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I am no where near the man, husband, father, and friend I "used" to be.

Started by JeremyWerstler79 on 03/14/2011 8:52pm

Hello everyone I am new here and just wanted to vent some personal frustrations I am SURE a lot of you here have had the same dealings with. The depression, mood swings, change in demeanor, change in the feelings I have towards myself. Let me begin by telling ya'll I am a 32 year old man from near Charleston, SC that has been diagnosed with DDD AND I have L4-L5-S1 Herniation AND natural fusion in the S-1 and L-5. I had an at work injury back in 2000 and had a 2,000 lb radiator pinning me to the floor that led to my L5-S1 bulging. Well before long the pain meds they had me on I was nodding off at work because they said I could do light duty blah blah blah. the point is I was let go from the company DURING the whole Workers Comp battle (that's a story for another day). Anyway here it is almost 12 years later and I have dealt with the ups and downs of having chronic back pain that has NEVER been properly fixed. I have done the pain blocks, injections into the effected area, PT, Accupunture, I WILL NOT see a chiropractor I have heard way too many horror stories about them. Anyhow this brings us to 2009 when I was re-injured at my current employer, going on 10 years of dealing with constant pain that no meds will even touch wether it be Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Dilaudid, etc I have tried almost everything out there and nothing really gets rid of the pain I now feel going down both legs, my butt, and lower back.

I am now experiencing what feels like an electrical shock if I turn the wrong way, bend the wrong way, ya'll get the idea. It does not feel very good as you can imagine lol it actually drops me to the ground and I find this very very embarassing when people see this happen. My back has gotten to the point in the past few months to where I have had to have my son of 11 years old and wife help me out of the bed to even use the bathroom or see other things then the 4 walls of my bedroom. I have noticed a darkening of my moods and attitude towards every day life and to be honest it is very scary. I have told my wife many many times I want to go to sleep and never wake up again that her and the kids can find someone else who is not "broken up" that they can enjoy life with. They have ALL seen my decline where as before I was able to do ANYTHING in my kids eyes. I have an 11 year old a Nine year old and a Four year old who are ALL very active in sports and which I have had to miss some games due to my back keeping me in bed all day. I was able to do almost anything up to my second injury and I have noticed since then it has all been down hill. I have ALWAYS been an active person participating in sports of all kinds, softball, baseball, football, you name it if I could sign up for it I did it. I enjoyed hunting, 4wheeling, mudding on the 4 wheelers lol you name it we were ALWAYS outside doing something.

Here is the point I am getting to how many of you have noticed yourself slipping into depression, suicidal thoughts, just all around un happy and just would like to give up? I have tried differing medications to help with the ups and downs including cymbalta, depakote, prozac, zoloft and it just seems nothing is helping at all. I am maintaining my weight to keep the added pressure off my back and I am finally getting ready to go in for either diskectomy, or full disc replacements depending on what my Dr reccomends, but alas I am waiting on hearing if the surgical procedure will be approved or denied I have read so many patient reports on the disc replacements and how they said they have been almost 100% pain free!!! Is it a dream? Does the replacement really work that well? Thanks and apologies for the long read but I have not many friends who go through the daily hell that I find myself going through where this pain is concerned and now the depression and dark thoughts.

Jeremy Werstler

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9 Responses


Hi Jeremy,

Let me begin with how sorry I'm to hear of all your suffering. You are not alone in this, there are so many of us out there. I'm not going to go into everything that I suffer with now- you may read my post if you choose to. Let's just say that I have cervical and lumbar issues, and have been putting up with pain - for close to 5 yrs now- it is progressively getting worse. I too have seen many docs, and have yet to have any kind of surgery. Although I'm not too far off from that option at this point. I can totally relate to your comments of depression- one would have to be completely out of it - for them not to feel sadness, since we have lost a lot of us-because of the pain we suffer on a daily basis.

You have too keep fighting for answers, no one else can do this for you. Don't ever think that your family would be better off without you, that's NOT true at all. You have to keep knocking down the doors till you find what is going to work for you. Kids are resilient, they accept things much easier than you and I- do what you can ( even if this means being in bed and reading to them- or making a movie night or video game night in your room )anything as long as your spending time with all of them. You are fortunate, that you have a loving wife, and children- don't give up on yourself, and they won't either.

As for you- keep plugging away, and you will get the answers you need. I fight the unhappy feelings everyday- I've tried the meds to help, but they didn't either- they actually made it worse (and some will, that is why you need to tell your doc) -I just want some form of quality back in my life, unfortunately I don't have an understanding spouse like you- believe me when I say it (it sucks without someone who understands what your going through)- but that doesn't make me any less determined to get answers- maybe it will take a bit longer (as I have no one to bounce ideas off of )- but I'll get there soon enough :)

Please talk to your Docs, and make it clear that you are feeling the way you feel, and you want it to stop! If you don't get the help, go to another one- there are great docs out there that will all work together to improve our lives , we just have to find them on our own. I wish you the very best with all of this, I hope what ever you choose to do , that you regain you life back. Read the many post on here, there are so many that I'm sure you can gain some insight from. Take each day as it comes, and go slow- we are gonna have really bad days ,, and then some that aren't so bad. Try to keep you spirits up, and never be afraid to ask for help, from whomever - I'll keep you in my prayers - that you and your family find the answers that you deserve- and much healing to you and yours.
Hang in there my friend,


Hello Jeremy,
I can surely sympathize with you. I hoave bulging or herniated discs on both sides, L4 &L5, spondlylisthesis, even a herniated disc in my neck and add to that fibromyalgia. So, I feel you. To add fuel to the fire, my employer will not even accept me back unless I am 100% able to work and dropped me down from 50% of my pay to 35% of my pay and didn't even pay my vacation.

I went through the company's wellness program who sent me to a chiropractor who was very good I have to admit. Even through all the years of pain, no physician ever took the time to explain to me what exactly what was going on. All I got was doctors with bad manners who gave abusive tests and shoved medications at me and told me to take it and come back in a few months. I've seen several doctors, but nothing was explained until I saw a chiroprator and he told me what was going on. He would not touch my back any further until I got an MRI. Then the insurance company for the employer stepped in and wouldn't accept anything the chiro said and they sent me there in the first place! It's been a battle ever since. I have also been through the whole gammit of treatment options and going through them again just for the sake of receiving 35% of my take home pay. The bottom line is the doctors and the insurance company wants me to have surgery which WILL NOT heal the problem. You end up with foreign objects in your back which in turn deteriorates the other discs whereby leading to more surgery. I REFUSE! Now, I cannot speak for everyone else and I don't know their level of pain, but I am not letting anyone operate on my back. What mobility you have before surgery will be decreased by 50%. I'm not down with that. Yes, I deal with depression, etc, and a lot of that comes from the medications, so I try not to take meds unless I really have to. I know my pain level is different than everyone else.

I don't know what it's like to be male and be in pain because I am female, but I am sure it's just as bad and probably worse. I have episodes where I can't do what I want like housework, sewing, etc. But I try to get out and walk as much as possible. Please understand that your wife and children are your support system and try to as much as possible understand that they only have your best interest at heart. They love you even when you feel you are at your lowest and your pain level is off the chart. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


Heya Chris and Ljones thank you for the kind replies and the well wishes and prayers =). I appologize it took me so long to reply I actually went in and had a discectomy done on 4/08/2011 and the surgery went GREAT!! I was completely free of pain for well over a month then all of a sudden I woke up one morning and went to get out of bed and was completely shocked and paralyzed with such an intense pain all I could do was silently scream and stand there until it passed which was a few moments and it hurt from the area of the surgery, I felt back there and noticed the area was a little swollen and kind of tender to the touch but after a while and a couple pain meds the pain died down and I didn't notice any more pain. Then the pain started coming and going once again but nothing that was bad. Fast forward to fathers day and on the way home from a cook out I was driving and went to shift my weight in the car and OMG I experienced the WORST pain I have ever felt in my life.

It felt like a high voltage electrical shock ( I am an electrician and know how it feels lol) I let go of the steering wheel and gripped the arm rest and door handle to lift my self off the seat, it went from my lower back down my right butt cheek on the outside of my thigh then down around my shin it transfered to the front and to the top of my foot and my 2nd 3rd and 4th toes on my foot went numb and took a long time to gain feeling back in them and even now they go in and out of numbness and the pain is constant once again but this time I get no relief from sitting, laying down, walking! Nothing relieves it not even pain medication or prednisone and motrin!! So I am back in the same boat as before surgery and I can not get back in to see my Dr. until July 19th and as I said the pain meds they have me on are doing NOTHING at all to give me relief.


Hi Jeremy!

Oh, hon. I'm so sorry to hear of all your troubles. I'm currently "in the chute" for surgery in the very near future. And I find that even if you come here, just to vent and share what you're experiencing can be very helpful in itself. Just typing out what you feel, does alot to help deal with it. I know men are less into talking about their "emotions," so I commend you for really listening to yourself and being able able to express the sense of frustration you have been living with.

I know you are really concerned about the return of pain after your surgery in April, but try to remember that the healing process for these sort of surgeries is really a loonnnngggg time. I know it's hard, but you're only like 3 months out yet and these can literally - take at minimum - a year or so to actually "heal up." This includes, not only the boney structures, but more importantly - the nerves. They've been really pissed off for a long time in your case. Additionally, I've heard many people say that the nerve pain does return - but - also that, that is a sign that the nerves are actually attempting to heal and regenerate. At 3 months out - you've probably still got a ton of inflammation (internal) and in the scheme of back surgeries - it really isn't much time at all. I know it probably feels like it for you though!

Try your best to not over do things either. I know you want to jump back into life, but you've still got a long road ahead.

So, I suppose my ramblings are to realize you've still got alot of healing to do. There are many people who have a very rough recovery, but after a year or so - feel wonderful and better than they have in years! Try to think positive as this may very well be the case for you too!

As for the dark moods - that's SO totally understandable. But there are some great folks here, so if and when you need to vent - this is a great place, full of caring folks who can help cheer ya up when you're feeling down. If you're actually worried about wanting to take yourself out (suicide), maybe think about setting up an appt with a good counselor. (Nothing beats a good head-shrinking! It's helped me out in several roughs spots in my life).

Overall - be patient with yourself, keep thinking positive, don't over do it yet and please, keep us posted and let us know what your doc says at your next appt, kay? :)


Heya Bunny thank you for the response =) it is much appreciated. The depression has actually gotten so much better once the surgery was over and the surgeon and I were both very happy with it and even when the pain began again I was not too concerned with it but what concerned me is the severity and length of it. I totally understand about the healing period and I am still in the newly wed stage haha.

The only drawback to the pain being back and how bad it is now the depression and dark thoughts have crept back in. Due to the lack of sleep yesterday it actually entered my mind if I took enough meds I would just go to sleep and not wake up and have to deal with it again and that REALLY shocked and scared me and I talked to my wife about it and she helped me through it once again but I am on tap to see my surgeon on July 19th or hopefully sooner if they have any openings just to make sure nothing has happened or if I re injured it somehow. I am no longer on unemployment and my bills are piling up and actually about to lose my vehicle all that on top of the back pain again just has been a really rough month for me. I do appreciate your reply and didn't mind reading it all the way through =).


Hi jeremy, yes all of us chronic pain sufferers have gotten to the thoughts u r experiencing,I cant stress enough how psychotherapy has helped me get threw those thoughts,but by seing a shrink he can also prescribe a benzodiazapine ( xanax,klonopin valium ) not only will they help along w the anti depressent but it helps relaxing the muscles,I have also found releif w a TENS unit.MY name is RENE and u can read my story n suggestions,for after months of sufffering with pain off the charts, cymbalta,celebrex and the TENS unit helped after 3 days, my pain scale went down from a 200 to a 3. and as far as anti deppressents they take a minimum of three weeks to start to work and hit a theraputic level in the body,along with being strong in ur mind, I am a nurse specialized in orthopedics, had a 465 lb patient fall on me causing 5 herniated discs, got cheated out of workers comp, cause symptoms didnt start till months after accident, I have 3 postings w my name on this site ,but visit the one w 11 or more responces, the others dont show my incident and diagnosis beccause i am new to site and didnt understand how to post my story. ive also visited ur first site and left a responce, keep surching for the correct doc that suites u, i know there hard to find but dont give up hope. I hope u try a TENS unit, what the heck uve tryed everything else why not giv it a shot,. I wish u well,and again ur family needs u no matter what, as long as ur here 4 them. Ill keep u in my prayers. RENE :)


Jeremy IMO opinion a person would have to be PERFECT to not have experienced the thoughts and moods you have. You are a human being not a robot who can program himself to be like anyone else or wake up and be happy everyday. I see people who deal with far greater obstacles in their life who seem much happier than me and I feel guilty that I can't just get a grip/suck it up. My friend who is crippled said to me "Jerry your problems are yours, not anyones else's so don't compare". I'll add this, I have Chiroprator (I had the same opinion as you once) who I consider also my therapist because he spends 30 mins on heavy massage/etc and talking to me He has helped me understand things and answered simple questions most surgeons don't/won't/can't take the time to and also pointed out that Docs have to remove themselves sometimes from "feelings" as they are human too. They see people in pain and feel helpless on solutions sometimes. I know my 6 yrs of up and downs, I'm not the same person I was but I'll be damned if my pain is going to ruin my life although it has changed it. I have to tell myself "God didn't bring me this far to let me down now" and that is today but somedays and especially the last few months I am not as strong with those good positive thoughts. We're human not robots and these are our problems, don't compare. You have a family and I don't so I'll compare you briefly to me for your benefit, you're stronger than me Jeremy. Good luck.


I understand more than you know.
I have to pay people who I would never call friend
To grocery shop for me? I pay for them to do my laundry? What kind of a man let's undesirables touch his underwear? I figured a few months back that I need to find a good women to help me out?
Since I can't go find someone stuck in the house pretty much, tried dating websites? When you have nothing to put under salary or job type you start to further realize a women will want nothing to do with you.
I'm no longer the " Man" I used to be or much of anything else.
As I tell my Drs I'm alive but I'm not living.


Hi I am so sorry you are having so much trouble getting the right kind of treatment. I broke C-2 through C-6 and T-6, T-7 in Afganastain I was in the Marine Corps for 24 years the injury ended in my career. My pain is manged with a pain pump with clonidine and dilaudid. I have hade several facet injection and they do work for a while, for maybe a month. I was told they would last 3 months. I believe you can only have three injections a year. If I we're you I would contact Medtronic you can find them on the internet. I would ask for a list of Doctors in your area that implant pain pumps. My life has turned 180 degrees since I had my mine put in. If you need anything else you can email me at kmshirel@ me.com. I will be praying for you. God bless and hang in there you will get it figured out.