It was but a few seconds in time, that accident over 21 years ago that changed my life forever. While at the gym, the Cybex Lat Pull Down machine failed while I was using it, which caused a severe low back injury. A multi-level spinal fusion surgery with implanted instrumentation (hardware) was required to repair the damage. After several months of physical therapy I was able to return to work. One fateful day not long after my return to work I was attending a meeting. While seated around a boardroom table with some of my colleagues, the chair I was sitting in broke, causing me to fall onto the hardwood floor. The point of impact was the site of my spine fusion. The impact caused further damage to my spine. A second, multi-level spinal fusion surgery with hardware was required to repair the damage. Intense physical therapy followed, and I was once again able to return to work. Though my orthopedic surgeon cleared me to return to work, my employer refused to reinstate me. Instead, they offered me a lesser position in another state, which would require me to relocate. Instead, I decided to seek employment elsewhere. During the following two years the damage to my spine continued to worsen. A third spinal fusion surgery with hardware was required. Despite intense physical therapy I was unable to again return to work.
The effects of the chronic pain along with limited function and mobility has slowly changed me. Over time, depression set in, as I sought to find appropriate treatments to return me to the individual I once was. The motivated, outgoing, positive, executive-level manager was changed into a depressed, withdrawn, irritable individual, unable to work while coping with disability.
Despite several additional surgical procedures, the chronic pain continued to worsen. Years of pain medication usage further changed me as I attempted to manage the pain. The result was further medical complications, greater pain, and a loss of quality of life.
My role as husband and father was also affected. My inability to play with my kids and be the husband my wife married, along with the inability to earn a living, deepened my depression and despair. Hiding my pain and pushing away those who loved and cared about me was my existence. It was clear to me that my best days were behind me.
Years later it became apparent to me that my chronic pain was permanent. It could not be healed. I had two options: continue to allow the pain to control me, or take charge and control the pain. If I wanted to live, the latter was my only choice.
mypainweb shares with you how chronic pain took control of every aspect of my life. Once I realized this, it was a step in the right direction. Am I the individual I once was? No. Do I still suffer from chronic pain? Yes. Will I face more surgeries and medical treatments? Most likely. The difference now is that I understand I must take charge and control mypainweb. Rather than continuing to close myself off from the world I’ve begun talking about my chronic pain journey. I’ve begun to reach out to others in an effort to help them face their own chronic painweb.
A quality of life CAN exist even with chronic pain. In some ways the cure for chronic pain is found within the pain itself.
The interconnectedness of chronic pain within one’s life can be seen “at a glance” in mypainweb below.
mypainweb 3D “Timeline” below will enable you to scroll through each strand of mypainweb in detail.