Eyecatcher For adolescents

16-year-old boy

My name is Söhnke and I am now 16 years old.

My story began when I was 14. One morning I had pain in my left foot. I couldn’t walk on it; I would be in pain if someone just touched the leg. As ridiculous as it might now sound, a bed cover lying on my foot caused me intolerable pain, and I couldn’t even put a sock on. I didn’t know where the pain was coming from. It was just suddenly there.

My parents were also at a loss. It wasn’t the time of year when a leg or some other body part could have been stung. We went to the pediatrician; he examined me and found nothing. I couldn’t go to school; I was always in pain. My parents went with me from one doctor to another; no one found a cause. My uncle is head doctor at a hospital; he asked all of his colleagues for help. I had x-rays, MRI, went to an orthopedist, a surgeon and a children’s clinic. Each one said there was nothing wrong with me. So gradually everyone came to assume that I was crazy. My parents were desperate because they couldn’t help me, also because they slowly started to doubt. I had already missed weeks of school. My friends visited me less and less because, well, nothing was wrong with me. I was the boy who walked around the neighborhood on crutches without a sock, even in snow. I didn’t know what was going on at school; no one was bringing me homework anymore. And again and again, doctor’s visits, and the same old words, we can’t find anything. Until we went to an orthopedist in Paderborn.  An old doctor with a lot of experience who had been able to help my older brother many years ago with a different illness. He assumed CRPS or morbus sudeck. This illness often occurs after a broken bone, and indeed, I had broken my leg a long time before. You can imagine it as if the leg is suddenly on strike, simply doesn’t want to work anymore. The doctor recommended pain therapy with Dr. Zernikow in Datteln.

Hospital? Hospital again already? That was something I didn’t want anymore at all. On the other hand I was glad, glad that someone believed me about my pain and also found a cause. And actually I wasn’t really in a hospital. We were together on a ward that was more like a big group. Each person had his or her illness somehow, but we did a lot together, it was fun being there. Above all I learned a lot, techniques to help me control the pain. There was a graduated plan in which ever higher goals were set, goals that were always attainable with some practice. Parents and friends weren’t allowed to visit too often. Because we wanted to remain undisturbed in the group and were supposed to keep working on the new goals that kept appearing. I will never forget my parents’ eyes when I suddenly was able to stand on my leg again and later walk.

After the time in Datteln I still was in treatment with Dr. Dobe once a week. He works together with the clinic, spoke a lot with me and gave me further exercises for my graduated plan. I got better week by week. I practiced the graduated plan and noticed greater successes all the time.

I haven’t had any pain at all for a long time now; I take part in sports, play soccer with friends in my free time and participate in everything that my friends do.

And school? I lost a year with the long periods away from school. So what? I was ill, not lazy! I have started a new life, changed schools, found new friends. For them I’m not the one without a sock. I am successful in school, know exactly what I want to do after my Abitur.

Thanks to the old doctor in Paderborn and Dr. Zernikow’s team, I enjoy life again... my parents and siblings, too.