TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Imagine being in pain 24 hours a day, not being able to get the help you need because doctors can’t fix what it is. That’s what Shawna Deters goes through all the time. But she still gets up every day, fighting the pain to keep going in life.
Shawna is a registered nurse. She works from home not because of COVID-19 or because her work at Topeka Veteran Affairs is hybrid. She works from her basement because of a medical condition that leaves her in chronic pain.
“To go from being somebody that goes 110 miles an hour, all the time, to overnight being able to do nothing is significant,” Shawna said tearfully.
Shawna has a rare condition called complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. It’s a chronic arm or leg pain that develops after injury or surgery. In her case, it came about after she hurt her right ankle. Not only does she have to live with the pain, but doctors have a hard time helping her cope with what is going on, making each day a constant struggle.
“But I can’t live like this,” Shawna said. “I have gone from being a very active person. Active in the community, actively traveling and doing nursing and crisis situations- which is the kind of nursing I have always wanted to do- to not even leaving my home. It’s a very isolating condition. It really is.”
Shawna found some hope. After researching ways to live with the syndrome, she found a doctor who specializes in CRPS. But, the doctor is in Arkansas, and it costs about $60,000 to become one of her patients.
“For me to ask for help is extremely hard because I am the caregiver,” Shawna said.
Shawna’s daughter, Jenae Deters, has been working tirelessly to get her mom the care she needs. Janae, her other siblings, and other family members have come up with numerous ideas to raise money for Shawna. She said watching her mom in pain is traumatic as there’s not much she can do to take it away.
“She’s not the same person that she used to be,” Janae said. “In a way, she is, but a lot of things have changed for her. And so I felt bad for her. And I can’t fix anything. Help is definitely needed. Every dollar counts.”
Until they get the money, Shawna finds alternative ways, like grounding, to deal with her pain. But in the meantime, she keeps going. Fighting through the chronic pain others can’t see.
“People look at me and think ‘there’s nothing wrong with her,'” Shawna said. “It’s an invisible disease. Other than the physical effect that you see and the affected limb…it’s a horrific disease to be stuck with.”
If you’d like to help in her journey, there are multiple ways to do so here:
- Burning Limb Foundation
- Karina’s Cookie for a Cause
- Cinnamon Roll Fundraiser
- Bierocks, chili feed and other fundraisers are on the horizon for early 2023