Alonso Delfino – Schwannoma Tumor Removal Success Story

‘The miracle patient’

Alonso Delfino thought he'd never walk again, but the rehab team had other plans in mind

Alonso Delfino "I didn't think I would walk again.
It's unbelievable where I am now."

A year ago, Alonso Delfino never imagined where he would be today, standing straight up and walking.

“I didn’t think I would walk again,” Alonso explains. “It’s unbelievable where I am now.”

After years of intense headaches, complicated by numbness that extended along his right side, Alonso was at his wit’s end. He had problems sitting up straight, grasping simple utensils, and even turning a key in his truck’s ignition. Area doctors were unable to diagnose the problem — until a fall brought him to Methodist Health System.

There, doctors discovered a schwannoma, a tumor compressed against the spinal cord. After surgery to remove the tumor, Benjamin Newman, MD, neurosurgeon with the Methodist Brain and Spine Institute, referred Alonso to Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital, located just down Wheatland Road from Methodist Charlton Medical Center.

“Rehabilitation is as important as competent surgery,” Dr. Newman says. “At Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital, they take an integrative, thorough approach to the patient to formulate and execute an appropriate treatment plan. With good rehabilitation, patients like Alonso definitely have the potential to make a dramatic recovery.”

The real power behind rehabilitation

Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital offers medical rehabilitation to people with disabling conditions like stroke, brain trauma, and complex orthopedic surgeries.

“The real power in rehabilitation is our interdisciplinary approach to patient care,” says Peter Rappa, MD, medical director at Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital. “Each patient has a team of specialists working together to ensure the best recovery possible.”

For Alonso, the rehabilitation team put together a program of care that included education, life skills, rehabilitation care, and medical care.

Within two weeks, Alonso had gone from completely paralyzed to moving his arms and walking with the parallel bars. Two weeks later, when he was released as an outpatient, he could walk supported by only a gait belt. By the end of two months as an outpatient, he could walk by himself. In less than a year, he was back to life as he knew it.

“It was like being born again — every day I got better and better,” Alonso says. “They called me the miracle patient.”

Most of all, Alonso is grateful for the compassionate care he received from the doctors, nurses, therapists, and staff at Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital.

“They went above and beyond to help,” he says. “Because of them, the miracle did happen. They made the difference.”

The Sooner the Better

Rehabilitation should be as timely as possible, Dr. Rappa says. The sooner rehabilitation begins, the better the recovery. For a referral to Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital, call 214-947-0000.