Wheelchair-bound man back on his feet after risky surgery

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Wheelchair-bound man back on his feet after risky surgery
Antonio with Dr Ahmed Elsayed, neurosurgery consultant

Abu Dhabi - Antonio faced risk of permanent paralysis if the tumour wasn't excised


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 19 Dec 2017, 7:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 Dec 2017, 9:52 PM

A Filipino expat has fought his way out of a life-threatening medical condition that saw him lose the use of his legs and all body sensation
After being wheelchair-bound for months, Abu Dhabi-based Antonio Luana Mediana is back on his feet after a critical surgery and hopes to inspire others having similar problems.
A year ago, Antonio started experiencing severe upper back pain, which affected his normal work. Things got worse as he lost strength in both legs and most of his body sensation. He became paraplegic and a once active Antonio was stuck in a wheelchair. He wasn't just affected physically and mentally, but financially too. The medical treatment wasn't helping his cause. It was then that his friends took him to neurosurgery clinic in Ahalia Hospital, Mussafah.
"I was diagnosed with an intradural thoracic spinal cord tumour that had severely compressed my spinal cord and caused paralysis. I had lost body sensations. I was told about the further complications and risk of permanent paralysis if the tumour wasn't removed. I realised this is fatal and life-threatening: I was also told about the risks of the surgery," Antonio said.
Dr Ahmed Elsayed, neurosurgery consultant and department head of Ahalia Hospital Mussafah, said such cases are a bit complicated and there are risks involved.
"Antonio faced risk of permanent paralysis if the tumour wasn't excised. The surgery was critical too, as there was always chance of failure, which would worsen his condition, not counting the other surgical complications," Elsayed said.
However, Antonio took the leap of faith. He has a family to support back in the Philippines and had to stand up for them. "I knew the risks, but I trusted the doctor," Antonio said.
The over four-hour surgery to remove the spinal cord tumour was performed using microscopic techniques. The medical team succeeded in removing the tumour completely and preserving the spinal cord neural tissue.
Antonio regained power in his legs, body sensations and his movements gradually improved.
"I started walking after a few days and soon enough, I left my long-time friend - my wheelchair. Today, after three weeks of rehabilitation, I am back to work. I thank everyone for their support. When faced with such situations, we shouldn't give up but fight," Antonio added.

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