My Story: Life Has Changed and It Goes On

My Story: Life Has Changed and It Goes On

By A.J. Battaglia

Life interrupted with a diagnosis that has no end in sight.

In March 2015 I was diagnosed with RSD/CRPS which is Regional Sympathetic Disorder or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Did I know what RSD was? No, I did not, I had never heard of it. Following my doctors visit I went right home to search the Internet. That day began my journey with RSD.

My initial journey began on October 28, 2014, after a severe car accident which caused major trauma to my left hand because I was holding onto the steering wheel upon impact when my airbag deployed. Small car versus an SUV at 55 mph caused major trauma to my hand and my hip.  The two things that saved my life, were also the two things that caused the most injury.

RSD is a chronic pain disorder that causes the affected areas to be hypersensitive. I can’t stand anything rough, hot or cold to touch my left hand or arm.

Fast forward 15 months.  Today with medication, physical therapy, massage therapy, a therapist, and a newly implemented spinal cord stimulator, movement is slow to return, and mood swings have lessened from the PTSD. My pain has decreased and while sensitivity is still an issue, I have hope! I have lost most of the use of my left hand and arm due to RSD, but have the fight in me to continue on the healing path. Will I ever be 100% again, probably not. Will RSD always be a label on my medical chart, yes!

Throughout my journey I have found a core group of caregivers and a great support system. Without each and everyone of them I would not be where I am right this moment.

I have grown and learned so much since my accident. I am proud to speak out about RSD, my journey and how my support system has helped me. I was asked to become the new spokesperson for the JGF organization and I am very proud to be able to add that to my healing process!

One day at a time, one step at a time, I am an RSD fighter. I am RSD strong and with love and healing my journey continues on.

On the anniversary of the car accident that changed my life, I chose to celebrate life and living versus looking back on that day as a negative impact on my life. I had lunch with family and chose to celebrate with a new tattoo marking my accomplishments of the year.

Improvise-Adapt-Overcome!  These words were said to me 6 months after my accident by an amazing friend, and they hit home and made a huge impact on my life. From that day forward each day made me take those 3 words to heart. Celebrating life, and overcoming each obstacle was marked with that tattoo on the one-year anniversary of the accident.

Throughout this year, I have had to learn to improvise many things, adapt on others and I am now ready to begin to overcome the rest that lies in my path.

This is my life, as I have lived it and continue to do so with RSD. I am finally ready to overcome the many obstacles that have blocked my path since the day of my accident…

So life interrupted has now become a journey on a new path for me.

I have grown so much in the last 15 months and hope to continue to grow each day and will I always look back yes, but today, I look forward to my future.

A.J. Battaglia is a 47-year-old woman who lives in northern Michigan. She has three children, ages 28, 17 and 15 She no longer is able to work but volunteers with the JGF organization. The mission of JGF Organization is to be a positive light and unify people to use their given talents to be a force in the world. She submitted her story to the National Pain Report and we thought it was worth sharing with our readers.

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Authored by: A.J. Battaglia

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Great For You A.J. continue the good fight !!! You and your family are worth fighting for !

susan bowie

tried to comment. I suffer from multiple sclerosis sarodois and a back fusion. may the list go on. pain meds or meditation and prayers.

Amy Falk

Amazing article written by an amazing woman, mother, friend, and survivor! You are an inspiration to others to continue on with the fight through illnesses that they would otherwise have given up on. You will improvise-adapt-and overcome!! Proud of you AJ!!!

Aj battaglia

Jean ~ thank you for your kind words. Giving up is not something that I want to do and fight each day to move forward. There are many struggles, obstacles, twists and turns but with the help of family, friends and the amazing team that won’t let me quit I am where I am today! I am not saying that it has been an easy journey, but I try to look forward as much as possible.

Jean Price

AJ…you have obviously found some things that work for you and have had determination and great support to help you find your own way through this! Plus, you’ve had the courage to stop looking back and to only use your energy for healing and forward momentum. I applaud this, and your formula suggested by your friend was great advice and makes a lot of sense. I’m glad you shared it and so very glad you are living it! It’s not the tragedy that defines us, it’s what we do with what’s left after the dust settles. For me, and others like yourself, that changes from time to time…old battles won, new battles popping up to deal with. Not so different for the rest of the world, yet ours has pain in it! I believe we all have “pain”….ours is physical and all the areas it impacts; others may have emotional pain, and all the areas that impacts; still others have spiritual pain, and all the areas that impacts. The goal is to keep going, adjust, moderate, modify, reevaluate when needed, lay down the small stuff, challenge the big stuff, and always look for joy and peace and goodness along the way. Some days are easier than others…yet who among us would doubt the same is true for people who don’t have pain? Many life lessons can be learned and much growth can actually come from life with pain…although I wouldn’t vote to learn them or grow in this way! Yet, we can…and that makes all the difference. Pain doesn’t defeat us when we align ourselves with the positive by-products…we can find hope and love and acceptance and reinvest in a new path or purpose in life. Looks like you are well on your way! I salute your efforts, I imagine it hasn’t been easy. But life rarely is!