The symptoms appeared very quickly and within hours I was losing my ability to walk. I was taken to the emergency department at another hospital only to be sent home soon after due to accusations that I was just simply exaggerating my symptoms.
The next morning I woke up to a nightmare. I could no longer feel my body. My hands were stuck in a closed-fist position and I couldn’t walk. My parents took me to our family doctor, who advised my parents to take me to Akron Children’s immediately.
I remember feeling a breath of fresh air once I arrived. I remember each and every person who walked into my room – from the nice male nurse who scooped me up from the wheelchair and placed me into the bed to the pretty brunette nurse who let me lean into her during a lumbar puncture.
I felt I was in good hands. Although I was scared and unaware of what was going on, I felt comfortable.
After multiple tests a neurologist came into my room to give us the diagnosis. I was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called transverse myelitis. I was also told it was the first TM diagnosis at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Because each TM case is unique, my prognosis was to be determined. I was admitted after this and began my journey to recovery.
Although there are many other places a 12 year old would probably want to spend his or her summer, my stay at Children’s was a good one. I remember feeling down and scared that I may not walk again.
Each day I had a new visitor, whether it was a dog, a volunteer, or even a miniature pony. The staff was absolutely phenomenal. I was blessed with amazing nurses, a great set of therapists, and awesome doctors.
I remember crying during a physical therapy session, wanting to stop, and the therapist encouraged me to keep going. Each and every staff member brought a little bit of sunshine to my gloomy situation and I can’t thank them enough for it.
The road to recovery was a long one but eventually I was able to walk on my own again. I’m now 21 years old and a semester away from graduating nursing school. My decision to be in the medical field and work in pediatrics was decided after my experience at Akron Children’s.
My dream has always been to work with children, hopefully at Akron Children’s Hospital, and be one of the staff members a child never forgets. I will WALK across the stage in May of 2016 and officially become a nurse soon after. It will be the same year that marks 10 years since my diagnosis.
I owe a lot to Akron Children’s Hospital and am so thankful for the exceptional care that I received.