Two years since, and still moving forward

Yesterday, July 8th, marked two years since my Spinal Cord Injury, since everything that I knew about the world, about myself, about my body, and my life was turned upside down in an instant and launched me on this whirlwind of a journey that is recovery.

I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to post about this strange date as its relevance is quite insignificant to me now. I remember last year, as my one year anniversary approached, I was stressed out and anxious (read my posting here if you’d like). Because the traditional thinking in our medical system says that most or all of recovery from SCI will occur in the first year or, if you’re lucky, in two, it was disheartening to think about the magnitude of that date and all that it implied. Oh how so much has changed…

Shortly after that day, I stopped counting the months since my accident. The eighth of the month, which had always been so present in my day-to-day consciousness especially as the calendar changed and a new month would arrive, became irrelevant. For the last many months, I actually completely forgot about the eighth of the month as I realized how unimportant it was. I told myself from the beginning that I was going to engage on the path to full recovery and that I would give everything I had to achieve my goals. Therefore, why should an antiquated way of thinking – an outdated medical approach that has been proven wrong repeatedly by those around me, one that quells and limits the spirit of recovery instead of encouraging it to flourish – why should that define my recovery? It shouldn’t, and it won’t.

I fully believe, as I have since the day I was injured, that with perseverance, diligence, unwavering commitment and by keeping my dream alive within me, that I can and will get back on my feet, no matter how long it takes. Also, I can’t overlook that an exceptional amount of my healing and breakthroughs have occurred only in the last few months! Maybe my spinal cord and my body did need a longer period of time to process and accept that initial trauma, but what started as the weakest me that me has ever known, has transformed into a period of continuous recovery and accomplishments.
Although it has been two very hard years, more trying, devastating, arduous, and insurmountably difficult than most anyone can imagine, I have learned tremendously during this time. I have challenged myself to an extreme I could never imagine and I have witnessed how much love surrounds me on this fight of mine. For that, I’m grateful. For the opportunity to continue on the path to realize my dream of walking and running again, I am hopeful and I continue to fight.
So thank you two year anniversary, thank you meaningless calendar date, thank you for reminding me that the human potential is not defined by 12 month cycles or doctors’ prognoses. If the spirit to heal is present, then the healing will persist. And further forward I push, looking forward to the next breakthrough and the next stage of recovery.

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43 thoughts on “Two years since, and still moving forward

  1. Congratulations on your two amazing years toward a very inspiring recovery! Glad to hear about your progress, you are a true example of courage for all those who follow you on your journey, and whose know? maybe to even those who don’t… positive energies don’t have walls 🙂
    Best wishes for us reading about your full recovery very soon!

    1. I like that, “positive energies don’t have walls.” I’ll try to hold on to that as I embark on the rest of my journey. -AB

  2. Arash, you have inspired me greatly over the past year since I found your blog. Congratulations on another year of perseverance and success! Keep on keeping on.

  3. Yes, congrats on 2 absolutely incredible years.

    You’ve proved without doubt that it is possible for healing to occur (despite the prognosis of so-called experts in the field of spinal injuries).

    The power of the mind alone is something that is underestimated on so many levels. And I’m a great believer in the body’s power to heal itself (given the right ‘tools’). Also one needs to keep an open mind about the word ‘healing’. It may well be that some parts don’t heal 100%, but others not only heal, but go on to function above their old 100%. Just as, if one of our senses (e.g. sight) is taken from us, the other senses (e.g. smell, hearing) become far more highly developed (than a normal sighted person).

    I think the important mindset to develop is that your body is ‘different’ now and that while your whole life will never be the same again…….no one’s life is ever the same (day after day). We all change on a daily basis.

    The important thing is to be mentally flexible. If something doesn’t work in our lives today, there’s nothing to say it won’t work next week/month/year. Nothing can change the past, except the way our mind thinks about the past. We can harbour anger, resentment, self-pity and stagnate. Or, we can look back with acceptance and move on to develop a new way of life with hope, imagination and creativity.

    Anything can change the future. Nothing ever stays the same.

    The only thing we can be sure of is that we are born, we live and eventually, we die (at some point in the future). And for some of us, it’s only our earthly body that dies.

    1. Ummmmm… so have you written a book on this stuff? Your advice and thoughts are fantastic and I identify with pretty much everything you said. I definitely agree with you that the body is different but you’re right that it’s different all the time, every day, whether we’ve been through something traumatic or not. Mental flexibility is easier said than done but I completely agree that it’s a necessity, especially when dealing with a situation like mine. I think the last two years have been a practice in developing mental flexibility and it will continue from here.

      Thank you for sharing such sage words with me. I’m honored and happy to always read your comments and have your support. -AB

  4. I have been following your blog since you started. It is very inspiring and informative to me as a person who works in the medical clinic, as a yoga teacher and as your fellow human being. Thank you so much for your generosity and willingness to share your recovery and your journey with us.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, without knowing me before. It means a lot to me that you read and follow the blog. Much appreciated! -AB

  5. Quietly I follow your blog, get your posts and they bouy my own journey through the jungly mess of medical incompetency which has been MS up until recently. I don’t listen to them, the old school neurologists with their ties to pharmaceuticals, and I make my own way, as you do, to recovery. It will come. Thank you for sharing yourself, it is deeply appreciated.

    1. Thank you for commenting and sharing a bit about yourself too. I fully agree with you and support you. Make your own way, it may be lonely but at least you don’t have any people doubting you or getting in your way -AB

  6. You continue to be inspirational! Nothing will and can stop you and your astonishing determination. Calendar means nothing for someone like you. You are creating a new calendar.

      1. I see a kinship with my own son there… you are both very determined individuals!
        (Though I just call hm stubborn 🙂 )
        Have you seen what he’s up to now… skydiving for charity in August…

      2. I’ve been called stubborn many times, and most often by myself. 😉 I have not seen that skydiving. That’s awesome. I will check it out now. Thanks for the update -AB

  7. What a beautiful post Arash! So full of heart and full of truth, the spirit to heal is within you and you ARE healing! I agree that what has always “been true” in the past doesn’t mean it is true for you, or for hundreds of others out there – and how amazing that you’ve made a new truth! Sending you good energy as you continue on your path!!

    1. Yeah I think the desire to know that I’m different and unique and that what applies to others doesn’t apply to me is what keeps me going. I have to adopt that approach to continue to get better. Thank you much! -AB

  8. dear arash,

    i am touched and inspired each time i read your writings. you inspire others too when you go beyond and outside the traditional assumptions made by doctors. each case, each person, is an individual and no one can presume to know their outcome. thank you for sharing—

  9. I too know that doctors as well as calendars have nothing to do with how much one can achieve if the mind, will and believe is set to accomplish something.
    You’ve done very well in such a short time, congratulation Arash!!!
    It took me 4 years to start taking my first steps holding onto walls as my center of gravity wasn’t aligned due to balance. From what I’ve seen in your videos you’ll definitely do it in a much shorter time!
    So celebrate Arash, celebrate ’cause you have conquered mountains already!!!
    Sending you loads of strength and healing energy, you’re a true warrior and you will conquer it all!

    1. Your words are so helpful as I have such a hard time celebrating anything. I am always trying to be better about recognizing accomplishments and celebrating them, much like you say, but it’s very challenging for me as I’m always thinking about what the next step will be. Thank you so much for your supportive words and encouragement. Best to you -AB

  10. great up-date…Xan is about 6 months ahead of you and he posted something very similar on his 2 year mark…i am in awe of you guys…how you just keep pushing forward. Bravo, love…
    hey, can you send me your email address? i want to invite you to something you will be very interested in…

  11. wow! 2 yeras……… I am thanksful to meet you, family and friends who supports your recoevery with love. It is huge inspiration to see your fight toward what you belive stead of what people said.
    We all belive your dream here from Maui and keep sending lights and love to you!
    hope to see you soon!
    Kazuko and rest of Body Wellness Hawaii Team!

    1. It’s been so wonderful to meet you all. I’m already looking forward to the next time I get to see you all. Much love and aloha to you -AB

  12. Brother,

    You are an inspiration to us all. I owe you a phone call and a long chat to catch up. Know that we all love you in DC and can’t wait to see what you’ll do next! Miss you bro!

    Lots of love,


  13. Inspiring as always Arash. Your spirit and perseverance are incredible and commendable – I know you’ll reach your goal and I always read about your progress with interest and wishes for your full recovery!

  14. I got chills reading your entry today! Your persistence and attitude are making a whole new path for people with SCI. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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