If A Paralyzed Man Can Walk, Chronic Pain Patients Can Heal
A story appeared in the news the week of March 20th, 2009, that left me speechless. At the age of 21, David Blancarte of California was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.
Fast-forward more than 20 years. It's 2007. Blancarte, now 48, is bitten by a brown recluse spider. Knowing the spider's bite is deadly poisonous, Blancarte's family rushes him to the hospital where he spends 8 months in physical therapy.
During one of the therapy sessions, a nurse notices a muscle spasm in Blancarte's leg. She notifies Blancarte's doctor, who orders tests that show that the once-dead nerves in Blancarte's legs are now reacting to stimulus.
Five days after the tests, Blancarte is walking. Doctors reportedly say they are mystified.
I've worked with paralyzed men in pain support groups. For the first few years of being paralyzed, all of them expect something– some doctor, some operation, some miracle, something– will happen to let them walk again. After 20 years of being paralyzed, no one expects that. Not the person that is paralyzed. Not their families, or doctors or therapists or ministers. No one.
And yet, for unknown reasons, the dead nerves in David Blancartes legs suddenly regenerated. And he walked.
Every week I hear from people who are struggling with depression because they have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus or some other painful disease. And they have been told there is no hope for a cure. Every week I hear from people that are still suffering terrible pain even years after a back injury. They no longer hold out hope for a cure. These people often say the same thing. " All I can see is myself getting older and being in even more pain. And I get so depressed."
I want those people, and you, to know about David Blancarte. He is living proof that what we can only call miracles can and do happen. He is proof that no one, no matter how many degrees they have, no matter what they've experienced, no matter what they think they know, can predict the future.
David Blancarte is proof that no one has the right to assume that the end of his or her story has already been written. He is proof that there is always reason to hope, and even to expect that life will bring us the most amazing, unpredictable and unexplainable circumstances, often when we least expect it. David Blancarte is the reason you should push through even the bad days with a smile on your face and bright plans for the future.
### Bonnie Boots publishes Pain Health News to provide information, motivation and understanding to people living with chronic pain. To stay in touch with her, please use the subscribe form in the upper right corner.
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- Paraplegic Man Suffers Spider Bite, Walks Again (cbs13.com)