Dear Dr. Kirkpatrick:
I am writing on behalf of my wife Jaley MacDonald.
My wife and I are both 35 years old and live in southern California. We have two beautiful children, Ashley who is 11, and Zachary who is 13. Together, we own and operate a 24/7 emergency service response company that helps people recover from devastating floods and fires in their homes and businesses.
It seems common that RSD patients tend to draw the short stick, a lot! My wife is no exception. First it was a life and death battle with a rare form of blood cancer from the age of 12-17 and then, only one year later, she was diagnosed with RSD following an injury to her right hand from a self defense instructor at 18 years old.
After 4 painful years her RSD slowly went into remission and the functionality of her hand was mostly restored, e.g., she could open and close her hand and use it for day to day tasks as long as she was careful not to overdo it.
Her remission lasted for almost 10 years until a re-injury to the hand occurred in June of 2006. At this time and for the next several months she would complain of tightness in her hand and that it was starting to hurt quite a bit. Sadly, this was followed by another injury to the same extremity on January of 2007 when a 75 lb. mirror fell on the same hand. This incident lit her RSD up like a Christmas tree and the real pain began.
Throughout 2007, Jaley saw multiple Doctors, all who reconfirmed the RSD diagnosis. The doctors engaged various treatment protocols and methods including up to a dozen stellate ganglion blocks, a dozen or more bier blocks, and a host of medications, including anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, muscle-relaxants, opiates, and even a 7 day ketamine infusion (50-125 mg – 1 hour a day). Not knowing any better, we let one doctor insert IV’s over a dozen times in Jaley’s most damaged area of her hand and wrist.
During the period of 2007 and through all these treatments, her condition continued to deteriorate. She stopped being able to sleep or eat, yet gained 40-50 lbs. She had daily vomiting, debilitating migraines and was confined more and more to our home and hasn't been able to work since October 1st, 2007. Her RSD had always been confined to her right hand, however, since the treatments it has since spread from her right hand and wrist up the right side of her body to include; arm, shoulder, neck, and right shoulder blade.
In addition, severe dystonia and atrophy has set in to her upper right extremity. She can't move her arm higher than her upper torso and can't lower it lower than her mid abdomen, like an arm in a sling. Her right hand has been sealed shut in a fist shape since September of 2007 and cannot be opened. Her finger nails are starting to grow into her palm.
In late November of 2007 we found Dr. Forrest Tennant, the author of The Intractable Pain Survivors Guide. Upon hearing of Jaley's deteriorating condition, he immediately asked us to come to his clinic. Upon our arrival vitals were taken and Jaley's pulse was determined to be 140 at rest. The Doctor felt she was close to death if her pain was not reduced. Over the next five consecutive days and forty hours later, he was able to find a combination of high dose opiates, supplements, range of motion exercises, etc., that brought her pain to a more manageable level.
His efforts were able to reduce Jaley's pain level to the point where she was given new hope that she might be able to get through this horrible disease and we are eternally grateful to Dr. Tennant and his wonderful wife, Miriam.
Jaley however continues to struggle on a daily basis to do even the most basic of tasks. Showers are painful, movement is painful; high anxiety, panic attacks, debilitating migraines, daily vomiting, RSD pain (shooting/stabbing) and allodynia are all still daily occurrences. It’s difficult for her to take care of her own needs never mind anyone else’s.
The impact on our daily life as a family has been devastating: For the most part she can’t leave the house, it’s almost impossible to keep a schedule to meet commitments, it’s difficult to have physical contact with her, the mental anguish is very isolating for Jaley and she is losing the ability to reach out to friends and family.
Our business which we worked so hard to build from the ground up has suffered tremendously by effectively losing both of its owners as I too have become housebound in order to take care of Jaley. The hardest part of all, for all of us, is trying to maintain hope that we can ‘kick’ this sucker.
Dr. Cantu, the international team behind this ground breaking research study, and especially you Dr. Kirkpatrick, have given us that hope. We are so very grateful for this opportunity to have Jaley return to a normal life that words are hardly sufficient to express the depths of our gratitude.
Neil & Jaley MacDonald
Palm Springs, California USA
It takes approximately 12 hours for ketamine to reach a steady state with the brain .... Learn more
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