Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County.More >>
Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County. More >>
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Lenoir City teen who broke her back in a serious car wreck reached another milestone in her recovery on Tuesday.
It was a rainy day in November of 2011 when Bekah Guyton of Lenoir City, who was 17 at the time, skidded on some leaves in her car and slammed into a tree on her way to school.
One look at her battered 1994 Honda, and you'll know how amazing it is that she got out of the crash alive.
"All of a sudden I went around a curve and hit a hump on the curve. I yanked the wheel real fast, just kinda closed by eyes and let what happen, happen. I woke up and was sitting on my passenger-side window," Bekah told 6 News only two weeks after the crash.
Bekah sustained serious injuries, including a broken back.
"I couldn't feel anything from my waist down," she said. "I got really nervous. I was crying."
The family initially got no promises from University of Tennessee Medical Center neurosurgeon Dr. Todd Abel that she would ever walk again following the crash.
But only four days after having the spinal fusion surgery, Bekah got up and walked. Her family shed tears of joy.
After the emergency surgery, through the use of titanium rods and screws, Bekah slowly but surely resumed most of her activities.
Now, one week before Christmas, Bekah has just had surgery again - this time to remove the metal in her back.
She's glad to get it out.
"They were kind of sticking out there, " Bekah said, "and you could feel them if you just ran your hand down my back and so that was very uncomfortable if I was sitting up against anything hard."
Bekah's mother, Rhonda, was stunned but thrilled to learn the surgery would happen only a year after her car crash.
"I was surprised that he said they could come out this soon," she said. "When she originally had the surgery, he said down the road there's a chance they could come out if everything healed correctly."
Dr. Abel performed both surgeries.
Bekah and her mother call him a miracle worker.
In the past year, despite what some would view as limitations, there was no holding Bekah back from being a normal, active teenage girl.
"I went to Dollywood and rode on roller coasters and I went parasailing over the summer. It hasn't really held me back any and I was on the bowling team at school."
"Nothing holds her down," her mother said.
And looking lovingly at her daughter, now getting ready to graduate from high school in the spring, a lifetime of possibilities before her, Rhonda says, "Every day when she comes through the house, I'm just thankful that she's with us and she's able to walk."
The Guytons view Tuesday's surgery as an early Christmas gift. It's the only gift Bekah really wanted.
"I don't want or need anything, I have got everything I want," she said. "Just here. I'm glad to be here."
Bekah says her experience with the nursing staff at UT Medical Center led to her decision to go to nursing school. She plans to enroll at Roane State in the fall and complete her nursing degree at the University of Tennessee.