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Up until the fall of 2005 I was a normal college student.  I hung out with my friends, enjoyed living on my own for the first time, traveled in Europe, studied abroad, etc…  That all quickly changed when in September of 2005, when I had my second surgery on my left wrist to remove a ganglion cyst. Although I returned to university two weeks after the surgery, I very quickly recognized there was something wrong and went to see a doctor.  His response to my complaints was plainly that it was postoperative pain.  When I mentioned that my right hand had also started to hurt, the doctor said I was overusing it.  His only recommendation was to keep working with my occupational therapy.  I followed his advice and continued to see the occupational therapist.  I am really lucky that I did, because she was actually the first to notice my earliest RSD symptoms when she said that I was having abnormal temperature changes in my hands.  Her observations were part of the reason that I was diagnosed so quickly. 


I tried my hardest to work through the pain, but it became too much to bear on my own, and I was forced to return to my parents.  By November 2005 I was diagnosed with RSD.  Even with 6 ganglion sympathetic nerve blocks in one week, the pain would not subside and in fact increased.  Within 1 to 2 months from this time, the RSD had spread to my feet.   Since then, the disease has diffused throughout my entire body.  I have done three low dose in-patient Ketamine treatments, along with sympathetic blocks, one lumbar epidural, countless trips to the ER, and I don’t know how many boosters.  There has not been one treatment that has stopped the RSD from spreading. 


Since being diagnosed, I have tried my hardest to become educated with all of my possible treatment options.  The coma was something that I never thought I would have to consider; but that being said, I also never imagined being in the place that I am due to a simple surgery in my wrist.  Although I am very well aware of the possible dangers associated with this procedure, I know that it is my only option to get my life back.  The coma will give me the opportunity to have the normal future that I want so badly.  It will allow me to be able to look back at this period in my life as just a bad dream, one that I will have finally woken up from. 

n the list of success stories. 


Rachel Stein

New York USA

December 23, 2009






Pre-coma Evaluation ~ 10 minutes ~ 340K




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