Post by truwrecks on Jun 12, 2014 12:42:01 GMT -8
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD for short) is almost like a life sentence that punishes you more as time goes on. I try not to think about it like that but some days remind me that my spine is in steady decline and it will not get any better with time. It will also not heal. DDD is not how I was initially injured. It is how my injury degraded with age. If not for medical neglect and DDD I would be in much better health overall, or I would like to hope so.
At the current rate every disc in my spine will be toast in another 12-20 years tops. The damage to the surrounding nerves increases as the failures progress. Whenever I feel like my health has stabilized for a while I get kicked in the face with another round of "Learning the new Me". It has been a never ending cycle since 1991. The worst of it has been from 2009 to current. Once someone is diagnosed with DDD all disc replacement and most disc therapies are off the table except for fusion of the vertebrae. Even that has a limit on how much can be fused. No amount of physical therapy will rebuild the dics. Short of starving to death weight loss is the only means to slow down progress, and that still have limiting benefits to DDD.
I never know how much things have changed because it can happen really slow. One day I wake up to realize that I can no longer do "x" (Fill in anything that requires physical exertion). Either my body just won't do it anymore or the pain from doing it is unbearable and I take more than a day to recover. In a way I can understand MS sufferers. The difference is that I never get a remission from the physical effects. Over time it takes a huge toll emotionally. As much as I like to think I have the drive to conquer anything in life, the truth is I have to decide what is worth suffering for. Pain is the result of anything I do (including sleep) so I have to base every decision on the amount of pain I am willing to endure, and for how long will I be enduring it. That is something that I rarely hear from other people. For Degenerative Disc Disease and a few other chronic pain patients we have to decide if spending a few hours at the shopping mall is worth the next 2 or 4 days in bed or doped up on pain meds so high we can't function. Some days getting out of bed is a challenge that could cost me more time in bed.
As I like to paraphrase it, "Some days I feel 20, other days I feel 80 and broken."
I know other SCI and other diseases are also no picnic. They certainly are life changing as well. Some are physically much worse off than I currently am. L3 to S1 are all not too far from 40% left in each. That has caused scar tissue that is strangling the spinal cord and some root nerves making me a partial paraplegic with CES complications. C4-C6 is already falling apart and has been for 2 years that I know of. It makes my hands burn and hurt all the time, everyday. It also is the reason I drop things constantly. My hands are more useless some days than a nub. The more my hands hurt, the more they clamp shut as they close into fists. Few things that bring me any relief other than do nothing and wait it out without aggravating the nerves more than they are already. As it is it took me over two hours to get this far typing. I really wish Dragon Naturally Speaking supported Linux so I could use it on my laptop. (Thanks to Microsoft DRM I can't run a restored Windows 8 install that I paid money for unless I pay Microsoft Support $20/hour to give me a new working product code to a laptop that came with OEM Windows 8.0 Home but then was upgraded to Windows 8.1 Pro with a new license.)
This is not a plea for pity so don't post it. If you are going to tell me how "Other people have it worse" save your energy. Everyone can find someone that is worse off than anyone else.
It is just a little insight into my world for those who don't really know what I deal with daily.