A short list of abilities that we take for granted:
- going shopping
- playing basketball
- sitting up in a chair
- walking to the restroom when the urge strikes
- reaching out and grabbing a glass of water when thirsty
- controlling the parts of your body that allow you to live life
These are some of the things that people with Transverse myelitis can no longer accomplish on a daily basis. With treatment, some will be able to accomplish some of these tasks with tremendous effort.
A young man by the name of Kale Hyder, experienced the first symptoms of this rare disease during the summer of 2015. He thought he had slept wrong when he awoke with a stiff neck. By the next day, he could barely walk to the car to be driven to the hospital. And to think he was playing basketball just days before.
Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of the spine, which causes weakness in limbs and disrupted nerve transmissions.
There is little research to explain the causes of the disease. It is quite uncommon, affecting approximately 1,400 people in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, there are treatment options, including medication and surgery as well as physical therapy to rebuild lost muscle mass.
Kale was diagnosed with an MRI shortly after he was hospitalized. Naturally, the athletic and active teen asked himself, “Why me?” He admits to having experienced a number of bad days. But faith and determination allowed him to face those bad days.
Kale spent months in the hospital, where he endured many rounds of medications and surgery. This treatment has yielded some success too. He started in a wheelchair and has advanced now to walking with the aid of braces on his legs.
Kale credits his competitive nature as the reason why he has progressed more quickly than a lot of others with Transverse myelitis. His underlying goal is to get back to playing basketball and living the “normal” life of a teen.
If only all stories of the illnesses that befall teens resolved themselves with such happy turns. Kale’s struggle may just remind us not to take little things for granted.