Keria McPherson is learning to walk again, thanks to her determination and physical therapist Emily Davis at the NMMC Outpatient Rehabilitation Center. When Keria woke up Oct. 21, 2019, she felt extremely weak yet somehow made it to work. But when she sat down to eat breakfast there, “I couldn’t feel my legs,” the 24-year-old Tupelo resident says. “I couldn’t get out of the chair.”
After two weeks in two hospitals, doctors were still baffled at the cause. They diagnosed Keria with functional paralysis, which refers to neurological symptoms that can't be explained by a neurological disease or other medical condition. Keria arrived at NMMC’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center in early November in a wheelchair. “We started by having Keria stand in a standing frame to try to get her leg muscles to react,” Emily says. “We have done range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. We’ve also done E-stim, or electrical stimulation, as well as dry needling to generate some muscle contraction.” When Keria started using a walker, she could only stand with two people assisting and for only a few seconds.
“It’s been very challenging,” says Keria, who has a 2-year-old son, Rhylan. “To go from doing everything on your own to having to have someone help you do everything is just kind of devastating.” A few weeks ago, she ditched the wheelchair altogether and is using the walker by herself. While it has been slow going, Keria is resolved to realize her dream of becoming a registered nurse. Whether in therapy or in life, she says, “I’m always down for a challenge.”