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Submitted on
May 9, 2008
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15 (who?)
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome by 1pen Complex Regional Pain Syndrome by 1pen
For the "Express It!" contest. [link] My second entry. Figured why not. Was having a rougher night than usual because some of this nerve block is starting to wear off and I can feel the pain coming back. It was so great for about 48 hours to have my hand back and as excited I am at the prospect of several more of these things giving me more long term relief, it was surreal to have that window, those few moments where a breeze felt like a breeze and water felt like water and everything was back to how it was before the injury. Now I can feel the hand, it's like it's dying, going out on me. So as much as I am excited by the knowledge that a nerve block works, I got a bit depressed to watch the hand go again. Nothing quite like losing a limb...especially as an artist and a writer.

So tonight I stretched out across the couch for a bit and ate some reeses peanut butter cups cried for a while and figured, oh hell, I've cleaned my house, I worked on my latest novel, I'm going to do a drawing while I can. :) So I got off my couch and drew what I had been feeling.

Sometimes the pain is so bad, all you can do is curl up and cry it out. I guess this expresses the lows of the condition, feeling useless since I feel the hand going again, but glad to know that something works.....the picture may be of the lows, but the fact that I drew it....well, it's promising, it's uplifting, and it means...hope, I guess. :)
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joeyv7 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2009

I read your article by :iconprojecteducate:
1pen Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2009  Professional Photographer
Oh? The interview with =TheBigBadFish then? Huh.

Oh it's not that bad. :giggle: It's been officially over a year now, so it's a permanent disability, something I hadn't really considered when I did that drawing. But all is well, it's amazing how much you get accustomed to it.
joeyv7 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009
Hmmm. Good you can control it, then :)
1pen Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009  Professional Photographer
:lmao: I wish I could control it, then I wouldn't have it at all, nah it's not like that it's more of a raising of the pain tolerance and adapting to life one-handed thing. :)
JoeMacGown Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I was just reading here about your CRPS, man, what a bummer. It is wonderful that you appear to be able keep your spirits high through all that pain.

Cool drawing, I don't believe I have ever seen a couch dragon before!
1pen Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2008  Professional Photographer
Thanks, I didn't think I'd seen a couch dragon before either, which is kind of why I went with it. It's just so much easier to express myself in that form anyway.

And thank you for your sympathy too. I've gotten so I prefer the older name for the disease: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Type II (which roughly translates to "progressive degenerative disorder/dysfunction/collapse of the sympathetic nervous system as a result of injury") to CRPS. 1., the original name for this disorder makes more sense and describes it better and 2. because CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) to many patients (including myself) comes across as sounding like a bogus condition.

It's not necessarily that I keep my spirits high (because that would be lying, I cry quite a bit some days), but more or less that the body, and nature itself, is a remarkable machine, it can and does evolve. It's the mind that's the problem for some. My body wraps around any new trial that presents itself with ease figuring out, very quickly, how to do things in new ways. But for some people the mind is the one playing catch up, trying and sometimes failing to cope with the implications of chronic pain and the change that must result from it. Lucky for me, that hasn't been the case. I really owe much of that to the fact that I'm battle-tested: I've already endured a life-threatening heart condition and learned to love and care for someone with autism. Both of those earlier (and ongoing) experiences required patience, realistic optimism, tenacity, strength, and encyclopedic knowledge of the situation at hand and how the law, medical industry, etc. pertains to it...essentially all the things I need to cope with my own disability.
MarauderManiac Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Holy shit!
And I thought I was in pain! Seems that you've got a hard life, poor person, but your art is amazing! Just keep being positive and make your wonderful art. :D
Can anyone get the syndrome after a injury or is it for example an age group that's in danger or something?
1pen Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2008  Professional Photographer
Thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad you like the art. :) It's not quite so bad for the most part, you get used to the pain level. I mean, what else are you supposed to do? I know some people it destroys them, but I'm hanging in there alright for now. Have good days and bad days. :)

May I ask what kind of pain you are going through too? I hope it's not too serious. :hug:

Anyone can get CRPS/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (actually, I guess it's a disease or a disorder or something. Not sure syndrome is the right word) following an injury. It doesn't even have to be a major injury or even a major injury to a nerve (though in my case it was following a major injury to a major nerve). When your body is hurt it triggers a response in your sympathetic nervous system. Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for your flight or fight response; it helps your body survive a threat to its well-being. Sometimes, in rare circumstances, an injury triggers an unusually high response from this system. It tells the brain that that limb or region of the body is in trouble. When your body senses it is in serious trouble it has to make decisions about what it will save. When it gets these messages it will sometimes decide to "naturally amputate" or reduce blood flow to that region. This is what happened to me. My brain keeps receiving messages from the arm that it is "lost" and should be cut off, so my brain sends signals to the body to cut off blood to that arm. Over time, reduction of blood causes the muscles, nerves, tendons, skin and bones to change and if it goes far enough to atrophy and even die. Because the sympathetic nervous system is largely peripheral the response is completely involuntary. It is not a matter of "positive-thinking" or hypochondria as some misinformed doctors (or even family members) may think. A patient has no control over the sympathetic nervous system or its ability to reduce limbs to nothing. Doesn't mean you can't think positively (I know I do) it just means you have to respect the body for what it can do, will do, what you cannot control, and just concentrate on what you can your emotional response to it. :)
MarauderManiac Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2008
Thank you for the answer! I think I understand your disease better now, but it doesn't sound less painful. :hug: i hope you're making your life work though.

My ';pain' is consisting of two things.
The physical pain is something I've been having for a little year now. In November of 2007 I fell off a horse during a gallop and landed on my back and banged the head into the ground. I got a concussion and after som days I realised my neck was really sore and hurting and I couldn't sleep because I didn't find a good position for my neck. The doctors said that I my neck muscles had become so tight (I can't find another good English word for it) that it was causing pain. I started treatment, but the muscle-tighting-thing spread down the back, to the shoulders and the jaw. i had a back injury a couple of years ago and that one started erupting more often than before becaus I ha almost got rid of it. I also fell off the same horse in March of 2008 and got the same result (concussions, more sore neck). That was the reason I got all those injuries.
The doctors also diagnosed me with chronical headache after the concussions, so I got some pills which works a little. So I do very easily get headache and I'm sensitive to sound and light and also getting very warm.

The oher thing is that I've got OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). That's a mental illness you can find out more about if you search for OCD here at deviantArt. There obviously are many artists out there with OCD. :D

Feel free to ask questions if you want, I don't get offended. :)
1pen Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008  Professional Photographer
Sorry it took me two months to get back to you, I'm sorry for that! I'm sorry to hear about the falling-off-the-horse incident. I fell off once when I first started riding as a kid, and I remember the wind getting knocked out of me then. But I've had a concussion before (surfing accident) and that was awful too. Chronic pain, in whatever form it takes, it unpleasant in so many ways. I mean, not only does it hurt, but when it's not a visible disease or injury it's hard for other people to take your pain seriously and that can be very discouraging.

I know all about OCD. I don't have it, but one of my family members is autistic and she can demonstrate some very OCD-like behaviour. That's a very difficult condition and I'm sure it feels like a prison sometimes, I know it does for her. :hug:

I don't know if I asked this already, but have you ever thought about joining the :iconitdoesnothaveme: club here on deviantART?
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