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Chronic Pain

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We walk a mile in your shoes. WE CONNECT WITH YOU we listen, offer hope, support and accept YOU.

Hello - my name is Kathy, and I live in the Lockyer Valley up in Queensland with my husband of 28 years and our daughter - plus all of the animals.

I suffered a grade IV sprain of my left ankle in a workplace injury back in 1999 back when I was working in the health care system. it was originally diagnosed as a simple sprain by an over-fatigued locum who'd been up all night - and I eventually developed CRPS. that was the beginning of the end of my nursing career, but it's not like I was allowed to fade away gracefully. I went through all of the usual treatments too - lumbar sympathetic nerve block, a couple of trips to hospital for epidural infusions for a week at a time, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, lyrica, brufen, panadeine forte - plus workplace visits from the occupational therapist and the workcover case manager. antidepressants were denied to me initially, as I suffer from epilepsy and they're contraindicated due to the risk of increased seizure activity.

overall - I found the people who provided the services to be helpful and sympathetic, although back in 1999 little was still known about CRPS. the workplace was a different matter though, but I won't dwell on that unpleasant experience - except to say I eventually had to refuse to return to work due to the un-supportive environment, and I developed PTSD as a result of that experience to complicate what was already a complicated injury.

after 18 months of pain and failed treatments and workplace issues - the major depression was well on the way to being suicidal and I begged the GP managing me to prescribe an antidepressant. I really do have to credit him for keeping me alive during this time, as he had me always having to be somewhere. when I wasn't seeing someone for health care during the dark days - I was at home with my family. when I look back now though, I have a gap of about 4 years in my life which has just gone in a fog of depression and pain.

I was eventually medically retired from work about 4 years after the injury, so I had to give up my nurses registration and midwifery registration. it was a big hit to my sense of self, and I went through a grieving process over all of the losses that I had experienced.

we all experience loss as a result of developing a chronic pain condition, but I suppose my own message of hope is the potential to rebuild our lives and do new things that we never imagined previously.

back before I'd injured myself - the internet was a place I'd rarely surfed. as the years went by though, I got onto the internet and saw it as a potential means to earn an income. this led me to teaching myself how to build web sites with html pages, and then I progressed to using content management systems. eventually this wasn't enough for me and I started to teach myself how to code PHP programmes. it's maybe 5 years since I registered my business name and company name now - and this was a significant moment for me as I'd finally moved on and had redefined "who I was and what I do".

it was around this time that I was suffering some really bad tension headaches, and a chemist suggested I take a combination of nurofen plus, panadeine and a doxalyamine at night. I did this religiously and found not only did my headaches disappear - I stopped waking up screaming from nightmares and began to sleep through the night, and I began to get my pain levels down to a tolerable level.

I've found programming software to be something I can do from home with my feet up, and I don't have to tax myself physically. I get to work from home at my own pace, earn a bit of an income, and I get to meet and help clients from all over the world from many cultures. I play videos on my computor as I work on my software, so I'm able to keep my mind fully occupied all day which helps to distract me from the pain. it's a bit like having an endless puzzle, and my clients give me new challenges for my mind by asking for new features to be implemented into my software.

I could never imagine giving up my life of software development now - even if I was physically able to return to nursing, and while I've got issues with a pain flare-up at the moment and dealing with a less than supportive local doctor - I try to remember that there are a lot of good positive things in my life, and that there are yet undiscovered surprises that may lead to new opportunities for me.

Chronic Pain Australia

Sometimes the journey TAKES YOU TO A PLACE UNMAPPED. Anything is possible

-Chronic Pain Australia

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