Hi, my name is Waley Chan. I am 20 years old from Los Angeles, California. My spinal cord injury is probably the most complicated and unique case ever in the history of medical practices. At the age of 5, my orthopedic doctors diagnosed me with mild Scoliosis and surgery was recommended, but not mandatory at that moment. The risks of the surgery included: death, paralysis, respiratory complications, having a deformed torso, infections and many more.
First of all what is Scoliosis? Scoliosis is a genetic disorder that creates an abnormal curvature in a human spine. Back then I was only given a 50/50 chance of living if I decided to have surgery. It was shocking news to me and my parents, as a result we decided to put the surgery offer on hold and decided to wait until I would be older and a bit stronger.
Fast forward 12 years, I was a full-time 16 years old High School student who earned good grades in all of my classes. My condition worsened, but I was still able to walk on my own independently. All I can say is that everything was going pretty well until April 22, 2013. April 22 is Earth Day, but it was also the last day I had functions of my lower extremities.
On April 22, 2013 I went in to surgery to correct the curvature in my back. I recall the nurses and doctors pushing me on a gurney into a freezing operating room with medical devices beeping and lights flashing around. Right before the anesthesia kicked in I remember hearing “you will be alright when you wake up”.
WRONG!!! I woke up with a T7-T8 Spinal Cord Injury and had tubes & IVs placed all over my body. There are times where I regret going in for this surgery, but it is too late now. All I can say is that I have to be more optimistic and life rolls on. As of now, I am currently going to a community college in hopes of transferring to a University in the future.