Isamar Tamayo: Starting to Walk Again

Isamar takes a look out the window at her school and realizes that she hasn't been to most  buildings on campus. Isamar takes a look out the window at her school and realizes that she hasn’t been to most buildings on campus.

Isamar Tamayo is an 18-year-old student from Astoria, Queens, who is unlike most college students her age. She underwent surgery this summer on both sides of her hips because both of her femurs were deteriorating. After the operation she was forced to use a wheelchair and a walker while starting her college life. Since she has trouble walking, her mother takes her to all her classes, picks her up and takes her to her Mount Sinai Hospital appointments as well.

She was diagnosed with leukemia two and a half years ago. Although she does not have leukemia anymore, she is now struggling with Avascular Necrosis, also called AVN, which is a side effect of chemotherapy. While she was sick she also suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and pancreatitis.

Now, Isamar is continuing her studies at Hunter College and is slowly beginning to walk again. This photo narrative takes you in to the life of Isamar in a three-day span.

On September 30, 2013, Isamar does homework for her psychology class.On September 30, 2013, Isamar does homework for her psychology class.

Isamar's mother tells her she should sit on the wheelchair to keep her posture straight. Danny, Isamar's younger brother, sets up the chair for her as he has been doing since she had her surgery. Danny and Elizabeth, their younger sister, help Isamar with small things ordinary people can do on their own, like going up the stairs, putting on shoes, and picking things up from the floor. "I wish I could walk and do things without asking," says Isamar.To keep her posture straight, Danny, Isamar’s younger brother, sets up the chair for her as he has been doing since she had her surgery. Danny and Elizabeth, their younger sister, help Isamar with small things ordinary people can do on their own, like going up the stairs, putting on shoes, and picking things up from the floor. “I wish I could walk and do things without asking,” says Isamar.
After finishing her homework, Isamar watches the T.V. in the living room. Because she can't completely walk on her own, she stays at home most of the time.  "I wanna go look at stores; I haven't gone shopping. When I was sick I had to buy stuff online," says Isamar, "That and hangout with my friends."After finishing her homework, Isamar watches T.V. in the living room. Because she can’t completely walk on her own, she stays at home most of the time.”I wanna go look at stores; I haven’t gone shopping. When I was sick I had to buy stuff online,” says Isamar, “That and hangout with my friends.”
On October 1, 2013, Isamar's weight was recorded for the first time in a month at Mount Sinai Hospital. She weighed 114 the last time she was here, now she is up at 127. The nurse, who knows her well, and her mother are happy about this, since she was forced to follow a heavy-carb diet to put on weight. Isamar weighed 98 pounds last year because of frequent vomiting and loss of appetite while  she was undergoing treatment.On October 1, 2013, Isamar’s weight was recorded for the first time in a month at Mount Sinai Hospital. She weighed 114 the last time she was here, now she is up at 127. The nurse, who knows her well, and her mother are happy about this, since she was forced to follow a heavy-carb diet to put on weight. Isamar weighed 98 pounds last year because of frequent vomiting and loss of appetite while she was undergoing treatment.
After her blood pressure and weight checkup, she is now ready for x-rays studies, which will tell the doctor if she is strong enough to walk without crutches.After her blood pressure and weight checkup, she is now ready for her x-rays studies.  With these x-rays, her doctor will be able to determine if she is strong enough to walk without crutches.
The doctor tells Isamar and her mother that she will eventually need hip replacement, but is trying too put it off as much as he can because she is too young. He says that the  procedure will be done when she can't stand or walk anymore. The doctor tells Isamar and her mother that she will eventually need hip replacement surgery, but is trying too put it off as much as he can because she is too young. He tells them  the procedure will be done when she can’t stand or walk anymore.
Her doctor tells her she can stop using crutches and start using a cane so she can put weight on both legs. This is the first time she walks on her own in seven weeks. "It feels weird, like clouds," she says after pressing both feet on the floor.Her doctor tells her she can stop using crutches and start using a cane so she can put weight on both legs. This is the first time she walks on her own in seven weeks.”It feels weird, like clouds,” she says after pressing both feet on the floor.
Isamar reads one of the letters that was sent from her family members who live in Mexico. This one was written by her cousin. She tells Isamar in the letter that she hopes she gets better and that she wants to see her soon.Back at home, Isamar reads one of the letters that was sent from her family members who live in Mexico. This one was written by her cousin. She tells Isamar in the letter that she hopes she gets better and that she wants to see her soon.
On October 2, 2013, Isamar's mother takes her to class in a cab. "I feel weird going back to school because I was alone for a year and a half," says Isamar, "Now I have these large classes; I was used to being one on one when I was homeschooled."On October 2, 2013, Isamar’s mother takes her to class in a cab. “I feel weird going back to school because I was alone for a year and a half,” says Isamar, “Now I have these large classes; I was used to being one on one when I was homeschooled.”
Since Isamar isn't able to comfortably walk around, she hasn't had a chance to interact in events and clubs at her new school."I would like to join a club, like a film club," says Isamar who spends a lot of her time watching movies at home, especially when she was sick.Since Isamar isn’t able to comfortably walk around, she hasn’t had a chance to interact in events and clubs at her new school.”I would like to join a club, like a film club,” says Isamar who spends a lot of her time watching movies at home, especially when she was sick.

Isamar is now undergoing physical therapy for her legs. Her next visit to Mount Sinai will be in three months, where her doctor will tell inform her about her improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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