January 25, 2016
“I just hopped out of the shower, and instead of my legs and arms being a purplish brown they were…normal. To say the least, I was quit surprised. And a bit confused, because that hasn’t happened in years. I just kind of looked at my legs, poked them, and it didn’t hurt.
And I just kind of paused and was like “huh, well this is new.”
Katia, age 17, during her Calmare Therapy NJ treatments with clinical director Dr. Michael Cooney
While most teenagers are out with friends having fun, Katia lived her life in bed, battling constant pain. She suffers from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a neuropathic condition that is resistant to medication and traditional therapeutic treatments.
What full-body CRPS feels like
Unfortunately, in Katia’s case, she lives with full body CRPS.
All of her limbs–even her lungs and heart–are affected.
Katia’s condition is so severe that even her senses–hearing, smell, taste–are negatively affected.
She also suffers from acid-like burning throughout her body, in addition to uncontrolled spasms in her limbs, lungs and heart.
The lung spasms are particularly painful.
But Katia’a unrelenting family heard about Calmare Therapy as a new RSD treatment to combat the pain–and the additional symptoms that present in more severe cases.
After talking with other CRPS patients who had been treated by Dr. Michael Cooney at Calmare Therapy New Jersey USA, who has successfully treated hundreds of RSD and CRPS patients since 2011, they decided to fundraise in order to make the trip and have Katia undergo the daily treatments.
After a community-wide fundraising effort, she and her family trekked 3,000 from the west coast to be treated by Dr. Cooney in October 2015.
Doctor and patient hit it off right away and the family was close by for support and good humor.
Much to the teenager and her family’s shock, after being severely debilitated for years, Katia began to feel less and less pain after each Calmare treatment and her additional symptoms steadily subsided as well.
When her treatment series ended, Katia flew home with her family elated to finally return to the routine of a typical teenager’s life–after a long absence.
What a re-injury can mean for someone living with RSD
Once she was back home and living life with a pain level below a 3/10, Katia experienced an unfortunate accident / re-injury.
The CRPS wasted no time and returned with a vengeance, shooting her pain back up to an 8-9.
But this time, Katia and her family had their own ammunition to battle back–Calmare Therapy.
Earlier this month, they returned to New Jersey for Calmare booster treatments, and Katia’s RSD treatment pushed her pain level back down to manageable numbers (1-3 on average).
Before she left, Katia presented Dr. Cooney with a wonderful hand-knit winter hat (which was particularly useful during the 20 inches of snow we experienced over the weekend…) in CRPS orange, no less.
Katia’ Mother Sends an Update – January 19, 2016
(shared with permission)
Dearest Dr. Cooney,
I can’t thank you enough. Katia is doing so very good.
I can’t stop smiling.
I wish I could tell everyone who suffers about you.
I’ve been working hard in that regard. At this point mostly on the Internet. But I know a few people around here that need you too. Hopefully they will give it a try.
The only thing they have to lose is pain, right?
Her pain did spike on the plane. We knew it would. But as soon as we got off, it started going back down. By the time we drove home it was down to a 3.
Today all day she has been a 2.
I am so thankful. You saved her. You gave her back to me. She is becoming her funny happy self again.
I will keep in touch, and let you know how she does. Have a great week.
Hugs to you