I've used LightWave, LightWave, and, um...LightWave.
Seriously, I was given (no kidding) a legal copy of LW 5 way back in 1999...minus the manuals. I played around with it for about a month, but couldn't figure out how to do squat, so I put it away.
A couple of years later I decided to give it a go again. Sadly, I couldn't find my copy.
There was much gnashing of teeth.
I did get a copy of LW 6.0 through, um, alternative means, but once again life stepped in and made me too busy to work with it.
Finally, in 2004, my wife bought me LW 8.0 on special, with about $400.00 worth of learning materials covered with the price. I'm still learning, and have even upgraded to LW 9.0...and I'm just now making models that look like what they're supposed to look like.
Moral of this story?
1. Be prepared to invest time.
2. Be prepared to invest money.
3. Don't give up. It will get easier.