Tre from the wheelchair – A Courageous Story


On the 15th of November 2010 I was thrown from a horse and broke my back leaving me paralysed from the waist down and classified as a T12 complete paraplegic. I had surgery two days later to stabilise the fracture which meant fusing my spine with titanium rods and screws along 5 vertebrae.
After two weeks in intensive care I was transferred to UCT academic hospital to start the two month ‘rehab’ process. The ‘rehab’ process involved telling me there was no hope of my ever walking again and learning to live in a wheelchair. The whole experience was awful, with staff treating me as though this was an everyday occurrence (which obviously for them it was) and not the life changing devastating situation I now found myself in. I ended up counselling the councilor as she was going in for a hysterectomy.
I took every drug they prescribed, watched every scary mongering video and did every exercise to get out of the hospital. My ‘rehab’ started at home, using yoga, breathing exercises I managed to wean myself off the drugs and rebuild some strength and my sense of self. Using the Winks Greene machine I managed to keep nerves and muscles alive and skin condition in good shape.
I started TRE with Emma Williams about 8 weeks ago and have found more progress in the last four weeks than in the last 5 years. At first I really struggled to get a small tremor using mostly the upper body and tensing to the point of getting spasms in my back stomach and neck and shoulders. We experimented and worked together to find new ways to induce the tension needed in the body. By session 8 all I need to do is pelvic tilt gently, pull my belly button in, pull up the pelvic floor and release tension in which every muscle seems to be straining (AND BREATHE) and be patient. I now experience a full body tremor, mostly moving into my upper body where the injury is. It’s been an emotional roller coaster letting go of trauma and locked down emotions accumulated over the last 5 years. I have experienced, vulnerability, irritability, bouts of unexplained tears and outburst of anger.
The changes are profound after 8 sessions. I have gone from my lower half of my body not being part of me, to an increase in pins and needles in my legs and awareness of the shape of my buttocks and upper thighs. I am able to move my hip flexors for the first time in 5 years!
Michelle