Monday, October 13, 2014

Paralyzed Fighter; the beginning of the end.

And so it's been a while since I've last written anything, or updated my blog, although most of my updates end up on the so-called social networks, but I know. It's been exactly a year now that I'm abroad. It's hard to keep up with all these things when you're almost the only one doing everything on your own. But I haven't given up, in fact, I've just become stronger as every day and night goes by, on top of that, I have a lot of good news, surprisingly, with no bad news, I'm grateful for that. While I was away all of these 6+ months, I've gone through a lot; from doing my continuous workouts on a daily basis, keeping up with sicknesses, trying to get rid of smoking which was unexpected to many of you but I had to do it. At first, I want to sincerely apologize for taking this long, at the same time, I want to thank your patience with me on that. This will probably be the longest blog post as there's been a lot going on. As usual, I don't know where to start. But if you've read the past blog posts, you'd know what's going on however I start. I've been working very hard with my orthosis, manually walking with the help of my team, taking about 100 steps to 300 steps a day in order to get on the G-EO System which makes me walk automatically; and after all this time, I've finally reached my goal and achieved it. As you can see in the video below, I'm standing with the power of my arms and a little bit help from the hanging belt which is mostly used for safety purposes.


I look weird, don't I? I admit it, it was my first time on the machine and I was in my own world. Through all the hard times, no matter what I faced, I still fought just so I can reach here and I did. But once I did, I went in a different world. I felt dizzy and breathless, but I kept trying to hold myself together, looking down at my legs automatically moving, it felt unreal, like I was skating, or like I was in the air and I was just looking at myself in the mirror, seeing myself walk again, it brought me to tears but I didn't cry. I held it in and I kept trying to hold myself together. It felt like a dream. It still does, every single time. But I finally got here, so what's next? The hardest thing I never thought of in this life or the other: Merely, learning to walk again. It's quite simple to say but for a body that has lost its signals and such, it's harder than I ever thought it would be. But that's not going to let me down or make me give up. I've come too far and I workout on this machine 3 times a week and more as I become stronger, I'm happy to say that, I've took over 700 steps, that's almost 500 meters. It might be absolutely nothing to a normal human body, but to one that you'd call paralyzed? I'm so grateful for that.

In other news, I've been in a newspaper and a magazine back at home a few months back. You can see them below but I don't think you can get a copy at this moment since it's too late. Although you can see the newspaper on their website and also get a .PDF that you can print out, if you wanted to. A very good friend of mine, Julie Peterson, a mother of two, Jessica Cross and Andrew Cross; have printed it out and put it in her house on the refrigerator as an inspirational or motivating thing to her family. I never thought anyone would do that. I never thought I'd be called inspiring or motivating. It's such an honor and I'm so grateful to just know that.

I've also been in a museum sort of thing, by Enas Al-Fardan the head of Naseem Initiative. A talented painter, Zahraa Al-Ahmed, made a piece of art out of my story alongside a talented writer, Rehab Al-Mansoor, that wrote about my story briefly right next to the painting, my family attended to it and I even had my own face painted. I'm speechless. I was also in some events but mostly in videos because of being abroad, that includes Naseem Initiative and HopeShipBH too, thanks to Maryam Baslar.


Now once again, I just need to apologize for taking way too long to actually publish this. I've written a few things and put them together but I never really made the time to edit and such, which I've honestly been upset about for myself. But that's that. I needed a break and now it's over. So what now? What happens next? I wouldn't be surprised if any of you'd ask me that, because I ask that question too. Until today, I've walked over nearly 85,000 steps. That's right. I can't believe I've reached to this point. And I'm beyond thankful for that. I've come too far, but yet, this is just the beginning of my journey; which makes me believe that not only this is the beginning, but also an ending, because nothing is forever, yet nothing is impossible. Confusing, right? That's life. My dream has always been to walk again and that'll never change, it's a fight I won't end, a battle I won't lose but win, no matter what. I will do whatever it takes. It isn't a competition, nor am I having any desire to be better than anyone, I'm simply trying to be better than the person I was yesterday, everyday. It's a new day for me, every morning I open my eyes and rather than to continue my sleep with dreams, become lazy, give up, I choose to wake up and chase my dreams instead. If you ever give up, it means you never wanted it. Remember that. It doesn't matter what they tell you because everything they would ever say is wrong. They will always say you can't. They will always tell you that you're not good enough, strong enough or even talented to do so. They'll judge you and they'll judge you wrong, about your height, your weight, your type to play this or be that and achieve this. They'll tell you no, countless times. But you? You will stand tough against that and you will tell them yes. Everything they say is meaningless. Believe in yourself. Be you. That's all it takes.

By the end of this month, I'm coming back home. That's right. I don't have a timing or a date yet but once I do, I will let you know and I can't wait to come back and see all of you! Now I'm sorry, I got to go, I'll see you again soon.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Paralyzed Fighter; happy anniversary!

Today, about exactly 365 days ago; was where all of this started. It was a very black day, a very dark happening for my family, my friends and everyone else. Even though it was just a year ago, I remember it like it was just yesterday, my accident, I never thought it was big, I thought I'd just arrive to the hospital and that my situation was small, but it was shocking - I didn't know what was happening to me, my body felt like a bubble floating on the stretcher, it was an emergency case, I was just screaming for oxygen, they tore my t-shirt off and put wires on me, lots of devices, by then I was leaving to another world but I remember seeing my father, my sister, my friends, my uncle, and time by time more and more arrived. My best friend was in tears, running by my stretcher on the way to the operation theatre, telling me it'll be okay, you'll be okay and my father, I kept on questioning him, what's going on and what's happening to me but all he said was not to worry. I don't remember exactly everything because I was in a very critical stage that I could've died or went in a coma. The last thing I remember is being in the surgery room and then I was gone, for days, I was on painkillers and I was unconscious. Every time I was in pain, they'd inject me another and I'd be gone. Till a about a week after, I slowly was recovering, to the news that I am paralyzed and I will never feel, move or walk again. It was the worst day of my life. I was in tears. My surroundings were just traumatized. My family were just sobbing.

That's all I remember. But it's only history and memories now. Back then, I couldn't move my arms, my fingers were frozen. For months, my mother fed me and when I was abroad, it became my father's job.

I learnt a lot of things. I improved and recovered in so many ways. I saw true colors. But I never gave up, and I'm still here, it's been a long, slow year, a big journey of countless happenings. I went through many surgeries, many delays. A lot of things changed.

But it's not over yet. It's never over till I say it's over. I'm stronger than ever before now and I will never stop fighting.

I just want to thank every single one of you, for being there for me and never leaving me, despite what happened to me. I'm grateful for everything.

I'm a man of my word.
I will never break my promise.
I will continue fighting my fight.
I will be free again. Free as a bird.
This is my only dream and I'll make it reality.

Goodbye, 2013!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paralyzed Fighter; quick update!

I will be on Al Jazeera English any time from now, unfortunately I got no timings but it'll also be on the web soon, so I'll keep you updated. The segment is only 2 minutes long and it'll air multiple times during the day. I'm at the beginning of the program and also at the ending.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Paralyzed Fighter; good news and bad news!

Not sure where to start, but it's been a rough few months for me since I've disappeared, there are many reasons why: I've been climbing mountains all the way to the top and falling back down all the way to the bottom, right to the ground. You know, with good news, there's always some bad news. I don't know why and I'm still curious why but I guess I'll never find out, I guess it's just the way of life and it happened to me in the worst way you would ever imagine. A few weeks back, I was at the gym, doing the usual physical therapy and it was time to get on my wheelchair to get to the occupational therapy room, but out of the blue, whilst I was standing with the help of my therapist in front of me, an assistant at my back and myself holding a walker, I said, "I want to walk. Make me walk to the room." Everybody stopped, took a pause and giggled. It was too early to do that, too early to do such exercises but I felt it in me and I repeated what I said, I said "I'm serious. Let's do it. Now." So we prepared, and a miracle happened. It was the happiest day of my life, ever since I've been going through this. They made me walk. I saw myself taking steps. I counted my steps while screaming "I'm walking," over and over again and everybody was staring at me. I shed a few tears, tears of happiness and I called my father and then my mother right after and they were the happiest. I told them it's over. I told them I can see the end. I told them, while crying, that we are getting closer, closer than ever.

And after that, my day ended. You see, in the past months, way before coming here, I had a very big surgery at my back. I had a bed sore that reached beyond the 4th stage, that you could see my muscles and my bones, so clear. Before moving abroad, we tried to get rid of that, we did a closing surgery for it. It'd take weeks and months to heal and even till this day, it didn't heal quite perfectly. Now if we go back a week before me taking a few steps, I had a very minor injury at my surgery that we still don't know how it happened. Maybe it was from my practice or from moving to the bed or to the wheelchair, who knows? We didn't care, for all it was, a small injury that was healing. I continued to walk more, day by day, step by step, I counted my steps everyday till I stopped counting and I just walked instead. Suddenly, things changed. Remember I said, that it was the best day of my life, ever since I fell down, and that I slept the happiest? The other day, was the worst day of my life, ever. I woke up the saddest. Somehow, my injury, turned into a bed sore. I called my father, telling him to come as soon as possible. We were in a shock. My hands were on my head and I was simply sobbing. At that time, my mother was on her way to visit me again. I didn't tell her till she arrived and found me at the ground floor in a dark corner with weary eyes, tissues and cigarettes. I hugged her and all I could do is cry. I couldn't say a word. For one hour, she was trying to get it out of me and I did, she was shocked and she cried. If you don't know what bed sores are, they're one of the worst things that could happen to a body of someone who's disabled. Bed sores and surgeries are the number one reasons for why I've been delayed for countless months. That left me in a very long state of depression that I needed psychiatrists that I always refused.

Before the surgery!
Now that's a mixture of good news and bad news, but I got a lot more to say. After a while, it was time again to visit the operation theatre, a place I've been in, many times, that in fact, I started loving it because of anesthesia. Anyhow, I went through another closing surgery, that once again, delayed me and as we speak, it's making things harder for me. Right now, I'm in the healing process. If you see my body, you'd call it a sketchbook and it truly is. Countless surgeries, lots and lots of stitches, bruises and scars, everywhere. Oh well, let's move on to some good news, shall we?

Life is a constant change. And that isn't stopping me. Each journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Someone once said: "An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming." I believe in that. That is why I'm never going to give up. Everything happens for a reason.

No giving up!

Let's start with the news about me, shall we? First off, it's pretty surprising but it's nothing that big, soon, I'm going to be on TV. Yes, I'm serious. I'll be in a little interview in a program on Al Jazeera English. But since the channel is always about breaking news, I don't have a fixed timing or even date about when it'll be aired because of that, I was told it'd be on mid-November but it's been delayed ever since because of *cough* politics *cough* so I'll keep you updated. I recently spoke to them; they gave me dates with no timings, which is 17th or 18th of December. They might delay it again, so I've got nothing in stone. As soon as I get anything that's fixed, I'll inform you.

Doing the interview!

And the second thing is, the past few months; we've ordered a completely custom orthosis that starts from my feet and ends at my chest. Basically, they're like braces that hold and straighten my entire body to stand, which will help me walk up to 10 times better than before, it'll be much easier and much better. I'll look like a robot, except it's manual.

Just a sample of what it looks like!

Now for the third, and last, but not least is about the blog. It's hit over 10,000 views and I'm getting clicks from literally all over the world; it's unbelievable. I just want to take a moment and thank you, all of you. For all those who helped me create this, for all of those people who commented, for all those who patiently waited and for all those who made it happen. Thank you everyone, for everything. I appreciate it.

P.S. I just want to make one thing clear, for all those who are curious about when I'll be back. The answer is, I won't. Maybe somewhere in 2014 or even 2015. I'm not coming back with a wheelchair. I'm coming back walking, remember? And that, my dearests, will take some time. That's all. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Paralyzed Fighter; an apology letter.

To my dearest friends, family and everyone else. I know. It's been exactly about 4 months and I haven't updated my blog or wrote anything. Many people are still waiting, at least, most of you. I know that. I have a few projects that are drafted and have been left like that for a while, what left them that way is because I wasn't the only one working on them. On top of that, I don't have lots of time to write and keep up but I always try my best to. I just want to apologize, because I promised that I'd keep you updated as soon as possible, but I couldn't. I do almost everything on my own, so it's slow and really hard to organize and stabilize while putting it all together. All I'm asking from you is to understand my situation and with all due respect, your patience; for I have big news for you coming real soon.

Lots of good news, and a few bad news - That's the way of life, there's always some bad news after hearing the good news. But it's all good. I'll write, edit and publish everything once I get a (green light). Bear with me!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Paralyzed Fighter; your questions answered.

Many people don't know. Many people are still asking. Many people are still quite lost. So for that, I'd like to clear some more things about me and my situation. Me and what I've went through.

My dear friend, my dearest family and my loveliest stranger; on the 26th of December at 12:30 PM, a small physical accident, with an old friend, happened. Let's say, it's related to my favorite sport that I used to do, taekwondo. You see, some people fall from buildings, a few floors high, some people go through bizarre car accidents and such but they don't end up this way. I believe it was written for me, to end up like this. All that happened, was we were just joking around, and somehow, I landed upside down on the ground, on my head, with his weight on my body. After that, me laying on my stomach, trying to turn my body around, I can't. My other friend does it for me. I panic, telling them I can't move. They laugh, thinking it's a joke. They carry my leg, it falls. Like a dead body. I figure out I'm unable to feel anything. I touch my chest, my stomach; it's like there's only air. It's like there was nothing, except my clothes and I felt like a part of me was a hard balloon filled with air. After that is when things get serious, my good friend and my lifesaver took me to the hospital in the fastest and the safest way. Whilst I'm on my way, tears roll down my face. Questions, lots of questions in my head. What is going on? Why can't I feel, why can't I move? Will it come back, will it get better? Is it just a little phase, a minor type of sickness?

The first picture; ever.

Until we make it, it's an emergency case. I see them take off clothes. I'm asked if it's okay to rip off my t-shirt. I nod. They rip it off. They put wires on me. By the time they do their job, with tears in my eyes, I slowly leave to another world. They put on me oxygen. Then I see my dad, I ask him all the questions in my head, while he wipes off my tears, telling me it'll be okay. Telling me not to worry. I then see the rest, one by one. I don't remember a lot, but I remember a few last moments before I disappear for a week. I'm being taken somewhere, I see my uncle, asking me if it really was an accident and not a fight. A last moment, with my closest friend, and brother, being taken somewhere. I see him in tears. Telling me you'll be okay. And that's all I can remember.

  • SCI (Spinal Cord Injury)
  • Compression in the spinal cord
  • Loss off 30% airway due to broken C7
  • Internal neck bleeding
  • 70% of neck muscles injured

After that, I'm nearly gone. I find myself in the operation theatre, they're all in a rush. I hear them talking but I don't really know what they're saying. And then they drug me, that's it. I'm gone for 10 days.

Now all that together caused a 72 hours fight to get back to my main organs, stable lungs and heart including responding to my brain's orders; more than this, I was struggling with painkillers in all these unconscious dreamlike 10 days, being given medication without my family's knowledge. Which was why a little of you knew my father had problems with my doctor, which is also why I was taken abroad after those 2 weeks and for 2 weeks of being abroad, we were in another fight, a fight of controlling and getting rid of the wrong medications' side effects.

Does that sum it all up to you? Well, that's not even one fourth of the struggle I went through. That just a little part of it.

But it's all in the past now, look where I was and where I am now, that's all that matters. And the hope, the dream, the fight if where I want to be tomorrow is something I'll never give up. I know I'm not the only one, (coming soon), and I know there are many of you out there that're like me. Even worst than me. I see people with no legs, still fighting. I see people still fighting, with just one leg. All that because of being diabetic or fighting cancer. I see people that don't even know where they are, with their family around them trying to bring them back to life. I see people that can't eat or breathe, which they do, through wires, for months! We are fighters. It doesn't matter what we have or what we don't, count your blessings. That's the most important thing in life, it's to count your blessings.

I left by a stretcher, that was on 6 seats in an airplane. I was in an airplane in a very critical condition. Remember that I could've died or went in a coma? But hey, I came back in a wheelchair. And this time, I left with a wheelchair, using just 1 seat. Can you guess my comeback? I can. I believe it.

I left by a stretcher.
I came back by a wheelchair.
I left by a wheelchair.
I will come back without any of of those. That's a promise!

Everything I say, everything I do, it's all from deep within my heart, all of my heart. I only speak the truth. Believe in yourself. Don't lose hope. Fight for your dreams. With the strength of the rising sun, the hunger of a shrew, the heart of a lion, the struggle to just breathe, never give up. There's always a way out. You might not even know that you're someone's hero, someone's inspiration. Fight for what you want and need. Stay hungry. Stay positive. Face everything life throws at you and say "bring it on" and fight! Dig deeper, push farther, look higher. And one last thing to remember, nobody has the right to stand in front of you and tell you "you can't" or "it's impossible." Not even the inner negative you. You can. You will. Nothing is impossible and I promise you that. You can do whatever you set your mind to. You can be whatever you want to be. You are strong, stronger than you think. Be strong and stay strong.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Paralyzed Fighter; the introduction!

Where I was, 6 months ago. (30/12/2012)

Being a young man in an early age, accepting a huge sudden change in my life and losing the ability to be and live like the other normal people for an unknown amount of time, which I'm fighting for, every single day and night of my life;

Khalid, is my name and I'm 18 years old, back then I was very active and very sporty, but unfortunately, I had a Spinal Cord Injury on the 26th of December, 2012, due to an accident that resulted in a broken neck (C7), blockage in my airway and internal neck bleeding.

In this blog, I will share my journey with you, my story, fighting one day at a time for my one and only dream which is to step on my own two feet again and to walk, to get my sensations back and to feel again, in other words, to be normal again, to be free. Free as a bird!

Most of the time, the blog will be controlled by a small team that consists of a few family members and close friends, because I am the fighter, not the writer, remember?

Where I am now, 6 months later. (15/7/2013)

A timeline of the past 6 months:
  • December '12: Khalid had the neck injury at 12:30 PM, which left him paralyzed. (Salmaniya Medical Complex)
  • January '13: Khalid was struggling with the side effects of the injury including a bed sore.
  • February '13: Khalid went abroad to Bangkok, Thailand to treat the bed sore and do upper limp physiotherapy. (Bangkok Adventist Hospital)
  • March '13: Khalid went under a major surgery to close the bed sore in Bahrain. (Al-Noor Specialist Hospital)
  • April '13: Khalid was in the most critical and important period which was taking care of the bed sore.
  • May '13: Khalid was getting ready physically to leave abroad again.
  • June '13: Khalid starting his real recovery and rehab back to Bangkok, Thailand. (Bumrungrad International Hospital)
P.S. In all these 6 months, Khalid went through 6 surgeries.