02 May 2008

the first first

FRIDAY, MAY 02, 2008 09:27 PM, CDT
Hi all! Thanks for dropping by. This is where you may find "official", jlink-certified news, updates, progress records, etc. related to my health status. I don't really know what to put in the standard first post... Here goes.

One-line blog purpose:
On 11 April 2008, I underwent surgery by Dr. Carlos Lima's team in Portugal for treatment of incomplete cervical spinal cord injury; this site will track rehabilitation progress and serve as a source for as much related information as I am able to provide. As with most health-themed journals, it is also a center for family, friends, and those interested to connect.

The slightly longer story:
I'm John, obviously. I was born in 1984 and have lived in Carlinville, Illinois, essentially all of my life so far. In 2003 I finished up high school and started college at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL.

Early 24 December 2004, my brother Steve and I were involved in an automotive accident outside of Carlinville. Steve was a-ok (which is exactly as I would prefer). I broke my neck quite expertly - C4-C6 vertebrae were damaged, including an obliterating burst fracture of C5. One of the doctors likened the C5 fracture to "stepping on a light bulb". More importantly, though, was an incomplete spinal cord lesion approximately 2.54cm in length at the C4-C5 level.

So (skipping myriad details), I put in a few months at some hospitals and The Rehabilitation Institute of Saint Louis, and was on my tetraplegic way. I made it back to school at IWU that fall, 2005, and wrapped up in spring 2007.

School out of the way, I started working towards Dr. Lima's olfactory mucosal autograft procedure as a treatment for spinal cord injury. It is a non-embryonic stem cell surgery, and not approved within the US at this time. Lots of work, medical tests, and e-mails later, the parents and I were on our way to Hospital Egaz-Moniz in Lisbon, Portugal. The operation took place 11 April 2008, and I returned to the US 21 April.

That's as far as the story goes right now. In a few days I'm off to the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery at DMC in Detroit for some heavy duty therapy.

Let the blogging begin.

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