A 23-year-old British woman has to sleep next to her freezer due to a rare, incurable condition that causes pain “worse than childbirth”.
Paige Howitt, from Birmingham, England, constantly suffers from excruciating pain which she says often feels like she’s being “burnt alive”.
Paige, who’s a trade analyst, was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg and is caused by damage to the central nervous system, according to the Mayo Clinic.
According to the Daily Record, the incurable condition often leaves Paige with a severe burning feeling in her left knee, swelling, muscle spasms and resulting insomnia.
Paige developed the condition when she was just 17 years old after undergoing surgery to fix the alignment in her knee.
“I then developed intense pain in my knee,” Paige says. “My surgeon and pain specialist diagnosed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 2 – my nerves had been affected in the operation.”
The 23-year-old was getting treatment in a special oxygen chamber to help her body heal but the high cost of the treatment coupled with having to travel so much meant Paige, who only gets four hours of sleep a night because of the pain, had to stop the only treatment that seemed to have been helping.
In the meantime, Paige has been sleeping with a freezer full of ice packs next to her bed and wraps a pregnancy pillow around her left knee to try and relieve the pain, Independent reports.
“I even have a freezer at the side of my bed,” Paige says. “But it [the ice packs] has reduced the blood supply to my knee, causing secondary problems.”
Paige hopes to crowd-source £25 000 (about R460 000) on her JustGiving page to buy her own oxygen chamber to use at home. If she can’t raise the money for the treatment, the young woman might have to have her leg amputated
The Birmingham native has given up her dream of becoming a nurse because of her debilitating condition. She still hopes to find relief from it soon.
“CRPS has changed so much of my life and has taken away my dreams,” she says.
“I suffer from depression and anxiety due to it. Every day I want to give up, knowing I’m out of options.
“There isn’t a cure but I need some sort of hope and relief. Having an HBOT [hyperbaric oxygen therapy] chamber can give me that.”
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