Monthly Archives: April 2010

Waiting For A Miracle: My Son’s Battle With CRPS

A friend recently told me that a parent is only as happy as their least happy child. Imagine when that child is chronically ill. Our son, Matthew, is suffering from CRPS: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It is a little known and little understood condition where a nerve (in this case his left foot below the ankle) is constantly sending pain signals to the brain. As a result, Matthew is in constant agony, often unable to refrain from screaming. He is unable to walk or even touch his foot. A mere breeze feels like daggers piercing his skin.

We first became familiar with CRPS a year ago. A soccer field injury at school was misdiagnosed as a broken ankle and Matthew’s foot was set in a cast for six weeks. Only after the cast was removed and he continued to complain about increasing pain, did we discover — after numerous trips to doctors and emergency rooms — that Matthew was suffering from CRPS. His treatment began immediately, including intense physical therapy and various prescription medications. Matthew was cured in less than two months.

It was nothing short of a miracle. We had our son back and he had his childhood back. He was completely symptom-free for an entire year. Then, almost as mysteriously as his condition improved, he suddenly suffered a relapse. This time it was much worse. The skin on his left foot, which had been only slightly discolored before, was now almost purple and flaky and the swelling was severe.

Matthew had just entered middle school and the new friendships he had started to form in the early weeks of his first semester were suddenly interrupted as the absences from school went from days to weeks to months. The staff at the school could not have been more helpful. They emailed his assignments and graciously provided a teacher to help home-school Matthew through the ordeal.

The psychological fallout has been more severe. This young boy just entering adolescence was now gaining weight due to the various medications, threatening an already fragile and changing self-image. Plus, he was now becoming accustomed to his newfound social isolation. At a time when he should be cementing relationships with friends, those bonds were slowly eroding as his contact was limited to occasional after school visits and phone calls.

His mom, my wife of 27 years, is taking this especially hard. It is never easy watching a loved one suffer and when that loved one is your youngest child, it is especially painful. Matthew is being robbed of the everyday experiences that sixth grade offers — that first crush on the girl in science class, palling around with kids on the playground, riding bikes after school – all of it has been placed on indefinite hold.

Family and friends never quite know what to ask. The question, “How is he, today?” lingers in the air, unspoken, but always understood. “Why can’t they make the pain go away?” and “How long will this last?” Those and dozens of other queries go unanswered because there is, simply, no answer. While CRPS is difficult to treat — there is no cure — it is even more challenging when dealing with a child. Treatments which show promise in adults, including nerve blocks, often cause the condition to actually spread when dealing with a young patient’s still developing nervous system. Matthew’s doctors assure us he will get better and so we believe he shall. But in the meanwhile, we wait and hope and pray for that miracle to happen. Again.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Friends’ 3,500-mile road trip to raise charity cash

Friends’ 3,500-mile road trip to raise charity cash

Dec 20 2007

by Nick Moreton, Skelmersdale Advertister

AN UP HOLLAND man and his pal are going on a road trip across Europe to raise money for three children’s charities.

Ian Newby, of Galloway Drive, off Tower Hill Road, and Simon Tennant, from Wigan, will take a 17-year-old Toyota Celica on a 3,500-mile round trip through 13 different cities in five days.

It’s all to raise funds for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

Ian, 28, was inspired to do the trip by the bravery of his girlfriend’s little sister, Johanna Hislop, who has Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy.

Johanna, 14, is one of only 116 people in the past 22 years to be diagnosed with the condition, which causes severe pain in the muscles, skin, bones and nerves.

Since being diagnosed, things have progressed even further so that she now also has a movement disorder which occasionally sends her body into uncontrollable bouts of shaking.

The condition means she has had to spend a lot of time at Alder Hey and Ronald McDonald house and Ian and Simon are hoping to raise £1,000 for each of them and Great Ormond Street by appealing for sponsorship from local businesses in return for company logos being displayed on the car.

The lads plan to set of from Wigan on April 26 next year.

get a ferry from Dover to Calais, before heading through Brussels, Stuttgart, Munich, Milan, Turin, Lido Di Jesolo, Monaco, Nice and Marseilles, before returning back to Wigan, via Paris and Calais, hopefully by May 1.

Ian, who owns a barber’s shop in Pemberton, brought the car about a month ago for just £350, but has every confidence it will last the distance.

He said: “The car’s in excellent condition for its age and I’m more than confident it can make it round the whole way.

“Everybody looks at me like I’m mad when I tell them how old it is, but I have absolute faith in it.”

He added: “We are hoping to raise £1,000 for each charity, but obviously, the more we can get the better.

“AMK Signs in Standish are going to do the graphics on the car, while IM-Press Promotions (Chorley) Ltd have printed us a load of T-shirts, caps and fleeces.

“And Pemberton Private Hire are sponsoring us for fuel, but we still need things like first aid kits, fire extinguishers, road maps, light bulb sets and even break down cover and our ferry crossings.

“But it should be good and we’re looking forward to it.”

To sponsor them just call 07790 071030 or go to

Click Here For The Original Article Online.