Proving the “Experts” Wrong…Again

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Today, I did what the “experts” said was “impossible.” 

Nine years ago, a chiropractor ruptured one of the discs in my spine.  Emergency surgery was required to remove the 2-inch piece of cartilage that was resting on my nerve.  The incident left me partially paralyzed in my left leg. 

A year passed, then two, then three and there was no improvement.  I sought advice from several medical doctors and physical therapists.  They all said the same thing, “It’s been too long.  The paralysis is permanent.”  Consequently, they said I’d never mountain bike again.  But I refused to believe the paralysis was permanent.

I wanted to bike again and I wasn’t about to let my dream slip away because “experts” didn’t believe my body could heal.  Besides, at the time of my injury, my identity was wrapped up in my physicality.  I had been a competitive athlete for most of my life.  I was a gymnast in elementary school and junior high, and a springboard diver in high school and college.  Then, in graduate school, I found my passion – mountain biking.  I trained for races by cycling on the road 100 miles a week and mountain biking on the weekends with my dog.  It was therapeutic.  Spending that time in the quiet of nature was how I connected with God.  And, I wasn’t willing to let that go.

So, I held on to the belief that my body would fully heal.  In my mind, I imagined myself riding my mountain bike, side by side with my dog, as we climbed a dirt trail towards the top of a mountain.  We were surrounded by luscious trees and wild flowers.  I could smell the fresh scent of the pine trees, which filled my mind with joyful memories of Christmas.  I could feel the cool, crisp air kissing my skin, and the pounding of my heart grow faster and harder as I climbed higher and higher – conquering the mountain one pedal stroke at a time.  As we reached the top of the mountain, I could see the smiles on our faces and feel the joy that radiated throughout my entire body knowing that we had done the “impossible.”  I felt free! 

I replayed that video over and over in my mind.  I clung to those images so tightly that, at times, they felt real – like memories of moments that I had actually lived.  But then, my dream seemed to slip further away when I was diagnosed with an advanced stage of an Autoimmune Disease just a couple of years later.  Once again, multiple doctors and specialists said there was no cure; I would have a disease the rest of my life.  But, once again, I held on to the belief that my body would fully heal.

Choosing to have faith was a lonely path to walk.  I faced a lot of doubt and negativity from both “experts” and family members.  I can’t blame them; It had been years since that horrid day in the chiropractor’s office that changed my life forever. And, I still wasn’t able to ride my bike, hike in the mountains with my dog, or play tag with my children for more than a few seconds before my left leg gave out. To add insult to injury, my health had deteriorated even further as I grew weaker and more fatigued because of the Autoimmune Disease.  At my rock bottom, I couldn’t get off the floor because of the immense pain and fatigue.   

There were times when doubt began to creep into my mind.  “Maybe they are right.  Who do I think I am to believe my body will heal itself?  I’m not that special.”  Those were the moments when I dug deep inside – refusing to quit, refusing to believe that my body was not going to heal, refusing to allow the “experts” to put me in a box.

I theorized that too much inflammation was keeping me sick.  It was the chronic inflammation that led to the Autoimmune Disease.  And, because my body was too inflamed, it could not heal the paralysis in my leg.  Thus, if I lowered the inflammation, I would see a full recovery. 

So, I made the necessary diet and lifestyle changes.  And, within just a few months, my body had done the “impossible.”  It proved the “experts” wrong by healing from the Autoimmune Disease.  In that short period of time, the disease reversed so quickly that my energy had returned, I could successfully function throughout the day, and my mind was sharp again.  And, within one year, the Autoimmune Disease had completely dissolved; I had no pain, no symptoms, and no laboratory markers of disease. 

So, I shifted my focus back to my dream of mountain biking.  I imagined my dog and I conquering that mountain over and over again.  And, shortly after, my dream started to become my reality! 

I was sitting on the sofa watching a movie with my family and suddenly, as if out of nowhere, my left foot began twitching!  It’s as though the muscle that had been paralyzed suddenly woke up from a long nap, and was ready to go!  I could see the tendon moving and the muscle contracting.  And, it was completely involuntary; I couldn’t stop it even if I wanted to.  That moment was the first time I had felt any sensation in that area of my lower leg in over 6 years.  Needless to say, I was overcome with emotion as I shouted through tears of joy, “Look at my leg!  It’s moving again!”  That was two years ago.     

Today, I’m thrilled to share that my body and mind proved the “experts” wrong once again.  Today, I rode my mountain bike for the first time in over 9 years!  I biked for 45 minutes through terrain that required both technical skill and endurance.  I went over logs, uphill on narrow switchbacks covered with tree roots, down a hill so steep that I had to push my butt back behind the seat to prevent myself from flying over the handlebars, and climbed a rolling hill that dropped off sharply into a body of water.  I even caught air at times!  It was awesome! 

But, here’s the best part: My leg never gave out.  It stayed strong for the entire ride.  In fact, I forgot that my leg was once paralyzed.  When I got on my bike, my body took over.  Muscle memory kicked in, as though I had never stopped riding.  I felt no pain and no weakness. 

I also felt a deep sense of gratitude and was overcome with an abundant feeling of joy that I could not contain.  In fact, other riders probably heard me giggling.  It didn’t matter that “experts” and family members doubted my dreams.  None of that negativity mattered anymore because I was witnessing the power of the mind-body connection first-hand.  It filled me with excitement and wonder, like a child waking up on Christmas morning.  And yes, my dog was with me.  I took a picture of her smiling so that I can always remember the moment when my dream became my reality. 

Don’t let anyone put you in a box.  Don’t let them tell you what you can and can’t do or what’s possible and what’s not.  Create your own reality.  What you believe becomes your reality.  So, make your reality a good one!  Live your wildest dreams!  Do everything you’ve always wanted to do, and more.  There are no limits to what you can accomplish or what you can become.  You can be anything you want to be.  So, don’t limit yourself based on other people’s limiting beliefs.  Let them believe what they want; let that be their truth, but not yours.  Create your own truth; create your own reality. 

Believe it.  Visualize it.  Become it.

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Dr. Sina McCullough
Dr. Sina McCullough is the author of "Hands Off My Food!: How Government and Industry Have Corrupted Our Food and Easy Ways to Fight Back." You can connect with her at www.handsoffmyfood.com. Sina holds a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science and a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, both from the University of California at Davis. She taught Biochemistry and Bioenergetics at UC Davis before becoming the Director of Research and Development for a supplement company. Dr. McCullough homeschools her two children and offers a limited number of consultations for both individuals and companies.