News of the Week


 Welcome Suzanne Edwards!

This week I’ve had news that Suzanne Edwards will arrive in Kunming from London at the end of October.  Suzanne will be the first SCI patient from England.  Here’s a recent London newspaper story about her lovely family:

I’m really looking forward to meeting Suzanne and her parents after corresponding with her for several months.  And Suzanne has a terrific blog that I hope my own readers will enjoy …

As you can see, she has the kind of gung-ho attitude that should enable her to make the most of the SCI rehab program here in Kunming.

Suzanne also has a lower level injury than my own, and thus she is perhaps the ideal candidate for the Kunming walking program.   She wants to work very hard on her rehab, an attitude that will surely serve her well over here in China!

Acupuncture Begins

Apropos my chronic pain, we are presently waiting for the Kunming Medical School lab to receive the reagents needed to test my Lithium blood serum levels.  Then I can get cracking on the China SCI Lithium protocol.


Meanwhile, in recent days I’ve gotten started with acupuncture treatments and will soon find out if I am what’s known as a “responder.”

Given how accustomed I have unfortunately become to continuous pain, it’s probably no surprise that the acupuncture needles don’t bother me much … in fact, hardly at all.

I will be using acupuncture to initially target the acute post-surgical neck pain that has surprisingly persisted for months and which is causing the acute radial pain in my neck that spirals down through my right arm. We hypothesize that is most likely a muscle pushing on a nerve. This is a really debiltating problem for me, so if I am a “responder” then we will continue acupuncture to work on the neuropathic pain issue in case the lithium does not work for me.

My thinking is to give acupuncture a fair chance, perhaps a couple of months.  I’ll be working with accomplished practitioners from China and Japan, and I am also grateful to be working with an experienced American practitioner who lives presently in Kunming.

The Knee – Take 3

Since my last post, there have been further developments regarding my broken leg.  It turns out that both my femur and tibia were severely fractured here in June. Those are the two strong bones in the body!  To be more specific I had a distal femur fracture and a proximal tibial shaft fracture.

Femur FractureExamples of Femur Fractures

Tibial Fractures Examples of Tibial Fractures

Because the injury was not initially diagnosed or treated correctly, my leg has healed in a permanently deformed position, a condition known in the orthopedic world as Genu Recurvatum …

It is not yet clear how or even if this leg could be surgically repaired, because the ligaments have been so hyper-extended that they may not be able to return to their original size and shape.  Here’s what my broken leg looks like today:

Right Knee

Compare the normal left leg to my hyper-extended broken right leg.

So my parents have ordered a custom-designed titanium leg brace from Germany that is expected to arrive here in Kunming this coming week.  With the new leg brace, I hope to get standing safely again and may even, finally, be able to participate in the Kunming walking program.

5 responses »

  1. See if you can find a Trager practitioner in Kunming. It is gentle fabulous work for neuromuscular pain. My working theory is that the bilateral brain stimulation over the corpus callousum increases endogenous oxytocin which reduces pain signaling CENTRALLY,
    As well as interfering with pain signal transmission, much in the same way that acupuncture does.

    But the intervention in Central nervous system pain processing is a critical element. As a nurse practitioner and Trager practitioner, I worked with physiatrists and later with my own patients.

    It is also fabulous for PTSD which anyone with an acute devastating injury
    Has, to some degree; because it also rewrites the encoded memory patterns and helps the body find neurological pleasantness, or optimal functioning, whether direct sensory perception of this neurological “set point” occurs, or not.

    Down regulating neurologic pain signals helps reduce ongoing muscle tension, and improves Myofascial tone, and elasticity.

    Just some healing thoughts. I will check the US Trager association and international websites to see if there is someone near you!

  2. Hello Ali,
    I am lost for words as I am so cross for you that you have not received the correct treatment for your leg – especially as your photo clear illustrates even to a novice’s eyes that something is wrong.

    I continue to think of you often and hope that the tide changes for you.

    I guess you have had all sorts of suggestions about how to manage pain, and it sounds like your father is doing some sterling research. I hope it is also to mention?…..I wonder if you have considered trying massage matts / chairs / pillows. They serve to relax muscles and send different messages up the nerves – giving nerves ‘something else to think about’. I have had chronic neuropathic pain in the past and found the mats extremely helpful. I appreciate that everyone’s situation is different and that this might not work for you. I hope you don’t mind me jotting this down.

    Thank-you for sharing your post with us all. Here’s sending you lots of encourage and hugs!!!!!!!!

  3. Hi Ali, Well, I echo your other reader Tania’s outrage that your broken leg was so dreadfully mismanaged by the hospital. But I am hopeful about the acupuncture and the lithium trial. And I THRILLED that you will have a real friend by your side. Suzanne sounds abfab and I love her spirit and her sense of humour. Having lived for 9 years in London, we know Stanmore well – Nicholas got his wheelchairs there (that’s where Suzanne had her spinal surgery). Thank you for the update, our family is pulling for you!!!
    Donna xo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s