Atlanta mother paralyzed by mystery infection at 18 weeks pregnant

A rare neurological disorder left this mother-of-one paralyzed from the chest down while she was 18 weeks pregnant with her first child.

During her pregnancy with her now 10-month-old son, Van, Anita Brewer, 31 started to experience back pain and numbness in her feet and legs. 

When she saw her doctors in Atlanta, Georgia last year, they agreed that her symptoms were due to her unborn baby causing pressure in the body and prescribed painkillers.

Within a week, Anita's symptoms worsened to the point where she struggled to walk, couldn't urinate and the pain and numbness she experienced was unbearable. 

Anita, a member services agent, and her husband, Grant, rushed to hospital where she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare condition affecting the central nervous system that causes inflammation of the spinal cord. 

While Anita Brewer, 31, was pregnant with her now 10-month-old son, Van (pictured), she developed transverse myelitis and became paralyzed from the chest down 

Anita stayed in hospital for three weeks while doctors tried every treatment available but to no avail.

Anita's condition left her paralyzed from the breast-line down, meaning that she needs help with most day-to-day tasks such as dressing herself, managing her bowel and bladder, getting in and out of the shower and can't play with her son as she hoped she would be able to.

Over the past year, Anita has had a lot of physical therapy and many Botox injections to deal with the nerve pain but the only treatment that could help her walk again is stem cell therapy that is hoped could help rebuild her spinal cord. Anita's husband Grant is currently fundraising for this on Go Fund Me.

'I noticed some back pain and a little bit of numbness beginning in my lower extremities about a week prior. We all thought that is was due to the baby causing some pressure. We even went to our family doctor to get her opinion and got prescribed some pain medication,' said Anita.

'The night before we went to the emergency room, the pain was excruciating, and the numbness was getting even more pronounced.

Her symptoms developed when Anita was 18 weeks pregnant, and by the time Van was born last May, she could no longer walk 

Despite her condition, Anita was able to deliver Van naturally 

'It got to the point where I was unable to urinate. That is when we knew something was definitely not right.'

Her trip to the hospital for answers became a moment Anita would never forget. 

'Walking into the hospital early in the morning as I was dragging one of my legs was the last time I walked. I spent nearly three weeks in the hospital and went through every type of treatment available with no improvement,' she said. 

'I had not heard of this condition before it happened to me. It is basically inflammation of the spinal cord. The inflammation causes the nerves to be pinched and depending on the level of injury can cause loss of feeling and paralysis of some or all of your body.' 

Transverse myelitis is a condition in which both sides of the spinal cord become inflamed, usually affecting a particular section of the spine. 

The swelling puts pressure on the spinal cord, disrupting the signals sent through its nerves from the brain to the body and, in Anita's case, effectively muting these communications. 

'I've now come to know that this is a very rare disease and the cause of my particular TM is even rarer as it happened while I was 18 weeks pregnant.

Anita (left) and her husband, Grant (right), never expected that the 'miracle' of having their first child would be accompanied by Anita's struggle with paralysis

As she has gone from specialist to specialist and to all manner of physical therapy programs, Anita's husband, Grant (right) has stuck by her side 

'Transverse myelitis affects every part of everyday life. I need help doing the most simple of tasks as I have been paralyzed from breast-line down. I can only partially dress myself. I need assistance to manage my bladder and bowel. I cannot shower by myself and need help getting into the shower, the list goes on.' 

'The hardest thing for me has been both physical and mental. After our son was born back in September, I never really got to experience the motherhood that I had in mind. It is very difficult to hold him, I can't play with him the way I thought I would be able to, nor take care of him.

'My mother, father and husband pretty much have to do everything. We've all went through depression and I have to take medication to alleviate my mind from anxiety. It's a very difficult process. 

Her condition is an attack of inflammation of the spinal cord, and while its exact causes are not known, transverse myelitis may be autoimmune and instigated by viral or bacterial infections. 

Working with a team of renowned spinal cord rehab experts (pictured) near her home in Atlanta, Georgia Anita (center) has completed occupational, physical and mental therapies

Diligent though she has been with rehab and doctor appointments, Anita (left) still cannot walk on her own and has had to rely heavily on Grant (right) and the couple's friends and family 

It occurs when the body's immune system becomes mis-programmed and activates immune cells to attack the healthy myelin covering the nerves in the spine. 

However, Anita's transverse myelitis was caused by a vascular form of the condition that affected the blood supply to the spinal cord area which was thought to be manifested due to the pregnancy. Despite this, Anita gave birth to Van naturally.

Anita and Grant try to remain positive and hope that they can inspire others living with something similar. Anita described the rehabilitation process she has been through and spoke about what she has found the most difficult to adjust to.

'I spent seven weeks at Shepherd Center, a world renowned spinal cord rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. There I did in-patient rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupation therapy, mental therapy, and many more treatments,' she said.

'I've been to the Kennedy Krieger Center in Baltimore for two weeks to do even more advanced physical therapy with robotic technology such as the exoskeleton. This allowed me to walk with the help of a machine. It really brought tears of happiness for a moment being able to stand and walk for a short while.

At the Kennedy Krieger Center in Baltimore Maryland, Anita was able to walk again for the first time with the assistance of a robotic exoskeleton and her husband, Grant (left)

'The most difficult thing has been having to depend on other people. I've always been that person that helped others and it pains me that I have to be a burden at times to the people I love the most.' 

'I try to stay positive and I hope that I can inspire people going through something similar. It is very difficult but I know that one day, somehow, some way, I will walk again, whether it's me or a machine helping me.'

Anita has had to adjust to accepting help from those in her life, which has been in some senses difficult and in others rewarding for the new mother.   

'Our support system has been incredible. Realizing that so many people out there whether close or far are constantly rooting for us has been amazing,' she said. 

'This event was a definite eye opener and really changes your perspective on life. Our 10-month-old son, Van, has been an absolute blessing to us. We call him our miracle baby. He brings us so much joy.'

So far, Anita and Grant have raised $25,595 of their $100,000 goal for stem cell therapy to be a possibility for her and are also hoping to purchase a lighter wheelchair to make her life easier and to become more mobile.

In the meantime, Anita continues to build strength in other parts of her body, and has not given up hope that she will someday walk again on her own 

Finally, Anita stressed the importance of quick diagnosis.

'I would love the chance to get stem cell therapy performed. My husband, Grant, has found a specific stem cell therapy that has been proven to regrow any tissue in the body, including the spinal cord,' she said.

'It's just a matter of gathering the funds and finding a legitimate institute that is trusted to perform this life changing treatment. Even if it gave me some mobility, it would still be a major game changer for me and everyone around us.

'I also have a very tough time pushing my wheelchair around, so we are working with a company called Carbon Black Systems out of Scotland to build a lightweight Carbon Fibre wheelchair that weighs less than half of what my current chair weighs.

'This, during the interim will make my life a whole lot easier.

'Get a quick and proper diagnosis. Understanding the underlying cause of your TM could help with getting you the right treatment sooner.

'It took us seven months to figure out that it was a vascular related form of TM and not what you see on the internet where it says most cases are auto-immune or vaccine related.

'Keep a great support group and stay strong. It is not easy in the beginning; there will be time of grieving but never give up and always try to stay positive. Even if you never walk again, try to inspire as many people as you can along the way.'

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Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

 

July 27, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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He had fallen head first and had suffered a concussion, a fractured skull, burns on his leg and some short-term memory loss.</p><p>But once he came round, doctors said he could walk out the hospital, with no health issues to be concerned about.  </p><p>Josiah Wiedman, 13 (pictured) was saved by his skateboard when he was struck by lightning in El Mirage, Arizona</p><p>The boy's parents Krista Wiedman (pictured left) 35, and William Wiedman (pictured right) 45 said he was 'blessed' to have survived</p><p>Josiah, who has only been skating for two months, had fallen head first and had suffered a concussion, a fractured skull, burns on his leg and some short-term memory loss</p><p>Earlier this week, Josiah gave his first interview about the ordeal, saying: 'I just remember a burst of heat and then everything went out.</p><p>'I woke up three days later in the hospital and thought I had taken a nap. I didn't know I had been in there three days.</p><p>'Without my skateboard with me I probably would have been dead to be honest, or in a little pain. It saved my life in a way.'</p><p>He also had tubes inserted into his lungs to remove excess vomit that he had breathed in because of the shock, but medics say it could have been much worse. </p><p>Krista, a mother-of-four who works as a night auditor, said: 'He is so blessed.'</p><p>His father William Wiedman, 45, a machinist, said: 'After the lightning hit, Javier was sitting up and screaming Josiah's name but Josiah was out.</p><p>'The doctors said that when he was hit by the lightning his heart stopped for a minute, and he was put in a three-day medically-induced coma. </p><p>'No one really knows what happened - we can only speculate - but the skateboard took a blunt hit of it and it didn't even break.</p><p>'They attribute the board to helping save his life because if it wasn't there it would have penetrated his body and severely injured him.</p><p>'The chance of getting struck by lightning is minute and who would think a skateboard would help, of all things?</p><p> 'Josiah is doing fine now. He is bummed out that he can't go to school for two weeks because he's 'Mr Popular' now, but he's doing well.'</p><p>Josiah has recovered from his injures (pictured left) after he was put in an induced coma (pictured right) for three days after he suffered a concussion from hitting his head after being thrown in the air </p><p>He also had tubes inserted into his lungs to remove excess vomit that he had breathed in because of the shock</p><p>The boy has now been discharged from hospital and describes his condition as 'perfectly fine'</p><p>Dr Craig Egan, at Phoenix Children's Hospital, said the team was unable to identify an entry or exit point on Josiah.</p><p>Josiah, who has been discharged from hospital, said: 'Right now I'm pretty much perfectly fine. My leg doesn't even hurt whatsoever.' </p><p>The average bolt of lightning contains a billion joules of energy, enough to power a 60-watt light bulb for six months, according to experts.</p><p>The chance of being hit is around one in 300,000 and it's estimated that around 24,000 people are killed each year by the natural phenomenon globally.</p><p>Over the past decade, around 27 people per year in the US have been killed by lightning, according to the National Weather Service.</p><p>While around 90 percent of those struck survive, many suffer life-changing injuries including severe burns or cardiac arrest. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 August 17, 2018
  • Nurse claims hospital sided with patient who complained about her race

    Nurse claims hospital sided with patient who complained about her race

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> Teoka Williams, who has worked at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn for 10 years, claims she overheard her patient say she didn’t want a “black b----“ caring for her. &nbsp;(Fox 2 Detroit) </p><p>A Michigan nurse claims the hospital she works in granted her patient’s wish to have her removed from her care because she is black. </p><p>Williams clams she reported the October 2017 incident to her manager, and was then banned from entering the patient’s room, where a second patient was also placed. </p><p>The lawsuit contends that the hospital violated Williams’ federal rights, and left her humiliated, embarrassed and in distress. It states that there were several times during the rest of Williams' shift where the patients needed care, but that she was unable to enter the room due to her race.</p><p>In response to the lawsuit, Beaumont Health said that while it couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case, it strives to provide “a safe environment that is free from discrimination for both our patients and staff, and delivering care with compassion, dignity and respect.”</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 August 17, 2018
  • Mom delivers baby on bus with help of fellow passengers

    Mom delivers baby on bus with help of fellow passengers

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> A man who had no experience in delivering babies came from the back of the bus and laid the mother on the floor while another woman helped. &nbsp;(iStock) </p><p>Passengers on a city bus in Minnesota have helped a woman deliver her baby after she went into labor.</p><p>Jane Mulcahy was seated right across from the woman. Mulcahy says the woman yelled, “The baby is coming.”</p><p>A man who had no experience in delivering babies came from the back of the bus and laid the mother on the floor while another woman helped. The baby was born just seconds later.</p><p>Passengers had alerted the bus driver, who pulled over. Mulcahy offered a shoelace to clamp the baby’s umbilical cord.</p><p>Paramedics arrived and took the mother and newborn to a hospital.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 August 17, 2018
  • Popular baby foods contain 'worrisome levels' of heavy metals, study finds

    Popular baby foods contain 'worrisome levels' of heavy metals, study finds

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p>A new report published by Consumer Reports found &quot;concerning levels&quot; of heavy metals in some popular baby food products. What baby foods are in question and how dangerous are they to your child&#x27;s health&#x3f;</p><p>A new Consumer Reports study found many types of food commonly eaten by babies and toddlers -- such as packaged entrees, fruits and vegetables -- contained “measurable levels” of certain heavy metals.</p><p>Consumer Reports scientists recently studied 50 different packaged foods made for the young children, testing three samples of each.</p><p>Many of those tested were popular brands such as Gerber and Beech Nut, but researchers noted that the findings should be interpreted as a &quot;spot check of the market and should not be used to draw definitive conclusions about specific brands.&quot;</p><p>Still, of the brands and samples studied, “15 of the foods would pose potential health risks to a child regularly eating just one serving or less per day.”</p><p>Those 15 food items include: Earth's Best Organic Chicken &amp; Brown Rice; Earth's Best Turkey, Red Beans and Brown Rice; Gerber Chicken &amp; Rice; Gerber Turkey &amp; Rice; Sprout Organic Baby Food Garden Vegetables Brown Rice with Turkey; Gerber Lil' Meals White Turkey Stew with Rice &amp; Vegetables; Gerber Carrot, Pear &amp; Blackberry; Gerber Carrots Peas &amp; Corn with Lil' Bits; Plum Organics Just Sweet Potato Organic Baby Food; Beech-Nut Classics Sweet Potatoes; Earth's Best Organic Sweet Potatoes, 1st Stage; Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal; Earth's Best Organic Sunny Days Snack Bars, Strawberry; Happy Bab Organics Superfood Puffs, Apple &amp; Broccoli; and Happy Baby Organics Superfood Puffs, Purple Carrot &amp; Blueberry.</p><p>Researchers also determined baby and toddler foods labeled as &quot;organic&quot; did not mean these products were safer or contained less heavy metals than non-organic foods.</p><p>The effects from these heavy metals are long-term, not short-term, according to the Consumer Reports study. The long-term effects can result in serious complications, such as different types of cancer, type 2 diabetes and cognitive issues, among other potential side effects.</p><p>“These toxins can remain in your body for years,” Tunde Akinleye, a Consumer Reports’ Food Safety Division chemist who led the testing, said in the report.</p><p>Despite popular belief, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently have any strict regulatory guidelines of what levels of heavy metals found in these baby and toddler foods -- which come from water and soil contaminated through the use of pesticides, for example -- are acceptable.</p><p>&quot;These heavy metals shouldn&rsquo;t be in food, period.&quot;</p><p>When Consumer Reports contacted the FDA with the findings, the agency said it “has made this a priority and is working to reduce the health risks these elements present, especially to those most vulnerable: children.” WebMd reported that the FDA plans to “finalize new guidelines” regarding these levels by the end of the year.</p><p>All of the baby food manufacturers that were included in the study were also contacted, many of which said they would support stricter guidelines regarding heavy metals in baby and toddler food, according to Consumer Reports.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>As for what parents can do to lessen their child’s risk of ingesting some of these heavy metals, Consumer Reports researchers recommend limiting the amount of rice cereal in your infant’s diet, think about choosing white rice over brown (the latter had higher levels of inorganic arsenic), limiting packaged snacks (such as rice cakes and chips), limit a child’s fruit juice intake (such as apple and grape juice), and limit chocolate intake (cocoa powder can contain heavy metals such as led, according to the study).</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 August 17, 2018
  • Doctor wrongly removed kidney during botched procedure, lawsuit claims

    Doctor wrongly removed kidney during botched procedure, lawsuit claims

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> The lawsuit also names The Surgical Institute of South Dakota, where Baker is partner. &nbsp;(The Surgical Institute of South Dakota Facebook) </p><p>An Iowa woman is suing her South Dakota doctor and his practice after she claims she went in for a procedure to remove a mass on her adrenal gland and came out still with the mass inside of her — and missing a healthy kidney.</p><p>Dena Knapp, who said the 2016 procedure has left her with progressive kidney disease in her remaining kidney, also said she suffers from pain, fatigue, depression and mental distress as a result of the error.</p><p>Knapp contends she was contacted on Oct. 11 by Baker, who said he “did not get everything,” and that she would have to undergo a second procedure. Knapp’s lawsuit states that a second procedure was conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.</p><p>The lawsuit claims that Knapp has not been able to perform many functions since the alleged botched procedure, and that future costs for replacement services cannot be predicted.</p><p>Baker did not immediately return the Associated Press’ request for comment.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 August 17, 2018
  • Proponents of pot-infused coffee tout 'medical and health' benefits

    Proponents of pot-infused coffee tout 'medical and health' benefits

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p>&quot;CBD is a chemical from cannabis we should be using,&quot; founder of the CBD-based Flower Power Coffee Co. Dr. Craig Leivent tells Fox News. A look at what exactly CBD-infused coffee is and why it could be in a coffee shop near you in the coming months.</p><p>Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in cannabis, has been a hot topic of debate among the medical community and proponents of alternative therapy who say it helps treat seizures, anxiety and pain, among other ailments. But stark opponents, like U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have remained steadfast in their opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use and marijuana-based products across the U.S.</p><p>“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store,” Sessions has said. “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”</p><p>However, pharmacist-turned-coffee-company-founder Dr. Craig Leivent is one of a growing number of entrepreneurs seeking to educate the public on the benefits associated with CBD through everyday products, like CBD-infused coffee.</p><p>“Flower Power Coffee is infused with CBD or Cannabidiol, which is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD-infused coffee won’t get you high, you won’t fail a drug test, and it does have a lot of medical and health benefits.”</p><p>“I wish this had been available when I quit drinking 26 years ago because as a recovering alcoholic, I believe CBD coffee would have greatly smoothed my transition to society,” he said.</p><p>While the legality surrounding medical cannabis remains murky in some areas of the country, at least 30 states allow the use of it in some form, and under certain circumstances. In some states where it’s legal, the law prohibits the use of it near public schools. It is still considered illegal in Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota.</p><p>But Leivant, who said his company is planning to expand into areas where CBD is legal, believes CBD-products are headed for mainstream production.</p><p>“I see CBD-infused products going into mainstream,” he said. “You can buy hemp&nbsp; seeds in Costco right now, so if you can hemp seed in Costco, eventually you’re going to buy CBD products.”</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 August 17, 2018

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