I'm quite familiar with spine and disc problems, since i have my own. It's really heart-rending to know the kind of pain you must be in; i wish i had something edifying to say, but i at least wanted to tell you that.
Not for nothing, but i just wanted to make a point. I have the freedom to choose what i want or don't want, i believe every person has that basic, intrinsic free will. E.g., there's this person where i live who wants to hang out and for various reasons, no i don't want to hang with this person. Does that make me a jerk? Don't i have the right to choose? If you want freedom you have to give freedom: some people will choose not to be around me (or you, or any of us). That doesn't make me defective or weird, it's naught to do with me it's not my problem. Some people walk away 'cause they can't deal with me being depressed. I think that's limited and unfortunate, but okay.
So when you say, "Were these people friends anyway if they can't cope with your illness. Answer: NO" You don't know that, you don't know their story, you don't know GJB's story, and neither do i. But i do know that it's possible, for someone to hang in and try to cope -only to find out that they can't. But at least they hung in and tried.
I'm not slamming you, i try to give people i don't know the benefit of the doubt, unless/until i have facts to the contrary. We, the "mentaly ill", above all should be the last to throw stones -'cause we know what the impact feels like.