By Ashley Yarchin
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Big steps were taken Wednesday when it comes to a St. Charles teen with cerebral palsy who underwent a life-changing surgery last Friday. Thirteen-year-old Lauren Slattery was released from St. Louis Children's Hospital.
"I've learned that I'm stringer than I thought I was, because who knew that somebody like me can go through a surgery so big," she explained. "It's definitely gonna be hard but I know that I can do it because I have been doing it."
Following surgery, Lauren was in bed for two days getting tons of visitors and many, many more kind cards. But starting Monday morning, she was up and out being wheeled off to physical therapy standing on her new legs and rebuilding her strength.
The surgery she received is called selective dorsal rhizotomy, in which Dr. T.S. Park, the hospital's pediatric neurosurgeon, snipped some sensory nerves in her lower back to release the tension those with cerebral palsy are plagued with. For a little while, Lauren will be walking with support, but she's taking the rest of her seventh grade year off to focus on daily physical therapy and one more surgery in March.
"You must do the therapy," Lauren said. "If you don't do the therapy, you still will be better off than you were before but you won't be as good as you can get. Dr. Park releases your potential, but it's what you do to get there."
"One thing I told Lauren before we went in is I knew that she had a high tolerance for challenges because every challenge that she's ever been faced with, she's overcome," added Lauren's father, T.J. "She'll overcome this, and she'll be running before we know it."
Among the cards and letters Lauren has received, she got one from a girl in Ireland saying she was looking into coming to St. Louis for that surgery as well, and she'd been following Lauren's story here on KSDK.com.