Calling

Spiderman's uncle was killed; batman his parents. They each went through a tragedy to gain their calling. It wasn’t a spider bite or a black cape that made these two superheroes; it was a tragedy that gave them a reason to fight. Many others – real people – have experienced this calling in their life. I am not a superhero, but it took a tragedy to show me what I should be.
I got knocked off my feet. Not by a super villain, criminal, attack or accident, but by a disease. For reasons still not known to science, I contracted a disease in 2004 called Guillain Barre. A disease so rare someone is just as likely to get struck by lightning as they are to contract this. It’s a nerve disorder that leave’s its victim paralyzed. Not from the waist or neck down, but completely and utterly immovable. From my eyes to my toes I lost mobility. It has often been fatal, and survivors are frequently left debilitated for life. Some are left in wheel chairs, others with deformations from facial muscles never recovering. All are left changed.
Guillain Barre destroys the motor nerves. It goes way beyond just loosing the ability to walk. I couldn’t blink or close my mouth. It took both hands to hold a fork, and I eventually lost that ability all together. During my stay in the hospital I lost the strength to even press a button on a remote or to call a nurse. My muscles atrophied, I was fed by someone else and hooked up to machines to make sure my lungs wouldn’t fail. My eyes were taped shut at night so they wouldn’t dry out. Worse than being stuck in a vegetative state, I was trapped unable to use my body, yet I was still conscious and awake paralyzed to my bed.
I have never been a qualifier for the Biggest Loser TV show. I don’t have the crazy before and after pictures of weight loss. My before and after pictures are completely different. Instead of the before picture being me overweight, it’s me seventy pounds underweight.



I asked my doctor if I’d ever be able to play soccer again. He told me that I would only be disappointed if I tried. He told me to expect six months in the hospital and at least a year of physical therapy to be able to move normal again. He’d seen this disease before, he knew what to expect, he knew my body, but he didn’t know my mind. Despite what science has said, I knew I could recover. What my mind knew my body would too.
I had received my calling. Even stuck in a hospital I worked to be able to blink without assistance and to feed myself. I could barely move yet still I refused help. I worked to be able to roll to my side then to sit up. I worked from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane. And soon I was able to walk on my own.
It was in the hospital that I discovered the importance of the mind and body working together. If one believes in the other’s weakness, then the two will fail together. But if one pushes the other to believe, than they can succeed. During one physical therapy session I was told to jump and touch a bolt in the ceiling. It was only a couple inches above my reach, but I hadn’t tried jumping before. I had been walking for less than a week and my mind told my body that it couldn’t do it, not in my current physical condition. But my trainer insisted. I attempted again and again and fell short. But even though my mind was confident that my body wasn’t able to perform such a task, I persisted. My body surprised my mind and I felt the tip of my finger graze that metal eyelet. Even though I was still crippled, I decided to never doubt my body again.
I walked, then jogged, then jumped and ran. My progress was miraculous, but they still said I would never play soccer again. Instead of six months in the hospital I only stayed one. Instead of a year of physical therapy I was released in two months.
Once out of the hospital, the real work begun. I wasn’t content with normal functioning. I wanted to excel. An early release for good behavior wasn’t enough to prove the doctor’s wrong.
I had tapped into a power of congruency. When my body doubted, my mind pushed it through. When my mind didn’t believe, my body disproved it. When they didn’t believe in each other I failed. When they worked together I felt like I could do anything. My mind knew how strong my body could be. It saw its potential and my body fulfilled it.
The after picture should say it all.



I was not content at just improving myself. This was the start of a path to help others. As I work to become a therapist and help to improve the mind, I can now at least start to help to improve the body. Because of a tragedy that put me in hospital bed I feel that I have received my calling. I went through what I went through so I can be here for you.