Peoria woman: 'I literally am being burned alive from the inside - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Peoria woman: 'I literally am being burned alive from the inside out'

Kayla Hansen has been living with an incredibly painful disease for nearly two years. Her skin is literally burning her alive. She wants to share her story so others suffering don't feel so alone. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Kayla Hansen has been living with an incredibly painful disease for nearly two years. Her skin is literally burning her alive. She wants to share her story so others suffering don't feel so alone. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

A Valley woman has been living with an incredibly painful disease for nearly two years. Her skin is literally burning her alive. She wants to share her story so others suffering don't feel so alone. 

"It feels like somebody has dipped you in gasoline, lit you on fire and put you in a trash compacter," said 29-year-old Kayla Hansen.

Two years ago, she was a restaurant manager. One day, a door slammed on her hand. That seemingly small event would turn her into a full-time patient. 

"The swelling didn't go down, it was red and bruised, and I started getting electric shock pain," Hansen said.

Her condition is called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and experts call it a perfect storm, combining a triggering injury with a genetic predisposition for chronic pain. "

They go all the way up my arms on both sides and I also have them on my scalp," Hansen said, speaking of sores. 

CRPS is believed to be caused by a disruption to the central nervous system and doesn't always look the same for each person. Infusions of the powerful sedative ketamine can provide some relief. Some patients also find spinal cord stimulators helpful.

"It's known as the suicide disease. They take their own life because they feel so alone and they're in so much pain," Hansen said.

She recently traveled to Arkansas to talk to Dr. Katinka van der Merwe, an expert in this. Dr. van der Merwe recently wrote a book called 'Putting Out The Fire.'

"These people feel at least one or more body parts are on fire, literally burning alive," said Dr. van der Merwe. "They’ll lose weight, can't sleep at night, headaches often."

She said they often have skin lesions, but not all those afflicted do. 

"She will literally feel the heat come up and it will blister and develop to sores," Dr. van der Merwe said.

She stressed the importance of early diagnosis.

"It is much more possible to go into remission within one year of developing this condition," Dr. van der Merwe said. 

Dr. van der Merwe said this underdiagnosed condition affects millions, and causes the highest level of pain a human can handle. 

"You could have a child who has a fracture and if you didn't know about this condition, you’re going to waste so much valuable time going from doctor to doctor," she said.

Hansen said she will return to Arkansas for more treatment once her arms heal a bit more. She is also seeing a trainer, whose CRPS is in remission.

"It hurts and its miserable, but she's been showing me such great championship spirit," said trainer Chris Mazzella.

"If I have to go to different states different countries, I'm going to keep going," Hansen said. "I want my life back."

Hansen is trying to raise money to help with medical bills. To help her, click here.

To follow her journey, click here.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

Click to learn more about Lindsey

Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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