CRPS Warrior

Patty Skerl illness warrior

Patty S's Story

Cleveland, OH USA

Age: 46 or better

A little bit about my journey:

My Diagnosis

Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Type II

Time to Get Diagnosed

About a year

Year I was Diagnosed


Sending Love to

Pain Management (Anesthesiology)

Hospital I'd Recommend

Cleveland Clinic

This is my story:

For many years, I had off and on sciatic pain in my left leg. Tried various therapies to relieve the pain, but to no avail. After finding a competent massage therapist, he discovered a lump in the back of my leg at the base of my left butt cheek. After having it investigated, it was determined that I had a benign tumor scaringly close to the sciatic nerve. It was located at the top of the hamstring and very deep. Even though the biopsy showed non-cancerous cells, due to the location, it was recommended having it removed.

This is where things go poorly. I had major surgery in August of 2013. It was considered successful as they fully removed it. As the nerves started to recover, the pain started to increase, becoming worse and worse. They could not find anything wrong so they sent me to pain management. The first doctor was less than compassionate. All he did was try medications that only made me, sick, completely out of it, or both. He finally gave up on me. Found a different pain management doctor who took my situation more seriously. By process of elimination as well as my symptoms, I was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome Type II/causalgia in the spring of 2014.

Over the following years, I’ve had two different types of spinal cord stimulators implanted, with no long-term relief. Tried many more medications with intolerable side-effects. Had a hydro-dissection procedure to separate scar tissue from the nerve, which was successful, but made the pain worse. I had nerve blocks. A trial for a pain pump. I even had a frightening ketamine treatment. Been there – done that. Got the t-shirt. I have had other health issues, including thyroid cancer and normal aging issues such as arthritis and degenerative disc disease (even cataracts at age 48!). I joke that they are either taking stuff out or putting things in.

I have resigned to the fact that the pain will always be with me and will likely continue to get worse, which it has.

What a sappy sad story, right? Well…no. I have always counted my blessings, and this is one of them. I would not be the person I am, nor would I have the cross-country and international friendships I’ve cultivated which mean so much. I wouldn’t be living in the lovely home where my husband, daughter and I now reside if it wasn’t for my need for one floor living. We would not be members of the wonderful church where we now belong if we didn’t move. You wouldn’t be reading about my story right now if this did not occur.

I have learned so much and am far more compassionate with people with disabilities. I am motivated to be a support to those who may be struggling as I know that I am in a good place. I have learned that one needs to meet others where they are and sometimes it’s just listening. I hope that, in my small way, I can be a support to others. I appreciate YOU “listening” to my story and know that it is incomplete as I’m still adding to it. I hope that you are adding to yours too.

Let’s play 20 questions:

The song that keeps me going is:
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye
I never leave home without my:
Cell phone
My go-to feel better movie is: 
The Princess Bride
If I was in the hospital, the celebrity I would most love to visit me would be:
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
When I need to relax, I:
Put on my face-mask speakers and listen to Jim Brickman music
My favorite food is:
Italian cuisine
The quote that keeps me going is:
Faith tells me that no matter what lies ahead of me, God is already there.
When I need a laugh, I:
Watch Whose Line is it Anyway or Monty Python
Meet my pets (or favorite stuffed animal):
My hero is:
When I’m having a down day I binge watch:
My favorite book to get lost in is:
Historical Novels
I want to be best friends with:
Wayne Brady
The thing I’m most proud of:
Obtaining my master's degree (in my 40s but got it done!)
The most wonderfully unexpected thing that has happened to me as a result of this journey is:
The groups and friends I've been able to make across the miles
The most hilarious thing that has happened to me is:
Being on stage with an improv troupe
It really means a lot when someone does this:
Checks in on me. Learns about my condition.
My favorite social media account to follow is:
Twitter and Facebook equally
The advice I would give to myself back at the beginning of this journey would be:
Admit that this is really a serious medical issue. Not to discount it
Words of encouragement that I’d give to my fellow warriors are
Realize that there are people out there to support you and to not be afraid to ask for help (don't be too proud)
Follow my journey: n/a

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