How CRPS Fractures Lives
My journey began in 2000, at the time I worked in London as a PA for a big organization. I was also a smoker. One day I went outside for a break, when I opened the fire door to come back into the building the door broke at the top hinge and I ended up fracturing my elbow.
When it hadn’t healed in the 10 weeks it was supposed to, I knew something further was wrong. The doctors kept telling me it was in my head and they couldn’t find anything wrong. However, it took 3 years for my diagnosis with complex regional pain syndrome, on August 13, 2003. I remember the appointment clearly with my consultant Dr. May. He took one look at my arm and diagnosed straight away. That was the difference between a specialist who understood and not.
That’s where my journey started, and it has been a long one to get where I am today. With the amount of prescription drugs and pain I was in, I have gone through numerous different procedures to help, sadly not many of them have. I think this is due to the lack of understanding of knowledge back then of this illness and disability.
This has caused me to have very low times, which I’ve even considered ending it all. However, with my husband and daughter being around it soon reminded me I have more to live for.
I had so many sleepless nights, having a relationship with my armchair where I didn’t move from. It was my bed, my table and my everything.
On top of CRPS, I was diagnosed in 2018 with COPD and that’s another point where my life totally changed again. My consultant told me quite clearly if I didn’t change my lifestyle he would give me 3 years to live at most.
This gave me a kick to sort my life out and help myself. I joined Slimming World to sort out my eating habits and started gentle exercises. I have also given up smoking and got myself off some of the painkillers I felt I had an unhealthy relationship with. I have now lost 7 1/2 stones and I can control my pain levels each day and do. It is still there, and I still have flare ups of pain, but I manage it much better than I ever did.
Kaye Howe, Aged 60, Another CRPS Warrior