I was thinking about waiting until the one year mark to write up a post but the more I thought about it the longer that post became. So this will serve as a prelude to a larger update of sorts coming in May.
Something I’ve begun to learn as my recovery has progressed is that being a research subject isn’t all its cracked up to be. When you throw in the complete unknown that comes with being the first recipient of a strand of stem cells on top of an injury that already perplexes the medical community it only increases the number of times I hear “I don’t know” from my doctors.
There’s always seems to be something strange going on with my body or some new issue arising. Last post I mentioned my toenail removal and how it was effecting my spasms. Luckily it has healed up very well and the nail is slowly growing back. However my spasms are not any better. I’ve overcome one issue and moved onto the next. Currently I’m dealing with a condition called heterotopic ossification. Because my brain can’t communicate with my body below my level of injury it can no longer coordinate complex cellular processes. One particularly important process is the control of bone growth throughout my body. For some reason in spinal cord injuries the hip bones in particular are subject to uncontrolled bone growth. So right now the soft tissue around my right hip and femur is slowly turning into bone. The biggest longterm problem associated with the condition is a possible loss in range of motion in the affected region. So I’m keeping after stretching and standing to make sure I stay loose. I’m also on a medication to help slow or stop the growth. Once the bone has matured a decision will be made as to whether or not I’ll need surgery to remove the bone. Until then I’m just keeping on.
On a more positive note: I recently acquired my power chair, and this isn’t your average power chair. After jumping through a number of hoops and playing the insurance game we managed to get the F5 VS standing chair. This thing has a seat elevator up to 20 inches and can stand me straight up; returning me to my glorious height, plus some. Between that and my manual chair I’m fully prepared to take on whatever situation may arise once I return to school. The next step in the process is now getting a vehicle modified so I can get back on the road. When it comes to driving now it’s a relatively simple adaptation. The gas and brake are attached to an ingenious yet simple device that allows me to use my left hand to control both. Pull for gas, push for brake. And the peddles themselves remain fully intact so the whole car can still be driven just like normal.
Besides that stuff I’m getting much stronger and doing so much more on my own. I’ll go into greater detail as to what ‘more’ entails in the one year post-injury update.