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Old 02-23-2011, 10:21 AM   #1
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Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Hello all.. I had my spinal fusion TLIF approx 1 month ago and had done relatively well unti I fell after a walk and bent on of the rods but neuro doc said its minor and still stable on the spine.. I have 3 kids 2 are older 15,12 boys whos active in sports and I cant coach them like I used to.. I have an 11 month old daughter who I had raised and spent every day keeping her since she was born.. Obviously I cant anymore.. SHes in good hands with my Sister whos awesome with kids.. I am home alone all the time b/c wife is an HR manager at a lg company and cant be home, kids in school and baby at sis house.. I fins myself every day in the same routine get up with kids and wife eat breakfast, the whole nine yards then they r off to their daily routines.. I usually go for my many walks and then I piddle around the house and use the internet and so on.. Around noon everyday I just get very emotional and cant control it.. I am in alot of pain since my fall and everything seems normal so thats a plus and I know theirs gonna be pain but why the hell do I get so depressed and emotional? Its a daily thing.. I really get bad when my daughters home and reaches for mr saying da-da and I cant hold her.. I could go on 4 ever but has anyone dealt with this kinda mess b4? I am on alot of meds due to seizures only new meds r the oxycodone which Ive had b4 and valium for spasms and pharm said shouldnt cause these problems med wise.. Dont want on Anti depession meds I take 2 many meds now, 18 per day and thats eneough.. Someone tell me Im not insane and H=has expeienced something similar.. Thanks so much

 
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:42 AM   #2
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

I had 2 major C-spine surgeries 3 months apart and I fell into a deep depression afterwards. My whole life had changed....and so has yours. You can't do what you want to do. That makes for depression.

So does the chronic pain....pain can cause depression all on it's own.

So does the deep anesthesia of spine surgery...it can cause it by itself.

So you have at least 3 reasons why you are depressed. It really is normal.

They say people who go through open heart surgery almost always get depressed and now know it's the same kind of situation.....deep anesthesia, heart drugs, life changes. And they don't deal with the pain we do. If you go to the Knee and Hip board, people getting joint replacement get depressed too...its the anesthesia, pain drugs and lifestyle changes. It affects almost everyone.

It is really common. Don't get down on yourself and give yourself time to heal. It can take months for the chemicals in the anesthesia to get out of your system completely let alone for your body to heal.

Mine went away with time but I did go and get an anti-depressant from my doc to help me get out of it. Don't be ashamed. It will get better with time as will your back.

gentle hugs..........Jenny(fused C3 to T1)

 
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

I hate to say it but I had terrible depression years and years ago, after my spinal fusion and laminectomy. I don't know why but I felt like I was damaged or something and it was hard to deal with.

 
Old 02-23-2011, 12:13 PM   #4
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Its crazy I am not in th esame pain I was in fromm the DDD but its still severe enough and my leg pain is worse and should subside I hope.. Its just like outta no where Ill think of something or be reminded of something and thats all it takes and it lasts for at times a short while others til my kids get home from school.. Its just hard to deal with.. Im an outgoing and upbeat person and never have been this way.. I dont regret the fusion yet just now I hate I had it done b/c of depression.. Hope it will pass and I will be somewhat back to normal.. I wanna be there for my daughter as I was for my boys.. God Willing

 
Old 02-23-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

As Jenny explained so well, depression often goes hand in hand with major surgery. Hormones and the general anesthetic has a great deal to do with it. Then you had another setback when you fell. You were doing well and had expectations of eventually being able to get back to your old routine...coaching the kids' sports, caring for your daughter, etc. Now you feel like you're taking steps backward rather than making any progress...and, you're in pain. It is very understandable that you are depressed.

People also can get very emotional after surgery and will cry easily. It all has to do with shifting hormone levels and again, the way the anesthetic affects the brain.

If you don't want to try an anti-depressant, you'll just need to recognize that this is a part of the surgical package and try to get through it until your systems normalize and you are able to get back to a more normal state.

It should ease your mind somewhat to know that what you are experiencing is fairly typical -- not pleasant...but not unusual.

 
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:12 PM   #6
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Hi

Im a 28 year old woman that had instrumental spinal fusion of the L4 and L5 which included a bone graft taken from my hip. I had the op at the beginning of July 2010, I must admit it was the scariest thing that I have ever done! But in the same breath I gotta say the best! The minute I woke up from surgery I knew the pain I had suffered for over 4 years had gone! There was obviously pain there but not the same. I stayed in hospital over night and went home the next day! I had to use crutches for a few weeks and I kept my back brace on for around 8 weeks. I weaned myself off the brace slowly. I used to walk most days and now I swim at least 3 times a week. I had gone back into the gym and was using weights until I saw my surgeon (first time since my op) last month and he told me that I should only really be walking and swimming. I now swim at least three times a week and I must admit find it very soothing! I have a very active job so at the minute I am desk bound but the surgeon has informed me that I should be back to normal 12 - 18 months after the surgery. I was shocked when he told me this as to be honest I thought I would be back to full health by now. But I do feel that my conversation with the surgeon was a wake up call and I was doing too much too soon! I would say if you are going to have the surgery take your time to get well! Don't rush things as you will only make it worse.
I must say I can feel the metal work from time to time and its a bit weird but am sure once the muscle etc has healed I wont notice it as much.

I have had my ups and downs when recovering and must say with 3 months off work and not being able to drive I was so bored and became a little depressed but I have a good network of friends and family and came through it all! Just try to stay positive and change your routine! Read, walk, chat with friends!

I wish I had joined this forum before as its nice to talk to others about my surgery who understand! Also I feel like the constant pain I felt before the op also got me down and I think after a while things do just get on top of you! But I'm through the worse and still have odd days but to be honest there is light at the end of the tunnel just focus on that!
Amy

 
Old 02-23-2011, 01:52 PM   #7
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Oh gosh, yes this is so normal, and it feels terrible. I had my last surgery in October with some (for me) major problems that don't allow me to even walk well with a cane. I am very depressed, live alone, and am fighting like hell to get past this.....knowing (hoping) that as soon as my fusion is stronger Iwill be going to pt to strengthen my legs and core muscles which have also become very weak after 2 years of trying to stay out of surgery and many trips to my pm. It all becomes very hard to bear.

Don't feel ashamed and as tetonteri said, if you don't want to temporarily go an an antidepressant, just try to realize that this is temporary and will pass. That's what is keeping me together enough to look forward to the future when I will get at least some of my life back. I have to say that this is the first time depression has ever set in like this but I know that the last 2 years have been extremely difficut with a lot of negative things in my life. It is a struggle, but we can overcome if we hang on to thoughts of the better times to come.

I wish you well bigphil. Keep on posting and venting. It is helpful and cathartic to know you aren't alone.

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Old 02-23-2011, 04:47 PM   #8
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

BigPhil....right after I posted, I left to take my car in for an inspection and sat and read a newspaper article while waiting. It was about the brand new filed of neurocardiology. The heart has it's own electrical system and it has long been known that the heart can even over-ride the brain electrically. Now, they are starting to speculate that that most organs have the same set up and can overrule the brain when necessary....like a set up of computers. They can all work separately but can also work together. And part of this ability to overrule, is that they can also tell the emotions what to do.

If this turns out to be true, then it makes even more sense why anesthesia would cause depression. Anesthesia attacks the liver(it cleans toxins from the blood) and if it is hurting from that, it can overrule the brain and chemically cause a depression as a result. Depression causes you to feel very tired and that might be the liver's way of getting us to rest while it heals. And often with depression, we tend to eat favorite foods that are easy on the stomach or not want to eat at all and both of those scenarios would give the liver a break as well since it has so much to do with digestion.

I firmly believe the body knows how to heal itself if we can only learn how to listen to it. Maybe depression following major surgery is just the body's way of saying...treat me very nice and give me lots of rest so I can heal.

TLC.

take care............Jenny

 
Old 02-24-2011, 10:06 AM   #9
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Its all normal some days i don't want to get out of bed. Everyday's the same but i can't let it take my life this is my life not my pains life i have lived with chronic pain for 6 years now and it will get better for you ......you have all of us to throw stuff off of!...i love my family and friends but until they have gone thru this they just don't know. I have done things i never would of done if it wasn't for being at home im 39 years old never finished high school i was married at 15 1 st baby at 16 i got my ged and now I'm taking classes online and it helps pass the time! my hubby of 24 years says this is the best thing that could of happen to me! and in a way hes right!....am i 100% nope will i ever be no! but im 20% better than i was so ill take it and run with it! keep your head up
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:25 PM   #10
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Hello everyone,
I had a two level fusion Jan 12th and I have healed nicely. I am walking three miles a day. But, honestly I feel like I could lop my husband's head off. I am yelling at my kids and I don't know what is wrong with me. Tomorrow is my 43rd Bday and my husband has arranged to take me out on Sat. He got a sitter for the entire night and a nice hotel, etc. I am not even excited. I feel damaged, fat and ugly! All I want to do after I get the boys off to school in the morning is go to bed and cover my head and go to sleep. I will be honest since I know no one here will judge me. I have to go back to work on March 9th and honestly I don't know if I will be able to hold up emotionally. Physically, I am still in a decent amount of pain (more than before surgery). I have a script for Cymbalta but, am afarid to take it. I don't want to kill my liver. I am still on a significant amount of pain meds and muscle relaxers. I have no option to go back to work as I am the bread winner and without my pay, no mortgage. My husband does well but, not enough to pay all of the bills, we are definitely a two income family. After reading this post, it makes since that this must be post surgery blues. My scar developed what the NS calls Keloids and it is extremely ugly but, I guess it doesn't really matter as not many see this area (PLIF). Well, I do find support here and I guess I just needed to vent since depression was the subject. Maybe I should give in and take the Cymbalta. Thanks Heather

 
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:26 PM   #11
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Heather --
You might try the Cymbalta. If you're lucky it will help with the emotional side of things, leaving you on a more even keel, and it should help with your pain. Was it prescribed by your surgeon?

You may find that taking it for just a couple months would be all you'd need.

 
Old 02-24-2011, 05:48 PM   #12
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

I took Cymbalta for 9 months for the post-surgery depression and it is also approved for peripheral neuropathy...helped that a lot.

Give it try. It is long term treatment with these drugs that can be harmful but using it for 3-6-9 months for post-operative pain and depression is not going to do harm and could help a lot. It took a good 2 weeks to start feeling the "good" effects of it. For the first week, you do get shaky and feel very off so be prepared for that but once the level starts to rise, it made a big difference for me. At 4 weeks you are on the full dose and the only problem I had was nightmares. After 8 months of it, I was sufficiently healed that I felt I could go off of it and my doc had me cut the dose by 1/4 each week for 4 weeks and I was off with NO problems. I had a 6 level fusion so it took a long time to heal.

Give it a try and hopefully after a month or 2 or 3, you'll be fine and the liver clear of the toxins from anesthesia.

Hugs...........Jenny

 
Old 02-26-2011, 08:15 AM   #13
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Wow that is very interesting and will look it up on google and try 2 read about it.. It makes sense and & may help docs in the future help the patient understand better what to or are already experienced

 
Old 02-26-2011, 08:42 AM   #14
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

Also since my original post I have seen and spoken to my primary care doctor and he said as others of you have on here that The anesthesia med they use to relax ur muscles during surgery called Tubocuraine(sp) can cause a severe shock to your system after days and weeks post-op and does slowly leave your body and is known to cause mild depression and in some cases severe.. He did say that was 1 of the meds used during my surgery after seeing the dictation notes in the PC which the GP is in the same group of Carolinas Medical Center network of docs.. Anyway your heart is a muscle and the most important I'd say and the meds effect on the heart even though the machines do the work has a "shock" period to go through and the medicine is the slowsest of all the meds they use to leave your body.. It is stored and metabolized by the liver he said and just takes time to win the battle.. He seen no need to use Anti-Depessants at this time but did consult with my surgeon to change my muscle relaxer from valium to zanaflex which I hate but does work.. Anyone on Valium as a Muscle relaxant or Anxiety fro post op protocol the Valium is like an enhancer with the TUBOCURAINE and will make things worse until its clearded your system.. The TUBOCURAINE eventually leaves and most depression will subside but in 13% of cases the study said the depression will remain just due to its natural disposition and hereditary traits.. I hope I made sense here and I am feeling somewhat better since going of the Valium and time passing by.. Not to make your doc think u went to HArvard all of a sudden but ask if hes aware of this Medicine and its side effects with some meds and its depression effects u have after surgery.. Thanks to all for the responses and If Ihear anything or things change I will post again..

God Bless..

TLIF l5-s1 Jan 27, 2011

 
Old 02-26-2011, 11:36 AM   #15
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Re: Major Depression after spinal fusion anyone?

[QUOTE=musiccitygirl;4692642]Hello everyone,
I had a two level fusion Jan 12th and I have healed nicely. I am walking three miles a day. But, honestly I feel like I could lop my husband's head off. I am yelling at my kids and I don't know what is wrong with me. Tomorrow is my 43rd Bday and my husband has arranged to take me out on Sat. He got a sitter for the entire night and a nice hotel, etc. I am not even excited. I feel damaged, fat and ugly! All I want to do after I get the boys off to school in the morning is go to bed and cover my head and go to sleep. I will be honest since I know no one here will judge me. I have to go back to work on March 9th and honestly I don't know if I will be able to hold up emotionally. Physically, I am still in a decent amount of pain (more than before surgery). I have a script for Cymbalta but, am afarid to take it. I don't want to kill my liver. I am still on a significant amount of pain meds and muscle relaxers. I have no option to go back to work as I am the bread winner and without my pay, no mortgage. My husband does well but, not enough to pay all of the bills, we are definitely a two income family. After reading this post, it makes since that this must be post surgery blues. My scar developed what the NS calls Keloids and it is extremely ugly but, I guess it doesn't really matter as not many see this area (PLIF). Well, I do find support here and I guess I just needed to vent since depression was the subject. Maybe I should give in and take the Cymbalta. Thanks Heather[/QUOTE]

I know what you mean! I wanted (and still many days want to) live under that same set of covers in bed just as you do!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

You are NOT damaged, fat or ugly. You are a BEAUTIFUL woman (inside and out) who is healing from some seriously major surgery!! You need to be kind to yourself. You are there for so many others! Let them be there for you now. It is okay to accept help/support. Talk to someone about how you are feeling (it doesn't have to be a professional, just someone who is a good listener). I know you are well loved!!

As others have told me... It will get better but you need to be kind to yourself and take care of yourself. You are a wonderfully kind, caring, and compassionate person and you will feel like your 'old self' one day, it just might not be tomorrow or the next day. Just give it time and take each day one at a time. HUGS!!

 
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