Carmelita Byrd

“Hello, I’m Carmelita Byrd, school counselor at McCarthy Teszler School, and I just want to share with you my experience of–let’s say, a health challenge–that I had a few years ago.

Let’s begin with the symptoms that I began to have in 2016. It was prior to December 2016 that I had some of these symptoms. They included weakness in my left arm, loss of strength in my left arm, slight tremors in my hand, and stiffness in my left arm as if my arm were frozen, and I could try everything to move it, but it just would not move. It was difficult for me to button my blouse, and when I began to feel a little soreness in my fingers, that’s when I decided, in December 2016, that I needed to go to the doctor. So I went to a neurologist here in Spartanburg. Based on my visible symptoms, my neurologist said it appeared to be dystonia, which is a movement disorder. However, he could not give a formal diagnosis until we did further tests. He went over those results with me:

  • Nerve ending tests: nothing glaring.
  • Blood work test: nothing glaring.
  • Spinal MRI: nothing at all.

But for the brain MRI, he did say that he needed to talk with me in another room. So with that said I was like, “uh oh, what is this?” He began to pull up on the computer screen a picture of my brain MRI, and that’s when he showed me that I had a brain tumor.

So my surgery was scheduled for June 23rd, 2017 at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. I was in the hospital at Emory for one week and I began seeing physical therapists, occupational therapists–everybody, I guess, with an “ist” at the end of their name came to see me during that week–and it was determined that I needed to be transferred somewhere for inpatient surgery.

So, I went to Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, and my mom was there with me in the beginning. And so she met many of my therapists, occupational, physical therapists, and they just did a great job with me.

I think what helped though, is, I went there with certain things on my list about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to accomplish. At SRI, you need to have your own goals, what you want to accomplish, and the therapists help you to reach your own goals. It’s not goals that the therapists have, it’s goals that you set for yourself.

Also, I remember being in the kitchen at SRI where an assignment given to me was to follow instructions on the brownie box so that I could bake brownies. I actually baked brownies. Here at SRI, there is a facility that was a real kitchen. So that was really real life because that’s what I would have been doing at home. So they could see if I had certain skills that I still needed to learn and work on, or if I had mastered those skills. That’s the kind of work that they do here at SRI.

Lidia was the therapist who found a day that I could do some pool therapy. She actually got in the pool with me, and I was grateful for that because I felt that I could move a lot better just without a lot of effort. It just seemed like the water helped to guide me, so I loved being in the water.

Everybody here at SRI can help you meet your goals, but you have to determine what those goals are first. Basically, you are your car, and they are just the navigation system to help you to get where you need to go.

If you are not already familiar with SRI, I would encourage you to check them out because good things can happen to you from the good folks that are there.”