Facing life as a quadriplegic, Plano man overcomes paralyzing fall

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 3:41 PM

PLANO –– Each slow step is a victory for Plano resident Roger Lamoureux, a 64-year-old who woke up a quadriplegic after falling in his bathroom. 

"The only thing I could move at that point was my head," says Lamoureux of the Dec. 15 fall. "I could move my head from side to side, but nothing else."

"The fall subsequently caused a pinching motion on his spinal cord," explains Texas Health Plano neurosurgeon Dr. Rebecca Stachniak," which caused him to have a major spinal cord injury and left him paralyzed."  

Dr. Stachniak says Lamoureux sustained a C4 spinal injury. Fewer than 1 percent of people with that severe of an injury ever walk or move again –– odds the doctor did not share with her patient.

"Most people end up staying quadriplegic the rest of their life," said. Dr. Stachniak. "Our spinal cord is one of the most unforgiving parts of our body and once it's injured, it's usually injured permanently. Especially when it's that's severe." 

In a risky surgery, she stabilized his spine and braced Lamoureux for a long road ahead. Lamoureux admits he doesn't remember much from the weeks after the injury, except being scared.

To the thoughts of living out life in a wheelchair, unable to feed or do anything for himself: "I can't give up that easily," he said, adding "there was too much on the plus side verses the negative side."

He started with the goal of pushing a button and hasn't stopped moving forward. A year later, Lamoureux is no longer a quadriplegic. He's not finished with the marathon of daily rehab and he's no longer a long-shot to walk.

"Something like I pick up my cane and I start to take eight steps without any assistance and I'm just trying to do that," he says with a smile. "That just happened last week. And I realize I've just taken eight steps by myself. Which is big."

It's not a miracle that this happened, Lamoureux says. He credits good medicine and effort and hopes his journey will inspire others to stay in the race.

Email jstjames@wfaa.com

 

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