Friday, March 25, 2016

Facing Forward: Ross

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!

Name: Ross
Location: Regina, SK, Canada
Diagnosis: CRPS/RSD (complex regional pain syndrom, formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy); Osteoporosis
Age at Diagnosis: 35, ten years ago

How are you currently treating your condition?
Currently my CRPS is being treated in a few ways. I am on a drug treatment plan that includes hydromorphine, gabapentin, pariet, alondronate, and naproxen. Three years ago I also underwent the implant process to implant neuro simulators to help with treatment. I also do things like breathing exercises to calm the nervous system and yoga now. As well I try to eat very healthy with as much all natural as possible.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
There are so many challenges that I have had to face since my diagnosis. I have no use of my left hand and limited use of my left leg, so learning to adapt to doing everything differently hasn't been easy. Even bigger than that, however, has been having to overcome my own mind! At the beggining I felt helpless and had very little hope. I had to tell myself that I could go on to do great things with my life and that I didn't have to give up.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
For doing everyday tasks my tip would be to listen to your body and do everything in moderation. With CRPS stress triggers flare ups of pain, so my tip is to try and reduce stress in your life. To do this I do breathing exercises morning and night. Yoga brings in the meditation side of things that helps to calm my nervous system as well.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
My attitude is that this illness will not define who I am or what I can do. I remain positive in every situation I come up against and believe that not everything has to be bad and that I can win this fight.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Going back to diagnosis day I would tell myself never to give up hope and to not be angry. I was very angry at the start that all this was happening. My confidence was low and I felt defeated.

Do you have a blog you would like to share?
My blog is Painfully Optimistic.

Would you like to be featured on Facing Forward? If so, please send an email to  

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