Wyatt Banks was born happy and healthy on September
24, 2012. He was thriving and hitting all his developmental milestones ahead of
schedule. At his 6 month check-up, his pediatrician said that he would probably
be an early walker, but all that changed on May 17, 2013. Wyatt became fussy
the night of May 16, 2013. He threw-up and began whimpering. My husband and I
thought that he was coming down with a stomach virus that the rest of the
family had been fighting. We watched him through the night. By morning, he was
breathing oddly and not moving. I thought he was just exhausted. At 7 months
old, he couldn’t tell us that something was terribly wrong.
As I was getting Wyatt dressed, I realized that he
was unable to bear weight on his legs. We took him to his pediatrician who had
us rush Wyatt to our local hospital. In the hospital, it became clear that
something serious was wrong with Wyatt. He was belly breathing and still not
moving despite being cathed and having an IV started. We had never heard of
transverse myelitis and had no idea that paralysis was even a possibility since
Wyatt had not had an injury.
Wyatt was admitted to the hospital. Doctors
initially thought he was dehydrated. After 2 days with no improvements, his
doctors began to realize that something other than dehydration was happening.
Doctors began testing for Guillain Barre. When no reason for Wyatt’s condition
could be found, Wyatt was transferred to Greenville Children’s Hospital.
Wyatt was transferred at midnight. Early the next morning
on May 20, 2013, he was sent down for an MRI. Doctors had to fully sedate Wyatt
and placed him on the ventilator for the MRI due to his weak respirations.
After the MRI, he was left sedated and on the ventilator and moved to the
PICU. Around 5pm that day, we were
pulled into a little room and shown images of his MRI and finally given the
diagnosis of acute transverse myelitis.
We were in shock, and it was all a blur. We had no
idea what transverse myelitis was or what a diagnosis meant for Wyatt. He was
only 7 months old and was paralyzed from the neck down, and there was no
guarantee that he would ever move again. We were devastated. He began a 5-day
course of IV steroids and had 2 IVIG transfusions. Doctors felt that plasmapheresis
was too risky for someone Wyatt’s age.
Wyatt spent 2 weeks in the PICU. During that time,
he slowly regained the use of his arms. After being discharged, Wyatt went to
the Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia for 3 weeks of rehabilitation. Wyatt had to relearn to sit, roll and use his
hands. It has been a long road to recovery that included a 5-week stay at the
Kennedy Krieger Institute where Wyatt began propelling his own wheelchair just
days after his first birthday.
Today, Wyatt is still the same happy little boy that
came into this world. He remains a T2 paraplegic. He has no feeling or
controlled movement below mid-chest, but he is thriving. He rolls his
wheelchair better than most adults, and he also gets around with a commando
crawl. He smiles constantly and brings joy to everyone he meets. He continues to
undergo 3 hours of physical therapy and 2 hours of occupational therapy each
week along with rehabilitation regular visits at the Shriners Hospital in
Philadelphia and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
He will climb this mountain someday.