My name is Vicki, I am 52 and this is my story. I am a mother of 3 blessed children and have been a career woman most of my life. I am a very social person, love spending time with friends and family, shopping, café’s, restaurants, entertaining, walks on the beach and I have always tried to put other people’s needs first, helping and assisting others has always been a priority.
Early 2007 pain began in my wrists whilst involved in a career of constant typing (injury occurred at work & therefore Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation were involved). I continued to try to work throughout the next 2 yrs. (on graduated return to works) as working was one of the things that gave me great satisfaction in assisting people in need. I was diagnosed with tendinitis, after 2yrs of worsening pain I was then diagnosed with severe nerve damage from Carpal Tunnel in both wrists. I underwent Carpal Tunnel surgery early 2009.
Since this surgery, pain has been unbearable with it spreading up my arms. I attended hand therapy and have over time visited many specialists with misdiagnoses and little answers. Many within the medical field made me feel like I had a mental problem or I was being a hypochondriac. The disbelief and lack of explanations had me feeling very low many times.
It was not until mid-2010 that I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. A Doppler ultrasound diagnosed nerve tethering in my wrists (Jan 2010). I have seen specialists with this information who have been reluctant to operate again on my wrists to repair the nerves & this has been stated as the trigger & constant reinforcing of the CRPS (therefore I have been advised there is no more help available except the limited medications I am taking).
Throughout 2010 and 2011 I have trialled many medications (with many allergic reactions), natural treatments, physio, nerve blocks, ketamine infusions and 4 operations attempting to get a spinal cord stimulator implanted and working properly (this was unsuccessful), but to this day nothing has given me pain relief help.
The purchase of a wheelchair was needed for me as the CRPS has now spread to my feet and legs in November 2011. There is currently concern of it spreading to other areas through my body.
I constantly pace myself to try to achieve the little I do eg. Shower etc.
Every day, hour, minute and second is a painful struggle and what I wouldn’t give to have my life back from just sitting here in this chair. I have lost many friends due to lack of understanding about CRPS. Family members struggle seeing me and hold back the tears with each visit. CRPS is a very lonely, silent and misunderstood disease. My wish is for more awareness, research and hope for a cure.
I look at the Internet as much as I can (pain permitting) as I participate in various support groups, researching latest information and sharing what I have found with friends met online. This is becoming even more of a struggle lately due to still worsening pain in my hands/wrists, limited eye sight and migraines.
My days and nights are long sitting here in my chair and I struggle to achieve the most basic chores of dressing, washing and feeding myself (with help required at times). I try to pace myself with various therapies I have learnt along the way eg. Exercise/movement in water, walking with pacing, meditation, visualization.
I get great pleasure when my two granddaughters visit of a weekend and I watch them run around, sing, dance, giggle and play. It breaks my heart I am unable to do this with them, however having them sit on my lap for a short cuddle brings great pleasure.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome has changed everything about my life and is a constant battle of trying to focus on the brighter side of life as depression can be a battle at times.
CRPS is a debilitating illness that needs to be witnessed to grasp a small understanding. If it wasn’t for my loving husband, family and friends supporting, life would be even more unbearable.
I wish for greater understanding within the community and medical field about this illness. I thank Chronic Pain Australia for taking the steps to raise awareness about Chronic Pain, as people like me certainly are grateful.