Anne, a well-spoken woman in her early 60s from Lake Macquarie, has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, resulting from knee replacement surgery in 2010.
Anne was originally scheduled to have six weeks off work after her knee replacement surgery, which was extended to nine months, but eventually she realised she would have to retire – six years earlier then she had planned. Anne’s experience of pain means she is unable to participate in many of the normal activities of everyday life such as going to the gym or even for a walk, and sometimes her pain is so severe that she can’t bear to have anything touching her leg, including shoes and clothes.
Anne experiences pain throughout the entire left side of her body and right foot. She is on several pain medications, including Gabapentin, Panadol Osteo, Cymbalta and also uses Endone when necessary (every few days) for breakthrough pain. Anne has a spinal cord stimulator in place but believes this exacerbates the pain rather than controls it.
To compound matters, Anne’s CRPS has resulted in Osteoporosis, and she has had a non-trauma fracture in the pelvis. Her balance is also affected, meaning falls are not uncommon. Her sleep is very badly affected, with a good night’s sleep a distant memory.
Anne wishes that there was greater awareness and understanding in the wider community about the experiences of people living with chronic pain. Anne blogs about her experience of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome at www.crpsandme.wordpress.com.
“I try to stay positive but it is difficult. The single best intervention - and I have had many - was consulting a psychologist and dealing with the grief and loss issues around having chronic pain and learning about mindfulness and meditation.”
“People generally don’t get it. They don’t understand that this is an ongoing battle, it never goes away. People say ‘don’t worry, you’ll be better soon’. But the cold fact is that I won’t.”
“I didn’t want to retire. I wasn’t ready to leave my job. I really miss the social interaction with colleagues. But you can’t go to work if you can’t put on your shoes.”