Gratitude by Steven Fujita, author of Toe Up to 10K

Toe Up to 10K 1 Title: Toe Up to 10K
Author: Steven Fujita
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Ebook

 In June 2012, Steven Fujita went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with meningitis. After four days of improvement, he was scheduled to be discharged when his condition worsened dramatically. His blood pressure, body temperature and sodium levels all became dangerously low. He started to lose
consciousness. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. He had suffered spinal cord damage at the T4 level. Upon regaining full consciousness, Fujita could not speak, eat, breathe independently, control bodily functions, nor move his legs. “Once we understand what we have to go through, become resolved to see it through, and know we will survive, we feel our ordeal is not so bad,” Fujita writes. In this book, he takes the reader on a journey of recovery from a spinal cord injury. It is not only a journey of determination and hard work, but of positive attitude, of drawing inspiration, of gratitude towards those around him: his family, his friends, co-workers, and medical professionals.

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In June 2012, I contracted viral meningitis, and as a result, damaged my spinal cord at the T4 level.  At my lowest point, I was semi-conscious, had a blood pressure of 75/37, a body temperature below 95 degrees, and a saline level of below 125.  My family was told that even if I might be brain damaged to the point I would need cognitive assistance the rest of my life.  I survived, but when I regained full consciousness, I could not breathe independently, speak, eat, or wiggle my toes, but my mind was intact.

I would spend 4 months in a wheelchair and two years learning to walk again to a point that I could run short distances.  I still have non-walking issues caused by the damage to the spinal cord, such as body temperature regulation, and bowel and bladder maintenance.  However, all of these are less intense now than they were two years ago.

When I describe my ordeal to others, and when I describe the exercise regimen I followed to recover, and the exercise regimen I currently follow to continue my recovery, I get a lot of “You poor thing.”
Okay, so sometimes I feel like playing the “poor thing” card.  But most of the times, I feel gratitude.  And I have a lot to be grateful for.

1. I had parents to take care of me after I was discharged from the hospital.
2. I had friends who visited me at the hospital.
3. I had doctors, nurses, nurses’ assistants, therapists, and other healthcare professionals who cared about my recovery.
4. I had health insurance.
5. The only brain damage I suffered was a slight problem with short-term memory, but not enough to impact my daily life.
6. The prognosis for my walking recovery was fair, but I can now walk again without any walking aid, such as a cane.
7. I don’t think anybody expected me to run again, but I can jog long distance, now, and I feel I can recover well enough to run a 10K race.
8. I no longer need to catheterize to void urine.
9. My bowel maintenance program is only to the extent I consume much more fiber than before I got sick.
10. I am able to share my experiences, which hopefully, helps others deal with spinal cord injury.
Would I want to go through this ordeal again? No.  However, things happen.  Instead of focusing on the negatives and be bitter, it is better to focus on the positives and be grateful.

Steven Fujita was born in Los Angeles and raised in Torrance, California. He attended college in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Long Beach, California. Listen to Steven Fujita's interview on the Book Club with John Austin, which aired November 2, 2010, about his novella, Sword of the Undead, a re-telling of Bram Stoker's vampire novel, Dracula. His other book, $10 a Day Towards $1,000,000, is available on Kindle. This book promotes the idea of using time and savings to build wealth. His new book, Toe Up to 10K, was released in September 2014. This book chronicles his recovery from spinal cord injury he sustained in 2012. Visit his website at: