November is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD) Awareness Month. RSD/CRPS is a neurological disorder driven by inflammation in the body. On the McGill Pain Scale, RSD/CRPS ranks between 42 and 46 out of 50 higher than cancer, childbirth, and amputation of a limb without anesthetics, making it the most painful condition known to modern medicine. It is safe to say that I have never felt any other pain as severe as the RSD/CRPS. Symptoms include: burning pain disproportionate to the injury (some people don’t have an injury to cause it), temperature changes (either extremely hot or extremely cold to the touch), skin color changes (purple, blue, brown, bright red, mottled), skin texture changes, swelling, changes in hair and nail growth, hypersensitivity to touch (allodynia), hypersensitivity to painful stimuli (hyperalgesia), and many, many more. There is no cure and no FDA approved treatment, but treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and preserving function of the extremities.
October 17th of this year marked 5 years since my nightmare started. October 18th was my unofficial CRPS diagnosis. November 14th, 2017 is 5 years since my official diagnosis.
I’ve learned a lot on this journey and I’ve had some pretty amazing people helping me along the way. It has been a long war, with many smaller daily battles, but I’ve learned that I have to keep moving forward. The pain doesn’t stop, I’ve just adapted and learned to live with it.