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Gina’s Story
Ankle Fracture, Surgery, RSD

On November 29, 2003 our nine-year-old daughter, Gina, was diagnosed with RSD in her right ankle and foot, complete with almost every symptom of the condition. Her pain was almost unbearable. She could not put any weight on her foot. This came after she broke her ankle three times in the previous twelve months, and had two bone chips removed from her inside and outside anklebones. She was put on Neurontin, Tramadol, Amitriptyline and Vioxx, none of which seemed to work – the RSD just kept spreading up her leg.

By the end of December 2003, Gina was wheelchair bound due to the RSD spreading up to just below her knee. Before this she was using crutches, which caused many painful falls followed by screams and body tremors. At this point the pain was so severe that she could not stand to wear socks or shoes. Even the cloth from her pant leg or a slight wind blowing over her skin was almost too painful for her to bear.

Our prayers were answered, Gina was approved by our insurance company for 40 dives. This is a miracle as HBOT for RSD is considered ‘off-label’ – the AMA doesn’t recognize it as an acceptable treatment, it isn’t even considered an experimental treatment.

On December 30, 2003, Gina began her treatments, which were completed February 20, 2004. She received 34 treatments of 90 minutes each at 2.0 ATA. These treatments were given at the Thorek Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. After the first session she was able to touch her foot to the ground without pain and to just barely wiggle her toes.

By March 2004 Gina was walking, running, sledding and climbing trees. Her range of motion, strength and new activities increase daily.  We thank God and Praise Him for giving us the HBOT treatments.

Gina’s Symptoms
This is from a video interview we did of Gina to prove HBOT works for RSD!

12/22/03

“It’s hard having it – it’s painful. I can’t do anything. I need help with practially everything. Nobody wants to have it. Sometimes it’s like digging fingernails in it or like it’s burning. It hurts up to just above the ankle from the tip of my toes. I used to be able to touch the bottom of my foot but I can’t now. Sometimes it feels numb and hard and I can’t touch it. It feels dead or heavy. It feels freezing, but sometimes it feels burning like when you get burned and don’t put water on it, it hurts. It feels like pounding, pounding in my foot, I can feel my heartbeat. It shakes, sometimes my whole body shakes, especially when my leg gets touched. It hurts when the wind touches it.”

“What would you do if I tried to touch it?”

"I won’t let anyone touch it! I get shooting stabbing burning twisting pain. It’s colored dark purple and dark blue. Sometimes I get really bad 20 second headaches. I have trouble reading, it’s hard to focus. My breathing is hard when my ankle hurts a lot. (she has asthma). When I swim I’m warm, but if I bump it, I get really cold and trembly.

Gina can’t walk / bear weight; can’t touch foot to ground – pains shoot up to her knee sometimes farther – it really hurts; any touch causes 10/10 pain; constantly 8-9/10 pain without touching; swollen toes; will not allow socks shoes or clothing touch it; can’t flex her ankle up – no ankle movement.

Gina failed to complete her first dive because one of her filling had fallen out and we didn’t realize it – we had to get it filled which took a while because of Christmas and New Years.

During this time the RSD moved up to her knee – nothing could touch her leg from mid knee all the way down, except for her heel resting on the bed, but not the back of her leg. Mentally she was very depressed, irritable, and had difficulty falling asleep.



12/30/03 : First successful treatment!

That evening at 7 pm we heard Gina calling “Mom, Mom” – all I (Mom) could think was that she sounded llike she found a baby kitten. The only calling I’d heard for the past month was screams in pain. I sat glued to the couch because it didn’t register. My husband said go check her out. She came wheeling out of the hallway “I can touch my toe to the ground!!!”

While in the bathroom, Gina accidentily touched her toe to ground, but this time she had no shooting, excrutiating pain, just some minor pain. She could touch her toes with her fingers as long as her toes aren’t pushed on and can slightly move them.



1/10/04

We tried putting on some new pain ointment but it caused 10/10 pain to touch lasting for a while, Gina fought – it took Mark & I to hold her down to put rub on.

Gina can slightly wiggle her toes, can touch the front of her leg to just mid knee. The underside of her leg can be lightly touched all the way to mid calf and she can rest her leg flat on the ground. The tip of her toes can be lightly touched, but not her little toe. The underside of her feet and toes hurt still. She can now flex her ankle up a little bit though it causes pain.

1/11/04

Today, on a bet, Gina stood and walked (hobbled!) across the room (about 20 feet) on her foot without crutches – but caused 10/10, lasting out pain – she used a pillow over her mouth to bite and scream into as she was doing it! First time she walked since October (that was with crutches.) She is still in wheelchair and won’t bear weight again after that.

1/19/04

Gina is still wearing pants rolled up – no socks/shoes. Her foot is still swollen and red/blue. She walked a few steps with crutches with bearing weight – 9/10 pain.

1/20/04 (13 full treatments – 90 minutes at 2 ATA)

Gina is still in wheelchair. BUT she is now able to momentarily drop her pant leg down over her leg – it’s 8/10 to have it touch, prefers to keep her pant leg up. It really hurts on the side to touch. Her foot is still swollen and red/blue. Lately a 6 or 7/10 in pain (That’s a first – Praise God!) RSD pain & color up to knee still, but not as much, on and off. It hurts to put her foot down, but can now put her heel all the way down on the floor, not just the toes/ball – the pain shoots up her leg still, but not as much. She bruises easily so full of bruises. Can take a few steps with less pain then before, but still stays in wheelchair hurts a lot still to walk on it – but not as bad as the 20 foot walk.



1/21/04 (14 successful treatments)

Gina’s able to walk with crutches for a few minutes. Walking is down to a 6/10 – doesn’t hurt that bad! The only thing that hurts is touching the front and sides of her ankle, but touching is only a 7/10, vs. 10/10. Gina put on a sock and cam boot for a few hours, but then ended up with the next day being in 7/10 pain most of the day. Pants down – doesn’t really hurt; without touching daily pain is 4/10; can touch most of lower leg – hurts on front and side of ankle joint; burning pain is going away – mostly only if flexing her ankle.



1/27/04

Gina’s walking extended amounts without wheelchair – but still uses it most of the day.

2/17/04

Still going to HBOT. Started PT - using ankle – increased ROM but still some pain; occasional RSD blotchiness/redness, some pain.

2/20/04 Gina is walking no crutches, no wheelchair!!!

She still has some pain – we’re not sure if it is from RSD or just starting to use ankle. Stopped treatments for while. Her foot/toes are not swollen, normal coloration.

2/23/04

Gina’s been running around a lot, climbing trees, riding bikes, playing chase. She is starting to increase in some tenderness from using her ankle so much. Scheduled more HBOT for 3/4 & 3/5.



3/1/04

Gina is starting to feel definite, burning pain again.

3/3/04

Gina has increasing pain, irritability and impatience.

3/4 & 5

HBOT - pain 6/10

3/6/04

Pain decreasing, minor pain.

3/7/04

Minor pain 3/10! We are going this week for some more booster treatments, plus weaning her off of her meds, which Susan said can cause the RSD to flair up. We also plan on boosters in the future if the need arises.

We know that Gina’s healing is due to prayers, to God showing us that HBOT works. We thank Susan Rodriguez for her encouragement and helpfulness – even though we didn’t fly out to her place. Thank God we got our referral right here.


And I will do whatever you ask in my name,
so that the Son many bring glory to the Father.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 14:13-14

Mark & Christine Pusateri - christinep@lightfirst.com
(3/07/04)