ADELAIDE CRPS EVENT: My Speech.

If you read my last post, you will know that I, along side 3 other CRPS sufferers, gave a talk on our experiences living with the condition, during Adelaide’s first Colour The World Orange event on Nov 6, 2017. It was a great event ad by doing this we were able to give the Drs, Researchers and students some insight into living with CPRS.

I decided to participate partly because I felt I needed a challenge because part of having this condition is that it has chipped away at my self-esteem and I felt I needed to push myself somehow to gain some back. I agreed without allowing myself to think about the fact that I would be standing in front of people who knew a lot more about the condition than I do. Add to that my speech became a big issue in the week leading up to the event. Damn you CRPS!!!!!!!

In the end I was so glad I was there and gave my speech. I started out so nervous that I stumbled through the first paragraph and then after that I was fine. After I felt I could do anything, but really what I wanted to do was do it over so I could do a better job of it. lol.

So here is my speech..

Hello, My name is Sarah and I have suffered from CRPS for around 5 years. My CRPS was triggered by a burn incident that left me with second degree burns to my left arm, hand, shoulder and the left side of my face. I was at my parent’s place where my Dad had a fire burning for doing a pre-summer clean up. I didn’t realise that a can of spray paint had accidentally been put into a box of documents that I had the bright idea of throwing onto a fire to get rid of. Unfortunately the care I received at our local Hospital was far from adequate and It was four days before I was sent to the burn unit at the old RAH and by then infection had set in and I was in a bad way.

Despite signs that something was wrong,  it was 4 months before my first pain flare, Suddenly my left hand and arm were swollen, stiffening and loosing movement. I had electric like pain shooting up my arm and down my fingers, as well as a crushing pain in my joints and bones. It was during this time that I started researching online and discovered CRPS as a rare complication of burns. I was diagnosed with CRPS the day before my 30th B’day after I took my findings to my GP.

After my diagnosis the condition took off quickly and within 5 months it had spread into both my legs, and soon after to most of my body from the neck down. My list of other symptoms is pretty long ranging and changes from day to day. These include insomnia, fatigue, forgetfulness, and speech, vision, hearing and motor issues.

Finding other sufferers online and in person locally here in South Australia has also helped me with support and advice that has been invaluable. Alone this is a very isolating condition. Through joining Facebook groups for CRPS, I was able to meet other sufferers in person here in Adelaide and we now have our own group with over 50 statewide sufferers. That’s CRPS South Australia if anyone is interested.

Another turning point was coming under the care of the Royal Adelaide’s Pain Unit. At that point, I was losing strength in my legs, my flares left me bed ridden and I was a general mess. At the pain unit, I soon started having Ketamine infusions for 3 days every 3 months and although the first time the relief was delayed and short lasting, it did quieten down my other symptoms. A friend with CRPS had advised me that it might be this way and to not feel disheartened if change wasn’t immediate. By my third round was having lasting effects and slowly with each infusion I have gotten more control over my condition. Aside from Ketamine, I treat my condition with Lyrica and Tramadol on a daily basis.  

I have also found that gentle daily exercise helps keep my pain and symptoms in check. I walk, use a stationary bike and do a mix of small weights, yoga and Pilates. This year I also started riding a bike, something I previously couldn’t do.

I am also a big fan of adding Magnesium to my bath about once a week. I find it relaxes my muscles and helps calms my pain to a level I can deal with, especially when I have over exerted myself.

There are things that I have found hard about having this condition. Initially it was hard explaining my situation and seeing the look of doubt or confusion in people I care about, Sadly I also found myself with only a few friends left.

Now after 5 years of CRPS, for me the fatigue that comes with my CRPS is the most debilitating part. I am now working a few hours a week, and to do that I need to plan my week around the rest I need before and after each work day.

Health wise, I have been diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes, an underactive thyroid and high cholesterol since my crps diagnosis.

Mentally the condition has been a struggle with periods of anxiety and depression, I have mourned over the life I have lost and struggled with losing my independence. For a long time I wondered if there was point to life with this horrible condition, especially if it stopped me from living a meaningful life. But in a lot of ways I have also been very lucky.  

Despite the negatives of having this condition, there are positives. Including the fact that I have responded so well to the treatments I have tried, the friendships I have made through this condition and the progress I have made in the past 5 years.

I have benefited from a positive living environment at my parents’ house, in the country where It is quiet; I have my cat and my dog for company and my two horses who get me out of the house each day. I have a veggie garden to potter about in on good days. Plus I am close to the beach.

Having a positive attitude is also essential for getting through this condition

I try to treat the 3 days of my Ketamine infusions as a little holiday from my CRPS where I can rest and catch up on my sleep, as well as being looked after by the wonderful staff at the pain unit. I have also had the opportunity to speak to student doctors touring the ward about my CRPS

Having a team of Doctors, specialists and practitioners who support me is essential to my care and initially that wasn’t easy. I now drive 100km to a GP because I wasn’t the help I needed in my home town because they did not understand the condition. That is why I feel events like tonight are so important.

Thank you all for listening to my story and for educating yourself about CRPS. Good night.

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Color The World Orange: ADELAIDE: Nov 6, 2017

November 6th 2017 was the 3rd COLOUR THE WORLD ORANGE day across the globe, Adelaide celebrated by lighting Adelaide Oval, the Torrens Footbridge, the Riverbank Precinct and  the Rundle Lantern in orange for the first time. According to the CTWO website Adelaide joined “Forty-nine buildings, bridges and landmarks in four countries, including Niagara Falls and the fountains in Trafalgar Square in London”

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Adelaide Oval and Torrens Footbridge lit in Orange for the first time.

As well as the lighting up of iconic Adelaide landmarks, Adelaide also hosted the first information event of its kind in Australia with the aim of creating awareness within the medical and research fields. The event was titled…

CRPS Mechanisms & Management:

What’s in fashion now? 

This event was a great opportunity for Members of the medical field to learn what it is like for those of us with CRPS and this was recognised by the organisers. Members of the CRPS South Australia Facebook group were invited to participate in the night by giving a 5 minute talk on what it is like to live with CPRS. I was happy to be one of the five who took on this challenge (It was a big challenge for me). Although only four of us were able to be there in the end, (that’s CRPS for you) we all explored different areas of living with the condition, but there were a lot of similarities.

Of course there were also talks by the Professionals. Prof Lorimer Moseley spoke of the new findings in CRPS research, Dr Velleria Bellan who was the instigator of the event(thank you) spoke of her research in Untangling visual and proprioceptive contributions to hand localisation over time. Also Dr Meredith Craigie spoke of her experience of being both a parent of a child with CRPS and also practising in pain medication and treating CRPS patients such as myself.

Overall the night was a huge success with over 200 people from both research and medical fields, Students and also other sufferers from the CRPS South Australia group. Possibly the best bit of the night was the food and wine supplied and also a GELATO CART!!! Yep that’s right, the event was supplied with a Gelato Cart with all orange colored gelato. YUM!!

A big thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this fantastic event and I look forwards to next years event.

 

 

 

Victorian (AUST) CRPS GUIDE BOOK

Its hard navigating your way through CRPS and scary as hell when your new and totally have no idea of what to do next. The lovely Danielle from RSD CRPS Victoria Australia has created a thorough Guide for sufferers of CRPS in the Aussie state of Victoria.

This insanely thorough guide can be downloaded from the page (link above) and Danielle is keen for the guide to become a guide for other states if someone is willing to take on the project. This is something I have been wanting to do for my state of South Australia.

Imagine if we could have one for each state in Australia, New Zealand, The US and The UK. Anywhere really. Imagine how you would have felt if way back when, you were able to access a guide that told you off all the appropriate resources available in your area. I know that this is something I have been wanting to provide along with other projects that will bring awareness to our cause.

One day we will be as normal and understood as people with other Neurological problems. I cant wait! xx

IN THE MEDIA: Chronic Pain, 7.30 South Australia

“It is a common condition, patients suffer from it, doctors treat it but Medicare doesn’t acknowledge it. It’s chronic pain. But what causes it and why do traditional drugs seem to have little effect?”

pain 730

This is the introduction to a news story that was shown on our state edition of the Current Affairs program 7.40. Its really exciting that this show has done a few stories on Chronic Pain already this year and although not exactly about CRPS, It still relates back to the treatments and the health system that I and many other Australians rely on.

I posted about the first story here. Australia’s Pain Epidemic

This story by Mike Sexton and shown on 7.30 South Australia, on Fri, 21 Feb, 2014.  Duration: 6min 13sec. It starts as stated above and then leads into some horrifying, yet unsurprising statistics that Medicare (Australia) has found that up to 5% of patients in Gp’s clinics are seeking relief from Chronic Pain. It again mentioned that most Australian’s suffering from Chronic Pain wait 2-3 years for a placement in a pain treatment facility. This leads to Gp’s prescribing more and more opioid pain Medications and leads to dependency. Clearly there is a cycle here that must be broken.  I’m hoping that the Website will post a manuscript to this story as it has done in the past so that I can post it.

One exciting thing bit of information that I learnt from the story is of a local research project happening right here in South Australia at the Bionomics Facilities in Hindmarsh, is a focus on Ion channels and their role in Chronic Pain. The story went on to report of an investment of 170 million dollars (Aust)  being made into this study by Merck & Co. That is pretty exciting really. I went onto the Bionomics Website and found the following:

“Bionomics has entered into a collaboration with Merck & Co. to develop a novel oral treatment for chronic pain. Chronic pain is a severely debilitating condition with a large unmet medical need. Current analgesic medications which include anti-epileptics, anti-arrhythmics, opioids, NSAID’s and anti-depressants, are either ineffective, associated with a range of dose limiting side effects or have the potential for abuse and addiction. Our novel treatment which is expected to deliver greater efficacy and safety than existing pain medications is directed towards an undisclosed target that has been strongly linked to chronic pain in humans.”

www.bionomics.com.au/research-development/pipeline/cns-central-nervous-system

Well Im off to investigate further and see what else I can learn about this trial and even if I can participate in any way. 🙂

 

IN THE MEDIA: Australia’s Pain Epidemic.

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The other day I was tagged into a Facebook post  of a news story called Australia faces silent epidemic of chronic pain that was shown on the current affairs show, 7.30, on the ABC (Aust). The story its self wasn’t exactly about CRPS but it may as well have been. It discussed the shortage of pain treatment in Australia and the long waiting list to access treatment. I once again was reminded of how lucky I was to get into treatment within three months. The story also went into the way we suffer and rely on addictive opioids to get by each day. I really related to this story and even felt a little emotional watching it. It was so good to see that we are getting some sort of coverage within the media for all sufferers of chronic pain.

Here is a link to the story:

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3548714.htm

And for those that cant watch it, here is the transcript of the story:

 

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 18/07/2012

Reporter: Sarah Dingle

One in five of us will feel it and it costs some $34 billion each year, but how well equipped are we to face and treat chronic pain?

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Chronic pain is one of Australia’s most expensive health problems, costing our economy around $34 billion every year. Yet there’s only a handful of clinics that specialise in treating pain. It might surprise you to learn that these days, pain isn’t just considered a symptom, but a chronic disease in itself. Even so, most medical professionals still aren’t trained to deal with it. Today, the New South Wales Government committed $26 million towards developing new pain management services, but that will only meet a fraction of the need. Sarah Dingle reports.

SARAH DINGLE, REPORTER: It’s dinner time at the Quinzi house, but one member of the family hasn’t made it to the table.

ANTONELLA QUINZI, CHRONIC PAIN SUFFERER: When I get home, 6.30, quarter to 7, bath, I can’t even eat sometimes ’cause of the pain, and I wait for the medication to start working. Go to bed. I go to bed. That’s my solace.

SARAH DINGLE: It’s seven hours since Antonella Quinzi last took a heavy-duty painkiller and the strain is beginning to show.

ANTONELLA QUINZI: Right now I can tell you 100 per cent, I’m trying to hold it together, I’m in front of the camera, I don’t want to look like, you know… but yeah, it’s hard.

SARAH DINGLE: What kind of sensations?

ANTONELLA QUINZI: Well, numbness. Throbbing pain. You feel like the whole body is on fire. It takes your breath away.

SARAH DINGLE: Seven years ago, with her family complete, Antonella Quinzi had a hysterectomy. It was meant to be a routine procedure, to put an end to persistent gynaecological problems. But it left her with severed pelvic nerves and a shattered life.

ANTONELLA QUINZI: It got so bad two years ago that I didn’t want to live any more. And I know I shouldn’t say that. Because God gives you a life to enjoy to the fullest. And… you know, but we all get weak. There’s weak moments.

MICHAEL COUSINS, ROYAL NORTH SHORE HOSPITAL: Chronic pain is the most prevalent, most costly and largest health problem that at the moment is largely undiscovered and terribly undertreated.

SARAH DINGLE: At Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital, Professor Michael Cousins runs one of the few multi-disciplinary pain clinics in the country.

Patient Philip Lewington has chronic pain. Pain that persists long after the initial injury that caused it has healed. The former machine operator had his thumb crushed six years ago in a workplace accident.

PHILIP LEWINGTON, CHRONIC PAIN SUFFERER: I have tried acupuncture, pain management, drugs galore. Physiotherapy. And none of it’s worked. I thought about chopping it off, but…

DOCTOR: You thought about chopping the thumb off?

PHILIP LEWINGTON: Yeah.

DOCTOR: What do you think that would do?

PHILIP LEWINGTON: I don’t know.

DOCTOR: Ha ha!

PHILIP LEWINGTON: Get rid of the pain I hope.

SARAH DINGLE: Here patients are treated by a team of specialists. Including clinical psychologists to ease the enormous mental burden of ongoing pain.

PHILIP LEWINGTON: My life, family life is nowhere near what it was. Um… sex life, basically non-existent, because of medication and what not. So not good at all.

SARAH DINGLE: It may not seem like it, but Philip Lewington is one of the lucky ones. Many wait for years for this kind of treatment.

Victorian pain specialist Dr Michael Vagg is says it’s a national embarrassment that that Australia pays almost no attention to its epidemic of chronic pain.

MICHAEL VAGG, PAIN MANAGEMENT UNIT, GEELONG HOSPITAL: One in five Australians will develop chronic pain at some point in their life, and only one in 20 of those people will have it adequately addressed.

ANTONELLA QUINZI: You live your life around the tablet.

SARAH DINGLE: Like many sufferers of chronic pain, Antonella Quinzi went to her family GP, who prescribed the opioid painkiller oxycontin. Now she’s an addict.

ANTONELLA QUINZI: The first year of taking the oxycontin I went from five milligrams to 10, 15 and 20, then I went up to 30.

SARAH DINGLE: Without the medication, the pain is overwhelming. She gets rashes and starts to shake.

ANTONELLA QUINZI: And that’s the reason why I’ve had to do little sneakies and take extra oxycontin at work. When you’re desperate, you will do anything to get rid of that anguish and pain.

MICHAEL VAGG: Many GPs feel compelled to provide strong painkillers, even though the best evidence would suggest in many cases they’re not improving people’s quality of life in the long term.

SARAH DINGLE: Pain specialists say chronic pain is caused by damaged nerves, sending electronic signals to the brain, and it could be that drugs are not the answer. Instead, surgeons are working with technology, inserting electronic stimulators next to the spine to block the pain signals. Now Australian researchers are about to take this much further, in a world-first.

MICHAEL COUSINS: There’s the tip of the needle. So that’s still going in the mid-line. That’s really good.

SARAH DINGLE: Professor Cousins carefully inches the electronic stimulator close to the spine.

MICHAEL COUSINS: Still wants to go a bit to the left. It’s OK to go a little to the left but not too much. All right, we’re ready to do a trial stim now.

SARAH DINGLE: For the first time, the surgeon can see live nerve responses recorded as he operates. And move the stimulator so it best blocks the pain signal.

MICHAEL COUSINS: The electrode is just to the left side of the midline. And half a millimetre of difference in position will produce a different area of stimulation. So we’re waiting now to see what the patient actually feels.

NURSE: Is that tingling?

PATIENT: Yes.

NURSE: And is that in your left side?

PATIENT: Yes.

NURSE: Is it in your left back?

PATIENT: No.

NURSE: Buttock?

PATIENT: Um… no. It’s, like, down the whole leg.

MICHAEL COUSINS: We might bring that down just a touch then.

NURSE: Yep. Electrons 2, 3, four when you’ve got ankle, all of them there, just to the middle of the buttock.

MICHAEL COUSINS: We managed to get electrodes placed in just the right spot. She started to feel some pain relief. It will take a couple of days to get that fully operational.

SARAH DINGLE: For now, Antonella Quinzi’s only source of pain relief is medication. But she clings to that same hope for a cure.

ANTONELLA QUINZI: Pray for healing. I pray for healing. I pray that I will wake up one morning and… not have this. 

RSD on The Doctors. OMG we are in the media at the moment!

http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videolib/init/9967

The Doctors 10/2013
Facebook has been a buzz with the 3 part story about this woman with a severe case of RSD and is full of great info one what RSD is and what it does to us. It also looks at the woman’s story on living with the disease and advice given to her on the diet that she needs to assist her body lower inflammation.
The first part of this film is what all of our family and friends need to see to get whats wrong with us. Im just trying to pin a few of them down. lol. I posted it of Facebook and as suspected most people ignored it, but there was a few that watched it and in come the sympathy and horrified comments. lol. No my limbs do not look like that!Im having trouble loading the footage onto the post but ill work on getting it there, but for now on the above link is to the story on the website for the show

The Secret Life Of Pain, featuring CRPS

Last night I was switching through the channels on the TV and come across a Documentary on pain called The Secret Life Of Pain, made in the UK by the BBC in 2011. I decided to watch hoping to learn something and was hoping for a mention on CRPS. I wasn’t disappointed at all. The film talks about pain in many ways from the woman who feels no pain at all (I was a little jealous lol), to another with CRPS in most areas of her body.  My mum was also watching with me, so as the CRPS girl was being introduced I was saying to her that I was sure she had CRPS and then they said it. It was Awesome to hear those words and to have a member of my family see what I was going through, through someone else’s experience. It was also a great insight into pain in general.

I originally posted the full film on this post, however it is no longer available through that link. So here is an alternative way to watch the Docco in full.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/secret-world-pain/

 

Hope your having pain free days. 🙂 xx