SPORTS, FITNESS & DANCE

My Transverse Myelitis Story

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Andrea Nickerson

How My Diagnosis with Transverse Myelitis Went Down

My name is Andrea and I'm 15 years old. This is my story... In July 2013 I went to bed with my right thigh tingling. Naturally I thought it would go away and it was just asleep. So I went to bed, woke up early in the morning with unbearable abdominal pains. My right leg was almost completely numb down to my toes. I told my mum but she had work and was not sure if it was real-due to the fact that I suffer from severe anxiety. My parents decided that it was best that I go to the emergency hospital. My dad drove me, and 5 minutes later we arrived. I was still in horrible pain and my left leg started getting tingly from the toes up to my thigh. When it was time to get out of the vehicle, I could not walk... My dad had to carry me into the hospital. My mum met us there as her work is attached to that same building. We were very scared, and did not know what was going on- neither did the doctors in my small town because they had never seen any case like this. 

An hour or so later the doctors realized they had no idea what was going on, so I took an ambulance to the city hospital about an hour away. When I arrived I was taken to this strange room with my mum and dad. Loads of doctors came in to see me, they asked me more than 100 questions- or so it seemed. 

A day later after blood tests, MRI's, Spinal taps and other tests, the doctor came into my room and told my family and I that I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis- a rare auto immune disorder that attacks the immune system for no given reason. They said there was a 50/50 chance I would walk again... in that moment all I wanted was to walk again. 

After 5 months of being admitted to the children's hospital and rehab centre, I finally came home for good. I met a great friend along the way who made me realize you can do anything. Since then, I've just been living my life as positive and as happy as I can. I am thankful for each day I have. Now I play wheelchair basketball with my amazing basketball team and coaches, with my supportive family cheering me on. Everyday I work out so I can hopefully be on Team Canada- until then I am gonna practice hard, and have fun.

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