Towards the end of 2020 Nic’s life took a bizarre turn. He had been a healthy father who enjoyed helping others as an EMT, but suddenly found himself in the midst of his own medical trauma. He started experiencing mysterious weakness and numbness in his legs, soon finding himself unable to walk. This was accompanied by chronic pain and fatigue, and doctors were initially stumped. As his medical workup continued it was discovered he had suffered a nontraumatic spinal cord injury, but the cause remains uncertain. That means his spinal cord was damaged without external trauma. Unexpectedly, his medical workup also revealed an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome, which is completely unrelated to his mobility issues.
In episode 40 of the Major Pain podcast, Nic discusses the intense uncertainty surrounding his health and the motivations that keep him pushing for answers. His wife and kids are a huge inspiration to him, never treating him differently or thinking less of him when he started needing a wheelchair to get around. This love and support helped Nick to work through his grieving process for the life left behind, and start working towards the life ahead. He tells us about Sjogren’s syndrome, in which the body’s immune system attacks the salivary and tear glands. He also discusses theories as to how his spinal cord injury happened, and shares in the frustration of not having clear answers for such a fundamental change to his body. Nic has channeled his experiences navigating the world in a wheelchair into creating Disability Fails, an organization designed to shed light on the ways society is failing the disabled community. You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1004331733693446.
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