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Erikka's Story

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" 'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future' "

- Jeremiah 29:11

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Updated December 30, 2009
 
My name is Erikka and  I am attending college to get my Bachelors in Nursing and use it to help others who have RSD/CRPS. I've always had a huge passion for RSD/CRPS awareness and I'm hoping once I graduate I will be able to become more involved in spreading awareness and helping with reaserch efforts.
 
I first got Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy when I was 12 years old. I simply sprained my left wrist when one of my friends where over my house. I went to the hospital the night after the sprain because my wrist turned blue, purple, and was ice cold. I was offered pain meds but denied them because I was only 12. That night the pain exploded in hand/arm and no over the counter meds helped. I went to about 5 Dr's in that 7 week period, my orthopedic Dr, Hand Specialist, PM Dr, another Orthopedic Dr. and PM Specialist. The last two Dr's changed my life they finally gave me a diagnosis and the pain management specialist Dr. Stanton-Hicks I still see him today. Dr. Stanton-Hicks gave me a nerve block the day I saw him and for the first time in 7 weeks I got relief! It was absolutly amazing. After that day I was able to open my hand and use it. I got several nerve blocks to help keep the pain down through out that year.
 
About 3 years later I ended up spraning my right ankel. We didn't know it then but the RSD set in quickly. I was put on crutches, but it was summer and I didn't feel like being on them. So I started "hobbling" after being on them for a week and the pain got worse but I knew I had to do it (still not knowing I had RSD). I went to church camp that summer but really didn't enjoy myself. I started getting RSD symptoms then too. In Oct. I finally got diagnosed with RSD in my right foot / ankel after I saw my Dr. but I could walk normally. I became a lifeguard a short time later.
 
Two years after I smashed my finger in my car door. My foot had already been bothering me due to the fact I was working in a humid pool area. We already made an appointment but my arm was in bad shape. Also the RSD spread up my leg to the knee. Two nerve blocks were unsuccessful so a Tunnled Epidural Catheter was put in.
 
When the TEC was put in I was sent to a rehab hospital. Hopefully to get my hand open. Insted of getting better my RSD got worse in all three limbs.  I could hardly walk out of the Rehab hospital when I was finally discharged and my hand was still in a fist. Bethany and I were roomates in the Rehab hospital and became close friends. She really knows what I am going through and it helps when you know someone who you can relate with.  My TEC had came out a few days later and I had it put back in because I was getting some relief from it.  3 weeks after my second TEC surgery I had severe pain in my back.  I was rushed to the hospital and the Dr. had to take the TEC out because I had a infection in my vertebre.  I was in the hospital for 6 days with little pain relief for my back and RSD. I was very weak from the medication from the TEC leaking into my back muscles instead of going into my epidural space of my spinal cord. I couldn't pick myself up even a little bit for at least 10 days. Oddly Bethany and I got our infections within a day or two of each other. I had another nerve block to confirm that it didn't work. The next step was to go to a Spinal Cord Stimulator.
 
I got the trial stimulator in Oct of 2007. It was amazing, like my very first nerve block. I was awake for the surgery but the nice thing was I was able to tell on the table that I like it. Within two weeks of having the trial stimulator (you are only suppose to have it 5-7 days) I was able to open my hand!! It took oocupational therapy but it felt so good to get it open.  
 
In 2007 I had the Spinal Cord Stimulator Implanted in my right hip. I was limited to my physical movement for a good 6 weeks but its changed my life in so many ways. Without the SCS I wouldn't be able to attend college and be as physicaly active as I am. I do experience a good amount of pain on a daily basis but I know it could be worse.
 
My life will never be the same as it was before I had RSD. Going through my teen years in pain wasn't the easiest thing to do, when simply going through your teen years can be traumatic enough. I have the most amazing friends at school and at home that I can always count on. Even though I can't remeber what its like not to be in pain, its what makes me, me.