What is CRPS?
CRPS/RSD stands for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. It’s a chronic neurological syndrome characterized by:
* Chronic pain (in the form of stabbing, burning or shooting pain)
* Tissue swelling
* Loss of minerals in bone and changes in skin
* Extreme sensitivity to touch and temperature (excessive sweating)
* Muscle spasms
Not a common disease, it affects the limbs, nervous system and brain and there is no known cure (as to the date of this writing).
(You can find a complete description of CRPS symptoms in the Diagnosis Section of the Clinical Practice Guidelines on the RSDSA (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association) website. It’s at this link: RSDSA Website
Ross McCreery: Educating and Inspiring Others
Ross is “Painfully Optimistic”
Ross McCreery’s life changed when he was diagnosed with CRPS six years ago. He’s a forty-year old, loving husband and family man, who has had to quit his job and become a stay at home dad due to his daily suffering of severe pain.
I met Ross a few months ago, and we spoke on Skype to talk about his book project (Ross plans to write a book on his experience with CRPS and hopes to help other sufferers by sharing what he has learned and how he’s kept optimistic, despite his daily challenges).
Ross is an inspiration to me because he refuses to allow his disease to diminish his love for life. He works hard to encourage others who are fighting the same battle and he educates people who are unfamiliar with CRPS.
He is the author of the blog, “Painfully Optimistic” where he writes about his disease and his personal experiences. His writing makes a difference to those who suffer from this disease or other diseases. He shares his thoughts and reflections in his writing and by doing so he has been able to help, encourage and inspire many people.
Recently he wrote on his blog:
“At the same time as having to live with the pain, one is faced with dealing with emotional issues that surface because of the illness. Let’s face it; having to deal with losing the movement in a limb and not know if it will ever come back can be traumatic!! This of course doesn’t affect only the person living with the CRPS but family and friends as well. Then there are financial stresses that get placed on some because they have to stop working. This was the case with me as I had to give up a good job and go on permanent disability. As you can see there are a multitude of things that a person has to deal with. Some of my earlier posts cover issues that you deal with when living with CRPS.”
“So what was the reason then for starting this site? Well, there are lots of reasons that I wanted to start this site. One was to get my story out and help raise awareness for CRPS. I wasn’t very lucky when it came to being diagnosed, in that it took about a year to get the diagnosis. Nobody could tell me what was wrong because they didn’t really know. I actually had to go to another city to be diagnosed. So the more we can educate people, the quicker people can get into treatment, reduce their pain or control their pain faster. That’s my hope.”
Why Ross is an inspiration:
I’m so proud of my friend. Instead of being self absorbed or feeling sorry for himself (having been dealt such an unfair and difficult blow, having to live with CRPS), Ross focuses on helping others by raising a level of awareness about the disease. He told me another reason for creating his site was to have a place CRPS sufferers could go to know they are not alone and find support.
He has said: “It can be scary and you feel like your whole world has been turned upside down. As your dealing with this, it’s important to give each other strength and support”
He also shares with his readers how his faith has been such an important part of getting through the hard times and giving him the strength to keep up the fight.
In Ross’s own words: “I want people to know that we don’t have to let the pain take over our lives, and that through a positive attitude that we can take on anything. This blog is really about giving people something real and helping people in whatever way that I can. From one week to the next, things are never the same. One week, I might be telling you about how I’m feeling and the next week; I might be giving you information on CRPS itself. I might even be telling you about my family and how this has affected them. What I try to do in my blog is cover the things that go on within a person’s life when you’re living with CRPS. It really depends on what’s on my mind and that’s the great thing about a blog.”
I hope you will visit “Painfully Optimistic” and become inspired.