Hi Chompers, and welcome to the family.
Alot of what you had to say struck home for me. For over 3 years now I have dealt with chronic pain, my new best friend I love to hate, and all the baggage that it brought to my life ... or should I say my new life, as the one I knew is totally gone. Infact it wasn't even until a year and a half ago that I finally found a doctor who could tell me what was wrong with me.
I suffer from CRPS, an evil condition that causes incredible pain constantly in one affected location ... and it spreads with time. When I was originally hurt on the job it was supposed to just be tendonitis. But as time went on I didn't get better, infact I got worse. No one could tell me what was wrong, all my tests came back normal, and I was refered to doctor after doctor. Some of them treated me poorly ... like I was wasting their time ... one flat out told me "I can't find anything wrong with you, there for your fine." That one got my workman's comp case closed, but the pain wouldn't go away. I could sit there and show him my hands, and everyone else could see that one hand was a totally different color then the other and swollen severely, but he didn't see it, and one time he even said "You were obviously doing something to your hand before I came in here to make it look like that."
I have had one man walk out of my life, telling me effectively that he didn't believe I was hurt; I was a hypocondriac, I was faking it, I was lying, I was being lazy. I had a husband leave me after he said he never would, that he understood my condition and he'd take care of me. He was also the one that told me I had to give up anything I enjoyed doing that put me in pain because, and I quote, "Your pain gets in the way of my happiness". As a single mother I have tried to expain to my son constantly that I can not rough-house with him... I can't even play video games with him.
In over 3 years I have watched my pain go from just affecting my hand and wrist to include my elbow, and eventually my shoulder, and now part of my neck and an extended swath of my shoulder that travels down to include the shoulder blade and the clavical; all on my right side ... and I'm right handed.
I'll be 38 in a few weeks now, and depression is a daily battle. The narcotics I've lived off of for the last 3+ years haven't helped, nor all the emotional stress and physical stress. When I first learned I had CRPS I broke down and cried to a close friend of mine:
"I'm a single Mom in her late 30's who's permanently disabled... who will ever want someone like me? What do I have to offer to anyone?" His responce was touching. "Your love. Your caring, your fiery passion, your intellect, your companionship." He's right, but that does not comfort the guilt I feel at times for fear that I am a burden to those I love.
I recently had a surgeon tell me he can trace a path from what I suffer today back to my original injury, and suggested I consider re-opening my workman's comp case. I declined. He told me it would probably help off-set all my medical costs given Medicare doesn't have the greatest of coverage. Again, I declined, but when asked why my simple answer was enough to make him drop the topic. "Because I would have to give up seeing the doctor's I want to see. I've already seen their pain doctor, and he's the one who treated me as if I were a head case and just out to use the system or was some drug user/abuser." I have a good pain management doctor who understands my concerns for my quality of life; I wouldn't part with him for anything.
I worry that perhaps you do not have the same sort of relationship with your pain doctor, or whomever it is you see. If you are not getting the care you need to treat your pain issues you may need to seriously consider finding one that will work with you, to assure as best a quality of life as you are permitted.
Over the last few months my depression has gotten real bad, and I fully intend to discuss this with my pain doctor when I see him next week and ask him to add an anti-depressant.
I know how frustrating it can be feeling like you have no answers, that no one can help you, but please, please, do not lose hope! The future looks daunting, I know when I look at my own I am not always thrilled with what I see as a potential, but I try not to consider that. Instead I try to make the most of each day, to enjoy the little things. I can not do much, and certainly with the coming summer heat I will slow down on my productivity, but I know alot of us here have found little things we do as either a source of small income, or as just a way to feel good making things to give to others. Do you have something like that? Some people knit or crochet, make jewelry, one lady even makes teddy bears.
Know that you've found a good place here. An incredible wealth of knowledge and experiences, and a source of support and compassion that helps us all get through our darkest moments. The people here are folks you can laugh and cry with, and are always there even if all you need to do is vent. Just remember, you're not alone. I know from my own experience that finding this place saved me, emotionally; finally, people that understood what I was going through and having to deal with!
Just remember -- Sing as if no one were listening, Dance as if no one were watching, Love with out fear, and Live each day as if it were your last.
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant