ATLANTA - Shepherd Center doctors determined Kendric Tyler suffered a catastrophic spine injury May 1 when he was shot in the neck by a robber during the couple's Puerto Rican honeymoon.
The 34-year-old juvenile corrections officer said he never thought twice about taking the bullet to save his wife, Kenyada, and prayed as he heard the robber's gun repeatedly jam.
"I had asked God that if there had to be one bullet, that I would receive it and not my wife. This could have been so much worse. I'm relieved it was just one shot," Tyler said Wednesday after one of his daily occupational therapy sessions at Shepherd Center.
According to Shepherd Center physiatrist Gerald Bilsky, Tyler is not able to walk or use his arms. But he can still move his head and his shoulders a bit -- which fuels Tyler's desire to regain some form of mobility.
"It's just another life challenge. I have to remember I'm on God's time, so when he's ready, that's fine. If he gives me the strength to do it, I'm going to do it," Tyler told FOX 5's Portia Bruner minutes after he learned how to operate his new wheelchair using his own head movements.
Tyler transferred to Shepherd Center in Atlanta from Augusta Medical Center in early June. Dr. Bilsky said the road to recovery will be long and tough for this husband and father of three.
"He's working hard with physical therapy and occupational therapy to maintain his flexibility and increase his strength in the muscles that are moving. He's as determined an individual as I've ever come across," Dr. Bilsky said.
Kenyada insists the man who saved her life has more than enough courage, strength, willpower to regain some form of mobility.
"I'm definitely lucky to have him. I didn't marry him for his legs are his arms. I married him for his heart and I'm really lucky to have him," Kenyada said with a smile.
The Tylers have mounting medical bills and travel expenses. They plan to sell their belongings in Alaska to move closer to their friends and family in Georgia and South Carolina. To contribute to their GoFundMe account, visit gofundme.com/the-tylers-medical-travel-expenses.