Life with Pain

Hello my name is Tim, I am a 52 year old male, I live in America and have suffered from back pain my entire life. I first injured my back at the age of 12; my step father was a truck driver and he forced me to unload his truck from time to time without any help or back braces. The first injury was from unloading a forty foot trailer filled with boxes of (4 per box) frozen turkeys. I hurt my lower back and was told to "suck it up" and to get used to it.

At a very early age, 13, I went to work in construction. I had a high paying, intensive labor job tamping asphalt one summer. I would walk behind a paving machine with a concrete filled pipe welded to a 1/2" thick 12" square piece of heavy steel plate. My job was to bounce it up and down to remove any visible seam in the parking lot. We worked 12 hrs. a day for 6 days each week. My back hurt from day one but the family needed funds and so did I. I then went into factories and home building for the next 17 years as a laborer.

I had tried chiropractors and drugs to no avail. At the age of 35, I was severely injured from a kickback out of an extremely high powered table saw. A piece of hard rock maple hit me in the bicep and almost tore my arm off. Every joint in my arm was dislocated and my bicep was crushed. I hemorrhaged for days without any relief. The decision had been to allow my body to absorb the blood and for my body to heal itself.

Within a few months it was decided that my ulnar nerve would be relocated. I had severe back and neck pain that was not addressed because it was not the main problem. Somewhere along the line as I was opening a stuck window I "popped" the disk in my thoracic region. I now had horrid back pain in every region of my spine. It seems to ping pong from each area.

I had my lower back operated on when I was 42. My left leg is still numb from the disk ruptures; 3 disks were partially removed. On 12/17/08 I had two disks and many spurs removed from my neck; I now have a titanium plate in my neck and donor bones from a cadaver. My thoracic region goes out whenever I sleep wrong or if I sneeze sometimes. My arms have numbness and my foot now has neuropathy.

The surgeon is reluctant to operate on the thoracic region, even though a rupture has been exposed in an MRI. I have had electric impulse, ultra-sound, acupuncture, acupressure, surgery, pain management and just tried to live with it. I have spent years taking herbs and working out to build strong muscles that would hold things in.

I am safety conscious and have just done heavier work than the body can handle, work ethic has cost me my quality of life. I stopped my Morphine and Xanax doses 2 months after surgery. I am taking Norco 5/350 every four hours and Ambien for sleep at night. Suicide is not the answer, but at times it has crossed my mind.

I now teach Architectural Drafting and cannot return to work on Meds. I have 3 sons and 3 grand kids. I am married to my second wife now for 24 yrs. My wife is a nurse and has no answer for my pain. Arthritis has now riddled my body from all of the joint stress. My only answer is to try to keep going and accept "islands" of pain relief when I can get it.

Pain never goes away it is just measured in levels. By saying that I do not mean on a scale of 1 to 10; the way modern medicine tries to measure pain and treat it is antiquated. Pain is a very subjective thing. I have a high threshold for pain and yet I am at the end of my tolerance level. I have nerve pain, I have joint pain, I have muscle pain and I have emotional pain. At any point in time they all can get to "10+".

I do not know the answer for anyone including myself. We must all stay strong and keep going. Opiates are truly the only thing that make life "okay" and I refuse to stay on them even though I truly have the best reason possible to be using them. That is my story - Tim



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