The when I learned to overcome RSDS

Happy Friday!  It’s hard to believe that this is newsy update #3!  This week, I will give you a little gym update (I found a kindred spirit), and talk about RSDS (Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome), and also share a few little milestones that I reached.  I feel like I could sum up this week with a quote from Mother Teresa; “Faithfulness, not success.” (I first saw this quote in Eric Metaxas’ book titled “Seven Women; and the secret to their greatness”.  If you have not read this…I recommend it).

So, first of all..lets talk RSDS, which is just the technical name for “wow, you hurt something and your nerves are confused”.  So, my left foot has developed its own tiny weird climate.  It spontaneously will sweat, or go cold, or turn all mottled like it’s about to die and fall off, and it has become very dramatic about textured clothing (read: hates rough things.  Passionately.  Hates.  Hates.  A lot).  I didn’t know what was going on at first until I started physiotherapy.  But I was so glad to have an explanation.  It was like discovering that no, I was not imaging things.

So, as the limb recovers, this syndrome is supposed to slowly resolve itself. (Yes!)  However, to overcome it…part of it involves rubbing a rough towel on your foot (Do. Not. Want).  But, because I expect that when I take care of someone they will do what I suggest, I do what I’m told to do…because I want to get better.  And also to be able to wear a wider variety of socks.  But mostly to get better.  So, this week I went a few places without the cane! (Success!)  Did not trip on something dumb! (Yay me!) but ended up having a lot of dramatic foot temperature changes, pain, and some weird colouring.  So, that’s why I describe myself as semi-caneless.  Because I’m almost there, but I’ve been instructed to use the cane if I notice my foot doing more weird things.  It means that I’m pushing it too hard. (Sigh…)  (Also, sometimes the temperature changes can be related to how you feel.  Sometimes if I feel stressed…my left foot will start to sweat.  But…Just.  That.  Foot.  Like a weirdo).

Also…(horror of horrors).  One of the symptoms is almost unspeakable….but not because it’s bad.  Just because…we live in a society with certain…expectations.  And…when one of your feet starts to look like a Hobbit foot….you get concerned.  And then you promptly shave it.  Yup….hair.  Rouge. Hair. On. My. Foot. (Sigh..again).  But this actually could have been a lot more awful.  I mean…it’s not like I grew an extra nail or something…and it’s not like some people don’t naturally have this happen on their feet.  But….I like when my feet match.  And by match…I mean to both remain hair-free.  Anyway…the physiotherapist had been asking me if I had noticed this…and I said no…and he said “guess you’re probably out of the woods for that”…and then that week it showed up.  And when I told him…he said “Yeah…I noticed a bit last week, but I didn’t want to tell you”.  (I died a little inside).  But also… I felt that it was very compassionate that he didn’t say something like “Look!  Your foot is hairy now!”  Also…it will go away as the syndrome resolves while my foot heals (Thank you thank you thank you.  So.  Very.  Glad).

But, I feel like when you know that you are recovering from something, it makes you feel more determined.  For example:  My first day at the gym, I brought a pair of socks with lots of special sweat-wicking areas and super-high-tech sock things…only to discover that all the threads and textures inside the sock made it feel like the Burlap Sock of Death.  No kidding.  I might as well have worn socks made of burlap my foot was so sensitive about it.  But, I wore them anyway (And not just because they were the only pair of socks that I had), because I want to overcome this and not let it run what I do.  It’s just something that I’ve been diagnosed with not who I am.

Success:  Not laying down to die when your foot doesn’t cooperate.  Just go to the gym anyway and get on the bike.  The world will not end if you don’t row today.  Get.  On.  The.  Bike.  Yes!

Also!  I found a kindred spirit at the gym in my gym-going cane-toting state!  Someone else had a cane too!

We were cane buddies on the bikes!  And the weight machines!  Friends in overcoming!

I was 100% encouraged by seeing them there!  I was like “Look!  They have a cane too!  Other people come to the gym with a cane!  We should take a picture.  No, Lindsay…that might be weird.  Yup…be cool.  Don’t spook them.  You want them to come back!  Be silent cane friends for now!”

It’s good to do things that feel scary sometimes.  I was pretty fearful to use the weights this week…but I did.  And it was alright.  Nothing went wrong.  No one was like “Stop!  Girl with the cane!  You look too frail to use that machine!  Stop before your leg snaps off…”  Or..something.  (No one would ever say that…I realize…but…sometimes for like a split second when you’re trying something new…you think that maybe they might say that.  But only for a second).

This week:  Goal Accomplished:  Bike for 20 minutes without stopping!


Did a 15 second wall-sit!


Balanced on my left foot for 30 seconds!

Woohoo!  Check!

Walked without a cane!

Yaaaaas Check!

This week I want to encourage you with something that helped me.  “Faithfulness, not success.”  I didn’t 100% get rid of the cane.  Even though I really wanted to.  But every day I decided that I was going to show up and do my best.  I was going to get down on the floor and stretch my ankle…even though it’s not fun.  I know that every day my little bit of stretching is adding up.

Every day do something little.  It will add up.  Who knows…maybe you’re the other lady at the gym with a cane…and you have no idea that you’ve encouraged someone by showing up.

I hope that you have a great weekend, and I’ll see you again next Friday!

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With a background in nursing, Lindsay lives and works in Ontario, was created to encourage, inspire and to share life on the road to wellness and living life abundantly.Please make sure that you follow us on social media as well to get updates and other fun things.
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