I met Lee twenty six years ago and fell in love with her. She is the most beautiful, courageous, loving and committed person I know. Three years after we began dating, she fell down a flight of stairs while on a business trip and that changed the rest of our lives. Since then, I have learned so much about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Dystonia, Dysautonomia, Peripheral Neuropathy, Short Bowel Syndrome, Autoimmune Diseases and a host of other medical conditions I never thought I would understand. But more than that, I have learned from Lee about true courage, persistence and the pursuit of knowledge about her conditions and their treatments and solutions.
For most of my professional career I was a management consultant. My job was to help solve complex business problems for my corporate clients. I have never encountered a set of problems more complex, or solutions more elusive than those that Lee and I confront each day in dealing with her health and our life together. If you are a partner and/or caregiver for someone with CRPS, or any other complex medical problem for which there is no simple solution, then you are part of a team that requires an ability to communicate honestly with one another as well as with the medical community at large. It requires developing new expectations for what is a "normal" life, and defining new ways to enjoy it. It requires an ability to roll with the punches that life deals you both, making the best of what you can control. And it requires a drive to be your own best advocates because nobody else will ever pursue solutions to your health problems more aggressively or consistently than you and the one you love or care for.