IamA The guy who was paralyzed 8 years ago and had to learn how to walk again. I'm back with a 4-year follow-up, AMA!
Link to my original AMA post from four years ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2in0yr/iama_the_guy_who_was_paralyzed_four_years_ago_and/
Quick Summary: In 2009 I had a case of Gastro which resulted in a 1 in 1,000,000 chance auto-immune disease called Transverse Myelitis. I was in a wheelchair for a month or so, and paralyzed in fingers, toes (edit: and legs and arms too... to clarify my Myelitis affected C5 and T2, amongst a couple of others I can't remember) and severe weakness in my entire body. Luckily they caught it early and treated it with heavy corticosteroids, and my total recovery was around 1 year (2 months to learn to walk, 6 months to run, 1 year to be 100%).
My 8 year follow up: Where do I even begin?
Let's start with my health - for the first four years after the myelitis, I was getting sick very frequently due to my body's weakened immune system. This is happening less and less frequently recently, however, I still get weird illnesses (I was diagnosed with Rotavirus early this year even though I hadn't left Australia for 12 months).
Next, my muscles and strength: My strength is good, my weight is steady at around 60kg/133lbs (i am only 168cm or 5'6"). I am still going to the gym 3-4 times a week and swimming twice a week. However, I had to stop heavy lifting due to chronic back and shoulder pain which has not left me alone for the last four years. It is probably the most annoying thing to linger after my illness, and will likely be with me for the rest of my life - but a small price to pay to be alive I guess!
My Career/Work: One thing I didn't touch on last time is the huge effect this illness had on what I wanted to do in life. I was an elite sprinter (3rd in my state) and very good soccer player, so I always thought sport would be my career pathway. However, after the illness I had to re-think everything. I really didn't know what I wanted to do and suffered heaps of anxiety. Eventually, I studied Psychology and did a research project on consciousness and neuroscience. Regardless, even after graduating (last year) I still felt lost.
Small Self-Plug I quickly realised how many people were struggling with the same issue of 'what should I do with my life' - even without a life threatening illness - and decided to create a free website for people to help them figure out their career pathways. It is a side project with no ads & zero fees.
You can view the site here if you like: www.findmypathway.com
My Proof: https://imgur.com/a/KV07wxS
I live in Australia so I will be on for the next couple of hours to answer your questions, otherwise I will be on again in ~10 hours to answer whatever I missed.
Edit: I just realised i'm an idiot and 2009 was 9 years ago, not 8 - sorry, I went full derp mode
Edit 2: Thanks so much for some incredible questions - you guys are awesome. I'm going to bed now, it's 1.30am here. I will try to answer any further questions that arise overnight in the morning xox. Feel free to PM me as well with questions.
Edit 3: Holy shit, i just woke up and RIP mailbox. I will answer all your questions as best as I can over this morning. thanks for this amazing response, i'm stunned. and thanks for the gold!
Edit 4: I just want to be clear that I don't mean to take away from people who suffer permanent paralysis. I apologise if I have hurt or misrepresented anything or anyone with any of my phrasing or language. We all need to be aware of the language we use surrounding disability :)