Contributed by: Georgina
Reviewed by: Evelyn Corsini, MSW, May 2010
Georgina has been a high achiever, academically and professionally, while living with CRPS.
I’m a Mexican immigrant that came to the United States ten years ago with the hope of pursuing the American dream. I’m currently 34 years old. I’ve been living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) for four and a half years. I got it from a dog bite to my left hand in 2005. I currently have CRPS on my four extremities, hip, groin area, neck, TMJ, vocal cords, and some internal organs (stomach & bladder).
Since I got this terrible syndrome, I have not given up. I have found different mechanisms to cope with this condition. For instance, when the dog bit me, I had just started my doctoral degree. I had two options, quit or continue with my dream, and I followed the second one. I used every painful night to complete my assignments and write my dissertation. I am proud to share that I was able to complete my doctoral degree with success in two years. In fact, I was the first one from my group to graduate.
After achieving this goal I had a second motivator, especially that my condition (physical limitations) started being an obstacle to my job duties, which was to obtain a better position in the job place I have been working for the past 6 years. I was able to obtain a promotion after six months of graduating. I currently work for a higher education institution. My job has helped me manage my pain by keeping my mind really busy.
One of my job responsibilities is to advise prospective and current doctoral students. When I talk to the students, I share my story with them. I do this because I want to be an inspiration to them. As I always tell them, “your life can change from one minute to another”, therefore, take advantage of the various opportunities life gives you. I also feel that when I share with other people what happened to me, my inner self feels better.
Although my condition has been progressing day-to-day, I try to do the best I can every day. Therefore, some tips I would like to share with other people that have a chronic pain conditions are the following:
(1) Go to the Internet and find online support groups. These groups have helped me tremendously understand that I am not the only one with this condition, and I have been able to chat and share my progress with other people that understands and will care for you.
(2) Have a positive attitude. I totally understand that it is hard sometimes, but this will help you maintain a positive energy and reduce the stress.
(3) Try to keep yourself busy. If you are not able to work, try to read, watch TV or get a hobby that distracts your mind from the pain.
(4) Learn to know your body, and share with your doctor any new change or pain.