(WGHP) — It can be hard re-entering life after a nearly five-year absence. But that’s what Caitlin Little did.
She fought to regain her ability to form long-term memories after a blow to the head left her with a rare case of anterograde amnesia in the fall of 2017 when she was a freshman at Southeast Guilford High School.
A series of non-traditional (by some medical standards) treatments eventually healed her brain enough to start allowing her to form long-term memories as she slept. Once she could remember, she quickly began trying to catch up on life after her friends had all moved on with theirs.
Caitlin earned her CNA (certified nursing assistant) certificate and her driver’s license.
“I was very apprehensive of how much she took on,” said her mom, Jennifer. “It was so hard the first four weeks to let my girl … go, and I couldn’t me be more proud of her.”
Caitlin has a job working at an assisted living home about a 15-minute drive from her house. Although she’s thrilled to be getting on with life, what got her here wasn’t easy.
When the traditional medical world told the Littles that there was nothing they could do to help her regain her ability to form memories, they decided they needed to cast a wider net. They agreed to allow Caitlin’s story to be told through this series of reports with the hope that someone would see them and say, “I think I can help that girl.” it was a challenging idea for Caitlin.
“I was always a very private person, and I’d like to suffer in silence, and seeing what all was out there was very … scary to me,” she said about having TV cameras document her journey.
Now that they have found answers for what seemed, just a few years ago, an unanswerable challenge, the Littles can’t understand why the traditional medical world was so resistant to anything that fell outside its expertise.
The four things that helped Caitlin were a concussion protocol developed over the last 35 years by Dr. Charles Simkovich in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Caitlin’s own stem cells injected directly into her spinal cord, intense nutrition and some chiropractic work designed specifically to work with all of the other treatments.
Dozens of doctors at the most renowned hospitals told her it couldn’t be done.
“Then us being successful with a whole army of people who have helped us out and some of the greatest doctors in the United States that we could find that some of these other people would be curious and would want to contact us and find out what we did,” said Caitlin’s father, Chris Little. “Not that what we did for her will work for every other person, but at least gives them alternatives to try instead of just being told, ‘Well, we can’t find anything wrong, so there’s nothing wrong with you.’ It would give them hope.”
It has for some. The Littles say they are contacted regularly by other families looking for help.
In the meantime, Caitlin is still the person she was before her injury and is thinking more about others than herself.
“I wasn’t the only one who lost time and experiences,” Caitlin said. “(My family and friends) lost so much, too. That’s probably the hardest part for me.”
See more from Simkovich on how he helped heal Caitlin in this edition of The Buckley Report.