Recovering From Spinal Cord Injury - Rubbing it in?

I spend a lot of time publicizing that I recovered from a spinal cord injury that left my legs paralyzed for seven weeks, and was told it would be about a year before I could stop using a wheelchair, if ever.

When I have the time to explain more thoroughly, I include the fact that I did have a remarkable recovery, and I am extremely grateful for the amount that I was able to recover - and I feel I am still recovering after two years.

Most of the times, however, I focus on the fact that I regained the ability to walk within six months, and how hard I worked at it. Additionally, I wrote a book about my recovery, Toe Up to 10K, and when I publicize that, and obviously, I focus on the recovery.

The following story got my attention:

A god or a quad: time to tell the whole truth about spinal cord injuries

  The thesis of the story is that many times, the news media make it that those who recover from spinal cord injury did so with a lot of effort, but the implication is that those who did not recover was due to a lack of effort.

This perspective crosses my mind a lot when I talk about myself.  I talk of how hard I worked to regain my ability to walk.  And I think sometimes it comes across as "If you work as hard as I did, then you will be able to walk again."

But I know that some injuries, even if incomplete, are not prone to recovery, and no matter how hard one tries, he/she may not ever be able to regain the ability to walk again.

By the same token, there are some people who will recover without a great deal of exercise.

But for most people, it takes a great deal of effort and hard work to be able to walk again.

Like most things, I tend to think about the prospect of spinal cord injury as a bell curve.

1. At the far left end, there are those who have injuries that will not recover no matter what. Go a little bit to the right, and you have people who might recover, but the technology to help hasn't been discovered, yet.   Go little to the right more, and you have people who might recover with existing technology, but knowledge of that technology is not wide-spread.  As the left side of the bell starts to form, it's the people who will walk again with exercise and physical therapy.

2. At the far right, there are those who have injuries, no matter how bad it seems, will recover with no effort of their own.  The body just seems to heal itself.  But as you go a little to the left, then some exercise is needed, and more and more exercise is needed the more to the left you go.

3. But most people fall within the bell: Exercise and technology (e.g., electrical stimulation, specialized exercise equipment, etc), might make the difference between being able to walk again, or not.

The message I try to convey with my own recovery is targeted to those who fall into the third category.

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