Within the next hour, I was at the emergency room at my local hospital. Unfortunately, the emergency room doctor did not seem to understand how weak I was and thought I was faking when I told him I couldn’t stand. He called for the physical therapist on duty that morning and she became my saving grace. Before I knew it, I was being examined by a neurologist summoned by the physical therapist, and I was admitted into a private room. The next morning started with a round of tests including an MRI, lumbar puncture, and blood work. Before the day was finished I had total paralysis from the waist down and was almost completely dependent on the nurses and aides. Everything was happening so fast I did not have time to be scared. By late afternoon, the neurologist said I have a rare auto-immune disorder. I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. He called it idiopathic because there is no known reason why I have it other than my immune system attacked my spinal cord.
I was treated at the local hospital for 7 days and then transferred to a rehabilitation center to recover some strength with the hope that I would walk again. It took extensive physical therapy, and I went from using a wheelchair, then a walker, to a cane, and now completely unassisted. So, yes, I am walking again, but the pain and discomfort continue day after day as I battle with my own body. The lesion on my spinal cord from TM left nerve damage that has not repaired itself. I fall asleep every night to burning and tingling in my legs. Every day is a battle with extreme fatigue, I have bladder and bowel issues, and I stumble when I walk. So even though, in the blink of an eye, my life changed and now every day is a new battle, I am one of the lucky ones that recovered the ability to walk. This is my new normal and I have the strength to accept it.