Committed to creating a positive change...
Hi, my name is Drew Seibert. I am a gastroenterologist, formerly with a busy practice in Gwinnett Co, just northeast of Atlanta, for 13 years. The night before Valentine's Day in 2006 was a Monday, and the next morning I had a full schedule of colonoscopies in the morning and office patients in the afternoon. I went to bed as usual--and woke up from a coma three days later, confused, breathing only on a ventilator, and paralyzed from the neck down. Evidently, I tripped and fell in my bathroom that night, hitting my forehead on the stone shower, breaking my neck and injuring my spinal cord at the C3-4 level. I even stopped breathing, requiring mouth-to-mouth by a horrified girlfriend.
On my return to consciousness, I had surgery on day 13 and came off the ventilator the next day. That day I was transferred to Shepherd Center. Then came the terrifying realization--I was really paralyzed! My first voluntary movement took 3-4 months to achieve, just a wiggle of a toe, but it was movement. Since then, improvements have come agonizingly slowly.
A breakthrough started about four years ago--I was admitted to the Beyond Therapy program at Shepherd Center. 3-4 days a week of intense therapy for 2-3 hours a day. A lot of frustrating work, but suddenly (a year later!) I was able to stand up briefly. Another year, and I took my first steps. Now two more years later I can walk fairly well with a walker or forearm crutches. The improvement so far is very evident in the videos I've provided links to, but I have a long way to go to achieve my goal of independence. My balance is still lacking, although it too is improving. This award from the Dreams of Recovery Foundation will allow me to continue intensive therapy in the Beyond Therapy program for an additional 3-4 months. More improvements coming!
Thank you, Dreams of Recovery Foundation!
A recent article about me in the AJC