Sophia Story. An Inspiring Journey: Overcoming Spinal Cord Injury and Embracing New Beginnings

An Inspiring Journey of Recovery and Innovation

The heartfelt story of Sofia Corona, who not only experienced a transformative journey as a client but also became an inspiring patient representative. Hear Sofia’s story, from enduring a life-altering spinal cord injury to embracing cutting-edge treatments in Thailand, and finally to her impactful role at Verita Neuro in Mexico.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Sofia Corona. I’m from Mexico, and I work as a Patient Representative. I have a complete spinal cord injury at levels C5 -C6. I suffered this injury in an accident back in 2018. I currently work in Guadalajara, Mexico and am involved in activities that allow me to connect with others who have similar conditions.

Can you tell us about your accident and your injury level?

The accident happened in 2018 while I was returning from the Christmas holidays in the United States with my family. We had a car accident on the road back to Mexico. I was lying down in the passenger seat without a seatbelt when we hit a wall on the side of the road. The impact caused my neck to hit hard, affecting my spinal cord at the C5 and C6 levels. I was conscious after the accident but soon realized I couldn’t move my legs, and shortly after, I had difficulty breathing and experienced numbness in my arms and hands. When the ambulance arrived, I was quickly taken to a hospital near Guadalajara where I underwent emergency surgery. After being in a coma for two days, the doctors diagnosed me with a quadriplegic injury. At first, I was unsure about what this diagnosis meant, though I remembered a neighbor with a similar condition who couldn’t move anything but his neck. Despite my initial disbelief, further tests confirmed that while my arms and wrists retained some movement, my spinal cord injury was severe, profoundly impacting my mobility and sensory functions.

“So you, you have to be very strong, you always have this strong mind and you always achieve what you want”. - Sofia’s brother 

How did you find out about Verita Neuro?

After my accident and initial treatment, I met Dr. Beatriz, who is one of the leading doctors here in Guadalajara at Verita Neuro. She was recommended to my family by someone who knew of her expertise in managing complex spinal injuries. Dr. Beatriz explained to me what a spinal cord injury entails and outlined the next steps in my treatment. This introduction was pivotal as she guided me through a comprehensive program that included physical, pulmonary, and occupational therapies starting about 11 days post-surgery. As my treatment progressed, Dr. Beatriz continually educated me on the potential benefits of innovative therapies offered by Verita Neuro, including advanced neuromodulation techniques and personalized rehabilitation plans tailored to my specific needs. Her thorough understanding and compassionate approach deeply influenced my decision to embrace the treatments proposed at Verita Neuro, setting a foundation for my recovery journey.

What made you decide to receive the treatment in Thailand?

After several months of recovery and therapy, I felt a growing need to explore additional treatment options to further my recovery. Initially, I was even considering travelling to the United States or Cuba for different therapies. However, Dr. Beatriz, who had been instrumental in my care, asked me to wait because she had some promising news. A month later, she shared information about a pioneering treatment available in Thailand. Dr. Beatriz, along with Dr. Rodrigo Vilches, had visited the clinic in Bangkok to evaluate the treatment firsthand. They were thoroughly impressed with the results and the clinic’s approach.

The decisive factor for me was when Dr. Beatriz mentioned that the treatment was being performed in Thailand. I had always wanted to visit Thailand—it was a dream destination for me, which made the decision even more appealing. The affordability and immediate availability of the treatment were also significant considerations. It felt like destiny as if everything was aligning to support my journey to recovery. This unique combination of advanced treatment options, my personal dream to visit Thailand, and the trust in my medical team’s recommendation convinced me to pursue the treatment there.

Can you tell us about the treatment you received?

The treatment I received in Thailand was a combination of advanced technologies and intensive rehabilitation. Primarily, it involved the use of an Epidural Stimulator, a device designed to help regain voluntary movement and improve various bodily functions impaired by spinal cord injuries. This device was surgically implanted near the injured area of my spine.

Once the device was in place, it worked by sending electrical impulses directly to the spinal cord, which enabled me to regain some control over my paralyzed muscles. The initial feeling of the device was like a burst of electric energy that allowed me to attempt and eventually perform movements, such as moving my feet and legs, which I hadn’t been able to do since my injury.

In addition to the epidural stimulator, my treatment regimen included a comprehensive suite of therapies: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pulmonary therapy. These were designed to enhance my muscle strength, coordination, and overall mobility. The therapies were intensive, involving several hours daily, tailored to maximize the benefits of the stimulator and accelerate my recovery process.

Another critical component of my treatment was the administration of Stem Cells. These were delivered through intravenous infusions and lumbar punctures to promote neural repair and regeneration at the injury site. This approach aimed to reduce inflammation and potentially restore some neurological functions. 

Overall, the treatment in Thailand was holistic, combining cutting-edge technology with rigorous physical rehabilitation and innovative biological treatments to improve my condition significantly.

How did you feel about your recovery after the surgery and therapy sessions?

After the surgery and throughout the therapy sessions, I felt a mix of hope and determination. The initial post-surgery period was challenging, as I had to adjust to the reality of my condition. However, the introduction of the Epidural Stimulator during my treatment in Thailand brought a significant shift in my recovery. It was almost magical the first time I experienced the stimulator’s effects—feeling the electrical pulses helping me move parts of my body that I hadn’t been able to since the accident was incredibly uplifting.

The intensive therapy sessions were rigorous but equally rewarding. Each small improvement fueled my motivation. Being able to perform movements, even minor ones initially, made me optimistic about the possibilities ahead. The physical, occupational, and pulmonary therapies all played crucial roles in enhancing my functional abilities and overall quality of life.

Overall, my recovery journey, bolstered by innovative treatments and dedicated therapists, has been a profound learning and growing experience. It taught me resilience, the importance of hope, and the impact of advanced medical technology on recovery. Each step forward in my therapy brought me closer to regaining a sense of normalcy and independence, transforming my outlook on life and what’s possible after a spinal cord injury.

"So it was like magic, you know, so then the work starts, they gave me my timetable with my schedules and I was told it's, it was going to be a very hard work five hours daily with some rest in, in the, in a few times to get your meal and everything. but it was like, so I was having so much fun with the therapist there because they are making jokes all the time and they are, they were teaching me Thai words and I was saying some Spanish words. So it doesn't feel like you're working that hard. So we were like for 30 days, 35 days working and working. at the beginning I was laying down on the bed, then I was on my chair and I have to do this exercise, like trying to bend my, my leg and then extend. in the morning, I also have one hour of physical therapy or occupational therapy with other people from all parts in the world. So we were like working and playing, you know, and it's so amazing like watching this all this process that so many people are getting through just like me and we were trying to, we are doing our best for every day. So it's like encouraging, you know, It really helps me like, I, I didn't feel like it was only me with a bad luck or something."

So now if we jump to the present day, What inspired you to decide to work at Verita Neuro and what were you doing before?

My decision to work at Verita Neuro was deeply inspired by my own recovery journey and the incredible support I received from the medical team there. After experiencing firsthand the profound impact of their innovative treatments and compassionate care, I felt a strong desire to give back and support others facing similar challenges. The opportunity to work as a patient representative allowed me to use my personal experience to empathize with and assist other patients, guiding them through their treatment processes and offering hope and encouragement.

Before joining Verita Neuro, I was already involved in various roles that centered around communication and community engagement. I worked in graphic design and later took on roles that involved client interaction in a family-owned leasing company. These positions honed my skills in communication and customer service, which are invaluable in my current role where I connect with and support patients from diverse backgrounds.

The transition to working at Verita Neuro felt like a natural progression from my previous professional experiences, combined with my personal journey through recovery. It was a way to align my career with my passions and life experiences, creating a fulfilling role that not only supports my own growth but also allows me to make a significant impact on others’ lives.

You touched on this earlier, but can you please tell us a more bit about your job here at Verita Neuro

My role at Verita Neuro as a patient representative is both fulfilling and dynamic, revolving primarily around patient support and advocacy. I serve as a bridge between new patients and our medical team, helping to facilitate a smooth and informed treatment journey. 

A significant part of my job involves initial consultations with potential patients. I share detailed information about the treatments we offer, such as epidural stimulation and stem cell therapies, and explain what patients can expect from their time at Verita Neuro. I draw on my personal experience to provide a realistic perspective on the recovery process, setting expectations and preparing them for the journey ahead.

I also manage communications, often being the first point of contact for patients reaching out to us. I handle inquiries, provide educational materials, and discuss treatment options. This involves detailed email exchanges, phone calls, and sometimes video chats to ensure that all patient questions are thoroughly addressed.

Another critical aspect of my role is follow-up. After patients have visited and received treatment, I keep in touch to monitor their progress and help address any further needs they may have. This ongoing support is crucial for their long-term recovery and satisfaction. 

Additionally, I organize and participate in patient education sessions and workshops. These sessions are designed to educate patients about their conditions, the available medical technologies, and how to manage their recovery effectively.

Overall, my role at Verita Neuro is about making the treatment and recovery process as easy and effective as possible for patients. By sharing my own story and experiences, I aim to inspire and motivate patients, showing them that recovery and a return to an active life are possible. 

How does it feel like from being a SCI patient to becoming part of the Verita Neuro team?

Transitioning from being a spinal cord injury (SCI) patient to becoming a part of the Verita Neuro (VN) team has been an incredibly empowering and fulfilling experience. It feels both surreal and deeply gratifying to shift roles from receiving care to providing support and guidance.

Initially, as a patient, my entire focus was on my recovery and grappling with the new realities of my condition. During this challenging time, the care and support I received from the medical staff at VN profoundly impacted my outlook and recovery. They not only provided exceptional medical treatment but also gave me hope and strength through their empathy and encouragement.

Becoming a part of the VN team allowed me to turn my personal challenges and experiences into tools for helping others in similar situations. It has given me a unique perspective that aligns closely with the needs and emotions of the patients I interact with daily. I understand their fears, hopes, and challenges on a very personal level, which helps me to connect with them meaningfully and supportively.

Working at VN has also been incredibly rewarding because it allows me to see real-time changes and improvements in patients’ lives, much like I experienced myself. It’s gratifying to know that I can contribute to their journey towards recovery and a better quality of life by sharing my story and the knowledge I’ve gained.

Moreover, this role has been a significant part of my own healing process. It has helped me transform my ordeal into a source of strength and purpose, enabling me to contribute positively to the community. I am not just a survivor but an active participant in creating and providing solutions for others facing similar battles.

In summary, the transition from being a patient to a team member at VN has enriched my life immensely. It has provided me with a sense of purpose, allowing me to give back and help others navigate their recovery with hope and resilience. It’s a role that continuously reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much potential there is to influence positive outcomes for others.

Outside of working at Verita Neuro, what else have you been up to?

Besides my role at Verita Neuro, where I serve as a patient representative, I’ve been engaging in several activities that enrich my personal and professional life. After my recovery showed significant progress, I felt inspired to use my experience to help others. I began by sharing my journey through motivational speaking engagements and participating in podcasts, where I discuss not only my own recovery but also broader issues related to spinal cord injuries and disability awareness.

I’ve also been actively involved in writing and recently published my first book, which details my experience with spinal cord injury, the challenges I faced, and the lessons I learned along the way. Writing has been a therapeutic outlet for me and a way to reach out to others going through similar challenges.

On a more personal note, I have taken up adaptive sports, which have always been a passion of mine. I’ve participated in swimming competitions and half-marathons, activities that I engaged in before my injury. These sports not only help maintain my physical health but also boost my mental resilience.

Additionally, I’ve continued my education by pursuing studies in psychology, with a focus on resilience and recovery. This has allowed me to deepen my understanding of the psychological impacts of traumatic injuries and how to better support others in their recovery journeys.

Overall, my life post-injury is a blend of advocacy, personal growth, and community engagement, all driven by my desire to contribute meaningfully to the lives of others and to continue exploring new avenues for personal development.


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