Stubborn not stupid…

Tired, worn out and sore would be the glossing of the reality of what I and others like me live with. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a condition that will stop even the strongest of us mid-stride, bring us to our very knees unable to move forward, backward, or even sideways in many cases.

I’m on a journey here with my health and from time to time I still struggle along. As such these past seven days have pushed my body to its limits, literally. Being a normal person takes its toll. I can put on a good game face but historically the facts are, given time I will be down for the count.

My journey has introduced me to many individuals, approaches and remedies. One being tonic water with quinine in it. Claimed to reduce the muscular cramping we experience on a regular basis, I have begun to employ its use after discussing it with my general practitioner.

Do I find it beneficial? Yes, I do. Typically, once I consume 6-8 oz within a few minutes, 20 minutes or so, the cramps begin to diminish. Sometimes I stop at 6-8 oz other times I drink more just depends on the strength and duration of the cramping. Some days it is intermittent.

Believe me when I say I have been stubborn in the past and simply not tried the tonic water only to be plagued continuously for hours on end by the spasms, cramps and irregular electrical impulses running through my lower appendages. Finally, I decided “stubborn” was stupid and started experimenting on myself because, at this point, doctors are confused, skeptical, and expensive. What have I got to lose.?.?.?.?.

Here’s what happened recently while at the store. More like marathon shopping for the third day in a row, for the first time in ever for both shopping and being in this kind of pain. While walking I began to get this sensation of an ice pick being shoved into my ankle, it was at first random and would catch me off guard. Then when it became more regular with every step, the ache started with the throbbing, all-consuming, bone-crushing type of pain setting in. Now, on the bright side of things my toes got warm from their usual ice-cold-to-the-touch temperatures not only in sensation but to the actual touch, in fact, you could almost call them hot.

I managed to complete our shopping for the most part, stand by while the hubby checked out and hobbled out of the store with as much grace as possible because the humility of drawing a crowd while writhing in pain in a public location is the last thing I want happening to me. We made it to the vehicle and I got in as the intensity of the pain flair turned up the volume and I could no longer verbally contain the pain. Thankfully my husband was with me as he loaded everything we just marathon shopped for the day after shopping for and purchasing an RV.

See, we’ve decided to take a leap of faith and start the next phase in our life in that my CRPS is stable enough to travel, visit, go see and do things in an RV. A place where we will be able to stick to our diet and allow me to rest whenever I need to. Like this moment in time presented.

Back to my “I decided to not be so stubborn story”… Though, in my opinion, I did not have a muscle cramp I asked my husband to go back into the store and get me some tonic water with quinine in. Even though I couldn’t see actual cramping my veins did appear to be pronounced and I thought what could it hurt. I’ve got nothing to lose at this point pain pill make me numb, they don’t stop the pain. They help with general daily pain but not muscle cramps and certainly not this bone-crushing pain I was experiencing again for the first time in years…

Upon his return, I promptly drank 12 ounces and within 30 minutes the bone-crushing pain began to ease, within 45 minutes I could employ meditation and “zoned out” for the ride, went to bed when we got home and repeated the scenario two days later.

My point is not my stupidity in thinking that I could go shopping again after a couple of days, by myself, but in that, the quinine in the tonic water seemed to work to quell the bone-crushing pain in the same amount of time. My thoughts are that the bone-crushing pain we experience is actually every muscle in the appendage screaming out at the exact same moment and vying for the position of cramping. It’s like the muscles cannot get it straight, they can’t get their dysfunction together well enough to dysfunction appropriately to become a cramp and thus becomes this bone-crushing pain instead. That what we are feeling is, in reality, a muscle cramp, all our muscles cramping at once…

Those are just my thoughts but if the quinine continues to help when the hydrocodone doesn’t… What do you think I am going to choose to do? What would you choose? Remember, I’m not a doctor, this isn’t medical advice, I am simply sharing my journey. Discuss anything you wish to try with your physician as it may interfere with your current treatment and cause conflicts.


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