One year ago…

Today marks one year since I badly broke my neck, since my life turned upside down, and since everything I ever knew about my body, my health, my accomplishments, my ambitions and my future were all thrown out and it all hit the restart button. I have to admit, I’ve been dreading this day for quite some time now and I could feel in recent weeks that my stress was building about what this day means to me and what I should do moving forward.

On the one hand it devastates and frightens me to think that an entire year has gone by since I last willingly moved my legs. I used to get antsy and grumpy if I went a few days without running, biking or exercising my entire body somehow. For the last year I’ve had to settle for rebuilding my body piece by piece, and slowly accepting that I could (and would) still regularly push myself to my physical limits, even if I didn’t have function of my entire body. It’s scary and depressing and horrifying to realize how much has changed in me physically since before my accident. To think of the physical accomplishments that I had, to think of how much respect I had for my body and how that translated to what I ate, how I behaved, and how I approached life in general, and to think that all of that has transformed now…words can’t describe it.

I remember waking up in the hospital, under heavy medication, staring at the ceiling because I was unable to move my head and not being able to see my legs but knowing that something just didn’t feel right. I remember every conversation I’ve had with every single doctor and how each of them wanted to show that they “had the answer” by telling me how soon my body’s rehabilitative abilities would stop. Some told me six months, others said one year or more but they all had a firm belief that after a spinal cord injury, the healing would reach this magical point in time and just come to a halt.

Never mind that this sounds bogus and arbitrary. Never mind that case after case of people with this injury have had changes and improvements in their body two, five, eight, ten, twenty years after their injuries! Never mind that by saying these things, they were placing a limit on my potential and possibly devastating my spirit. Never mind that their “medical knowledge” was supposed to trump the power of will, of hope, of dedication, of faith, of perseverance, and of love.

And I don’t just mean the love that comes from family, friends, community and others, but of the love that comes from within. The love I had for everything that I was capable of before my accident. The love for enjoying life on my own terms, the love of being able to stand and walk and jump and kneel and lean and kick and tumble and tumble and tumble…and RISE. When do we fall and NOT want to get back up? Does it ever happen that a baby that’s learning to walk stumbles and falls and doesn’t try to do it all over again, albeit after a few tears? So why should this be any different? If a baby can do it, why can’t a grown man, let alone a grown man who has so much still to live for?

I remember leaving the hospital seven weeks after my injury and my doctor (who I’d seen and spoken to every single day during my time at inpatient rehab) telling me not to engage in too much activity or put too much hope or effort into my recovery. “All of this acupuncture, exercise therapy, alternative interventions and these other things out there…all of this is just experimental and there’s no proof of its potential efficacy in healing after a spinal cord injury. The body will heal as it will, there’s not much you can do so you might as well just wait for it to come.”

Oh really? Well just watch me…

I’m not naive. I’m not expecting everything to just go back to the way it was. I know that recovery is slow and the last year has proven that to me over and over. Nothing about this process is going to be easy or quick and I’ve accepted that. But I also know that my body desperately wants to get better. I know that it makes no sense for the body to heal for 365 days and then on the 366th day just suddenly stop and say, “ahhhh ok, I think we’re done here.” I know that I’ve made extraordinary gains in the last year and I see no justification for the belief that things are just going to slow down or stop now. My attitude isn’t scientifically or medically proven but I think that my recovery is one of the many things out there that cannot, and maybe will not, ever be explained by medical reasoning.

Despite the overwhelming challenges that come with my current situation, I’m extremely grateful for some of the lessons that I’ve learned in this last year, many of which I’ve written about on this blog. I’ve learned of the resilience of the human condition and how strong we can be in the face of overwhelming adversity coming from so many different angles. I’ve learned about the meaning of faith and how I’ve been able to interpret my own understanding of what I believe in, and why. I’ve learned about the surprises that can come from waking up one morning and discovering that a body part has suddenly regained its functionality. I’ve learned about the importance of perspective again, and again and again and how I will always be grateful for what I have. I’ve learned that positive thinking can be a conscious practice taking place underneath the surface of willful actions or it can come in the form of dreams, reminding the mind and body and soul of how great it feels to be able to walk.

More than anything though, I’ve learned about the intensity and magnitude of the power of intention and will. I’ve learned that hope is always alive as long as the intention for it is active and strong. I’ve learned that as difficult as it may be, it’s possible to listen to the “experts” and actively work to prove them wrong; to show an entire industry that’s based on suppressing my expectations and accepting the unacceptable, that there is another way. But it can only come if I truly believe in it and am willing to spend every last of drop of tears and energy and blood into pursuing it.

I spoke with someone recently who has had a lot of experience healing people who have suffered spinal cord injuries. She believes that the first year is purely a matter of dealing with the massive trauma that has occurred, that true healing doesn’t really begin until that trauma has died down and that happens in the second year and beyond.

I too accept this belief and I feel renewed and reenergized about my recovery. I know I will never forget this day again, that it’s an anniversary of sorts. I acknowledge this day now, and am ready to move forward, to keep my intention and will focused on my ultimate goals and to stay on my path to a full recovery.

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106 thoughts on “One year ago…

  1. Those anniversary markers are difficult. When Kodiak was born and his facial palsey and vocal chord paralysis was evident we were told the same thing. What he ends up with at that one year is it. Well, when we hit one year he was still having to thicken his liquids. It was not until he was 5 that we no longer needed that.
    Then as far as his voice? He finally got one and he can be very loud. His facial palsey is less obvious until he smiles. But for him it was very different. But he proved so many doctors wrong. Love, kindness and challenges made him do much more than he should have been able to do. Keep up the fight. Don’t let others limit you. Every day you are alive is another day to progress. Love your posts!

    1. Wonderful words and thank you for sharing about Kodiak. He looks like quite the cute little child and I’m thrilled to hear that he was proving doctors wrong, even as a baby. 🙂 I’ll keep fighting and pushing the limits. Best to you -AB

  2. Arash – You broke and are breaking the rules set by medical professionals who have no right to squelch the spirit. One year has gone by and in that year you’ve dealt with the trauma and you ARE healing. Year two…you’re only going to get stronger and more healthier. Always remember that every thought you entertain effects every cell in your body. Keep up your brilliant and brave work, my friend. Happy Anniversary.

  3. Arash,
    Today’s the day to become doubt-free!
    Just look at what you have accomplished.
    You are amazing and every cell in my body knows you are on your way to full recovery!
    It is happening!!!!

    1. Doubt free would be a wonderful goal to work towards, although I admit those doubts do have a way of sneaking in there. Every cell is fighting hard to stay alive and get better. -AB

  4. What an amazing year of recovery you have behind you, and you will be STANDING here in another year and coaching others who are losing hope! You reminds us all that our lives can change in a minute, life can kick us down without warning, and you remind us to GET UP and keep moving forward!

  5. May this truly be just the beginning of your recovery. All the mental and emotional lessons you have learned you can build upon, just as your body can build upon the foundation you have so diligently laid this past year. Anniversaries seem easier to me when I see them coming and get ready. You have done that too. All of the people who love you are in your corner, believing in you as you believe in yourself. Year two….off to an inspired beginning. Much love to you.

  6. My favourite words…. “bogus and arbitrary”…. we with MS (just another kind of spinal cord injury, really) fight the system of negative neurology every day – and we are seeing the cracks open for a condition that was deemed “incurable” even if you took terrible ineffective expensive drugs.
    We were (and still are) the disposable patient base for Big $ Pharma. But through refusing to accept the Expert Opinions, huge hope has opened up. I love how you fight, I know some of the things you don’t say, and I know we will prevail, I feel it in my wobbly bones.
    Keep writing – the ripples go far……..
    ps you cannot imagine how many times they have been dead wrong about the course of my healing….I thank this universe every day for the good sense to ignore them..!!!

    1. So great to hear from you! I’m always interested in hearing from others with similar injuries and conditions. I have learned more about MS too and know that you experience many of the same challenges as me. That’s wonderful to hear that they’ve been wrong about your recovery as well. It would be great to learn more about what you’ve done and what has worked for you. Best wishes to you -AB

  7. I have never known you to not accomplish or exceed a goal you set. No doubt in my mind that this is the same. Keep being your amazing self 🙂

  8. Hello Arash, Congratulations on your anniversary and your incredible attitude! Everyone seems to have more questions as each anniversary passes. And, I know I get stronger and more able to do more things and improve on those I’ve somewhat mastered. These past few weeks are evidence of that! Look on my facebook postings. Keep the faith, till later. Sam Sent from my iPad

  9. Your strength and determination are so inspiring Arash! I know Year 2 holds much progress and reward.

  10. Arash,
    Thanks for your beautiful and inspiring post. Thinking of you on this anniversary and wishing you continued strength of mind and spirit to continue with your recovery. You are an inspiration for all of us. Love you.

    Christopher

  11. Cuz, I know it was the anniversary of one of the worst days in our lives – however, when reflecting, the only thing that comes to my mind is your absolute resolve, strength, and courage. This accident may have slowed you down for a while, but in no way will stop you. I don’t think that, I KNOW that.

    Just remember that we are all (specially me) inspired by you everyday …

  12. Arash,
    I’m thrilled to feature your story on my blog today. Please rest assured that your determination to move forward is an inspiration to us all. I’m thrilled to have met you through our friend, Arthur Wooten, and I’m sending you my deepest hopes for the recovery you seek. You are an incredible man and your blog is a gift to all of us who struggle with health issues.
    -Pamela-
    http://dystoniamuse.com/2013/07/08/arash-bayatmakou-determined-to-assert-his-independence/

  13. Your mental strength is where your recovery begins and you have plenty of it! I think what your friend says makes a lot of sense, the shock is big in the beginning and one has to first process all that in order to go further.
    Happy anniversary and many wishes for a full recovery, it’ll happen quicker than you think 🙂

  14. This post was incredible for me to read Arash. I feel very blessed to have met you in your early days of blogging here, at the beginning of your recovery, and to have witnessed your ups and downs and fierce determination – unrelenting spirit and grace as you move full-force toward FULL RECOVERY. You inspire so many of us here… you have a gift in your writing style in that you can convey emotion and passion through your narrative – as though your reader is sitting having a cup of coffee in your house or a causal cafe! I loved this line (amongst others) – “Does it ever happen that a baby that’s learning to walk stumbles and falls and doesn’t try to do it all over again, albeit after a few tears? ” ~ I will remember this always myself too… Thank you — I do believe we are hardwired to survive and to THRIVE …And if we don’t “stuff” get in the way of that instinct, it can serve us in so many ways. You just keep doing what you are doing dear friend — find joy in unexpected places as you continue your brave journey! …I, amongst so many others here, are right behind you – cheering you on all the way! ~ Much Love, Robyn

    1. Such a kind message Robyn. Thank you. I’m honored that you, and others, continue to read my blog as it has been a wonderful outlet for me to share my experiences. I know what you go through too is so individual to you that it may be hard to share or explain with others, but I’m always impressed at how you express yourself as well. 🙂

      The baby thing just came to me at that moment, and it’s true! I mean if the human spirit is to get back up and try again, then why are people told the opposite?? I just don’t get it… Great to continue to be in contact with you. Much love to you -AB

  15. My dearest Arash, how powerful and inspiring your words are!! I have no doubt that your incredible mind will take the control of your body very soon. You will prove that you can accomplish whatever your mind, heart, and soul desires! Much love, Mahnaz

  16. This is truly amazing. Congratulations on your accomplishments and strength. Thank you for your inspiration. Much love.

  17. Arash you are truly incredible! These are without a doubt some of the most powerful and wise words I have read in a long, long time. Keep fighting that fight my friend! You can and will do it. You are phenomenally strong…and you have many, many strong people who stand behind you. Continue to prove them wrong.

  18. Wonderful blog. I love that you have taken the chance to share your story. I will be sharing on my blog’s FB page, Just Mildly Medicated, and hope to share more of your journey along the way.
    Carrie @ Just Mildly Medicated

  19. Arash, YOur friend Mahnaz could not have said it any better. Keep your eye on the prize. Your resolve, positive attitude, and ability to count your blessings is absolutely remarkable. I think of you often and send healing wishes your way. Your friend and former Prof, Leslie

  20. The first year is a difficult one, but it seems that you’re handling it well. As for doctors saying that no healing occurs after the first year-definitely not true. While I have not recovered much motor function, the changes in my sensation has been great. I still notice new things over 2 1/2 years post injury. You got this! I look forward to reading more about your adventures and progress.

  21. You are such an inspiration to us all, Arash. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. We remain behind you–even from afar–and send you continued thoughts of hope, love and recovery. xox

  22. Hi Arash…. I don’t know you at all, but find myself glued to your blog with feelings of love for you and the utmost respect. You a brave soul who is doing what he needs to do to heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Through your writing and honestly you have the ability to conjure up emotions in me that feel all at once like trepidation and peace, mixed in with sadness and joy. Thank you for your candidness and patience. You are a great teacher for many I am sure, certainly for you are for me. I will continue to visit your site and pray for your continued healing. You have come far and there is nothing but open sky above you to spread your wings. With love,
    Lindsay

    1. Lindsay, it’s so nice to read your comment and I apologize for the delayed response. I’m honored that you’ve read my blog and so appreciate your words of support. I’m so flattered that my words had that effect on you but alas, I’m just writing the truth from where I see it. Nothing more. Hope to remain in contact with you -AB

  23. You are beyond an inspiration, Arash. Your courage, determination, resilience, mindfulness… All of it leaves me gaping. Those doctors didn’t know who they were talking to when they spoke to you. One year is only the beginning. We all know that, and especially you. So keep fighting. And, if you don’t mind, I just might link to this from my site… There are people out there who could learn a hell of a lot from you—starting with myself. Cheers, always. Your friend, Jess

  24. Arash,
    I apologize it has taken me a few days to comment on this post. I knew this time was fast approaching because I will never forget the FB chat we had when you told me what had happened to you just after the July 4 holiday. From that chat to this compelling argument for the perseverance of the human spirit you make here, has been quite a transition. The beautiful metaphors for living an extraordinary life you make here are very powerful Arash. Your world, shaken to its foundation grows more daily than most people experience in months once they reach that point in the road where it stops. Your doctor was not wrong in the case of most human beings, because most of us have a threshold for pain, and an unwillingness to go beyond anything that pushes the boundaries of comfort. I think some folks call it quitting. In you, there is no quit and I think knowing you for awhile it is easy just to believe that is how you are wired. However, wiring is only potential. Choices are what separate us and what grant us the rewards that come with an unwillingness to accept the putrefaction of comfort. Your struggle, your journey, and your true passion to push through conditional boundaries is inspiring on a grand scale. There is a new truth with every click of a mouse, every word read, and in every person you meet. The truth that has any capacity for consistent survival exists within the makeup of our love for ourselves. A point that you outline eloquently here. This will only continue to manifest in you and the joy you feel when those parts of you continue to respond to your love and the way in which you push them. I look forward to toasting your growth and celebrating the written word for you and what it means to us all.
    Un abbraccio forte mio amico grande!
    Michael

  25. This is your path into the lives of many. So very inspiring. Here’s to loving and believing in yourself!!!

    Much love to you and your family.

    Erin Benjamin (Bever)
    xxoo

  26. I saw the video on the bionic suit and then looked up your story. Your determination and courage are truly inspiring and I really like your thoughts on belief and focus fueling your progress. I’m a strong believer in thoughts shaping your world as well. I watched a documentary about how quantum physics actually supports and explains the law of attraction (the book the Secret wrote about it, basically the principle that if you believe in something, you create it in your life). It’s called What the Bleep do we Know and you can search it on youtube and watch the full movie for free. It’s something I try and practice every day, thought it might be helpful.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing that with me. I’ve heard about that movie but never got to watch it. I’ll definitely check it out. I’m sure it will be helpful as I fully believe in the law of attraction and count on it everyday for my recovery. -AB

  27. I’m with you every “step” of the way…you have put into words the way in which tragedy and hope co-exists…….but hope WINS…and YOU are living…WALKING proof! In 2003 a brain lesion; stroke and surgery left me with DYSPHAGIA; unable to swallow (www.nfosd.com shows my story in our video Swallow: a documentary). I was “tube fed” for 6 1/2 years. NO doctor really thought I would/could swallow again, certainly not well enough to eat orally. Same thing, I was told you’ll get 90% recovery the first year, then 10% the second year and then the window closes..THAT’S IT!! in 2009 I had my tube removed, and although eating is a bit of a production still…..I have defyed it all with hope, love, faith, intention, will, prayer, friends, support…….I used to HATE when people would say I was an “inspiration” because I didn’t want to be, I just wanted my life back….but here I am, here YOU are…….thank you…thank you….thank you.

    1. What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing and I’m so happy that you too defied the odds and reached your goal. I’m honored you’re reading my blog and hope your progress continues -AB

  28. Arash,
    Every so often you come across someone who reminds you that faith and perseverance can help you overcome the biggest of obstacles in life, and reaffirm that faith in everything and everyone around you. A few years ago I beat cancer..not really the sort of thing I would have imagined I would have to deal with in my early 20s.. but it happened and regardless of what the doctors thought I came out of it promising myself that I would never take life for granted and give every moment all of my self. The last couple years have been so busy with work I had forgotten that promise I had made to myself, thanks for reminding me! You were right in not letting the doctors tell you how you should feel or how you would or would not recover.
    You really are an inspiration to everyone around and wish you all the best in your recovery! Looking forward to keeping up with your recovery.
    Cheers,
    Farha.

    1. Farha I’m honored that I could have that effect on you. I’m happy I could help you remember about the promise you made to yourself and I hope you continue to honor that. I tell myself the same thing about my situation, that there’s no way I will ever take anything for granted again. You must be quite a strong person to have beaten cancer and YOUR story is inspiring. Thank you for reaching out -AB

  29. WOW – your positive attitude is amazing and I am sending you positive energy and good thoughts for your continued recovery! Every cell in your body will be well with such a positive attitude. And the new robot suit is amazing!!! My beloved mother-in-law had MS and was in a wheelchair for over 20 years. She experienced many of the things you mentioned, especially the “looking up at people.” I wish they had developed this suit while she was still living. Good luck to you – you are an amazing person. Go for it!!!

    Kathy

  30. I work at a consulting firm and several clients are doctors or hospitals. We’ve had frank conversations about what doctors know and what they do not. I guess I’ve always suspected but was still shocked to have confirmed that doctors often have no idea how the body works, why it works, why someone heals and why someone does not. They cling to evidence-based research with the desperation of someone clinging to the edge of a cliff by their finger tips because that’s all we have at this point. Incomplete data, theories, and statistical probabilities. They couldn’t possibly know what your body is capable of, what you can do, what your cells can do with them completely united and powered by your will and the love of those around you. Of course they discredit any other form of medicine or practice that’s not western medicine. Of course. But the real shocker is why we continue to put absolute faith in doctors. Yes, they’re doing their best with the data available to them. But they don’t know. I’m glad you do. Continue your path. I challenge you to a game of raquet ball in five years, bud. Game on.

    1. I happily accept! Let’s make that game happen. I totally agree with you about what you say about doctors. Why DO we still put so much faith into what they say?? It’s hard sometimes to ignore them and to blaze my own path but I try my best. Thank you for your support -AB

  31. Dear Arash, I too saw the video on the wearable robot and therefore found your blog. So glad you have a positive, determined nature. My cousin who was quadriplegic after a car accident didn’t have a “half full” mentality and I always wished he did. He did inspire a play that I wrote about a dancer who has an accident and is now in a wheelchair. If you ever take up acting– I’d love for you to read it. I wish you all the best and will keep you in my prayers. Namaste.

  32. Hey Arash, I saw the Al Jazeera video of you walking in the bionic suit and it was one of the most inspiring things I have seen in a long time. I too am not a very religious person, but I am certainly a believer in you! If you can make your pinkie toe wiggle, who’s to say you can’t walk unaided?? I wish you all the best, and hope that one day you climb Half Dome again (I recognize the view in your header photo), faster than ever before. Good luck.

    1. Good eye bro. Yes half dome is a place I have promised myself I will go back to. It motivates me all the time and I always think about all of the cherished places I will go to when I’m back on my feet. Thank you reaching out -AB

  33. Arash ,

    I just want to say you’re a pimp ! Seriously dude, mad props .
    Your attitude and resilience are inspiring for all of us dealing with our own Shtiks.

    Horrible things happens to the best of us , but it is gems like you that shine brightest in their darkest hour reminding the rest of us of the power beyond measure that lies within.

    I want you to know that one day you WILL get whatever it is you want, to walk, run and one day dance. The persistence of water always wins against the seemingly impenetrable rock.
    The world better watch out , knowing what you know now and with the attitude you have this world is your oyster my friend..you’ve emancipated your mind and nothing can stop you now.

    From the bottom of my heart I salute you . Keep doing what your doing. You Rock.

    1. Dude! What inspiring words! Thank you so much for sharing your positivity with me and for your great energy. It put a huge smile on my face to read your comments. -AB

  34. Hello Arash! A friend of mine just sent me a link to the video of you using the Ekso. It brought tears to my eyes. I ‘d love to chat with you about your experience. I too am a quad from an injury 20 yrs ago and I run a nonprofit to help reverse paralysis and support neuro recovery. Feel free to follow my blog at http://www.sabrinaco.blogspot.com and sabrinacohenfoundation.org

    I look forward to chatting! I’m encouraged by your spirit and drive.
    🙂 Sabrina

    1. Hi Sabrina, I just read your whole site and am very impressed by your discipline and commitment to your body. Something you and I both share 🙂 It would be great to learn more about your knowledge with stem cell and other recent technologies for reversing paralysis. Feel free to shoot me an email and hopefully we can keep the conversation going. abayat491@gmail.com -AB

  35. Thank you for your inspiration!
    I am recovering from hip surgery, 2 months post-op, and am experiencing similar words from doctors. I am eating medicinally, meditating, and listening to my body, knowing that we (me and my body) are in this together!
    Have you watched the film, The Secret? There’s a story in there about a man who they said would never walk again. He broke just about every bone in his body and couldn’t breathe w/o a machine. He proved them wrong and can now walk and breathe on his own!
    You can do it, too! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  36. I just watched the video, and I believe that one day, Arash, you will walk again. Technological and scientific progress will one day get rid of your wheelchair for good, and I believe you will see it in your lifetime. You’re a young man who has age on his side. Try and stay positive, for I know sometimes that is easier said than done — we’re all just human. You seem to be a sensible and intelligent person [and good looking], and I only hope the best for you.

    1. Thank you so much. Yes staying positive is sometimes very challenging but I do my best to stay focused on the good things and to maintain my intention on recovery. I too believe that I will walk. I appreciate your support. Stay in touch -AB

  37. Hi,

    I just watched the video – linked on upworthy… and so thought I would drop by to say Hi from he U.K.

    It is my constant experience, with every medical based interaction, that a medics only true evidence is the evidence of their processes which demonstrate …. they know very little in comparison to what is out there to know….

    consequently they can’t really provide a prognosis – only a very limited guess based on the limited options they have experientially ruled out.

    It must be true then, that a number of outcomes are possible – so why, on earth, wouldn’t it be the outcome you are hoping for….. it’s got to be just as likely that you are right, as they are.

    So power to you – stranger across the ocean – wishing you everything you would wish for yourself.

    Danni

    1. Thank you for the kind words and support from across the Atlantic Danni. I agree with you completely about doctors. I don’t think they have any bad intentions, but I just wish they were more supportive of giving more hope and motivation, instead of stripping it away. Glad we could connect from across the ocean. Best to you -AB

  38. Just watched the Ekso video and it made me cry for a number of reasons. Main stream medicine is so locked-in and has such a hard time dealing with what is doesn’t understand and what it’s practioners have been taught. There is no room for creativity or thinking outside the wheelchair. There is such a disconnect in western medicine between body & mind, a belief that they are 2 separate things! I think the human body is designed to heal itself but we haven’t evolved enough to understand how to do it yet (maybe that’s what the other 90% of our brain that we aren’t currently using is for). The human body is a miracle, you don’t have to wish/pray for one, you’re already it. Your body, your life, YOU- were a miracle the day you were born. Sending you love and best wishes for healing inside & out.

    1. Thank you so much. I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t know why the Western doctors separate the body and mind and treat them distinctively. I always say that I fully believe that my body WANTS to heal and get better and not just sit in a chair. So why not fuel that with optimism, hope and positivity? Thanks for reading -AB

  39. I read some of your blog through a link on FaceBook. About nineteen months ago, I had an unfortunate accident (my dog got hit by a truck on a quiet, country road; as I scooped her up to get her out of the road, she nailed me with her jaws on my left forearm and then nailed me again on my right fingertip – animal instincts to stress). Fifteen stitches in two separate lacerations on my left forearm was the first. Second, my right fingertip was nearly severed and the PIP (proximal inter-phalangeal joint) had dislocated. Two amputations and surgery changed my life. When you talked about loss of use in your hands, I know how that feels. I became ingenious and resourceful to circumnavigate barriers. I am relentless in gaining back full function – I flex and exercise my right hand hourly, daily. Not a couch potato on this because I see continued improvement if I keep working it. Though I may not get active flexion of the PIP, I still have gains in function. Your SCI is far more than my loss of fingertip, yet we still struggle to make our lives functional – it’s all relative. It’s a loss that we overcome and it takes perseverance to overcome limitations others have set.

  40. your smile is transcendental. thanks for inspiring. i have been a bit of a roboperson for the last three months since falling 8 meters — and when i stood in the brace, i couldn’t stop grinning. your dignity, perseverance, grace, and guts will have you walking. check this out … if you haven’t already 🙂

    sending the love that brings the best.

    1. I saw that video not too long ago and it inspired me so much. I needed to see a story like that and I’m grateful for you sharing and reading my blog. Thank you -AB

  41. Please Arash, keep us posted about your progress, you are such a wonderful person! I believe in your case, every single step you take forward you will never regret it in the future, keep in mind nothing is impossible 🙂
    So much love and support!

  42. Dearest Arash
    Reading about your life’s journey made me think of all the parallels we share. First of, congratulations for fulfilling your destiny. We live in a time were there is a solution for practically anything. The key is never loosing hope and faith that there is an answer to any obstacle. I lost my entire right pelvic bone due to a cancerous tumour. I was told that I would probably need a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Being such a busy body, like yourself, I was determined to walk and be self sufficient . I don’t walk like I use to because of the leg length discrepancy , but I continue to look for better answers out there. You have given me another door to open and I will be asking Ekso Bionics if they could or would be interested in producing a mechanical device to act as my missing pelvic bone. I have searched world wide for an internal solution, but unfortunately my cancer is such a rarity, that there has been little, if at all, any developments to replace an entire pelvic bone. So, now I search for an external skeletal device. Keeping the faith and hoping for the absolute best I will contact Ekso Bionics. I truly wish you well my friend. Be well.

    1. I’m sorry to hear of your cancer and subsequent hardship. I sincerely hope you find a better solution for your needs. Thank you for reading and I send you strength and support -AB

  43. Bravo, Arash. That first anniversary is the hardest, but it does get easier, however your life turns out. Now, 26 yrs after my accident, i barely think of it on that day at all. Entering a new world – whether it is disability or a different country – changes you. You can never go back to who you were before. Luckily, the human spirit rises up each time, and life challenges us anew. I am glad for your website, and the video clip – amazing, how technology can change us. And I’ve heard over the years “oh you’re so brave,” “how do you do it?” etc., ad nauseum. But what I can say is this – living life is brave, no matter what each day brings you. Everyone has their own challenges. It’s not a competition. It’s where we find joy, and love, and inspiration that counts. Good luck on your journey.

    1. Beautiful words! I couldn’t agree with you more. It is all about creating a reality for ourselves that works and is as fulfilling as possible. Thank you for reading -AB

  44. Arash- It seems that you a beautiful soul with a very positive spirit. I read your entire blog tonight after watching the wearable robot on upworthy.com. Aside from your injury, I felt the need to tell you that you are absolutely gorgeous, and that your writing is simply beautiful. I only wish you the very best in life. Continue to “self-observe” everyday, and you will find ‘a way’. All of my love and my most positive energies to you. – Caroline
    http://www.facebook.com/carolinemayou

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