Devyn Bisson, 15, suffers a spinal cord injury, gears up the courage to surf again.
HUNTINGTON BEACH She doesn’t remember the man’s name or much more about him. Just that he approached her and asked for donations as she worked at Becker Surfboards.
And how that changed everything.
On that summer day in 2007, Devyn Bisson was the kind of 15-year-old that we want all 15-year-olds to be – bright, athletic, enthusiastic, a bundle of bounce. She was intrigued by what this man was saying.
Not so very long ago, injuring your spinal cord meant paralysis, perhaps death. The higher the injury, the worse the prognosis. For instance, if your spinal cord was injured in the neck or Cervical region, your chances of recovery were nil. However, injuries in the lower Lumbar had a much greater chance of partial recovery.
Today, however, medical miracles are around every corner, or so they were for the Buffalo Bills football star, Kevin Everett, who injured his cervical spinal cord a few days ago during a heads down tackle.
The initial assessment was grim, as they carried Kevin off the field. However, rapid and aggressive treatment may have saved him. The spinal cord was cooled with intravenous fluids, steroids were administered to decrease inflammation and swelling, and oxygen was given to the oxygen starved nerves within the spinal cord itself.
Despite challenges, Lindsay Heimkes still making strides
FILER – In 2006, Lindsay Heimkes joined the ranks of the more than 11,000 spinal cord injury cases that hospitals across the country see each year.
But don’t count this former high school and college athlete out of the game just yet. After hours of surgery and grueling therapy, she’s ready to get her life back on track.
When the call about her daughter came into the office, Tammy Heimkes remembers thinking the worst.
“I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone,” she said. “But knowing how Lindsay does everything big or go home, I knew if she was in a car accident it wouldn’t be something simple like a broken leg,”
According to the diagnostic scans, Leon Smith would never be able to reach out with his arms, grasp with his hands or take another step.
But the X-rays and MRIs were completed last August after Smith suffered a devastating injury to his spinal cord. Today, the Los Angeles resident is working toward resuming a normal life after two operations at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center gave him a chance to beat overwhelming odds.
“This is a one-in-a-million case,” said Justin D. Paquette, M.D., neurosurgeon at the Cedars-Sinai Institute for Spinal Disorders. “He was quadriplegic and Ventilator-dependent (unable to breathe on his own). A patient who is in this condition, with persistent spinal cord compression for even 24 hours, has essentially zero chance of recovery. Mr. Smith had been like this for almost a week before he came to Cedars-Sinai.”
Rebecca Wylie has learned how to live what she calls a normal collegiate life despite an illness that has left her paralyzed
Every morning, Rebecca Wylie, 20, gets dressed, brushes her teeth and eats breakfast. A junior graphic design major, she goes to class, hangs out with her friends and downloads everything she can find by heartthrob John Mayer, just like hordes of other MU students.
But life requires something more of Rebecca.