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How do you cope?

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Old 06-11-2012, 09:49 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Tampa, Florida, US
Posts: 5
Angelb11 HB User
How do you cope?

Hello all, I know you cope because you must after all what is the alternative.

Should I not be so pessimistic about accepting the fact that I need surgery? Should I look at it as a new chapter in my life and just accept that change happens?

One part of my brain tells me that I can come out of this doing great, but the other side says dont do it you'll regret it. I feel like i am lettling my family down by being less functional and in pain.

I am so afraid of going under the knife that I have been frantically searching the internet reading medical papers, boards, watching videos, etc hoping to find a non surgical solution that probably doesnt exist as everyone is different.

I have not been to work in months because my job is physical and know in my heart I must quit. I am scared to tell my husband we will be down to one income.

How many of you are in chronic pain?

Thank you for any words of encouragement.

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Old 06-11-2012, 02:18 PM   #2
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Re: How do you cope?

Not everyone ends up in chronic pain from spine issues. I was great after my first surgery and did go back to work 2 1/2 weeks after surgery(part-time and later full-time). I would have been able to return to work after this last lumbar surgery too...if I was working. But in between, I broke my neck and was partially paralyzed and my job refused me. Felt I was too big a liability. So I applied for and got SSDI. I have recovered most of my muscle strength and range of motion since then.

But I feel some pain everyday but it's not bad. I wish I had a job to go to, to help distract me from the small amount of pain I do have. I also have rheumatoid arthritis and that is far more painful than a bad neck. That is the main reason I decided to stay on SSDI.

You don't know what you're going to be like after may be fine. But I can tell you that your chances of having minimal after effects are directly tied to the experience and expertize of your surgeon. Get the very best spine surgeon you can will determine how well you do after surgery. I live in a fairly large metropolitan area(central CT) and I went to Boston. I am 100% sure that I am in so little pain thanks to the doc I have in Boston. I just had major lumbar surgery and had so little pain and knew the surgery had been successful within 6 hours after surgery that it was remarkable. Find the best doc you can and you'll have a much better chance of having a good outcome.

All of us were should's part of your brain they are working on. You pick a spine doc like you'd pick a brain want the best. And once you've done that, you just have to put your faith in the doc and his/her ability. And if you aren't that confident now, maybe your head is telling you that you need to keep searching for someone who gives you that confidence. Mine gave me the most thorough going over of any doc I saw, gave me all the stats on the various options I had for surgery. The hospital was so incredibly thorough in my pre-op stuff I was astounded. Made me realize what I had been missing elsewhere. And the surgery itself and the days I spent in the hospital were so good...I knew I made the right decision.

You won't be as fearful if you know if you've done the work of finding the right doc and the right facility to have it fixed.


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Old 06-11-2012, 09:58 PM   #3
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Re: How do you cope?

I hope you have consulted with more than one surgeon. Choosing your surgeon is the most important decision you will be faced with.

Everyone is frightened when facing surgery of the spine. You want to be certain that you have tried all conservative treatments and that surgery is your only remaining option. Then, as Jenny said, after you've done your homework and found the best surgeon that is available to you, and you know that surgery is the only possibility you have to get better, there comes a point where you just have to let go and put all your faith in the surgeon.

A positive attitude is important and aids healing.

What are your problems and what type of surgery has been suggested to you? Have you had spine surgery previously?

Old 06-12-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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pebblebeach2 HB Userpebblebeach2 HB Userpebblebeach2 HB Userpebblebeach2 HB Userpebblebeach2 HB User
Re: How do you cope?

Hi. So much running thru my mind. I have been thru 9 surgeries in my life.

The first surgery I had was in 1994 and I thought OK was I scared? YES. I would be lying if I said otherwise. But I had confidence in my surgeon and knew if my heart that it was the right decision to go thru surgery. Well I got thru the surgery and was back within a few months I guess.

Then within the year, 1995, I needed another surgery but on a differnet part of the spine and went back to the same surgeon. Again I had confidence in him and that I would make it thru the surgery. Yes this surgery was more difficult on recovery time, but I made it. I think I had a good support system as well that added to my confidence level.

But in my case every time I turned around a new problem started up. The surgeries that I went thru the surgeons did what they had to do and got me back on my feet. So I have no complaints with the surgery or the surgeon.

Unfortunately whehter I was prone to spine issues maybe that was the answer for a new problem always cropped up.

Other surgeries that I went thru was for a blood clot in my leg and was told I may lose the leg. the surgeon saved the leg!!! Great job. I also went thru surgery for pancreatic surgery and was told I may not make it. But I DID.

I think I always believed in a Mind-Body-Spiritual connection and that one affects the other. And it got me thru some really difficult times.

Yes I now have chronic pain, but it does not mean that it will happen to you. I believe you have to be proactive. Understand what the issues are that you have, ask questions, be sure you have confidence in your doctors and have faith. It will do wonders for you in the long run.

I have no regrets for agreeing to the surgeries that I have been thru. the longest surgery was supposed to be a 1 day surgery done in 7 hours or so. Turned out to be a 2 day surgery done in 12 hours. But I am here to talk about.

We are here to support you. I don't know what your support system is in the way of family; friends; church/synagogue. but just know that there are people out there that care about you and will stand by you in your time of need.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

HUGS ......... Allan

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Old 06-12-2012, 03:30 PM   #5
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Re: How do you cope?

Allan has a good point. Many here have had multiple surgeries and so we have a different attitude than someone who perhaps has never had surgery. I've only had 3 spine surgeries but I've had 14 knee surgeries...amongst some 30+ total.

But you know what makes me feel good is knowing that there are many others out there who are in far worse shape than I and yet they also have positive attitudes.

I was telling someone in another thread that my best friend's 9 year old granddaughter just finished proton beam radiation for cancer of the tear glands in her eyes. She's already had surgery to remove as much of the gland and cancer as possible. The radiation made her lose her eyelashes and eyebrows permanently and of course, she has to put drops in her eyes every 2 hours all day....pretty tough thing for a 9 year old. And she is an identical twin so she sees what she used to look like every day.

And her cancer is considered chronic. It's a type that spreads very fast through nerve fibers and so she has to have frequent brain scans to watch for developing tumors. She will be battling this for as long as she lives.

Yet she is just the happiest kid. She belongs to a family of great faith and the church has really supported her. The foundation that supports research and treatment for the type of cancer she has also gives her tons of support. Since it's very rare in kids, she's had trouble meeting others who have gone through this but they have put her in touch with others who had it as kids and are now older...a positive thing for a little kid.

So when I get down over pain or more surgery or more problems I think of her. If she can laugh and play and go on as if everything is normal, so can I. She faced surgery with a smile and has gone through radiation with a constant smile. She gets angry that she has cancer and is in therapy to help her adjust but once she let's it out, she is all smiles again. Imagine never being able to cry ever again? She can' tears.

Neck surgery is nothing anymore. I have a hero in my life and that really helps me. Maybe you can find a hero to look up to when you get scared? It really helps.


Old 06-13-2012, 11:38 AM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Tampa, Florida, US
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Angelb11 HB User
Re: How do you cope?

I thank all of you for your responses. I can tell you are all sincere in what you say.

Jennyb, it is very difficult for me to shop surgeons because of worker's comp. I dont get a second opinion only a one time change of doctors per Florida law. I am thinking it may be better for me in the long run to settle this issue and find a private doctor. The wc surgeon I have has been very good to me and very forthcoming. I did go see another surgeon regarding my lower back which isnt work comp related and we talked a great deal about my neck issues. I know everyone is different and many that go online with their stories do so because something went wrong or so I keep telling myself; there are many more where everything went right. The story of the 9 years old does put things in prospective, there are many worse shape and I feel for them. Children are so brave and resilient.

Wow Allan, you have been through so much and here you are offering encouragement to someone that hasnt been through much in this arena. Thank you and I pray you find the relief from pain you need.

Teteri66, I have not had any previous surgeries; I have been advised to have an ADCF. I posted in another thread some mri results. I have been putting it off for years and since its affecting other parts of my body I feel I can no longer put it off. According my surgeon my neck is causing my shoulder pain and si joint pain. He also said sometimes your nerves are trained and the pain may not go away and based on the fact that this all started in 2007 he cant guarantee I'll be pain free. This statement put me back on the fence until my resent problems started.

I really wish to stop taking some of this medication. I am currently taking celebrex, nucynta (6 months), zanaflex, and neurontin. I stop taking neurontin for 2 months but the spasms in my arms were too frequent and I started getting electric shock type feelings in my neck. I mainly take nucynta to deal with my si pain. My husband says i act like i have alzheimers because I forget everything.

Again, thank you all for your comments. I have an appointment on 20th with the doctor. After watching some ******* videos of the surgery which i wont do again I am going to just relax and gather my questions for the doctor.


Last edited by Administrator; 06-15-2012 at 08:13 PM.

Old 06-13-2012, 09:02 PM   #7
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Re: How do you cope?


For me, the hardest part is accepting that I'm not invincible. I'm the glue that holds everything together, the one who takes care of everyone else. Now that I have problems, I feel terribly guilty about not being able to do so much.

I've never had surgery on my neck, but am currently doing PT to try and avoid it. That in itself is trying on my spirit. I've had other surgeries, but the thought of having it on my neck scares me pretty bad.

Just remember to take care of YOU. Accept that you cannot help having these problems, it's not your fault or anything you did wrong. Try to do something nice for yourself DAILY, even if it's just a few minutes of singing along to some music to get your spirits up or taking a long bubble bath. I stick my headphones on with my favorite oldies music station and give myself a foot spa every few days... it's wonderful and free!

Take care and I do hope you get all this figured out. I know dealing with doctors and such can be so stressful. Good luck!

~Hugs, Kenzi!

Old 06-13-2012, 10:37 PM   #8
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 7
houstonlady HB User
Re: How do you cope?

You are strong. You are loved. It's ok to be pessimistic, for a little while. Get it all out, have a good cry, go somewhere where you can scream if you want and nobody will call the cops. After you've had the pity party for yourself, lock it all away and bring it back out when needed. Make sure this surgery is right for you. While you are recovering take an online class. You need a job that is not so physical. Figure out what you want to do and go to school-community college. Sometimes you need certificates, sometimes you have to go for 2 years. Depends on where you start from. Think about the future and thank God for your family's love and support. Get Dave Ramsey's books and you can make it on 1 salary for awhile. You need a plan. The important thing to know is YOU CAN DO THIS-YOU ARE STRONG-YOU HAVE THE LOVE AND SUPPORT OF YOUR FAMILY. It is not unheard of for people to experience depression when facing life changing illness. Don't be afraid to tell your docs if you get depressed. They can help. It is temporary. Sometimes having a friend to talk things out with can be a huge help. Good luck and God bless you and your family.

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