The picture above is one of my first pictures that I have at the very beginning of my flying career. It was taken in the backseat of a two-seater version of the A-4 Skyhawk back in 1988 or so on a midshipman field trip to get aviation experience. Rather than finding a picture taken around the time of when my RSD started in 2012, I wanted to choose a picture at the beginning of one of the things that RSD cost me.
Today marks the five year anniversary of when I was “shot”, which ultimately led to the end of my flying career with the military. It would be a much more exciting story if the shot that ended up causing me to be retired at 47 and driving around with handicapped license plates was a missile shot or something like that. There is a term in military aviation called the “Golden BB”. The Golden BB is that one bullet, or missile, or whatever that just happened to be in your path at the right time to hit your aircraft and end life for you as you know it.
Five years ago today, that Golden BB came in the form of a hypodermic needle filled with cortisone. In order to decrease some pain that I was having in my left foot that was a residual symptom from a previous injury, especially since I needed to be able to run a military physical fitness test a few weeks later, my podiatrist suggested a cortisone injection. I’d had them before, and there had never been a problem. This was absolutely what I needed in order to help with the pain (my concept of pain was about to drastically change).
Without going into too much detail at this point, the trauma of the injection somehow caused my peripheral nervous system to go haywire. What started out as a signal of pain from the top of my left foot to my brain, quickly became an endless loop of pain signals that continue five years later. Not only that, but due to the makeup of the peripheral and central nervous systems, the erratic signaling of pain by the nerves spread throughout my body. This left me with what is known as Systemic (or Body Wide) RSD/CRPS.
Think about the pain that you have with a toothache or some similar type of pain that stopped you in your tracks and left you unable to focus on anything other than that pain. For those of us with RSD, take that pain and live with it for years. This year will make five years for me but I have friends who’ve fought this disease for twenty and thirty years.
RSD/CRPS is a painful, debilitating disease that is not well known or understood. The chance of remission is slight after the first year or so, and at this point there is no cure. Being familiar with the disease may help you, a friend, or a family member get time critical medical treatment in order to not live a life of pain. That is my purpose for this blog, and for the sharing of medical articles and videos on my Facebook page.
Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support over these past five years. We truly appreciate it.