide to go out for the evening, do stuff she wants to do or just sitting and talking when I am hurting so bad, I just want to be left alone.
Speaking of my marriage, my pain is killing our relationship. We don't have "together" time anymore. She doesn't try anymore because she is afraid of me rejecting her. I stay away, I am cooped up in my side of the house because I don't want her to hear me complain. I don't want her to see me in pain suffering. I just want to be alone. To me it seems like the animal that runs off to hide to wait to die from their injury. I am not gonna die but I feel as though modern medicine took that away from me. If it were the 1800's I probably would just go out to the wilderness and find a comfy place to pass away. I am fairly sure that the stress from my pain would kill me if I wasn't on my current pain meds. I am not happy. I am not content. I don't have goals. I am on auto-pilot. I go to work to earn a check, I pay bills and I go home and exist in pain. I have nothing to live for but I do because people depend on me.
My wife has her own issues with anxiety and other brain maladies. She takes time to go fishing or to the coast or to the river to sit on a tube and relax. She wants me to join her. Sometimes I do but no matter what I do, I cannot escape my broken body. I cant get a vacation from my pain. I cant put behind me for any amount of time. No matter where I go, there I am in pain. I cannot have a good time. I cannot do anything. Sleep doesnt satisfy because my pain wakes me. The worst thing about sleep is that when I can sleep, I dont remember being pain free while asleep. Conscious life is 100% pain all day. Sleep can be pain free but I dont know. Anytime that I am aware, I hurt.
And like Forrest Gump says, "And that's all I have to say about that..." for now.
Sorry if this is a big bummer for anyone. I guess it helps to get this out of my head rather than keeping the poison inside.
In case you were wondering what procedures I had.
L4 & L5 and S1
Spinal Stenosis(?) Laminectomy
(Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) Back Surgery)?
Rods - Screws
Bone growth stimulator
Here is a photo of the hardware after it was removed (due to pain still present after healing)https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-QFkoF-_09uQ/VB5cYNDcQZI/AAAAAAAAM-0/VcmksqxQyko/w958-h719-no/FB_IMG_1411275818711.jpg
And here is a couple views of the hardware in place thru x-rayhttps://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-TUvAS_ElCfQ/VMAQPrhJvXI/AAAAAAAAQVI/tCk30ZqDv54/w958-h719-no/2011-06-07+10.13.26.jpghttps://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-JmsJnxQiK0U/VMAQSGDSgtI/AAAAAAAAQVQ/4Dz1HqtcSG4/w958-h719-no/2011-06-07+10.13.39.jpg