CRPS & My Diagnosis

It’s hard to know where to start with this blog because there are so many different topics that I could talk about. I don’t think it would be right however if I didn’t give you a bit of a background as to the events that happened to get me to where I am today. To try to sum up the past 4yrs is difficult to do seeing as so much has happened during that time. Over the past years there has been a hole host of emotions that I have experienced. There have been times of happiness, sadness, fear, and anger to name a few.

In 2006 I was diagnosed with CRPS. The clinical definition of CRPS is that it’s a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling, and changes in the skin. The cause is currently unknown however trauma or surgery are precipitating factors in the condition. It most commonly affects a persons limbs and in my case I can’t use my left hand or my left ankle. A person’s central nervous system plays a significant role in this as well.

In my case surgery was my trigger and after having some cysts removed from my left arm my hand started to swell and turn blue. Soon my arm from elbow to fingertips was greatly swollen. I started seeing specialist’s however they didn’t seem to be able to figure out what was causing all the swelling. For a full year I spent time bouncing from doctor to doctor with no results!! My frustration was growing and the pain was becoming more and more intense. I remember feeling so much anger because it felt like nobody cared about my case and that I didn’t matter to each doctor that I went to. As I left each office the results were always the same, I would leave not knowing what was wrong.

Finally I decided that I would go out to Vancouver where I saw a doctor recommended by a friend. Within minutes of meeting with this doctor I had my diagnosis. One of the things with CRPS is that if you catch it early enough there is a chance that you can get it to go into remission. In my case nearly a year had gone by and the changes in my bone, nerves, and muscles may me irreversible. There was all kinds of anger I was feeling because if only if it had been caught earlier then maybe there would be a chance.

When I got back home to Regina I was refered to a specialist who then put me on what I like to describe as a cocktail of drugs to try to reduce the swelling and minimize the pain. I was also put into an intense physio program where I remain today. At that given time it was as if I almost needed to have a little pity party for myself. Life had changed dramatically for my family and myself and I was feeling all these emotions and didn’t know what to do. Up until that point I had been the provider for the family and my wife stayed at home with the kids. Now the rolls had changed and I was staying home with the kids. Then as though it wasn’t bad enough already I tore the tendon in my left ankle and the CRPS spread to my ankle. It was one thing to have a hand that didn’t work but now my leg wasn’t working and I now walk with a cane.

I won’t bother getting into the nitty gritty of what went on during those 4yrs because like I say the details are to long. All you really have to understand is that there were a lot of ups and downs over that time and there will be other posts that speak to some of those times. There are two choices that I can choose from as I fight this battle. I can choose to stay positive and do all that I can to get better or I can choose to let it defeat me. I am choosing the first choice!!!My faith also plays a huge part this fight. Without my faith I wouldn’t be able to stand up and fight when it feels like it’s all to much.

Waking up and getting through the day in as little pain as possible is now my daily challenge. Having as normal a family life as possible is also another challenge. When you put the two of them together you are living the life that I am living right now. I feel like the luckiest husband in the world to have a wife who is so understanding of my condition and does so much for our family. I have amazing kids that don’t see Dad as disabled, but see me as fun and loving.

It is now time to stop because I can hear the snoring!!!! Hope some of the background into my diagnosis and how I got to where I am at today.

Ross