Note: These summaries are designed to help fans find their favorite stories and may contain spoilers!From childhood, Stefan’s whole life is music - he composes, sings, plays multiple instruments; he’s driven to become a renowned singer and instrumentalist, and express the world of emotions through sound. He applies to NYU for music performance and production, and moves to New York. But after graduation, in 2013, he starts experiencing strange physical issues - his throat feels like shards of glass on fire when he sings, and then his hands won’t work right...coiling snakes of pain compromise him so much, he can’t play the guitar. By 2015, Stefan feels like his life has been shredded. Though he goes to endless doctors appointments and endures endless tests, no one has any answers for what’s wrong with him, and Stefan grows nearly suicidal. In 2016, Stefan’s mother suggests he go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and it’s there that he’s diagnosed with Central Sensitization Syndrome (CSS), a chronic condition where -- usually following an injury, illness or early trauma -- the brain misinterprets all nerve signals as pain. Over a multi-week residential treatment program at the clinic, Stefan gradually learns to rewire and remessage his own neurological signals and find some hope again.
Themes/Keywords: Best of RISK!, Central Sensitization Syndrome, chronic illness, chronic pain, CSS, diagnosis, glbtqia, healing, health, instrumentalist, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, musician, mysterious, nerves, nervous system, neurology, New York, pain, queer, Radio, recovery, Rochester, singer, singing, symptoms