[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