Friday, November 21, 2008

Support group helps girl deal with painful condition

Support group helps girl deal with painful condition

Lacey Berardi was 10 years old when the pain began in her back. Within days she was bedridden and could not stand to be touched or eat because of the pain.

Her frantic family began a journey to find her help.

Little did they know that three years later, they would still be battling public ignorance and a lack of medical knowledge about her condition.

The Johnstown native was a typical girl, active in school and cheerleading, her mother Vicki Walker said.

But as her pain increased, doctors could do little more than prescribe high doses of Ibuprofen and question whether there was a psychological component to her symptoms.

It took a visit to Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh to find out Berardi had reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which is commonly called complex regional pain syndrome.

“Physicians are not in tune with RSD,” said Walker. “That’s a huge problem.”

Conventional testing does not work with RSD. Blood tests, CT scans and MRIs will not reveal the problem, said Lori Murphy, a physical therapy clinician and research associate at the John P. Murtha Neuroscience Institute.

“Sometimes there’s nothing on the outside to say that they have RSD,” she said. Taking a thorough medical history and having a familiarity with the syndrome are the keys to diagnosing, she said.

“The more we can do to educate the public and health care providers, the better off we are,” Murphy said.

Diagnosing the problem was only the first step in a long road back for the girl, who got much worse before she began the treatments that would eventually restore her quality of life.

The syndrome, which affects up to 1.5 million people in the United States, became so bad that Berardi couldn’t even bathe, her mother said.

“The feel of water on her back was torture,” Walker said.

The medical community has few answers to what causes the syndrome or how to effectively treat it, said Murphy.

Scientists believe RSD can occur after physical trauma, repetitive movement and can strike almost anyone at any age, she said.

“Still, some folks have no idea what brought it on,” she said.

The symptoms can start with burning pain, inflammation, sensitivity to touch and skin discoloration, she said.

Unchecked, the pain can worsen and often creates intense emotional problems for sufferers, she said.

Currently doctors treat the affliction with physical therapy and pharmaceuticals that effectively reboot the overly sensitive sympathetic nerves creating the sensation of constant pain, Murphy said.

For Berardi, it took months of painful treatment to break the pain cycle, Walker said.

Morphine and methadone, some of the strongest pain-mitigating opiates used in medicine, did little for Berardi.

In fact, it took courses of nerve-blocking and aggressive physical therapy to break the cycle, Walker said.

Now, the cheerleader is in remission and has resumed the normal life of a 13-year-old. Freedom from pain does not mean freedom from worry, however.

“We know that it can come back at any time,” Walker said.

That’s one of the main reasons a local support group for RSD sufferers was formed in April, Walker said.

“There is no cure. You have to learn how to manage,” she said. “We have to be advocates for ourselves.”

Many of those with RSD never stop taking drugs or receiving treatment for the pain. Spending time on Web sites like, shows the stories of many who seek just days of relief as opposed to complete remission.

Since 1997, the site has been visited more than 10 million times, according to their estimates.

Patients and families can use the site to meet others with RSD, learn treatments, contribute to research and find local support groups like the one in Johnstown.

The Johnstown group, which meets the second Monday of each month in the institute, has around 20 members, Walker said.

The goal is to bring those with RSD and their families together to learn about the latest research, treatments and educational efforts.

“There’s not enough education. So many people are misdiagnosed,” Walker said.

“We’re like a big secret. If we can just increase awareness, we can help many, many more people,” she said.

For more information on the support group, please call (814) 269-5238.

(Dan DiPaolo can be contacted at Comment on the story at

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$16.5 million awarded in fatal drug overdose

$16.5 million awarded in fatal drug overdose

A Cook County jury awarded more than $16.5 million Monday to the estate of a 38-year-old woman who died after using a pain patch prescribed by her doctor.

Janice DiCosolo, the wife of a Cicero police sergeant and a mother of three, died Feb. 15, 2004, after she used a Duragesic pain patch manufactured and distributed by Alza Corp. and Janssen Pharmaceutical Products LP.

DiCosolo's doctor prescribed the patch to treat complex regional pain syndrome, according to her lawyer, F. John Cushing.

Instead of releasing medication slowly over a period of three days, the patch delivered a lethal level of fentanyl into her blood stream, 16 times higher than it should have, Cushing said. The patch was recalled a day after DiCosolo died, according to a news release.

Fentanyl is a powerful opiate used in prescription pain medication.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


One final shot for Illini's Turner

One final shot for Illini's Turner

By Anthony Zilis

Posted: 11/20/08 Section: Sports

Excitement rippled through the Huff Hall crowd on Halloween night as Kayani Turner jogged onto the court, her team down a set to No. 18 Michigan.

After being out for three weeks with yet another injury, she was finally back on the court.

Turner felt nerves, something she wasn't expecting in her fifth year at Illinois. She had a bandage wrapped around her right hand, evidence of a dislocated finger she suffered in practice a few days before.

At a position that relies heavily on blocking, the injury was problematic, but she wasn't going to let it stop her - not after everything she had been through to get to this point.

With the Illini up 20-17, Turner was given the opportunity to shine on her first play. Michigan set their left outside hitter Juliana Paz. Turner, along with teammate Johannah Bangert, blocked the attempt, jump starting the Illini who went on to win the set and later the match.

The end result was momentary, but the significance of the game-changing block was three years in the making.

The injury

The year was 2005, and Turner was playing in her first season with the Illini after redshirting the year before with a knee injury.

Turner burst onto the scene, piling up at least 10 kills in 13 different matches while she suffered from what she thought was shin splints. But her season came to an end in November when she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left tibia.

After about six weeks, the bone finally healed, but Turner still felt the pain.

"I thought I was kind of crazy, and the doctors thought I was kind of crazy," she said.

After ruling out almost every logical injury, doctors eventually decided by process of elimination that Turner was suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), more commonly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), in her left leg.

A chronic pain disorder, CRPS can make pain from injuries feel worse as time progresses, rather than better. Even though Turner's stress fracture was healed, the pain was worse than ever.

"One of the hard things is we didn't know much about (CRPS); it's not something that is common in volleyball players," assistant coach Kevin Hambly said. "None of us had ever dealt with it, so a lot of our first conversations were, 'We've got to figure out what this is, what's going on, we know nothing about this.'"

But Turner played through the pain, practicing throughout the spring and summer.

Even with the pain, Turner was having a breakout season in 2006. Teaming with star middle blocker Vicki Brown, the 6-foot-2 front liners formed a formidable duo.

She received treatments, from medication to patches, acupuncture to epidurals, but nothing seemed to ease the pain.

So she just played through it.

While ranking fifth in the Big Ten in kills per set, Turner quickly became an emotional leader of the team.

But the pain became too much to bear, keeping her up at night and affecting her work off the court and in the classroom.

"Sometimes you just get pushed to a limit. My pain threshold is pretty high, but the pain level was exceeding that threshold," she said. "First and foremost, I've got to live my life, and it was affecting the routines of that."

So it came to light that she wouldn't be back on the court any time soon, if ever.

After resting for the final few months of the season, Turner's doctors and coaches advised her to shut down all physical activity, outside of walking to and from class.

Another tough blow came during the spring of 2007 when Hambly and head coach Don Hardin told her to take a step back from the team, which was too emotionally attached to its leader. Turner did not attend practice or workouts all through the spring.

But she was still heavily involved with the coaching staff as a student assistant, something that eased the pain of not being able to play. Giving up the game she loved was something Turner couldn't deal with.

"My parents always tell me I was a little stubborn as a kid, I just ... " Turner trailed off. "I can't ever just give up. That's the main reason I tried to come back a fifth year because I wanted to see if I could do it ... and if I didn't even try it, I'd be wondering for the rest of my life whether I'd be able to even practice or do the elliptical or anything."

Her final chance

So in January 2008, Turner gave volleyball one final shot. After the pain had subsided for a few weeks, she started her training.

Her first step was riding the stationary bike. After the bike, Turner moved on to the elliptical and slowly progressed until she could participate in volleyball related activities.

In May, Turner finally returned to practice with the team.

New beginnings

This season has featured setbacks, though none as severe as Turner's 2006 injury.

Still, she was determined to play against Michigan - the match when she recorded that unforgettable block.

"I don't think we could've written it any better," Hambly said.

As for the rest of this season, Turner just wants to do what's best for the Illini. Despite her success in the past, the right outside hitter knows she'll have to earn back her spot.

And with the team ranked No. 16 and third in the Big Ten, Turner doesn't know if, or when, her role on the team will return to what it once was.

"The team's doing great, we're playing well, the chemistry's great. You can't ask for anything more than that," Turner said.

Hambly said that the goal is to have her back in the rotation by the end of the season, but, as Turner knows, nothing is guaranteed.

And if she's not part of her team's plans, Turner is ready to embrace the role of a leader off the court rather than on it.

Looking toward the future

But Turner knows her Illini career is swiftly coming to an end. Even though she will move on next year, her future just wouldn't be right without the game she loves. That's why the 22-year-old communications major is making the trip to the Final Four - even if her Illini don't qualify. She has the intention of making valuable contacts in hopes of pursuing her dream of becoming a coach.

In some ways, watching from the sidelines for a year and a half has helped Turner see the game in a different light, in packages rather than individual moments.

That's how Turner views her entire career: one single play, by itself, doesn't seem so special. But placed in the context of a career that has been filled with hardship and struggle, that play signifies something much more meaningful.

"All those things, most kids would quit," Hambly said. "But I don't think that she wanted to look back on her life, at her volleyball career, and say, 'You know, I should have gave it just one more shot,' and that shows a lot about her character and her resiliency. She's a pretty incredible person; I think anyone who's spent any time with Kay would say that she's one of the most amazing people that they've ever been around."

So even if she never played another minute, would it all be worth it?

"I wouldn't take anything back for a second," Turner said. "I've been injured a lot, more than anyone would want to be, but the other experiences that I have gotten from it are incredible. I've learned so much about myself, about my teammates, the game itself; I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Monday, November 17, 2008

'I don't know if she can take much more'

'I don't know if she can take much more'

Jordan Keen is eager to put the pain away

By Sean Dalton
, Staff Writer

PUBLISHED: November 13, 2008

Jordan Keen is a remarkable 17-year-old teenage girl in an equally remarkable amount of pain.

On Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. a benefit spaghetti dinner will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church to raise money for what is cost-wise a daunting financial obligation for the Keen family. Each plate will bring the Dexter family closer to the $10,000 mark, which is a down-payment on what the family hopes will be the final solution to her ailment.

But it will be worth every penny to give a budding girl a shot at a bright future beyond the constant pain she finds herself in.

It all began when Jordan fell during a skiing accident at Mount Brighton in January 2004. She wrenched her knee, which led to a great deal of pain.

"We went to the emergency room," said Jordan's mother, Sue. They told the Keen family it was just a sprain, but after two weeks of doing what the doctor ordered to help the healing process along, the pain was not vacating Jordan's body.

"We went to doctor after doctor, and they said it was nothing ... here's some crutches," Sue recalled with a frustrated sigh.

After six weeks on crutches didn't help either, the Keen's felt that there had to be something else going on.

Sue and Jordan both recall seeing many more doctors, most of which brushed the Keen's off ruling that there was "nothing wrong" after taking some x-rays.

It wasn't until 2005 that a referral from the University of Michigan Hospital sent Jordan to the Cleveland Clinic, where doctors Jack Andrish, an pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and Michael Stanton-Hicks, a pain management specialist, Anesthesiology and researcher, put their finger on the cause that had eluded so many of their medical peers.

"Dr. Andrish sent us to his buddy, Dr. Stanton-Hicks and they finally diagnosed the problem in June 2005," Sue said.

The diagnosis was Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), which is also called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

The cause and battle

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describe CRPS as a chronic pain condition, which is chiefly characterized by continuous, intense pain that is disproportional to the injury that causes it. The pain gets worse instead of better, which has bared itself out in Jordan's case.

CRPS often affects arms, legs, hands and/or feet, often engulfing the entire affected limb with an intense burning pain, accompanied by a change in the tone and temperature of the flesh. Skin sensitivity, sweating and nausea can also occur.

Doctors aren't really sure what causes the condition, while the Keens are getting a lesson in its affects the hard way. They have heard theories about the sympathetic nervous system, immune system responses and other ideas thrown against the wall. There's no cure, but there is a way of treating the pain, including various medications, physical therapy and nerve/spinal cord stimulation.

The latter is what the Keens' are hoping for now, after years of trying everything else and the stimulation method working, prior to Jordan's relapse.

"She was on crutches for a year and a half, while we tried a bunch of different things for Jordan - drugs, physical therapy, water aerobics and a bunch of other stuff to get her knee back," Sue said.

A year later Stanton-Hicks tried stimulating the nerves in Jordan's knee and her spine, "and Jordan tossed her crutches away," Sue said.

Jordan had missed much of seventh and eighth grade, lost some friends and had to set aside her life on the soccer field and softball diamond, but she was better ... for awhile.

"She was great for about a year," Sue said. During the pain's all too brief repose, nerve medications were used as follow ups to the doctor's nerve stimulation.

But a case of food poisoning stemming from a seemingly harmless meal at a local bowling alley sent the Keens' back into their nightmare.

"I remember Jordan violently vomiting, and then she started complaining that a spot in the upper quadrant of her chest was hurting," Sue recalled.

More doctor visits happened over the summer and fall of last year. At this point Jordan was suffering terrible pain in her stomach, which persists to this day and limits what she can eat and drink and the amounts.

She was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital last December, where she spent a month for dehydration and the stomach pain. Jordan's caretakers at the Cleveland Clinic took her in for five weeks of care and kept the pain at bay for five weeks in a controlled environment, according to Sue.

"They put in a temporary stimulator implant into Jordan's back to get rid of the pain around her stomach," Sue said.

And it worked for five weeks, until Jordan's back began suffering spasms, and the stimulator had to be removed prematurely last June.

Again, Jordan had been given a fleeting taste of the normalcy we all take for granted, only to have it pulled out from under her. Arm and leg pain have since joined the rest.

Going it alone

The Keen family's insurance company is withholding approval of a permanent stimulator, pending convincing evidence that it is "required."

In the mean time, the Keens have burned through much of their own assets paying deductibles, uncovered fees and other expenses.

Husband and father Doug Keen is a Spirit Airlines pilot and Sue teaches at St. Mary's in Pinckney - careers that should have promising retirements on the horizon, but no longer, says Sue. "I don't think that's around anymore ... we just tanked out the 401K that my husband had at his office and another $3,000 retirement account."

Sue has only been teaching at St. Mary's for three years, so she hasn't accrued enough benefits to similarly leverage.

"While we went to doctors all summer - that's basically what we did all summer - they said they didn't believe that the stimulator would be helpful," Sue said.

Weekly hospital visits at $2,000 a visit to keep Jordan's fluid levels staple and monitor her health, among other costs, including the other stimulators, which cost $30,000 each paid for out of pocket.

The permanent stimulator that the Keens are seeking now costs $75,000 - a daunting sum to a family that has leveraged a beautiful Dexter home and other assets far beyond what they would like.

"Because we already remortgaged our home and sold everything we have we have no money to pay for the permanent one," Sue said. "The $10,000 is just a down payment. We'll have to pay for it for the rest of our life.

In the meantime, the Keens are taking action and not merely waiting for a final denial from their insurance company, which has already paid for all sorts of screening tests and doctor visits that ultimately were more distraction than meaningful treatment, or were interim treatments to keep Jordan healthy on a temporary basis while she could have been permanently helped.

"I don't know if she can take much more," Sue said, nearly crying. "If only they had done the right thing back in April."

Remarkable girl

Jordan sounds a lot like her mother Sue, and despite her predicament is a very cheery sounding girl.

"I definitely try and stay positive and hold onto hope with both hands," she says. "If I lost that I truly lose everything that I have and it's pretty much surrendering to this.

"I never want to be a victim."

She even holds back describing her pain, saying "I don't feel great."

Emotionally she is fighting to just "keep breathing" and hold onto that spirit of perseverance that surfaces in some special people when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.

She couldn't hold back the anger at the family's insurance company; however, saying that it was frustrating knowing that the only thing standing between her finally getting on with the normal life of a teenage girl is a $75,000 claim teetering on the precipice of denial by a white collar worker she will never meet or even talk to.

"I feel like there's so much power that I can have with my real life, it seems like we're just sitting around waiting for now," Jordan said. "It's irritating to feel so close."

She was also tired when she got on the phone for this interview, admitting that all she had done was "put up a poster for this dinner."

Jordan loves to write as an outlet, and currently submits articles to magazines and The Detroit News.

She feels like there has been a reason for what she has gone through for the last five years and is ready to embrace her future with open arms.

"I feel like a rocket ready to launch from my wheelchair and finally be tall again," Jordan said, after reflecting on how different it has been seeing the world from that vantage point, which has her seeing things as a girl of 5 feet 10 inches tall from a shorter perspective than her 10-year-old brother.

Jordan hopes to one day become a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitative medicine, working her way through medical school as a physical therapist. Positive experiences with the doctors in Cleveland and some of the successful programs she has been through pushed her in that direction.

Whether or not she will go to homecoming this school year or drive a car or return to sports is unclear, but one thing is certain.

"All that I've gone through has really inspired me to make a change," Jordan said.

The Keens are also holding a rally benefit for Jordan on Nov. 23 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the Creekside School Cafeteria at 2615 Baker Road. The cost is $10 per person. For more information contact Sue Keen at 1-734-223-2006.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sigman served as U.S. Army ranger

Sigman served as U.S. Army ranger

November 11, 2008

MOUNT VERNON — In August 1997, Jason Sigman began his venture in the U.S. Army. It was a chance to see the world, help his country and enjoy the great outdoors. He trained at Fort Benning, Ga., in the Alpha 1-50 Infantry 4th Platoon, and graduated in 1998.

A couple of years later, he started training to be a ranger. That was when his life changed.

One of his training exercises required him and his partner to follow a mapped course in the middle of the night with no flashlights. Sigman said he became distracted and when he resumed his course, he met with the edge of a cliff.

“I went off a cliff about 100 feet. It wasn’t that steep, but I know when I went down, they said if you fall like that to ride like you are skiing— have your back against the wall at an angle like you are skiing down the wall. My left foot got caught, which caused my body to jump off and twist, and it was at that point that my foot snapped,” he said.

His partner found him as Sigman was crawling out of the hole. Although he was hurt, he was determined to finish the course, no matter the pain he felt in his foot. The next day he was sent to a medical facility about two hours away. When he got there, he waited about an hour before they examined his foot and determined it was a sprain.

“If it was just sprained I would deal with it, but they started to give me extra tests,” said Sigman. “I went back [to training] so I wouldn’t get into trouble. I made it back 20 minutes before disqualification.”

Sigman knew the rules of his training, which were that he couldn’t be away from training for more than six hours; and with time limited, he didn’t want to lose his chance to graduate from the program.

“It hurt doing the rest of the time while I was in ranger school, but I made it,” said Sigman. “They still gave me my certificate of graduation, although I got hurt.”

But after nine months of missions and training exercises the pain in his left foot didn’t go away, it got worse.

“They did more tests on it and said it was broke; and it healed perfectly, except there was a bone splinter that got broken off into my nerve, and every time I walked it would splinter into my nerve,” he said.

Within a month he had surgery to remove the splinter, but so much nerve damage caused severe swelling in his foot.

“The doctor said it looked like [the scar tissue from the foot being so swollen], because the nerves were so swollen for being damaged so much, my skin actually healed through my nerves,” said Sigman.

After the first surgery, he felt much better.

In 2002, he left the military and was honorably discharged. He came home to Ohio to civilian life, and started working for a security company. But when the pain came back, working became hard, because his job required him to constantly patrol the facility.

“With the security company we had to do a lot of rounds where we had to walk, and it was hurting to walk too much. I ended up seeing the doctor a couple of times, and getting let go from my job because I couldn’t stand the walking,” he said.

During a second surgery, doctors removed 3 inches of damaged nerve in his foot.

“Every year it seems to be progressing, getting worse,” said Sigman.

For eight years he has suffered with the problem in his foot. Now he faces the worst — the possiblity of having his left leg removed, or trying other measures for help.

“First it was my foot, and now the doctors say the nerve damage is between my knee and my ankle; they say it is closer to my knee,” said Sigman.

As the nerve damage spreads, there is the possibility of reaching his spinal cord, he explained.

“One doctor says they can move my leg, which is looking more possible. I am just scared that if the nerve damage moves to my back — they say it is a possibility — it could paralyze me.”

After seeing several physicians, it was determined that Sigman suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, also known as complex regional pain syndrome, a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin.

He has tried many forms of therapy to help with the pain, including a massage therapist and a chiropractor, and has seen several doctors.

Sigman said that throughout his troubles he has tried to keep a positive attitude and has not given up. He sent a letter to President George W. Bush in 2004 asking for further assistance. The White House office responded by sending his concern to the Department of Veteran Affairs, which has allowed him to attend classes at a local college. Those have been postponed for a time until further testing can be done on his foot, and a decision made as to a possible third surgery.

Through all of his troubles, he said, the hardest part has been getting enough help from the Veteran Association.

Last year, after being told by the Veterans Hospital that it could do nothing more for him, he called Congressman Zack Space’s office and spoke with the veteran coordinator.

“[The coordinator] called the V.A. Hospital and within two days they had me transferred to OSU medical facility,” said Sigman. “I’ve worked with the V.A. since 2003 after my last surgery; after that they have been giving me hassle after hassle.”

Sigman said he felt like something needed to be done, because of the severe pain in his foot and leg — with much activity he can’t stand for a period of time or walk for long without his foot swelling and causing pain — and because he hasn’t been able to work. He said it has been hard to balance his bills, uncovered medical costs and personal care on a small income of about $500 a month. Not being able to work has caused him financial debt, and he had to file for bankruptcy last year.

“It’s not that I don’t want to work,” Sigman explained, but because of the pain and the liability, no company is willing to hire him. “I have been let go from several jobs, before I was told that I couldn’t work anymore.”

Since 2005, as the pain progressed and it became harder and harder to work, a doctor at the veteran hospital rendered him “unable to perform any activity” because of his chronic foot condition. More recently, OSU Medical Center classified him as disabled.

“It took OSU Medical Center to say I was actually disabled. They said ‘able to return to work and school unknown. He remains totally disabled at this time,’” said Sigman.

But the V.A. is only paying for 40 percent of Sigman’s disability, and no more, even though he suffers from post-tramatic stress disorder and thyroid problems.

For the past couple of years he has applied and reapplied for further aid from the Veterans Association. His mother and father have been most supportive in this time of crisis and have assisted him in expenses.

Other than the accident that caused his injury, Sigman said he enjoyed his time in the Armed Forces, and particularly his time in ranger school.

“In ranger school I learned more than just taking orders,” he said. “Ranger school was really hard — you get four months of schooling, six months of pre-ranger school, and you get one meal a day and 30 minutes of sleep at night.”

He takes with him many memories of his experiences from his travels around the world. After 9/11 he was sent to Iraq; Sigman remembers his short time there, just south of Baghdad, working at a military airport loading and unloading military vehicles.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Federal prisoner claims prison employee assaulted him during meal

Federal prisoner claims prison employee assaulted him during meal

10/27/2008 9:30 AM
By Kelly Holleran -Kanawha Bureau

CLARKSBURG - A Gilmer County suit in which a prisoner has claimed abuse by a prison employee has been moved to federal court.

Gregory Davis, an inmate at Federal Correctional Institution in Gilmer, claims Eric Feltz, an employee of the prison, assaulted him during his noon meal on June 12.

Davis was wearing a glove on his right hand after he sought medical treatment for an injury to his right arm, according to the complaint filed Aug. 11 in Gilmer Circuit Court.

Even though Davis told Feltz why he was wearing the glove, Feltz repeatedly thrust his finger into Davis's hand, telling Davis he had never seen a glove like that, the suit states.

Davis claims Feltz jabbed him with his finger three times before Davis told him to stop.

The incident, which was recorded and performed in front of more than 100 inmates, caused Davis to experience shooting pains in his right hand and nerve dysfunction throughout his right arm, according to the complaint.

Davis went to the medical staff at the prison on June 12 and had an appointment on June 16 with clinical director E. Mace, according to the complaint.

"She explained that plaintiff was having shooting pains due to him having CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)," the suit states. "The nerves in the plaintiff's right arm are severely damage due to numerous gunshot wounds to the right side of his body."

Davis claims he continued to experience the shooting pain for two days after his treatment.

Because of the incident, Davis, who already had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, suffered emotional distress, according to the complaint.

"Defendant's attack on plaintiff triggered painful flash backs of the plaintiff's past injury which was another attack in the plaintiff mind that had hurt him in the past," the suit states. "Defendant's 'assault' on plaintiff makes this the second time in the life of plaintiff that he was 'maliciously' attacked by someone. Which opens up an unwelcome batch of tragical painful memories."

Davis is seeking compensation damages in excess of $300,000, punitive damages in excess of $300,000, costs, attorney fees and other relief deemed proper by the court.

Davis is representing himself.

Feltz is being represented by Helen Campbell Altmeyer of Wheeling.

U.S. District Court case number: 1:08-CV-183

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


'Use of an indoor pool will relieve my agony'

10/24/2008 11:04:00 AM
'Use of an indoor pool will relieve my agony'
Tonya Symonds has chronic pain syndrome and needs water therapy during the winter

Wheelchair bound Tonya Symonds is desperate to find an indoor swimming pool as she battles to achieve her dream of getting back on her feet.

The 23-year-old woman suffers from chronic pain syndrome and lost the ability to walk nearly eight years ago.

But Tonya believes the one thing that can help her to "get her life back" is to strengthen her muscles and joints with water therapy.

During the summer months she has seen "huge improvements" by doing exercises and stretches in a family friend's outside pool. But now that the weather has turned she is trying to find an indoor swimming pool so she can continue with her therapy.

Tonya said she did not want to lose the progress she had gained over the summer.

She said: "Finding an indoor swimming pool that I can use will be a sure sign step to me getting back on my feet.

"I am able to move freely and my abilities greatly improve because of the gravity.

"And I find I get to do in the pool significantly improves what I can do on land."

She added: "I'm hoping it will help me to get my life back."

When Tonya was 12-year-old and in her first year at Berkeley Institute she suffered what she thought was flu, but the symptoms wouldn't go away.

She said: "I'd been a normal, healthy child who got really sick and I thought it was flu, but I was in a lot of pain and the pain never went. My whole body just hurt, it was awful."


She was referred to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta where she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia - a disorder classified by chronic widespread pain.

It is not known for sure but is believed that the disorder was triggered by a virus. Tonya was put on daily pain relief medication and her symptoms vary from day-to-day with periods of flares.

She missed a semester of school in 1997 as she was laid up in pain, but with the help of physio she started to walk again and was able to return to school.

For several years she suffered little pain, but in 2000 aged 15 she noticed the flare ups were becoming more frequent.

She said: "Everything just snowballed as I didn't really have time to recuperate in-between."

By November that same year Tonya found herself "paralysed in pain" throughout her body. She was bed-ridden for months, she couldn't move her legs and she couldn't even sit up.

She said: "It came as a complete shock, I was suffering every kind of pain imaginable. It wasn't just muscular pain, it was serious joint pain."

In January 2001 Tonya was admitted to King Edward Memorial Hospital for therapy - she was an in-patient for seven weeks and an out-patient until early 2002. It was at this time that Tonya started using a wheelchair.

She began to walk with parallel bars and stand upright with the aid of a standing walker but admitted she had a "hard time with the therapy."

Tonya was re-admitted to King Edward in May, 2002, then went on to spend two months at New England Rehabilitation Hospital near Boston and a further nine months at the UCLA Hospital in Los Angeles. She was pleased to be able to walk with canes as maid of honour at her sister's wedding in July 2003.

Tonya has since been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - another chronic progressive disease characterised by severe pain - and spent another stint at the New England Rehabilitation Hospital in late 2004.

Home therapy

For more than a year Tonya has been carrying out her own therapy at home and carries out a series exercises and stretches on a daily basis.

Tonya said: "My problem is trying to keep things up. Every time I seem to make some progress I seem to take a step backwards.

"I am doing the therapy myself as I realize I have to try something different to make this work. I know my own body, I know when to push it further and I know when to stop.

"Instead of doing it the fast and hard way, I'm going to go slow and steady."

Tonya is currently studying an introduction to psychology course at home and hopes to study English at an overseas school next year.

But the one thing Tonya wants more than anything right now is an indoor swimming pool to continue with her therapy.

Describing what it's like to be in the water, she said: "It just makes me so happy, I just can't stop grinning."

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


When your pain has no name

When your pain has no name

Origins of chronic and debilitating pain remain unclear for many sufferers

Cynthia Toussaint was a ballerina. She was no stranger to the aches, pains and occasional injuries that came with the trade.

So when the pain from an injury to a right hamstring wouldn't subside, Toussaint, then 21, did what she could to endure it. After all, she had auditions to attend -- in particular, a promising role in the musical Fame.

When the burning, unrelenting pain was too much to bear, however, she sought a doctor's opinion.

"I was told that I wouldn't dance for eight weeks and I thought, 'No, they're wrong,'" she recalls.

But the pain would last for much longer than eight weeks. For months it persisted. A year and a half after the pain in her right leg started, she began to experience a similar pain in her left leg. Six and a half years after that, the pain had spread to both arms.

The spread of her condition was not always so gradual. One morning, she woke up to find that her left arm had bent itself into a state of permanent contracture.

"It was so shocking to wake up to find that one of my arms would not unfold anymore," she says.

Today the pain is everywhere. Toussaint describes it as a feeling as if she has "been doused with gasoline and lit on fire... burning from the inside out... It's pain like I never imagined."

The condition which ushered Toussaint into a life of chronic agony also gradually robbed her of her ability to dance, her ability to walk -- and, as it spread to her vocal cords, her ability to talk.

"Here I am 26 years later in a wheelchair," she says. "I had everything; my life was just starting. Suddenly I had this injury that never goes away."

Her voice would eventually return. But for years, Toussaint's battle with chronic pain and loss of function came spiked with the bitter reality that no matter how many doctors she saw, none could give her an accurate diagnosis of her condition.

Worse, without a solid diagnosis, she says many physicians refused to take her case seriously.

"I was told that I was crazy for 13 and a half years," Toussaint says. Once, one of her doctors told her to take a truth serum so she would admit that she was not truly in pain. Another suggested that she was fabricating her pain condition due to stage fright.

And a visit to yet another doctor was met with even greater insensitivity, she recalls.

"I said, 'What should I do?' and he said, 'Shoot yourself in the head.' He thought it was funny."

It was not until a year and a half ago that Toussaint found that she suffered from a mysterious condition known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), alternatively known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD). The nature of the condition continues to baffle doctors, as does its exact cause.

But finally, her pain had a name.

"When I got my diagnosis, it couldn't have been worse," Toussaint says. "But it was the happiest day of my life. They could never say I was crazy again."

Patients Battle Pain, Stigma

Toussaint's struggle with her condition turned her into an activist against pain. She launched the nonprofit site For Grace, devoted to helping women find answers about their chronic pain. More recently, she has channeled her crusade against chronic pain conditions into the political realm, making it a centerpiece of her run for a California state congressional seat in 2006 and in other political efforts to bring more attention to these conditions.

It is a success story that stands in stark relief against the lives of those who are still searching for answers to their agony. Michael Smith, associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, says that there are a number of pain conditions for which the origins and exact causes are still unknown.

"We're supposed to be this wonderful medical system that can do anything, that can save lives," Smith says. "But we really don't know enough about pain."

"It is often difficult to come up with a diagnosis for a patient with chronic pain in particular," agrees Dr. Paul Christo, director of the Multidisciplinary Pain Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "Sometimes these types of pain do have names, but we still don't understand the exact mechanisms of the pain."

And because chronic pain is often misunderstood, many patients go without the treatment they need. This, in itself is a problem; untreated, chronic pain conditions can actually worsen, recruiting more nerves until the pain spreads throughout the body.

Dr. Doris Cope, director of the Pain Medicine Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says that this spread is often ignored -- particularly in the absence of a proper diagnosis.

"Some doctors say, 'Oh, there's nothing wrong with you,'" she says. "Meanwhile there is pain."

Still, patients may find themselves swept into dismissing their conditions as well.

"First of all they begin to doubt it themselves," Cope says. "Secondly, they get the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. They don't know what's happening."

Worse, for these sufferers chronic pain has not only a physical component but an emotional one as well. As the pain spreads, the same chemical signals involved in depression, anxiety and stress also come into play, commencing a symphony of physical and emotional misery for the chronic pain patient.

"For many people, their pain takes over their entire life. It affects their work life, their family life, their social life," Cope says.

It is a personal tragedy to which Toussaint can attest.

"It destroyed every relationship in my life except for my relationship with my partner, John," she says. "He stood by me, but my entire family left me behind.

"The emotional pain becomes more serious than the physical pain."

Chronic Pain, Depression Closely Linked

Little surprise, then, that chronic pain is regularly tied to depression.

"Imagine that you develop chronic pain and in time you are no longer able to work," Christo says. "That can be very disruptive and lead to a loss of self-esteem and self-worth. At the same time, it can change the nature of your relationship with your family and friends.

"If the patient has lost their sense of self-worth and become depressed, that in turn can lead to social isolation."

Smith agrees. "[Patients] get the feeling that they really can't control the pain; they feel helpless about it... In some cases these patients can go to full-blown clinical depression."

The roots of this depression even appear to transcend emotions alone. On Monday, scientists revealed additional biological clues as to why pain and depression may be so closely linked. A team of researchers led by Irina Strigo of the University of California San Diego compared brain scans of people with depression to those of 15 people who were not depressed while these subjects anticipated or experienced a painful sensation.

What the researchers found was that those with depression showed a higher level of activity in the areas of their brain that processed emotions. Moreover, the regions of the brain that are normally involved in mitigating pain were less active in the depressed subjects -- a hint that chronic pain may have a propensity to feedback on itself.

Toussaint says the depression that accompanied her chronic pain was nearly too much for her to bear.

"I suffered very, very extreme depression," she says. "All of us with pain do. We're being tortured 24/7, we're not believed, and our lives are upside-down.

"I had a plan of suicide -- not because of the physical pain but because everyone I knew had abandoned me."

Fighting the Pain

Fortunately, pain experts say, the majority of those battling mysterious chronic pain can find answers if they search long enough.

"Most pain does have a label," Cope says. "If you can find some general idea of what's causing your pain, you can tailor treatment toward that."

"A lot of people don't realize that there are treatments available," Christo says. "We do have some pretty reasonable treatments for people that can help control the pain and increase quality of life."

As for the best way to access these resources, Christo says pain sufferers can start with a simple Internet search, using their symptoms as search terms.

"What will usually come up is a description of the condition, and sometimes a directory of self-help groups," he says, adding that some support Web sites even have suggestions for doctor referrals.

For those who have found themselves being pinballed from one doctor to the next, finding a multidisciplinary pain management center may be the best step. Here, patients can afford themselves an entire spectrum of care services -- from pain physicians and physical therapists, to psychiatrists trained in helping those with chronic pain come to deal with their conditions.

"Medication, injections, physical therapy and pain psychology all can come together to significantly improve quality of life," Christo says.

For Toussaint, the medicine that worked best was the anti-seizure drug Neurontin. Today, this medication, combined with a physical therapy regimen that incorporates Eastern and Western healing techniques, allows her to control the pain brought about by her condition.

As is the case with some who face chronic pain, Toussaint may live with her condition for the rest of her life. But she says that those who face a similar struggle must take heart that an answer exists for their mysterious pain.

"Know that you're not alone," she says. "Know that you're pain is real. And know that you deserve the dignity of proper diagnosis and treatment."

To visit the For Grace website, click here.

To visit the website of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, click here.

(Copyright ©2008 ABC News Internet Ventures.)

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Ketamine as an adjuvant in sympathetic blocks for management of Central sensitization following peripheral nerve injury

Ketamine as an adjuvant in sympathetic blocks for management of Central sensitization following peripheral nerve injury

Proliferation of NMDA receptors and role of glutamate in producing central sensitization and 'wind up' phenomena in CRPS[ complex regional pain syndrome] forms a strong basis for the use of Ketamine to block the cellular mechanisms that initiate and maintain these changes. In this case series, we describe 3 patients of CRPS Type II with debilitating central sensitization, heat/ mechano allodynia and cognitive symptoms that we termed 'vicarious pain'.

Each of these patients had dramatic relief with addition of Ketamine as an adjuvant to the sympathetic blocks after conventional therapy failed.Case Reports: All 3 patients suffered gunshot wounds and developed characteristic features of CRPS Type II. Within 2-3 weeks they developed extraterritorial symptoms typical of central sensitization.

The generalized mechanical allodynia and debilitating heat allodynia described to be rare in human subjects had life altering affect on their daily life. Case 2 and 3 also described an unusual cognitive phenomenon i.e.

visual stimuli of friction would evoke severe pain in the affected limb that we have termed as 'vicarious pain'. They responded positively to sympathetic blocks but the sympatholysis did not bring relief to the heat and mechanical allodynia.

Addition of Ketamine 0.5mg/kg to the sympathetic blocks elicited resulted in marked relief in the allodynia.

Conclusion: Ketamine has a special role in patients with debilitating heat allodynia and positive cognitive symptoms via its action on central pain pathway. As an adjuvant in sympatholytic blocks it has a targeted action without significant neuropsychiatric side effects.

Author: Rani A Sunder, Gokul R Toshniwal and G P Dureja

Credits/Source: Journal of Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Injury 2008, 3:22

Click Here for the Original Article Online.


Friday, October 17, 2008

CLUB -- RSDS and Fibromyalgia Survivors Support Group

CLUB -- RSDS and Fibromyalgia Survivors Support Group

RSDS and Fibromyalgia Survivors Support Group

The RSDS and Fibromyalgia Survivors Support Group Club met Sept. 26 at St. Mary's Hospital in Streator. Club leader Bea Danko started the meeting with a request to spend five minutes each day to try to smile. She brought a sign her husband, Andy, hung in the room. It said one word in bright colors, smile. Danko added "You have RSD or fibromyalgia, it does not have you."

The other topic of the meeting was hope. Most members wear a dove pin that symbolizes hope. Danko reminded members how important it is to hope for a better tomorrow.

Two visitors attended the meeting. Stephanie, a 21-year-old college student, and Maggie, 12, who was diagnosed within the last year. Stephanie was diagnosed at age 17. The RSD started in one leg and spread to her other leg and one of her arms. Maggie's RSD is in her foot and cannot bear weight on it. She counts on her parents and siblings for support.

One member, Marcia Amell, a fibromyalgia sufferer, praised both girls for their will to get up each day and live their lives, even though they are hurting. She said some sufferers of these illnesses three times their ages do not always show the strength. Vivian Umphress, an RSD sufferer, said, "I may have RSD, but I refuse to let it take my life. I will not give into the pain."

She and the rest of the group are there for one another. Meetings help each person differently. Many sufferers read an article last month about Senate Bill 1861, The RSD Education Act. Danko is the advocate and Sen. Gary Dahl, R-Granville, is the sponsor for the bill.

With the help of the group and individuals who contacted senators, 12 senators now support the bill. With the help of this bill, doctors in Illinois will be educated on how to diagnose and treat RSD.

The next meeting will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at St. Mary's Hospital. The group will celebrate Halloween. It will be the last meeting for the year. Anyone who has RSD or fibromyalgia can attend any of the confidential meetings.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Thursday, October 16, 2008


Former North Point detective Matthew Ackley, his left arm dangling at his side, holds one of two awards
he received from the Baltimore County Police Department at a ceremony on Oct. 7.


Detective has lost use of left arm
by Heather Perlberg

Former police detective Matthew Ackley dislocated his thumb while making an arrest last year. As a result of complications from the injury, his career is over and his left arm is useless.

Ackley was a member of the Baltimore County Police Department for nearly 10 years, all of it at the North Point Precinct. He was on the Community Drug and Violence Interdiction Team, which now operates under a centralized narcotics unit.

Ackley’s career in the department ended officially on Tuesday, when he was retired due to a disability he developed from the injury he sustained in the line of duty.

The Pennsylvania native’s life was turned upside down after what appeared to be a mild injury progressed to a rare, debilitating condition.

On Aug. 3, 2007, Ackley and Det. Robert Lockwood watched a drug deal take place outside a Four Seasons Court apartment building, said Capt. Kate Meeks-Hall, the North Point Precinct commander.

When the two detectives attempted to make an arrest, one of the men involved in the deal reached for a paper bag with a loaded gun inside. The detectives wrestled the man to the ground and Ackley dislocated his thumb in the process.

“[The dealer] was going to shoot my guys, and they did what they had to do,” Meeks-Hall said. “[Ackley] lost his job because of it.”

Though the life of Terrence A. Miles, 27, of Akin Circle in Chase, changed when he was slammed with 13 different charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison without parole, so did Ackley’s.

From his injury, or the resulting surgery, the detective developed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a horribly painful and progressive neurological condition that can affect skin, muscles, joints and bones. The condition is characterized by severe burning pain, pathological changes in bones and skin, excessive sweating, swelling, and extreme sensitivity to touch, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The pain and swelling has spread up Ackley’s left arm, rendering it useless.

“I throw up four to five times a day [from the pain]. I can’t sleep. My left arm is limp because I can’t lift it or bend it,” Ackley said.

His family has made many changes.

“I have three young children. I haven’t been able to pick up my youngest son. It’s heartbreaking,” Ackley said. “My hand is about four times the normal size of a hand.”

Ackley’s wife, Lauren, helps him dress, cuts his food and is attending nursing school so she can provide their family with more income. Ackley goes to physical therapy instead of work, and his parents often drive an hour to his house in Stewartstown, Pa., so they can help him take care of his children. He sleeps sitting upright in a chair, with his arm draped over the side on a pillow. Ackley said he spends little time in public, for fear that someone or something will brush against his hand and trigger even more pain.

“I keep every day hoping this will go away. I miss my job more than anything else in this world,” he said.

Ackley received two awards from the Baltimore County Police Department at a ceremony on Oct. 7: a commendation and a Purple Heart for the incident that cost him the use of his hand. He said receiving the award was especially difficult for him because he knew it was the last thing he would do as a police officer, the last time he would be called “Detective Ackley.”

The now former detective said one of his proudest moments was being sworn in as a police officer, and that he would not change his decision to become one.

“I was proud to serve the people of Dundalk. And I feel like I did my best and helped lots of people’s lives,” Ackley said.

Fellow officers and other members of the department have been supportive, Ackley said. Detectives Sekou Hinton and Scott Kilpatrick organized a fundraiser that yielded $10,000 for Ackley’s medical bills.

The former detective, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Saturday, said the fundraiser meant more than his fellow officers will ever know.

Ackley has undergone several medical treatments to prevent the CRPS from getting worse. He said he has used some of his savings to get the best possible treatment, including sessions in a hypobaric chamber that stopped the condition from spreading to his right hand.

Meeks-Hall said the department is upset about Ackley’s injury.

“He was a great detective in the unit, a good dad, husband and friend to everybody. He’s a nice guy. It’s really tragic. We wish him very well in his future,” said Meeks-Hall, who is retiring herself at the end of the month.

Though Ackley said this is not where he ever imagined he would be, he will continue to be hopeful.

“No matter what, I’m not going to give up. I am going to do what I need to get better,” he said. “If one day I can move my fingers and wrist, I’ll be very proud. Right now I just sit on the couch and try to make them move.”

Earlier this week, Ackley was still waiting to hear how much he would receive for disability compensation.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Dawn Marie's WrestlersRescue helps grapplers, sister-in-law

Dawn Marie's WrestlersRescue helps grapplers, sister-in-law


Former WWE and ECW Diva Dawn Marie recently hosted WrestlersRescue, a two-part benefit convention and gala dinner to help raise money for the health care costs of retired professional wrestlers and for sister-in-law Carrie Deussing, who is recovering from successful ketamine surgery. SLAM! Wrestling spoke to Deussing about the event and her amazing recovery and it is clear that thanks to the generosity of wrestling fans everywhere -- including SLAM! Wrestling readers -- she is on the previously unthinkable road to a complete recovery.

The event took place September 14 at the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, New Jersey. According to organizers, at least 150 people attended the dinner. Dollar figures with respect to the amount raised at the event were unavailable.

An early morning fire evacuation threatened to derail the festivities but only managed to slightly delay the convention portion, where fans could buy and have collectibles signed by their favorite entertainment personalities.

Notable wrestling alumni included Terri Runnels, Tammy Sytch, Balls Mahoney, Mick Foley, Captain Lou Albano, Torrie Wilson, JJ Dillon, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, Ashley Massaro, Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik, Missy Hyatt, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, and the Sandman. Several radio media outlets were also present.

For Deussing, it was time to catch up with family and friends, including her favorite wrestlers Albano, Sheik, and Volkoff, who remains a close friend and supporter of her fight with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), as previously reported by SLAM! Wrestling.

"Nikolai Volkoff recognized me right away, even when everyone was evacuated when I got there, and he wanted to know all about how the treatment went," explained Deussing. "He had been telling about this doctor in Baltimore that he uses. He wanted me to go see him. He had me write the disease down on the business card so he could talk to his doctor about it. He had given me his information back at the Wizard convention around April or May."

On July 17 Deussing was medically induced into a coma with a large amount of Ketamine -- a horse tranquilizer -- injected into her system afterwards. She was then slowly revived to help her nervous system "reboot" like a computer. Doctors pegged her success rate for the procedure at 50 per cent.

Deussing's recuperative progress has been amazing to behold. She left Mexico after only 12 days of hospital stay. Where physical contact, driving and walking were once chronically painful experiences, she now performs them virtually pain free and with the vitality of earlier times.

Carrie and Dawn Marie with radio hosts Josh and KB at the Wrestlers Rescue dinner.
"She's coming along great, about 95%, which is awesome," said a happy but exhausted Dawn Marie. "She is more herself again and has a big smile on her face."

Deussing is now on a six-month timetable to full health. Physical therapy including incremental exercise, periodic ketamine booster shots and a minor operation to relieve the remaining 5% of pain in the back are the only bumps left to a full recovery.

The therapy will help to re-strengthen her body slowly and methodically. It is the longest part of the six-month program. Deussing has been advised to take things easy to avoid any possible retriggering of the nerve disorder.

"Being stress free is so key for the recovery and the treatment," Deussing added. "My family was really supportive of me. I later found out I was the 13th patient to have the treatment in Mexico.

"I knew it was going to work. Having a positive outlook is also key. If you go in with a bad attitude like, 'Oh, this isn't going to work,' or, 'I'm going to be sick all my life,' then it just isn't going to work."

She felt so good after the surgery she made the mistake of resuming her normal schedule too quickly, subsequently experiencing nausea and vomiting. "My body was saying, 'Slow down.' I couldn't just jump back into my life," she said.

She has some advice for others who may be facing the disorder: Look on the bright side.

"You have to stay positive. Don't give up! I've kept in contact with three patients who will be going to Mexico and patients who are going to Germany. You need to stay positive. If you have a crappy outlook or a crappy attitude, you are going to do crappy, that's the bottom line. You can't leave everything up to the medicine."

Carrie and her husband Arthur.
Deussing also recommends to get checked out as soon as possible. "I was released on July 20th, one year to the date when my symptoms first started," she noted. "Most people wait years before they are diagnosed properly and then it takes a long time to get the treatment. Once I got my diagnosis confirmed in September, I just fought as I hard as I could to get the treatment as fast as I could. Because I was on waiting list for Germany and if I didn't go to Mexico, I'd still be on the waiting list for Germany. I think that helped me to treat this disease as quickly as possible."

She has raised approximately $40,000 so far, which covers the treatment in Mexico but still leaves her short for her traveling and post-medicine expenses. She is scheduled for at least three booster sessions which average $1,000 a session. "I'm hoping my insurance company will cover my physical therapy," she said.

Donations are still being welcomed to cover the complete costs of the experience.

"My goal is to return to work in January of next year," Deussing said confidently. "I don't know if the doctors agree with that goal. They might think it's a bit too aggressive. We'll just have to see how everything goes.

"I'm walking, I'm driving. I vacuumed today," she laughed. "Just a little bit each day."

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to help Carrie Deussing, tax-deductible donations can be made to: The Carrie Deussing RSD Foundation, Commerce Bank, 601 College Drive, Blackwood, NJ, 08012. Donations can also be made through the Carrie Deussing RSD Foundation website.


  • June 25, 2008: Dawn Marie battles to help ailing sister-in-law
  • November 16, 2007: Dawn Marie & Francine heading down different paths
  • April 10, 2002: Dawn Marie lives and learns
  • Carrie Deussing's MySpace
  • Dawn Marie's MySpace

  • Click Here For The Original Article Online.