Woman wakes up with sore neck and thinks she’s ‘slept funny’, hours later she’s paralyzed


Never, ever take life for granted.

It’s a piece of advice we’re given often, but sadly one many of us discard as an afterthought. When things are going well and the days are passing without much commotion, it can be all too easy to forget that fortunes can change on a dime.

Until the day something happens to bring that harsh reality home.

Helen Fincham was just 21-years-old when she woke up one morning with pain in her neck. Naturally, she assumed she had simply slept awkwardly, and thought nothing more of it.

Mere hours later, though, she was paralysed.

When Helen Fincham, from Wales, was 21, she woke up feeling stiff and sore in her neck. Initially dismissing the symptoms, it wasn’t until hours later when she was lying on her bed with a tight chest that she decided to call the emergency services.

Paramedics rushed to her home, but by the time they got there she couldn’t even walk. According to reports, she was taken to hospital, where she was diagnosed with a rare condition known as transverse myelitis.

“They went to help me up and I just fell through their arms and I was looking up at them confused as to why I wasn’t stood up,” Helen said.

“The next day I was taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea, and they were doing that thing to test your reflexes, where your leg is supposed to shoot up after your knee is tapped.

“My leg wasn’t doing that. I was crying, I couldn’t even wipe my own tears.”

Frustrating situation

Helen was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a condition that apparently has no known cure. She began a gruelling period of her life wherein she spent six months in hospital and a further 12 in rehab. Helen’s managed to regain some movement in her arms and legs, but the condition has left her requiring constant care.

“I can move my arms enough to feed myself but I can’t cut up food or prepare anything like that. I need full on care. I can’t do much independently,” Helen said.

“Last year, when it was really hot, I couldn’t even get outside by myself to sit out in the sunshine. I was just stuck inside waiting for my carers to come.

“I rely on people to wash me, dress me, move me, get me out of the car.

“I am so appreciative of the care I receive, but I just want to be able to do things for myself like any other 24-year-old. I love getting out of the house, I have been imprisoned long enough.”

It’s Helen’s aim to become more independent, though she receives just 15 minutes of physiotherapy a week through the NHS.

“I feel guilty for asking for support, but it is not a broken leg that I can fix in six weeks.

“I need physio to help me get stronger, and hopefully once I am more able, I can get stronger naturally.”

Helen has a Just Giving page that can be found here.

We can only imagine how frustrating it must be for Helen to have to battle this torment on a daily basis, knowing that she’s held back through no fault of her own.

We’re sending all our thoughts and prayers to this brave young woman in the hope that her condition improves.

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