News… Can News Be Ambivalent??

This post was written two or three days after a follow-up consultation with my orthopedic surgeon  on August 22, 2011.  I still am rather ambivalent about the news… Sometimes I just want to be held. I just want someone to say it is all going to get better.  Most of all I want to believeit! Read on…

Hello Everyone,

So I had an appointment with my surgeon on Tuesday. I haven’t seen him in three months. Three months ago, my fusion was coming along nicely; he put me in a physio strengthening and flexibility program and by all accounts, I should have been ready to go back to work in September. That was before this latest appointment and x-ray…

I am still in so much pain. I have improved so much in physio, doubling my core strength already, but it hasn’t helped with my nerve pain that still travels all the way to my knee. For the first few months after surgery I would notice every week or two that my nerve pain had come out of my toe or my foot, ankle ect. But it has been eight weeks with no change in the intensity or location of  the pain. No one knows if this is permanent. I don’t know what I am going to do if it is. 

Beyond the nerve pain I feel like my back is being stretched on a torture device every once in a while.  Essentially it is, as I have have been contorting my muscles in ways they aren’t meant to be. On the plus side, this pain should subside as my muscles get more and more used to their new positions and movement. But again no one knows for sure, or when.

So back to appointment with my surgeon… Dr. W. came in and asked me how I was doing, tear welled up as I told him about my continuing pain. He ordered an x-ray and when he looked at it, he grimaced as he spoke, “It looks like there is a lot of scar tissue from past surgeries.” I am puzzled by this and say, “I have only had this one surgery.” Looking abashed he indicates for me to sit while he flips through my file. And then flips through my file again. And again. Finally he says, “You have a lot of scar tissue build-up from prior injury. There isn’t that much bone growth so I want you to still be very vigilant about the way you move and the weight you carry. Tearfully I tell him that WSIB (Workman’s Comp) is pushing me back to work. Immediately he asks if I think I could handle working, I look at him and told him that with this amount of pain I couldn’t concentrate on what I have to do.  He decided that the best thing to do, since my spine was already not healing as well as he would like,  was take the stress of returning to work away for six months.  So, that is the big/ small/ predictable/ discouraging/ relieving/ frustrating/ ambivalent/ unexpected news. I still can’t return to work until March 2012, a full year after my surgery and a full two years off of work.

Ridiculous!!!

As always, thanks for reading!!                                             – S.

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10 Comments to “News… Can News Be Ambivalent??”

  1. S., I’m just now reading this
    ….. Ugh! I’m so glad to see that your communicating about it here has lead to valuable support from people who have had similar experiences. I see bravery, strength, generosity and wisdom in you and I’m very much looking forward to the time when things are easier in your life. Hugs, R

  2. Hi S. I’m sorry you didn’t get better news from your doctor. I know it’s discouraging but I’m glad he told you not to go back to work yet. Sounds like you need more recovery time. I’m sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. I think about you often. Pat

  3. Oh hugs to you. I hope you’re still getting sick pay. And now what to do. Well what would you like to achieve in the next 6 months – apart from ridding yourself from all the pain which I really hope happens soon.

    I keep making lists and setting myself mini-tasks of things to achieve – like learning Photoshop, doing the Daily Challenge on MeYouHealth,

    Big hugs

    Caroline
    xxxx

  4. BTW, are you still doing photography? I miss your pics!

  5. I’m sorry about your discouraging visit with your surgeon, especially after all of your hard work in PT.
    It’s not surprising that worker’s comp is pressuring you to return to work so fast. They operate in a money based reality and that’s all that matters to them. It’s cheaper for them to have you back at work. However, you’re right not to return if your pain interferes with your job. Quite frankly, there’s no point in working if it causes your quality of life to degrade and your pain load to go up. Because then you won’t exercise and you can’t afford to skip that.
    My personal experience with fusion is that it can be a minimum of a two-years before you know what your new normal is. Nerve damage can take even longer to heal.
    I realize you want this fixed now. It’s something we all wish for. Unfortunately, that’s not possible.
    After my fusion surgery in 2000, I was in three separate segments of PT. Due to how debilitated I was when surgery occurred, it was five years before I could work full time and that was at a sit down job in front of a computer. I was hired by a company that was not only very accommodating –they provided an ergonomic assessment without giving me any flack about it – but when I was first hired, I was a part-time employee. I slowly built up to full time, accepting more and more shifts.
    You’re on a long road and it’s not always going to be smooth. I think this is one of those phases. Just because your doctor did not have good news, that doesn’t mean this is your permanent outcome. Keep working at the PT – make sure you’re not over working the disks above your fusion – and you will get ahead. How far, you won’t know until you get there, but the best gift you can give yourself is to keep trying.

    • Thanks Titaniumbabe. Your encouragement means the worth the world to me, especially when I don’t have anyone with experience to talk to. You have been an invaluable source of support and encouragement and I can’t thank you enough for getting sick of my complaints! Even my Physio therapist says he has never seen a case like mine where I am dedicated to working out and following doctor’s orders, but there has been no relief. I think my awesome medical team is stumped. They just don’t know what to for me anymore other than trying to instill patience and acceptance in me.
      I knew I was in this for the long run at the beginning but I had such high hopes that I was in shape and could easily bounce back. It was unrealistic and unproductive as now I feel like I failed in my goals and am not trying hard enough. I really am though. I just need time to solidify the fusion.
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to give me a smidgen of hope. If you kept feeling better right up to the two year mark, there is hope that this might still resolve itself.
      I think what has really been getting to me lately is that it feels like my relationship with my bf is crumbling. He doesn’t understand and resents me for being in pain, useless and depressed for so long. I know I can’t help it and it isn’t my fault but his attitude is making me fell more guilty and useless than I already had. I don’t know what I am going to do about us. It just feels toxic like we egg each other on and hurt one another with every 10 breaths. It is a stressor that I don’t need from someone I thought I could rely on for support. In fact I thought he would be my biggest supporter… Not so.
      How have you been?? How was the last procedure? Are you doing okay?? I don’t know if you received my message, but you have my greatest sympathy. He was a wonderful fur ball and companion. If there is anything I can do please don’t hesitate to ask. Additionally, I have made some amazing and caring people through my blog and you are one of them. I was hopping I could knit you something for comfort? I would love to make you a scarf, or caplet, or shawl… ect. If you are interested go to ravelry.com and browse through some of their free patterns to give me an idea of your style as I have never seen you in person. Just so I can estimate shipping, where are you located? I am sure I should know that… So Sorry!! 😦
      I can’t thank you enough TItanium babe!! There will be a special post on my blog especially for you at some point today!
      Tons of love and hugs,
      xooxoxo – S.

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