ABOUT YOUR HOST
My name is Lauren, and I've had CRPS for 18 years, which is more than half of my life.
I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), formerly referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), when I was a high school senior in 2000.
Between 2000 and 2008, I went in and out of partial remission 5 times - each time due to a successful series of stellate ganglia nerve blocks performed with Ketamine by Dr. Kirkpatrick.
Between 2008 and 2016, I enjoyed my longest bout of remission.
In July of 2016, my CRPS flared up again, spreading from my right arm to the right side of my face. Going through this in my 30s is WAY harder than I remember it being as a teenager. The stellate ganglia blocks weren't working, so, in January of 2017, I underwent 4 days of high-dose, outpatient Ketamine infusions. It was terrifying at the time, and I left incredibly frustrated that I wasn't immediately "cured".
Over the next year, I improved VERY slowly. Now, however, 22 months later, I'm doing very well. My pain levels stay below a 3, which is really manageable (no meds), and I've regained nearly all mobility in my right arm.
Why do I think it's important to raise awareness for CRPS?
It sheds light on an otherwise shadowed reality for many of us.
Having a devastating illness that isn't always easy to see and isn't well-known is isolating. Educating people about my life with CRPS makes me feel like I'm not fighting alone.
When people know more about the unknown, they're bound to have more respect and empathy for me and everyone who might suffer from an illness.
The more people who are familiar with CRPS, the easier I hope it will be for future patients to find the right care and support.