Are many of you able to work?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 7/19/2011 7:32 PM (GMT -6)   
My chronic pain is too debilitating to allow me to work except for teaching (short) culinary classes when I can.  Thankfully I have many interests and hobbies to keep me occupied!  I cannot sit more than 15-20 minutes at a time which is quite restrictive (i.e. must lie down to watch TV, weed flowerbeds and stand to eat).  How do you cope with working?  Do you do stretches, etc.?  Are your employers understanding? 
Back injury 2007 with 3 herniated discs, IT band syndrome, myofascial pain, DDD.
Diagnosed with Celiac Disease February 2011.
Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia April 2011.
Insomnia forever but worse the past few years due to pain and discomfort.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 7/19/2011 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I am completely disabled. I haven't worked in 11 years. I started out not working by choice to stay home with our kids, but the last 5 years I physically haven't been able to work at all.

I was 25 when I became unable to work completely.
-We must be the change we wish to see in the world-
(Mahatma Gandhi)

*Scoliosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Osteoarthritis, Loss of Lordosis, Endometriosis, Kerataconus, Flast back syndrome, TMJ, loss of bladder func. indwelling cath. for 6 months.*
*20 surgeries- 8 spinal including 6 fusions and 2 for staph infections, 9 pelvic including full hysterectomy, 1 knee, 2 cesareans*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 7/19/2011 10:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Southviewgirl, I am nini53 or Kathy, you can call me either name you feel comfortable with.  I am 58 years young, I worked outside the home from the time I was 18 and graduated from high school, to the age of 43-44 when it became physically impossible to work outside the home.
When I first became totally disabled I was so very depressed, part of my self worth came from me taking care of myself and my 2 daughters.  It was so difficult watching everyone going on there daily routine, getting ready for work.  I am a single parent, of course by now my girls are 29 and 25, but at the time I became disabled my oldest had just graduated and came to me and told me she was pregnant.  My baby was in 10th grade.  Because of financial difficulties, I lost our home,  my car.  My baby girl had to go live with family friends to complete high school, I could no longer provide her with a stable home.  The family friends will forever be in my prayers, without them, my youngest got her prom gown, and everything that goes with being a senior and graduating.  They would not take money from me.  These are special people whom I will always be grateful to.
Ok I see once again I have babbled on to much.  You learn after time, there are other ways you can be a productive part of society, you just have to use your imagination.
Take care of yourself, and hope you are feeling well.
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 183
   Posted 7/20/2011 2:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Like Chanterelle,I too can not sit for long nor can I stand without crutches.I've been totally disabled since I was 45 which was 12 years ago.I'm very lucky to have good Dr's. to keep my pain at tolerable levels and a supportive family network to keep me sane.I hope you all have super low pain days.Take care.........Rod

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 7/20/2011 2:43 AM (GMT -6)   
After a hospital stay in 2005 for a rare lung disease I've never made it back to work. I was 38yrs old and need to replace 5 more joints(1 shoulder replaced) and then who knows. All of these problems due to Prednisone and using the Medrol Pak for about 2 yrs on and off.....
AVASCULAR-NECROSIS (AVN) in 6 joints. HIPS,KNEE'S andSHOULDERS-Replaced 1 shoulder. replacing left hip 9/8/11 then left shoulder.
MED'S-Methadone 30mg's TID and OXYCODONE 15MG 1 TAB QID.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1276
   Posted 7/20/2011 4:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Other than high school jobs, I've never really worked. I've had CRPS since I was 14 but I did a veterinary degree, worked for about six months after graduation and then had a huge health crash/disease spread :(
CRPS since 1999, diagnosed in 2005 and since spread to full body, spasms, dystonia & contractures, gastroparesis, orthostatic hypotension,bradycardia/tachycardia, bone spurs, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome.

On Oxycontin/Endone, Topamax, Mobic, Magnesium, Florinef, Somac, Cipramil. Have a spinal cord stimulator, intrathecal pump with baclofen & bupivacaine and doing physio.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 7/20/2011 6:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Chanterelle, both my Pm and orthopedic dr are pushing me to consider LTD and SSD as of now. Although they are not saying I cant work, It would be much better if I didnt. I am 36 and am not ready to stop working. Currently, I am able to taylor my day based on my pain levels. If I need to stetch, I have my students stretch, if I need to relax for a few minutes I have students do guided imagery. When I cant, I just ignore the pain and smile. I have not asked for any "official" accomodations as of yet. I can tell you that when I had an orthopedic surgery they would not let me return till I was fully cleared. Even a 10 pound weight restriction was forbidden. So I am sure I am going to run into issuess. Not sure what rights I have in this situation.

Unfortunetely, in order for me to feel safe to drive and function at work I have needed to refuse increases in medications and other medications that may help me decrease pain and neurological symptoms. I stay at the bare minimum just to take the edge off.

I would love to work another few years, but I am doing it at the expensive of my body and high pain levels. Currently I am trying just about anything to reduce pain but havent been getting anywhere. I cant help but to feel if I stop working I am giving in, although I know in my head this is not the case at all. I have just always been brought up to ignore pain and keep going. When I was 8 years old, I lived on a farm and was pulling 100 lb bags of horse feed around without complaining.

Chanterelle, I am glad that you can continue to teach your cooking classes. Finding something you enjoy doing and is fullfilling to you, makes all the difference!
DX: CRPS/RSD full body, Fibro, CP, DDD, DJD, OSA, Syringomyelia, Arachnoiditis, failed fusion. Fusions C5-6, L5-S1, hardware removal and removal of scar tissue. SCS trial successful awaiting placement.
MEDS:To many to mention, changes every week it seems.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 7/20/2011 6:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I stopped working in 2005. At first is was a choice because it made more sense financially for me to stay home and take care of my new born son than for my wife to stop working and since she was also going to school we still would have had to pay for child care.

Within a year though my health started taking a fast nose dive. First my diabetes really went out of control and I lost my commercial drivers license (I was a truck driver for 8 years before becoming a stay at home Dad) and not long after that I started having pain from diabetic nerve damage and then major back pain which turned out to be from herniated discs, spinal arthritis and a lot of other stuff.

Now I am not really able to work. In order to get through the day it is a balancing act of sitting, moving and sometimes laying down or at least laying back in a recliner. Most days it averages to a 1 and 1 ratio between rest and activity, but the changes have to occur about every 10-20 minutes when pain levels start to increase. Once that happens if I continue with what I am doing they ramp up quickly.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 7/20/2011 12:53 PM (GMT -6)   
       Hello Chanterelle!
           I do work a full time job...with overtime added to the mix. CP and work can be difficult, especially if a person is not being treated right for the pain. With me, there are good days (not too many of them)...and then there are days that makes me wonder if I'm doing more harm than good.
      You asked about employers....and I have to say that my employer has been more than good to me. My boss along with medical, are fully aware of my condition...and know full well what medication I take for pain. It simply falls within their guidelines and policy's here. There are some restrictions on my record, but I don't see a problem with them, nor does my boss.
    Like you,...I cannot sit for very long, as it puts stress on my lower I get up and move quite a bit. When I'm home...I hit the sack and stay there most of the time.
      I think the key is that we all, ....regardless if we are working or not...need to have our pain treated properly, in order to have any quality of life. I love my Dr...but that fact is, he is not a PM...and for that reason, I believe I'm suffering more than I should be.
     Thank You for posting!
      Take care,
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

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"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 7/20/2011 1:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Due to my health issues, I would not be able to hold a "regular" type job.  I do tutor kids.... and teach 4 of my own kids.... etc.  I would compare raising 8 kids to about 3 full-time jobs :) lol....
That being said, I could not do a traditional 9 to 5 type job... even w/ frequent breaks, etc. 
Like Jim said, I average about a 1 to 1 ratio, too.  For whatever activity, etc. that I do (be it cleaning, laundry, even playing w/ the kids, whatever)... I need to rest or sit down or whatever.  This is mostly due to my heart issues, but also my pain issues as well.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 7/20/2011 10:00 PM (GMT -6)   
My heart really goes out to you. I cannot fathom being totally disabled, especially at such young ages. I feel as though that is the road I am on and it really scares me when I think about it (I normally try not to!). PM is huge. At this point no meds have helped so I have weekly massage therapy, physical therapy and acupuncture. Have tried laser and injections many times but to no avail. No surgeons will operate on me which is understandable. It seems as though I have deteriorated rapidly these past two weeks somehow! It makes me nervous.

It is amazing how we can still find joy and fulfillment in our lives! Although I have all sorts of ghastly pain I still would not trade my life for another (though I would love to be healthy). CP has taught me so much about myself, my limitations and others. All this lying down (not good for me, I know, but at times it is all that can be done) has really enabled me to learn more about many different topics through my love of books. My home is like a library! :-)

Please take care, all.
Back injury 2007 with 3 herniated discs, IT band syndrome, myofascial pain, DDD.
Rotator cuff injury both shoulders.
Diagnosed with Celiac Disease February 2011.
Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia April 2011.
Insomnia forever but worse the past few years due to pain and discomfort.

Post Edited (chanterelle) : 7/20/2011 9:07:25 PM (GMT-6)

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 7/21/2011 3:29 AM (GMT -6)   
I am totally disabled and i havent worked since I got in jured in Oct of 2010 at my airline job.

I cant stand longer than 3 minutes and trying to walk is very difficult for me.

That was an excellant question.

crushed lower knee and vertical fx of yibia/external fixator placed/plates and screws and tried to place big pieces of cartiledge under knee cap/tremendous pain in affected legcontinously without improving/allergic to metal in left leg/leg isnt straight/need metal removed in July/wait 6 months for healing/then toatal knee replacement/straighten out leg/more phsyxical therapy/take opana er

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 101
   Posted 7/31/2011 11:57 PM (GMT -6)   
rolleyes  Unfortunately I have not worked (outside my home) in 5 years.  I am 52 y/o and have worked steadily since I was 16, only taking short maternity leaves when my 2 daughters were born.  I never got to be a stay-at-home mom, which is something I only dreamed about.  Now they are grown and my health has declined to the point where I miss too many days of work if I do work.  So my husband is working an extra job, which makes me feel incredibly guilty, so that I can stay home.  I have plenty of work to do here, always housework, dishes, laundry, pets, cooking, and bills.  So while I keep myself busy around the house, I often feel so useless because I "don't work".  My husband never complains and says he likes me taking care of the house and coming home to a clean house and cooked meal.  God bless him.  But it has wrecked havoc on my sense of self-worth.  I am also lonely because I miss being around friends and co-workers.  I wish I could find that "perfect" job out there that would gladly accommodate my need for getting up from my chair every half hour...but then can't stand for even 10 minutes.   Hmmmmm maybe a mattress store....I could be their "model" and show them how comfy the mattress
Anyway, I think I have finally started to make some peace with just being a housewife.  My husband doesn't seem to have a problem with it, so I guess I shouldn't either.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 329
   Posted 8/1/2011 7:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I currently work full time + over time but I am not sure how much longer it will last. Every day seems to be harder and harder to just function enough to do my job, let alone enough to do it well.

I am one of the very lucky few who work from home and have enough flexibility to stand, walk, lie down or what I need to get a wee bit more comfortable. I can say if I had to go into the office I would not be working. Driving for more then 15-25 mins leaves me a bit dizzy and that is just not safe.

I have been pondering taking my works long term disability but I am not sure if I could handle the lack of work. I love what I do and would miss it a lot.

DX - Spinal stenosis - C 4-T1. Bulging disks C 3-T1
Severe pelvic adhesions from 4 surgeries *hysterectomy, removal of ovaries, ect...meds taken 0 Kadian 20mg, percocet for breakthrough. Compounded Cream.
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