Little Warrior Survivor, Tanner Plummer

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On March 8th, 2015 my 6 year old son, Tanner Plummer, suffered a ruptured AVM in the cerebellum while playing at home. He complained of a “bad” headache, became nauseous and said he was really dizzy. I immediately knew this was an emergency because 18 years ago I lost my sister at the age of 33 to an aneurysm and these were all things she mentioned before losing consciousness.

I called 911 and as the ambulance was pulling up Tanner became unconscious, they rushed him to the local hospital where a CT was performed and they saw what they thought was a “very large tumor” resting at the base of his cerebellum, he was having difficulty breathing so they intubated him and he was life flighted to Lutheran General in Park Ridge, Illinois where an emergency craniotomy was performed and the diagnosis of ruptured AVM was given.

This was the first we had ever heard of an AVM. Tanner was put into a medically induced coma and kept on a ventilator for eight days, he had a very difficult time during those eight days, with many ICP (intracranial pressure) spikes. When the decision was made to allow him to gradually wake up it was a very heart breaking thing to witness, he had a difficult time with medication withdrawal and had to be sedated many times for his own comfort. He was very confused and scared because suddenly he could no longer do anything – he couldn’t swallow, talk, hold his head up, control his bladder or bowels, his movements were jerky and walking was impossible.

Tanner had tubes and IV’s coming out of just about every part of his body, even his head. This is a hard thing for anyone to accept, especially an innocent 6 year old boy who just a few weeks earlier was running, jumping, riding a bike, eating chocolate and drinking juice. The therapists at Lutheran General worked with him every day to help him overcome some deficits and he was finally able to talk, sit and eat so the feeding tube was removed and this freed him up to be transferred to an in patient rehab center.

On April 2nd, he became the newest resident of the six-bed pediatric unit at Marion Joy rehab center in Wheaton, Illinois where he worked very hard for 2 weeks to learn to stand and walk short distances with the aid of a walker. On April 18th, he was released home, with a wheelchair and walker to continue outpatient P.T, O.T and speech therapy four times a week. His deficits include abnormal gait, left side weakness, motor function delay, ADHD and mood swings.

As of today, Tanner is wheelchair and walker free, back in school as a 2nd grader full-time and continues with physical therapy bi-weekly. He just re-learned how to ride a bike and is an avid swimmer who talks up a storm!

The following story was submitted by Molly Thomas, the mother of Tanner Plummer. The Joe Niekro Foundation wants to thank Molly for sharing her son’s story and we wish Tanner continued success with recovery!

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