Woman trapped inside a body of pain
07:20 AM EST on Wednesday, November 14, 2007
CONCORD, N.C. — Margaret Yuckel was an outgoing graphic designer with Richard Childress Racing. That was before chronic pain took over her life. Now, the wife and mother of three says she’s trapped inside her own body.
Yuckel suffers from RSD, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, the most debilitating form of chronic pain.
It’s a neurological disorder where the nerves send constant pain signals to the brain.
Yuckel says she can’t spend much time outside her Concord home because the slightest breeze feels like fire on her skin.
“One of the things with RSD is temperature,” Yuckel said. “Anything cold, feels like I’m standing in dry ice.”
Even her hair that once brushed her shoulders had to go. The pain was too much.
Dr. Stephen Pociask, with Southeast Pain Care, is Yuckel’s doctor.
He says there is little known about what causes RSD.
“It could start with something as simple as an ankle sprain or from something more devastating, like a traumatic injury to an arm or a leg,” said Pociask.
In Margaret’s case, it started at work. While sitting at her desk, she swung around in her chair and hit her foot on the side of her desk.
It never healed.
Within months the pain spread up her leg and eventually into her arm.
Now, two years later, even her 5-year-old son knows where mommy can’t be touched.
“The pain medication helps, but it’s kind of like a rollercoaster,” said Yuckel.
As a last resort, doctors put two spinal cord stimulators in Yuckel’s back.
“We try to override the painful sensations they have with a non-painful sensation, kind of like a tingling sensation in her upper and lower extremities,” said Pociask.
Yuckel says the spinal stimulators barely dull the pain.
There’s no cure for RSD and doctors admit it’s difficult to control.
Despite her world being turned upside down, Margaret says she still looks forward to every day.
“Just keep your spirits up, I guess, and pray,” said Yuckel. “I do a lot of praying.”
For more information on RSD, also known as RSDS, long on to RSDS.org.