Why do we go to the Doctor

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 1/18/2010 2:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I have looked at some threads that we have about going to the doctors and especially those who have been in the battle longer than others. I wonder if others have seen the difference in their own life as the battle has gone on. When I started this unexpected journey, I was looking for a cure or fix. Actually thought a visit to the doctor would be the place where pills were prescribed, procedure ordered or a plan put in place to make it all better. Someone mentioned in another thread recently that they hesitate going to the doctor as they don't want to be told there is nothing that could be done.
Isn't that a progression. We start out actually thinking the PT or the drugs would help. Then as we started going to more doctors and going through more x-rays, mris, scans etc we hope that each time they will find the problem and now it can be fixed. When that does not work we begin getting hesitant. Maybe we are are told that sugery is the possible thing that will work. We do that and then we are back at the same place. Now I know that some people find answers all the way through these processes and actually get the relief they need and wanted.
A change starts to take place and now we go to the doctor with the hope that a new script will be given that will not necessarily fix us or give us the cure but make life livable. Somehow nolonger seeking a cure but rather a means to survival. "There is nothing more we can do for you." "We really don't know where to go from here." Then comes the direction of the pain management specialist. You know they are not called the pain disppearance specialist. After awhile, we are more excited about going to the doctor not to get healed or fixed but the script hoping it will help us learn to live with the pain. There is still hope but even I question what that hope is at times.  It is not that we are addicts but our whole focus seems to have changed. I know that this picture does not fit all but I  know several of us find ourselves here. When and how that change takes place is dependent on many factors but we do end up moving from pain cures to pain management and for some. even possible another step.
Just reflecting and probably wasting time as I lay here wondering when the transition happened in my life and wondering where it goes from here. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 1/18/2010 3:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Father John,
I went from having back pain that was more severe than it had been in years to having not only one but two back surgeries. The last being a salvage operation to replace two broken screws, and to try to relieve some of the compression on the cauda equina and hopefully preserve my ability to walk, which seemed to worsen day by day. I was hopeful before the first surgery that the surgeon was going to relieve the pain that I was having as well as repair the damage in my spine, because that's what he told me would happen.
I am not one who likes going to the doctor as it is, so having to deal with so many after the first surgery caused the spinal cord injury has made me a bit more distrustful of doctors, and more hesitant to seek them out when I should.
I think that I went from thinking that there would be a cure after my first surgery- then I found myself distrustful and angry- with lots of reasons that I won't go into here now , then the depression hit- and that was tough to deal with- it still can be at times- but finally some level of acceptance that this is how my life is going to play out- so I could either deal with the bad days and move on or wallow in self pity and why me's - I don't want to waste my life that way - and I don't want my children to see me that way either- so I had to move into how to deal with this so that I am able to at least be an active parent and partner to my husband and children- so I deal with the pain management doctor- I actually like him- he's a good guy doing his best to help- he doesn't always get it right but he tries . We all have to work through the anger, frustration , depression, and finally come to some level of acceptance that for whatever reasons, we are where we are, and decide how we are going to deal with it- we can either manage each day as best we can, or we can let the pain and illness we are dealing with manage us.
I am by far not a rah rah cheerleader but I know that for me, I can not sit back and watch life and my family pass me by, so I make the decision for each day that I will find a way to get through what ever it brings- I hope for the best but deal with whatever comes my way.
It's not fair that we have to deal with chronic pain , in whatever form it comes in for each of us, but we do. Each day is another day that we struggle through and some days have more success than others, but we make it another day.
Sandi who is also feeling a bit pensive tonight.......sleep well FJ
PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.
Avascular necrosis of left wrist- maybe hips too

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 1/18/2010 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   
   Dear Father John,
      Good morning *huggs* How are you doing this morning? At the end of your post you mention laying down... It worries me a bit, only because, it takes ALOT of pain to keep you from your day. I hope the pain eases up at some point and that you can get atleast a little rest.
      You have brought up some very thought provoking subjects as of late. Today, you said ~~>" I wonder if others have seen the difference in their own life as the battle has gone on."
      As I was reading your post, I couldnt help but remember 2yrs ago, when I first went to the doctor. The pain had come rather suddenly, so overwhelming that I would vomit, passout, consume so much food, nurtients just to function while never gaining a pound. I remember at one point being in the back yard, knowing "it" was comming ("it" being my vision fading to black, sounds around me sounding far away, jerking muscles, then not being able to control my body. "it" turned out to be something called "convulsions") and speaking rather frankly to God. I said, "Why? What have I done so wrong to deserve this slow decay? If it has to be like this, please, please let someone come quickly to find my daughter. Protect her.". And down I went. When I came to (though "it" seems long, I eventually find out it is only a few minutes passing) I had ants on me. Crying and defeated I went inside and called the doctor.....
       When I finally get to the doctor, they run a battery of tests and images. They told me my spine was deteriorating. That they were sorry but didnt know why. It would take more tests, more investigations. They would work on making me as comfortable a possible. Oh, I was angry. I jumped up. I screamed, I cried, I begged.
      I said," No! )(*()( you fix it! Fix it now! Your the doctor, your supposed to know what to do )*&()(*& FIX IT NOW! This isnt fair! Its not supposed to be like this! I am a good person! You cant take my life away I want it BACK! NOW! Your not looking hard enough, give me back my LIFE NOW!"
       Needless to say I went to see a pain psychologist. As time goes by, I learn to re define myself and eventually become very comfortable with who I am. Comfortable with all the unanswered questions. Along the way, as more things deteriorate,  I have medical staff, nurses, psychologists, crying on me, angry... for me. Then I find myself being the one to comfort them. Knowing they will be replaced, and as each one breaks down I soon find that they are removed as my care givers, that I wont see them anymore... I miss them, because I HAVE come to love them. As strange as it would seem.
      So, as time has gone by. And I do not even recognize myself in the mirror, let alone the person I have become... I find that, the inside me, has changed. For the better, of course. But, I suppose having chronic illness does it to all of us. I don't think we can help but to "adapt". It is "human nature". Now, instead of hoping for a "magic cure", I pray for new technologies. I pray that noone else would be made to suffer so. For surely if this illness has tested the very depths of my soul, how would someone else be able to withstand this? So, I pray for the future. For a better tomorrow. For better technologies and more understanding. All the while changing, adapting...
       I fear I should stop here, or I will ramble on endlessly. You have brought forth some very thought provoking subjects as of late. Thank you for that. I hope you will, at some point, be able to rest today. Take care and stay strong.



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood



Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 1/18/2010 8:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Sandi and Dani, I guess it is time for a confession. When you see me posting what is termed thought proviking things it is because I am stuggling. It is during these times of looking inside and trying to reconcile what I feel that I expose things that I am dealing with. It has been more than painful lately. I spent from Friday evening to this morning in bed not sleeping much due to the pain. Why do we go to doctors? We have all been to more doctors than any of us want in our lifetime. I went to work today only to leave a bit early as the pain was just making it impossible to continue and as you know that is not normal for me. I will stop there as this is not about me.
Sandi I also believe it is important to stay positive, even though we all face those days that make it tough. Yes we do need to make decisions even though there is a part of us that wants to give up. After you have heard numerous doctors tell you that there is not much else to do, you start realizing they are more limited than we want to admit. That is where our attitude comes in. 
Dani, God and I have had many very indepth conversations through the years. The one thing I have found, He does not use it against me and I still find strength and hope. The wife of a pastor friend called me last week and wanted me to encourage her husband who just came home from the hospital after a multilevel fusion. They both know what I have gone through and I keep on going. It is good to be an inspiration to others even though you are still fighting.

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3702
   Posted 1/19/2010 12:18 AM (GMT -6)   

Your threads that you start are so gut wretching, they tug at your soul, and bring out the inner strength that resides in us all. Just reading Sandi's and Dani's post shows what strength and perseverance they have! I think it is a matter of survival and just trying to cope with what at one time seemed unimaginable to us all. We all have or are in the process of facing and dealing with this transition. It is hard to accept that we are no longer "fixable" that is a biggy! When we accept that, then we also have to accept that "our old self" can nolonger be! We have to accept who we are now, with all our pain, and our frailities, but with that acceptance we find our inner strength, and find new ways ( not to fix the pain or our frailities) but cope and deal with them and to move forward with our lives.

I like how Dani put it that CP and her condition has changed her but of course for the better! I would like to think that is true for most or all of us! I think we are all better, I hope I am, I think I am, I think I am more tollerant of others who are in pain, and suffer from physical and mental problems. I think, I sure hope, I am more compassionate of them, as I can empathize with them and know in at least a small way what they are feeling. I think most of us here are that way. I know when I read many of the post I wince and cringe and want to cry, when I read of their pain, and I am frustrated and angry and want to scream, at the way they have been treated by their Doctors. I think in way I am much more sensitive , and I hope I am more caring, I think allot of this has come from my own experience with having pain and surgeries and hoping and praying for a fix, and for some of my problems, a diagnosis, but often finding neither, and then eventually finding that inner strength going throuh the transition, of accepting that a fix is not going to happen, and "my old self" will never come back! That now, I am "My new self" , Yes I think Dani is right, like her, I think I have changed, and I think it has been for the better! I think we all have! I hope and pray that we have anyway!

White Beard

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 1/19/2010 12:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Father John,
I feel the same way towards doctors too, sort of mis-trustful! When I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, they said take these meds and you will lead a full normal life. They will stop you have permanent disability. I believed them and now 3 years later and I don't know how many medications and combinations of medications I have been given and still I deteriorate! I take all these toxic drugs with their horrendous side effects and still have constant pain, swelling, trouble living normally and trouble redefining who I am now.
 When will it stop? Is it still possible for me to plateau? Can I expect to ever live without pain? Will I be able to keep working? I'm constantly having to cut my day into bite size coping pieces. No doctor is willing or able to answer me. Very frustrating, I dread the visits now. Every time I have surgery I seem to get worse and yet surgery and more meds are all I'm offered (plus psychologists).
I feel like is this me now? Is this how I will be or am I going to get a whole lot worse? I haven't had a pain free night in so long or a stretch of sleep. I feel sorry for myself and then I come on here and you guys help me keep it all in perspective. I realise I'm not alone, I know you lot understand. I'm grateful its only my lower back thats affected, my neck is still good. I like my rheumy, shes very understanding and sympathetic. I know its not her fault I'm not responding like I should be. But every time she offers me a new med, I groan!
It'd be nice if there were some magic wands out there for us all, we can live in hope or maybe just find some sort of acceptance. I'm erring more and more into trying alternative therapies, still searching for that magic pill! Golitho

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 1/19/2010 12:40 AM (GMT -6)   
WB, great words. I would like to think that all this has made me more... as well. We certainly do have a greater understanding of people in pain and who have very little control over the physical aspects of their life. We could say all this has been an extreem tutor of compassion. But like many good things, it comes with a cost. When paying the cost it is easy to lose the element of what it is teaching you or what you will have that is better on the other side of the torment. I have often said that I have met some of the strongest people here on this site. Strength is measured in different ways as we experience this new life with the invasion in every part of our lives with chronic pain and all that goes with it. 
I was just discussing with my wife that I started the process of searching for a new Pain Management Specialist. I told her that the next time a doctor asks me where my pain is on a scale of 1 to ten I will hand them a hammer and explain that they are to hit their hand with it, not just tap it. Then ask them where their pain level is on a scale of 1 to 10 or even point to the little faces and show which one describes you. Probably not a good description but as I lay here yet another night with no relief and nothing to do to get it, I don't relish the thought of going through the process with yet another doctor. The new PMS that my PCP recomended is a little different. I checked out the clinics website and found it interesting. They don't do surgeries, implants or medication. That leads me to wonder what they do. They claim that if surgery and phamacies could cure chronic pain, many doctors would be out of business.
Thanks for your imput and it is valued. Blessing!  

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 229
   Posted 1/19/2010 2:36 AM (GMT -6)   
I have to agree with what each of you have said. I'm usually a very upbeat person who takes care of everyone. Now I can no longer do that. I have not been a very good person since my shoulder replacement in Aug. as the pain has been much worse than the pain I experienced when I had my knees replaced. I am working hard to not be "moody" when the pain is so bad that I feel I can't breath or when I feel like I'm about to have a panic attack because I just cannot get away from the pain. I lay and roll in the floor when the pain gets too bad for me to handle. The pain meds don't really help right now. Whatever is going on with my arm has not only caused me pain but it has caused my family pain also. I read the stories that people write on here and I am amazed at how many of us can't seem to get any real help. Somewhere there has to be an answer for us. I hate being dependent on everyone. I still can't drive.....I still have to have my husband fasten my bra for me so therefore I have to wait until he is home to get dressed. I feel I have fallen so far these last 4 months.
Degenerative disc disease,osteoarthritis, status post 4 cervical spinal surgeries with plate insertions and fusion, Lupus, Sjogren's Disease, Fibromyalgia, chronic heacaches and chronic pain.
Find blessings in every day!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/19/2010 5:38 PM (GMT -6)   

That is the only word I can think of to start this post. I only hope I don't crash before posting this. There is so much I'd love to say, but now the fear of the computer crashing often keeps me from going on too long.

Of course this thread, and each response, has touched me deeply, and I find so much common ground with no real answers. Nurse2 just said there "has to be an answer." But the sad thing is, the sad truth most of us don't want to accept, is that there really doesn't have to be, does there? I mean, we WANT an answer. In the U.S. we are constantly bombarded with how many high tech treatments and new meds there are, so it's no wonder we expect there should be something out there to fix each and every one of us, or at least give us a livable life. It pains me to say, but I don't really, honestly, in my heart and soul think that's true. But I don't want to think that.

It's not that I begrudge anyone a solution, and I sure hope there are a million people out there that have found a solution to every one of us who hasn't. I doubt that's true, too, but I think there are some.

The only way we may find an answer is to go within and see what we can control. And admit what we can't. And what the doctors can't. The serenity prayer, right? It doesn't have to be a religious or spiritual thing either; it's just an acknowledgement that we can't control everything, but we can control some things, even if it's only how we deal with what's on our plate.

I am struggling with all of you. There's not just a tennis match in my head, it's a downright boxing match. The part of me that doesn't want to give up trying to have my past life, duking it out with the part of me that....that what? Who the heck am I fighting, anyway? Myself. And who's getting beaten up? Me. Somehow when the bell rings at the end of each round, my "coach" keeps telling me to throw in the towel. Quit the fight because I'm the only one who's going to get hurt. Quit the fight, heal, and move on to something else. But Rocky wants to go back in for another round. To go the distance. To see if I can maybe, just maybe win one more. There are only so many rounds that can be played, though. That's part of the rules of the game, right?

Am I making any sense? It's my latest vision of what's going on in my head as I do all this disability stuff and see the last round is either coming or has already passed.

And then there's the doctor issue. Today there were two messages on my phone with doctors wanting to schedule appointments or procedures. Of course, in March. Everyone wants me in March. Well, I DON'T WANT THEM! At least not all of them, all at once. And my insurance only pays for four doctor visits a year. Of course, some of them didn't have any openings in 2009 by the time my insurance got around to giving me the answers I needed.

I feel like part of this for me is trying to take as much of my life back as I can. And I think that means there are some doctors I don't want to see, or will see if and when I want (like my OB/GYN for the annual check up she didn't have time for last fall). Can anyone relate to this - I've discovered in thinking about that, that one thing I fear is what they will put in reports (because I've seen it there before) about patient not being "compliant" or "refusing" a procedure. Some of that is because of SSD, and yes, I do need to follow some of the rules of the docs involved in that. But I'm tired of it being on their terms, whether that means the terms of the doctors, my health insurance, SSD, whatever. I WANT A FEW THINGS IN LIFE ON MY TERMS!

Ok, I'd better quit and cross my fingers this gets posted cuz I've not the energy to do it over again!

Hugs to you all,


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 1/19/2010 8:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh FJ, did you hit the nail on the head with this post!!  As I was reading, I recalled when I first began this journey.  My pain was so bad that I just wanted it gone, so I too looked for a doctor that would make it disappear.  There I came into contact with the most fantastic neurosurgeon!  He explained to me that my pain could be "fixed"  That only 3% of fusions do not help...I figured 3% was a pretty good odds, but little did I know, when the anistesiologist placed me under that 3% would include yours truly.  For 2 years I went through life feeling that doc did alright.  Not very much pain and it was all centered in my back.
But when I suddenly was thrust into the pain scene, I did search for cures, going from doctor to doctor.  I think that we search for answers because we are taught that doctors are "Healers" and we need healed.  But with CP it is not always a clear cut picture as with say a broken leg or a heart problem.  This illness is sometimes so hidden (as I have now realized) that even the best x-rays or MRI's cannot detect where it hurts.
I evolved as a person over the past 10 years since my birth into the Chronic Pain world.  I've prided myself on educating my mind in what new treatments they are trying....what new medications they are working on and things like this.  I have learned meditation, distractions, and other things to try to combat this horrible illness that has taken my body and riddled it with such horrible pain.  I have a birthday coming up.  The 22nd I will turn 46 years old.  I don't know where I will be say in 5 years...or even 10 years.  I cringe when it comes to what my body will turn into when I hit my 50's or 60's.  But.....I will always be learning how to "tame my pain"
When I began this journey I looked for a "cure"......now I look for a way to "tame the pain"...if not for the rest of my life....at least for the next 5 minutes.
What doesn't kill us only makes us fight back harder! :P
Two level fusion on S1- L4 in 2000. One level fusion on L3-L4 in 2003 and revision on L3-L4 6 months later.  This led to a diagnose of failed back syndrome, nerve pain and Chronic Pain. Two bi-lateral patellar realignments on both knees last one in 1988.  Overall...I'm in great health. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 1/19/2010 11:53 PM (GMT -6)   
As I return from work and after a brief family time, I hit the bed and grab my computer to start my nightly routine. Check the news, emails, see if my son in Iraq is on line and then settle in to my other family, HW. I am amazed at the responses as they are so honest and open. But then why shouldn't they be, we are probably more open here than anywhere else. We feel safe. We feel people genuinely care. That is a great place to be.
Nurse2, I can't say that I have been in your place but I know the emotional pain that comes along with not being able to do the things we used to be or be the person we once were. Having to rely on others when we are used to taking care of others is a difficult role to try and submit to. Everything within in us screams for this to stop.
PAlady, I like the boxing analogy. I fear that we will grow punchy before we know it. Since I can't file for SSD I am not as worried what the reports might say but maybe I should be.  We really have very little choice but to play the game. We can try and do things our way but it seems in the end, the doctors and insurance companies have us over a barrel. As you are a testament of, we can never give up. We can not give up the fight even if the bell is about to ring.
Scarred, in case I forget in a couple days, happy birthday. It truly would  be a happy one if you could take a break from the pain and torment and just enjoy life. This may sound very insensitive but we know where you will be 5 years from now. You will be here right with us as we all continue this journey together. It would be nice to find the doctor with the magic wand or pill but I think our chances of winning the lottery would be better. But we can still hope, and hope we do even if it is in our own wierd way. If we did not hold out hope, why would we keep making more doctor's appointments.
As this is way longer than it should be, blessings all.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16796
   Posted 1/20/2010 11:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Wow what a thread gut wrenching at best. I don't have answers I am still looking. I am sick of the drs scene, I see so much as it is. Just when I thought I had it worked out the rug got pulled out fom under me one more time. I am not in a good place right now, I am getting so bitter and I do not want to be like that.
We are more honest here because we relate to one another so well.

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

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