CRPS Teenager Thanks Her Chronic Pain

CRPS Teenager Thanks Her Chronic Pain

I was on Twitter this and ran across a tweet from Jim Broatch, who runs RSDSA which provides support, education, and hope to everyone affected by #CRPS / #RSD while driving research to develop better treatment and a cure.

He had posted a video of a talk given by 16-year old Samantha Strasser, who has suffered from a variety of chronic illnesses including CRPS for eight years which is, of course, half her life.

During the 4th Annual RSDSA Long Island CRPS Walk & Expo she told her story to attendees. It was, by any measure, inspirational and hopeful and we wanted to make sure that you all had a chance to see it.

In part she said, “I decided to take everything I’ve learned from her chronic illnesses and use them to lead a happier life. “

Then she thanked her chronic illnesses:

“Thank you chronic illness, thank you for teaching me not to sweat the small stuff.

Thank you for teaching me how to stand up for myself

Thank you for letting me know who my real friends are

Thank you for helping me convince myself I am stronger than I think

Thank you for making me wiser and a better human in the world

Thank you for making me grateful for everything my body can do

Thank you for teaching me to stop and smell the roses”

We know that for the millions who suffer from chronic pain, many—perhaps as high as 50% according to the Cleveland Clinic—suffer from depression and anxiety. And we know and have written extensively on ways to address the depression and anxiety. Things like cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation training, hypnosis, exercise and self-help groups all can help address depression and anxiety. You’ve probably tried most of them.

And sometimes, someone being positive can help.

Take a look at her entire speech, which is only about five minutes long.

It might help.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Nicole Armand

I admire her spirit and courage. I too felt that way in the beginning but now, 20 years later of constant, daily pain; I am just plain tired.

Cindy too

I don’t know what to make of this.
Clearly Samantha is an exceptional young lady, but, she is so young, and young people tend to be idealistic. They haven’t yet had to deal with jobs, discrimination, paying bills, etc.

The pain that put me on disability began 11 years ago at age 52. But before that, I had decades of pain from whiplash from a car accident that of course wasnt’ helped by any treatment of any kind, and I spent thousands of dollars on treatments that weren’t covered by insurance back then but now are. And I also had fibro, chronic fatigue, and a bunch of other medical problems that made virtually every day of my life a struggle.

An entire lifetime of pain and exhaustion which affects your social life and earning capacity gives you a different perspective I think.

My medical problems began in my 20’s. I’ve barely felt good for an entire day in the last 40 years. So, no, I am certainly not grateful for any of it.

And I’m saying this as someone who is lucky enough to have good private disability insurance from her last job and so am not forced to scrape by only on Social Security Disability Insurance like so many others. My private insurance ends in 3 years at age 66 (or sooner if I miraculously heal before them). Then, I go on Social Security as my only source of income, and I am dreading that.

I wish Samantha the best, and hope there’s a cure for her so she can enjoy her life and not suffer these types of problems.

Lisa K. Jones

Wow!! Only 16 years old! It took me almost 15 years to be grateful for what CPRS has given me. She is blessed to learn soo early in life. Sad to see/ hear such young kids having to suffer with this burning pain. Waiting for the cure……..

Thomas Kidd

I have Narcolepsy plus daily chronic pain and it’s who I am. Have had Narcolepsy since age 9-10, and would not be as I am without it. Have taught me many lesson on how to treat my fellow man.

Thomas Kidd

Thank you Ed.

Cindy Deim

Thank you so much. I too have learned a great deal from my illness. I hope we can all learn how to take the positive information from our illness. It’s not an easy thing to do when you feel like you’re dieing every day.


I have been diagnosed with this also and got fed up with treatment options and drs in my area I took myself off all meds. I barely exist most days but thank you for sharing.

Rosalind Rivera

It’s wonderful that this young lady has such a positive attitude. I hope that she maintains this attitude 40-50 yers from now, when in addition to her now present illnesses are compounded by old age and all of the perks that come with it like Arthritis, and a slew of others that she may develop along the way.


Loved it… and applaud you Samantha!
So glad for your emotional maturity at such a tender age. Many of us here, share your pain & also share a major frustration with the medical community in general & misdiagnoses in particular. Good for you for trusting your body & your instincts. On better days (or hours) I too, have come to the same feelings of thankfulness. Slowing down, as much as I dislike it, has allowed me to nurture or develop new avenues of thought & expression that in my previous super-busy life, had been ignored.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful speech. Yaaay you.

Alex Stephens

Ed, thanks for publishing Samantha’s SO important words. I too have CRPS among other things. I , like Samantha thank my disease for helping me to become who I am. It’s helped me find strength I knew I had, patience I would never have thoughts I could have and most of all a deep rooted desire to help others with my disease to realize their reality, not just their self pitty.
Thanks Ed!

Denise Hedley

As a patient who is new to my RSD/CRPS diagnosis, this is great information. Thanks Ed!


I have intractable pain from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder that has no treatment or cure, and is degenerative. It causes my joints to frequently dislocate for no reason. I have lived with this disorder for 65 years now (and additionally now also have problems like osteoarthritis, DDD, spinal stenosis, etc.).I have tried many things thru my life to ease my intractable pain and the frustration of being chronically ill (like studying & practicing meditation since my 20’s), and the ONLY thing that has ever made this horrible condition more bearable is pain medication (opioids). I’m glad you’re thankful for your chronic illness, but get back with us when you have lived with your disorder as long as I’ve lived with mine, and then let us know how thankful you are. A positive outlook is great, just hard to sustain for many of us who have lived quite a bit longer than you.