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Everyone has disappeared in my life

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:19 AM in Matters of the Heart
I don't remember ever getting the memo that my friends and family would disappear after having back surgery!

I just don't understand, In the beginning I had quite a few friends around who really helped me throughout the first 1-2 weeks of surgery. My family never offered any help so, that was devistating enough.

But I never in my life thought my friends would just disappear. Not even gradually, it was like one day they were there and next thing, gone. No calls, text, emails, nothing. I doubt they were abducted by aliens, but it just breaks my heart.

The heartache I feel is as if someone has died. I know I feel like I have died on the inside, but my feelings are just so devistated by people who I thought were my friends just don't seem to care anymore.

i sure wish I had someone tell me this before surgery. Not sure if it would have helped, but I live all alone and I struggle so hard every day to keep my spirits up, get whatever errands/chorse done, etc., all alone. It's to the pont that know I don't even want to be around people. Today I stopped to pick up a take out order and had my brace on and all everyone wanted to know is what happened. I'm so tired of being seen as only a Back with eyes,nose and a mouth. I have a brain, am educated and have a lot to offer, but all people see is my back.

Does anyone else feel this way and if so, how do you cope with it. It's hard always looking the other way on people's stupidity. I saw one lady just staring at me today when I was taking my garbage out with this cart i Have and I said to myself "what the F are you looking at". I just find myself either crying or getting so mad over everything anymore. I was such a popular person working at this very famous restaurant, so I always had a fantastaic social life. Now my big day out is going to the pharmacy or grocery store. Before at least I had the outpaient PT for a bit of a social outlet, but that was eliminated back in the beginning of June.

Anyway, sorry for babbling, but I just can't shake this feeling of heartbreak and abandonment! image Does anyone have any suggestions on coping with this new way of life?


  • hey girly,pick that head up K? all your friends may have seemingly left overnight,but if your like most good hearted people,did you try to shield them from your pain?

    Some times the very best of intentions,the seeking to shield your loved ones from any harm...backfires misurably,
    Maybe they took your reticence wrong??
    all your guilty of then,if thats what ya did,is Love..

    Your still the vibrant,wonderfull person your were a year ago,five years ago,on the inside! Its the outer side that has changed. Some people see a person in a medical device,and wait and wonder ,if they can be of service,some...wait and stare,wondering, how it would feel if it were them. Some, the grossly human, simply stare.

    Accepting that you are what you are, right now,and that soon enough you will be able to change that...is part, I think of a mourning process. You have an entirely new life to discover,and that can be daunting ,discouraging,but.. it can be cataloged as a new experience to add to a full life,just have to look at it from a new angle.

    Once some of your friends will see the wonderfull and brave person that you are,i say some,because not all will have the internal eye to see, the worthy ones will come back.who wouldnt want to be part of a story of courage,honor,and dignity? who doesnt want to bask in that sun,it improves the character of the friend and reflects the quality of person you are.

    All people see is you,your back may be at the fore of your mind all day and night,but to them your another person,who may..or not fall, by the wayside. Its up to you to turn infirmity into an opertunity to enlighten,encourage and hold someone high on your shoulders!
    Be of courage and grace in the worst of times and people will wonder,"what keeps her head up?" and will want to be a part of this story .

    Your back is going to be in the way for a while...You know that,I know that..so now,the hard part,it will be like starting over,in everything,it is frustrating and a long hard road..but i think you have all the right tools to deal with it!
    learning to live with a new set of limitations is not easy,but you can do it..
    growing up,you had limits,but you never fought them,conciously,you just went round them and moved on.
    I ..never ran a 4 min mile,nor a 9 min mile, what i did do, was to try my very best,and when i did, i knew,it was ok, because i held nothing back in the running,it was all layed there on the ground before me.
    When i wanted my 1600 lb leg press, i left it all there on the floor of battle, no ,i didnt get the 1600,but i did get 1300 lbs,which to me was a victory,i tryed my very best.

    So, now , are you going to try your very best,every day to over come your new limits,you may not reach where you were before,but you will be higher than where you started.
    I think your up to the challenge! Heal yourself up, be ready for battle!Be ready to leave it all in the ring,you have all the tools you need to do this.theyr all inside ...waiting to be brought out,,honed to a razor quickness,and ,to be brought to the fore!

    the only thing,the only thing you need to fear..ever,is that you will have to look in the mirror,and see yourself..and see..Did i do my very best..and face the answer. that the only place where you will stand alone.

    Dont be afraid,these times will pass,you will be stronger,lighter and faster,without so much emotional baggage,coz you will have left it in the ring.

    Friends leave,that, we cant change. who we are, we can!
    you will have new exciting companions in your journey
    You love,that is your only fault here,and any one who will find fault with that is not worthy of having as a friend.
    chin down
    hands up
    start swinging!

    you will come through this in a shining way! have courage,were here for ya.
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • I went to Walgeens today to pick up some cream for my beautiful new scar. Well, there was one spot near the door (not handicapped...I don't have a card for that) An older man (maybe 75), came right up to my door and began to berate me for takig a spot so close when someone else might have needed it. As I got out with my CANE...he turned beat red. :jawdrop: And then offered to hold the door for me!!! I told him, no let me do that for you, I'm obvoiusly the stronger person }:) .

    What right do people have to judge us?

    I Also understand your feeling of loss of friends. I am very fortunate to have been going thru this for a shorter period of time...but I've seen quite a few "friends" disappear. I do have a few that have been with me for years, and will always be there (god willing). I believe those who have gone, were never really true friends. They may have shared an interest, or the time to go out (dinner, drinks), but those people are not those I would call in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. I have a few freinds like that, and I thank god for them every day.
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  • The really unfortunate thing is that they probably were not real friends anyway. Were they mostly people that you worked with? Those friends usually disappear when you are no longer working with them. I have really found that unless you have friends that you have known all your life you rarely are able to make real friends that stick with you through thick and thin. I am a loner. I quit dealing with trying to make "friends" a long time ago. They were always way more hassle than they were worth. You may want to talk to your doc about changing or adding to your meds for awhile with all of the stress that you are going through. I am taking cymbalta and have found that it not only helps with my anxiety but has also helped some with my pain. Have you tried calling any of them? Maybe they are thinking that you will call them if you feel like company.
  • Hi Ranchhand, Thank you for your pep talk. When I look in the mirror I don't see a person with a disability. I am proud of the things I have acomplished by myself, because as a single person I dont have a choice. I have called and called my friends and even emailed them and told them how much I miss our friendship and that they are more then welcome to come over anytime, we can do dinner and a movie, get caught up, etc. I even said that I can go to their house. I had one friend say I was too much of a liability for them to have me in their car! NO THAT HURT! I don't believe I have pushed them away, I think they just don't know how to deal with my new disability to they just choose to ignore me. They won't even return calls, so now I refuse to call them anymore because their lack of response just kills me. I have done all I can do to reach out. BUt isn't this the time people, meaning my friends should be reaching out to me? Maybe I'm wrong for feeling this way. All I know is I have been there for them time after time, boyfriends dumping them, etc.

    Yesterday I decided to be kind to myself and went swimming more for fun than exercise. The water was amazing on my body. It amazes me what all I can do in the water as opposed to land. When I'm out I dont even realize I have a back brace on, but it's the stares that really piss me off lately. People have been so rude to me at times. I dont have to wear the brace anymore, but I do when I'm out in public because I don't want to get shoved around. Heck people push and bump into me with a brace on and don't even apologieze, so I go Jersey on them and yell at them for being so rude. Hey at least I get it out! Believe me I always take the high road, but I'm so tired of being tired. I can't always be my cheerleader. I just need a hug and perhaps I'm proud of you Pebbles for how far you have come. That's what hurts. I guess if I had a family maybe they would say that? I don't know. But thanks for the pep talk again, you definitely have a way with your words.

    Hi Abudrow, What a jerk that guy! I'm glad he had egg on his face for treating you that way! Personally I would have beat the man with your cane! LOL That Bleeper Bleeper! Your Dr. didn't get you a handicap sticker? Perhaps you can download the form online and have him fill it out for you. It really helps for the times you just can't walk. I think you are right about the "so called friends" I thought that were really there for our friendship, not just to pass the time and get drunk all the time. I am grateful to have friends still from 9 years of age, one is in Jersey, one in Virgina and my other BFF is in Dallas. They are absolutely a Godsend and like you said I feel so blessed to have them. They are LIFERS! They call all the time, send cards, etc. I love them to death and would be there for them in a heartbeat. It's just so hard for both them and myself because they wish they could be here physically, but I always tell them I understand and I really do. It's the ones here that i used to get dolled up with a go out to the high end restaurants and socialize with that I thought would be there for me, but I now know I was wrong.

    Hi Pain,
    I hear you about the "so called friends", obviously they only wanted to be around for the Bartender Pebbles who was always the life of the party. The funny thing is I'm still here, it's just my body doesn't move the same. But they never gave me a chance to show them that. I mean my house is clean again from the sewage leak and I try to keep it clean so that anyone can just drop by and say hi. I have called, sent thank you notes, emailed people, etc. I can't and won't do anymore like I said it hurts to much when they ignore my attempts to get in touch with them. I get lots of voice mails these days. But like you i do have my life time friends and we are sisters! I am blessed! I mean I called my friend in Jersey 2 days ago, because i was freaking out about going to the sex. harass. attny and she just talked to me until I was able to get a grip again and that's all I needed. She's the best.

    My PCp did put me on Lexapro 10mg back in Feb. after the Apartment was ruined and the staph infection started. I was dealing with so much chaos and anxiety I'm glad he noticed it. But now I notice that I really need help. I'm scared for the times that I'm depressed which seems to be a lot lately. I mean I'm so grateful for things, so I don't understand how I can be depressed at the same time. BUt the nightmares are out of control anymore and that I have to get help. I really think I'm suffering from PTSD. So Im looking forward to seeing my PCP on monday. Thank you for your suggestion.

    Again, I have called and called and called and emailed and called and written letters to these people and only 1 person responded. One of those people was my Brother in NJ and he still hasn't responded. So i'm not calling anymore!

    Anyway, thank you all for giving me tips and helping me to see that you are all dealing with certain degrees of the same nonsense. I really appreciate it and that's why I appreciate SH because I met so many wonderful people and there are about 4-5 that we will honestly meet soon in person.

    Thanks again, xoxo Pebbles
  • Don't know if this will make sense to you, but when people look at you wearing the brace, let them know what it is. Tell them about your back injury and the surgery. Tell them how not to end up wearing a back brace.
    I had chunks of skin come off me from surgeries to remove melanoma. Some unpleasant scars that attracted stares. When I noticed this, I'd tell people about skin cancer and how they could avoid ending up like me. I found that kids liked looking at the scars and hearing my story.
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  • I can relate to your story some what,when i went to church when i was young i had alot of friends, once we started to go to high school,these so called friends never even gave me the time of day,i never went to church again after that,I still have a strong believe in God though....
  • After reading this forum, I see that it just isn't "ME" thinking people are staying away from me. I have been struggling with people not calling me back, or emailing me when I give them the update on my medical(which they told me to do)
    I belong to clubs and had done a lot of events, but its like they don't see I am not there, and don't call to see where I am. Or when I may be coming back. Its like I died and they have all excepted it. But dear friends I am here yet, and really need your support. I do believe only the real friends are there at the end. I find only 1 or 2 of them though :(
  • That they don't know what to say or do? Friends get really frustrated when they can't help you. Everyone has a natural desire to 'fix' whatever is wrong, and when there is a long-term illness or problem, it is human nature to get scared and stay away. The group of friends may think "Pebbles can't go dancing, so let's don't invite her." or "Pebbles will be uncomfortable sitting in the theater seats, so let's not invite her" or "Pebbles can't drink with us (can't mix meds and alcohol), so let's not invite her."

    We all know that "normals" just don't understand. It is my opinion that they are often so afraid of hurting our feelings or making us feel bad that they stay away, which hurts our feelings and makes us feel bad.

    I have friends who I have made pacts with that we are not to discuss my problems. I want to discuss the fun things going on in their lives. I want to hear about what they are doing, where they are going, how the family is, what book they are reading, what recent movie they saw, etc. But a couple of my friends feel like by telling me these things, it will just make me feel worse that I am not out doing the same things. So they stay away.

    My very best friend seldom calls any more. This makes me really sad. But I can't even count the number of times she invited me to go shopping with her that I declined. Or to go to a movie, and I declined. Or go swimming, and I declined. Now she doesn't invite any more. Did I do this to myself?

    The famous first sentence in a conversation is "Hello, how are you today?" Do they really want to know? I think our friends care how we are, but they don't know what to say when we tell them the truth.

    My advice would be just to keep sending cards and making phone calls. I'm sorry you feel alone today. We all have those days. But please know that you have many many friends here on spine-health and you are not alone. We all understand.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!

    That is what my oldest and dearest friend told me on the phone one day after surgery. And two weeks later took a few days off to do just that! (She lives in Virginia and I'm in Jersey) BTW she is a big girl tall, a bit plump, DD, and as she says very delicate. My response to the delicate part is "my a**" She was a full time MARINE for 4 years....when we were much younger.
  • All of the posts have been wonderful. I considered not responding as all of you have covered this topic beautifully. But I'll add my two cents.

    Pebbles, like you I'm a single gal and live alone. My family lives across the country. I have just a few good friends and several acquaintances. I herniated my L5-S1 back in January --11mm. I've had severe and debilitating pain since then. I did manual chiro for about 3 months with very little improvement. I had to stop work in February as I could not stand for more than 5 minutes and sitting was completely out of the question. Even laying down flat was no picnic. I started DRX 9000 treatments at the end of April. I'm doing much better, but I still have not been able to resume my normal activities. I need help cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

    There were only 3 friends that I felt comfortable enough to ask for help. Mind you, prior to my injury I was stubborn (still am : ), lifted a lot of heavy weight, helped friends moved, worked several jobs, volunteered, went to church, etc. I was constantly on the go. I was the caretaker who was forever giving the help. Anyhoo, of those 3 friends, only 1 of them is still in my life. I am forever grateful for the 1. She is my blessing. Funny, the other 2 often told me they loved me. One made plans on several occasions to come visit me. But she never showed up--except once. I thought once she saw the condition I was in she'd realize that I could use her help. I asked if once in a while --every few weeks or so--if she could stop by and help with laundry or taking out the trash. She said "Sure. No problem. I'll do anything." She seemed very eager to help. I never saw her again and she never offered to help. She explained later that seeing me in my disabled state made her too uncomfortable. This really hurt as over the years I've helped her on numerous occasions and never asked her for anything. She admitted as much. My other "friend" came by every so often, prayed for me, and just hung out. But all of a sudden she just stopped. She wouldn't return my calls or emails. She'll occasionally send me an email forward. I guess I became a burden to her.

    I'm not mad at them anymore. I am grateful for the time we did have together, but now our season of friendship is over. Next!! And you know what, I swallowed my pride and asked several other friends for their help. They stepped up to the plate and are doing what they can and are happy to do it. I think this is also a time to be still. Re-examine our lives. Who are we? Where are we going? On my more positive days I look at this time as a gift from God knowing that I'm going to come out stronger on the other side. On my less than positive days, I'm so glad that you and the other spineys are here.

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