For about a week last year, Wendy Greasamar was paralyzed from the waist down.
Now, she said she plans to walk Sunday, Oct. 22, in Coffman Park in the Ohio-Walk-Run-N-Roll to raise awareness for transverse myelitis, a neurological condition responsible for her hospital stay and subsequent physical therapy to regain mobility.
Transverse myelitis is defined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as an inflammation of the spinal cord. The condition doesn't appear to be genetic, and it has no cure.
The condition is a sort of catch-all term for any type of spinal inflammation, said Dr. Jacqueline A. Nicholas, neuroimmunologist at the Neuroscience Center at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. The inflammation can have many causes, some of which include infection or auto immune disease.
In Wendy's case, her spinal inflammation was idiopathic, meaning that doctors couldn't diagnose a cause, Nicholas said.
While the majority of individuals do have some degree of recovery, mobility depends upon the severity of the case of transverse myelitis, Nicholas said.
"It can be absolutely devastating for many people," she said.
Many people who have experienced spinal inflammation won't go on to have it again, Nicholas said, but patients typically show the most recovery within a one-year period after the swelling first occurs. Nicholas said she's pleased about Greasamar's recovery, and her ability to stay positive and seek to improve her mobility.
"She has come a long way," she said.
With therapy, Greasamar was able to walk again, and she still holds her position as court liaison for the Dublin Police Department. Still, she said the lesions on her spine have left her numb from the waist down.
She said she first realized something wasn't right March 26, 2016, when she awoke from a nap to a numb left arm and chest pain.
"Honestly, I thought I was having a heart attack," said Greasamar, a 32-year-old Ostrander resident.
Greasamar said she was initially sent home from a hospital near her residence with the assumption that she had a pinched nerve. But when the sensation didn't go away two days later, she went to Dublin Methodist Hospital. The doctor there found lesions on her spine - a tell-tale sign of transverse myelitis, she said.
Despite physical therapy, Greasamar said, she still has muscle spasms from her chest down, and she has fallen down before because her leg muscles sometimes give out. Still, she said she counts herself as one of the more fortunate ones.
She also is fortunate to have a supportive family, she said. Her husband, Chris, especially, keeps her positive, she said.
"He is, truly, my rock," she said.
Greasamar also said her children -- Amelia, 6, and Rowan, 2 -- motivated her while she underwent physical therapy. Her daughter was able to visit her at the hospital, but Rowan, at just 10 months old, was away from her for more than two weeks, she said.
At the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Dodd Rehabilitation Hospital, medical staff designed her occupational and physical therapy around getting her ready to take care of her son again, Greasamar said.
To that end, she practiced walking with a weight that simulated the weight of a baby, and she practiced getting up and down off the ground to ensure she would be able to do that while caring for Rowan at home.
"All the work that I did was so that I could get back home and see him," she said.