One Life With Chronic Pain|
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Diagnosis
One Life With Chronic Pain – I have heard this expression a hundred times “We only have one life so live it”, but what if your “one life” turned into one life with chronic pain? I’m not talking hurt my finger kind of pain, but a pain that is known to be one of the most painful conditions known to man. The type of pain where you feel like you’ve been lit on fire, but your skin is ice-cold and blue and there is nothing you can do about it. To know there is no cure and you will have this the rest of your “one life”. When this type of situation occurs you have two choices you can choose to fight to live your “one life” or lay down and succumb to the pain.
It wasn’t always this way, life was good. Busy, but good. I was a wife and mom of three very active kids (ages 10, 9, and 5) I was working a couple of part time jobs while going to college. I had goals and dreams and nothing was going to stand in my way. Until the day I went to work, with this particular job I set my own hours and days, which was perfect for a busy mom.
It started out like most days although my kids were on Christmas vacation so they rode with me. I went up to a house after the employee put in his notice to pick up his work attire. I phoned ahead to tell them I was coming and knocked on the door. I began talking to his Mom and thanking her for all her sons hard work when their dog came running at me. I thought nothing of it as the dog was not growling or its hair was not up. She began yelling at the dog and I put my hand out to tell her it was okay. I wasn’t frighted I’ve had dogs my whole life, but as my hand went out the dogs teeth sunk into it.
I began to laugh as I knew yelling or screaming may make it worse. The dog released his mouth and the owner was able to get him away. I was bleeding but nothing to bad… or so I thought.
I went to the ER per my employer, I had x-rays and cleaned it up and was on way. The next day was New years Eve my hand had swelled, turned ice-cold, very painful and blue. I went back to the ER and received a Tetanus shot and strong antibiotics. My hand became much worse over the next few days. The dog was up to date on all its shots, so we knew it was nothing from him. Within two weeks I couldn’t even hold my coffee cup without dropping it. After a month and a half passed, several doctor appointments, and seeing a hand specialist and having her refer me on I finally was given some answers.
The doctor walked in, looked over my chart and did some physical tests. He tells me I have a disease called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or the newer name Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I told him “I’m sorry but I was bit by a dog, I think you have my chart mixed up”. He responded and said “No, the chart was not mixed up and this is what I have and that there was no cure”. I must have went into a state of shock/disbelief because I don’t remember much after that. I came home and told my husband what the doctor said and we went online and started reading and seeing the images. I just broke down crying and asking God why… why me?
Time had passed and Workers Comp had me see some of their doctors for an I.M.E report. I prayed this doctor was wrong, but after every appointment they all said the same thing over and over again… Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Over this period I tried everything any one of them suggested with no relief. I had been to specialists at world renown hospitals and instead of getting better, I became much worse. It moved up my entire right arm, into my neck, and my right leg. The pain was unbearable! Sharp and sudden, the swelling, the color changes.
I started an online group desperately trying to fit the pieces together of what we all had in common. What I found is, what works for pain relief for one doesn’t for another. I’d lost my independence and my husband stayed home to help with our 3 kids and to help me. I needed help to the bathroom, opening anything was a challenge, I no longer could drive because of the high doses of medicine and the bad side effects from them. I tried to hide my pain from the kids because it was eating at them to see me cry, they had never seen that before and I had never felt like my limbs were being smashed in a car door over and over again.
It’s been five years and I have learned more about this disease and more than that, about myself. It has spread to the nerves of my brain creating horrible migraines. It’s also spread to the nerves of my pelvis….more excruciating pain. I have a good doctor that listens and tries to help me in any way he can.
My husband is back to work as I have learned to do most things left-handed and with the help of a talk to text program I can write this blog. My children are older now and some of the most compassionate, caring kids you’ll meet. My faith has been tested, but it is stronger than ever.
I’m still currently involved with Workers Comp and it’s not always been a pleasant ride with them. My Facebook profile and Facebook group is up to almost 4,000 friends and members. I have found so much joy in helping others and letting them know they are not alone.
My smile is unbroken and I will continue to smile through the pain because this is my “one life“. ~ Elizabeth