Meet JoJo, a 21 year old rockstar from Louisiana. She is relearning how to walk and doing so with a HUGE smile on her face. Her capability to find positivity in such an unfortunate experience is so inspiring. Join JoJo on her journey as she relearns to walk!
“Hey Y’all! My name is Samantha Burns, but all my family and friends know me as JoJo. I am your typical 21 year old with one exception, I work two full time jobs and LOVE every minute of all aspects of my life.
I am a nanny for two precious little girls named Braylin & Masyn. Let me just say that they stole my heart away when I first started caring for them; their parents, Sarah & Jay are the greatest set of parents. I also work as a Dental Assistant at Crawford & Jarvis Family Dental which just happen to be the Grandparents of the little girls I nanny. They are all my second family and I love them dearly!
I live with my wonderful boyfriend Stephen. We have the sweetest, but also the goofiest white pit bull named Soren and another baby pup named Rory who is a pit mastiff. I also have a smaller pup named Miracle, but she’s such a BRAT and does not like her brother Soren at all, so she lives with her Grandparents.
NOW! Since my life has been turned upside down and I am now spending my days having to relearn how to walk. We have had to move back home with my parents because I developed a freakish spinal cord injury from receiving what is known as a “blood patch”.
My story begins in the later part of November after my 21st Birthday when I started developing a terrible migraine that I had ever experienced before. I also had severe neck and back pain. On December 3, 2015 I got an MRI on my brain and a spinal tap to check for a brain bleed or meningitis. It turns out I had neither. Still to this day I and the doctors have zero idea as to WHAT was wrong. After receiving the initial spinal tap December the 3rd I immediately developed what is known as a “spinal headache” from the spinal fluids they used to run tests on me. December 7, 2015 I had another procedure done called a blood patch. The Anesthesiologist withdrew a vial of blood from my arm and then injected my blood back into my original spinal tap site.
CRAZY BACK PAIN!!!
BUT I had immediate relief from the spinal tap headache. Immediately following my release I was informed that I must remain lying flat on my back for 24 hours. I gladly followed these instructions. After 24 hours I called my Mom and told her I was experiencing some numbness in my right lower leg that just made it seem as though it were partly asleep. It had a heavy feeling to it. Since we had no experience with a “blood patch” before we assumed that somehow this was possibly just a normal part of the experience. Later that afternoon my Mom came by to check on me. The numbness had started slowly traveling upwards on my right leg. This was making my leg feel very tired and very heavy but I walked around on it trying to make it “wake up” as we called it. My best friend Alyssa was with us that day. She had just graduated nursing school and insisted there was something wrong. My Mom called my doctor’s office and they too thought this could just be a possible side effect and informed us to give them a call if it worsened.
Whelp! It only worsened throughout the night. My boyfriend and I called my Mom and told her that both of my legs were numb and heavy. I was so frightened. My Mom called the ER where I had the procedure and the nurse that took the call began explaining how she too had had this same procedure done and she too experienced the same symptoms. She said not to worry, that these were completely normal because she too had had the same thing happen to her. She told my Mom to tell me to drink a lot of fluid and take ibuprofen and that I would feel better soon. For some reason my mind was still in a frightened state. Something just wasn’t right. The very next morning I was awakened by a phone call from my doctors office letting me know I was to go straight to the ER.
So as it goes, my journey of having to relearn to walk begins as I was placed in the hospital on December 10th of 2015 and remained until January 15th of 2016. I used to love going up to the gym after a long day of working, it was such a great stress relief to unwind after a long day. After the gym I would take a jog around my neighborhood. I would say that before December 7th, 2015 I was just your average typical active 21 year old person. I enjoyed so many things and was loving the life that my boyfriend and I were carving out for ourselves. My all time favorite thing to do is to shoot my guns out in the woods any chance we could, or ride around the woods on my 4~wheeler and get muddy from head to toe.
Today, I am staying positive and always smiling. I believe God made this happen to teach me so many things I didn’t know before. I have learned to love myself for who I am, I’ve learned patience with myself and others, I’ve learned to not take anything for granted (big or small). I have really learned to trust myself. I never in a million years imagined I would turn 21 and become an complete paraplegic! If there’s one thing I want more than anything, it is to inspire others. I want to help others learn to love who they are and to help them realize just how amazing they are. I know that I’ll never give up on this fight and I hope to encourage others to keep fighting whatever battle they have! I am a champion!!
I am Samantha and I love and accept myself.”