(Editor’s note: In her last column, Amanda wrote about her first week of treatment with Calmare therapy at Pain Relief of Oregon in West Linn, OR. Calmare uses electricity to block pain signals in people with chronic neuropathic pain, including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which Amanda has suffered from over the last two years.)
One thing that I’ve learned through this whole process is that what works today to help with the pain, may not help tomorrow. A treatment may takes days or weeks to take effect. Medications need to be constantly increased to maintain effectiveness, if they’re effective at all. Treatments and therapies that work for one person may not work for someone else.
I guess that’s why I’ve waited so long to write the follow up to my Calmare treatment.
I’ve been waiting for the effectiveness to go away. To wake up one morning in pain again. That is something that has happened to me with every procedure and medication thus far — either they aren’t effective, have too many side effects, or the results don’t last.
It’s part of the reason that I’ve been so conservative about writing how well I’m doing. I feel like I might jinx it. The fact that Calmare therapy worked so quickly and so effectively seemed too good to be true.
It has been about a month since I finished my initial 14-day treatment. So far, I’ve woken up free of neuropathic pain almost everyday. I’ve had one flare with a one-hour booster on the Calmare device, but other than that I’ve been doing great.
That does not mean that other things don’t hurt. I still have a collapsed arch on my left foot, a lot of muscle and joint atrophy which has lead to some of my joints being painful (mostly my ankles), and my teeth have decayed because of all the medications that I’ve been on over the last few years. But those are “normal” pains. Pain that can be taken care of with some ibuprofen and ice. It’s a huge change.
There is no doubt in my mind that Calmare has changed my life for the better. Talking to others with neuropathic pain that have had the treatment, they’ve had the same story as mine. Each day waking up expecting that relentless, mind-numbing pain to return. But it hasn’t.
I know that it’s going to and that I’m going to need boosters to keep the pain at bay, but that is manageable and a small inconvenience compared to the gains.
I feel like I’ve my life back. Like there is hope for a future where pain doesn’t control my life, which is something that I’ve been missing the last few years. There is excitement as I look to the future; something that I didn’t think would happen again.
The ability to look forward with hope is something that I thought I lost forever — something that many who suffer from debilitating chronic pain lose. Finding a treatment that works not only heals the body, but also the soul.
My relationship with my husband has gotten better, but it still takes work. At least now he looks at me like I’m his wife, not his burden or his patient.
Since becoming more mobile and active I’ve lost twenty pounds. I feel more like my old self, my pre-CRPS self, than I have in years. It’s a great feeling.
Amanda Siebe lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and son. She writes about her battle with chronic pain and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in her blog “Life in Pain.”
Amanda’s Calmare treatments at Pain Relief of Oregon are being provided at no cost to her. In exchange, Amanda has attended open houses at the clinic to talk about CRPS, how it has affected her life, and the various treatments she has received.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.