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Finding Forward: Healing from Paralysis and Walking Again


Have you ever given thought to the challenge of a staircase you’re about to climb? Sure you have, and it may have even begun with, “Am I there yet?” The more the steps, the more you contemplate how you’re going to feel when you reach the top. How about walking after a foot or leg injury? You take every step after that with less confidence, don’t you? They’re more measured for protection, and the injury fatigues you much quicker.

Climbing up a staircase is much like healing because you always begin at the bottom, and the journey to the top requires a lot more effort. Walking is much the same because it isn’t always easy to put one foot in front of the other, nor is it always easy to heal.

As healing continues, you must strike a balance between the physical and emotional aspects of reclaiming what you lost.

You do this by moving forward and up the steps. The physical side requires patience because when dealing with injuries or illness, you require time to recover, and your strength requires time to grow. The emotional side requires more attention than the physical because based on the day, good or bad, the outcome of the effort determines whether you move forward and up or backward and down.

Throughout our lives, we are continually presented with new challenges that test our resilience. Some are good and some, not so good. We must figure out how to flow with them when they’re good, and navigate these obstacles objectively when they’re bad, so we don’t find our progress stalled by words like, “I can’t.”

Healing is living, and walking is life. When both are accomplished together at a measured pace, it’s much easier to climb to the top of the steps physically and emotionally. The rewards for your success and accomplishments along the way are not only yours to keep forever, but they also serve as a roadmap to any new challenges that come your way in the future.

Five years ago when my struggles to heal and walk were just beginning, one of my passions each day was to dream up new outrageous goals to accomplish once I was walking again.

When you’re paralyzed, your imagination becomes one of your best friends.

As I dreamed of walking, swimming, and scuba diving again, I also dreamed of fulfilling a promise to my niece and nephew of going to Paris with them. Five months later, I accomplished all of those goals and while in Paris, I climbed every staircase possible, including those at the Notre Dame Cathedral, and found healing and life along the way.


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Jeffrey A. Morse

Jeffrey A. Morse

Finding Forward Charting Your Journey to Recovery Jeffrey A. Morse has traveled the world, visited exotic locations, been a sports diver, and had successful careers in both the military and commercial aviation, when one day, an emergency room doctor told him he had both a brain aneurysm and a dissected artery. Surgery was the only option, and his chances of survival were less than 25 percent. At age forty-nine, during that surgery, he suffered a spinal cord stroke that left him paralyzed. After being told that he would more than likely never walk again, Jeffrey made a vow that he would walk out of the hospital. Six weeks later, he did just that. His journey has led him to alternative therapies, a healthy lifestyle, and a proactive versus reactive approach to his recovery. It has taken him from that hospital bed to France, and to Nepal, where he paraglided off the top of a mountain and fed a vulture in flight. It has also led him to a new career as an author and motivational speaker. Jeffrey believes you can overcome any obstacle by taking control of your recovery. Don’t let “I can’t” rule your vocabulary. There are always other options, and you can start a new road and a new life.

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