The Story of Lidia
On October 27, 2006, I received a shocking phone call. My neurologist said the results of a recent MRI showed inflammation in my thoracic spine and below. I had been suffering from pain in my right leg and my family doctor was helping me with pain control drugs, muscle relaxants, and physical therapy since the fall of 2005. I had been told I was developing Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, and old age. I was 47 years old.
My neurologist diagnosed me with transverse myelitis progressive paralysis and I became disabled, depending on a walker and a wheelchair to move. An arteriogram in January of 2007 revealed an arterovenous malformation, or AVM, at the Thoracic-9 vertebrae. I saw numerous specialists, including an Interventional Neurologist and Neurosurgeon, who were unable to help me.
I was finally referred to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center because my case was considered rare, and met Dr. Neil A. Martin, Professor and Chief of the Department of Neurosurgery June 8, 2007. I was in a wheelchair and very depressed, but with a last hope to see my problem resolved. I explained that I started having problems in the fall of 2005 and had been in a wheelchair since November 2006, helping myself with a walker.
Dr. Martin said, "I can do your surgery, to stop the deterioration of your body, but going back to walk could take months or a year or might not come back." His confidence brought tears to my eyes - just to be able to hope again. On June 13, I went into surgery. I was unconscious for two days afterward, but when I woke up a doctor told me the AVM was gone and immediately asked me to lift my right and left legs. With a lot of effort, I was able to do it! However, I did not have any sensation of touch in my legs yet.
On July 27, I had a follow up appointment with Dr. Martin and no longer needed a wheelchair. I had physical therapy for spinal stability. On September 28, I came to see Dr. Martin for the last time. The sensation in my legs came back, and now I am able to feel my car pedals and drive again. I still get slightly stiff from sitting for more that two hours, but I am planning to go back to work. I have two interviews coming up, one for a laboratory position as a Phlebotomist and the other to take a license nurse LVN position in a sub-acute respiratory care unit.
My family, my relatives, and my friends struggled with me in this ordeal. They gave me psychological and spiritual support when we had no hope medically. I prayed constantly to find talented doctors and nurses to help me resolve my case. Jehovah, God, bless their efforts and hearts because they were blessed with special divine talents, all of them were meant to help others. I will continue to pray for all of you.
Thank you very much UCLA.