Af­ter Kelly was left par­a­lyzed, a cut­tingedge surgery helped her walk again

When Kelly Thomas was left par­a­lyzed from the waist down af­ter a car ac­ci­dent, doc­tors told her she’d never walk again. But four years later, a cut­ting-edge surgery has her strid­ing to­ward a hope­ful new fu­ture

Woman's World - - Contents -

“With faith and hard work, mir­a­cles do hap­pen!”

Kelly Thomas stared at her neu­ro­sur­geon and asked the ques­tion that had been on her mind for days: “Will I ever be able to walk again?”

It had been two months since the Ho­mosassa, Florida, 19-year-old had ar­rived at the hospi­tal af­ter a car crash had left her par­a­lyzed from the waist down. She had tried to stay pos­i­tive, but as a frown set­tled on her doc­tor’s face, Kelly felt her hope wa­ver­ing.

“I would give you a one per­cent chance of ever walk­ing again,” her doc­tor replied, solemnly.

Kelly’s mind reeled. She was young, ac­tive, study­ing to be­come a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist. This can’t be the rest of my life, she thought de­fi­antly.

“Don’t chase some­thing that’s never go­ing to hap­pen,” he ad­vised gen­tly.

“I am go­ing to walk again,” Kelly replied. “No mat­ter what, I’ll be your one per­cent.”

A sec­ond chance

In the months that fol­lowed, Kelly was moved to an in­pa­tient fa­cil­ity where three days a week, she fought through gru­el­ing phys­i­cal ther­apy to learn how to sit up on her own and stand with as­sis­tance.

Yet de­spite her tri­umphs, three years went by and Kelly was no closer to walk­ing. “God, help me through this,” she’d pray tear­fully.

But then her doc­tor told her about a pro­gram that was re­cruit­ing sub­jects to re­ceive epidu­ral stim­u­la­tor im­plants. Af­ter surgery, par­tic­i­pants would be able to turn the im­plant on with a re­mote and send the nerves be­low their in­juries the sig­nals their brains used to. As Kelly learned more, her heart filled with hope: This is my chance to walk again!

Kelly was screened and ac­cepted into the study and spent four months prep­ping be­fore fi­nally hav­ing the surgery in Au­gust of 2017. And from the mo­ment she turned on her stim­u­la­tor, she knew the vi­bra­tion in her body meant good things. “I can feel the mus­cles in my legs!” she beamed.

The real work lay ahead, how­ever, as Kelly faced hours of phys­i­cal ther­apy five times a week, with one phrase keep­ing her go­ing: “God is with me. I will not fail.”

Walk­ing in hope

Though the gains were small at first, Kelly’s mir­a­cle fi­nally hap­pened in Jan­uary of 2018.

Stand­ing be­side her phys­i­cal ther­a­pist, Kelly sud­denly lifted her foot up and drove her leg for­ward for the first time in four years. As her ther­a­pist broke out in a vic­tory dance and Kelly hugged her tightly, tears of joy coursed down her face.

“Oh my God,” she cried. “I’m ac­tu­ally walk­ing! I am walk­ing! ”

To­day Kelly is able to use a walker to get around, but she doesn’t plan on stop­ping there. “I want to walk with no help at all,” the 24-year-old smiles. Kelly has also re­turned to col­lege and pas­sion­ately shares her story. “I want to spread hope to peo­ple like me,” she says. “I prayed for God to give me the strength to keep go­ing, and here I am. Never give up, any­thing is pos­si­ble!”

— Alexan­dra Pol­lock

“I’m proof that our bod­ies can heal!” says Kelly, who had a 1% chance of walk­ing again

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.