My name is Tiffany and I am 23 years old. For the past 10 years, I have been fighting a battle of chronic pain called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), or shortened to RSD/CRPS. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a clinical syndrome of variable course and unknown cause characterized by pain, swelling, and vasomotor dysfunction of an extremity. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or leg.
Many people have no idea what this condition is and it’s my goal to change this by bringing awareness to the pain and suffering that my RSD/CRPS friends and I live each day. People judge me all the time and say, “how can someone so young have RSD or your pain is in your head.” RSD/CRPS doesn’t care how old or young you are, male or female , rich or poor. It is a life changing rare disorder and there is no cure.
I first developed this rare disorder after having surgery at the age of 13 or 14 years old. I had numerous surgeries on my leg which led to developing this chronic pain disorder. I also developed RSD/CRPS in my right arm from flipping and rolling my Mom’s jeep back in 2006. I only broke my wrist and everyone was fine, however, the RSD spread to my arm.
In 2008, I re-broke my wrist trying to stop an elevator from crushing my friend. I was being treated with medicine and spinal blocks but from all the surgeries and the nurses poking my veins, I developed RSD in my left arm too.
I have pain everyday. Every minute. Every second. At all times. I take pain killers. And no, I don’t just take medicine to get “high.” I actually need my medicine! I wake up to every day to body changes — hot, other times cold and the pressure on my body from pants and blankets is so painful at times I wanna cry. Imagine having to sleep with your legs elevated above your heart and all night you wake up because a blanket is causing you so much pain. Imagine your body feeling like its on fire with your hands and feet burning, swollen, stabbed pain and tingling so badly you can’t go on the computer or text someone because the pain is so intense.
My goal is to bring awareness and help people with issues like mine. I hope you will learn about RSD/CRPS and have some compassion for people with this condition.