I am Autumn. Not so long ago if you saw me I would be very different from who I am now. I walked and ran, I spent hours in a show ring showing goats, chickens and my dog, Lilly. My legs worked they just ached due to a genetic disorder 22Q that I was born with. Ache was the only pain I really knew. No different than the aches you feel. I rode horses and a bike even a dirt bike with training wheels. I played in hay forts with my brothers. I was not so different from any other kid. I was happy.
One day a doctor had a good idea to fix my aches in my legs and 2 weeks after the procedure I woke up one morning as Autumn yet it was a different Autumn that over the years I would get to know more and more. Pain was horrific it was like a nightmare only I was awake. My leg burned like it was engulfed in flames and shook, the muscles spasmed and rippled under my skin. I wanted it to stop but it never would. I had feelings like I was being stabbed over and over again with a knife and then it would shift and feel like it had been submerged in a bucket of ice. I cried for my mom to make it go away. I had CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and my life changed forever. A wonderful team rallied around me of my family, pain doctor, physical therapists, psychologist and many others. The bottles and bottles of medications only took the edge off and my world became one of hospitalizations, doctors, medications and above all pain. Pain so bad it would make me throw up and feel like passing out. I couldn’t even look at my leg without feeling sick. I was stuck in bed, couldn’t put pressure on my leg, I couldn’t wear socks or shoes, nothing could touch my leg. Air, vibrations everything made it worse. And I had to be in a wheelchair.
Now, 3 years later I still have CRPS. I also have nerve damage throughout my arms, both legs and my pelvis. My bladder has shut down and my bowels. I have bags on my stomach to replace bladder and bowels and a feeding tube. I still have extreme pain all day every day. It makes me so sad because each day I leave my old self farther and farther behind.
My therapist had an idea to help make some things easier for me and I am excited for the first time in a long time because my therapist has helped me to get a power chair. Now I am able to control it myself unlike my other wheelchair that my mom pushed for me. This gives me some of my life back because I can finally enter a show ring again with my dog Lilly and show her using my power chair. My legs may not work well anymore but my chair is going to be my new legs. My chair will allow me to be more independent and make the care of my body easier for my mom for feeding and caring for my bags on my stomach while we are out away from home. But the thing I would really like to do with my chair is ride in the car sitting in it, because riding in the car hurts so bad but the chair allows me to be in a more comfortable position and helps with my pain. We aren’t able to buy a mobility van to transport me in because it’s just my mom and me and we can’t afford it. This is where you could help. If you ever do give donations, a mobility van would make a huge difference in my life. Right now if my mom has to change my bags or feed me or give me medicines in my tube she has to stand outside the car and leave my door open to be able to do this. The outside air especially in winter or rain hurts my leg so bad and everyone can see what is going on and it embarrasses me. I would be thankful for a van where we can take care of my body in private and out of the weather and would allow me to ride in my power chair. Please consider helping me with a donation for a mobility van.
Autumn Parcell (with help from mom, Melissa Parcell)