Wednesday, May 21, 2014


CJ, before surgery...leading an active, normal life

My name is CJ Thrasher. I live in Greensburg, PA. I am a 51 year old male who was very active, physically fit, and athletic. 

I retired from the Navy after 16 years. I had to retire early from the Navy during a physical exam in 1997 when I was diagnosed with DDD, degenerate disc disease, which made me unfit for further sea duty. During my time as a civilian, I changed my life style, activities and work to maintain my back. 

I started to have more recurring chronic back pain and in 2009 and 2010, I had an epidural block, which lasted over a year. However, the pain returned, which resulted in needing a Lumbar Laminectomy to resolve my pain issues. It was helpful, but after two months, I began having recurrent severe pain from other areas of my back and legs. I needed Vicodin to deal with the severe pain, Robaxin for muscle spasms and Neurotin for nerve pain. I also went through two bilateral epidurals and a nerve block without any success. 

For the physicians to figure what was really going on, I had to undergo a Discogram of four lumbar disc, which showed further degenerative disc disease, bulge/herniation, foraminal narrowing and Facet Disease.

I was told my back issue was inoperable and that I needed to manage my severe pain with strong opium prescription pain medications. I was taking already Vicodin for the pain and they added Opana and Oxycodone. I am waiting to start Lyrica for controlling spinal nerve pain. 

I have been unable to work for 17 months because of the pain, condition of my spine and because of the strong narcotics. I only sleep 2 to 3 hours at night, tossing and turning from the pain. I cannot stand for long periods at a time nor can I sit for long periods. I keep a time record of when I take my meds for fear of forgetting that I already took them resulting in an accidental over dose. My physician even prescribed me a Nasal Naloxone in case of an opioid overdose. 

Life is no longer fun. I have good days and then I have really bad days...more bad days than good. I’m pretty much living in a fog from all the opioids. My biggest fear is opioid addiction and/or over dose. I worry more and more often if I will ever be able to gain my life back, live pain free/drug free, and be able to work and enjoy life again.

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