In 2017, I was an active 32-year-old. I had a heart full of dreams and a world of plans ahead of me. I had no idea I’d become fully paralyzed that summer.
It was so simple. I was at my door, looking for my keys. Just then, a fluke accident altered everything. I hyper-extended my neck and collapsed. I hit my head on the pavement. In an instant, my brain suffered severe trauma. My body changed. I became paralyzed from the neck down.
My treatment journey since that moment has been long, but I am forever grateful for the treatment I received. It began with intensive intervention at Victoria General Hospital (VGH). It continued in Vancouver where I received spinal cord decompression surgery and therapy. Now, two years later, it continues at VGH with focused rehabilitation and the unparalleled expertise of Dr. Winston. I’m so thankful to be home and close to family again.
It’s been a challenge. Adapting to this new life. A life with restricted movement. Installing a lift and hospital bed in the house. Moving back in with my parents. My accident left me heavily depressed for eight months.
Thanks to Dr. Winston, Dr. Vincent, and Dr. Krauss, I got myself out of that hole. And thanks to pictures provided by ultrasound, I’ve started to get my life back. Viewing these images helped me better understand my diagnosis, my recovery. Dr. Winston sees potential in his patients. When we first met in rehab, he knew he could make small changes in my body that would result in exponential changes in my life. At the time, he was more excited about my recovery than I was. Not only is he a great physician, he’s one of my biggest motivators.
And I’ve made great progress. I had nerve-transfer surgery right here in Victoria where active nerves in my shoulders were transplanted to my triceps. Dr. Krauss at VGH is one of the few surgeons in the world doing this procedure. I kid you not: after six months, I could extend my arms again. I went from no movement at all to moving my upper arms again. Incredible.
Dr. Vincent also used CO2 gas and ultrasound technology to freeze nerves with strong spasticity. The tightening of my muscles had been my great enemy. Every time I exercised, I’d have to fight against it. Now, I can move and strengthen my upper body. I am the first person to have this procedure done for spastic chest muscles.
More than physical strength, Dr. Winston, Dr. Vincent, and Dr. Krauss have given me great personal strength. I am now at work again part-time with my coworkers at Quality Foods. I go to the gym three times a week. And I can get back into my community. Knowing that people like you are supporting me means everything.
I see Dr. Winston every three months, but I think of him far more often. He not only changed my life, but my perspective as well. I also think of the kind people who want to help someone like me. If it wasn’t for ultrasound technology in our hospitals and our talented caregivers, my life would be much greyer.
And so, I thank you. A donor like you can help create movement where there wasn’t any. And bring back a future to someone who still has a heart full of dreams and a head full of plans. It makes that much of a difference.