“It feels like I am being burnt alive and I would do anything to stop this pain.” These are the words of Sarah Brade (30), from Waltham, who suffers from a condition so rare she is being put in a medically-induced coma for five days to relieve it.
Sarah suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which has caused her chronic pain every day for 12 years. As a last resort to ease her suffering, Sarah is raising £23,000 so she can travel to Mexico to undergo Ketamine therapy, an experimental method of treatment not carried out in the UK, which includes putting Sarah into a coma.
“The effect of the coma can be compared to trying to reboot a computer which has gone haywire,” she said. “It does feel like a lifeline, but there are obviously no guarantees.”
Sarah was just 18 when a bout of cystitis developed into CRPS, meaning she lives with a constant burning pain inside. She has since had her bladder removed and, at one point, found the pain so unbearable that she deliberately overdosed on medication.
Now she is appealing to the public to help raise the cash needed for the make-or-break ketamine therapy in Mexico. During the treatment Sarah will be induced into a medical coma and injected with a high dose of the powerful drug ketamine – an anaesthetic often used in hospitals and commonly used by vets. This will shut down Sarah’s body and hopefully relieve the pain permanently.
There is no guarantee it will work, but Sarah believes it is her last chance of a normal life.A date has been set for the treatment – May 14 – and her mum, Sue, has been fundraising tirelessly. Sarah said: “I do get excited about having the treatment but it is such a huge leap of imagination to think of the pain that I have had for so long being gone, and actually being better – I don’t want to set myself up for a disappointment. As motivated as I am and despite the effort I make to cope, I just don’t know what future I will have if something like this doesn’t work.”
Sue, who says they will make the trip no matter what, said: “It is horrendous to see my daughter suffer – it is torture.”