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Carpenter considering arm amputation after struggle with chronic condition

A carpenter who has raised thousands for charity is considering having his arm amputated after being diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome.

Leonard Ansell, 48, was diagnosed with the condition, where pain worsens over time, at the end of last year and wants to warn others about it.

He said he has been in progressively worsening pain since 2014, when he fell from a ladder and broke his left arm.

“My life’s stopped,” he said.

“I just want to get on with my life.

“This injury is the worst thing ever to have happened to me.”

Leonard lives alone at his home in Cookham Rise and his family are in Devon. He has had to give up his favourite pursuits – fishing and football – and no longer works.

He has to avoid stress and anything that may harm the limb.

A carpenter since he was a teenager, he has a large scar, incurred from surgery, that runs down his upper left arm, which he keeps in a sling.

The arm is prone to 'overheating', for which he uses a cream to keep in check, and he has been on a range of painkilling medication.

His home has stacks of discarded tablet boxes, medical papers and newspaper cuttings from his previous fundraising events, having raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust from skydiving.

“It just takes over your life,” he said.

After the pain in his arm got worse following the break, medical professionals suggested a number of causes, including cellulitis and blood clot, before his diagnosis last year.

“I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been taken into hospital,” he said.

Now, he is waiting for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London to organise a complex procedure at St Thomas', London, called spinal cord stimulation.

If that fails, he is seriously considering an amputation, which would be his decision.

“If that procedure doesn’t work, it will be down to me (to decide),” he said. “I pray to God it is not.

“I don’t want to have a prosthetic arm. Ten seconds can change the rest of your life.

“I’ve thought back about it so many times.”

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  • Bonnie F.

    21:09, 02 June 2017

    Please, please do your research before continuing with amputation! I was diagnosed with CRPS in 2004, after surgery for a pinched nerve in my elbow. Specifically I have CRPS Type 2, Stage 4. There is no cure for this disease. All research indicates that amputation is ineffective, destructive, and is likely to cause the CRPS/RSD to spread throughout the body. (www.rsdhope.org) Consider joining a Facebook group or locate a local group for people suffering with CRPS. It is helpful to know others and hear how they deal with this awful disease. Many websites explain CRPS - what to expect, possible treatment options and even provide doctor listings. Check with your insurance company too, they may know of doctors in your area that specialize in CRPS. I hope you find a treatment option that gives you some relief. Best of luck to you!

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  • Burning Nights

    18:06, 02 June 2017

    Please pass on the details of our Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) charity to Mr Ansell. Our charity - Burning Nights CRPS Support - is s UK charity dedicated to not only raising awareness of this debilitating chronic condition but also supporting all those who are affected by it. Our website is www.burningnightscrps.org and our phone number is 01663 795055. We're here to help and support Mr Ansell, it's a horrific condition to deal with especially on your own which is why we are here to help.

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