Since being diagnosed this past Spring, I had only seen my doctor twice, and all he had done is recommend that my GP continue to prescribe me Percocet, and that I have 3 Stellar Ganglion Blocks (my second one was today).
I still haven't seen him since my RSD, or what I am certain is RSD, spread into my leg.
But I did finally locate a group that promotes RSD research and Legislative Change. Check it out. I found it helpful. It has great resources.
After a long night of intense pain, I woke up, and was denied breakfast. Luckily, the block was scheduled at 11AM, or I might have become ill tempered. My mother and I made our way to the out patient clinic, a 45 minute drive from our home, where sat in a overstuffed plastic chair, covered in heated linen.
About one hour later, I was wheeled into 'surgery', where they proceeded with the Stellar Ganglion Block. An overly creepy nurse would stroke my head, and tell me I was a 'good patient'. I better be, to allow a woman who just told me I was crazy to think I had RSD in my leg to shove a needle in the front of my neck, with no medication.
But I digress. I had been having chest pain for the past week. I was reading from the first site, where I get the most consistent information-
The staging of RSD is not as critically done on the basis of dysfunction (stage I) meaning abnormal function of the sympathetic system in the extremity, dystrophy (stage II , meaning trophic and inflammatory changes, skin changes and other signs of inflammation), atrophy (stage III, meaning usually minimal degree of atrophy in the involved muscles), or stage IV (meaning disturbance of the immune system, suicidal attempts, stroke, heart attacks, intractable hypertension and chest pain, and in some cases development of cancer). The prognosis is more related to the temporal development of the above four stages.
Stage IV: Identifies the final stage of RSD / CRPS manifested by:1. Failure of the immune system, reduction of helper T-cell lymphocytes and elevation of killer T-cell lymphocytes. This is in contrast to the opposite, up-regulated function of immune system in early stages.2. The hypertension in early stages due to alpha-1 up-regulation reverses to eventual exhaustion and to the common occurrence of orthostatic hypotension in this late stage. Blood pressure changes in this stage are due to autonomic failure. The failure of the sympathetic system exaggerates the response to drugs that lower or raise the blood pressure.3. Intractable generalized extremity and visceral edema involving the abdomen, pelvis, lungs, and extremities due to long-standing disturbance of sodium-potassium and calcium magnesium pumps usually left untreated for several years. The same organs may eventually be subject to multiple abscesses due to failure of immune function.4. Ulcerative skin lesions.5. High risks of cancer and suicide.6. Multiple surgical procedures seem to be precipitating factors for development of stage IV.This late stage is almost the flip side of earlier stages, and points to exhaustion of sympathetic and immune systems. Ganglion blocks in this stage are useless and treatment should be aimed at improving the edema and the failing immune system.