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My Life Is Not My Own

My Life Is Not My Own
By: Michell Freeman

 

My name is Michell Freeman, I am from a small town in Bennettsville, South Carolina and this is my story. On November 4, 2013 I was in an automobile accident that involved a fatality. I was hit by a car that had ran a red light. I was unable to walk without great pain. When I arrived at the hospital my legs felt very cold and I had lost feeling in my saddle area and later down my left leg. The Doctor came in and told my family that I had a disc fragment that sequestered. The doctor told my husband that I was to lie flat on my back only to get up to use the restroom and if I lost control of my bowel or bladder to call …

 

Share Your Story: Stephanie Lynn Christianson; Arachnoiditis

Stephanie LynnOne day in May 2006, out of nowhere I was suddenly overtaken by pain in my knee. I saw the orthopedist, whom at the time was on the fence about proceeding with a surgical intervention. I had the surgery, but the pain never really went away. I left for my freshman year at Vanderbilt University still feeling slightly off. I had been there a month when the pain began to spread gradually to encompass my entire left leg. I was unable to leave my dorm room and climb the stairs and getting food was an absolute challenge. I was 18 years old at that time and terrified.

The third doctor I saw trying to address what was going on finally realized I had Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The only thing I can remember from that day was the effect it had on my mother who fully understood what this could mean for my quality of life. Needless to say, she was devastated. At that point in time, I was an ostrich with my head in the sand. I found it painful at first to even think about what was happening to my leg. My family worked relentlessly and we traveled the United States looking for a proper intervention and treatment for CRPS.
In the meantime, I was in the middle of my undergraduate career. I had to take off whole semesters because at that point I was unable to function enough to really make the most out of a stellar education. There were even times when I would start a semester and have to leave or reduce my course load. I was fortunate enough my University worked with me and my very unique situation. I will always be grateful to them.

Inch-by-inch, we explored every routine surgery procedure related to CRPS, infusion, implanted device, medication therapy, and holistic remedy. It wasn’t until SkyMall, that crazy magazine with the high prices and crazy objects, and a dud of a visit with a holistic specialist in Maryland to find what we were looking for therapeutically. As we took off, my mother found an ad in SkyMall for the Dellon Institute and quite literally ripped the page out of the magazine. After speaking to the surgeons involved in these techniques and interventions, I found the right match with Dr. Sean Wolfort, MD. After a series of nerve trans-locations (where they moved my hyperactive nerves into dense tissue to trick your body), it appeared I was gaining mobility.

College still posed a problem. There were so many doors and inaccessible areas for those with physical handicaps. It took me approximately 5 years into my diagnosis that I really began to advocate for both the pain community as well as those with physical disabilities. I rely on crutches (a single if it’s a good day, a double if it’s not) and found that posed some very significant obstacles if you were going to pursue rigorous studies. I was finally ready to talk about what I go through in living with CRPS at a young age and the journey I have taken. As such, I looked inside my community, which at this time was the entire University. Those without physical handicaps fail to realize the struggle people have obtaining food when they rely on crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and all other mobility aides. With enough tenacity, I was able to implement a program that helped anyone either in an acute or chronic state that needed help getting the basic necessities. Moreover, I participated on a committee aimed solely on making the campus more accessible. Things such as maps clearly indicating where elevators were in buildings or adjusting how doors open to prevent injury to the person.

This ongoing experience has shaped my life and has motivated me more than one can possibly imagine. Prior to my diagnosis, I was determined to pursue a career as an attorney. Following my diagnosis, I have realized the best way to implement change is to roll up your sleeves and get to work. I have grown tremendously and have accepted some days will be more painful than others. I believe in keeping my goals in sight as it provides me with the fortitude to go on and work through it all. Here and now, at age 27, I have been fortunate to work in a laboratory that deals primarily with pain management toxicology and pursue my doctorate in neuroscience. I am sincerely hoping to bring some degree of relief to the CRPS patients of the world.

Thank You! Stephanie Lynn Christianson

 

Share Your Story: Amy Branton

I’ve dealt with severe back pain since the birth of my son when I was 24. During childbirth my doctor was inexperienced with high risk patients (obese) and he instructed me to push incorrectly. I herniated 2 discs in my back and a few months later, I started my journey of dealing well and not so well, with a severe back injury.

I gave birth in Sept. of 1994 and began to deal with pain as I was trying to enjoy being a new mother. It was hard but I had a very helpful and understanding family.i had my first LUMBAR back surgery to relieve the herniation in 2001. The surgery went well but I left the hospital with a new pain -sciatica. In 2002 I had a weight loss surgery to try and help myself by dropping pounds to …

 

#ShareYourStory; Louise Carbonneau Vermeiren, RN (Retired Nurse)

#ShareYourStory; Louise Carbonneau Vermeiren, RN (Retired Nurse)  – My journey –  

At the age of 23 (1974), I had my whole life ahead of me, being a new bride, having graduated the year before from a small town hospital, in nursing. Working as a nurse in Québec city, Canada, in a large hospital, on the orthopedic floor, was a huge undertaking for a freshly graduated shy young woman, taking a leap into the big city .My eyes were filled with excitement. My future was bright, I was excited to the prospect of discovering new avenues. I worked hard, having to take care of at least 30 patients from 4 to midnight. I enjoyed the challenges of taking care of ”my patients” which most resulted from surgeries. Orthopedic is a fascinating field mostly resulting from car accidents, personal and work injuries …

 
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