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[Reflection] Navigating Through Health Related Trauma

On 1 October 2018, I was warded in the hospital for the third time in less than a year

due to the complications caused by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

What seemed to be a mere bacterial foot infection became a severe debilitating "off-

the-charts" bone-breaking pain that resulted in a mobility loss in my right foot. I was

eventually diagnosed with CRPS, a rare nervous system disorder: severe chronic

pain and loss of limb function due to injury. It was nerve-wracking as some people

with CRPS never recover and instead experience long-term chronic pain and

disability in their limbs.

Navigating life with chronic pain became my "new normal". At the peak of my illness,

I could not walk like I used to and had to use a wheelchair and crutches. Doctors

advised me to keep using my affected limb as much as possible to avoid losing it.

Other than going for the weekly therapy sessions at the hospital, I had to stay home

during the recovery period, which resulted in my taking an extended break from


In my crucible of pain, I learnt what it meant to navigate life with disability and

chronic illness. Online support from fellow CRPS warriors gave me the strength and

encouragement to believe that life can be beautiful despite a chronic/invisible illness

diagnosis. Indeed, CRPS may be a part of my story, but it does not define me. I hope

to extend compassion and empathy to others on a similar journey.

Reflection by Daphne Chan

Trainee Counsellor of Restoring Peace

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