Here's a synopsis of my medical problems, then I will post my question.
I'm a 43 yr old woman, living in Michigan. I have severe back problems resulting in chronic, terrible and non-stop pain. This is all well documented in my medical records by numerous doctors. I've had one back surgery so far (spinal fusion) and will need another within a year or two. I have degenerative disc disease, spondylolythesis, bulging discs, facet joint arthritis and problems with my sciatic nerve. I have lost 3 inches off of my height due to collapsing discs in my back. (Osteoporosis was ruled out by a dexascan.) I have tried physical therapy, steroid injections into the spine, TENS unit, very strong pain medications and biofeedback as ways to control the pain. I am unable to stand for more than a few minutes due to severe pain and unable to sit for more than probably an hour before I have to lie down. My condition continues to worsen and even when I have another back surgery, it is not going to improve.
I also have fibromyalgia, migraines, and sleep problems. To make matters worse, I also have bipolar disorder and PTSD and an anxiety disorder, also documented by 15+ years of psychiatric care and multiple hospitalizations. The chronic pain has thrown me into a total depression currently. I am taking many, MANY different kinds of medications for pain and for bipolar disorder.
I was working full-time, and have my entire life, until about a year ago when my conditions started to get progressively worse. I have been slowly reducing the amount of work time because I just can't physically do it. In April of 2011, I had to reduce my schedule down to about only 8-10 hours per week. My employer has been gracious enough to allow me to do desk work exclusively (I'm in the medical field.), but I'm still not able to do it, because I cannot sit for very long at all before I get shoot pains down my leg from the sciatic nerve problems.
I applied for SSDI in May of 2011 because I cannot work, and my condition is not going to improve, ever. The fact that I had to apply for SSDI was very depressing in itself, because it feels like my life as a productive adult has ended. I am no longer able to work, or have fun, or do any of the things I used to enjoy due to the pain.
I completed the form very thoroughly, submitted medical records from various doctors, etc, and I was denied.
In the denial letter, they said that my medical records indicate that I have back problems, but I'm able to walk satisfactorily. (!!) (I can walk MAYBE a half a block before I have to sit down.) The letter also said while records indicate I have bipolar disorder and PTSD, I am responding well to treatment. (!!!! I am???)
I am completely at my wit's end and so depressed about this and about my situation as a whole. I am going to appeal, but I'm so depressed it's hard to move forward. We are barely making it by on my husband's salary (as a police officer), and our financial problems are causing marital problems.
My question is (wow, I'm so verbose) do any of you think, based on my conditions, I have a chance to win this on appeal. I don't know what I will do if I am denied completely. We cannot survive with our income as it is, I cannot work and will never be able to (not even sedentary jobs). We have cut off many of the "luxuries" in life and don't really do anything fun, in an attempt to save money and cut costs, and we still are not going to be able to stay above water for much longer. I applied for SSDI as a very last resort, after trying everything my Dr. and I could try to help control the pain.
Thank you for reading this (if you made it this far.) I know I gave a lot of information, but I was trying to give a clear picture of what my situation is.