WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB)- It all started with a walk on the beach.
“I was walking at Beaver Island State Park and I stepped on some wood.”
17-year-old Jacob Crocker thought nothing of it. He went to the doctor, had it cleaned out, and returned home.
“It just felt like I stepped on a nail,” Crocker said.
“I thought it was just a normal puncture wound. But this one never stopped hurting.”
The pain was excruciating. Jacob developed an infection in his foot from slivers of wood buried deep in his skin.
His mother Samantha explained wood doesn’t always show up easily on scans.
Eventually, Jacob was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It’s one of the most painful forms of chronic pain.
CRPS is classified as a rare disorder by the FDA, impacting 200,000 Americans any given one time.
The disease can occur when the nervous and immune system improperly respond to trauma like tissue damage.
Jacob’s walk on the beach trigged the onset of his symptoms.
“I couldn’t get off my bed really for 11 months,” said the soon-to-be high school senior.
There’s only a handful of facilities in the country that specialize in helping patients deal with their symptoms, which often never go away.
Jacob spent time at a special facility in Nebraska, which helped teach him how to cope. However, the treatment came with a hefty price-tag.
“Insurance wasn’t covering it,” Samantha said.
She had to swipe almost $40,000 on credit cards to pay for the specialized treatment.
Jacob is now back on his feet, but the pain hasn’t totally gone away; he’s just learned how to manage it.
His family now wants to spread awareness for this disease.
Jacob is learning to live without medication to manage it.
“The more you move your body is the more you use your body. This disease makes your muscle atrophy, it can give you osteoporosis, it really can just take over so much of your body,” Samantha said.