Former Spartan Shares Her Experience with CRPS

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Spotlight blog

Coming together and learning about the condition will help those who go through it feel more accepted.

  The month of November is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome awareness month. Former Sanderson Spartan Lucy Rivas has lived with it for 6 years and is taking this month to speak out about her experiences. CRPS is a rare chronic pain that is found in less than 200,000 people per year according to MayoClinic.

  There is currently no cure for the syndrome, but it can be treated by physical therapy, hot and cold therapy, and medication. In order to identify it in your system a medical diagnosis is needed and no imaging or lab tests are required. 

  Simple injuries like sprained ankles or infections can lead to CRPS; it is not completely understood as to why. 

  Lucy Rivas touches hearts with her inspiring story and her strength to possibly live with the syndrome for the rest of her life. 

  Rivas was diagnosed with CRPS in the beginning of January, 2015. She remembers being first diagnosis saying, “At the time I was in the fifth grade, so understanding a complicated condition was not easy to spread awareness to my peers, let alone understand it myself.”

  Luckily, Rivas had a great support system of friends and family that were eager to educate themselves on her condition. 

  The beginning stages of her condition started with the inability to walk and move certain parts of her body. She attended six hours of daily physical, occupational, and psychological therapies to try and retrain her body to simply walk and move.  

  As she started to integrate therapy into her daily life, she began to experience personal challenges. Rivas shared her thoughts looking back on those early days, “The challenging factor apart from the pain was the fact that the only way to get ‘better’ was to learn to cope with the pain and push through it since there’s no cure.”

  Rivas gives credit to Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey for helping her learn how to cope with her condition. 

  “My pain moves around my body and I definitely still have my bad days, but the chronic pain program at CSH helped me learn to accept my pain, rather than fight it, and become accepting of the fact that this is just something I just have to live with.”

While she must continue to deal with pain everyday, she chooses to persevere through each day and keep a positive attitude about her situation.

  She expresses her hopes for people to bring awareness to the condition, “It would mean so much to me if you can help me spread awareness about my rare condition, for although there is no cure, there’s also very little research in this category of chronic pain. Therefore the more people who are aware about stories like mine, the more help.”

While most people will never have to experience CRPS we must come together and have recognition for those who must fight conditions like it.