kill: (everything was beautiful)
([personal profile] kill Dec. 28th, 2008 08:04 am)
Sometime during the holiday my back went out pretty bad. I was very stir-crazy yesterday and felt vaguely okay, so Matt and I went out to go to the grocery store and the library. I was driving and I turned down a bad street and we got stuck in the snow. An awesome Good Samaritan neighbor heard our tires spinning and drove over with his Jeep and towed us out. But in the meantime I slipped on the ice a little while trying to figure out what to do. I even made to push the car but Matt yelled at me not to, so don't blame him, heh. He's really good about watching out for me when I try to take on too much. I just felt so useless and I wanted to help. But by the time we got out of there I was in a great deal of pain.

I have six pain pills left and no muscle relaxants so I've been taking it verrrry easy. Refilling my meds might prove rather difficult as I have to go through the campus pharmacy and it's going to take a phone call to my surgeon. Hopefully it won't be a hassle. If I can get out from under the pain I might be able to stretch my way out of this one.

I'm really concerned though because the pain is shooting down my leg again, like it did before my last surgery. That is never a good sign. All the times I've had pain since surgery have been minimal and seemingly muscle spasm-related and did not involve my extremities and did not feel disc-related. This, on the other hand, feels disc-related. And this terrifies me.

There is no more laminectomy/discectomy, as I only have about 15% of my disc left. There is only fusion. Last night I got so depressed and frustrated that I felt like I wanted to give up on my life. Not suicide, but figuring out a way to be on disability and find a way to get better somehow. Because I just don't know if I can deal with this again. I feel like I've used up all my strength. I know that it could be much worse; that I can even limp to the bathroom is a fortunate thing compared to things that other people are going through. I hate the self-centeredness that comes with this pain. I hate that makes me dwell on my own shit while people are getting annihilated in Gaza.

I'm at work right now because there is no one else to do the work and I've only worked one day since the 17th, not because of my back but because our office has been closed due to the weather. I'm just going to slowly get through it the best I can. If you pray, please pray for me that this will be okay by the 5th, when I need to return to school.

I don't know what else to do. How else to be.

From: [identity profile]

Don't give up partly because there is nothing much to give up TO. It takes years of appeals to get on disability, which pays about $800 a month at best usually all told.

Get the fusion. If I could possibly just DO the freaking fusion first I would. I've seen all of the easier surgeries my Mom had on her back fail and the fusion start to put her life back together and get her functionality to return. She (like many other back patients) feels like laminectomy/discectomy are a waste of time and money. I mean, sure, they help a little short term but my Mom's been better for 7 years since her fusion. No other back surgery helped for more than a year.

Anyhow, people who think you are selfish don't understand inescapable nerve pain. Your body is sending every signal that it is an emergency to your brain. It isn't something you can ignore to focus on gaza. You are under the influence of pain, but that is not who you are. You are still the same caring person, but when the pain is at the worst you are simply existing under that heavy burden, awaiting the ability to return 100% you. You are not becoming the pain, and don't forget it.

From: [identity profile]

Thank you for your kind reply. I know you know what it is like to feel like you are so stuck and like you are panicking.

I have to make sure my new insurance will do the fusion. I'm hoping that my surgeon is covered under it. I had no choice but to change insurances because of the downsizing my company did. I think that is part of what makes me feel so uncertain and freaked out.

I'm glad to hear that your Mom's surgery worked. That is good to know.

Thank you again. :)

From: [identity profile]

Wow, I totally understand about the insurance.

My Mom recommends having a neurosurgeon if possible (her words) and NOT an Orthopedic surgeon. I do pray and I'll be praying for you. I get really scared I'll lose my job because we have layoffs and the pain makes me less reliable and positive than I could be otherwise. I can't imagine trying to do school on top of it.

From: [identity profile]

Yeah, a neurosurgeon did my last two surgeries. I have been really happy with her. She comes very highly recommended.

From: [identity profile]

Aargh; haing had to deal with a herniated spinal disc (and operation for same) a few years, I can definitely sympathize. Very, very much wishing you the best.

From: [identity profile]

Yeah, it's kind of freaky now how I can differentiate between muscle spasms and OH SHIT MY DISC IS MESSED UP pain. Once you've had it happen, it's particularly memorable, even years out. Maybe part of my depression is dreading that pain.

Thank you. :)

From: [identity profile]

Thank you, R. I appreciate it.

Are you taking any RELIG courses in the Winter? I'm doing 202 but it strikes me that you may have already taken that one, given your background...

From: [identity profile]

My shrink says that just because some people have it worse is no reason to think you're "lucky" to just be in the pain you're in.

Chronic pain is no walk in the park. I hope you get some relief and soon.

From: [identity profile]

Ow ow ow.

I tend to hate my pain-related self-centeredness too, but then I remember back in the day, late 1996, when I was thoroughly incapacitated and sorta appeared to be dying. (Hooray! Not dead!) I don't remember thinking any less of anybody for being grouchy over a hangnail or a headache. And along similar lines, you're pretty physically messed up right now, but would you disdain someone's yelping over a stubbed toe? I doubt it. If it hurts, it hurts, and there is no Pain Olympics. The quality of mercy is not strained, or something like that.

(Also, I sent you some mail at

From: [identity profile]

That's right, I remember our conversation about the Pain Olympics, though it was in a different context. I will have to remember that. :)

Thank you.

From: [identity profile]

my mother has been so much happier since her spinal fusion. it really cut her pain down, say from a 10 without meds to a 5 or 6, totally manageable with meds.

*big hugs*

Rest and ice, my love, and I'll keep thinking of you.