Written by Emily Baddorf for the RSDSA blog.
How and when did you develop CRPS/RSD?
I developed RSD at the age of 15 following a sprained ankle. The injury did not even hurt at the time and I continued the tennis lesson I was in the middle of. About 24 hours later, my ankle was swollen and was black/blue/purple. The pain was unbearable and I could not walk on it.
What has daily life been like since your diagnosis?
Life has had constant ups and downs since that day. I have had extremely low moments; being told I would never walk again, experiencing depression severe enough that it caused me to attempt suicide, numerous surgeries and being completely isolated from friends and family. The highs; overcoming the doctor’s prognosis and eventually learning how to walk again, being able to get a wonderful job, meeting and marrying my incredible husband and, despite the RSD, successfully carrying and delivering our amazing baby boy!
What is one thing you wish those without CRPS/RSD could understand?
I wish people without RSD would understand the power of their words. I wish they knew how it can absolutely break a person with RSD to be told that we are crazy, that we are making it up, that it’s all in our heads, etc. I wish doctors and nurses would treat us like humans who are suffering, not like drug addicts. I wish people would understand that we did not choose this and that we are not “doing” this to get out of work, school, etc. We would do anything to stop the burning/stabbing/ice cold/crushing/searing pain but we simply cannot. What we need is love, support, understanding, compassion and acceptance.
What advice would you give to newly diagnosed Warriors?
Reach out, ASAP. Do not believe the ones who have already told you that you are crazy because you are not. Find support! Try to find a group that you can connect with, either in person or online. Remember to breathe, the journey ahead isn’t going to be easy but you can do it!
What activities or treatments have helped you find temporary or long term relief?
I’ve had relief from several spinal cord stimulators, an implanted pain pump with various medications and some oral meds. Water and heat are a big help, also. Water therapy did tremendous things for my RSD during my pregnancy and gave me the most relief during that time when I was unable to take oral meds.
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