Going on 18 years of Chronic Pain, about to give up!

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up all night
New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/11/2011 2:32 AM (GMT -6)   
On 12/6/93, while as an employee of California State Disability, and out visiting disabled folks, I was rearended at nearly 50 mph by an elderly gentleman not paying attention while at a T intersection getting ready to pull into traffic, with my left hand on the steering wheel, leaning forward and twisted to the right. I immediately felt pain in my thoracic spine. I ended up with 3 Thoracic herniated discs, causing stenosis and with alternating levels torsing my spine at one level left to right, next level, right to left and then following level back again. A year later, after a discogram which was controversial at the time, I chose the lesser of the 2 surgeries and had a thoracic discectomy at t 7-8, leaving the other discs alone.

Neurosurgeon drilled through the pedicle in the back and sucked out the disc material from the worst disc as opposed to going in through the front, opening me up with a rib spreader, taking out my organs and doing a tri-level fusion with 35 percent morbidity rate on the table. Had 2nd thoracic surgery a month later as the incision opened up and had to be re-cut and re-stitched. In 2007 finally had a Rhizotomy (burning of the nerves at 4 levels bilaterally in the thoracic spine. Also have 2 herniated discs in cervical c 6-7, and c7-8, the latter also causing stenosis and pressing on the exiting c-7 nerve root with a positive EMG for nerve damage in my left shoulder/arm. In 2009 I had 2 major surgeries on my ankle open reduction internal fixation with multiple titanium wires pulling my ankle back together from a severe break that left my foot dangling at 180 degrees opposite my original position, and ligament rupture once they got in there to fix the ankle.

Now I've just suffered 2 broken ribs, a/c shoulder jt injury and adhesive capsulitis,as well as bone and muscle bruises again on my left side. further, from the original injury, the thoracic pain on the left also extends around the chest wall and ribs with chronic spasming all the way to the front part of my chest. I am a mess. Fortunately, I had a sedentary job, and lived on pain meds the last 17+ years in order to keep my job and support my family. I've now been forced out on medical retirement, and have filed for such from CalPers state retirement system, and anticipating resolution from my leaving as of 05/04/11 to know within 30 days or so if it will be approved. I have 3 doctors, an FP, PM&R doc, & pain Mgmt PhD.who have all certified me permanently disabled.

I haven't worked full time since 06/10, but did return to work 11/29/10-05/03/11 part time until the pain got so increasingly bad, I couldn't keep even the part time schedule the last 4 months of my part time work attempt. All the descriptions I've read on this forum apply, my kids have all grown and gone (I'm only 51, but feel 75 most of the time with range of motion and pain restrictions) became physically dependent upon pain meds, my family after 2 years didn't want to hear about my pain any longer. I've lost all my friends, had to discontinue a very athletic existance both on my own and in raising 3 boys.
I have seriously thought about just giving up. I can't because of my relief reasons, and because I am a coward to do so, but I can finally understand after all these years how someone could check out because they can't get any relief physically, or mentally for that matter, and there is just no quality of life.

My State disbility ran out, and due to working part time, I'm precluded from filing for Social Security Disability until 5 months after my last physical day of work, even though it was on a part time schedule for 5 months after being off completely for 6 months prior to that, and now my attorney states I needed to wait 5 months after my last day of work to file for SSDI. Any suggestions as a rule of thumb to shorten the Social Security DI application, and alleged 2 disqualifications I will automatically receive to reduce my addtional waiting time so I don't have to wait another 6-12 months after I apply on 10/05/11?

Also, I have tried everything, and I mean EVERYTHING including heat, ice, nsaids & narcotics,from vicodin all the way to fetenyl patches to get relief. They finally put me on suboxone, and then I blew out the ankle and had to go back on the narcotics, and I'm just not getting the relief I need. I take morphine now, and percocet for breakthrough pain. They won't prescribe soma's, although that was about the only muscle relaxant that helped me to sleep,consequently I only average 2-3 hours of cat naps per night, and was constantly crashing at work, from sheer exhaustion from sometimes going 2-3 days without sleep at all. Any and all suggestions for sleep assistance, pain relief and regarding Social Security Disability will be appreciated.

Be Nice- I'm a newbie on the site, today's my first day, though I am far from a newbie in knowledge due to my position (20 years as a paralegal for State Disability Insurance for the State of California which trained us medically, as well as in my med legal field) and due to my chronic pain longevity, which will be 18 years on 12/06/11. Thanks all, sorry if I rambled on :)

(edited for easier reading) Thanks! SE wink

Post Edited By Moderator (Screaming Eagle) : 9/11/2011 2:37:42 AM (GMT-6)

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 9/11/2011 3:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome Up All Night...Im glad you found our forum..we have alot of supportive members here. Im sorry that you have so much pain and you had the pain for such a long time.

Your disability unfortunately does have a waiting time period...you have to be off from work 5 months from the date of your injury and then you get a check. File all the paperwork for SSD online and that will get you started.

Pain and lack of sleep will wear a person down very quickly. Please stop in again and keep us posted as to how you are handling things and how you feel.

Welcome aboard!

Betsey Ross
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

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 9/11/2011 6:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Up All Night,

Welcome to HW. I am not a moderator, but your intro gives so much personal information that someone may recognize you from your work. I would "recommend" gently that you take out the identifiers so that you remain anonymous just in case.

On to your questions and comments, you have obviously had a long history of chronic pain and have worked through it. I didn't quite understand if you have been approved for state medical retirement or if you are still waiting. I am on a state medical retirement pension and have now been approved for SSD. It did take quite a bit of work and I did have to hire an attorney. You may face some of the same things I did because one of the "lingering" questions was related to my work history. It seems I had to have the attorney explain why I worked....didn't work...worked....didn't work....worked...didn't work. It was actually that I was on short term disability and had decided to hold my leave (because I thought I was going back to work) and then the "system" put me on contingency leave, which basically said too bad for turning in medical retirement papers. So, thank Goodness I had the leave to go back into pay status to submit my paperwork. It was naturally confusing to the SSD department and the attorney did have to explain the system.

Your explaination of injuries certainly appears to be enough to gain SSD, but the fact that you worked after your injuries might give you problems. I know it is not fair, but it's like being penalized for trying. I didn't quite catch if you have already applied or not. You can, and should, apply as soon as humanly possible. When they grant it is a different issue. If you have not already done so, there is a web site for SS that answers most of your questions and where you can go ahead and get filed. I recommend (and it is only a personal recommendation) that you use the data contained in your packet for medical retirement...it helped me sooooo much! It also helped that one agency had already found me unable to work. I'm 43...(got SSD at 42) so therefore young and my education and age were held against me.

You will find that the people here are very understanding and compassionate. We all have our own pain stories and some of us (me included) are on again/off again on the boards due to issues in our own lives, but somebody is almost always here to provide companionsip, friendship, and support.

All my best.
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.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 9/12/2011 10:50 PM (GMT -6)   
HI,seems to me you have been thur so much and managed to deal with it well!Its so unfair all this bad stuff happens to someone trying so hard.I don't know about ssd ,but maybe the car insurance company could pay for your injury!I honestly don't know as I'm canadian.I also am going for thoracic outlet surgery on sept 26,can't wait!I know the type of pain I'm in and I feel you probley should not be trying to work with that amout of pain and lack of sleep!I can only say keep looking for ways to get ssd,as I'm sure you need it!! just don't give up! please take care and glad you found this site,from michele

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9249
   Posted 9/12/2011 11:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi and welcome!

Your story has left me nearly speechless. And if you ask the folks around here...that's darn near impossible! I wish I had some miraculous words for you that would relieve your pain but all I have to offer is prayers that you find some relief and the help you need to survive day to day. You more than deserve financial help from the SS folks and I do hope they get your case approved quickly once you can file.

Warm hugs,
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis in Neck/Hands/and slowly meandering around other places....and other maladies as discovered.
It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
Walt Disney
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