14 Aug Smart Pup for Penny
The mechanism of CRPS is unknown, however, it is believed that CRPS occurs as a result of damage to, or a malfunction of the nervous system and the immune system.
Common symptoms include:
• Severe pain, lasting longer than expected and being disproportionate to the original condition/injury
• Hypersensitivity to touch and/or pain from non-painful stimuli (such as from breezes, sheets, the shower etc)
• Colour and/or Temperature changes (eg. mottled, red/blue skin; hot/cold)
• Pain/Sensitivity to changes in the weather
• Increased or Decreased sweating
• Skin, Nail or Hair Growth changes
• Limb Weakness, Numbness, Spasms or Tremors
• Contractions of the hand or foot, abnormal muscle postures or clumsiness
I have been successful with my application for a ‘Smart Pup’, assistance dog. This will be life changing for me, as the dog will be trained specifically to notify someone if I have a debilitating flare up, and it will be able to push a chair to me when this happens, along with bring me vital items that are needed such as a phone to call for help, water etc…. The dog will also be able to open doors for me, support me emotionally through the challenging times, and many other helpful things.
CRPS has affected every aspect of my life. Prior to CRPS I was a healthy, active mum, self employed professional that also loved hiking and the outdoors.
CRPS has effected me in many ways, here are just some:
• My mobility is greatly affected. I use a range of mobility tools, from crutches to wheelchairs.
• I am unable to lift or carry anything with weight or that is a reasonable size, which very limiting as a mother.
• I cannot walk on uneven ground at all, and I struggle greatly with slopes and inclines.
• impaired balance and dizziness.
• Stairs are impossible for me to navigate.
• Any situation can cause a flare up. Having a flare up means that I am then unable to place any pressure or touch or even a light breeze or sheet/clothing onto the effected area, at all, without extreme pain. These flare ups can last for weeks/months, where I am completely immobilized
• Allodynia – central pain sensitization (increased response of neurons) following normally non-painful, often repetitive, stimulation. Allodynia can lead to the triggering of a pain response from stimuli which do not normally provoke pain. Temperature or physical stimuli can provoke allodynia, which may feel like a burning sensation.
• Dystonia – a neurological movement disorder that makes it difficult for people to control their muscles. It can cause abnormal twisting or positions in part(s) of the body along with spasms or tremors. Dystonia can affect almost any part of the body.
• Sensory changes – touching my body (particularly lower body) even lightly, moving through water, a change in temperature, a breeze, a sheet/blanket etc is unbearable and all cause extreme pain. At night I have to sleep with my lower body raised, with no blankets or sheets on my lower body at all.
• Inability to regulate body temperature
I rely greatly on the assistance of my husband daily to help me dress, shower, transfer into bed, getting my medicines, shopping, cooking, washing, cleaning and general house duties along with parental duties that I cannot do. Our family home has had to be completely modified to accomodate my condition, along with my car.
Having an assistance dog would mean the absolute world to me and my family. It would provide a huge measure of comfort to James, (my husband) and myself as we would both know that I will be safe with the help of the dog, when I am alone. The mental repercussions of not being able to look after myself will be helped tremendously by having an assistance dog close by every day. The emotional support that a trained dog can give, along with the physical assistance, is indescribably life changing for our family, as it would help to ease the tremendous amount of stress that our whole family experiences due to this extremely limiting condition.
I would never ask unless I needed to. This assistance dog is so vital to allowing me to get more from life, for both my family and I. Please pass this on to anyone you feel would be interested in helping. Thank you in anticipation of your
Please contact me if you want to find out more about my condition or just to chat. I would love to hear from you.
Sincerest of Thanks,