Future bright for Emma Myers now that she’s back home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 28, 2021

By David Freeze

For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — From the age of 4, Emma Myers had never been without extensive nerve pain. Diagnosed with a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Emma has spent the previous 38 weeks at the Spero Clinic in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Now 16, the future looks a lot brighter than anytime that she can remember.

On Oct. 9, Grace Lutheran Church had its 13th annual fish fry, one of Rowan’s largest ongoing fundraisers. Every dollar raised goes to the Myers family to help cover Emma’s medical expenses.

At about week 27, Emma finally started having drops in her pain levels and increasing mobility. Focal points were her right hand which has almost returned to normal and close behind is her right leg and foot. Both the leg and foot still have pain but less than Emma can remember since she was so young when all of this started. Doctors think that the CRPS began following surgery on the leg and has mostly affected the right side of her body. Since week 27, there has been slow and steady improvement. Emma’s severe nausea has greatly improved as well, with none present on some days.

Mom Melisa said, “Dr. Katinka Van Der Merwe at Spero told us that Emma was one of their most difficult cases to date and it hasn’t been easy. They were very impressed with Emma’s attitude and the fact she was never willing to give up. They were very clear that her persistence played a big part in getting where she is today.”

The Myers family incurred a lot of debt, already over $100,000 before the fundraiser at Grace Lutheran. Savings were down to $4,000, not quite enough to cover two weeks of treatment.

Melisa said, “That just shows how God shows up! We received the first $60,000 from Grace. At this point we had to make some important decisions. We could just keep going in the program until the money ran out or we could stay five more weeks and purchase all of the equipment Emma would need at home to keep her going in the right direction.”

Emma’s therapist agreed that she was only going to improve from this point and her body was ready to continue at home. The family chose to purchase the equipment, so that Emma would be set for the future. Melisa said, “I wanted her to have the best chance possible to fight this beast.”

Emma will remain home-schooled, and she will have a vigorous treatment/therapy schedule for the near future. She will be doing weekly zoom therapy sessions with her therapist and will see Dr. David Pascal in Cary for regular neurological checks. Making sure her neurological system stays on track will continue for the rest of Emma’s life.

Melisa added, “Unfortunately, unless something major happens in our insurance system, her care for the CRPS will always have to be out of pocket.  But praise God, because of Grace Lutheran Church we were able to provide Emma with this needed equipment!”

Fish fry event chairman Mike Yost said, “The 2021 fish fry was our biggest event ever, made better because all the volunteers worked so hard. Donations were a big part of the record $72,250 that has been raised so far. People still call wanting to help and last year we received donations all the way through December. We’re glad the whole Myers family will be home for Thanksgiving, and we hope to have them visit with us at Grace Lutheran soon.” Yost can be reached at 704-213-1262.

On Sunday, Nov. 12, Emma and her family arrived back home in Rockwell just before 2 p.m. On hand and waiting were a large crowd of family, friends and Grace Lutheran members, including Robin Bernhardt. She said, “It is amazing that we pulled the fish fry off even though we still aren’t having regular church services. We had a few less volunteers than normal but community members helped out. Many of the past recipients were on hand too. All of this made for a truly heartwarming experience.”

Emma has made tremendous progress. She is doing things she couldn’t do since age four without causing pain flares. Emma has recently played on a playground and can be outside in the wind. Emma went shopping, not possible before because she couldn’t be on her feet that long. Emma now refuses to get back into a wheelchair even if only for short periods. She plans to get her license, a job, go hiking and deep-sea fishing. Emma dreams of a trip to Disney World because she can actually walk the park, or at least most of it because she’s still building stamina.

   Emma was determined to run before she left the clinic. Her therapist has been working on running with Emma a little bit, something that has become a very emotional experience at this point. Melisa added, “She’s been running everywhere just because she can now.  Something we take for granted has become magical to her. She wants to be able to run down our neighborhood road. It’s amazing watching her rediscover the world! She has blossomed and built so much confidence while in Arkansas. It has been a beautiful thing to witness! She’s ready to live.”