A North Carolina college student became paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a migraine as a child.
Sarah Todd Hammer, now 22, was eight years old when she started feeling severe pain during dance class.
‘I was at a ballet class, and I got a really excruciating head and neck ache, and then on my way out of the class, my arms and hands stopped working,’ Ms Hammer said in a TikTok video.
About 10 minutes later, she could move her legs but was unable to walk. The next morning, she lost movement in her legs. ‘I was completely paralyzed from the neck down,’ she said.
Ms Hammer was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) – usually caused by an overreaction by the body in response to a virus or infection.
Ms Hammer has shared TikTok videos about her paralysis and her additional medical issues
Ms Hammer was just eight years old when she suffered a spinal cord injury due to the rare condition acutee flaccid myelitis (AFM). She is now involved in disability advocacy and spreads awareness about accessibility on her TikTok account, which has 83,000 followers
It causes devastating inflammation around part of the spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition most commonly affects young children, who often develop an infection from the virus enterovirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began tracking AFM in 2014. So far, there have been 736 confirmed cases in the US.
The CDC estimates that 90 percent of these cases have been in young children.
Doing ballet did not cause Ms Hammer’s AFM, she said. The timing was coincidental.
She spent two months in the hospital, including 12 days in the intensive care unit (ICU).
While in the ICU, Ms Hammer told People that she had plasmapheresis treatment, which involves replacing the blood’s plasma, an element made from electrolytes and proteins.
This allowed her to walk again.
She also underwent five weeks of inpatient rebab. ‘I did a lot of physical and occupational therapy there, and I was literally pushing my manual wheelchair with me legs,’ she told People.
Ms Hammer is now left with partial paralysis in both arms and hands.
‘I can’t move my left hand at all. I can’t move my shoulders. I can move my right hand, but it’s extremely weak,’ she said. ‘I have a very spotty paralysis.’
AFM has left her with several lasting conditions, including scoliosis- a sideways curve in the spine- and reduced lung capacity. She also has difficulty regulating her body temperature, and her muscles also get tired and tight from overuse.
Ms Hammer is now involved in disability advocacy and spreads awareness about accessibility on her TikTok account, which has 83,000 followers.
‘In addition to sharing my story, I’ve also started educating people on disability topics. I want to share the message that I have a great life, and not despite my disability. My disability essentially has made so many great things happen for me,’ she said.
‘It definitely took a while for me to accept my disability because my whole life had changed, but kids are just really resilient. I think my age helped a lot with that.’
‘My disability is an integral part of myself, and I wouldn’t want to change it because my life would not be the same.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk