Kelly Grandmaison, wants to thank you for being a part of her second shot at life. At 26 years old, she was diagnosed with CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome). CRPS is a debilitating illness that typically comes with a 50/50 diagnosis, years of back and forth diagnosis, and several medical treatments that cannot cure it, but can attempt to help mitigate pain.
Kelly spent her senior year of college on crutches, taking 26 units, recording her first album, and going back and forth between doctors for minor procedures. Her life changed when she reached out to a woman named Mims Gordon on Facebook. She had started an advocacy page and shared her story. She was lucky enough to see Dr. Andrea Giusti in Italy and he helped her go into remission. A little over a year after that day, Kelly found herself in Italy getting the same treatment with the same doctor. By that point, she was somewhere between a wheelchair and cane, but after 10 days of treatment Kelly was walking 3 miles on her own.
Kelly’s life changed that day in unimaginable ways. She no longer had to limit herself to both the physical and mental confines of pain. As Carl Rogers once wrote, Kelly was finally “on her way to becoming a person”. She tells her story not as a way to garner sympathy, but as a way to share where her “Why” comes from.
Kelly’s goal is to help grow and protect non-profits that provide people (like herself) the opportunity to get help. Each day, her goal is to make 1 person’s life better, albeit even in the smallest of ways. She’d love to help you (or anyone you know) do the same.\
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“So I would be the loudest kid in the room with nunchucks. And if I didn’t win, I’d get so mad at myself because I was, like, no, you gotta get first, you gotta do this. I was so competitive. And my parents saw me, I just wouldn’t let up.”
“So after the surgeries, it was fine, but it puts things into perspective. So my life was suddenly, like, I should pursue whatever I want because that was really scary, and I have time, so I should do it and do what I like. So I went into musical theater.”
“I got into a really bad car accident on my way to Disneyland, and I got sandwiched between 2 trucks on the freeway. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days and had to relearn how to walk. And I remember this doctor looked at me when I went in, and he said, you have chronic regional pain syndrome.”
“And it’s odd when I think there’s a stigma to it of if you can’t survive this, you failed, but I don’t think that’s the case. I feel like it’s something we need to destigmatize, especially with an illness like this. It’s no one’s fault, you know. it happens.”
“Yeah. it was really scary. There were definitely a lot of low moments, but I tried to fight it so much, and I had to give myself days of just being sad and allowing myself to feel it and let it pass. I had to understand that that was okay to feel and it was okay to feel anxious.”
Kelly has lived in the SGV for her entire life. She grew up in Covina and has loved every aspect of living in the San Gabriel Valley. She admits when she was younger, she considered leaving the SGV, but looking back she has a whole new appreciation for the area.
To Kelly Grandmaison, it really boils down to the population first and foremost. West Covina has a much higher population. Other than that, there isn’t too much of a difference.
Kelly claims that she had a strange life. A big part of her life when she was younger was a combination of sports, like martial arts, reading as many books as possible, acting, and singing.
Kelly wanted to do everything. But then life became very calm. It wasn’t until more recently that she looked back at her calm years and realized how nice that actually was.
Kelly studied Red Dragon. She competed in forms and weapons and admitted she was terrible at sparring. Kelly was incredibly competitive.
Initially, Kelly did not like karate. But, her parents signed her up for 3 months so she had to stick to it. Then, she ended up doing karate for about seven years. Kelly Grandmaison was good at karate. It was like her brain just understood it, and it was an amazing release for her and her energy as a child.
After karate, Kelly was determined to do musical theatre. Unfortunately, at that time, she also had a heart problem.
She ended up having two separate heart surgeries by her senior year in high school. The heart surgeries put life in perspective for Kelly. She decided that life was frail and she should do the things she wanted to while she could, so she pursued musical theatre. She trained constantly and was able to tour the United States, Europe, China, and the Philippines.
Around that time, Kelly was involved in a terrible car accident. She was in the hospital for three days and had to relearn how to walk. That was when she discovered she had chronic regional pain syndrome.
The doctors told Kelly that it was extremely rare. In fact, only about 3% of the population suffers from it.
Typically, only individuals who served in the military suffer from it. Kelly got second opinions, and they discovered that she had a cyst in her knee, which was a major source of her pain. Eventually, she visited a doctor at UCLA who confirmed that Kelly Grandmaison did, in fact, have chronic regional pain syndrome.
Kelly claims that it feels like you’re in a jacuzzi, but you’re burning inside. Other times, it feels like your bones are breaking, and you are just in constant pain. Her doctors actually told her that she had a 50/50 chance at living and she was quickly appointed to a therapist.
There is, and Kelly finds it odd. It is not something that anyone controls, so Kelly fully believes it is something that we need to destigmatize as a society.
After UCLA confirmed that Kelly Grandmaison had chronic regional pain syndrome, she sought out ways to mitigate the pain. The pain was about 7 or 8 out of 10 every single day; it was unbearable.
She tried to busy herself to keep her mind off of the pain by taking 26 units in college and putting out an album.
Kelly was doing a lot of research and found a group on Facebook, which has been incredibly helpful. Everyone offers new information, new research, and what doctors are saying. This is how Kelly met Dr. Andrea Giusti.
Dr. Giusti is a doctor from Italy who has done research on chronic regional pain syndrome for over 20 years. He has helped countless patients and collected a lot of research. He assists doctors in the United States, but if you want the best treatment and care, you need to visit him in Italy. They believe it is a bone marrow disorder.
A massive car accident shook Kelly to her core. She already had suffered from PTSD, but the car accident just re-ignited it even more. Kelly’s initial PTSD stems from a really bad and abusive relationship that she was in.
One of Kelly’s major goals at this point in time is to raise awareness. Just like when she was younger, Kelly is doing a thousand things at once to keep herself occupied. She is working with nonprofits, too.
1 Red Dragon Karate in Covina (permanently closed)
2 West Covina Public Library
3 Serenity Foster Care
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