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Here is my story. I hope that in sharing my journey to date will somehow connect with someone else and may even help to let that other person realize that they are not alone in this journey.
I have had back issues since in my mid 20's. It ached and would grab me suddenly. Then I took a fall down a flight of 14 stairs and one thing lead to another and my life has never been the same since. I spent 3 wks. in the hospital in traction; remember when that used to be a treatment drs. often used? It helped some, but I never truely got all better. Come to find out, two of my cousin's have similar spine issues and my drs. now feel my spine issues are congenital and progressive in nature. I have several official diagnoses of my spine issues. They are as follows: severe degenerative disc disease (lumbar) and moderate degenerative disc disease of thoracic and cervical spine, advanced degenerative spine disease, multi-level radiculopathy with severe neuropathic pain, severe arachnoiditis on many levels, diffuse myofascial pain as result of severe spine disease, multi-level severe stenosis, peripheral neuropathy, chronic and severe pain issues resulting in falling and passing out from intensity of the pain. I have a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted in my spine since 2006. I have had 4 back surgeries. In addition to these spine issues I also have had 1 TIA, Benign Essential Tremors, PVC's (Preventricular Contractions), moderate Gastro Paresis, Asthma, Hypertension, Diverticular Disease (18 inches of sigmoid colon removed in 1997), Achilles Tendonitis, Heel Spurs - both feet, Severe Sleep Apnea, recurring Gout, Severe Arthritis - both knees. Needless to say - life is not boring and is a challenge. Thankfully though I have alot of good support from family and wonderful friends. My drs. are wonderful, especially my primary care doctor. I prefer to take a "team" approach to my healthcare. My drs. and I decide together what course of treatment makes the most sense for me. I am blest by so many wonderful people in my life. They all keep me going - one day at a time and sometimes one moment at a time.
As far as my work history, I worked for the county Social Services Dept. in my hometown for 24 years, of which 18 of those years I was Coordinator of Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Services and had the priviledge of serving our clients and accompanying them on their recovery journey. I left that position and joined the convent for almost 6 yrs. After leaving the convent I was connected to the Human Resources Dept. of a local business until I was no longer able to work because of my back situation. I have been unable to work and disabled since June 2005.
I spend my days reading (when the pain allows me to concentrate), watching TV (the silly "judge" shows are always good for a laugh) as well as Blue Bloods, Rizzoli and Isles, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Bones, Perspective, The Fosters, The Americans, Downton Abbey, The Big Bang Therory, etc.
Since I can no longer drive because of my severe pain episodes where I pass out and also because of the strength of the meds. I take, my partner and our good friends get me out of the house a few times a week. I play Canasta and Dominos with friends often. I manage the household finances, and cook when I'm able too. I have to have everything laid out for me though as far as pots and pans, etc.
I have a strong prayer life and start and end each day in prayer. It helps to focus my attention on others and on needs other then my own all of the time. Now I have been blest to find my way to this forum of others in situations similar to mine. I am grateful for all of you and for your sharing your stories and experiences with us all. I'll end on that note of gratitude everyone. Peace - Mona 717