Monday, May 26, 2014

Puzzle pieces

I perpetually feel like I'm breaking, like another piece of falls out of place with every passing day. Like a small subset of patients with CRPS, mine likes to spread. It started in the outside of my upper right thigh, only, on Sept 4, 2004, at 2pm. The injury that triggered my CRPS (most cases are triggered by an injury) was a fall down 1 stair. Not a flight of steps- just a single, little stair. Further injury, of any sort, to the body can make the disease spread, and for me, surgery is a sure-fire trigger. If you think back over the last few months, you'll remember that I've had 2 surgeries since the end of 2013. Guess what that means?

Yep. It's now full body. The spread of the CRPS into my arms has been documented by 3 pain management physicians in the last two months, and I was referred for an aggressive series of Stellate Ganglion Blocks. These injections are basically the same thing as the SNB's I've been having done for years, just into my neck instead of into my back. My regular Interventional Pain Management doc, the guy who has done my back injections for years, sent me to his boss to have the series done. 

The hope is that we will be tackling this soon enough to bring it to a halt and get my arms into remission. At this point, I've had 2 injections done and my third is scheduled for 2 weeks from now. Honestly, I'm sure not at all sure if these will ever come close to buying me a remission. My current guess is no. But I'm certainly going to try, and if they help, then that will make me a candidate for a second SCS trial, this time in my neck. (And yes, even if you already have a SCS in a different portion of your spine, you still need to go through a trial again to get a second pair of wires implanted.) 

In the interest of full disclosure, when I started writing this post 4 weeks ago, the title was, "I swear I break a little more every day". Then, when I was out running errands a few days ago, it dawned on me- while things certainly can, and do, get worse on me on occasion, I finally have the needed tools to also help myself cope. Instead of being a crumbling piece of china that will never go back together, I'm more like a jigsaw puzzle, that both comes apart easily and can be slowly, and carefully, pieced back together. 

Image from

That certainly doesn't mean I'll ever be normal, fine, or even just not disabled. Far from it. Just like a puzzle is never again a solid sheet of cardboard after they cut the pieces apart. But puzzle pieces can be laid next to each other and form a very fragile semblance of a whole picture. And now that I'm finally working with a knowledge of what all the pieces are that exist out there, I can slowly start putting back together a life for myself. Just knowing that helps so much when things seem dark.

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