ATHENS, AL (WAFF) - Imagine your child being in excruciating pain, and nothing you or her doctors can do will give her relief. That's what the parents of an Athens High School athlete were dealing with.
Not too long ago, 16-year-old Sydney Jones was in the hospital for some stomach problems when her feet and legs became numb.
"It felt like snakes were wrapped around them, just squeezing them," she said.
Her mother, Bernadette Jones, said she initially thought her feet were just asleep from being in the same position. She said the nurses thought it could have been some sort of reaction to the medication they had given her.
She said her daughter wasn't walking normally when she was discharged. Days later, the pain went away.
"It flared back up a couple of weeks later. The pain was excruciating," said Bernadette.
Another trip to the emergency room followed.
"So they did ultrasounds and everything came back normal," said Bernadette.
They then took their daughter to Children's Hospital in Atlanta. Her mother said Sydney was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS.
"The body can experience an injury or some kind of traumatic experience, and even after you've healed from that illness or that injury, the brain keeps sending pain signals to random parts of your body," Bernadette said.
They eventually landed at the Cleveland Clinic for three weeks, which has a program for children with chronic pain. Her dad says it was not a cure.
"It was more of teaching her how to cope with the chronic pain that she was going to be experiencing," said Lester Jones.
It's a challenge for any parent.
"My role as a father is not only to be a provider but also a protector, the one that's supposed to help my children feel safe," said Lester.
"And as a father and you feel helpless and there is nothing, there is no source or remedy that I can give to that," he said. "That is the worst type of experience a father can have."
Sydney is a junior at Athens High School. She used to play basketball, but this condition caused her a lot of pain even during games. She tried to push through it but eventually she had to stop.
Her parents were told that sometimes children grow out this condition, but there are adults who still struggle with chronic pain.
Sydney is leaning toward a career in health care as a forensic nurse.
"I also just thought about being a physical therapist because physical therapy helped me at one point. And I feel like doing that can also help others," Sydney said.
The prayer for Sydney is to have a productive life and not let pain be in control.
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