Pain-plagued teens desperately want to be normal


Melissa Schippers, 15, of Gatineau, Que., suffers from complex regional pain syndrome, a chronic pain condition that, in Melissa's case, causes intense burning, aching and stabbing pain in her feet at her home in Gatineau, Que., Aug. 5, 2011.

Melissa Schippers once asked her doctors if they could amputate her feet to stop the pain.

Even now, more than a year after her toes, ankles and knees turned suddenly purple, almost black, during the last few days of Scout camp, her doctors can't tell her when the pain will end.

Her feet and ankles are swollen, the skin pink and splotchy. Some days it seems as if the skin might burst. She walks on the outside edges of her feet, to keep the pressure off. This summer, while painting a mural on the side of her backyard shed, the artistic teenager from Gatineau, Que., was hit by electric-shock-like pain in her feet that was so intense she fell to the ground. Slowly she crawled on her hands and knees to the sliding back door to the kitchen, taking breaks when she had to, and when she finally made it inside, she collapsed on the floor, waiting for the worst of it to be over...