Hockey player stricken with transverse myelitis recovering quickly

Evan Easton is recovering after being stricken with transverse myelitis just before Christmas. - submitted
Evan Easton is recovering after being stricken with transverse myelitis just before Christmas.
— image credit: submitted

Hockey player Evan Easton is making a miraculous recovery from transverse myelitis, but his prognosis didn't look good for a while.

Easton, 14, a Cowichan Valley Bantam rep hockey team member, has experienced some incredible lows and highs in the last month since Dec. 10.

"We thought he just had flu-like symptoms, just the normal body aches,'' said dad Rob Easton.

"As the day progressed, his legs started to hurt and by Wednesday night (Dec. 11), he was in excruciating pain.''

The Eastons finally decided Evan's condition warranted a trip to Cowichan District Hospital.

"It was just a pain I knew was not normal,'' said mom Gina.

At first it was thought Evan was simply dehydrated, but "he got up to walk and couldn't bear any weight on his legs,'' said Rob.

By Thursday, Dec. 12, he was rushed to Victoria General Hospital. "By that time, he was totally paralyzed from his stomach sternum area all the way down to his toes,'' said Rob. "He couldn't feel anything.''

Evan was given an MRI and a spinal tap before a diagnosis of transverse myelitis was confirmed. Transverse myelitis is a neurological condition consisting of an inflammatory process of the spinal cord.

Concerns about his situation led to Evan being transported to B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver. The Eastons were told at that point that Evan's condition was serious.

"The prognosis from that was very scary to where he's at right now,'' said Gina last week. "We are amazed with his recovery so far.

But, along the way, "it was a nightmare I was hoping to wake up from, for sure,'' said Gina.

"He walks now without any assistance,'' said Rob. "He's really surprised the doctors over there.''

Evan came home Dec. 31.

Gina said the support of the valley for the family was incredible during the difficult time.

"To have all that directed to us was so overwhelming,'' she said. "I think that definitely contributed to his recovery.''

Evan got a day pass to watch his hockey teammates play a couple of games at a tournament in Burnaby.

Family friend Sarah Green organized the sale of take-and-bake pizzas to help offset the Eastons' costs during the ordeal.

Evan hopes to get back on the ice soon.

"With the love and passion for hockey he has, he's going to work hard,'' said Gina.

Evan's not completely out of the woods yet and it will still take some time before he's back to normal, but the worst definitely seems to be over for the Grade 9 Cowichan Secondary Quamichan campus student.

"Even now he still has more numbing on the right side,'' said Gina. "The left side is still a little bit stronger. His toes and his feet are still kind of nervy. Those nerves are still a bit tingly.''

The Eastons feel strongly it all comes down to state of mind and youth, in this case, that helped Evan pull through.

"We made the best of it for everything he went through,'' said Gina. "His strength gave us strength. He was a trooper through the whole thing.''

"A kid that's in good shape is going to recover easier than a kid that's not,'' reasoned Rob.

"You have a healthy, strong athletic kid you'd think nothing would happen this way. It hit him in a day or two.''

"He's doing continued therapy every day, just exercises he was given from Vancouver,'' added Gina.





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