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  • 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

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    Old 06-02-2010, 12:00 AM   #1
    LibraSage
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    35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    I'm really trying to see the good in this and be thankful I can at least still walk, but I've come here now, 8 months after my surgery, because I have to admit I've lost control of my life.

    My surgery was the first week in October 2009. The day before I had a normal day...5am-5-mile run, then a 10-hour work day, then dinner & wine with girlfriends and worked my horses that evening. The next day I was in surgery to have an almost 100% blockage (herniated disc between L5-S1) removed. I never had one ounce of pain, just some numbness that had become progressively worse in the few months before. A 5-hour surgery, spinal fluid leak and warnings that I may never walk again. Just 4 days after surgery I left the hospital with only a bit of numbness in the bottom of my left foot and about 30% numbness in my thigh. I was thankful I could walk!

    But now?....

    I'm still in PT 3 times a week. And now I'm told this is as good as it gets. I can never run again which is completely expected, but I am STILL limited to 8-10 minutes of day of either slow, level (no hills) walking OR 8-10 minutes of wading in a pool, not even both! I can't work and my savings is dwindling. I stopped getting short-term disability from the state because I felt guilty and stopped it myself 8 weeks after surgery, around 12/15 last year.

    I've gained almost 60 pounds since surgery, size 6 to size 16. I live in flannel pajama pants and tshirts now. My new hobbies are watching TV (which I've always despised, but now love and depend on) and surfing the internet. I gave away my baby; my doggie, because I can't even walk him anymore or take him to the dog park like I used to. I miss him. I sold my horses because it was too depressing to pet them and look at them and never be able to run them or lead them or ride them ever again. I can't lay, stand or sit for more than 10-15 minutes without being in pain. At night, just to sleep, I take 3-5 over the counter sleeping pills, because I haven't admitted to anyone that otherwise I'm in too much pain to sleep. I just have to knock myself out. I have dozens of pain pills that make me feel like crap so I don't take them at all which is the only thing I have to be proud of in the least...in that I'm not addicted to pain pills.

    I've tried to be positive and keep my chin up and I'm done. I'm ANGRY. I'm tired of my family and friends looking at me the way they do. I've now seen no one in the last 2 months, using others as the excuse when invited to dinner, etc. I think now they're all catching on....now the worried phone calls have begun. I just want to be alone. I was HAPPY and working in a career I loved and I was a successful human being and a great aunt to my nieces. Now I can't even pick up my 2-year-old niece and I always used to fling here up when I saw her and make her laugh. I'm not even allowed to lift her up at all. -- Now I feel like nothing. My surgeon just told me I need to file for permanent disability and I am in complete shock.

    How will I ever get married now after gaining so much weight and not even being able to sit through a first date? And kids? How the heck am I supposed to even be able to carry a baby full-term with THIS back? I spent my LIFE in my church, serving God and working with the kids in church and singing in the choir and helping in the elderly home-visit ministry and I LOVED it and felt was helping and LOVED God. Wow, He disappeared fast RIGHT when I needed Him the most. I wish I were dead. I really do.

     
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    Old 06-02-2010, 03:48 AM   #2
    Pebble Beach
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    Re: 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    I just read your post and believe it or not you are not alone in your experiences.
    I am almost 57 (in a couple of weeks) and have been facing health issues since I was about 35.
    I started off with back problems. I loved to walk to travel being out in the fresh air. After each episode of a health issue I figured I got thru it and now was back on track. But shortly was faced with another health issue. Here is a summary of my history:

    - 1988 the beginning of lumbar problems traction
    - 1989 continued problems traction again
    - 1994 surgery for herniated discs in lumbar spine
    - 1994 diagnosed with Parkinsons diseaase and treated thru 1997 to find out that I was misdiagnosed
    - 1995 stenosis of cervical spine surgery done
    - 1997 surgery on lumbar spine harrington rods implanted
    - 2000 surgery on the cervical spine harrington rods implanted in cervical and thoracic region
    - 2004 ended up in emergency room diagnosed with diabetes blood sugar was over 1500 normal 100 in kidney failure and blood clot in left leg surgery done nearl lost left leg
    - 2005 surgery for spinal cord implant to control pain
    -- current issues stenosis in cervical & lumbar area. Yes difficulty sitting and walking at times. extreme pain in both shoulder
    -- currently on full disability since 2003

    Yes a lot of my dreams and hopes were shot down. Yes dreams of getting married kids etc. When I was in the hospital for the diabetes I almost died.
    Oh did I mention I was born with one kidney and have kidney disease with the one that I do have.
    Do I get depressed? Of course. Do I want to give up at times? I'd be lying if I said I didnt.
    But while we are different religions it is my belief system that got me thru those rough spots. Do I want to be alone at times. YEs. but then at times I need that support system too.
    Do NOT GIVE UP! I think from reading your post that your religion is important to you. Find a way back to it and it will help you thru those time. Do not shut the world out. Find out what works for you to make it thru each day.
    For me I found doing things that helped others that gets me thru some days. Like I've worked with homeless men which gives me great satisfaction.
    And nearly dying back in 2004 really scared me beyond belief. Im not ready to leave this world just yet.
    Please think about speaking to someone to help you. LIfe is worthwhile. Just find a way of making it meaningful with your situation.
    I think you want to live. You did post here and you are screaming for help to live.
    I am hear to listen.

     
    Old 06-02-2010, 07:23 AM   #3
    ibake&pray
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    Re: 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    [COLOR="Navy"]Libra,

    You aren't the oly one who has had issues. I went in for a three disc fusion. Ended up with a broken back when they got me up the next day. Suffered in the hospital for a week b4 my surgeon came back from a conference and took an x-ray. that led to another 6 hour surgery. I am now fused from T9-sacrum. Did it alter my life? You bet. Did I question why God gave me all the problems You bet I did.

    BUT...you have a choice in life. You can choose to let the pain rule your life, or you can rule the pain. I will live with pain 24/7 and will for the rest of my life. Is it what I was planning for? No way! You say that you are proud that you don't take the pain meds....by taking them you will regain some of the life that you have lost. There is no shame in taking pain meds. Is there a chance of dependancy? Sure, but it's not the same as addiction.

    You need help my dear. Get to a doctor and tell him you are depressed. There is no crime in that either. Get on a med that will help you cope with your days...and get back to your church and ask for help. AND, try to lose the weight. That will help not only your peace of mind, but your pain levels...

    your are in my thoughts.....[/COLOR]

     
    Old 06-03-2010, 07:32 AM   #4
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    Re: 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    Libra
    You are not alone in your pain. I had a L5S1 fusion 5 weeks ago, was doing great walking, moving,then I walked too much last week and got muscle spasms that sent me through the roof!! I was on the couch for 3 days using my pain meds and muscle relaxers that did not seem to help, only take the edge off. I come from a long line of addiction in my family and am scared it will happen to me. Bottom line if you are in pain you will not get better!!! My friend who is a nurse encourages me to take the pain meds when you need them because then you can at least help your body to relax(tension makes it worse). Pain robs you of your life, you know that. Have you tried to see another doctor about your situation? I went to 5 doctors for opinions before I had my surgery. My dog is miserable with me too because I was always the one who walks her and now others have to do it for me. Try to find success in something every day even if it is little thing. People at church care, you just have to be willing to be helped. I have started writing notes to encourage other people because it is something I can do from the couch right now. Find little successes in what you CAN do now and focus on that!!! Dont be robbed of your life!!! It matters!! You can do this!! It is ok to use medication like Ibakeandpray says(she is very encouraging to me too)!!! We have been in pain, focus on whats good, not the pain!!
    You are in my thoughts too!!

     
    Old 06-03-2010, 12:46 PM   #5
    jennybyc
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    Re: 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    Hi Libra Sage. You need to get some help.......you are suffering from PTSD as a result of the botched surgery. You went in with certain expectations and came out with a different body. That is a mental trauma as well as a physical trauma.

    I broke my neck...been there. 2 major cervical spine surgeries so far and I go next week to see if I need a third.

    But I want to pass along a couple of things. One, find the best neurosurgeon you can and get a second opinion. Go to a big medical center. Do your research first and then go. It may save your life...literally. Second, spine surgery takes a good 2+ years for recovery. I was paralyzed on my left side but have recovered 95% of the movement and about 50% of my strength but it took a long time. I kept going back to PT for 2 1/2 years to rehab whatever came back when it came back. I even rehabbed my balance. And I didn't really start the real rehab until I was 9 months post-op...when the nerves began to heal and start working again. Up until then, it was just keeping everything moving until they healed. At 3 1/2 years post-op, I am a different person, physically and emotionally. Even my neurosurgeon is surprised how well I did.....nothing he expected.

    If you give up now you'll never know how good you could be. And there is nothing wrong with applying for disability. Many people do so when they know it will be a while to heal and their company's don't have long term disability to help. And when they recover and go back to work, then they drop disability. If I recall, in the definition of SSDI, you must have a prognosis that you won't be able to work for at least 2 years....nothing says it is permanent. The longer you wait, the longer it will take to get. Don't see it as a defeat but a temporary support until you heal and know how bad or good things will be. You are far from finished in the healing process.

    But start with a therapist who deals with PTSD and really understands it. It will make all the difference in the world.

    gentle hugs.............Jenny

     
    Old 06-04-2010, 06:11 AM   #6
    PEmom
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    Re: 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    Jennybyc
    Thanks for your encouraging words!! It helps me too!
    Laurie

     
    Old 06-04-2010, 01:06 PM   #7
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    Re: 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    You are very welcome.

    And I forgot to add....PTSD is post traumatic stress disorder and waking up from surgery with life changing injuries....that is TRAUMATIC! Let go and accept some help.

    hugs...............Jenny

     
    Old 09-21-2011, 01:25 PM   #8
    LibraSage
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    Re: 35 yrs old - POST surgery - I'm beyond depressed

    Wow, 15 months later and I found this thread again. I was in such a bad place back then. I've never been that despondent in my life. I ended up slowly improving and now can walk/do the elliptical for up to an hour a day.

    My entire life has drastically changed for the better. Sometimes, even though you think you're content/happy, you're not living the life you were meant to live, and something has to stop you. The back surgery certainly stopped me, long enough for me to take a good, long hard look at my life...and change it.

    So, had to come back and post a big thank you to everyone for your encouraging words. I don't know what the future holds re: my back/spine health, but I can certainly say right now, almost two years after surgery, the surgery was the best thing that ever happened to me. It also taught me no matter what happened in life from now on, each thing happens for a specific reason/purpose, even if we can't see it right away.

    Thanks all.

     
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