Spinal cord injurySteven Larcom, a 69-year-old retired auto parts consultant and father of two, cherishes outdoor activities like yard work, golf and spending time with his wife. These seemingly ordinary pursuits hold profound significance for Steven because he grapples with Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder that hampers his body's movement and balance, making everyday tasks and social interactions challenging.
"I had a couple of falls because of Parkinson's disease," he recalled, "and my strength and balance went away."
Recently, Steven received a diagnosis of spinal stenosis, a condition that narrows the space within the backbone, applying pressure to the spinal cord and nerves. This resulted in pain and increasing muscle weakness over time. To alleviate these symptoms, his doctor recommended an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, a surgical procedure aimed at removing a damaged spinal disc and fusing the vertebrae together to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nearby nerves. This procedure typically results in reduced pain and weakness.
Although the surgery was successful, Steven found himself unable to walk and in need of assistance for almost all physical activities. To regain the independence he had lost, Steven sought help from the experienced staff at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) - Lakeway. He had simple goals: to walk without an assistive device and resume as normal a life as possible.
The therapy team at BSWIR - Lakeway developed a treatment plan that encompassed physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help him achieve these goals and return home to his family.
Steven's family played a pivotal role in supporting and encouraging him throughout the challenging process of recovery. "My wife was my rock," he said. "My family has put in many hours helping my wife at home. It's hard to encompass what my family means to me."
With a strong support network, dedicated therapy professionals, and a determined spirit, Steven soon began to witness positive results. "I'm walking much further with a walker than I ever dreamed possible," he said. Additionally, most of his physical abilities have gradually returned, his confidence has improved and his speech has become clearer and more understandable. Moreover, Steven believes that his newfound strength will aid him in battling the progression of Parkinson's disease.
Reflecting on his time at BSWIR - Lakeway, Steven expressed appreciation for the experience. "It's been a great experience," he said. "Very rewarding if you follow the advice of the people you're working with. The people at BSWIR - Lakeway are totally professional, feeling and motivated."
Beyond the recovery of his lost independence, Steven's rehabilitation journey also taught him a valuable lesson about his resilience. "I can be strong when I have to," he said.