As I continued to decompensate neurologically, attending staff decided to transport me to the main medical facility associated with the hospital. Initially, a preliminary diagnosis based on symptoms and neurologic exam seemed consistent with transverse myelitis. Upon subsequent work-up the diagnosis changed to that of ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis). This auto-immune disorder caused my immune system to aggressively target my nervous system, resulting in the profound deficits described above.
I spent a number of months bound to a hospital bed with extreme back pain, along with profound weakness and sensory loss in both my legs. Furthermore, I had to catheterize myself on a daily basis to empty my bladder approximately every three hours and begin to use a wheelchair.
After treatment with steroids and two treatments with intravenous immunoglobulins, it appeared as though the auto-immune attack had subsided.
Soon after, I began aggressive physical therapy. Slowly, with much effort I regained motor function of my legs and the ability to walk. However, I never regained full improvement and I continue to have a moderate degree of nerve pain and difficulties with bowel and bladder function.