My turn in life took place in February 2011, when I was 16 years old.
Already by that time I was an athlete, I had started high school with focus on my football (soccer) carrier. I had practice 3 mornings at school, 3 times evenings and usually a football match at the weekend. Everything was perfect and I was very pleased with my life.
Then one day I started to get a strange feeling on my right thigh, like it was numb. I thought it was due to a lot of training, but the next days I started to get pain in my hole body, like something I never felt before. The pain was the worst in my back, in between the scapula’s. (upper back)
One more day went and when I woke up the next morning i could barely walk. Now we understood there was something serious going on, my mom took me to the ER and they immediately sent us to a bigger hospital. There they made a MRI of me and could see I’d got a inflammation on my spinal cord. The disease is called Transverse Myelitis and I have heard that 1-4 on a million are affected. By the night I was paralyzed and couldn’t feel my legs at all. I stayed at this hospital for about a week and it only got worse, the paralysis moved higher and I had no feeling up to my chest. Even my arms were affected now and I had very hard moving them as well. I even had tough times breathing and that was when they decided to send me with a helicopter to Stockholm for special care at a neurology department for kids.
I stayed at the hospital in Stockholm for about 4 weeks and they were doing “Plasmapheresis” to my body. I googled the explanation of what they do:
“A method of removing blood plasma from the body by withdrawing blood, separating it into plasma and cells, and transfusing the cells back into the bloodstream. It is performed especially to remove antibodies in treating autoimmune conditions.”
By the time at the hospital the paralysis started going back, the arms and hands got better and I could use them normally again. I started to feel my chest and stomach again. On some of the last days at hospital when they didn’t know what to do more I suddenly could move my left foot. I will never forget this huge moment! My mom was crying! (She was me all this time and is the biggest support of all time)
The next thing was that I was sent to Rehab Station in Stockholm for people with spinal cord injuries and illnesses. Me and mom “lived” there for 4 more weeks, I had training like 3-4 times a day, focusing on both me healing and strengthening my body and my everyday life (learning how to dress in a wheelchair, how to drive a wheelchair, going on a bus with a wheelchair etc).
I could now move both my legs and walk with support of some aid, the legs were still numb though and the sense was bad.
I liked the time at “Rebab Station” I meet a lot of people with similar life turns as me and we went on arranged activities together.
The weeks went and it was time for me to get back to school. I started my 2nd year of high school though I missed almost half a year already. This was a very tough time for me, I had to use a wheelchair and at some point I understood I will never be able to play football again. I was almost 17 now, and my friends were just as shocked as me if not even more. This is a very sensitive age and you start to separate from parents to be more independent, getting new friends, boyfriends etc. But now I had to go back to need a lot of help.
This was a very sad period and everybody was wishing me starting to walk again. It felt like some people even couldn’t see me with out starting to cry and that was very tough.
I missed football and being normal so much. My mom was nagging on me to start with a sport for disabled which i just denied. But then months went by and I agreed going on a camp where I tried different sports. This was autumn 2012, and that was when I discovered wheelchair tennis. From the first moment trying it I was caught. I loved it so much! The feeling when you hit the ball with the racket, how you transport your chair on the court it was something I enjoyed very much. When I got home we contacted the tennis club in our town immediately. I started to practice there 2 times a week and they saw I got talent for it.
I was sent to camps with the wheelchair tennis federation in Sweden and they were so kind and loving that I couldn’t think any bad of it. I started going on these training camps once a month and playing in my club.
Summer 2013 I went on my first tournament, it was in Belgium. There I met so many people in wheelchair who loved the same thing, to sport! I was blessed. I forgot about football and tennis is the biggest save in my life. It has helped me, my family and closest so much.
Next year (2014) I became number 1 in Sweden and I still am.
Today I play almost every day, doing tournament all over Europe every month and are now ranked 52 in the world in singles and 41 in doubles. My goal is to participate in the Paralympic games in Tokyo 2020.
Besides tennis I am studying to be a teacher for kids in 1-3 grade which I also find very rewarding. I will graduate this summer!
It has been so many days that I thought why me and what if I never walk again. But the latest year I started to see things differently since there are so many things in life that could be even worse than this. Yes I know its’s hard to believe but it is! I could have died, but I didn’t and I should be grateful for being alive.
That’s why I now feel thankful for the 16 years I got to live normally and healthy!