1/3 Kisten spends the day in bed with his feet up (Photo: Imke van de Laar)
Kirsten Vermolen, from Breda, was kicked in the leg during a football game at school ten years ago. It still has major consequences to this day. Kirsten had complex regional pain syndrome. Due to this, he is suffering from pain every day.
“It feels like six knives stabbing my leg at once.” This is how Kirsten describes the pain she experiences every day. She sits on the couch with her legs propped up on three pillows and tells her story.
“I had been in MBO for a month when we started playing soccer during gym class. I got the ball and another girl kicked me down. I immediately had a sharp shooting pain and felt sick.” Kirsten was taken to the emergency room. He has a torn ligament in his left ankle. “I went back to school from the hospital on crutches without knowing there was anything wrong.”
“Sometimes I get really violent stitches and then I scream.”
As the pain does not subside, Kirsten is referred to a pain clinic by her GP. Two months later she was diagnosed: she had complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This is a condition where you have constant pain in one of your joints. And the pain was worse than usual. Kirsten explains: “I have a burning pain in my leg all day. The slightest touch hurts, even a sock is unbearable. Sometimes I scream with really bad bites.”
Kirsten takes medication every day. But the pain is sometimes so severe that even strong pain relievers do not help enough. But they make her dizzy. The game of soccer changed Kirsten’s life drastically. She had to stop studying healthcare and was unable to work full-time. “I tried everything. From painkillers to nerve blockers and a neurostimulator. But nothing helped.”
“A video on TikTok gives me hope again.”
In 2020, Kirsten was told there was nothing more doctors could do and she would have to learn to live with the pain. “It was really a blow. I don’t know how I’m going to go through this pain for the rest of my life.”
But a video she sees on TikTok changes her life. “I was bored watching some movies. Suddenly I saw a woman who was in the same position as me. She was even in a wheelchair. But thanks to a special treatment in America, she can now walk and run again.”
Kirsten has begun researching this holistic treatment and has already had a phone consultation with a doctor. He had good news: She still had hope.
“I would have boarded a plane to America yesterday.”
But there is a problem. Kirsten will have to go to America for three to four months for treatment. And it costs a lot of money. “Treatment and travel are very expensive, I have to rent accommodation there and my fixed costs in Breda will definitely continue. In total it’s about 75,000 euros. I don’t have that.”
Treatment in the US is not reimbursed by Dutch health insurers. That’s why Kirsten is on the site GoFundMe Started fundraising. 3610 euros have already been received. “There is a beginning. This could really change my life. Although the pain is not completely gone, but it is less, I have already gained a lot. I want to get on the plane to America yesterday.”
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