Just under two decades ago, Kevin Taylor’s life changed forever and he was forced to move around by wheelchair. Yet Kim Didway could see past his disability to the man underneath. But as their wedding day approached, Taylor kept a big secret from his wife-to-be. Then, when he revealed what he was hiding, she was driven to tears.
From the moment that Taylor first laid eyes on Didway, he supposedly knew immediately that he loved her. But there was a potential obstacle to overcome. Although he had never allowed his disability to hold him back, could she see beyond his wheelchair? Would Didway feel the same about him?
However, Didway had noticed him. And more than that, she could see beyond his handicap and through to the man he was on the inside. She, too, was smitten. And so it would take more than a wheelchair to come between her and the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
It wasn’t long before the couple decided to get married. After all, when you know, you know – and there was apparently no doubt in Taylor and Didway’s minds that they wanted to be together forever. Very quickly, then, planning for the wedding got underway. However, there was something that Taylor had kept hidden from Didway.
As Didway threw herself into preparations for the wedding, Taylor’s attention was elsewhere. In fact, unknown to his soon-to-be-wife, he was having secret liaisons. Unable to hide it any longer, he came clean on their wedding day about what he’d been doing. And when he revealed all, Didway broke down and cried.
Taylor hadn’t always needed the use of a wheelchair to get around. For much of his life he had full use of his legs and could move around freely. However, Taylor had a freak accident one day. And although it seemed a mild one at first, things changed dramatically soon after.
Taylor had managed to break his leg. Now, anyone who has broken their bones before can confirm that it hurts quite a lot. However, emergency rooms deal with broken bones on a regular basis. Indeed, it’s a common injury that often requires straightforward treatment and only several weeks to recover.
Of course, there can be complications depending on the severity of the injury. Sometimes more serious breaks will require more specialized treatments and therefore slow down healing times. Nevertheless, it’s typically an injury that patients can make a full recovery from. For Taylor, however, things didn’t work out that way.
The human body is a complex machine. And even though science has learned a lot about it, there are still a number of unknowns. Indeed, the body can sometimes behave in ways that even trained medical professionals don’t quite have an explanation for. Taylor’s injury, then, was not a straightforward one.
Taylor was young and, apparently, otherwise healthy. Nevertheless his broken leg took more time to heal than expected. So when effects of the injury endured for longer than the normal recovery period for a straightforward break, doctors looked into what was causing the problem. What they found was something they hadn’t anticipated.
Doctors discovered that Taylor had developed an unusual condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Although RSD is a common name for the disorder, it’s not actually a term still in use by doctors today. Indeed, RSD is a name that was once applied to a type of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
The sympathetic nervous system controls the movement of blood around the body, which in turn helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Although doctors are unsure of the causes of RSD, they believe that it stems from issues with the sympathetic nervous system. This then manifests itself as pain in the body.
RSD can be triggered by strokes or heart attacks. But sometimes, it can derive from what seems like a straightforward injury like Taylor’s broken leg. When damage does occur, though, the sympathetic nervous system signals blood vessels to contract and reduce the flow of blood at the location of the wound so that minimal blood is lost.
However, in cases of RSD, the sympathetic nervous system gets confused. Typically, blood vessels return to normal to allow blood to reach a wound and fix the damage. But with RSD, the sympathetic nervous system kicks into action when it detects an injury, but won’t switch off during the healing process or after recovery.
When RSD occurs, it can cause the patient incredible pain, usually more severe than the initial injury. The pain is persistent with no let-up. Patients have described the sensation of RSD as a deep, throbbing, cold, aching or burning pain. It can also cause skin sensitivity to everyday things like taking a shower or simply wearing clothes.
Nevertheless, as harsh as RSD sounds, doctors are usually able to treat it. Symptoms can be alleviated with the use of medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, anesthetic creams, and drugs used to treat inflammation, seizures and even depression. Other treatments can include electrolysis for pain relief, physical therapy and psychotherapy for relaxation techniques.
But even though symptoms can be treated, there is no known cure for RSD. That’s to say, there’s nothing to prevent a repeat occurrence as a consequence of a later injury. However, if RSD is detected early, the chances of patients responding well to treatment increases. But therein lies a problem.
RSD is a disorder in which symptoms typically manifest over time. Moreover, it’s a condition that exists in conjunction with a trigger injury, therefore early diagnosis isn’t always possible. Taylor’s RSD, for example, was activated by his broken leg. Doctors, then, would have only known about the problem when symptoms persisted beyond their expectations.
Furthermore, Taylor’s case of RSD was the most severe that his doctors had ever seen. So extreme was his condition, in fact, that treatments were supposedly ineffective. Indeed, over a 10-year period, it’s believed that Taylor made visits to the hospital at least once a month. Eventually, then, doctors ran out of options for his treatment.
For roughly a decade, doctors tried everything that they could think of in order to help Taylor’s condition. But by 2009 they seemingly felt that all possibilities to help him had been exhausted. As far as they could see, there was only one option left. They were going to have to amputate Taylor’s leg.
For Taylor, losing his leg was obviously life-changing. The otherwise healthy and mobile young man was suddenly confined to a wheelchair. Not only would he have to deal with all the challenges and limitations that brought, but there would no doubt come certain assumptions and stigma from people who didn’t know him.
However, Taylor never let the situation get him down. He told Fox 34 in September 2013, “The way I look at it is that it can always be worse.” Indeed, some obstacles may arise from being confined to a wheelchair, but Taylor would always find a way to overcome them.
Taylor’s friends paid tribute to how he handled what was no doubt a major change in his life. One observed, “The most remarkable thing about [Taylor] is that he never complained, despite what happened to him.” But as Taylor was working his way through his new life, suddenly it changed again.
As soon as Kim Didway walked into the room Taylor knew she was the woman he wanted to marry. As he described to Fox 34, “The first time I saw her it was love at first sight.” But, as mentioned, with a wheelchair comes obstacles. Was it one that Didway could overcome?
Didway remembers the very moment that she first saw Taylor. As she recalled, “[I] walked in, he turned and had [a] grin from ear to ear.” But it wasn’t just that she merely noticed the man. Indeed, it seems that his strong feelings about her were mutual. As she explained, “It was an instant connection.”
There was apparently no doubt in either Taylor or Didway’s minds that they had fallen in love. And as the saying goes, love is blind, so Taylor’s wheelchair was a non-issue. As Didway described, “I don’t see the wheelchair. At all. I never have.” Taylor’s friends, too, could all see what was happening.
Aware that Didway wasn’t concerned about his disability, one of Taylor’s friends explained, “[Taylor] being in a wheelchair, it never fazed [Didway] one bit.” And it’s a situation that wasn’t lost on Taylor himself. As he described, “She looks at me as [though] I’m not in a wheelchair. She looks past that point.”
As Didway explained, “[Taylor’s wheelchair] doesn’t bother me because it’s the person on the inside [that matters], not who they are physically. And his heart makes up for any lack of limb that he has. He’s the most amazing human being I’ve ever met in my entire life.” Soon, then, Didway and Taylor were planning their wedding.
The venue was set as Caprock Winery in Lubbock, Texas. But as Didway focused on wedding preparations, Taylor was distracted. Behind his fiancée’s back, he was engaged in secret meetings unknown to his wife-to-be. It was unlikely an easy secret to keep. Eventually, he came clean on their wedding day.
Taylor left it until the very last moment to drop a bombshell on his bride. Indeed, Didway was about to take her first steps down the aisle toward the priest who would unite the couple. But as the priest invited the congregation to stand ready to receive the bride, Taylor did something unexpected.
Taylor picked the prime moment to reveal the secret he had been hiding from his bride. Didway had no idea what he had been up to in the months leading up to the wedding. And as the guests stood up, what the bride saw waiting for her at the end of the aisle brought her to tears.
Indeed, as the guests rose to their feet, Taylor did the same. He stood up from his wheelchair and began walking up the aisle to greet his bride. And when Didway saw her groom walking towards her she broke down in tears. It’s a sight she had never seen before.
Taylor’s secret liaisons in the run-up to his wedding weren’t the result of a sordid affair. In fact, he had been planning a surprise for his wife on their wedding day. He wanted to make the day as special as he possibly could for his bride, and it’s no understatement to say he succeeded.
In the weeks and months ahead of their wedding, Taylor had been meeting with a physiotherapist. The idea was to learn to walk with a prosthetic leg. It wasn’t an easy thing to master, but as he put the hours of graft in, he overcame his limitations and gave his bride the gift he was hoping for.
As Didway explained to Fox 34, “I just saw him walk for the first time ever. I’m blown away. I about fell over backwards!” And although losing a limb was something Taylor had refused to bring him down, it seems love was all he needed to him get back on his feet.
Indeed, learning to walk with a prosthesis is not an easy undertaking. First the patient needs to rebuild the strength in their legs to bear their own weight. Then, with the aid of a temporary “training feet,” balance and mobility can be relearned in preparation for receiving their prosthetic limb.
After spending many years in a wheelchair, Taylor had seemingly come to terms with his disabilities and limitations. Nonetheless, meeting Didway may have encouraged him to make a change to his circumstances. Indeed, it seems that he received some extra motivation to learn to walk again using a prosthetic leg.
Indeed, Taylor’s goal was to make Didway’s wedding day the highlight of her life. And by the shock on her face – as tears of joy flowed down her cheeks – it was clear it would undoubtedly be an unforgettable one. There they both stood, face to face for the first time.
“From here on, I’m gonna be out of this wheelchair,” Taylor declared to Fox 34. Indeed, although Taylor never let his disability affect his positive attitude, now he could push himself beyond the confines of his wheelchair. There was nothing to hold him back from living his life to the fullest.
However, if there’s a lesson Taylor has learned from his experience it’s to never take anything for granted. As he told Fox 34, “Live every minute of every day like it’s your last day.” Indeed, with a positive attitude and love on your side, there’s little that can’t be overcome.