CRPS and NASCAR Racers  – Raising Awareness!

Martinsville, VA
October, 2014
Chevrolet. NASCAR. CRPS. Awareness. Pain. Dedication. Love. Commitment. Treatment. Noise. Diagnosis. Ethics. Teamwork. Marriage. Cure. Vibration. Sadness. Exhilaration.

These are all just words, random letters put together. They have no real meaning unless the people involved put meaning into them. For better or worse, that’s what the Preacher said. Many of us can remember those words and for some of us they meant more than they did for our partners we found out later when the “or worse” came about.

But a few of us out in the CRPS Community, more and more every year, are blessed with amazing partners and spouses. For some, your marriage was tested and you survived. For others, our marriage didn’t survive the test but we were able to pick up the pieces and move on and we discovered someone amazing down the road apiece. Men and women who stand beside us and fight the war, a CRPS diagnosis, every single day. Make no mistake about it folks it is a battle, a war even, a series of skirmishes that will last many of us a lifetime.

Having someone beside you who not only understands what it is you are fighting but also says “It’s my enemy too and I am here beside you to do whatever you need me to do for as long as you need me to do it”, well, that makes all the difference in the world. It’s better than the best pain medication to know someone has your back let me tell you because there are some dark days with this disease. But it also helps you to turn the corner mentally, helps you to see that life moves forward and to understand that your life is not over.

I have been blessed with such a gift and I thank God every day for her. Not only is she there for me, in spite of her own battle with MS, but she is also there for all of you because she along with Smith myself and my mother Lynne (who battles her own chronic illnesses), run American RSDHope.

Brett Grosshans, whose story you will read below, has been blessed as well except Brett isn’t the one with CRPS, his wife has it! But I guarantee you if you ask him if he feels lucky to have married Chris. When you read their story you will understand why, they are an amazing couple. When you are dealt the CRPS hand in life you have two choices. Well, you have many, many choices obviously but I will speak about two main choices.

1) You can spend most of your life complaining about the fact that life just isn’t fair, why should you be in pain all the time and other people aren’t; especially with all the horrible, mean, and nasty people out there (and there are a whole lot of them if you think about it).

Or why don’t the people on America’s Funniest Home Video’s end up with CRPS when they do the dumbest, stupidest, craziest things in the world and end up banging their heads, arms, legs, butts, you name it, ten times harder than you ever hit anything? THAT is a question I ask myself sometimes but then I see a cat like Maru with his head stuck in a box and I laugh like everyone else.

2) You can, hopefully with the love, comfort, support, and nurturing of your spouse/partner/family/friends, accept that you have this horrible disease called CRPS, learn all you can about it, figure out a way to live with it, and move on with your life. To tell the disease to sit down, shut up, go to the back of the class and figure out a way to live your life in spite of this new obstacle.

If you are like most patients you start out like number one and move on to number two. Some get stuck at number one for a couple of years and some never get beyond it at all. It takes work, it takes help, and it takes time but you can make the move from number one to number two. Talk to people like myself and my wife, people who have been around a long time, there are a lot of us out there. Talk to people like Brett and his wife. Talk to other patients you might know who have had the disease for a long time, are married or have a partner, and are moving forward with their lives and ask them how they did it.

Read Brett and Chris’s story below to see how their CRPS Awareness efforts is reaping huge rewards for our community and in the years to come will help bring a lot of publicity to our cause. Drop Brett a line and thank them for their work. They are a wonderful couple and I feel blessed to have met them