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Courage To Come Back: Medical recipient raises awareness about disease few have heard of

Last Updated Apr 11, 2019 at 6:36 am PDT

Kate Palmer is the Medical award recipient of the 21st Courage To Come Back awards. (Source: Kate Palmer)

NANAIMO (NEWS 1130) – She won’t let her disease keep her down, at least not for long. Our series of Courage To Come Back profiles continues with a look at the recipient of the Medical award.

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, but CRPS is very real to Kate Palmer of Nanaimo and because of it, she likely will never have another pain-free day in her life.

“I had to give up a lot of activities that I love to do,” she admits. “Anything where I’m at risk to fall because that’s usually what happens to trigger another episode.”

CRPS is defined as a progressive neuropathic pain disease, a dysfunction of the nervous system in which people can feel intense pain, swelling, and hypersensitivity in their limbs.

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“I never know when my next flare-up will hit and I never know how long it will last,” she explains. “Unfortunately, doctors have yet to really understand the how or why of this disease, even though it was first recognized almost 150 years ago,” Kate explains.

She was first diagnosed when she was 20. Today, the mother of three must manage her condition along with the demands of a busy family life.

“Most days, I typically run out of energy long before the day comes to an end and certainly long before my kids do,” she admits. “There are a lot of times that I’m not doing that well so, I’m collapsed on the couch with exhaustion, I’m in tears because the pain’s so bad. I’m just need to spend the day in bed because I can’t move.”

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Despite her challenges, Kate is determined to create something positive from her condition. To that end, she is one of the founders of CRPS Hope and Awareness Foundation.

“You know, it’s not that you can’t break down, it’s not that you can’t cry. What’s important is that you get back up and you do something to create a different experience for yourself,” she says. “CRPS [has] definitely become a huge part of my life, but it’s not all of my life. And even my work in the foundation allow me to bring hope to other people.”

NEWS 1130 is a proud sponsor of the 21st Coast Mental Health “Courage To Come Back” awards, which are being handed out on Wednesday April 24th.