I've been taking gabapentin for the last 7 months for the RSD (CRPS).
I ended up at my surgeons office basically pleading for him to give me something to dull the consuming pain I was in. I still remember how bad it was, how I felt like I was being driven insane and couldn't focus on anything other than the frozen cold, burning, stabbing unrelenting pain my foot. It was killing me slowly because I had lost control of my emotions and was getting so behind with my study I was afraid I would never catch up.

At that point I didn't have a proper diagnosis, various medical professionals had named it in passing (as he had done) before my hip surgery and they were very encouraging that the hip surgery would fix my symptoms. But after surgery when it got worse and it came to informing me what it was, he was very off hand. In a letter he wrote me he spoke of it as "pain that will come right by itself given enough time", didn't explain it more than that and certainly didn't mention RSD or CRPS. Several sports docs when I explained my symptoms did so at least I knew although because my surgeon hadn't actually called it that I still hoped against hope it wasn't.

Fast forward a bit, things are getting worse, pain is barely under control but not yet at the point it was last year. I have this super hypersensitive patch again on my thigh, like a bad deep bruise which I cant bear my pants touching and my foot is slowing starting to drive me insane again. The last thing I need just now on top of all the other drama is to be driven crazy by pain.

I went to the doc at student health and practically begged him to give me something for the pain and he just sits there and goes like what do I expect him to do...please help me! He's the doc, I need him to help me but I don't think he knows how to deal with me cos I have complicated problems. In all fairness though he refers me to a special doc in the city who I have seen before.

Now comes the point of this whole post...
I saw Dr Steve a few days ago, he sees my pretty purple foot and leg and he talks to me for over half an hour-I honestly love this guy!
He says this is complex regional pain syndrome, something I've needed a doctor to tell me properly for over a year now. Half of me was so disappointed but the rest of me felt relieved as now I can really say that is what is wrong with me-before I used to say I had a tentative diagnosis. He says we are going to keep this simple, is anything about this diagnosis simple? And then we get to the point of pain...or pain management...currently I'm on half the maximum dose of gabapentin you can take, he wants me to increase it to 3/4 the maximum dose, thats 2700mg per day and I'm a slight thing weighing in at around 45kg. (he talks about pain management as well but thats the topic of another post).

I'm scared...not about the amount of meds as such, but about the fact that after only 7 months I am increasing my dosage by half, what happens if I need to increase again in another 7 months? and then another 7 months-what happens then?
Another part of me is asking whether I am weak giving in this early to more meds, should I be stronger and take the pain for longer before I give in and start taking more? I dont know what to do, all I know is I cant let myself get to the point I was at last year and just now that is closer than I have admitted to anyone.


N said...

I have had CRPS for 12 years now, I know how you're living! I would absolutely seek out a Pain Management Specialist that deals with this disease on a regular basis. Most of us wind up on opiates of the stronger version, and some, like me, have a pain pump. Please do yourself a favor, and get educated about this, it's no joke! www.rsdsa.org is a good place to start, God's speed, and hang in there!

Alessea said...

Hey N
I know this is no joke, it just seems so hard to get medical people over here who actually know what I'm talking about! Read my next post about the difficulty of getting to see a pain management specialist.
Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, I'm trying my hardest to get to understand what this is all about. I hope you are doing ok despite having had rsd for 12 years-and thank you for reading my blog!