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I don't know what to do....

NumbskullNNumbskull Posts: 1,525
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Depression and Coping
I honestly don't think that I'm depressed. I've been there before and it was nasty, I actually was diagnosed with severe depressive disorder. After trying many different anti-depressants, I started Cymbalta last year, for both depression and anxiety, although I really was only dealing with anxiety at that point, and it has been the best med so far for me.

My problem now, is that since my surgery a couple of weeks ago, I don't have the use of my left arm. It is so frustrating, I'm finding things daily that I can't do and I just took for granted before. The biggest things are the fact that it is so hard to get dressed. I've been able to figure out how to put on a shirt at least, but I need someone to help put on my bra, and to pull my pants up properly on the left side. I also need someone to apply my anti-perspirant on the right side, and to help dry off after showering. It is so degrading and humiliating, even though it's just my boyfriend or mom helping me.

I'm waiting to hear back from the hospital about getting in for another MRI and appointment with the neuro that my surgeon ordered and referred me to. But I'm so afraid that the neuro is just going to say, it will take time, which is what everyone else has said so far. I'm also waiting to hear back from home care, they have authorized home pt for me. What if time and pt doesn't heal this? To think that i have to live like this for the rest of my life is so scary to me.

And then there's the pain. Constantly shooting from my shoulder down to my fingers. And the muscle pain on top of that. My meds don't even touch it. My bicep has completely atrophied, there's nothing left of it, it's like someone deflated a balloon inside my arm. I can move my arm a couple of inches to the side, bending from the elbow towards my body, but it doesn't even reach as far as my belly button, but I can't move it away from my body, or lift it, and can't control it when it drops. I try to think of the positive things, like at least my hand still works, but that's getting old pretty quick now. It's good to sit here and type, I just have to move my arm over with my right hand and set it on the laptop. But I can't do other things like cut my food up to eat, it all makes me feel like a 4 year old. It's so hard to get showered and dressed, so tiring. By the time I'm done I've used every ounce of energy in me and I need to lay down again, due to being exhausted and of course, in more pain, which really sucks when I have to go somewhere after.

The big thing is that, as some people know, we are moving back to Whitehorse at some point. My bf will be going back ahead of me, probably next month or August. I actually told him that he should just go, that I was giving him a "go straight to home" card and to cut his losses and go with a clear conscience, because especially now, I'm facing months of physio and who knows what else, and what if it doesn't even get better? There's such a lack of medical resources there, I would have to fly to see any sort of specialist. He said not to be silly, that I should stay here, get fixed up, then move up when I'm better, he can stay in the in-law suite in his mom's house in the meantime.

I just don't know what to do, about any of it. The pain, moving, should I just stay or wait and see? It's all getting to me and I have that mother of an anxiety attack looming over me, I can just feel it. I'm almost getting back to that "why me" stage, which I got over a long time ago. I actually never really got into that, just accepted that it is what it is, and just deal with it. But now, those thoughts are starting to creep in and I don't like it. Well, really, I don't like any of this. I'm 38 years old, I should be enjoying the best years of my life right now. It's all getting to be a little much to handle.
APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own


  • Kelly,

    With all that is going on with your arm, and too coupled with still pretty fresh out of surgery; I would stay put for now. You have the surgeon there that did the surgery, you also have other specialists nearby vs flying somewhere.

    Nerves regenerate at around 1mm a day. That isn't much in the grand scheme of things. If you go north, your stress levels might well go up (or mood further down) since in the back of your brain, medical specialists would be so far away. You need to take care of yourself first. Your boyfriend can take care of himself just fine, but you need to get yourself as healthy and healed as you can.

    Just my thoughts ....*HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks, I know Brenda, I'm pretty much set on staying, just worried about the outcome of me staying and months of separation. It hasn't worked out for me a couple of times in the past when I had to go away on tour. I'm also really worried, because the nerves that got damaged from my first surgery that caused the Horner's syndrome, still haven't completely come back, and it's been over 2 years. I know I should be hanging onto the fact that partial permanent paralysis is better than complete, but it's hard, you know? I've always been a positive person, but it's getting harder and harder to keep that...
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
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  • You need help put bra on? I only know how to remove sorry. Its always easy to say just takes time and relax but nobody ever gets use to this kelly. Frustration gets the best of all of us even when we know it don help our situation. Just do your best is all you can do and dont feel bad about needing help geting dressed or anything else, none of us can stay positive all the time even when we sound positive posting somerimes. Hang in there wooo hooo
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • kelly,

    I know it sucks what your going through, been there done that. I will tell you with a lot of work I got some of mine back. It is not perfect, but I can do most things I need to do to take care of myself. When I lost mine it was the whole arm and hand, so lots of work getting it back functioning.

    The mri is a good idea to be sure nothing is on the nerve. You need to worry about what is in your best interest at the moment, not everyone else. Also if you have any of those elastic ropes, you might begin putting it around your foot then pulling with the little motion you have in your arm. Remember baby steps and measure your success by the week not the day.

    I really am curious about the mri, as you shouldn't be in this much pain post surgery. So hopefully something is on there and is the answer for all of this. Keep me posted.
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,303
    and I knew what I wanted to reply back to you.

    I am sorry that you are having this pain and are down because you feel so dependent right now.

    I know first hand what you are feeling. Last year when I had both of my shoulders replaced, there were a number of things I could not do myself:

    - Shower
    - Wash my hair
    - Put on deodorant
    - Dress
    - Put a belt on
    - Put socks on
    - Cut my food
    - Take care of other personal hygiene
    - And a lot more

    I felt so down and depressed, not because of the pain I was going through but because I realized how vulnerable I was. I felt like a little baby and had to depend on my wife for all of the above.

    But that period ended and today, my shoulders are better than normal and I can take care of myself. So, soon, someday quickly you will be able to take care of all of those things yourself.

    Now, regarding your BF.... When I read that you told him to 'move on', it made me feel so blue. Here it is, a person who served her country and has continued to do so. Putting your own needs and wants aside and to think for others, that other being your BF. I think most people in your situation would be complaining that their significant other does not understand or feel for them. You are a good solid honorable person.

    I am lucky to have befriended you

    Things will turn around for you and there will be brighter days ahead.
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  • The first thing that came to my mind was "people who have completely lost a limb find a way to manage quite well." I'm the type of person who looks for ways to do things instead of reasons why I can't do things. I enjoy being creative in that regard and now I do so many things that are so routine and normal for me, I forget that at one time they were new and ingenious.

    Your situation isn't a great one, but it doesn't have to be the worst one either. 38 years old with a lifetime ahead of you. That's awesome! So start working on ways to make today a good one. Adversity to me is a challenge. Necessity breathes life into invention or creativity. If you are embarrassed by the fact you require assistance, then figure out a way to do things on your own. Whether by modifying what you wear or how you put it on or take it off.

    You're a very smart individual. You have a great personality, are caring and empathetic to others. You have a wonderful sense of humor and and a genuine regard for others. In my book that means you have a hard time accepting help, because you'd rather be the one giving it. It's okay to accept help and if it makes it less daunting, then think of it as accepting temporary help until you figure it out on your own.

    I hope this makes sense. There's so much I'd like to say but it is jumbled up inside and I don't want to spend 3000 words trying to say one or two sentences.

    Things get better and things heal. Hang in there!

  • I hope that you get the call soon regarding your MRI. They need to get you in for that right away to see if there is a nerve trapped or what is going on to cause you all this pain, numbness and lack of mobility.

    I too think that it is a good idea for you to stay put and have your BF go up north ahead of you. So many more specialists here. You are a strong woman to make this decision to stay and have him go, but I do believe it is the right one.

    You have to keep on, keeping on. Time does do wonders when it comes to nerves.Hopefully PT will be in touch with you soon, to give you ideas for stretching,etc.

    We are all here for you, just as you are always here for all of us.

    BIG >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Kelly,

    Sorry I almost missed your reply!!! My bad!

    If your BF is *really* true to you, he will understand and be there for you. Just like being deployed (I am ex Army), if he could handle that, then for sure he can handle you taking care of your health??

    Soldier or not, we "women" tend to be the care givers, and too, tend to think of others before ourselves... While in the abstract that is wonderful and honorable, in the end, "we" have to make sure we too are okay and taken care of.

    I have nerve damage from when my C6/7 disk went - 3 nerve conductions over 2 years...ain't coming back. For 3 months most of my right arm didn't work (C7 nerve), but I got like 45% or so of it back. I can hear your sadness, frustration, anger - I really can. I (Like C mentioned) have learned tricks to take care of things my right arm won't allow. I have new bras that are 'slip ons' verses the hook - though before them, I locked half with my crappy arm, used the good arm to insert the hooks, slid it around, and popped my arms in. Like she said, we just have to adjust - sucks yeah, but creativity can be fun too!!!

    Again, I hate echoing another member, but C has it nailed. Instead of getting bummed that you can't do this or that "normal" due to lack of use, take it as a challenge and be constructive to find a new way to do things. In the shower (for me) I have used a (ummmm...) bathroom buddy with my scrubby to use to get to my back. Yeah, suppose to take care of business down there, but you can attach a sponge and take care of your back and too, yes cleaning down there!! Undies,...or pants, let your good thumb be the guide!! See, there are ways to adapt, and then hopefully in the near future, your arm will wake up. Just try to give it time - I know, it's hard.

    I'm facing at least 3 more surgeries this year - bummed, YUP, but too trying to stay positive. Remember, judge by the week, not by the day - that will drive you nuts woman!!! Big support *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks all, you are all right in what you have said, and I appreciate it all. Trust me, I have been experimenting and finding new ways of getting things done, like in the shower, I have a "poof" that is on a long handle that I can use, however, when trying to use it on my right side with my right arm, doesn't quite get the job done, so still need help with that. Also, drying off. And the bra thing, I've tried so many different ways, but when you can't lift your arm, and even if I rest my arm on my high dresser, by that time (after showering, trying to dry off, etc) any strength is gone and I can't move my arm even the inch or two that I normally can move it. Plus the fact that by that time, I'm covered in sweat anyways from working so hard to get things done, which has completely negated the shower I just took and the bra just sticks in place making it pretty much impossible to slide around even if I am able to get the hooks done up. I actually ripped a bra this morning trying. I've tried sports bras, but again, not being able to lift my arm, doesn't quite work out either, and I still need someone to help pull it down. And my "girls" (Debbie and Donna - get it, the double D's?) need all the support they can get, so going bra-less is not an option LOL.

    I also have figured out a way to put on my deodorant, but it doesn't quite get the job done for my right side either, so need help with that, too. Even with pulling up my pants on the left side, can't lift my left arm to pull them up all the way on that side, and my right arm doesn't quite reach to get them all the way. And everyone seems to take great pleasure in doing their best to give me a wedgie when I ask... sure, funny the first time... :| Or to do the button, it's very hard, and if I've tried a couple of times already, my arm is too weak to lift it up that far. Sometimes, there just isn't a way to do it on your own, no matter how hard, or how many different ways you try, and trust me, I've tried many different ways to do everything. By the time I'm done getting dressed, I'm dripping with sweat and completely wiped out.

    C, you're absolutely correct in that I hate to ask for help, that I'm normally the one helping, so it is so frustrating, because I have tried everything I can think of to do everything by myself, also much to the frustration of the people around me, because I'd rather wear myself out trying than to ask for help. Ron, you hit it when you said you felt like a baby and vulnerable. Cutting food, omg, my mom, sister and nieces went out for lunch today, and trying to cut my food was awful, with my mom and sister continuously asking if they could cut my food for me. I was like, what am I, 2? I got it done, messily and hurting, but done. My mom kept saying that I am and always have been too stubborn for my own good, lol. I guess you can add impatient to that, too. That's probably the majority of my problem, eh?
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,361
    I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time. I must admit that I had to smile when reading about you cutting your food! You sound so much like me! Stubborn, impatient, independent, oh yeah and stubborn!

    I'm not making light of your problems because I really know how you must be feeling. I just wanted to see if I could make you smile and have a little laugh. Oh yeah, I'm jealous of the fact that you need so much support (Debbie & Donna you know!) Even batteries come in bigger letters than mine--you know AA, AAA, all I get is a single, ah well....hehehehe

    Hope you're feeling better soon. Mentally and physically.

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