Let’s rewind 10 years ago to 2004 when I was 24 years old. I was enjoying life in every way possible, working in the Fashion Industry; a career that I loved. I was happy, dating and out with my friends.
This was the year I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
I was a determined, career driven young woman, so understandably I was shocked and devastated.
I had a few minor symptoms over the next few years including numbness, balance issues, and weakness on the left hand side of my body. But they were often years apart so this allowed me to live in denial of my diagnosis.
In 2009 I lost my ability to walk from a big MS attack that paralysed the entire left hand side of my body. I lost my career and the use of my body. Simple little things like the ability to wash and feed myself became the most difficult task of the day. I lost my big fashion career and life as I knew it. I went from running around, enjoying my life, to standing still and paralysed. I was living life to its fullest, and suddenly found myself in turmoil and darkness. I went from feeling in complete control of my future, to feeling totally helpless.
In less than ten days my whole world had crumbled, as my body slowly, day by day, became paralysed. I could not feel or move the left hand side of my body. It became dead and heavy. My sister literally had to drag me, on her back, up and down stairs along the carpet, to see my doctor.
They checked me into hospital at the beginning of January 2009 and I knew going in that I wasn’t going to be leaving any time soon. They started me on the standard MS therapy, a high dose of Steroids for 3 days. I was not responding – so they continued for a total of 5 days. But I still could not move.
I was moved into rehab at Epworth Richmond in Melbourne and the work began. I stayed for 2 months. I hit rock bottom, I had to ask myself “am I ever going to walk again”? I was stretched to my limits emotionally and physically, beyond normal comprehension and everything stopped.
One day, I remember sitting in my wheelchair in my rehab session, working hard, trying to make my fingers open and close, with tears running down my face, because it was so hard! And so in that moment I just decided. I awakened. I was either going to give up now or I was going to tackle this head on!
So I did what I knew, I worked hard. I was first in at Physiotherapy and the last to leave. I was a woman on a mission – 3 sessions a day 5 times a week.
I had to learn how to use my hand again. I was taught all over again how to pick things up and I had to learn how to walk again. You don’t know what you are capable of in times like this. A switch turned on inside of me, and I channelled my rock bottom moment into pure drive to fight. I was determined to leave hospital not only walking, but running!
I left there running. It wasn’t the most graceful of runs. I won’t win medals for it. It definitely was an awkward looking run. But I did it.
It wasn’t just me, far from it. I had an amazing team of people who helped me. These people made me believe that I could do it. They stood with me when I couldn’t stand and helped me get to where I am today. I was blessed. I had Physio’s, Speech Therapists, Counsellors, Occupational Therapists, Neurologists, and Kinesiologists, family and friends. I could not have come through this with the courage and determination that I had, if it had not have been for my loving supportive family and friends, in particular, my twin sister Nicole.
She was there every day and night. Even sleeping next to me in my single hospital bed some nights. I cannot begin to explain how much I appreciate her and count my lucky stars for her kindness and unconditional love, through the hardest time of my life.
Week by week I started to get movement back in my toes and fingers, then arms and legs and my face. I started to walk with a foot brace. Then I progressed to walking with my knee taped up, to walking on my own. And those first few steps to freedom were… indescribable.
As horrific as it was (the experience of paralysis), it was equally as joyful taking those first few steps to walking again. I will forever be indebted to the exceptional Neuro-Physiotherapists at Epworth Richmond, Gavin Williams and also Shaun. It was in my sessions that I met and spent every day with other patients that were going through similar things; car accidents and strokes. So many stories, so much suffering. I found that I had re-evaluated my life, and I was grateful to be getting better, finally. This sort of stuff changes you, it humbles you.
It was the Kinesiology session, waking the nerve pathways up from my muscles back up to my brain. The Physio’s at the start warned me that it would take time to learn how to walk again, pick things up, drive a car and get back to normal life. And it was going to be work and luck if it came back at all.
I ran in 6 weeks.
After all that I have learned and what I have studied. To transform the body and mind, for me it comes down to 3 core elements:
1. Eat better – nourish your body on a cellular level to achieve results.
2. Feel better – when you eat better you are going to feel better physically and emotionally. This will lead to making a better decision and allows you to build a life that you value. You can then start to feel worthy enough to design a life that inspires you.
3. This helps you to become a connected human.
It is from this place that you will see things from a new perspective. As a connected human, you will gain a higher understanding of life, potentially leading you to your true purpose or calling. You will be able to see obstacles as opportunities. Very important in health and in business.