View Full Version : back to work and hurting

Curvy Corky
06-06-2006, 09:35 AM
Hello Everyone!
I had my surgery on 1/4/06. I am fused from T12-L4. Initially my doc told me I'd probably be back at work around 2 months post op. Ha! that was very optimistic for me. My job is a marketing coordinator for an architecture firm and basically I have to sit all day and work on proposals/interviews. It is intense computer work and very stressful. Not to mention deadline oriented so I am always under the gun at work. Anyway that's just some background...

So after a very hard first few months of recovery I started back to work part-time at the end of April. My doctor said I was ok to start part-time again and at the time I was starting to feel better. But keep in mind feeling better at home resting with little activity most days, except my physical therapy. So I got back to work and the reality of my job set in and instead of doing the part-time like I was supposed to, I was basically put in a situation where we had crazy deadlines and basically had to push myself to work much longer hours. Well as most of you know sitting is pretty painful after surgery and sitting for long periods of time it just gets worse by the minute. I've been back now for about a month and a half and the pain is just getting worse for me. I've missed a ton of days recently just from the pain and not being able to take another day of torture sitting all day long. My company has been somewhat understanding, well they say they know my situation and will work with me on being flexible with my hours. But bottom line is if I'm not there the work doesn't get done and I feel bad about it. But I also have to put my health first especially now after going through such a major surgery, I am not about to screw it up for a job. My husband and I need my income right now, or I would just quit. So I'm in between a rock and a hard place.

Also we just got back from a week long trip to Hawaii, my husband won it through his work for being top in sales. So it was a planned thing we couldn't change dates on or I would have put it off till later. But my doctor did say I was able to go but take it easy, basically no extreme sports. He did say I could swim, hike (not long hikes) snorkel, etc. Just nothing that would shake me up. We didn't plan many activities because of my back, so spent most of the time laying out at the pool/beach. Which was so nice to relax like that. But since I got back from the trip my pain has been a lot worse. I don't know if it was the long plane ride (over 8 hours) or if I did something on the trip. We did some hiking to a waterfall that was pretty steep, but I was very careful and never fell, slipped, etc. Had sore muscles in my legs the next few days but I really did watch how I did it. The husband freaked out the whole way but it was something I wanted to do. Now I'm wondering if that was a bad choice.
But I honestly think if I would have hurt myself I would have known it when it happened, right?

So now I'm back at work after the trip and the sitting all day is killing me. In fact I stayed home today cause I woke up in such pain I couldn't take any more today.

I really don't know what to do. I really think I started back to work too soon, especially knowing the demands of my job. So now I'm there, in constant pain every day, and not able to function the way my job needs me to function. I feel guilty about taking time off but the pain is that bad.

I see my surgeon Friday so hopefully he will have some answers for me. But has anyone out there had a similar situation. If so what did you do about your job? Can I get back on disability if I've already gone back to work? I'm confused and stressed out about it. Plus my husband is stressing me out cause he's putting the pressure on me to work so I can bring in money, but I don't feel like he understands how horrible it is for me to be in this pain and work.

Sorry for the very long post but I just need to talk about this and get it out. I just don't feel like anyone understands my pain or emotions right now. I figured someone on here can relate or give advice.

Thank you so much for your help!

06-06-2006, 11:28 AM
Hi Shelly...

Perhaps you could work something out with your employer, to work from home, at least part of the time. That would allow you to move away from your desk occasionally... perhaps you could set an alarm for every few hours.


06-06-2006, 05:45 PM
I feel guilty about taking time off but the pain is that bad.

Please don't feel guilty, it's not your fault and your health comes first. You're not going to get better or make this situation better by feeling guilty or not thinking of yourself first right now :)

Sometimes when you over do it, especially not that long after surgery(in the first year), it takes some time out and much needed rest to get out of a pain cycle. Did you ask for pain meds? Sometimes they can also help relax the muscles and pain and combined with rest, getting back to normal.

I know it must be hard with the pressures you have but if you can work part time or take time off again, IMO you should consider that, if you don't get better.

Hope it helps.

06-06-2006, 06:12 PM
Going back to work is rough, and frustrating. I got by with some pillows and a heating pad, and setting my Outlook to remind me to get moving. I also made sure I got plenty of rest at home, since work just wiped me right out. Basically, you need to build up some endurance, which is tough but pays off. In the meantime, try (HA!) not to get to stressed about it all. (Yes, easier said than done!)

06-07-2006, 12:41 AM
Hi Shelly,

I think it's very important to listen to your body. As we all know, recovery rates are different. I felt guilty that I was not able to go back to work as soon as I thought I would be able to.

I made up my mind that I was not going to beat myself up over it. Take the time you need to heal, so you will be able to do whatever you want, for many years to come.


06-07-2006, 04:59 AM
I do hope your pain does receed soon. I agree with others on the board about pain- from all my replacements - it is the enemy. I would certainly talk with your doc about it. If you have already been down the pain clinic road- I would go to them. If not, I would consider a referal. They are pretty good about managing pain using various methods- meds, etc.
I am sure you know what a pain cycle is- pain grows until it is very bad and then taking meds in order to reduce it. I am was taught never get inside a pain cycle, but keep it down to a low roar on a consistent basis.
May God Walk with You.