Ke’erra Williams was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Wernicke encephalopathy while pregnant with her son. Today, she continues to regain strength and function at Touro’s Neuro Rehabilitation Center.
Ke’erra Williams was ecstatic to hear the news about her pregnancy. Williams’ pregnancy began with morning sickness, like it does for many women. She thought the nausea was normal. Her mother, Kenya Fortenberry, began to think otherwise when her daughter’s morning sickness became a daily battle. Williams began to experience weak, numb legs. Six months into the pregnancy, her health continued to deteriorate, and she lost a significant amount of weight.
During the last three months of her pregnancy, Williams was in and out of the hospital constantly. Her symptoms perplexed physicians. She experienced temporary blindness, and at one point fell into a coma state. At seven months pregnant, Williams developed tremors, and her memory started to fade.
Williams’ OB/GYN ordered an MRI and blood tests to determine the problem. The results showed that Williams was suffering from severe vitamin B deficiency, which can cause a condition known as Wernicke encephalopathy (WE). WE is a serious, often long-term neurological disorder that can be significantly disabling and potentially fatal. While the news of her condition concerned her, Williams was determined to deliver a healthy baby. She pushed herself to participate in outpatient physical therapy until her delivery.
Road to Recovery
After Williams gave birth to her beautiful son, Makhi, her WE became worse. Her tremors were uncontrollable, and the terrible nausea continued. “Her shakes were so bad that I had to feed her and take care of everything for her,” said Fortenberry. Williams was told that she would never be able to walk again and that her condition was permanent. She remained determined to prove otherwise.
A month after her son was born, Williams continued outpatient rehabilitation at Touro’s Neuro Rehabilitation Center. Her physical therapist, Dana Segraves, is supporting Williams’ goal to walk again. Williams has been receiving physical therapy at Touro for almost two years and has seen tremendous improvement. Her tremors have slightly subsided, and she can now stand up for a few minutes without support. “She has gone from being wheelchair bound to walking with a rolling walker. We are now working on walking with a cane,” said Segraves.
Williams is using the Aretech ZeroG suspended track at Touro’s Neuro Rehabilitation Center to help her learn to walk again. The track is mounted to the ceiling and allows the patient to move in many directions. A harness is attached to the patient to build confidence and ensure safety. It provides support during an array of physical therapy activities, such as sit-to-stand, walking, balance and climbing stairs. “She doesn’t have to depend on me to correct her, and she can figure it out on her own,” said Segraves. “I can really challenge her because she feels safer.”
The fear of falling is eliminated, and the best part of the suspended track for Williams is that she can practice holding and carrying her son for the first time.
Grateful and Motivated
Williams is motivated to make a full recovery. “My goalis to do things on my own without any help at all,” shesaid. She also wants to help her mother by caring forher son independently. Williams and Fortenberry are extremely grateful for the care she has received and to Segraves for helping her recover. “Ke’erra really went through a lot during this pregnancy. She really did, and I want to see her walk again,” said Fortenberry.
REHAB THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
The Neuro Rehabilitation Center at Touro specializes in the treatment of patients with
brain injury, strokes, spinal cord injuries or other neurological injuries or illnesses, using a community-integrated approach.
Learn more about our Neuro Rehabilitation program online at www.touro.com/rehab-neuro or call 504-897-8157.
Written by Kristin Fletcher Lotten