Sunday, November 22, 2009

Local teen tops national wheelchair tennis rankings

Sunday, November 22, 2009

University City’s Dana Mathewson, 
a women’s wheelchair tennis champion, 
is now attending the University of Arizona.

What would you expect from a high school senior, who is a gifted tennis player, a community volunteer with 200 hours of service her senior year and a 4.1 grade point average at a prestigious private school like Bishop’s? You might answer that the sky’s the limit.

Dana Mathewson graduated from Bishop’s last June and set her academic and athletic sights on the University of Arizona, where she is adjusting to dorm life, tennis competition, academics and everything a college freshman deals with. The sky is the limit for Dana still.

Dana is ranked the No. 1 Open Player in the United States Women’s Wheelchair Tennis.

“I haven’t checked my international ranking in a few weeks, but last I checked I was ranked No. 22 in the world for Women’s Open singles as well. I’m pretty pleased with myself as of late. Hopefully, I can keep up my rankings, though, in the off-season,” Dana said.

Growing up in University City, she attended Mission Bay Montessori Academy and absolutely loved it. After graduating from sixth grade, she went to Bishop’s and had to repeat seventh grade due to numerous medical absences.

“I got ’sick’ or injured when I was entering sixth grade and it took my body and mind a long time to adjust to my new situation, I guess,” she said. “I say I got sick because the reason I’m in a wheelchair is a bit of a weird one.”

When Dana was 10, she contracted a rare neurological disease known as Transverse Myelitis (TM).

“I think I remember doctors saying only five in one million people contract it each year. Lucky me!” she said. “I was at soccer practice running sprints at the very end when I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. It almost felt like someone was stabbing me, and then my legs started to feel weaker and proceeded to get a ‘pins and needles’ feeling like when a limb falls asleep. The rest is a flash of random memories, but I do remember crying in the car on the ride home, being helped into the living room, and then lying on my living room floor. In a matter of minutes, I was completely paralyzed from my belly button down.”

Transverse Myelitis affects the spinal cord and causes the immune system to attack a certain area. It attacked a very low region of her back. In some cases, TM has been known to go as high as the neck region, which leaves victims quadriplegics. With onset very fast, Dana’s parents, both physicians, raced her to Children’s Hospital’s emergency room, where she was treated with steroids. She credits the steroid treatment as the reason she is able to feel her legs now and stand/walk very limitedly.

“Initially I was told that any sort of return was impossible, so I consider myself to be extremely lucky,” she said.

When asked if she felt questions dealing with her medical situation may have been too insensitive, Dana responded promptly and pleasantly: “Please don’t feel rude by asking me these questions. They used to bother me, but I’m at a stage now where I’d rather educate people about what happened to me instead of hiding it.”

Dana has been playing tennis for 5 ½ years; the last three years she’s played competitive basketball, too. She credits her mom for getting her into sports. Her mom drove her to various sports camps, while Dana admitted to screaming all the way, only to find herself two hours later with a huge smile on her face.

“I fell in love with wheelchair sports immediately,” she said.

At San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation (SDASF), Dana met Marla Knox, a woman she credits for her athletic success.

“She introduced me to the SDASF basketball team, called San Diego Hammer,” Dana said. “I played the last two years in high school for that team and finished second in the nation.”

Dana’s mom took her to a Coronado tennis camp several years ago. Once again Dana balked at the idea at first, but after only five minutes, she loved the camp. While she didn’t feel as though she would be a great player, she says that something clicks inside of her when she is out on the court.

“It’s scary being out there by yourself, but it is incredibly rewarding, too,” she said.
University of Arizona is the only American university that has a reputable wheelchair tennis team. Many colleges have basketball and track teams, but in the United States, tennis is less popular, unlike other nations. Dana is part of the wheelchair tennis team as well as the women’s basketball team. She travels with each team to various tournaments locally or nationally. In regard to her academic major, she is leaning toward speech pathology.

When Dana comes home for her Thanksgiving break, she will probably visit some of her mentors, including Steve Halverson, a private tennis coach who helped fine-tune her game. She might peek in at basketball practice at Muni gym in Balboa Park on a Saturday to see some wheelchair basketball practice. No doubt she will also open some books since she is enrolled in the honors college at U of A.

Her tennis tournament season will run from February to September, although the team trains year-round. Basketball is “good cardio for tennis,” according to Dana. Her life is busy with two sports and mandatory study halls for athletes.

Dana has a keen zest for life. She has memories of trips overseas at places like Nottingham, England last summer, where she distinguished herself at World Team Cup, analogous to Davis Cup. The sky is the limit and then some for this young woman, whose enthusiasm should be bottled and sprinkled on the rest of us.


Woman says doctors' negligence left her disabled

Last Updated: 22nd November 2009, 5:45am

  A Fort McMurray woman has filed a $475,000 medical malpractice lawsuit against six doctors in the northern Alberta city after alleging she was left permanently disabled when a fracture in her left foot was not identified. 

   In an Oct. 9 statement of claim, Karen Stuckless alleges she went to the Northern Lights Health Centre after she injured her left foot and ankle in an Oct. 13, 2007 fall.

  Stuckless claims she was diagnosed with a sprained left ankle following X-rays and given Tylenol 3 for her pain. 

   She alleges she was in significant pain and returned to the hospital eight days later. 

  Another X-ray was taken and she was told no fracture or displacement was seen and she was discharged with a cast boot on her ankle. 

   On Nov. 9, 2007, Stuckless says she went to her family physician and was told to get further X-rays. She says she did and a different doctor identified a projected fracture in a bone in her foot and she was told to get further therapy. 

   Four days later, Stuckless claims she returned to the hospital and the cast boot was reapplied to her ankle and she was told to keep mobile. Two weeks after that she went back for a follow-up and alleges swelling was identified in her left foot and she was told to not put weight on it. 

   She claims she returned after another two weeks and was told the fracture had healed and she should gradually increase her activities and begin physical therapy.

  On Dec. 23, 2007, Stuckless went to the hospital complaining of ongoing pain, especially with weight bearing, and alleges another X-ray was taken and she was advised there was no evidence of bone healing and a CT scan was arranged as well as a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

  On Jan. 2, 2008, Stuckless claims she was diagnosed as suffering from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and alleges it was caused by the failure to identify the fracture and offer her appropriate treatment.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Former Kiss Drummer Battled Breast

Posted by Tiffany Sharples O'Callaghan
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Virginia Teen Athlete In Wheel Chair After H1N1 Vaccine Shot

    A teenage Virginia athlete is in a wheel chair now after suffering Guillain-Barre Syndrome within hours after receiving an H1N1 swine flu vaccine shot.Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is the name given to anyone who exhibits a particular set of neurological symptoms including muscle weakness and muscle spasms. 14-year-old Jordan McFarland developed severe headaches, muscle spasms and weakness in his legs after being injected. He will need “extensive physical therapy” to recovery, reports MSNBC. Plus, he’ll need the help of a walker for four to six weeks. NaturalNews) A teenage Virginia athlete is in a wheel chair now after suffering Guillain-Barre Syndrome within hours after receiving an H1N1 swine flu vaccine shot. 14-year-old Jordan McFarland developed severe headaches, muscle spasms and weakness in his legs after being injected. He will need “extensive physical therapy” to recovery, reports MSNBC. Plus, he’ll need the help of a walker for four to six weeks.

  Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is the name given to anyone who exhibits a particular set of neurological symptoms including muscle weakness and muscle spasms. GBS is now increasingly occurring following H1N1 vaccine injections. It was diagnosed in thousands of patients following the 1976 swine flu vaccine scare, and it appears to be recurring here in 2009 as the swine flu vaccine makes it into more widespread distribution.

  Health authorities, however, remain adamant that H1N1 vaccines are never the cause of GBS, and that such diagnoses are “pure coincidence.” This blatantly unscientific P.R. tactic is designed to dismiss any and all concerns over the neurological side effects of H1N1 vaccines by simply denying they exist. To date, the CDC has received reports of five additional people being diagnosed with GBS following swine flu vaccinations, but it dismisses them all as coincidence. “It’s much less than we’d expect,” says CDC official Dr. Claudia J. Vellozzi. (Which is sort of interesting all by itself, because it reveals that the CDC expects a lot more people to get GBS following vaccine injections…)

  At the same time, part of the reason the CDC isn’t receiving many reports on neurological disorders caused by H1N1 vaccines is because they participated in a massive media brainwashing event that prepped the population to dismiss all side effects by pre-announcing the bizarre idea that “side effects experienced after vaccine injections are not related to vaccines.” 

  This was an organized, nationwide media brainwashing campaign engineered by the CDC, FDA and drug companies. It sought to pre-program health consumers to automatically dismiss serious side effects that appeared in the hours after receiving swine flu vaccine injections.

  The campaign worked. In fact, even the GBS of this young man, Jordan McFarland, wasn’t submitted to the CDC. It only came to light when his step-mother submitted details to’s reader reporting tool. In other words, this was citizen journalism at work, where a parent submitted information directly to the media.

  For this to occur is exceedingly rare. Most parents would simply wait for their doctor to submit such information to health authorities, not knowing that submitting reports of vaccine-related side effects remains voluntary in modern medicine.

  No requirement to report vaccine side effects...
You read that right: There is no requirement that doctors send reports of vaccine side effects to any health authority at all. 

  And that raises the question: So how do they really know how many people are suffering neurological side effects from the H1N1 vaccines?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Climb Until Your Dream Comes True

Often your tasks will be many,
and more than you think you can do.
Often the road will be rugged
and the hills insurmountable, too.

Always remember, the hills ahead
Are never as steep as they seem,
And with faith in your heart start upward
And climb 'till you reach your dream.

Nothing in life that is worthy
Is ever too hard to achieve
If you have the courage to try it
And you have the faith to believe...

Faith is a force that is greater
Than knowledge or power or skill
And many defeats turn to triumph
If you trust in God's wisdom and will.

Faith is a mover of mountains,
There's nothing that God cannot do,
So start out today with faith in your heart

And Climb Until Your Dream Comes True

by Helen Steiner Rice