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:

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253 thoughts on “Wiggle wiggle pinky toe!

  1. I am jumping up and down at this! It’s ironic what a small thing it seems to be, but what a HUGE step it truly is. This is just the beginning. Congratulations and a very happy start to the new year!

  2. Reblogged this on The Blissful Adventurer and commented:
    One of the most inspirational posts you will read all year. My dear friend Arash just got Freshly Pressed for a piece of tremendous courage. Please follow this talented young writer and share in his journey to recover from Spinal Cord Injury. Cheers to you Arash. I am so very proud of you!

  3. Reblogged this on DeborahBidwell's Blog and commented:
    congrats on your little toe, just to give you a little hope, my husband was crushed by a crane on may 1st 2007, when he walked, yes I said walked out of the hospital 2 weeks later, mind you the walk was from wheelchair to vehicle, he was called and still is the walking dead man, he has a 10 level fusion in his back, life is forever changed for him, and us, BUT he can walk without assistance he can drive, he cant work, but he is thankful every painful day he is still alive, yes he deals with high levels of pain daily but he would rather that than the alternative, keep up the good work, and you will get there I send you all the positive white light of healing that I can muster 🙂

  4. Wow, you must be over the moon! I’m not sure how you got a spinal cord injury (I’ll go read about that in a moment) but being able to wiggle a pinky toe on your foot to not being able to move/feel anything after months of trying must feel like you climbed Mount Everest! This must feel like such an accomplishment. I wish you much luck on your road to recovery.

  5. How times have changed! Some 25 years ago, as part of a sales program, I watched a movie about a guy who crashed in his small aircraft. Doctors first told his wife that if he came round at all that he would be a vegetable. Well, they were wrong about that. They were also wrong that he would never walk again, because he set himself a goal that he would walk out of hospital, no matter how long it took him. This whole thing was based on a true story. And walk he did, well, three steps or so (out of hospital). You’ve probably seen the movie. 😉 (Morris E. Goodman)

    Apart from visualization, feeeeeling yourself go through the process, is also immensely powerful.

    I can see you walk those three steps. At least.

    1. What a story! Thanks for sharing as I hadn’t seen the movie. It seems that doctors are wrong quite frequently especially with prognoses and giving people real hope of any kind. Feeling the process is absolutely powerful, you’re right. Thanks for reading and I look forward to those three steps… -AB

  6. Beautiful. Never give up. One small step for mankind! I think often of Captain Scottie Smiley (his book is HOPE UNSEEN) who returned from Iraq with a debilitating injury but with love of family and friends, his faith in God, has never given up and became the the U.S. military’s first active blind officer. Faith. Courage. Trust. Love. One step at a time, one toe at a time, one day at a time.

  7. Arash — congratultions! 👍You so deserve this recognition and I now LOVE WordPress more than ever for selecting your blog to feature on their Freshly Pressed Edition!! Your blog following is going to really soar now ~ and with that comes increased collective healing energies fueling your recovery. I tweeted your blog just yesterday with this very concept in mind — and now… JUST – So thrilled for you my friend ~ Love and Light, Robyn 💐

  8. Absolutely the most positive, inspring blog I have read in a long time. Rather than complaining about what has been lost, you are choosing to be grateful for what remains…and hopeful for what will be restored. God bless you, friend. Your positive energy will naturally flow to others who stumble upon your wonderful blog. Thank you…thank you..thank you!

    1. Those are such kind words, thank you. I am indeed trying to be as hopeful and positive as possible because honestly, what choice do I have??? I don’t see it any other way. Thank YOU for reading -AB

  9. Dear Arash, today has been a pretty weird one for me, so it is only right and fitting that I end it watching a video clip of your magnificent little toe. It made me smile. God bless Sx

  10. hi there, I also have a SCI. I am recovered almost 90 percent because the surgery was done quickly. I am glad you are moving your toes. that is a huge step!! time and patience is what you need to get through this. just know you are not alone in this.

  11. I just now started to read your blog because of this Freshly Pressed entry. I realize that I don’t even know you, but I find myself REJOICING for you and your amazing progress! Yes, it’s “just” a pinkie toe, but it is indeed purposeful movement that you haven’t had in six months!! What a blessing this must be to you…and a true inspiration for the many of us who read and feel your story. I’m so grateful you included the short video of that toe moving…helps us share in the joy! My best wishes to you…and Peace to your heart, Sara

    1. Hi Lori, I just read your blog and yes we do have something in common. The medical system seems to have abandoned your husband, much as it has done with me. What’s your next step? How do you move forward from here? Best wishes to you and your husband -AB

  12. Reblogged this on THROUGH THE HEALING LENS and commented:
    Meet an amazing young man who is suddenly faced with the greatest challenge of his lifetime . You will see that he exemplifies all that is grace, fortitude and courage. It is my great honor to introduce you to Arash, and my prayer that you support him here in his courageous healing journey by seeing him through your “healing lens”.
    Much Love Always
    ~ Robyn

  13. your story is so incredible, so moving and uplifting, i am eternally grateful to robyn for choosing to reblog it. i NEVER reblog anything and think i might this little movie of you moving that pinky of yours. what a thrill, i had tears running down my cheeks and watched it twice. it’s wonderful! keep up the good work, sharing every step of the way. there’s a huge amount of support out here for you, my friend.

    peace and healing be yours,

  14. Aww, I’m SOOO happy for you, and I don’t even know you. But I can tell by your post you have HOPE again, which is half the battle. Keep trying, Keep believing, you can do it! and may God give you the strength to face each day!!! WOOT WOOT!!!! 🙂

  15. I happened to stumble upon your post, and without knowing what was going on, I was wiggeling my little pinky toe with you cheering loudly in my head, (that was quite a ruckus, mind you!)! I am constantly amazed at the power of the human body and the amazing will we can have to overcome adversity! I raise my cup of tea to you! Keep up the great work! Here’s to an amazing year full of hope, joy, love, laughter, tears, and the power to overcome! Might I suggest getting your dancing shoes ready for you to celebrate…

  16. Congratulations Arash,

    Robyn Lee gave me a link to your blog and I just….know….you’re going to be an inspirational person to follow.

    “One little wink of that tiny toe,
    Is the start of others waving to & fro.
    Other toes waving in the breeze
    will lead to more movement with greater ease,
    More movement as this year goes by,
    Will have you soaring up to the skies.”

    The Power of the Mind is unbelievable in it’s Strength – shame we only use 10% of it (so they say). I can attest to this power myself in overcoming Chronic Pain.

    1. Sorry to hear about your chronic pain Victoria. And what a great poem! Thanks for sharing with me. All I have right now is an unwavering belief in the power of the mind so I’ll be focusing on that for a long time… Best to you -AB

  17. Это победа! И начало к полному исцелению! Я поздравляю Вас и желаю, как можно быстрей встать на ноги, но непременно двигаться и жить полноценной жизнью! Удачи и дальнейших успехов!

  18. Fantastic! I love the person talking and laughing in the background – we all feel like her. Your blog is very interesting and succinct – are you writing it yourself?
    Am 44 and your life reminds me so much of mine. In my 20s I climbed mountains, river rafted, horse-packed, ran etc and managed to shape my career at the same time. I thank God that I learnt how strong my body (and will) can be and that kept me going even with a long term illness only just ebbing – just returned from my road run.
    Thanks for sharing your journey

    1. Sorry to hear about your illness. I am absolutely writing this blog myself and chronicling this recovery process as best I can. The person in the background was my mother who was very excited. I hope to be back running and doing all of those things soon. Best to you and thanks for reading -AB

  19. Congratulations! This is really something worth sharing! Really shows there is hope for everything 🙂

  20. Hallo Arash! This morning when I
    unlocked my phone to see if there was some messages for me. I saw the update for WordPress. So I did. And after I had to see what was new on WordPress. Immediatly I saw Freshly Pressed. I started to read Wiggle Wiggly pinky toe. You really changed my morning, the coffee in front of me on the table turned cold because I had to read more and more and saw a video of your toe and a video presentation by fundraiser speech. And you changed my day!!
    You have great courage and I admire your strength and faith. I believe in you. Keep on going !!! 2013 will be your Happy Walky New Year!!!

    Greetings from me. Nelly Vollebregt.
    I will follow your blog!

    Greetings from me

    1. Hi Nelly, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I’m so flattered that my blog could have that kind of effect on you and I hope you keep reading as I continue to write about this process. Happy new year to you too and I look forward to staying in touch -AB

      1. Arash, I read your blogs and continue doing it so. I follow your process. I still am so impressed by your strongness and your believe and holding on to it. It will be an example for me in my daily life. I have read now about your biking experience . Hold on Arash ! Keep going on. Because one day I believe you will be on your own bike again. Greetings and lots of love from the Netherlands. Nelly Vollebregt

  21. Came across this in ‘freshly pressed’
    Wow! Truly an inspiring story! However it is not finished yet, I have faith in your pinky toe! Looking forward to reading more and hearing how you’re doing.

  22. Unbelievable. But I believe the mind can do anything it sets its mind to do. Thanks for sharing and giving hope to many.

  23. the power of the mind and your positive healing thoughts are inspiring my new friend Arash. My husband recovered from a severe fall in 1993, his pain never goes away but his mind, body and spirit are soaring! I am sending you more support and will be following your healing. First a pinky, next… I will be waiting and praying. Namaste.

  24. I cried tears of joy for you Arash when I read this. With so many sending healing energy your way, 2013 looks very promising indeed for you. Many blessings to you. 🙂

  25. My eldest son, then 25, was stabbed through the brain and left for dead with masive injuries from which they said he would never, could never, recover. Initially paralysed with no balance, no coordination unable to speak, swallow or see clearly. Now 28, I we had a long discussion today .. or rather, he expounded about neurogenesis, proprioceptive as opposed to visual and vestibular balance and neuroplasticity. In his own home, where he manages perfectly well alone with just a little help from me. And last week I watched him take five steps, alone, unsupported.

    I am doing the same demented hobbit dance for you as I did the day I dragged the nurse to his bedside and showed her the movement in his foot which had been dismissed as reflexive… but which he did on command.

    Nothing is impossible 🙂

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