Feel like a failure...

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misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/23/2011 5:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey all, this is basically just a vent I guess.

Last year I was going to college full time and also working on the weekends as a waiter. Then, in December of last year, I (somehow) herniated my L1-2 disc. Since then, I've been having constant pain, and have tried some different things to help it--in vain, so far. I had injections, and was also put on Hydrocodone for a short while. Finally, my pain doctor put me on Tramadol and basically released me to go see my surgeon again. (I see my surgeon on the 26th.)

I guess I also have another herniated disc and one bulging disc down lower. I also have scoliosis, which causes me pain as well...just not in the same way or magnitude.

Anyhow, I basically lost my job due to this 'injury' or 'condition' or whatever, and I also ended up not registering for college classes in the spring. So after doing all this leg work this year, trying to 'get better', I decided to go ahead and apply for the Fall semester. I kept thinking everything would be fine, because I'm only having to go to Campus 2 days a week...

Well, I just had my first day and I feel horrible. I honestly didn't know if I could make it to my second class. I don't remember anything about the class because I was so focused on trying to ignore /deal with the pain from sitting/standing/walking. It's so different from walking around the house or sitting/reclining in a chair at home. At first I thought I was going to be fine, but at the end of my first class I started to feel pretty bad while sitting and when I got up and started to walk out of the room I ended up limping.

It hurts to bring up & down my left leg, for whatever reason. It started hurting real bad at the end of the first class, and then I had to actually find my second class--which ended up being in a building on the opposite end of the campus. (Across a road, actually, but it didn't have easy access to the parking lot.)

I had to go up a few stair cases to get to the class room, and I actually remember thinking to myself as I went up the stairs how 'stupid' I was. I just felt so angry at myself and everything, that I was having to battle anxiety about pain because it hurt to lift my leg and walk up some stairs!

I know I can probably tell my instructors that I need to be able to move around during class, but I have no idea how I am going to manage at this rate. I hurt driving home, and I was in so much pain when I finally got home that I just laid in bed and cried. I feel like there is no way I can do this again, let alone on a regular basis. Then I thought about how if I'm having this much of a problem going to school two days a week--how am I ever going to function once I actually get a job in the career I'm pursuing. (Teaching.) How can I do something like that when I have problems just moving around at my own leisure.

I also feel guilty and angry at myself. I constantly judge myself based upon others, and I always feel like I am just being a wimp or whatever. There was a girl in my history class who is a paraplegic who has an aide and uses a wheel chair, and I remember thinking how stupid I am for 'giving in' to the pain I'm feeling, even when I have functional legs. I know pain isn't universal, and none of us are the same, but I just end up grilling myself on this stuff. I'm just so angry at myself for feeling like I'm a failure, that I won't ever accomplish anything because of this pain and stuff.

So I have my next on campus day on Thursday, and I have no idea what I'm going to do. I made an appointment tomorrow with my general doctor, because I have no medication at all right now. (My tramadol ran out over the weekend, and the pain doc told me to have my regular doctor prescribe it as needed.)

If I withdrawal from classes now, I'll feel awful. But I feel like physically, I just can't do this. I have no idea what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life in terms of a job, and the idea of being disabled scares me. I want to go to school and have a job and have something to be proud of, but I just feel like right now my body decided to go against me. The idea of sitting through another class, almost rocking back and forth just wishing for ANYTHING to help with the pain, is making me sick. I just don't really know what to do. shakehead

Jim1969
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Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 8/23/2011 6:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Try talking with the student affairs office and explain your situation and see what they might be able to do for you to make attending classes easier. If nothing else they might be able to put a different kind of chair in the classrooms for your use that would be less painful to sit in than your typical student chair.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Mysti
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 101
   Posted 8/23/2011 7:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mister,
I'm sorry about your situation. I can understand how distressing this must be, but I do want to say one thing for now, because it sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed about thinking of your future etc. Just take one day at a time. I applaud you for wanting to get your education and become a teacher. Is there any way you can change your classes to online classes? At least for this semester until you can get your pain under control. Most colleges do have online classes and I wouldn't settle for "it's too late to change".....go and talk to a school counselor and explain your predicament.

I hope this works out for you....take care.
DDD, 3 bulging lumbar discs, bone spurs, facet joint arthrosis/sclerosis, osteoarthritis

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/23/2011 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your replies.

The seat cushion thing would probably help in class, and is much easier than having the school get a chair for 'me' or something like that. All of the suggestions are good, thanks.

I'm just unsure of what to do. I'm really conflicted and feel like I am pushed against the wall right now. That is to say, if I need to withdraw I need to do it as soon as possible for both financial reasons and just to be fair to the instructors and what not. I feel like I didn't judge myself enough before doing this, that I should have at least walked around campus more since my injury or whatever. Plus I have been working with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation which basically agreed to help fund me due to a mental disability I have been diagnosed with in the past. The problem is that I basically told them I felt like I was able to work, and so they help to fund your schooling since you're also dealing with a disability. So now I feel like if I withdraw, that I'm letting 'everyone' down. It sounds dumb, but yeah.

I scheduled 2 online courses this semester at my current school, and I started to study before classes actually began. I felt like I was really capable of the work and I was able to do it while still being somewhat comfortable. So maybe online classes are a good idea, although I'd likely have to pay for it out of pocket or with some other loan system. I just worry that I might be 'stuck' like this, and I get down on myself and think about how its pointless to rack up thousands of dollars in loans if I am going to end up stuck in my house and unable to work the career I trained for.

I just wish that I didn't hurt all the time. It isn't just sitting, or just walking up stairs, I hurt constantly since this all started. Everything I do is just to try and lower the pain as much as possible. Medicine, heating packs, sitting positions, and all the rest are just to try and lessen everything so its tolerable. Sometimes at home its tolerable, and here lately I was encouraged because I was able to walk around and drive more...but then I went and did that stuff at school and just felt overwhelmed by the pain. I guess part of the problem is that I have no way to know how my physical problems will progress as I get older/ go along. They could get drastically better, for all I know. I just don't know right now, and maybe I won't ever know until it happens. Ugh.

Retired Mom
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Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 8/23/2011 7:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello,

I'm so glad you came here with this question. It is one I can definitely respond to and have personal experience with. I hernited my back and had an emergency fusion L5-S1 while sitting in my second class for my masters program. I was 40ish and everyone else was considerably younger. I was working full time during the week and doing online classes and in-class sessions for the classes which were better served by a hands on approach.

Anyway, when I herniated on Sat. I stayed for the rest of the class, went to 1/2 day on Sunday and then drove home the several hours. I made it to work on Monday, but Tuesday was to the PCP (who gave shots and ordered emergency MRI's). Wednesday was to have my husband take me back for more shots, then pick up my hospital MRI films and meet the NeuroSurgeon 60 miles away at a different hospital. Surgery was done the next morning and nothing has ever been the same.

I personally telephoned my instructor from my hospital room and told him what had happened. He allowed me to complete that class in the online format and was "very generous" with the assignments by giving me extra time or whatever I needed. I stayed with this school (BECAUSE IT WAS A PROPERTLY ACCREDITED SCHOOL WHICH IS ESSENTIAL) and because they worked with me during my recovery. I never went to another face to face class, but did have to complete comprehensive exams in person. Either way, with back surgery that never completely healed correctly) and all of the other things on my plate, I graduated with a 4.0.....early! It was very rewarding, but honestly did make getting SSD much harder because I became too educated when I earned my degree.

Perhaps you can discuss this issue with the instructor, then the school before making any final decisions. Please make sure to validate the informaiton on the online schools if you choose to change programs and do this as quickly as humanly possible to keep from being charged for classes you may be unable to complete.

I'm sorry about your job too, but I don't have any suggestions there right now.

Good luck on your decision. I know you will make the right one. Never forget that online classes need online instructors. I hav already been offered a job doing that, but I thank God that my Medical Retirement was approved, as was my SSD.
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Pre-glaucomic, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet & much more.....

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16383
   Posted 8/23/2011 8:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Mister I wanted to pop on tell you, please, please do not throw in the towel. Yes, you are totally overwhelmed but please look the suggestions, especially what Retired Mom wrote. I am so glad she is back here at the forum so she could address this with you.

As far as your medical situation goes, I cannot remember what all has been done on your lower back testing wise, like an MRI and such. As far as the disc go up high in the thoracic area, not much can be done for that area but injections. It is too dangerous to do surgery in the thoracic area.

I am not understanding why the PM dr dismissed you from his care.That was not fair to you, so what if he did release you back to the surgeon, that does not mean you are having surgery or that the dr will recommend it for your low back. Please talk to your PCP about referring you to another PM dr. Unless your PCP is willing to start scripting medication to you, you will need a PM dr in your corner.

Talk to your counselors at school as RM has said. Let us know.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/23/2011 8:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Retiredmom.

Its hard for me to know what to do most days because of my age. I'm 22, and this is my second semester of college. So, unfortunately, I'm not really close to anything in terms of a degree or what not. Likewise, due to my age most doctors seem very hit-or-miss with me. Sometimes I have found a doctor who was very helpful and receptive to my problems, when others felt like they dismissed me because I couldn't possibly be having such problems at my 'age'.

My pain doctor said he had did not think I was a candidate for surgery at all, partly due to my age and also due to the nature of the surgery. I see my surgeon soon, but I don't really know what they are going to do aside from maybe bouncing me back to a pain clinic or something. I really doubt they'd do surgery, which is both relieving and sorta upsetting. It's only upsetting because I just have that tiny bit of hope in me thinking that maybe they can do 'something' surgical that just magically fixes everything. I know that isn't possible, however, so at the same time I'm sorta relieved that I'm not in actual NEED of spinal surgery.

But yeah, I just wish I had known I was going to have this issue ahead of time. It is also really depressing to me because I really like being in class! I love learning, and I feel 'in my element' when I'm sitting in my history classes. That's why it is so hard for me to deal with this physical issue, because I feel like I belong in a classroom. I think I could do fine with online classes, but I do enjoy the face to face lectures more.

I just wish I could have someone say to me, "This is how you're going to be when you're 30, 40, 50, etc..." In terms of my physical issues. I know that most people would like that too, but it feels especially important when you're 'young' like I apparently am, and you are supposed to be taking on the world. lol! It would really help to know that, for instance, with therapy and medications I could feel much better in 12 months or so. Then I could plan ahead, I could work towards that goal...but right now I really just don't have any idea at what I am going to be like physically 12 months from now.

Thanks again. I'm glad you were able to get your degree and make progress on that front. Hopefully you are making some progress health wise too, sorry you have had to deal with all this stuff!

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/23/2011 8:25 PM (GMT -6)   
straydog said...
Mister I wanted to pop on tell you, please, please do not throw in the towel. Yes, you are totally overwhelmed but please look the suggestions, especially what Retired Mom wrote. I am so glad she is back here at the forum so she could address this with you.

As far as your medical situation goes, I cannot remember what all has been done on your lower back testing wise, like an MRI and such. As far as the disc go up high in the thoracic area, not much can be done for that area but injections. It is too dangerous to do surgery in the thoracic area.

I am not understanding why the PM dr dismissed you from his care.That was not fair to you, so what if he did release you back to the surgeon, that does not mean you are having surgery or that the dr will recommend it for your low back. Please talk to your PCP about referring you to another PM dr. Unless your PCP is willing to start scripting medication to you, you will need a PM dr in your corner.

Talk to your counselors at school as RM has said. Let us know.


Thank you for popping in also! I'm grateful for the responses I got, and venting about it has given me some time to calm down a bit and not to feel so upset.

As for my back, I've had mostly MRIs. I have a couple herniated discs in the lumbar spine, one which is the first lumbar disc, while the other is lower. I also have a bulging one and what could--perhaps--be arthritis in the facet joints. Then I also have the scoliosis, which is the primary reason why surgery is not an option. The surgeons acted like surgery for a herniated disc similar to mine can be done several ways, and that it is not usually a 'big deal'. However, due to the scoliosis that I have, which curves right at the largest herniation, surgery would require fusion of several levels of my spine in order to stabilize my spine. So it's just a very poor shot for surgery in my case, especially considering my age, I guess.

As for why my PM doctor dismissed me, I'm sorta not exactly sure myself. I really like the doctor, and he was very receptive and helpful, but I do kind of think eventually that he also underestimated the level of pain that I deal with. I try and explain things without sounding like a victim, I try and just be honest, so I don't know if I need to be more assertive or what. Anyhow, the PM doctor gave me 3 injections, and after the 3rd one didn't really seem to help he said that he was sorry that he hasn't really helped much. He wrote me a script for the Tramadol, and he set up my appointment with the surgeon. He said that I was 'welcome' at the clinic, which I'm not quite sure what he meant by, but basically he just told me to have my regular doctor prescribe the Tramadol as needed.

I sort of left that appointment thinking, 'what now?'. I posted about it before, on how I was conflicted about it because it made me think I wasn't going to find any help. I also don't think the PM doctor had any problems prescribing medication, as they talk about it constantly in their office and my doctor specifically mentioned that he was 'hesitant' to go into a long term medication treatment with me at one point during one of the appointments. So to me, that says that he does indeed manage prescription medication as well as injections, so I'm not really sure why he sorta just rinsed his hands and apologized.

straydog
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16383
   Posted 8/23/2011 8:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Mister has anyone ever done any type of injections or Radio Frequency Ablations, this is what many PM drs do to help get the pain levels down? They will do a diagnostic block first to make sure they are on the right level and depending on your reaction that tells them whether or not you are a candidate for RF.

You know you are not alone in wanting to know what the future will hold as far as what your physical condition will be like even a year from now. That is a normal response. Until a dr is able to get your pain under better control and on a permanent type of basis that is tolerable to you, its just impossible to know. But that does not mean you can't make some plans you just may have to do less until you are on better ground.

Yes, the age is a huge factor with drs giving pain medications. Their theory is with it being a long term situation eventually running out of a medication that will work for you later on down the road. They also worry about tolerance issues. But the biggest problem is pain has no age limit.

If you have not had any of the injections or procedures done that may be something to consider but it will have to be done by a PM dr.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/23/2011 8:44 PM (GMT -6)   
The PM doctor I mentioned gave me epidural injections to the major herniated discs. He did it 3 times, with a visit in between each injection to check how I was doing. I really did not, overall, see any major difference in my pain levels. I guess I would say that it helped at first, and then the effect lessened as time went on.

The PM also tried me on Hydrocone/Vicodin and then, finally, Tramadol. The Tramadol helps more than the Vicodin did, but it seems to be less effective at immediate/acute pain. So it sorta helps me feel better overall, but when I have a 'flare up' or whatever it is, the pain is just as bad. Its ok, though, in that it actually helps at all. The Vicodin just kinda made me feel loopy sometimes while I still was in very conscious pain.

I'm not really sure what Radio Frequency Ablations are, I haven't actually heard of that before.

Thanks again, both to you and others. I just get worked up because I have to--it seems--always make these big decisions at the last minute. If I do the wrong thing--like, withdrawling, for instance--maybe it will mean that I won't be able to get the same level of financial aid in the future when I'm actually able to work and go to school. Meanwhile, if I don't withdraw I'm probably just going to be wasting the instructor's time because I doubt I'll be able to make it long at this current pain level. At least not on campus.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16383
   Posted 8/23/2011 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok, you have had Eppies and they do not always help. it is a real hit and miss with Eppies. Radio Frequency Ablations are where they actually burn the nerve root ending and it is a temporary thing because the nerve roots grow back. They can grow back in 6 months or a person may get relief for 12 months. Do a google search and you can get a more accurate idea of them. Like i said the PM dr will do a diagnostic block first to see if you are even a candidate.

I totally forgot about your scoliosis too. If you had surgery they would make your back like a broom stick if I remember and you would have very little mobility if I remember right. I still think a good PM could help you to where you can function and have quality life at the same time. Many times we have to go to more than one before we get the right fit. Keep that in mind. It is not a one size fits all type of thing.

Keep venting if necessary, that is what we are here for.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/23/2011 9:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I have heard and read about other people's experiences with injections, and got that basic idea before. The doctor himself said it when I first met with him, about how we wouldn't really know if they would help or not unless we tried it. Unlike some posts I've read where people got immediate, long term, help from injections or others where they got absolutely none at all, I feel like I felt good the first couple weeks and then got progressively worse. So it wasn't as dramatic of a reaction as others had, in that I didn't really know if it was going to help eventually or not at the time.

Also, I'm not even actually sure what a diagnostic block is. I'll look into both that and the RFA treatment you mentioned. Thanks for the information, it helps to know about other options.

But yeah, the scoliosis is not so severe as to disable or cause severe acute pain by itself, but it does cause me 'normal' chronic back pain and also represents complications for surgery. The scoliosis is mild enough that it isn't worth any surgical 'fix', and like you said, the basic fear with the fusion would be that I would have very low mobility and that it might not even help with the pain in the long run.

I'm still trying to figure out what I should do. The fact that I deal with anxiety and depression on a normal basis doesn't help when I have physical issues like this, so the two problems often go hand-in-hand. When my pain level is really high, it ends up making all the mental stuff flare up...and being depressed or anxious, likewise, can also make me more aware/tense and more in pain.

sore42long
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 8/23/2011 9:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi,Mister I totally went thur the same thing and please don't feel guilty ,its not in your controll at this time .I belive student services will help if you go with a drs letter .I tryed school last year and Icouldn't manage with my condition and intill surgery Ican't do much of anything!Its hard to accept ,but Iam learning when your body and pain controlls you ,you have to make the best of it! maybe online courses at your own pace is an option? Feeling guilty and ashamed only makes it harder,give yourself time to get the pain under controll ,if possible.I found making notes of the pain helpful.I know its frusterating not to be able to do what you want!till your pain is undercontroll ,its one day at atime ,then slowly start back at things ,not taking too much on at once. take care

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/24/2011 1:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, sore42long, and sorry that you've had to deal with this sort of stuff too.

I'm lucky that I am not in a bad financial position, really, but I feel bad for relying on my father for income and what not. I want to be independent and have my own life, but I stuff like this comes up and sorta makes me feel like that 'having a life' thing isn't going to be happening.

I think perhaps I need to find a way to get my pain into manageable levels. Instead of focusing on stuff I can't do, like walking up stairs or walking around campus, maybe I should try and focus on stuff I can do in the mean time of trying to get help for these physical problems. I just get disheartened by it all, and I also feel like I'm letting people down when I have to do something like withdrawing from classes. I have a neighbor who is an old family friend, and while she's always crass and off the cuff, sometimes she says things about how I'm just making up this stuff so I don't have to work or something. Stuff like that really hurts me, and it sorta makes me just wanna give up all together. I want so hard to do these things, I want it probably more than half the kids in my classes do, who are just there 'because' with no real passion for education at all. But yeah, I don't know, hopefully I can make a decision soon.

Can't sleep tonight because of the pain and stuff. I have no pain meds right now, but I have an appointment with my PCP at 8am, so I don't really wanna take sleep aid because it'll make me wake up all groggy and stuff...so I'm sorta just staying up and feeling cruddy. lol

Retired Mom
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Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 8/24/2011 6:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Again Mister,
 
I really do understand where you are in this because I was in a similar place at your age.  I did go see the neuro surgeon in my early 20's but did not want surgery at that time.  I'm not sure if that was a good or a bad decision because I do know many younger people with lumbar injuries that have done quite well after fusion.  My fusion was about three years ago, when I was 40.  I just suffered bouts of pain (some were truely horrible) from 19 to then.  I did go to a chiropractor and have my back aligned and that did a great deal of good at the time.  Of course, I can never see one again because of the problems in my back now.
 
I wonder if some type of alignment might be a good thing for you (especially if your pain seems to come all of the sudden and then dissappear all of the sudden). Mine used to do that for months at the time.  I knew that I had disc problems and that they were bulging and I do have mild scolosis (but they omitted that from my last MRI) and seriously recommend you look into the chiropractor's background before you see one because you want a really good one and not a quack.  If you have a quack they could do more damage than good.
 
Please do not think all is lost with your teaching career.  I taught (finally) during the last part of my career and that was one of the happiest times of my life.  I felt like I belonged in a classroom and I still tend to want to "teach" when I'm at any public function (my step-father's presentation to Rotary).  I know you will too!  Don't give up!!!! And don't let anxiety and depression get a grip on you!  I know those enemies way to well.
 
This is my prediction for your next 20 years.....you will get your degree and you will find relief for this back issue.  It will pop up from time to time and you'll have to bypass some of the sports you might like to try, but you'll find other things that will be fun.  You'll get your Masters and have a family and teach a whole new generation the love of knowledge.  You will have back problems along the way, but your family will support you and you will have to see Dr's occasionally.  From there it is all individual and depends on you.  Pain will be a part of your life, but only a part.  You are the kind of person we need in the teaching profession because you are motivated by a love of learning and a love of teaching and you will succeed because of it. 
 
If a full load is too much per term, take a smaller load, but don't give up.  You will feel much better once the new wears off and school is a full time part of your life.  If you have funding help, then use it!!  Don't give up on what might make the difference between the life you want to live and living day to day in a life you don't want.  You CAN do this!  If I did it and worked 20 years before it got me, then I know you can!
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Pre-glaucomic, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet & much more.....

Kilroy
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/24/2011 7:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I am a student too with sever back problems. I don't know where in the world you are, but if your college has a "disability unit" then go talk to them. They help me a lot where I am. Special seating, rules for classes, rules for exams, assignment deadlines, parking and so on. And do it sooner rather than later, as it really takes a lot of pressure of the mind to have suitable considerations granted during semester.

If you have that much pain, then maybe you should go see the pain management clinic again? Tramadol is not exactly the best pain killer in the world in my experience. Also, there are different non medication treatments that help some people. Talk to you doctor about these or get a referral to someone who specialises in pain and/or you specific issue.

Also, you are right in starting to think about the things you can do instead of those that you cannot do. I also found that it is really important to exercise. No matter if you have done so before or not. I started slowly and embarrassed with what little I could do. And believe me that was very little. Now, despite a disabilitating chronic condition with severe pain, I'm actually a lot fitter than most of the people I study with.

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/24/2011 12:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks again RetiredMom, and you too Kilroy.

I saw my PCP today, and he told me that he was sort of at the same point of uncertainty as I was in terms of what he could personally do. I'm not really very interested in taking actual narcotics, because the vicodin I took helped way less than even the tramadol does, so there aren't a lot of other alternatives aside from some things used to treat stuff like depression/anxiety that can sometimes also help with nerve pain. At least that's what he said.

He has me on larger dosage of the Tramadol, in that I can take up to 8 tablets daily instead of one every six hours. He also prescribed Naproxen and an anti-acid medication to sorta counteract the side effect of the Naproxen. If the Naproxen combo doesn't really help, though, he said we'd just drop it.

Then I guess he's also ordering some sort of medical patches called Lidoderm, and wants me to get evaluated for something called a Tens Unit at the physical therapist. I'm guessing these are both something short term he wants me to do. I say guess, because he actually called me after I left the office and was home, so I only talked to the nurse. But everything I'm reading about both things seem to indicate that they're typically for short term use to see if nerve damage or acute pain can be alleviated.

So at the least, I'm not completely without options I guess. He also wants me to go and see my neurosurgeon, and depending upon that visit, maybe get a second opinion from a surgeon at a learning hospital. I live in Pennsylvania, so the place he suggested was Pittsburgh or Hershey.

I think what I may do is call student services or counseling or whatever I need to and just tell them what is going on and try and get some feedback or recommendations on what I should do. I sorta am feeling like I'm probably going to have to withdraw from my classes right now. As long as I keep current on my student loans, I should be able to still get a loan for when I want to go back to school. In the meantime I guess I can focus on doing everything I can to try and get to a place where I am more capable of doing the things I want. Even if I do have to wait--again--to go to school, I think I can maybe take some online classes through the school I'm currently at. If I do it on a part time basis, I'd probably have to pay some out of pocket stuff but I think I'd be able to manage. So maybe that's what I can do next semester if the problems persist.

So yeah, I still hurt and I still am probably going to have to skip classes again this semester but I do feel much less pessimistic about it. Thanks mostly to everyone on here and my doctor and what not. Even if I end up having to be at home for awhile, I still enjoy learning and there isn't any real harm in taking online classes through my college as long as I'm able to pay for it. I just get so worked up about feeling like a failure and never doing anything with my life, that it becomes hard to see clearly. I tend to beat up myself mentally, so its something I'm working through. I'll have to mention it all to my psychiatric doctor too, so I can monitor that part of it as well.

Thanks again, hopefully I will resolve the school issue one way or another soon, which will take a great deal of the stress off of me. Even if I'll be sorta depressed at having to withdraw now, at least I will have taken action instead of just waiting around until I had to pay full tuition and started skipping classes due to pain or something like that. So in the long run even the 'bad' result cans till be a relief for now, I guess.

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 8/24/2011 3:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Just a little update.

I went ahead and called my adviser and explained my situation and the element of uncertainty so she said I should probably withdraw and include in the fax my intent to return for Spring. She was really nice and helpful, and she even said that she had back surgery and stuff. lol!

So maybe I can get my stuff in order. I'm a little nervous and stuff, since everything now happened all at once, but I'll have to try and calm down while I send in some papers to the school for the withdraw. Thanks so much, everyone here!

Kilroy
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/24/2011 8:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I have a TENS machine, and personally love it. Some have other experiences though. But give it a try. And remember, it is not necessarily the most expensive one that is best.
If you chose to withdraw, then make sure you also find out if there is an actual unit at you college that helps students with health problems. It is usually not the student advisor. In my place it is called student equity and disability unit. My student advisor suggested i dropped out!!!!! Didn't even know of the seadu unit. But they helped me through a five year degree.

CRPSpatient
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1276
   Posted 8/24/2011 8:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Mister, I'm sorry for not writing earlier. I'd agree with Kilroy - definitely find out if there is a disability services unit or something like that at your college. Depending on how big the course is, it might also be worth talking to the lecturers themselves, not just the adviser if you can.

I've finished my degree now, but I did Veterinary Science. I've had CRPS since I was 14 but I was doing okay until early in 2nd year Vet when I had to have more knee surgery and everything went haywire. I did my final two years (all my clinicals) on crutches, had five or six hospital admissions, but the Uni were fantastic. They allowed rescheduling of exams, and let me sit them in a small room so I could get up and move around, I had extra time to complete assignments. That said, I can well understand your other worry too - I was able to work for about six months after graduation before I 'crashed', and three years later my employment prospects don't look good.

As far as the TENS unit goes - a lot of pharmacies and physiotherapists (here at least) have them available for hire. They're not cheap, so if you can find someone to hire to you first that might be the way to go :)

Good luck

Laura

sore42long
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 8/24/2011 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Mister,Thats good news ,as for your neighbour You have to forget rude people like that.Your young enough that you still have your whole life ahead of you to support yourself also attend school.The most important thing is your health and getting better now for the future.Its smart not to take narcotics if you don't have too!The fact that you care enough to worry about being a failure,kinda tells me ,that will never be the case! If you think of it like its your job now ,to follow thur with medical treatments and get well,so your goals are attainable,thats the best thing you can do for yourself and future.Online classes will keep your mind busy ,so less time to think about what you can't do at this time!I'm glad you found HW and all the good people here,that understandand can guide you through the rough patches,take care from michele
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