I'm in bed, feeling Very Sorry for myself. I am not sure what I want from this really, other than reaching out, knowing there are people here who get it. I have used this site over the years for medical advice and guidance (not the forum, the articles here) and have read a lot of the forum posts and got a lot of helpful tips from them. Just not posted here as felt I got what I needed from reading. Now, I am not sure. it's all become too complex and difficult to bear now.
History: 2010 - had an accident involving amongst other things, a large shower glass (those over the bath ones that can be pulled away from the bath) being knocked out of it's brackets (by my head) upwards then and falling forward and to the side, smacking my L5/S1 area with the corner. It cut and bruised my back, I felt a little dent where it hit, but as I also broke my nose and cut my head I didn't consider it again. I walked into ER, I walked out again, I am, not even sure I mentioned my back got hit. 10 days later (i recall as I was about to go for surgery to straighten my nose), my back 'went' over a period of about 2 hours, got stiffer and stiffer, then suddenly, I couldn't move. I was stuck, bent over, unable to move without screaming. After much fuss and my daughter helping me to bed and then calling out of hours doctors (it always happens at the weekend right?), I was diagnosed, over the phone, with a pulled muscle. I again didn't connect it with my back being hits there was no pain until that point, bruise was gone etc. Given codeine, told to rest. I went to the loo on a potty as I couldn't move to the toilet. Within 2 weeks, I was back at work as if nothing had happened. 3-4 months later, it went again. Similar, but walking up a hill. Similar recovery period. Happened two more times, before my back 'went' and never recovered. A long journey since then, including diagnoses of Degenerative disc disease, end plate oedema, disc bulge(s), tears, retrolesthesis. All put down to the smack on my back by neurosurgeon and physio.
I've had discectomy (2013) for disc prolapse at L5/S1 lumbar level, affecting my left leg. This helped. but then the pain was full force on right side - diagnosed with stenosis at two levels - L5/S1 and L4/L5 - and facet joint problems. Had a two level laminectomy. Fusion ruled out as not having good enough odds of significant success. This helped a small amount, for a small amount of time, but my pain has just ramped up and up and up. A while of to-ing and fro-ing from pain clinic, being suggested the pain is more that my nerves are misfiring. Eventually had another MRI - showed degenerative disc disease has execrated - at L5/S1 in particular the oedema at two end plates is quite significant and there are two disc bulges, evidence of continued stenosis. Pain clinic doc said it's not going to fix itself soon, and pain is probably coming from the oedema in the end-plates.
Along with all this I get unwell a lot - feel flu-like a lot, vomit a lot (think this is pain related as I tend to have a flare up immediately after vomiting). I have issues with temp regulation, and often feel generally unwell. Doc says this is probably meds related. Had bloods, no obvious sign of infection or anything. Finally got GP to refer to rheumatology to rule out something more sinister than 'simple' back problems.
During this time I have held down a professional job. Part time (25 hours), but it's an emotionally demanding job. Lots of support from work in terms of adjustments, but a few issues here that I'm working on. reduced hours on advise of pain clinic doc and GP as struggling to manage job. Hanging on by the skin of my teeth. But aware I will lose this in time if things don't improve.
I have two children. 6 and 10. they were 8 months and 4 when I had my injury. I cannot parent properly. I cannot be a partner properly. I cannot do the things in my life that I used to do (active person, kayaking, bodyboarding, sea swimming, running). I have spent a lot of time hoping I will recover, then coming to terms with my life changing. Then it changing more, then more. I have always waited for a time when I get a little bit better than this. But it's got worse. I have managed. I have low dose antidepressants. I am wading through treacle. I have survived on a rollercoaster of flare-ups and pain management, hopes and dreams being dashed but coping nevertheless.
I have had 3 weeks off work again. Yesterday my back 'went' properly again and I'm paid up. To top to off I think my nerve is now trapped in my left leg again, and I have trouble with my neck/upper back muscles going into spasm, and my thumb has gone numb. I suddenly am crying at the drop of a hat. I cannot face work at all, I don't want to socialise, I am sleeping a lot. I cannot bear that this is my life and I cannot see past this to a time when I will be happy again. I guess I need to see my GP again to up my anti-depressents, but really, it's just more medication on top of other medication to put a plaster over a wound that won't heal.
How do people here cope? How do manage getting worse and worse, and not knowing what the future will hold for you, or your family? How do you cope with being a parent? A partner? Hope do you cope with being you? A you that you were never meant to be? It's just too much to bear all of a sudden.
I am sorry for the epic post. It might be too long. Thanks for getting through it if you make it to the end.