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How My Dreams Help Me Hold Onto Hope With CRPS

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I choose to dream. I dream of one day, when my pain drops from an eight to a five or lower as a result of a new treatment we haven’t yet found, or better yet – when someone develops a reliable way to send all stages of complex regional pain syndrome into remission. I know I have lofty dreams.

CRPS is nicknamed “the suicide disease” and with good reason. The pain is indescribable, and facing the idea of living with it every day for the next 50 or 60 years of my life is very much like staring blankly down the barrel of a gun. I have dark days; days when my mind just can’t take any more. But most of the time, on good days and bad days, I have hope. Hope that one day, it will be better. Hope that one day, things will change.

I keep a running list of dreams, things to do when, not if, the pain falls or fades completely. Things I want to experience, activities I want to do with people, talents I want to return to and old skills I wish to embrace once more.

My pain may never fade. I accept that reality. But nothing can stop me from believing in the impossible. I used to believe I would never ride horses again, and I shattered that misconception last year. I used to believe I would always struggle to do laundry, but that misconception was shattered this year once my service dog learned how to assist me with that chore. Now he does most of the work!

Here is a fraction of my list, as I’m sure there will always be more to add…

1. Go to a movie

2. Go on a long trail ride with my fiancé

3. Gallop a horse again (I am limited to walk or a pace now)

4. Do archery

5. Go out on a boat

6. Go to a concert or see live music at a bar

7. Go swimming

8. Clean out horse stalls

9. Mow the lawn with a manual push mower

10. Learn to drive a tractor


11. Go to a major league baseball game

baseball stadium

12. Do an activity with my niece

13. Spend hours photographing horses


14. Go to a Supernatural Comic-Con with friends

15. Sit on the porch and watch a thunderstorm

Today I share my list with you, and challenge you to make your own list. What do you dare to dream to experience for the first time? What do you hope to revisit? Don’t let your condition hold you back or prevent you from dreaming. There may be things on your “dreamer” list that will be possible with a little work or creativity in the near future.

You are in charge of determining what you can do, and what you want to reach towards. I challenge you to dream. Dream of the first steps you take without pain. Dream of the activity you want to do with your family. Dream that one day, things might get better.

How do I survive with CRPS? I dream of one day.

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Originally published: October 19, 2017
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