COLAC’S Robin Catley is saving money for life-changing treatment in Brazil.
Mr Catley became a double-amputee 22 years ago after a bus accident, and said he had phantom pains in his legs for the past two decades.
“The pain has always been there but it’s getting worse and worse –it’s so bad now that I can’t sleep and it brings me to tears,” Mr Catley said.
“Not everyone understands but after you lose your legs you can still feel pain, and in my case all they could do was tie the nerves up from where they amputated, and those nerves still send pain signals to my brain,” he said.
“I’ve been to the limb-makers and my doctors and they all give me drugs for the pain, but they barely work anymore and I’m sick of taking all of the drugs anyway.”
Mr Catley said a nerve block surgery could be the answer to his problems.
“Brazil is a big leader in pain management treatment, actually it’s the second best in the world behind Canada,” Mr Catley said.
“I have a friend in New York who I’d been talking to about my pain and she pointed me in the direction of her cousin who specialises in this nerve block surgery in Brazil,” he said.
“Basically they put a needle behind your ear which goes into the back of your brain where the nerves are for your legs – and you get that done over a few weeks to reduce the pain dramatically.”
“It’s a recognised treatment but it’s considered elective surgery, so I’d have to find a doctor to do it in Australia and even then I’d have to wait years for it.”
Mr Catley said the doctor in Brazil had offered the surgery to him for free, but he had to pay for his airfare from Australia.
Anthony Harle, owner of Colac’s Fusion Computers, is helping Mr Catley raise money for the airfare.
“Robin’s a good friend and he comes in and volunteers his help at the shop while I teach him about computers, so we get along quite well,” Mr Harle said.
“And I know about pain myself, I’m in a wheelchair and while it’s not the same situation I still get pain too and it can drive you mental,” he said.
“People need to realise as well that Robin and me have a different pain threshold, he is very much used to pain so if he’s complaining about it, you know it’s really bad.”
Mr Catley, who volunteers with Colac Lions Club, said he feared his pain would become unmanageable without treatment.
“It’s hard to explain it but basically it’s the worst pain you can imagine and it doesn’t really go away,” he said.
“I like to get out and do things with the Lions and with other groups, but the pain makes it harder – so to become pain-free would be the most amazing feeling.”
People can donate to Mr Catley’s appeal at Colac’s Fusion Computers.