Who is “Taming the Beast” for?

I began the journey of writing this book when I was first diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Not only was I told that it was incurable, but the only treatments offered to me were either drugs that I couldn’t tolerate due to my pre-existing immune condition, or invasive surgical procedures that were likewise out of the question for me. There was no suggestion that anything else could possibly help. I spent the next decade proving that wrong. As I eventually found others who had been given this life sentence as well, I saw how even those who could take some of the medications were suffering so much for a lack of any alternative care options. The idea of sharing what I’d learned, and continued to learn, became harder and harder to ignore, and eventually coalesced into “Taming the Beast”.

Initially, I was focussed entirely on RSD/CRPS, as it seemed to be a condition that had fallen by the wayside; the need was so great and the dearth of alternative care was so terrible. It was a disorder with such a dire reputation for intractability that even alternative health professionals shuddered at the mention of it. It was a disorder so misunderstood that some health professionals denied its existence, or believed it to be a form of mental illness (based on the grounds that no one could withstand pain that intense, so it must not be real… how’s that for circular logic?).

However, over time, I came to see that most chronic pain disorders shared some of the hallmarks of RSD/CRPS, if not the severity. Many disorders of intractable pain come with dysfunction of the immune and/or central nervous system causing co-morbidities that are often almost as hard to bear as the pain. And because of these, and the side effects of the pain medications, most chronic pain patients end up taking a toxic stew of pharmaceuticals in their desperate struggle to find peace in their pain filled bodies. It became increasingly obvious to me that chronic pain patients in general were being in a large part left out to dry by the medical profession. And that chronic pain patients all shared to some degree the stigma and misunderstanding that is such a bane to suffers of RSD/CRPS.

I have kept a primary focus on RSD/CRPS, not only because of the great need, and it being the area of my own personal experience, but also because it encompasses such an incredibly wide array of symptoms; in covering the symptoms of RSD/CRPS, I find that the vast majority of symptoms of pretty much all the other disorders of chronic pain are covered, including arachnoiditis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, post herpetic neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, diabetic neuropathies, lupus, MS, shingles, environmental illnesses and a wide range of other neuralgias, neuropathies, immune system, neurological and mitochondrial diseases.

Many of these disorders are now or have been previously overlooked and under-estimated. The needs of their sufferers are also great. I am learning more all the time, and want to keep on learning. I ask your help in compiling more information to make “Taming the Beast” into the really inclusive, patient’s best friend I so badly want it to be. Please take the time to fill out my survey, to comment on posts and send questions or suggestions of topics you’d like me to look into. I want this book, and this blog to really reflect your needs; to help lessen our daily suffering and to share the knowledge that I have fought so hard through so many challenging years to bring together.

So, who is “Taming the Beast” for? This book, and this blog is for all of us; this book and this blog are for you.