The Amazing Recovery of Monique van der Vorst

I am always telling clients that the body can heal itself. Some have been told that their spinal stenosis is irreversible, others that they have permanent nerve damage, and still others that the only cure for their specific condition is surgery. I beg to differ. Today I bring you a remarkable story of just how powerful the body is.

I’d like to introduce you to Monique van der Vorst. Paralyzed since the age of 13, Monique overcame numerous obstacles (none bigger than the inability to use her legs) to become an elite-level athlete. She took up hand-cycling in the months following her paralysis, and became one of the top hand-cyclists in the world, ascending to World Champion in 2002 and then defending her title in 2004 and 2006, with her eyes set on the Para-Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 where she took home two silver medals. A remarkable story, to say the least.

But that’s not all of Monique’s story…

You see, Monique is now former hand-cyclist, but not for the reasons you might suspect. She didn’t get burnt out on her sport, she wasn’t accused of doping, and she didn’t retire. She’s a former hand-cyclist, because she’s a former paraplegic. That’s right, Monique used to be paralyzed. Yes, I said used to be.

While Monique was on a (hand-cycle) training ride in 2010 she was involved in a bike wreck. She was hit from behind by a trailing bike after she slowed down too quickly, and the muscles of her upper spine went into spasm. As she was recovering in the hospital:

…She felt a heavy tingling in her left foot. An amazed van der Vorst was told by doctors that she was experiencing “a neurological recovery,” she says. “But they didn’t know how far it would go.” Within a few weeks, she could move her leg.

Just what exactly is a “neurological recovery”? To put it simply, her paralysis had reversed itself! The body had healed itself! HOW COOL IS THAT? She had regained not only feeling in her legs, but also the ability to walk! If you think the body can’t heal itself or that your condition is too extreme or that your body is too far gone, think again!

Just how likely is it that this kind of thing would happen?

“Ask 100 scientists that question, and they’ll all say no (that it wouldn’t happen)—it’s a permanent condition,” says Phillip Popovich, a neuroscience professor and the director of the Ohio State University Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair. “It’s a truly remarkable incident,” he says of the fact that the Dutch woman can now walk. “There’s no logical or scientifically proven explanation.”

The doc is right, there isn’t a “logical” explanation. Expect for the fact that the body is a living, breathing organism that is in a CONSTANT state of renewal. Her permanent nerve damage was actually not permanent at all. Just like your condition isn’t permanent. When you give the body a chance to heal itself, it will!

Of course, now that Monique is no longer paralyzed, she had to find a new sport. Do yourself a favor, and read THE FULL ARTICLE to find out what she’s doing now. Trust me, you’ll want to. It’s just just as remarkable as the rest of her story.

QUESTION: What do you think about Monique’s paralysis reversing itself?