Seven years ago, a chiropractor ruptured one of the discs in my spine. It required emergency surgery to remove the 2-inch piece of cartilage that was resting on my nerve. The incident left me partially paralyzed in my left leg. I was supposed to make a full recovery within one year.
A year passed, then two, then three and there was no improvement. I sought advice from several medical doctors and physical therapists. They all said the same thing, “It’s been too long. The paralysis is permanent.”
I refused to believe the paralysis was permanent.
I wanted to be able to bike and play tag with my children. I wasn’t about to let that dream slip away just because “experts” didn’t believe in my ability to heal. Besides, at the time of my injury, my identity was wrapped up in my physicality. I had been a competitive athlete for most of my life. I was a gymnast in elementary school and junior high, and a springboard diver in high school and college. Then, in graduate school, I found my passion – mountain biking. I trained for races by cycling on the road 100 miles a week and mountain biking on the weekends with my dog, Mason. It was therapeutic. Spending that time in the quiet of nature was how I connected with God. And, I wasn’t willing to let that go.
I held on to the faith that my body would fully heal.
It has been a lonely path to walk. I faced a lot of doubt and negative energy from “experts” and family members. I can’t blame them; It’s been seven years since that horrid day in the chiropractors office that changed my life forever. I have not been able to ride my bike, hike in the mountains with my dog, or play tag with my children for more than a few seconds before my left leg gives out. There were times when the doubt began to creep into my mind as well. Those were the moments when I dug deep inside – refusing to quit, refusing to believe that my body was not going to heal.
I would picture myself running through the green grass playing freeze tag with my children, or riding my mountain bike side by side with my dog up a dirt trail surrounded by luscious trees and wild flowers. I clung to those images so tightly that, at times, they felt real – like memories of moments that I actually lived.
Then, last year, my prayers were answered. During my initial visit with my functional medicine doctor, he adamantly refused to believe that my paralysis was permanent. He theorized that my body was “too inflamed” to heal. And, that once we lowered the inflammation, I would see a full recovery.
It’s been 16 months since I began to make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes. My inflammation has dramatically decreased. And, the sensation in my left leg has returned.
The paralysis is reversing!
The nerve in my left leg is firing and the muscles are contracting! So, now we’re working on building my endurance. I’m thrilled to share that after years of blocking the doubt and negative energy, I am back on my bike!
Like every aspect of my recovery from the autoimmune disease, this process will require baby steps. My first goal: 5 minutes of cycling on my trainer each day while pulling up with my left leg and pushing down with my right leg. My end goal: The ability to play with my children without being in pain, and without having to stop from fatigue.
I know I’ll achieve my goals. It will take time and dedication, but I know it’s possible.
After 7 years, my dream is finally within my grasp!