Historic Gathering of 40- and 50-year SCI Survivors

Since I am a spinal cord injury Survivor starting into year 55 I felt like I should put the story of these Brave SCI survivors on my blog site to share with the rest of the world. I have written a book about my 50 plus years and I will post the link to that book also and hope you find it interesting reading. Here is the link to my book.




“How I Lived 50 + Years With a Spinal Cord Injury”

Greetings to all of my blogging friends. I thought some of you might be interested in finding out my new book is just coming out in paperback. I have included a hundred and two of my best blog stories in this book.

I hope somebody out there enjoys it. Happy reading. Leland

My new book is now available in paperback at Amazon “How I Lived 50 + Years With a Spinal Cord Injury”

I Defied the Odds



An unexpected victory? A snapshot of an unlikely moment? This week, show us something that defies the odds.

I Defied the Odds

In this more recent picture I was admitted to the hospital with high fever and chills, being diagnosed with a severe bladder infection. They ran a central IV line into my arm, through a vein, to a large central vein of the heart. I spent three days receiving antibiotics through the I V. They finally got the infection under control and I was allowed to go home. I considered this one ‘more’ time in my life when I was lucky enough to go against the odds. To defy the odds is really my life story. I feel very fortunate, exceedingly thankful!

I was diagnosed with a neurogenic bladder in 1985. That pretty well means your bladder doesn’t work right anymore and your subject to everything that entails, plus infections. In most cases an indwelling catheter is used to eliminate the urine from the body. In my case, I somehow learned to manage to empty my bladder by forcing downward pressure with everything below my diaphram, all of my guts pushing against the bladder to empty it out. My bladder was pretty much an empty sac, with no muscle left in it. This self learned process has worked out well for me. Doctors through the years have wanted me to use a catheter, if I had, I probably would have had multiple infections and been dead by now. I take high doses of cranberry supplements and vitamin C daily, also try to drink lots of fluids.

“Neurogenic bladder is bladder dysfunction (flaccid or spastic) caused by neurologic damage. Symptoms can include overflow incontinence, frequency, urgency, urge incontinence, and retention. Risk of serious complications (eg, recurrent infection, vesicoureteral reflux, autonomic dysreflexia) is high. Diagnosis involves imaging and cystoscopy or urodynamic testing. Treatment involves catheterization or measures to trigger urination.”

My bladder problems go all the way back to 1964 when I had a spinal fracture, nerve damage was done to my bladder and bowel control. I spent three months in the hospital in 1964 on a Stryker Frame. I walked out of that hospital with the use of nothing but a cane. Some felt at that time, it was against the odds.


After about a year of recovery, I spent close to 20 years on many different jobs. My original spinal cord injury continued to slowly take its toll on my body. Syringomyelia started destroying my spinal cord from the inside. I was not diagnosed until 1985 with that rare condition. I have had two different drains, “shunts” placed in the spinal cord to relieve spinal fluid pressure build up. I can still walk today. I need a walker to hang on to. Life is good, even when it’s not so good, sometimes we have to just defy the odds.


Narrow Spinal Canal

Photo Challenge


From spaghetti to the quiet alley behind your house, this week show us something narrow.

I couldn’t get my wife to unscrew my head and take these pictures so I went to Google free images and borrowed some.


This picture shows in good detail a narrow spinal canal and what is taking place in the spinal column. The white Subdural space should be large enough to give the spinal cord ample room. In this case that space is closing shut from the presence of syringomyelia inside of the spinal cord and this one extends into the brain stem. The syringomyelia creates a cavity inside of the spinal cord. It continues to grow and stretch, drain shunts can help lower spinal cord pressure. Pressure causes the spinal cord to swell up causing the spinal canal area to narrow. After so much swelling takes place the spinal cord comes in contact with the bones of the vertebrae. This creates nerve damage, sensory loss, pain and many other symptoms such as respiratory loss and organ failure. Together, the brain and spinal cord are known as the central nervous system (CNS). They do miraculous work together as a team but do not tolerate outside interference very well.

Syringomyelia has been present in my spinal cord for almost fifty years. The full length of my spinal cord is now hollowed out by the cavity that the syringomyelia created. I have had two drain shunts installed. The narrowing of my spinal canal continues and in my case I also have spinal stenosis in the cervical spine. The pictures at the bottom of this post show a normal spinal column and also a spinal column with stenosis.

thCOAVH434In the year 2000. I had surgery on my cervical spine for stenosis.  They removed the front half of a vertebrae, then cleaned out pieces of  bone spurs,  popped the vertebrae back in place and  grafted it with bone bank parts.  Six screws  and a metal plate now keep my head from falling off , my neck gets awfully sore  just about every day. An indicator of a narrow space in the neck again. No more repair jobs for me.

In spite of all the progress that has been made in the medical field, damage to the brain and spinal cord leave many doctors playing a guessing game when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Very seldom are there two patients under their care who will have the same symptoms, neurogenic pain, paralysis or a long list of other problems from the same spinal cord injuries.