Carey is a 56 year old mother of two who recently married for a second time. Her pain started at age 25. She had an appendectomy as well as two other surgeries which she thought would solve her chronic pain issues. Carey saw roughly thirty doctors until one finally diagnosed that her pain was coming from her back. Carey considers herself a “classic case.” She tried everything—especially holistic approaches—to avoid surgery. Carey felt like an actress: she would hide her pain from others and during uncomfortable activities, and only her family really knew what was going on.
My name is Carey, I'm 56 years old. I am a mother of two, 25 and 22 years old. I am married and I'm a writer and that's what I love. In November of 2013 I had a two-level lumbar fusion and then scoliosis surgery. From 25 years old, all the way until I was 55 when I finally got surgery it was this wild journey and I had an apendectomy thinking that would get rid of the pain. I had two other surgeries, they thought it was female related and I continued to have pain. But just on this lower right, they call it lower right quadrant. And finally after I probably saw 30 doctors and had six procedures, surgically.
Finally, someone figured out that it was my back. So, the pain that I was experiencing in the front was coming from the back. And so, over those years I tried everything. I mean, I'm the classic story. I tried accupuncture, every holistic thing you could do, herbs, meditation, um, I did everything but surgery on purpose because I knew that was the last-last step. Life with chronic back pain is a life of being an actress and frankly, pretending.
I'd done things like gone on, you know, obviously on a boat in Tahoe that's going really fast and it's bouncing along and all the time the way I've lived with it is I've pretended. And then I would go home and when things would quiet down then everything would-it-it would flare up, and only my family, really only my family really knew what was going on. When you have chronic pain, chronic back pain in my case, it affects how you walk through life because you have to think about, if I'm going to be on an airplane for five hours then this is gonna happen. Or, if I'm going to a party and I want to wear pretty shoes, this is how I'm gonna feel. Almost everything I do, daily, is filtered through how will it make me feel physically? And if I decide to do something more active, I kinda know I'm gonna pay for it.
Actually, this is really silly but I picked up a puppy. I was taking a walk one day and there was a dog that was loose in the neighborhood, I thought it was 20 pounds. And, I picked him up and there was a big gate that he had obviously escaped from his house, I saw the address and I buzzed, no one was there. So I picked him up and I lifted him up over my head and I tried to sort of gently and I did it, I was successful in getting him back behind the gate. But my back went out and I ended up in surgery about five days later. Couldn't go any longer.