“Transverse myelitis makes athletic boy immobile in the blink of an eye”
Tyler was returning home from baseball practice when he was overcome with a sharp pain in his lower back. It spread to his hip, and a punishing burning sensation traveled down both of his legs from mid thigh to the tips of his toes. Over a period of hours, Tyler developed progressive weakness and an inability to move his left leg. As time went on, his legs completely buckled, and he was unable to stand on his own two feet. Anxious to relieve his pain, Tyler’s parents took him to the ER, where it was concluded that he was suffering from transverse myelitis. Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord that disrupts the transmission of nerve signals, causing severe pain and weakness or paralysis of muscles. The constant pain is the most debilitating long-term complication of this disorder.
In the blink of an eye, Tyler went from being an active 13-year-old boy with a knack for striking out players left and right from his perch on the pitcher’s mound, to a feeble child unable to walk without assistance. Filled with fear, he spent a month receiving inpatient care at Memorial Hospital West away from his family, friends, school, and teammates. The day after he was discharged, Tyler began physical therapy, eager to get back out on the field. At first, his mobility was severely limited. He needed a rolling walker and leg braces to help stabilize his joints, assist his muscles, and propel his weak legs forward.
Tyler’s positive attitude and unfailing determination were contagious. To this day, he has a small legion of young boys in the outpatient physical therapy department who look up to him. He unknowingly served as a role model to other patients struggling with their own recoveries. They remembered where Tyler started and watched his hard work and dedication pay off in the end. The signs of residual weakness in his body fueled Tyler to overcome his medical obstacles. He suffered many setbacks during recovery, but conquered each and every one of them over time. His exemplary strength of mind over matter is what makes him a true Hero.
It is with great pride that we honor Tyler’s brave perseverance by recognizing him as Kid’s Wish Network’s along with Memorial Hospital West’s Hero of the Month. Way to go, Tyler!