On September 1st I got into this horrible accident that turned my world upside down (click “My Story” on top). I fractured T12 of my thoracic spine and got spinal surgery in Thailand. A long titanium rod and metal screws were used to keep my back together and fuse the vertebras between T10 and L2.
The spinal cord is a long telephone wire that is located inside each vertebra of the spine, allowing the brain to communicate with the lower parts of the body. The higher the injury, the more severe. For example, patients who injure their necks can have trouble using their hands and arms because their level of injury is closer to the brain. Since I am injured in my middle back, I am only affected in areas below the waist.
There is a difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injury. Patients with a completely severed spinal cord cannot feel or move anything from below their level of injury, and it is likely permanent. Because mine is thankfully incomplete, I still have function in areas below my injury, such as my hips, quads, knees and hamstrings. The areas mostly affected are my ankles, feet, calf muscles, glutes and bladder/bowel function. I don’t feel much of the floor when I walk barefoot, but I’m beginning to get more sensation in the sides and bottom of my feet. I have also regained some plantar flexion and now have the ability to lift my ankles up slightly.