Due to the unfortunate circumstances when Taylor was born, complications during birth were not handled in a timely manner. This in return caused her to have a stroke due to lack of oxygen to the brain. At the age of three, she was diagnosed with monoplegic infantile cerebral palsy. Shriners had at that time ordered her a wheelchair, stating she would never be able to walk. With determination, Taylor taught herself how to walk incorrectly on her “tip toes”. This way of walking caused a deformity in her right hip, making her less mobile.
Soon after her diagnosis, she was referred to Westcoast Brace & Limb. Taylor’s first visit was a very positive experience and helped set the tone for what was to come in her future. She was casted for custom bilateral AFO’s by Mr. Tom. He always walked into the room with an upbeat, positive attitude that made Taylor smile and feel more comfortable. As a young child that has been through so many traumatic experiences, the staff at Westcoast eased the stress of Taylor as well as the family with every visit.
Taylor continued to receive custom AFO’s and on occasion DAFO’s throughout her childhood and adultescent years. Tom has always gone out of his way to make sure she was getting the best care. A few years ago his schedule changed as he started traveling more to other offices. Mrs. Denise and Mrs. Linda made special arrangements for Tom to visit the North Tampa office because Taylor had immediately created a significant bond and was more comfortable with him. The special arrangements that were made for Tom to fit her for any new custom braces or answer any questions are the main reasons we will always use and refer any new patients to Westcoast Brace and Limb.
Taylor has undergone two major surgeries since November of last year, 2013. These surgeries were to correct her hip displacement and help lessen her pain and gait impairment. Her surgeries include, right proximal femur de-rotational osteotomy, right fibula de-rotational osteotomy, right tibia osteotomy, gastrocnemius recession, right calcaneal osteotomy, posterior tibial tendon shortening, gastrocnemius lengthening and right greater toe fusion. In human terms, this means… she had four bones cut in half, a hip rotated from her abnormal 70 degree to the correct 15 degree, calf muscle cut to relieve the spasticity and throbbing constant pain and finally her foot and ankle reconstructed.
Taylor has always been independent and does not like the word “can’t”. She has a “can do” attitude that will not hold her back. She is a mentor and an inspiration to many who cross her path. As a freshman at Zephyrhills High School, she joined the swim team. From day one, the coaches and teammates accepted Taylor as if she had no disability. Coach Cooley visited her in the hospital and showed Taylor she now has a very large family and support system. Returning to Zephyrhills High School as a sophomore this year, she joined the swim team again. The first few weeks of practice, Taylor wasn’t able to swim due to her cast post-operatively. She still showed up to swim every day to show her support, like her team does for her. Taylor finally got her cast off on August 14th (only four weeks after her surgery) and was in the pool the same day participating with her team. On August 27th, Taylor swam the 50 Free in 50 seconds at the first meet of the season.
I know she will only get better throughout the season because of the support she has from West Coast Brace and Limb, Coach Cooley, Coach Gramm, her teammates, Physicians, family and friends. My goals and aspirations for Taylor’s future would be to continue to spread her joy for life and always reach for her goals. She has been a determined, independent, hardworking young woman from the second she was born. I am extremely happy that West Coast (Brace and Limb) have always been there to help her succeed her dreams and one day not have to wear her leg braces any more.