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I am sure this has happened to someone--I am now dealing with a terrible back problem which will probably require back surgery, and has made it almost impossible for me to walk, or sit or sleep (car wreck 1999--then it got worse.  Details upon request)

The problem is--this has tapped into what aprently is my worst fear in the entire world, being incapacitated, or losing the use of one or both of my legs, permanently.  I am so scared of back surgery, I literally cannot discuss it, and every night, I come home from work and cry for hours, terrified to the bone about this. The only thing that can calm me down is a Klonopin, and a muscle relaxer my ortho gave me until we decide about the surgery.

But it is wrecking the nice calm thingy I had going--and I really don't know how to handle it except medicate myself into oblivion.

Any auggestions?  Are you terrified of getting pneumonia, or breaking an arm, or something else totally NOT a big deal, but puts you into a complete spiral of anxiety, fear, depression, more anxiety, etc. etc?

Love, china the potential cripple-I know, I know, not likely but logic doesn't play much of a part in this--

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Heya ChinaOB,

Holy cow, you just described *exactly* how I felt when I dislocated my shoulder a couple years back, and couldn't work for a buncha weeks.

I didn't have the "official" BP dx yet.  But I knew anyway that this would screw me up.

Like you said, not so much the injury but the helplessness/injured-ness that went with it, the fear that I would not be a good doctor anymore, the catastophizing that I would never work again.

What can I tell you.

I went through some (in retrospect) very dramatic crying with DH.  Like the world was ending.  Like never being able to play tennis (what my physio told me) was a problem (yah right, I'm so clumsy it's a blessing to have an excuse).

All I can say is yes, this crap can be very destabilizing.

But you get past it at some point.

Really.

--ncc--

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Any auggestions?  Are you terrified of getting pneumonia, or breaking an arm, or something else totally NOT a big deal, but puts you into a complete spiral of anxiety, fear, depression, more anxiety, etc. etc?
I have had back surgery, and I worry still about becoming incapacitated, as the surgery wasn't terrible effective.

I do know that my worst fears are very seldom realized. And that as events unfold, I tend to adjust to my new reality...which is often different than what I fantisize it will be--especially when I think it's going to be something really, really bad.

If that makes any sense at all.

The only thing that sends me totally tripping into anxiety hell is when I start to worry something will happen to one of my kids--that can paralyze me if I let myself stay there, so I try to "not go there."

Powerlessness sucks.

Hugs,

S9

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Heya ChinaOB,

That sounds *so* scary.

I'm glad to hear you're seeing your psychiatrist tomorrow.

And that you're talking about this *now.*

Your instincts can be *very scary.*

Just remember that our instincts are *not* all we have.

Oh honey, be okay, try to sleep?

Or else stay up all night on the Internet.

;)

(having a rough day myself, whatever)

--ncc--

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Hi China,

Back problems can sure be miserable, for sure.

Surgical techniques have gotten very very good. Working at the prosthetics/orthotics facililty where we did TLSO's for surg patients every day, I never saw one patient who was incapacitated in 5 years!

Putting your affairs in order is not a bad thing, though the driving fear that something is going to happen must be disconcerting. I'm sure you will make this a primary topic for your Pdoc session.

Best,

A.M.

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She didn't give a rats ass, referred my to a chiroractor who will put me on some middle ages looking stretching machine to "heal: my lack of disc.

No one cares, no one wil listen to me, she spent exactly 2 1/2 minutes wiht me, wrote Rx's and out the door.  I drove 30 minutes for that--and cried hysterically all the way home.

This is a nasty, ugly, mean, little town, with no decent psych., care--no one who 1) is taking new pts 2) is qualified or 3) takes my BC/BS--a bad sign, since most all reputable PDocs take that.

I just need someone to sit dowen face to face with me and LISTEN--and there is no one.  My poor hubby is a bit weary of the hysterica, waterworks, and unwarrewnted fears.

Guess I will spend the afternon, since I am alone here at work, writing my will--nothing of value, but it needs to be done.

I am lost, and I want to go home.

china

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Excuse me while I laugh hysterically and barf into my lunch. I drove 30 miles to see the "wonderful Pdoc from the hospital "who, when told I was terrified of back surgery, whipped out a brochure from a CHIROPRACTER who believe he can make the disc grow back in "only" 20 sessions on this machine that most closely resembled a rack from the mid ages.  Not covered by insurance, but "guarenteed to make by back good as new."

She spent exactly 2 1/2 minutes with me, wrote new RX's and shoved me out the door.  I cried hysterically all the way home--30more minutes, and decided that I am just totally alone in this tiny, ugly, mean little town, except for my wonderful husband, who is growing a bit weary of the waterworks and unfounded and bizaare terrors.

Why can't anyone who could actually make a difference even listen to me?  I just need to talk about this to someone, face to face, who can help me sort all this out.  And I can find no one who is 1) reputable 2) is taking new patients and 3)_ will accept my BC/BS. 

So the unfounded terrors go on, and I will spend the afternoon, since I am alone in the office , writing my will, as it were, since I have nothing of real value.

Later--I thought this post was lost--am entering it anyway--get over it--love, china

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Heya China,

Ah that just completely sucks.

Chiroquacks eh.  I see where you're coming from.

Ah honey.  You'll be okay.  You don't believe me.  That's okay.  ;)

Unfortunately your psych care sucks.

But is your *surgeon* any good?  That's (frankly) what matters at this point.

Look *him* (*her*) up.  I know you can do that in the States.

Then just lay back, close your eyes and think of England.

(Or some other terrible bastardised quote)

Love,

--ncc--

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Great confidence in Ortho group--willl have MRI done Monday, decision made at Ortho appt. on Friday.  Meanwhile, I sinnk farther and farther into really horrid depression, and the usual lack of motivation has turned into compete inactivity.

I have no interest in job--never was really wild about it.  I came here to work with and in the motorcycle business and there are no jobs there.  So I am half-assedly doing what I really don't want to do.

I made a will last night, deciding who gets what when I die. Not that I own anything of any value, but I like to think that my firiends would want something to remind them of me--maybe.  I just see no real reason to do aything except lie on the couch, hurting, waiting for the surgery, and the outcome--which I deeply believe will be death or complete incapacitation.

This sound like a very morose case of self-pity, and maybe it is--but it scares me, deeply, because I haven't felt like this in many, many years--

china

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OK:

  Get ahold of yourself. (not there!) And let's think about this for a moment. You rationally say you know you are not going to die, but the dish is running away with the spoon. You are giving into the anxiety. Not good.

  Can you do anything physical? Can you swim? I have horrid back pain too. But I don't have a disk problem I have sacroiliac joint problems. Big pain, and I am also fun to be with.  ;)   Not.

  But swimming is a life saver. I get that endorphin rush (you could use) and I feel better pain wise (you could use this too) So is swimming something you could do? I find that pain gets me real freaked out.

  I also advocate music when my husband or I get to where you are. I listen to meditation music on my head phones at night while I fall asleep. This does work for panic attacks. You might try this too.

  Also, you said that p-doc saved you butt. Call her back with a "wait just a damn minute" phone call. Get her attention, tell her what you have told us. My p-doc is really kind. And sometimes I have to call her out to tell her "HELP! I AM FREAKING OUT!" Last week she sent me for an EKG because I have been having panic attacks almost nightly since last summer. The EKG scared the shit outa me, I knew there was something wrong with my heart and I had to call and say "Hi my name is Breeze, I have GAD, and you just sent me for an EKG - I am scared to death". She called me back and we talked.  I was fine. The test went fine.

  China. You are most likely going to be here with us after the surgery and have use of all your limbs. But I know how this goes. I have this affliction. I get all worked up and it takes getting someone to listen, and make them listen, to calm me down.

  And if none of that works. Keep talking here. We'll be here for you. You aren't going to die just yet is my feeling. Some day - yes. This time - no!

Breeze

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Heya China,

Yah.

What Breeze said.  Read that again.  Again.

We're here, not face to face but keyboards at least.

Listen when you tell yourself you'll be okay.

And tell yourself (which is *true*) that everyone at any age needs wills and powers of attorney, *especially* in the States.

When is the surgery hon?

--ncc--

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My big appt, with the ortho is in the AM at 8--he has all the MRI's X-rays. osteoporosis tests, etc.  And will know by 8:02 AM that I am still in screaming, unrelenting pain almost 24/7 and he better do something quick or I will kill myself, or someone dear to me--or him, by 8:05 AM.

My hugest worry at this point is that I am missing loads of work, will continue to miss loads of work, and have NO sick pay and NO disability, so I just dodn't get paid. No fear about losing my job, my boss assures me, but not sure we can survive on one salary.  No , correction--we CANNOT survive on one salary.

I have been cycling like a fucking trampoline all DAY--had hysterics in the parking lot at the Steak and Shake, so bad, that people came up and tapped onthe car window to make sure I was "OK"?  Then, by 3 PM, high as a kite, chatering like a magpie to someone I had never met before.  Home now, moaning and crying and quietly screaming.

Fear is a mighty powerful force, my friends--and terror is srong beyond belief.

Only 15 more hours--then what??  I have no idea.  I vasilate between needing to take the pain pills and muscle relaxers, and wanting, on some level, to "save them, just in case". Very scary thoughts--I even believe, deeply, that I will never see my children again, and , worse, am beginning to get adjusted to that idea.

No doc to call, just my poor hubby, bless his heart.  I have to hang on till in the AM, but after that, all bets are off.

help.

china

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Heya China,

Ack.

Rough night alert.

If sleep is possible pease do it.

Otherwise (although I'll be in bed by ten) people are on here all night.

Ah hang on.

A good surgeon is what you need right now.

You and I know surgeons, and if you think he's good, hey.  That says a lot.

--ncc--

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Well, the hits just keep on coming.  X=-rays showed I had degenerative disc disease, i.e., no disc between L4/L5, proablaby due to arthritis. (Google at will) Osto screen showed I needed Fosamax or something similar, as I am on the border of severe osteoporosis. (40% chance of fracture in the hip in next 5-8 years without treatment)

NOW the MRI shows a bulging disc bwtween L5 and S1, which is probably where the horrid pain in coming from (discs don't really show up on x-rays) Called spinal stenosis, if you are inclined to Google.

Next step--a series of 3 epidural injections, a week apart, I believe.  After the last one, wait 2 weeks, back to my ortho.  If no real relief, then his son Mark, the whiz kid in ortho surgery around these parts will operate and do "something" to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.  Meanwhile, upped the pain pills and muscle relaxers, and will start another type of Phys. Therapy, this for Osteoporosis only--weight bearing and all that. Still need to take the extra calcium--wear the horrid back brace for now, during the day. Still an emotional wreck because unrelenting pain tends to do that to you.

And no Pdpc--still waiting on an appointment with attempt No. 3 in this vast wastland of mental care.  I could get an up-=close with Flipper  easier than an appt. with a reputable Pdoc and/or therapist.  In fact, Flipper might be an vast improvement--and Marine land is just up the road. (And I have a stuffed Dolphin named "Zoloft-Zoloft--faster than lightening--")

Yall have a nice day now, ya hear?  Remember, to us Scottish folks, its "FRIDAY"!!!!!  (Saint WHO???)

In the infamous words of our hero, "I want to be sedated--NOW"

Still balancing on the edge of our friendly ole panet==china

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Won't throw shoes but no chopratctor is coming near my fragile, possibly easily fractured back, thanks anyway.

Epidural injections are heaven-sent--if they work.

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Actually chinacat, totally sympathetic here, but since I freak out at much less, I feel like a total wuss. :-)

I was diagnosed with 'possible multiple sclerosis' back in October, and with some recent symptoms (and revelations about the type of tremor I developed last August-ish - as well as my legendary heat intolerance), even my aunt in Disgusta, aka Dr. Denial (aaka Tomasina Cruise) has got her head worried off that I actually do have MS.  (On an irrelevant note, she now is convinced and extremely distraught that I'm batshit bipolar when my dad went full-disclosure on her during his visit earlier this month - Not sure whether I'm happy or annoyed with Dad for telling her everything without my permission.)

I also share with you the diagnosis of having a back problem (though mine is severe thoracic scoliosis).  It's been compressing on my organs enough that my digestive system does not understand the concept of forward peristalsis.  I'm 5'7", but I'd be 6'1" without the scoliosis.  I've been told it will likely necessitate surgery within the next 2-4 years.  The prospect of surgery doesn't bug me - it's just my current condition of 24/7 indigestion and nausea... and the fact that I look about 4' tall when I sit down at the table.

And as for the crappy psychs/docs in your area, can you possibly get yourself transported to the nearest big city?  I'm probably going to have to be satisfied with the regular pdoc, GPdoc, and tdocs here in Disgusta (metro ~600k) (as I'll see them on a regular basis), but for my spine and possible surgery I'm willing to fly out to Indianapolis to get that done (my parents would like to be near my bedside after that one, and it doesn't hurt that I've got a very competent orthodoc there! - oooh competent doc, that's a rarity ;-) Sorry ncc, you're probably one of the very few competent docs. ;-)).  That failing, Atlanta or Charlotte, both being about 2 hours away, are also options; my uncle's side of the family would gladly travel from Disgusta to stay with me there for a bit.

But man, all I can say... sympathy with and prayers for you... I hope you get through this and can better your physical and mental health!

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Hey China-- I haven't posted much here, but reading this thread, and then hearing stenosis, I caught a glimpse into what you're feeling....

My father had stenosis, I can't tell you in what disks, but I can tell you that he was in EXCRUCIATING pain -- I knew it was terrible because he never complains about anything and this pain drove him (well my brother did the driving) to the hospital with him in tears and wanting to die. He said  that he hadn't cried since he was 5 years old (I believe him--he usually keeps his "weak" emotions in to a degree I can barely believe). He had surgery, and now he is up and about like he hadn't been for years.

I guess I'm just saying I hear you, I've witnessed what that kind of physical pain is like, I know it can be hell to deal with.... but....  there is HOPE.

J.

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