“From that moment, everything we as a family knew to be normal was turned upside down and inside out,” Susan said. Sierra was in tremendous pain, but she was conscious and had some feeling in her legs. An MRI revealed a burst lumbar 1 vertebral fracture with compression of her spinal cord, the best treatment being a risky, 12-hour surgery to repair and stabilize her battered body.
Sierra came through the surgery with flying colors. She had movement in her legs, no bone fragments remaining, and the compression relieved in her spinal column. It was the best possible result, and her family breathed a collective sigh of relief.
But 36 hours later, Sierra’s hopes of a full recovery were gone in a flash.
There had been a spinal stroke, the doctor said over the phone, something so rare they don’t know what causes it or how to prevent it. A lumbar drain was placed to relieve pressure in her spinal column, but the damage was done. She had no feeling in her legs below her hips.