Step One of my SDR Story

If you read my last blog post, you know I'm in the beginning stages of pursuing Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital. This procedure is considered controversial in the Cerebral Palsy community, because of it's invasive and somewhat risky nature. It's done by identifying the nerves in your spinal cord responsible for sending the abnormal signals to your legs. Once these nerves are identified, they are then severed, allowing the legs to move without spasticity. For a long time, it was considered only for use in children, but now, medical professionals are beginning to see the value in a select number of adult patients. 

Part of that application process is a video evaluation to determine if I'm even a candidate for the procedure. I've thought a lot about whether or not I should share the preliminary steps of this process. At this point, this possibility is still very much hypothetical. Because nothing is official, it would be easier to keep this private, sweep it under the rug and move on if it doesn't work out. However, as I searched for information from other adults with CP on the Internet, I found next to nothing. Every video I did find made me feel a little bit more informed, more empowered. I am sharing my video with the intention of doing the same for somebody who may be at the same stage of this daunting process.

Another reason for my transparency is that I absolutely hate seeing myself on film. When I watch myself, I'm more aware of my disability than I'm normally conscious of. Do I really look that stiff, that clumsy, that awkward? I suspect that other people feel the same way, explaining the lack of videos of adults with CP. It's my hope that someone may find this video and feel the relief that comes with the simple and powerful discovery:

 "She walks just like me"

Even if this procedure isn't right for me, it's all part of the process of figuring out how to make the most of my strengths and live happily and healthfully.

This is only step one of the journey, and have a long way to go before this surgery is a reality. It's my hope that in trying to help myself, I may lift up others along the way.

Special thanks to my family, friends, and medical team for their willingness to explore this with me.

 Here's to taking things one (literal) step at a time. 


  1. My prayers to you lady Cardwell. May your journey be filled with joy during the high times and good company during the low ones. And always be filled with love and kindness.


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