In late December of 2015, Kayla Hansen was at her job as a restaurant manager when her hand became stuck in a slammed door. She describes the sensation that shot out from it as "electric shock pain" and the swelling was just as bad two months later, reports the New York Daily News. Now, nearly two years later, the 29-year-old resident of Peoria, Ariz., is fighting for her health as she goes from one doctor and operation to the next trying to treat the condition that has resulted in blisters and sores forming up and down her arms and even into her scalp and down to her feet. She writes on her GoFundMe page that the diagnosis, complex regional pain syndrome, has been rated "the most painful thing in the world. My condition is so bad that I'm literally being burned alive."
For the skeptical, "the pain is real," the Washington Post writes in a look at kids with the condition. CRPS is a rare autoimmune disorder thought to be caused by a disruption to the central nervous system. Some doctors call it a perfect storm, where someone with a genetic predisposition to chronic pain gets an injury that triggers the condition. AZFamily.com reports Hansen has met with Dr. Katina van der Merwe, an expert on the condition who says of Hansen, "She will literally feel the heat come up and it will blister and develop to sores." Sedatives like ketamine have helped some manage their symptoms, which are expressed differently from one patient to the next, but Hansen wants more answers and says she'll travel anywhere for professional help. "I'm going to keep going," she says. "I want my life back." (This family's four children are mysteriously losing the ability to walk.)