AN ex-Aston Villa player has opened up on her battle with Suicide Disease after claiming she feels like she is “being burnt alive”.
Ellen Martin has revealed how a knee ligament injury she picked up in November has turned into a living hell.
The 25-year-old, who last played for Sutton Coldfield Town Ladies, began to experience burning sensations in her legs, feet, hands, back, face and eyes as she recovered from surgery.
MRI scans diagnosed her with a rare condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also known as Suicide Disease due to the extreme pain which sufferers can find too hard to live with.
The excruciating rare disease affects a limb, usually after trauma, injury or surgery, with it characterised by severe, chronic, high-intensity neuropathic pain.
Should the condition spread, it can shut down organs, with Martin explaining how the horrific illness makes it feel as though her “body is being set on fire while being electrocuted”.
What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a poorly understood condition in which a person experiences persistent severe and debilitating pain.
Although most cases of CRPS are triggered by an injury, the resulting pain is much more severe and long-lasting than normal.
The pain is usually confined to one limb, but it can sometimes spread to other parts of the body.
The skin of the affected body part can become so sensitive that just a slight touch, bump or even a change in temperature can provoke intense pain.
The cause of CRPS is unknown, but it’s generally thought to be the result of the body reacting abnormally to an injury.
It is thought that up to 1 in 3,800 people in the UK develop CRPS each year.
Speaking to BirminghamLive, Martin, who also played for Birmingham, Fulham and MK Dons, said: “My life has spiralled downwards from a split-second tackle in a football match.
“I have been unable to walk freely, sit in a chair normally, socialise with friends and family or work.
“My whole life has paused. With this diagnosis and the rate at which mine is spreading, I have been told the prognosis is not positive, and I will slowly watch my life at 25 years of age disappear through chronic severe burning pain and loss of functionality and mobility.
“All I did was simply tear a ligament in my leg. A recovery I thought would be hard as its the most feared injury you can have.
“How I wish it was all I had right now. The diagnosis I have been given is of complete loneliness.
“The McGill Pain Index, a scale rating of pain developed by McGill University, rates CRPS as the top pain humans can experience ahead of childbirth and amputation without anaesthesia. It is a living hell.
“I feel like I am being burnt alive. Imagine feeling like your body is being set on fire while being electrocuted. That’s the kind of pain I have to endure.
“I have been told that all they can do is cover my pain with medication so in no way can anyone treat the condition I have. I have ultimately been told I need a spinal stimulator at some point. They say there is a good chance that I will be bedridden.
“I am a young 25-year-old was a football player and sports coach and loved to socialise with my family and friends. This diagnosis would take that away from me.”
Martin has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser, which has so far raised over £6,000, in her bid to be treated at a clinic in America which specialises in treating patients with CRPS.
The Spero Clinic in Arkansas is designed to treat chronic neurological pain conditions, with hundreds of patients now living normal, pain-free lives.
It is the only place in the world successful at putting CRPS into remission.
Martin remarked: “I have found a glimmer of hope that I can return to the wonderful life I lived before my injury and diagnosis.
“Sadly the clinic is not covered by any insurance and will require one of my family members and me to move to the clinic for three months to fight for my health and future.
“Due to the intensive treatments over the 12 weeks and the cost of accommodation, I need £30,000 to be able to go.”
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm