A Letter to My Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Dear complex regional pain syndrome,

Everyone who has ever met you likely agrees that you are every bad adjective in the dictionary. Yet, that is still not saying enough. I have learned to smile, go to my classes and enjoy my activities, even when the light touch of my clothes feels like a constant brush burn and this cool, fiery pain consumes my body. This didn’t happen overnight. I had to learn to become comfortable with my swollen, purple and blue extremities, as this causes many people to stare.

But over the last three and a half years, I have learned more about suffering, compassion and understanding than many people ever will. This has made me wise beyond my 19
years. CRPS, if I could get rid of you and go into complete remission for the rest of my life, never having to worry about the slightest injury awakening the beast, I would. But, what I would never forget are the lessons that being chronically ill and burdened with pain 24/7, 365 days a year has taught me.

You will never win this battle, because I have a 100 percent average of getting through the days I swore I wouldn’t make it through. I have had to adapt my academic life to you, but who knows? Maybe that is not such a bad thing after all. Maybe taking 10 credits a semester instead of 18 credits will allow me to enjoy my family, friends and overall college experience more, rather than stressing every minute of every day.

I have come to understand the power of family when my life seems to be falling to pieces, because they will be the first ones running with the glue, tape, hammer and nails to help me repair what is broken.

As far as physical activity goes, you haven’t stopped me. You can’t stop me, because my love of the sport is stronger than my fear of the pain and consequences that may result. Although doctors forced me to stop playing basketball, my love of skiing and taekwondo has taken me to unimaginable heights. Instead of being a destructive force attempting to tear me to shreds, you have only made me stronger. I never thought I would say this, but thank you for teaching me how to overcome the challenges I face each day. After all, it is not an easy world we live in.

CRPS, my nerves have enough issues, so feel free to go on your way!

Follow this journey on The CRPS Ninja Chronicles.

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