Have you ever noticed how most of us think our problems are always way worse than everyone else’s—even though there’s millions of people out there who are poverty stricken, homeless and don’t have a thing, I think most of us tend to forget how much we really do have.
And of course we’ve all heard this before, but have you ever really sat and thought about it? Have you ever really took a long hard look at your life and considered yourself lucky to be in the position you’re in? I know that discouragement can get the best of us at times, but should you allow it to rule your life? Matt Moran didn’t—even after doctors told him that he would never walk again. Here’s his story…
It was just another day for Matt, working as a loan officer in 2004, he stayed pretty busy—and although he was diagnosed with West Nile, that didn’t stop him from clocking in. Matt was sick and extremely tired for about 2 weeks and it just felt good to be finally out of the house, closing some deals.
Then all of a sudden Matt noticed the voices around him echoing, and everything was spinning. “I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. Something was obviously wrong, so in a panic he decided to drive to the emergency room.
Alone in the car, Matt knew he had to get to the hospital quick—he didn’t know when he’d get another dizzy spell and had no clue that this was going to be the first day of the rest of his life.
And then everything went blank…
Flashing lights and sirens of an ambulance jolted Matt back to consciousness while he was behind the wheel. He was coherent enough to pull over, but was clueless as to what happened.
“Open your mouth, I think you had a seizure,” said one of the paramedics that just so happened to cross paths with Matt as he lost consciousness. It was then that he looked down and saw his crisp, white dress shirt full of blood. Matt did have a seizure, and he practically chewed off his own tongue in the process—not to mention unconsciously crossing two lanes of traffic during the episode.
You see, it wasn’t the West Nile virus that caused this to happen, Matt was born with Arterio-Venous Malformation (AVM)—a condition that causes your blood to bypass capillaries, going directly from your arteries to your veins. The arteries and veins in an AVM can rupture, causing bleeding into the brain—resulting in seizures, headaches and in some cases stroke.
At this point, Matt was transported to the hospital and remained in and out of consciousness long enough to make a phone call—and then he started to have a series of violent seizures. Doctors remained baffled as they tried to stop the attacks—the Dilantin (an anti-seizure medication) wasn’t working and he was only getting worse. They had no choice but to transport him to another hospital, where he would undergo an emergency craniotomie.
(In order to relieve pressure from his brain, surgeons had to remove the right side of his skull—which wasn’t replaced for about 5 months.)
And then Matt had a hemorrhagic stroke, and three months later he would wake up from a coma…
Disoriented, he didn’t know what happened. He was unable to breathe or even swallow on his own (so he had a tracheotomy and a feeding tube) he couldn’t talk and the entire left side of his body didn’t function (which means he couldn’t see or hear from his left side as well, because it was completely paralyzed). It took him about 3 months to learn how to breathe on his own, however many challenges were still ahead. Matt couldn’t do anything—like read or write (he didn’t even understand how to turn a page). He had to relearn everything.
About three months into rehabilitation, a doctor pulled Matt aside and told him, “Matt, you are never going to walk again.” He even showed him a CT scan of all the dead brain tissue on the right side of his brain.
“I cried like a baby, and although the doctor told me this, I knew deep down that my life was not meant to be this way.”
All that went through his mind was that he was “destined for greatness.” He knew he was the only one that do anything about it and thought, “If I believe them, then this is how it’s going to be.” So Matt chose to fight.
For about 4 years his entire left side was “locked,” but he was determined to use his legs again someday, even if he had to crawl. His unshakeable faith in himself and God is what kept him strong during his storm.
Matt spent 5 months in bed before he was able to sit in a wheel chair (where he spent over a year) and with each and every day he grew more stronger and independent. Never once did he question his destiny (no matter how long it took) because he was certain the day would come that he would walk again.
Now living with his sister, Matt was still working with physical therapists and nurses to regain his motor skills. And sometimes he would try to “wall walk” when they weren’t around, which resulted in falling quite a few times, but he always managed to get back up (even if it was with assistance).
Today, Matt has full mobility of his entire left side, and not only can he walk, but he loves to go hiking as well. He now works as a full time loan officer and drives himself to work every day (because his vision and hearing have been fully restored). Doctors call it a “miracle.”
No matter where we are in our lives, I think it’s always important to remember that we all have obstacles, and your life can be changed forever within a matter of minutes. So maybe this story will help you realize that not all impossible situations are impossible to get out of.
“Don’t let their limitations become your limitations.”
If you would like to contact Matt about his story please send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
April loves to keep the readers of 303 Magazine entertained with her multidirectional way with words. She can’t just stick to one topic, but enjoys keeping your wheels turning no matter which path you decide to take.