AUGUSTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) — A 24-year-old graduate student battling a flesh-eating disease is struggling to deal with “phantom pain.”

In a recent blog post, Andy Copeland, father of Aimee Copeland, says his daughter is struggling mightily dealing with “phantom pain” in her amputated hands.

“Although she has no hands, her brain is apparently still telling her body that the hands are there,” Andy Copeland wrote. “I asked her if she could describe the pain and she told me, ‘It feels like I have been carrying bags of rocks.’ She said her ‘fingers’ feel contorted and twisted. Nothing really helps her pain much. Some of the pain medication makes her sick to her stomach and she winds up vomiting. Like I said, she has struggled mightily.”

Aimee Copeland contracted necrotizing fasciitis from a May 1 zip line accident. The disease has left her without a left leg, right foot and both hands.

Andy Copeland wrote on his blog that the disease is taking a toll on his daughter emotionally.

“She was lashing out at her caregivers, she was in pain, she was sick to her stomach, she was unable to tend to her own basic needs and she was very unhappy,” he wrote. “She had every right to be unhappy. By Thursday afternoon, Aimee’s misery had come full circle. She knew that many things were beyond her control and that fighting those who cared for her was not the solution.”

Despite the struggles, Aimee Copeland is recovering. The doctors removed her trach last week and trach cap on Monday. She is also off dialysis for now.

Doctors originally said Aimee Copeland’s chances of survival were “slim to none.” She is currently recovering at Doctors Hospital in Augusta.


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