Lady Penelope Strongbow. On a mission.

Let me introduce Lady Penelope Strongbow. Her name is going to take some explaining. Bear with me.

Remember Thunderbirds? Of course you do and of course you’ll know who Lady Penelope is.

Lady Penelope

look at her hands!

Oh, but she was elegant, wasn’t she?

Not a hair out place.

Makeup perfect.

But hands as wooden as they could be. She might have that left hand on the door handle, but I can tell just by looking there was no way she was ever going to open it.

Now have a look at my left hand.

Lady Penelope hand

see the difference?

My left hand can’t open doors, either.

In fact, my left hand can’t do very much at all.

Lady Penelope Strongbow was conceived on December 14th 2013 when a car reversed into me and knocked me down. She was born six weeks later when the cast came off my broken wrist and arm and I learned I had developed a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

I knew before the cast was removed that something was very wrong. My fingers were twisted and swollen and the pain in my arm was excruciating.

From time to time and without warning I get spasms that make me shudder. It feels as if I’ve been shot by an arrow. Himself recalled the Strongbow  cider advert with arrows landing with a thwack.

Lady Penelope Strongbow


Here in France, the condition is still called algodystrophie. It has other names too, but no matter what you choose to call it, it ranks among the most painful conditions a person can suffer.

I’d never heard of it. I had no idea how many people suffer with it and, once I began to research, I realised how little coverage CRPS is given.

I’ve seen a bunch of specialists and not one of them can give me a definite prognosis. The latest one has, at least, been more open. He took my good hand and looked me in the eye.

‘I’m the doctor,’ he said, ‘and I don’t know how this is going to go. We have a lot of work to do.’

I’m in this for the long haul. Dr Bruno is the first one to use years rather than months in his estimate for improvement of mobility in my hand, wrist and arm.

We have a lot of work to do?

It sounds like a lot of painful physiotherapy and other tortures.

It’s time to call in International Rescue.

Lady Penelope is on a mission.

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