Life

By Joe McFarlane

When a woman awoke from surgery without the use of her legs, she relied on her positive attitude and the love of her life to learn how to walk again.

Gesy Duran, 32, has not had a particularly easy or fortunate life.

At the young age of 12, Gesy fell from the fifth floor of a building. Though she miraculously didn’t break any bones, her pancreas was severely damaged.

Six years later, Gesy met the love of her life, Erica Mirabal, but this was also the time Gesy began getting sick, which resulted in regular trips to the hospital with chronic pancreatitis.

In 2016, Gesy made the brave decision to take the leap and be pain free by having her whole pancreas removed.

Initially, Gesy believed the surgery was a success, until a day passed and to her shock and horror, she realised she couldn’t move her legs.

A haematoma formed on Gesy’s spinal cord, causing her to be rushed back to surgery.

Though Gesy’s life was saved, the damage was done, and Gesy was informed that she was paralysed from the waist down.

Though she was living a nightmare, Gesy’s upbeat and positive mental attitude and knowledge she had love and support by her side, helped her deal with the devastating news.

Gesy said: “When I was told I was paralysed I took it like champ.

“I was more upset and hurt by the way the doctor told me. She said “It is what it is”.

“After that day I knew no one was going to take my happiness away. I kept smiling and kept joking.

“I didn’t get depressed because I knew I had an incredible support system.”

Now living with Erica in their home in Washington Heights, New York, and working as an artist, the pair have been tackling Gesy’s paralysis head on for the past three years, step by step, side by side.

Gesy said: “I have an amazing wife. We’ve been together for 13 years, she is my high school sweetheart. She has been by my side every step of the way.”

But ultimately, the giant strides Gesy has made on her way to recovery have been down to her can-do attitude.

Gesy said: “I went from not walking to walking with braces. I went from having no sensation in my legs to now having some sensation back. I can bend my knees. I can wiggle my toes.

“Every time I accomplish something, it gives me an adrenaline rush to try something new and to work even harder and to never give up.

“When I make progress I feel undefeated, like nothing can hold me back.

“I have been walking for almost two years and all my hard work has paid off as on the day of my wedding I was able to walk down the aisle and meet my Wife.

“I don’t compare my progress to anybody else’s because everybody has a different body. With all the progress I have made there is no way I’m going to quit now.

“I want to inspire those who are paralysed to know there is hope. With hard work, a positive mindset you can achieve anything you want as long as you give it your all.

“It may take years but we’re all here for a reason and we can’t take even one day for granted.”