Mar. 2, 2018
Not every journey begins with a single step. Davarn Wright’s journey to Dr. Michael Kaiser sure didn’t—because Davarn couldn’t even stand up.
In fact, when Davarn first called Dr. Kaiser’s office at The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York, he wasn’t sure how he would make it there at all. His spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal that pinches the spinal cord) was so severe that his brain and his legs could barely communicate. He was on the second floor of a house, without the use of his legs. He did not own a wheelchair, and he weighed 350 pounds. Even with friends and family to assist, he wasn’t sure how he could get out the front door.
Davarn and his family never expected things would get so bad. His spinal stenosis had been diagnosed more than a decade before, although back then it wasn’t severe. Davarn explains: “The compression of spinal stenosis is almost like if you’re drinking through a straw and you squeeze the straw—you don’t get as much fluid coming through.” When it was first diagnosed, Davarn’s stenosis barely “squeezed the straw” of his spinal cord at all. As time went on, though, he noticed that his feet usually felt tingly, like they were thawing out after a walk in the snow, but it didn’t really bother him. He went on with his busy life, applying an impeccable work ethic to his job as a compliance analyst and taking care of his close-knit extended family and wider community in New Jersey.
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