I want to tell my story to help other kids with pain get the services they need.
I’m in Year 7 and have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a neurological pain disorder where your brain thinks you have a tragic injury, but you don’t.
I used to love gymnastics, training 16 hours a week. One day, while doing my frontsault dismount off beam, I fell on the landing and sprained my ankle.
Fast-forward six months to 24 April 2012, the day I tripped and rolled my ankle again. When I woke up the next day, I could hardly walk.
Doctors kept telling us it would get better, but it just got worse. I developed permanent burning, shooting, tingling, numbness, stabbing, vibrations, cold chills, sensitivity, colour changes, pins and needles and swelling in my right leg.
Even a single drop of water, the slightest breeze, the gentlest touch, or my clothing would hurt like crazy.
School got really hard because of the pain, as well as dizziness, headaches and blurred vision. My days vanished into the couch, the bed and my iPod. I couldn’t go outside. I hardly ever saw my friends.
I felt scared, lonely, angry, stressed and sad; it seemed no one understood.
Life became very stressful for my family, too. Some nights I wouldn’t get more than two hours sleep.
I was treated by an adult pain service, but was unable to get the specialised paediatric intervention I needed. I did all sorts of exercises and therapy. I also had a nerve block and an epidural. But they didn’t block the pain.
By this time I had pain throughout my whole body.
Being transferred to the pain clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane was the start of my recovery. They made everything fun. Even though some things were tough, I knew I had to do them to get better.
Every day for six weeks I did physiotherapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, hydrotherapy, and psychology to retrain my brain. My team got me walking, running, swimming, wearing shoes and socks, and enjoying life again.
By the time the worst was over, I had missed half a year of school and had been on crutches for eight months. But I have learnt to never give up.