As November is #CRPSawareness month, I have been reflected on all the aspects of my life that CRPS has affected. One key area has been my work. I knew I wanted to join my mom’s marketing business from the day she started it when I was eight years old! When I finished high school, I’d already been working in the business part-time and knew exactly which university degree I was going to do. In my second year of varsity, the pain in my wrist hit and my journey to being diagnosed with CRPS began. I was in excruciating pain. I spent most days in bed or on the couch crying and physically, I was a wreck. I managed to complete my degree by doing my exams orally as I could no longer write. I did my best to work but it was a disaster.
By divine intervention, an associate referred us to a neurologist who took the time to understand my pain and booked me into a hospital for two days of extensive testing. On the evening of the second night, Dr. Mahomed (a specialist physician/ rheumatologist) came in and he diagnosed me with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) formerly known as RSDS.
“CRPS/RSD is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder…CRPS occurs when the nervous system and the immune system malfunction as they respond to tissue damage from trauma. The nerves misfire, sending constant pain signals to the brain. The level of pain is measured as one of the most severe on the McGill University Pain Scale.” – RSDSA
As I have come to terms with working with CRPS, three things have made a huge impact on making this a positive journey:
- Amazing clients: I’ve had CRPS for 8 years but was sick for 2 years prior to that so, for my entire, “full-time” working life CRPS has affected how I work. Each step of the way, our Purple Mookiting clients have been so understanding. They have moved meetings, changed deadlines, travelled to me and given me grace and support when I’ve needed time off. The thing I am most grateful for though is their understanding. They have consistently tried to come to terms with my CRPS and how they can help me function with it. Empathy and compassion are so powerful!
- Amazing colleagues: my mum was my boss and is now my partner, and whilst she is amazing, my other colleagues are exceptional too! They reach out and check on me, offer help, understand when I need to move training and are ALL remarkable at guessing what words I’m trying to find but have misplaced! They’ve learnt coffee and cake are always a good bet to help me feel better.
- Amazing planning: I was advised by my doctor that 4 hours a day is my capacity for work with CRPS. As I’ve become healthier, I’ve added more hours to my day but it is a fine balancing act. My mum is fantastic at planning and, I think, she counts my pennies better than I do. She looks at the month and works out how all the pieces fit making sure I don’t have back to back meetings, plans in rest days and helps me prioritise my workload so I’m most effective. We’ve planned my work devices so I can minimise my handwork when I’m in pain and have the most flexibility.
I love my work, I love my clients, I love creating REMARKABLE brands! I am so grateful I get to do what I do every day but I couldn’t have done it without the amazing people around me. They remind me of this scripture
“Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. If one of them falls, the other can help him up.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a
To each of you who have walked this path with me, thank you! Thank you for your love, patience, compassion, joy at my wins and sorrow at my falls, hugs and prayers. I appreciate each and every one of you!