Local Woman Shares Her Story About A Rare Illness

A local 21-year-old is suffering from a life altering disease that we could all potentially get yet many of us don't even know it exists.  

As counties in our area start placing moratoriums on medical marijuana, Kelly Northern is sharing her story about the treatment that's allowed her to progress more than she ever has before.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also known as CRPS is a chronic pain condition.

It most often affects the limbs, after some kind of injury or trauma.

In Kelly's case she broke her foot when she was 10 year's old on a trampoline, even though her foot is completely healed her brain still thinks that her foot is broken.

She's tried everything over the years, including medical marijuana, and is now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I have to look at my foot and be like your foot is not on fire," said Northern.

Kelly Northern said she envisioned herself at 21 off at college, hanging out with friends and planning her future, but that all changed in an instant.

"I never imagined that my life would be like this I never imagined I would live every day and so much pain," said Northern.

Anyone can get CRPS and doctors aren't sure why some people get it and some people don't.

For Kelly and most others that is the scariest part.

"I went years with being undiagnosed and all the treatments that could've worked for me don't."

The pain became progressively worse until Kelly was finally diagnosed with CPRS in 2011.

Kelly and her family tried every doctor and pain medication available.

Noise, wind or a blade of grass touching her foot is painful.

Kelly has to arrange her days around simple tasks like putting on pants and showering.

"You wouldn't even think that water could hurt your foot and for me I'm thankful that showers have water because I can cry in the water and no one can see it."

Before Kelly could see a doctor who was successfully treating CRPS patients in California she had to be off all of the narcotics for 30 days.

That's when Kelly's step-dad started researching medical marijuana and it helped her wean her way off of the narcotics.

"It was my saving grace I would've never been able to survive."

Just a few weeks after Kelly was 30 days narcotic free Umatilla County placed a moratorium on medical marijuana.

Kelly said she can't imagine where should would be today if she wasn't able to get that treatment.

"I understand some people hesitance towards it but it can really help people and it really helped me."

This is an invisible illness and Kelly said it is hard for people to understand what she is going through but she manages to keep a brave face.

When I get better one day I can't wait to walk on the beach I can't wait to feel the sun sunshine on my skin I can't wait to buy some shoes."

Kelly said the key treating CRPS is catching it early.

She said if she can help others catch their symptoms early then her pain is worth it.

"I am in so much pain and yeah it's been rough but if I can help someone else to not feel pain it's worth it I would feel that pain," said Northern.