This time four years ago my body became inflicted with pain and my legs grew so weak that I had to crawl up the stairs to get to my bedroom. Being in college in Alabama, I remember being so scared not knowing what could possible be wrong with me. Little did I know, during those painful moments what would be in store for the upcoming months. Upon flying home to Virginia I was immediately sent to this hospital were my life became consumed with tests, misdiagnosis and doctors who’s faces offered a sympathetic look that meant one thing: I wouldn’t walk again.
After weeks of simply laying in a bed, motionless from the waist down, a doctor came in with the answer I had been waiting for. The last option to try to cure the autoimmune disease attacking my spine would require an aggressive form of chemotherapy and a move to Sheltering Arms Hospital. By the grace of God, my Mom never told me I was going to Sheltering Arms to learn how to live my life in a wheelchair and there wasn’t hope that my legs would move again. From day one of physical therapy I was determined to walk again and willing to push as hard as I could, because I was not willing to give up the promising future I believed I could have. And then one night, my leg moved.
From that night forward, I worked even harder to gain my strength back and learn how to walk again. Less than six weeks later I walked out of Sheltering Arms. While my story has been aired in local television commercials and even a documentary, I cannot say that it is completely my story. Without the hard work of my physical therapist, my amazing doctors, motivation from the Sheltering Arms team, the nurses who became my best friends and my faithful family, I would not have a story. I owe so much of who I am today to all of those people who motivated me to learn how to walk again to kept me sane during times when I wanted to give up.
Tomorrow evening I will be attending Sheltering Arm’s 125th Anniversary Celebration with fellow former patients, doctors, physical therapists, and other members of the Richmond community. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that I was small part of this wonderful hospital’s history and I look so forward to celebrating finding the Power to Overcome.