Day 73- Dear Diary

Dear diary,

I’ve been having a rough week or so and needed to take some time off to deal with me and my emotions.  I have been having a hard time with my depression and a lot of pain in the lower back.  I’m still trying to get into the surgeon to see if there have been any changes but life keeps getting in the way. I now have an appointment on Wednesday, October 26th.  Hopefully, we can get some answers to why the pain has gotten worse.  And whether or not, I’ll need another surgery.  If that is the case, it won’t is until the end of the year when my husband can take some time off to help me out.  I’m usually out of commission for 6-8 weeks depending on how well I do with the surgery.

Fusion Surgery

You would think to have this surgery 3 times already and having 4 back surgeries, I would be a pro at this.  But it is a hard surgery to have.  It is a spinal fusion.  That is where they take titanium and screw it into the spinal and fuse bone under it to get rid of the degenerative disc disease and strength my back.  The problem is, every time they do a fusion, it makes the spine weak above the fusion and it deteriorates a lot faster, hence having surgery every 2 years right now. Extensive fusion of the lumbar spine transfers stresses to the next level of the spine, which is thought to put that next level at risk for degeneration. For example, a fusion from L3 through S1 would put the L2-L3 level of the spine at risk for degeneration and cause future pain. My lower back is getting stronger with the metal and the fusion but weakens the rest of the spine.  I always heard never have spine surgery because once you start, it never ends till the entire spine is fused.

It’s not so much an appointment to see if I need surgery, it is more when I need the next surgery.  And how many levels need to be fused.  I’ve had two level at once and one level.  The most they can do is a two levels. A two-level fusion may be considered for patients with severe, disabling pain that occurs at two levels of the spine (e.g. L4-L5 and L5-S1). I am two level fused from L4-S1.

Depression with Pain

Knowing that I’m close to the next surgery isn’t helping my depression.  Even though that this is typical for me to go through all this, it’s still hard to do it. Depression has always been a part of my life, but the worse my back gets the worse my depression gets too.  I feel very sad right now and scared.  I don’t normally tell many people that but I wanted, to tell the truth, and what it is really like to live life with chronic pain.  I don’t get depressed just because of the surgeries and then the rest of the time feel wonderful.  Actually, I feel relieved to know when the surgery is and can focus on that.  Its when I don’t know why I am in intense pain that the depression shows its ugly head.  It’s when I am second guessing myself and wondering if I am really in this much pain or is it all in my head that depression is a bigger part of my life.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed about.  It is a medical condition and I believe that with the correct medications, life can be better with it. I believe that my depression makes me a caring and understanding person to those who suffer along with me.  I believe that depression makes a person sensitive and sympathetic to others.  I don’t believe that I would be as creative and artful without my depression.  Doesn’t mean that I like having it, I’ve just learned that there are positives that come from it too.  You just have to find what they are.

I am not saying that living in a depressed state is ok.  I am saying that knowing that your depression gives you feelings that are unique to you and not to those who don’t suffer from depression.  Depression makes most people a little more in tuned to their own feelings better than those without. Think about how many times you cry, some of it because of depression, other times because of a good commercial on tv. Being more in tuned to your own emotions and understanding them is usually because you have depression and can read your emotions.  Those without, may be guessing a lot at their emotions and are always trying to understand the emotions.

Anyway, that’s about all right now.

Its good to be back and writing again.

Until next time……

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