Wiggle wiggle pinky toe!

I’m laying in bed, slowly waking up and adjusting my eyes to the winter sunshine as I glance out the window, when I decide to do some visualization exercises with my legs and feet. I go through the usual exercises that I’ve been doing as frequently as possible in my free time: flex my feet, bend my knee, rotate my legs in and out. Since my accident, I don’t get any movement in my lower body when I do these exercises but I’ve stubbornly and consistently kept at it. The reason why everyone – from the nurses in the ICU to my spine surgeon to my acupuncturists – has emphasized the importance of visualization is the belief that there is enormous value in sending a signal from the brain to the lower body and by thinking and trying to move those limbs, one can repair the neural pathways and reestablish that damaged connection.

This time though, something feels different. I lift myself up to sitting with my legs straight ahead of me on the bed and I throw off the covers to get a better view. Something just feels different, like there’s movement and it’s not just a spasm or reflex (which I have frequently as well). I stare at my right foot and see that my pinky toe is slowly moving in and out. To make sure this isn’t a fluke, I stop and do nothing. Pinky toe doesn’t move. I try again and there it goes, immediately responding to the signal I’m sending. This can’t be right, it’s been months and months of having my legs and feet dangle lifelessly as I’ve dragged and lifted and bumped and dropped them from place to place in this strange new world of life post-Spinal Cord Injury.

I do it again, this time to confirm that what I thought I had been seeing could actually be real. “Wiggle little toe, wiggle”. Wiggle wiggle it says, as it dances back and forth, proving to me that for the first time in almost six months, I have regained motor control of a part of my lower body.

What a development for the new year, what a way to show me that 2013 really will be a special year, one in which I hope to achieve all of my recovery objectives and kick this damn injury’s ass! It’s only one pinky toe, on only one foot and it’s still a long ways to go I’m sure before I can move my legs around like I used to, but that pinky toe gave me so much hope for the future of my recovery. To go from feeling that moving any part of my lower body is the equivalent of moving a table with my mind, to then finally seeing a flicker of hope in a tiny little pinky toe is an indescribable moment. Now, I can move this toe 10,000 times if I have to until it leads to me being able to control my other toes and then my foot and then my ankle and then my legs… My fire of recovery has been fueled, my conviction has been confirmed and my dream to reach my ultimate goal has entered into the realm of reality.

Want proof? Here it is:

252 thoughts on “Wiggle wiggle pinky toe!

  1. I just love it! Tonight I was giving foot massages to the kids I bbsit and as I was wiggling their toes and feet around I was imagining how their feet are connected to their brains. I thought about you and your body and my hope for you to recover and walk in 2013. It is a journey and I knew you were on the path even before reading this post. But what joy and excitement! This makes me feel so happy And proud to know you! I wrote on business cards I made for massage years ago “believe in the body’s ability to heal itself”
    You truly are experiencing healing and health. Cheers! Keep it up

  2. Hi Arash, I am Liz Carlson’s mom. I want you to know I am so happy to be a witness to your recovery. Thank you for making it available. You are inspiring people you haven’t even met yet!!!! Wiggle on! You are recovering!!!! Sally Carlson

    Sent from my iPad

  3. I can’t imagine how exciting that was for you. There are two of us here in Whistler BC cheering you on to that full recovery you keep visualizing.

  4. I think we should paint each toe pink as the wiggling continues?? Thoughts! This is the best news and yes, a great start to your 2013 goals. So happy for you……….

  5. How incredibly exciting Arash! It’s amazing. The movement will keep trickling up until you’re on your feet!

  6. That is FABULOUS news. I am so so happy to hear this. Thank you for the message. I and all of your supporters know it’s just the start and your hard work is going to pay off in the biggest way. You just made my day!

  7. AMAZING ARASH!!! I am jumping with joy for you!! There IS hope and your pinky toe is certainly proof of that. :) Woohoooo!!!!

  8. Great news, Arash!!! That’s so exciting! I think this is the start of something big. I have been thinking of you and keeping you in my heart and sending you good healing thoughts. So sorry I wasn’t able to come to your big fundraiser! I really wanted to be there. Keep up the great work with the visualization. Movement of your toe is HUGE, and it’s just the beginning – I have a good feeling about this. ;^) Big hugs to you. ~Claire

  9. Thank you for sharing your journey like this – the world feels a bit bleak at the moment and needs stories of stickability and hope like yours – keep wiggling and I look forward to seeing more soon! :-)

  10. Just read your response to earlier comment today – and had to come here and re-watch this incredible demonstration of your fortitude Arash. What is really great is that you are in total control here. So, it’s not random or spastic movement, but instead responsive to your own will or intention. When she says “stop” you “stop” and then with directive “go” you “go”. Keep this up – it is truly amazing… and inspiring me to try to hold my unstable femur in it’s defective “insufficient” socket with muscle and soft tissue using this type of neuromuscular visualization. Thank you! ~ Much Love and Blessings ~ Robyn

    • The control of the toe really is the most exciting part of this development. And yes, visualization is so important and I highly recommend it! I’ve heard so much from people about the virtues of visualization, of how thinking about something can and will make it happen. Keep at it Robyn. Much love -AB

      • Yes such an exciting prospect – thank you and I will keep at it! And you do same dear Arash. Sending a huge healing hug to you.
        With Love ~ R

  11. There is so much magic in the unknown, keep up the belief and faith and you will walk again one day. I was a Spinal Cord Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury Therapist in a Rehab Facility. The magic I witnessed more than once was breath taking. I wish you all the luck on your journey.

  12. I’m not sure what type of accident you had, but I was still thrilled to read this. I hope you fill your mind and heart with every inspirational and positive bit you can find. When I was going through a tough time in life, I read “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. Nothing compared to what you’re going through, but it still made my brain pop–and I’ve looked at things differently ever since–every challenge that comes my way. Sending you good thoughts, prayers and blessings for a full recovery.

  13. Arash,

    I really would like to express here what I felt when I read your post and saw your video, but I can’t. It’s Impossible. If there are a few things in life that can’t be described with words, your recovery is one of them. Believe me, you have reached Brazil.

    Thank you for what you changed in my day, today.

    I’m following your blog now.

  14. This post is so inspiring! Congratulations on your recovery. Slowly but steadily, you will be the person you were before your accident, I’m sure. Thank you for the post, and I’ll be sure to put you in my nightly prayers for a speedy recovery.

    -AM

  15. I love it – :) Yes the power of the mind is, well, powerful :-) Nice, inspiring post. I hope your ‘fire of recovery’ and enthusiasm will persist, best wishes with your healing plan.

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