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discectomy,failed back syndrome ,radiculopathy,chronic severe pain,Spinal stenosis,L2-S1,I finally found releif to share with all

From: rene - on 08/29/2011 9:46am

hello fellow chronic pain sufferers.had my discectomy in march of this year,two weeks after surgery started with severe chronic, unbearable pain from my pelvic area to my toes that would last 24/7. tried every narcotic pain pill w no releif(ms contin 15 mg2x daily and pecocet 10/325..,still no releif. trips back n forth to emergency room for unbearable pain,they would give me a shot of morphine but just took the edge off of it.would end up making these visits to emergency room because i would run out of percocet because surgeon would only perscribe me 4 tabs daily,(what a joke).The surgeon and pain managment Drs would not increase my dosage because they ALL THINK WERE NARC SEEKERS,and speak and treat u like ur a drug addict.I am an experienced NURSE in orthopedis for over 12 years,so i know how frustrating it is to try and find a dr with compassion that would listen to our pleas for help. On my own I spoke with every collegue in nursing,every DR I knew, researched internet,and stumbled upon this discussion group and read evryones story, cause I thought I was the only one feeling this way. WELL GUESS WHAT FOLKS,I found releif and would like to share it with all. I ended up going back to my primary physician and asked for a script for CELEBREX 200 mg 2x daily, cymbalta 1x daily for my depresssion (which comes along with this experience, you feel helpless to the point of ending it (which I wouldnt),the surgeon told me this is how I would spend the rest of my life in constant pain and my nursing career would be over.I also go to phsycotherapy, which i suggest to all to help, cause it does, and my shrink Put me on klonopin 2mg 3x daily,which also helps relax your muscles (and your mind). The surgeon kept pressuring me to have spinal stimulater inserted,which I was against and refused. Thats when I stumbled upon the internet sitet EMPI.COM, its an electrical TENS unit that is worn externally that states it releives chronic pain, but u need a script to obtain unit, u get unit by contacting EMPI,so i went back to surgeon he gave me script and i contacted EMPI it arrived in 2 days. the unit was covered under my insurance,and guess what everyone after day3 of using unit, IT WORKS. so betweeen the combination of the celebrex (anti-inflamatory) and the EMPI unit my pain level went from a 200 to a 3. so id say my pain is 80% gone.not to say it will work for all but why not give it a shot.even if u have to pay out of pocket,its worth the releif,u can start off by renting it to try for 1 month at 125.00 rental fee,if it doesnt work u can send it back.I have tried the tens units at physical therapy and they didnt work, nor did physical therapy,it just aggrevated my nerves and inflamed them even more causing increased pain.But again I state this unit really works.So please visit the site, EMPI.COM,which clearly states for chronic pain releif.I wish all my fellow pain sufferers good luck and i hope my info helps someone.I still take a perc now and then ,2 daily,from 6 to 8 daily and ms contin with no releif, so id say I made a good desision,im almost pain free and it didnt take weeks only 3 days,I know i rambling but when u find releif ur so excited.I pray someone else finds this releif also.As a nurse i took an oath to care for those in need, which brings me to visiting this discussion forum.I will visit it daily to try and answer any questions anyone has,cause again, my nursing experience is in orthopedics so i hope i can be helpful to anyone in need.

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on 08/29/2011 7:21pm

I too am an RN with 34 yrs. experience,not in ortho,but L&D.Lotsa lifting,and Heavy back involvement.Lami with fusion L3,4,5 May 09 Told to go back to work after 2 mnths and P.T Killer. In April 2010 I had to quit my job,too much pain! Second opinon,loose screws, removed April 2010.Tried alternative methods for healing,no luck, Oct.2011 had anterior fusion L4,5.Healing going well til 2 weeks ago.Had X-rays=CT scan Fri. waiting results. My ortho.would only give me Vicodin,that doesn't even touch the pain!!???
Do you think you will ever go back to work? Isn't there some concern about Celebrex? I am really getting depressed.Life just is just so different not working. HELP! I have found some peace in knowing that GOD doesn't give you any more than you handle. Just hard to wrap my head around.
So wonderful to have this forum!!

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on 08/29/2011 8:11pm

Hi debblue, I know what ur going through being a fellow nurse.Yes ive been in a spiral downhill depresion not being able to work or perform daily ADL's. But as of last week of suffering for months w/chronic severe pain, I found releif, myprayers were answered. The celebrex was the key for me along w/ the TENS unit I found on my own at EMPI.COM.It really works for the pain. U do need a script for the unit which I obtained from my surgeon, I chose the EMPI ACTIVE model.fortunatly my insurance covered it, but even if it didnt the rental to try is only 125. month. its worth the try, for what we have been paying in co-pays and meds its probably cheaper for unit.And isnt it sad that physicians label us narc seekers when we complain of chronic pain off the pain scale chart even w/ their findings, they should b more understanding. I gave up on seeking help w/ my surgeon and their pain mngmt doc on staff they would not increase my meds. they were allowing me 4 tabs of percs 10/325 day. what a joke.as u know our pain stems from radiculopathy,(inflammation of the spinal nerves which get inflammed from the slightest activity and sometimes for no reason, the pain gets to the point u want to end it all,whiich is were the depression comes in.and boy does the depression hit hard and affects us and all around us, so i encourage psycho therarapy along w/ treatment.shrink put me on cymbalta which hasnt hit its therapeutic level yet, it takes about 3 weeks,but he also gives me klonopin 2mg TID which helps control mood swings, and of course helps relax the body muscles which is also a plus w/ our conditions. P.S i ended up back with my primary who increased my percs to 6 tabs QD,and the celebrex 200mg BID.so between the med changes and the TENS unit by the 3rd day of use my pain scale has went from a 200 to a 3. which in result has helped w/ my depression and my outlook on my future. Its worth the try, it worked for me. For I too thought, and was loosing hope. My primary has encouraged me enough to feel that in time I will be a working nurse again,he was a heaven sent.Its so hard to find a physician thats compassionate and spends time w/patient to talk.luckily I have one.Pain has dimminished,,and so quickly,I thank god everyday. Good luck to u, I hope u try my suggestions and that they work for you. Dont give up, I almost did.And here i am with a different outlook feeling 200% better in less than a week after suffering in every aspect, meaning pain and depression.Please check out EMPI site and read up on the active unit. again i wish u some releif.feel free to contact me again, as i will continue to visit this site and b a part of support to all who need.

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on 08/29/2011 8:51pm

Hello Rene. Sorry to hear of your ordeal. I'm not your typical chiropractor. i've worked with orthos, pm&r's and neurosurgeons for almost 24 years. given your profession, i assume you had a new MRI scan and don't have a re-herniation. you haven't mentioned why you're not a candidate for, nor interested in, a one-level fusion. you might check out the xlif procedure if the idea of a minimally invasive fusion makes the prospect more palatable to you. you can find my website at http://www.backstrong.net and the neurosurgeon that i work with, who does minimally invasive xlif procedures is on my website.

another possibility is a class 4 laser for pain and inflammation. unfortunately, they are uncommon but you can find a manufacturer of one at litecure.com, i think.

as i had sciatica for six years previously, i sympathize with you. god bless and good luck. Dr. Castanet.

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on 08/29/2011 9:21pm

Thank you doctor for commenting on my forum, I will keep what you suggested in mind. Fortunaly after timeless ressearch and string pulling being in the field, I have found releif hoping I can help others. Why didnt I choose fusion? well being experienced in ortho i have found it causes to many limitations to movement post surgery, hopefully I wont get to that, but if need be, It would b no choice. thank you 4 your input. Rene :)

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on 08/29/2011 11:39pm

So what is the problem with celebrex that I have heard about? Are you on Cobra?
You have been on all these high power meds,and refuse fusion??? Are you balancing the risks/benifits?

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on 08/30/2011 9:24am

debblue, as far as what u heard about celebrex, its of only concern if u hav underlying heart issues which i dont,can u be more explicit of ur concers about med. As far as fusion,because of my ortho experience, i spoke w many docs i worked with in ortho, they all said the same thing, fusion decreases your mobility,at some point because of my DDD im sure i will need rod n fusion,but lets see what the future holds and hopefully it wont get to that.The TENS unit also increases blood flow to spinal cord which promotes healing to cord and discs, discs most importantly,so the stimulation will slow down deteriation of discs. no I dont have a cobra,Im under my Hubbys plan,Magna care,yes the med is expensive even w ins. it cost me 53.00 out of pocket even after insurance, but releif of this pain, cant put a dollar amount on it, well worth every penny,even if i had to pay full price, of both the TENS unit n the celebrex,I would do it, and again like I suggested b4,, if u consider all the co-pays and cost of narcs n meds the unit is probable cheaper in long run. Did u read up on unit i suggested at EMPI.COM ? the model is called empiactive and is stricly targeting chronic pain, just like it states, visit the site, it might help u understand more of what im tryin to explain. Also as far as fusions and screws u end up with more issues post surgery as time goes on, eg: lossening of hardware and displacement,and the more surgeries u have ur chances of pain increasing is greater,these r all the questions i asked the ortho docs i know. they all said the same thing, if u hit three surgeries ur more likely to decline. this morning i woke up feeling pain scale rise, i immediatly reached for empi active put it on and within 10 min pain was gone, i still have it on its been about hour and half i have it on,id say ill run it for another 15 to 20 min then remove and im good to go, I do about 3 tx a day, on a bad day u can use it more if needed. u can wear it up to 12hrs straight if u wanted at a low setting, but so far 3 a day has been doing me just fine at about 1hr per session.

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on 08/30/2011 2:56pm

Thanks for your responce to my questions. Didn't know that after the 3rd back surg.it was down hill, as far as pain goes. Uuugh!

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on 08/30/2011 7:36pm

debblue,im sorry to inform u of what i know, but serioisly go on a few pages and read up on all those whom have have rods and screws and each one that ive read they all complain of the same thing, worsening or declinebecause of being fused and pain increasing after each surgery. Dont give up hope, for I too depend on my prayers n pleas to god, my pain today was not a good day ,but my tens unit helped so i took a few extra percs and went about my routine, so again, the pain meds are there when i need them but i dont depend on them as much as last week w the help of celebrex n tens unit. today i was notified from my insurance they might not cover unit , but ill fight it cause their stating its not a med neccesity,but my script states med. neccesity. so ill play the game and fight for them to pay , if not i told u worse case senerio i pay, but i feel its worth it. the customer service at empi is wonderful so need be i make payments. right now im not gonna worry about it im still on a mental high that im not in excrusiating pain 24/7. Keep ur head high,continue to mentally fight, continue w ur prayers as i will include u in mine,and the helpf this wonderful site of support. Im here for ya at any time. hav a good night. :) Rene

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on 09/01/2011 9:21pm

Just a quick comment ~ I have used a TENS unit which works like magic on my knee pain. It's a bit of a pain to manage the electrodes on the knee area, but it is worth the effort. I also have a support brace for my back with a TENS unit built in. It was a bit pricey, but worth it ($89). If you have ever had physical therapy, these machines are used on almost every patient. The point I want to make, though, is it is not always necessary to obtain a prescription to buy the device. Google TENS and there are many sites that will sell the units without an Rx. I purchased several and they can be as low as 69$. I don't know if I can post a recommended site, but there are many that sell w/o the need of an Rx. I ran into only one site that did require one. I understand how difficult it is for us chronic pain sufferers to get relief without being treated like a drug addict so I wish you all good health and good luck.

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on 08/31/2011 8:29pm

Thanx LULU for your input and encouragement,I to found releif in the TENS unit,luckily my insuranse covers it. the cost of the unit is 795.00 to buy or 125.00 month to rent monthly, even if insurance didnt cover, id pay just because of the releif, between copays and med costs it probaby would come out to cost of TENS unit. I hope more people complaining of pain would give a TENS unit a shot. I wish u well also.Keep up w the TEns, glad to hear its working for u too :) :) :) RENE

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on 08/31/2011 10:38pm

Is there any difference between TENs and EMPI ?

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on 09/01/2011 6:20am

debblue, as the saying goes u get what u pay for.most sites sell for under 100.00, my active unit belt cost 795.00,or rental for 125.00 month. my insurance covered it,luckily. no leads n wires needed, just have to place pads over metal buttons,which last for about 2 weeks if applyied to clean area,but most of all the streanth of electric stimulation is must stronger, thats why I think such a price diff. this unit can run on low if u preffer for longer periods of time versus 20 min sessions. and as soon as im feeling the slightest disscomfort i put it on and within 10 min.pain is gone. u do need a script for it.Im pretty sure if i remember correctly its tied into this site, which is how I came accross this disscussion forum.But I can only speak for myself,the unit worked the day I started using, it arrives two days after placing order. so again u get what u pay for, I hope ur insurance too covers it, my script stated medical neccessety,insurance couldnt argue that. its worth the try even if u just rent it for one month and try it out. Good luck,, again a pleasure chatting w u. RENE :) just checked deb, in search box at top of screen put in empiactive and it will take u right to it, with testimonials.

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on 09/01/2011 9:46pm

UPDATE: I just heard from my Ortho. The C.T.scan shows that the lower part of the bone graph is not healing.No wonder the pain.He suggests " bone stimulator" to wear for several months. His PA will contact me next week to get fitted. In the mean time he told me to "be careful,and don't do anything?"
Has any one heard of a "bone growth stimulator"?

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on 09/01/2011 11:36pm

,im pretty sure its same thing as TENS,For TENS increases blood flow to discs n bones for healing AND pain,but dont quote me,urs sounds just hi powered like mine,either way I hope it helps,I too am up late cause of laying down for long period of time makes me uncomfortable and woke me up.Ive been doin too much so feeln not so good tonight.Doesnt this suck! Feel better,hope u too can get some sleep. :(

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on 09/01/2011 11:36pm

,im pretty sure its same thing as TENS,For TENS increases blood flow to discs n bones for healing AND pain,but dont quote me,urs sounds just hi powered like mine,either way I hope it helps,I too am up late cause of laying down for long period of time makes me uncomfortable and woke me up.Ive been doin too much so feeln not so good tonight.Doesnt this suck! Feel better,hope u too can get some sleep. :(

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on 09/03/2011 7:10am

A note to let you know, I have DDD, Osteoarthritis, and Severe Spinal Stenosis. I had A Spinal Laminectomy w/ infusion, 2 years ago. I am on Hydrocodone, ( which only helps some of the time.) I want to let you know that now, even after the day of Surgery (2009), I still have a tremendous amount of pain. Is it really true that one who has this type of Surgery done, has to be repeated every 2 yrs? Also, I am going to try your remedy, because I am suffering BAD. Rene, pls respond ASAP, thanks Deborah.

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on 09/03/2011 9:32pm

You know Rene it sounds fishy to me. Sorry but you sound like a salesman from whatever company your talking about that found a good site to build up sales. Really with the problems you say you have a basically tens unit doesn't cut it. If you were so bad off why didn't you get the problem fixed so it doesn't spread any farther or get worse. Sorry but this remarkable machine no one else seems to have never heard of sounds like the adds for let me show you how to make 7,000.00 a month from home or something. I personally don't buy into it.

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on 09/06/2011 7:06am

As far as me salesman,NO, I am a fellow pain sufferer , i found this site so we can share our ups n downs and wereever someone can help. I found it to help so I shared my info,sorry to affend you. But i still stand by what I wrote.It works. I hope whomever trys finds the releif we r all prayin for. RENE . :) P LUS WITH the combinaton of the CELEBREX (anti- infammatory) the combo is workn for me.Thats were everyones pain is comming from.UR spinal nerves become inflammed causing pain,its all anout controlling the inflamation of those nerves running through the discs n spinalcord..The narcs just mask the pain,(which i use). But the 24/7 pain just doesnt stop.so this combo worked.I wish everyone releif in which ever works for each individual ,but all I say is keep searching and fighting,especially mentally.This sucks ,but where still on the right side of the dirt, haha.Our family needs us and U need to will for the solution for control./There will never b a cure,but we can try and make these issues not take us over. SO FIGHT and get better.

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on 09/05/2011 9:07pm

Hi Deborah,to help u w ur ? , I hope u find some pain releif. As far as input on your diagnosis. i need more info,unfortunatly ur age :), and symptoms,anyunderlying conditions. I am a nurse as u know, specialized in orthopectics,Ill try to answer what I can,for their R gudlines on this site as to what can be said,and most impotrtant, only Docs can give direct answeres. but I can steer u in the right direction, and only disclose info thats not private, for I too do not want to give wrong answers,but I can try to gladly help. Im new to the site also , I think its great, Im sure we all thought at one point noone else out there understands the pain and run arounds,Glad I found it. RENE :)

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on 09/06/2011 7:04am

TO JOEYBOBBIE, so far havnt read one. on any site where a person was so blatent and harsh with their comments.As a profession in healthcare, I will read into that comment, from somebody whom is frustrated and in pain ( as everyone else who has become a part of this site), THATS WHAT ITS FOR, I am dissappointed in u thinking I am just trying to sell a product as a salesman,cause im not. And again due to my training w dealing with people who have become frustrated and attitudes and mood. ( and im still one of them),I will look at it from that point of view I dont know ur situation (physically,I still wish u well on your journey to also finding pain releif. Im not saying Im 100 % back to normal, im only stating I found much improvement and was sharing with all,hopeing someone else would benefit also.Were all wondering the same question, WHY ME?, WHEN WILL I GET BETTER? WHATS MY FURTURE HOLD? and most important WHEN IS THIS F-_____ PAIN GONNA GO AWAY?AND SRIVING TO FIND THAT DOCOTOR THAYS GOING TO BE MORE USUEFUL AND,COMMPASIONATE..And then theirs the whole mental end. How its taking a toll on our family life our jobs and finances. Thw whole sittuation just sucks, and where all in this boat togrther, so have some faith in your fellow SPINE UNIVERSE dicussion and advice group.

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on 09/06/2011 2:50pm

Sorry Rene, they could hook me up to the power grid and it wouldn't help my pain, I have had or been through just about everything and the only thing that helped me was a pain pump with 4 different kinds of medicine stuck up my spinal cord. If you found relief a better way more power too you. Most of us have had all sorts of surgerys and multiple fusions in the neck and the lumbar.If you haven't even had a fusion then don't tell all of us with fusions about a machine that will make you feel great for only 750.00 we don't have when I know it won't work for multiple fusions both lumbar and cervical. we kinda need the money we have left. So if you ever have a fusion try it then and then fill us in.

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on 09/06/2011 5:34pm

Joeybobbie,I hope it never gets to a fusion, but it has been discussed,not now but in time, I understand ur frustration.hope u find some reief, I know its tiresome i wish u the best RENE..

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on 09/06/2011 8:01pm

Hopefully you will be one of the lucky ones and not have to go through the fusion experience. Good luck though on the other, if it works your lucky.

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on 09/06/2011 8:01pm

Hopefully you will be one of the lucky ones and not have to go through the fusion experience. Good luck though on the other, if it works your lucky.

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on 09/08/2011 7:37am

Hi all
As a fellow back sufferer I found the comments posted very interesting, but think I need to add a few points.

I have had four surgeries including a fusion which was completely successful, my current problems are not related to the previous surgical site. I have 4 herniated discs, stenosis, spinal cyst, and a few other issues. Unfortunately I am not a candidate for surgery as they are not sure exactly which problem is causing the pain. I think it is important for people to know that not all fusions end badly, there are many many people walking around today who have undergone fusions. My father many years ago had a work related accident and because back then diagnostics were not as advanced, it took 3 years before they discovered he had 3 ruptured discs. As a result of the delay the vertebra had become deseased. He had bone removed from the leg and they made 3 vertebra from it, that was more than 50 years ago. After the initial healing he never had a problem with his back again.
The points I am trying to make are, don't rule out surgery as there could be further complications as a result, and taking medication for a short while may be ok, but do you want to stay on drugs like celebrix for the rest of your life, we all know that there are sidebeffects withnthis type of medication.
I wish you good luck and thank you for sharing your story.

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on 09/08/2011 7:35pm

PollyWolly,
ur 100 % right, but im gonna hold out as long as possible.What a lifestyle change,huh? One month life was great and normal and bang, u start getting back pain which leads us to these issues.It plain out sucks, and so hard to keep ur smile n head high in front of family.Mine just doesnt understand why so long ive been in and out of pain since( surgery,n there nurses too my girls). They just want us back to normal, but not as much as we do.but thank god for this site, nice to talk to people that understand and dont think were drug seekers n the pains not in our head.Yes ur right and being able to go without medications, im a strong beleiver in that. I even research and take the correct vitamin suppliments, thry cant hurt,, but right now i have no choice. I pray everyday for all of us, stay well goodnight. RENE

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on 09/08/2011 8:26pm

Wishing you all good healing! I will be getting my "Bone growth stimulator" soon! In the mean time, I can not help but wonder what use I am? Can not to much of anything more than, Activities of daily living? Weird cuz I always could do everything! Working as an R.N.,housework,cleaning...just can no longer do those tasks. How do I deal with this lack of self esteem??

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on 09/11/2011 5:41pm

Hi Rene
I hear you when you say others don't understand what bits like to live in constant pain. My back was doing ok, not great but as long as I didn't do things that aggravated it I could manage, then one day in a split second I had an accident at work, fell broke both my wrists and reinsured and aggravated everything else. Comp sent me back to work while I was still in casts but I couldn't do it, so they cut me off. After 2 years of fighting I finally got on disability, not exactly how I had planned my life. Disability pays peanuts, but at least I get meds covered and it is a relief not having to worry as much about making ends meet. I am a single person, in my 50's it's a daunting prospect knowing this is now my life. Yes life can suck, but I try to stay positive and look around at others who are worse off than me, and unfortunately there are plenty around.
This is a great website, because we can ask others who understand where we are coming from and we can draw strength from empowerment and knowledge.

Hats off to all those who take the time to reply to our issues.

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on 09/09/2011 4:11pm

Hey debblue,
Just wanted to reach out to you because I know exactly how you are feeling. I am also a nurse. I went back to school at the age of 34 and received my RN degree in 2006. After my first semester of clinicals, I had a four level cervical fusion on Christmas break. Returned to school in January with a collar and finished my schooling. I then had a lumbar fusion in March 2010.

So, I am no longer able to work as a nurse due to a permanent 10# weight restriction. I am in constant pain and see pain management. The narcotics and other medications are kicking my but. I have no other choice because I would not be able to live without the medications. My neck continues to deteriorate above and below my fusion. Insurance denies epidurals and any other procedure suggested by my docs. My neck is not 'bad enough' to have another fusion.

I have been unable to work since December of last year. Disability denied twice. I am now at the court hearing level of the process. Bills are piling up and the chance of losing our home brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. At the age of 42, I never thought my life would be such a nightmare!

I definitely would suggest speaking to your doc about an anti-depressant. Chronic pain, loss of career, financial issues, and everything that comes with these huge changes are so overwhelming. I know that my anti-depressant and prn anxiety medication are helping me to cope somewhat (I am not in the funny farm, yet).

I try to hang tough and be strong but some days it is just not in the cards. It is hard to ask for help when you need it because nurses are supposed to be the ones to make things all better. It's frustrating that you devote your life to care for others and when you are the one that needs the help, it is such a struggle.

I will be thinking of you and wish you the best of luck! Nurses need to stick together and take care of each other!

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on 09/09/2011 5:05pm

rn2002,you hit the nail on the head with what you said about nurses do need to stick together,and yes.for 34 years I cared for and helped thousands of women through labor,delivery,and recovery. Now that I am on the other side of it,where are all my helpers? It is a struggle manageing day to day without a job,pain,and lonliness,but all I have to do is look over my shoulder,and there is someone who is in much worse shape. I thank God I have faith!!

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