Bria Eide Block is in Arkansas treatment with community’s help
WHATCOM — A 29-year-old Lynden woman suffering from a rare and painful condition has made remarkable progress at an Arkansas clinic after receiving community help to pay for treatment and related costs.
Bria Eide Block has been suffering for 18 years from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare disorder of the sympathetic nervous system. It is characterized by chronic, severe pain that is out of proportion to the severity of the original injury. CRPS is often known within the chronic community as the “suicide disease” because some people, unable to find relief, have taken their own lives.
Block’s family raised $70,000 through a GoFundMe campaign and other efforts to send her to the Spero Clinic, a medical treatment center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, that uses a unique holistic approach to treat CRPS and fibromyalgia, which also afflicts her. The Spero Clinic designed a targeted therapy to reset the central nervous system, which reduces pain and increases movement in many CRPS patients.
The treatment regimen, which requires patients to push past their limits and often is painful, began Nov. 16. It includes physical therapy, neuromuscular re-education and Cereset, a therapy used to rebalance and repair the brain. For Block in particular, this therapy is aimed at helping ease her C-PTSD responses and to balance brain patterns formed by long-term trauma.
Her husband, David Block, says Bria has made visible and measurable progress in her first 15 weeks. She uses a wheelchair much less now and recently reached a key milestone on the NMR machine.
“Her objective thus far has been to continually progress with the level of stimulation on the machine during her physical therapy and her highest setting as of yet was 58 out of 100,” David Block said. “The goal is obviously to max out the machine. During her session on Feb. 25, Bria was able to fully unleash her intense, driven, powerful self and turn herself up to 100!”
But progress hasn’t been easy nor continually upward. Having reached 100 on the NMR machine once, now she is being asked to reach that level regularly. Block needs another two months of treatment in Arkansas before returning to Lynden with a body not exploding from pain.
Her family is trying to raise another $15,000 to pay for treatment and the living expenses of Bria and David, who is on leave from his job. An anonymous donor is offering to match $5,000 in new contributions.
“We are truly grateful for the prayers and financial support of so many people,” said Bria’s mother, KayAnn Eide of Cle Elum and a former Nooksack Valley teacher.
CRPS has a rating of 46 out of 50 on the McGill pain scale (a rating higher than amputation and cancer), Eide said. Unlike most illnesses, this pain is constant, 24/7, making it one of the most severe diseases known. There is no cure for CRPS at this time. With a population of 300 million, the United States may have between 150,000 and 250,000 people suffering with CRPS.
Block began suffering from CRPS when she was 11 but still attended Lynden Academy and earned a Visual Communications degree from Whatcom Community College. However, CRPS forced her to curtail the branding business that she launched with her design and painting skills.
The Spero Clinic program is not covered by insurance and David Block — Bria’s primary caretaker and sole financial provider for the family — is unable to work while supporting her in Arkansas. The family has a GoFundMe page that can be accessed at https://painfreebria.ucraft.site/. Donation checks may be mailed to The Bria Block Donation Fund, c/o Whatcom Education Credit Union, P.O. Box 9750, Bellingham, WA 98227.
More information on The Spero Clinic can be found at www.thesperoclinic.com