Transverse Myelitis Association
Journal Volume 3 - June 2008

Article 25

Logan’s story by Rachi Botha (mother)
Leraatsfontein Witbank South Africa

On 7 February 2005 I dropped my perfectly healthy 5 month old baby at the day mother.  When I picked him up 6 hours later, he was completely paralyzed from the neck down.  Every imaginable test was done and four days later, they came up with the diagnosis of transverse myelitis at C3 level.

As the neurologist was explaining the disease to me, I felt my world collapsing and then came his prediction that Logan would probably spend the rest of his life in bed linked to a ventilator.  This was almost too much to bear, but by the grace of Jesus Christ, we found the strength to continue and to never accept the fate the doctors bestowed on him.

Although they kept the ventilator next to Logan’s ICU bed, ready the instant he stopped breathing, he never needed it.  A miracle in its own right, he kept breathing on his own through the whole ordeal.  We were able to take a completely flaccid little boy home two weeks after the onset of TM and the slow road to recovery began.

Only someone whose been faced with a debilitating disease can comprehend to which extent your life changes.  I had to quit teaching to look after my paralyzed baby and 2 year old son, who was thoroughly traumatized by the weeks his parents spent in ICU with his brother.  Being without a second income and having the extra expenses of a special needs child wasn’t fun either.

My time was completely consumed with caring for the kids, taking Logan to therapy and spending hours on the internet searching for anything that might help our baby.  Being on an emotional rollercoaster is such a cliché, but it really is an accurate description.  The one moment your heart will be breaking when you see your child next to a normal baby.  You’d give anything to have him moving around, learning to crawl, walk, and exploring his world.  And then the next moment you’ll experience heavenly joy when your 15 month old starts to leopard crawl or sit on his own. 

Logan is an amazing little boy.  He wants to do everything himself and is, at this stage, not bothered at all by his situation.  He can crawl to where he wants to be, he can play, feed himself, drink from a cup, page through a book, do everything a normal 2 year old can do, but walk.

We’ve tried everything we could find that posed no risk to Logan:  from terribly expensive nutritional supplements to unconventional eastern European rehabilitation centers.  We’ve just returned from a visit to Euromed in Poland.  They offer extremely intensive rehabilitation sessions lasting four weeks and consisting of five hours of therapy six days a week.

Logan was able to gain a lot of muscle strength and his progress can especially be seen in his hips, trunk, left hand (which was the worst affected) and speech.  The fact that he’s still not walking can largely be attributed to psychological factors:  he’s never been able to walk and prefers to crawl.  He needs to realize the benefits of walking.

In this regard we’ve recently been to a clinic in Yorkshire that makes the most amazing walkers.  We believe that Logan will see the advantages of walking when he gets his walker in six months time.  I can’t wait to take my little boy outside for a walk….

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