For all you Canadians out there Happy Thanksgiving! I'm going to be enjoying the weekend with my family, and I'm not about to let my pain stand in the way. As I was thinking about what I was going to post today, a friend gave me an idea. How many of you have come across a doctor who knows very little about CRPS/RSD ? Well my friend had just been to the doctor and this was the case. Her doctor knew absolutely nothing about the condition. It is so frustrating to hear time after time that they don't know about the condition.
There is new information coming out all the time by doctors who are doing research on this condition. The issue seems to be though that doctors are slow in being trained to understand and be able to diagnose the condition. So what is being done to train our doctors? I don't think it's a matter of laying blame on anybody, but I do think that there needs to be a higher level of awareness. Doctors need to start taking people who suffer from chronic pain more seriously. We aren't just going in complaining about a common ache or pain. The pain is very real and there are multiple ways in which it's affecting our lives.
Don't get me wrong the doctors who do understand and know something about CRPS are great, and for the most part do everything they can to help us. What was interesting was that once my friend explained CRPS to her doctor she wanted to know more about it and how to treat. In my brain it's just a matter of getting the information out there. We are seeing more information getting out in the last five years however it needs to be faster. I just look at my case and how long it took to be diagnosed. It took a little over a year for anyone to diagnose and start treatment on me. If it had been quicker then maybe some of my symptoms wouldn't be as bad as they are.
The education of CRPS isn't only up to the medical community, it's up to us as the ones who suffer from it to work with them so that they can learn. It's this ability to work together as a team that I think we need to see change. If I had to give up a dollar for every time that I've heard someone say " the doctor doesn't know anything about CRPS " then I'd be broke by now. In a lot of cases though this is where it stops. We need to start drawing more attention to CRPS, and raise awareness to a whole new level. Don't think that for a minute that you can't bring about change because you can!
If you do some research you'll find people who have started groups, or are trying to raise awareness in various ways. Get involved and try to make a difference! If we all get involved then people are going to start to listen. Then if we're lucky change will follow behind that. I've seen some real positive changes in the last five years since my diagnosis. As the people who work with me gain knowledge they've been able to alter treatment plans and learn so much more. They are starting to get to people who are being diagnosed faster and therefore starting treatment sooner. This then betters their chances at minimizing the symptoms and trying to reverse the condition.
In theory it seems so easy but in reality it isn't. Seeing change and breakthrough takes time, and it also takes effort from all sides and parties involved. I've been learning that it doesn't do me or anyone else any good to just complain about what people aren't doing. I need to start focusing on what I can do to do my part to bring about that change that we'd all like to see. I'm not asking for a cure tomorrow, although that would be nice!! I am saying that CRPS needs to be recognised more, and that I can be a part of making that small change happen. I believe that it's about taking one step at a time, working together towards one common goal. As you start to make small changes then bigger changes start to happen. What are you doing to raise awareness? Leave me a comment.