This past holiday season, Shani Pitts, a resident of Pine Hill, NJ, and her family celebrated the fact that with the help of her care team, she was defying the odds of her original diagnosis.
In December of 2013, Shani Pitts, experienced a severe headache and an acute change in mental status that left her confused and agitated. She was transferred from a local hospital to Jefferson Hospital in Center City, where she was ultimately diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalmyelitis (ADEM), an intense attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.
Shani also began to suffer from Dysautonomia, a condition where the autonomic nervous system (ANS) does not work properly, something which can negatively affect functioning of the heart, bladder, intestines, sweat glands, pupils and blood vessels.
She was transferred to Acuity Specialty Hospital of New Jersey in Atlantic City, NJ where she received intensive treatment for a month and began to emerge neurologically. Shani then received Level One inpatient brain injury rehabilitation at HealthSouth in Vineland, and most recently, many months of physical therapy (PT) at Jefferson Cherry Hill.
It was believed by many that she would neither walk nor talk again, but after much time with the rehabilitation team and with assistance of a walker, she now has mobility and continues to make good progress, transforming her quality of life. She wanted to mark the anniversary of her illness, and the four years of remarkable recovery that have followed, by visiting the PT team at Jefferson New Jersey’s Cherry Hill hospital and bringing them a special gift.
Shani commented on her care by saying, “It means everything to me. Without everyone in this room, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”
There were many media outlets there to cover the touching event, including NBC10, 6ABC, and FOX29.