Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death himself. – Albert Schweitzer.


I have a Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. At least that was the name it was given when I was diagnosed. Now they call it Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. During the Civil War it was known as Causalgia. The level of pain it causes is measured as one of the most severe on the McGill University Pain Scale. I have RSD but it is not who I am.

It is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder which occurs when your nervous system and immune system malfunction in a response to tissue damage from trauma. The nerves send constant pain signals to the brain. This happens even when there are no painful stimuli present. Everything is interpreted by the nerves as painful. The touch of fabric on the affected areas is perceived as pain. So is air. Showering can be excruciating as both the feeling of water cascading on the skin and the warmth of the water are deciphered as painful by the brain. This is called allodynia.

There are physical changes that occur as well. Abnormal swelling, nail and/or hair growth, sweating, skin temperature, and skin color changes can all be present. There is limited range of motion, and weakness.

It has been more than 16 years since I had the botched lumbar puncture that led to my RSD and there has not been a single moment in all that time I have had no pain. RSD can wax and wane and some patients even go into remission so there is always hope.

This condition has affected every area of my life. My activities have been drastically altered and some things I’ve had to give up completely. My relationships have changed because of my condition. Everything I do is a balancing act between my desire to do something and the pain it will cause.

I’ve known more than a few people with this horrible condition who have taken their own lives rather than live with the pain one more day. Many marriages have broken up because the healthy spouse tires of caring for the patient or simply gets tired of hearing complaints about pain.

RSD is an insidious thing that can rob you of everything that made your life happy and fulfilling. But it is also possible to have just that kind of life in spite of the pain. Making adjustments is paramount. I adapted the way I do things and I adapted the way I think.

I will never get to ride a horse again but I still love being around horses. I can’t cook or bake some of the things I would like to try making because doing so would be too physically taxing. But I can cook and bake a lot of things. I can’t maintain my flower gardens and my vegetable garden so I choose which I want to devote my strength to and concentrate on that one.

This is not to say I don’t mourn for the life I cannot have. I wish I could run around the yard with my grandchildren. I wish I could take the road trip to visit my older son. I wish I could go for a long walk through the woods or on a beach. But I can’t do those things. So I try to find things that I can enjoy just as much.

RSD is something I have. It is not who I am. Beneath the mottled skin that is cold to the touch and the bones that are deteriorating I’m still the same person with the too-loud laugh and smart ass sense of humor. I’m still madly in love with my husband and I still know my kids and grand kids hang the moon.  And I still have a wonderful life. My body hurts but I won’t let RSD make my soul hurt.






Author: Elizabeth

I'm a wife, mom, and grandma (known as Bam) who loves cooking, baking, gardening, and all things that go into making a cozy coop for my brood. I have a disability so you may pick up tips on how to do things when some things just don't work right!

8 thoughts on “Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy”

  1. I’m so sorry about your injury. I never heard of it before. It has to be challenging. Kudos to you for being a survivor and still finding the bright side.😉💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s considered a “rare” condition but seems to set off a bunch of other autoimmune issues. I just want to know who the heck decided “Sympathetic” should be in the name! And how are you getting the emoticons there? I’m so jealous!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t use my phone for this. My texting skills are somewhat lacking. I sent my sister a text and she responded with, “WHAT?” I re-typed the text and she wrote back, “Thank God. I thought you’d had a stroke.”

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Light

Inspire, Encourage and Empower


Gardening while raising kids

Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case - you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 - 2021

Tony Tomeo

Horticulturist, Arborist and Garden Columnist

My folks

A Place for Family, Food, and Fun.

Top stories

Fun stories For You To Enjoy

let me photograph you softly

photographs on the street

Just trying to get by....

My road to weightloss

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

Seeking a Village

Wife. Mom. Newbie Christian. Raw. Honest.


#joke #lol #haha #funny #hilarious

Linkedin Blog

Navigating You To Future Success

Momma Bird Blog

Mom Deserves More

Lallie Lee

Learning to Live Fearless

The Hansen House

A home and lifestyle family blog.

Kelly in the Kitchen

Creating sound recipes inspired by many things near & far

%d bloggers like this: