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Joined: 04/19/2010
My Story:
My name is Dave. I am 53 years old, married to the most wonderful woman in the world for 22 years now, and have two great sons ages 18 and 20. We live in Western New York, just outside of Buffalo. I have been managing chronic pain from multiple degenerative spinal conditions for over 30 years, having started with symptoms in my late teens/early 20's. Most of my ailments are genetic, and are described below.

I have hyperkyphosis (excessive out curvature of the thoracic section), severe osteoarthritis throughout my spine and whole body, advanced DDD, advanced stenosis in all areas of my spine, a total of 8 herniated discs (4 C, 2 T and 2 L), 3 or 4 bone spurs, and a few other things thrown in for extra fun. My doctor (who is wonderful) told me last year he is almost certain I also have Fibromyalgia. All this has worked together to cause many physical difficulties in my life. I had been able to work (desk jobs - Information Technology field) until May of 2008. I stretched wrong on 5/2/08 and because my spine is so unstable vertebrae T12 and L1 slipped out more and tore ligaments and tendons. My chronic pain level went from a 3-4 up to a 10. Three doctors (primary, neurosurgeon and chiropractor) all told me this would take at least a year to heal, if ever. I contracted an attorney to apply for SSD and was approved in 2 months. All of my medical evidence (full MRI's, doctors' evaluations, etc.) proved to the SSA that I really was disabled and probably would never be able to work again. So, now I call myself the Full Time Dear Disabled House Husband. I can do some light - moderate (on a really good day) housekeeping and do all the cooking for our family. I live with pain levels about a 5 out of a scale of 1-10 most days, with gust up to 7-9 on some days depending on weather, activity, etc. I can walk, but usually use a cane for long distances like a store or use a handicapped cart if available. I've been told that a wheel chair is inevitable, but I am trying to put off the purchase of a Hover Round off as long as possible. My wife and I joke, though, that once I get the Hover Round we can finally go on a trip to the Grand Canyon.

I manage my pain with a muscle relaxer (methocarbomol) and enteric coated aspirin. I have tried all prescription pain meds and they either cause severe hives or do not work for me. My wife and I invested in a Sleep Number bed and a hot tub last year and those have helped. I also get a chiropractic adjustment about twice per month, and do a strength training routine with 5 pound hand weights about 3-5 times per week doing moves that strengthen the muscles in my back.

In addition to what I've listed already (I hear what you're saying - "what, he's not done yet??") I also was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder after a hospital stay in 1998, and have had a history of blood clots in my left leg. I'm on an anticoagulant medication (warfarin) for the clotting disorder, and have learned to direct my energies properly when manic or talk with my wife or friends to get through a depressed phase. At one time I was on 3 medications for the bi-polar, but through various techniques I have learned to manage the condition without medication. Oh, I also have sleep apnea and sleep with CPAP.

I am fairly active on the Back Pain and Diabetes (Type 2 dx in 2001) exchanges, and read and very occasionally post on the Chronic Conditions & Disability and Pain Management exchanges.

So, I thought I would share my story. What I have learned over the years is to keep a positive attitude and keep moving in any way possible.

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