An Air Force veteran who has suffered with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) for years, is successfully on his road to recovery, after a risky procedure and subsequent treatments.
Jonathan Haag, who was diagnosed with RSD after a foot surgery, was confined to a wheelchair for years, due to the condition.
“I could describe it as severe burning pain, and crushing pain. It felt like my legs were on fire,” Haag said. “The bones were being crushed and ripped out of my body, all at the same time. It's pretty severe.”
In 2010, doctors placed Haag in a coma for six days and injected him with the drug ketamine, giving him the kick-start he needed to begin his recovery. Because the procedure is so risky and not approved by the Federal Drug Administration, it is rarely performed in the United States.
However, Jonathan’s doctors made an exception for him, due to the severity of his case.
“I was lucky with my hospital here, that they did it, but a lot of other hospitals won't do it,” Haag said. “And there's a lot of veterans out there that suffer, there's a lot of kids that suffer from it, and that's the main thing.”
Currently out of his wheelchair, Haag says he still gets ketamine treatments every six weeks for his pain, though it’s not as severe as before.
“I’m no longer in a wheelchair, I've been out of a wheelchair for about a year and six months now,” Haag said. “Being able to play with my kids more, being able to go more places. I was very limited where I could go with them.”
Haag said he is going to school for nursing, and is active in the RSD community, hoping to raise awareness for the condition, and fighting to get insurance companies to cover ketamine treatments, most of which do not.
“Keep pressing on,” Haag said. “I know the pain is horrible, there's days when you feel like you can't go on. Just keep going on. There's always a brighter side."