EP 152: What Facing Death At 23 Can Teach you with Te Whatarangi Dixon

Coming back from Guellain Barre Syndrom - A story of courage in the face of extreme adversity.

Te Whatarangi Dixon is a man with much "Mana' (The Maori word that means to have great authority, presence to command respect).

Despite his relative youth at age just 30 he has twice already stared his own mortality in the face. 
He was the victim of Guellain Barre Syndrome or GBS for short. Guillain-Barre ) syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms.

These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralysing your whole body. In its most severe form Guillain-Barre syndrome is a medical emergency and in this case is what severe and meant Te Whatarangi was months in hospital.

The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown. But two-thirds of patients report symptoms of an infection in the six weeks preceding. These include respiratory or a gastrointestinal infection or Zika virus.

Te Whatarangi lost all control over his body and literally watched his body fail and start to die while his brain remained fully conscious. The fear, the uncertainty, not knowing if he would live or die or if he lived if he would ever have any quality of life again or be trapped in a body that no longer worked sent Te Whatarangi through a long night of the soul. But he eventually emerged. Stronger, more resilient, more empathetic and more driven that ever before.

This is a comeback story of survival and of love. The importance of family and how they helped him through. Te Whatarangi is now a qualified neuro-physio and knows exactly what his patients and clients are going through. He knows the battles they face and he guides them back on the path to their goals.

Heartwarming and raw this interview will inspire you and make you grateful for the blessings you have. 
Te Whatarangi's greeting to you all in Maori
Ko Putauaki te māunga
Ko Rangitaiki te awa
Ko Mataatua te waka
Ko Ngāti Awa tōku iwi
Ko Te Pahipoto tōku hapū
Ko Wayne Haeata tōku matua
Ko Kay Mereana tōku whaea
Ko Blair Te Whatarangi Dixon ahau
I have come from very humble beginnings. I am a product of my whānau (family) and I would not be the man I am today without them supporting me every step of the way. Everything that I am and everything that I strive to be is a reflection of not only myself but my whānau. I represent them and I hope to make them just as proud as I am of them. I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) in 2014 and again in 2019 where only 1 in 100'000 people are diagnosed globally with a 1% chance of contracting it twice. Always an optimist and through my journey of self-discovery having faced the possibility of my own mortality, I am now proud to call myself a Neurophysiotherapist. My journey has been challenging yet unique and I wish to share my story with the world in the hope others feel inspired and to allow their light to shine.

We would like to thank our sponsors for this show:

For more information on Lisa Tamati's programs, books and documentaries please visit www.lisatamati.com

For Lisa's online run training coaching go to
Join hundreds of athletes from all over the world and all levels smashing their running goals while staying healthy in mind and body.

Lisa's Epigenetics Testing Program
measurement and lifestyle stress data, that can all be captured from the comfort of your own home

For Lisa's Mental Toughness online course visit:

Lisa's third book has just been released. It's titled "Relentless - How A Mother And Daughter Defied The Odds"
Visit: https://relentlessbook.lisatamati.com/ for more Information

When extreme endurance athlete, Lisa Tamati, was confronted with the hardest challenge of her life, she fought with everything she had. Her beloved mother, Isobel, had suffered a huge aneurysm and stroke and was left with massive brain damage; she was like a baby in a woman's body. The prognosis was dire. There was very little hope that she would ever have any quality of life again. But Lisa is a fighter and stubborn.
She absolutely refused to accept the words of the medical fraternity and instead decided that she was going to get her mother back or die trying.
This book tells of the horrors, despair, hope, love, and incredible experiences and insights of that journey. It shares the difficulties of going against a medical system that has major problems and limitations. Amongst the darkest times were moments of great laughter and joy.
Relentless will not only take the reader on a journey from despair to hope and joy, but it also provides information on the treatments used, expert advice and key principles to overcoming obstacles and winning in all of life's challenges. It will inspire and guide anyone who wants to achieve their goals in life, overcome massive obstacles or limiting beliefs. It's for those who are facing terrible odds, for those who can't see light at the end of the tunnel. It's about courage, self-belief, and mental toughness. And it's also about vulnerability... it's real, raw, and genuine.
This is not just a story about the love and dedication between a mother and a daughter. It is about beating the odds, never giving up hope, doing whatever it takes, and what it means to go 'all in'. Isobel's miraculous recovery is a true tale of what can be accomplished when love is the motivating factor and when being relentless is the only option.

Transcript of the Podcast:
Speaker 1: (00:01)
Welcome to pushing the limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential with your host, Lisa Tamati, brought to you by Lisatamati.com

Speaker 2: (00:13)
You're listening to pushing the limits with Lisa Tamati. Today I have a guest to Te Whatarangi Dixon from Rotorua who is an amazing young man. He's a neurophysio something I'm very interested in. But he is also a victim of the Guellain Barre Syndrome. Very hard to say. We'll call it GBS. Now this is a syndrome that's a rare disorder in which the body's immune system, attacks your nerves, weakness and tingling in the extremities are usually the first sort of symptoms and the spread right throughout his body and it can be fatal. And he was certainly in deep die trouble for many weeks in the hospital and he shares his story today and his comeback journey. It's a really interesting, I'm very interested in people who have overcome the odds in comeback. Journeys for obvious reasons. And I think this journey just really that fax has been on is incredible and why he's tackled it in the way he's coped with it.

Speaker 2: (01:09)
He was then gone on because of this to become a neurophysio. So he's used what was a terrible thing in his life to do something good. So it was a real honor to have him on the show. I just want to remind you before we go over and talk to te there, my book is now available on audio. It's available on ebook, on Amazon on my website every which way you can get it now. Relentless. It's also in the bookshops. I had the greatest pleasure the other day when I walked finally into a shop and there was my book. So that was a pretty exciting moment. After seven weeks on lockdown, it's finally out there. So if you're interested in getting that, the book is called relentless and you can grab it on my book, my website at lisatamati.com Right now over the to the show with Te Whatarangi Dixon.

Speaker 1: (01:54)

Speaker 3: (01:57)
Well, hi everyone. Welcome back to the sharp pushing the limits. It's fantastic to have you back again. I am sitting with Te Whatarangi Dixon all the way over in the Rotorua. How are you doing mate? Good, thank you. Good. Thank you. Super excited to have you on the show. It's really cool. We've connected through your father in law who is a lovely man, Steven who I spoke for. He is a great man. He is a lovely man. And he just said, you've got to talk to my son in law. He's so interesting and I thought, yes, he is very interesting and I want him on my show. So today I was going to hear a little bit about Whatarangi and we're going to call them facts from here on. And and now Whatarangi is a equally a neurophysio. You're just just qualifying right now, sort of in the midst of finishing things up and getting him into a new career and job.

Speaker 3: (02:49)
But the reason, one of the reasons I want, I want to talk to you about that, but I also want to talk to you about you've got an inspiring comeback story. Can you tell us a little bit about GBS we, we you've had GBS twice and we're trying to pronounce it before Guellain Barre Syndrome, something like that. So yeah, it's a very big word. So we'll call it GBS and can you explain what that is and your, your journey with us a little bit and a little bit who you are for status.

Speaker 4: (03:22)
Yep. Okay. So my story basically starts from a little town called tickle. So that's where I'm actually from and my family is, and I grew up pretty much in the Bay. TNT. I think probably people will always think that my story is interesting is because Guellain Barre Syndrome or GBS as we call it is as 100, a hundred thousand people, I think contracted, well that's the neurological condition. And then basically a textual, your peripheral nervous system. So it's quite similar. That's how I kind of describe it to people. I'm totally on the stand that getting into the technical kind of tends of things is similar to that. You miss you miss the textural central nervous system either and GBS a textual peripheral nervous system. Wow. Cause people get what that is so they can proceed. It's kind of similar but there are differences.

Speaker 4: (04:20)
So I had a strength called ampersand, which is what's a text basically or your motor neurons. Annual sensory neurons. You can have different trends with the tech, just primarily your motor neurons or your sensory or I think he got five different Sharon's, I'm not, can't remember specifically about each one, but yeah, those two. Yeah. I had em send, so I took an attack my motor neurons in my, in my sensory neurons. But the potential for it to recover as higher because you have a special cell called Schwann cells in your peripheral nervous system and they can regenerate over time. So that's why if you have, if I wouldn't wish it upon anybody, but basically if you had GBS your what your and you and you were able to stop it from progressing, quite possibly, even people have, it can't be fatal.

Speaker 4: (05:11)
But if you at the interventions from the hospital placed on you I think within three to four weeks until you sat on told JPA starts to kind of overtake your body, you'll be lucky to recovering this quite high but post four weeks and you haven't had an intervention with they call it immunoglobulin therapy or plasma faceless where they basically take our, your white blood cells and replace it with others. Wow. so basically you'll be your pasta, your, your ability to recover. That's a lot higher with your peripheral nervous system because your central nervous system are made out of oligodendrocytes and that's what they make up are once they damage, they don't rip you. Wow. So if you about a motorway system, once you've got an issue major, such a major highway, so one roads basically destroyed, it'll never be recovered.

Speaker 4: (06:05)
You'll be able to actually try and tap into other areas and go off road and then come back on, wow, I want to kind of destroy their part of the road and we'll never recover. Whereas Guellain Barren Syndrom, once that Schwann cell is basically damaged, if they're forced to before the damage, its ability to, to re regenerate as higher Scwh is in. This isn't the bird Swan. Swan. So S C W H. Okay. So that's a german. SCWH. Okay. So how does it manifest itself in your body? So you've got the, luckily not the central nervous system one, but more of the peripheral. How did that sort of manifest and what were the symptoms? Okay, so for me in 2014 mindset of half the thing is they don't actually fully understand why it HIPAA or like what actually causes causes a bacteria virus.

Speaker 4: (07:09)
We don't yet, but they understand what happens to once it starts. What's a, what's a begins to happen. So for me how they described the words, I, I basically called a guarantee Stein bug basically a month before GBS kind of started to could have been related. I go to my body, yes. So what they, what they perceive as what happens, it's an auto immune disease. So I had discussion or anti Stein nonfiction and I recovered from that. But however, what happened is you obviously when you get sick, you build up your immune cell or your immune system starts to kick in and you build get your killer T cells and then eventually you'll have resistant T-cells to action to buy down the killer T cells. Cause they've already destroyed the bug. Yep. What's happened is in my immune system, my resistant T cells to to actually hinder and stop the killer T cells from producing and actually start to generate around the body, they don't actually start to kick in.

Speaker 4: (08:12)
So your immune system had all these killer T cells floating around. And then I think obviously then I just got another random cold bug about a month later. And because you had these killer cells, so floating around in my body, I'm talking kind of later and I used to help you find fully understand it's important. Yeah. And so basically what's happened is my immune cell, my immune system has decided to, they've got this new bug, these qualities are the floating around. I have no idea what to do with this new bug and all of a sudden have started to just manipulate itself and then attach in a tech my, my peripheral nervous system. So phone cells instead of that classic auto immune shoot all the goodies and the baddies at the same time. Yeah. So it spawns my, my immune system starts to attack my own body.

Speaker 4: (09:03)
Yep. Essentially. Yeah. And so you don't, you don't know whether it's coming from there you know, that that gastrointestinal thing or not, but quite likely that that's caused that caused this reaction in the body. Obviously when you, when you're sick, obviously you get increased inflammation, which means that increases your immune system. And so it just, just helps you like a, like a, like as if you're standing in front of her train. And so basically how mine started was I just started getting pins and needles and my peripheral, like basically in my hands and my feet. Yeah. And it slowly kind of, I started basically just getting pins and needles and it started gradually kind of coming out of my arm of my legs. And then I started losing sets on my sensory kind of went, went away first. So SABIC losing sensation.

Speaker 4: (09:54)
And then basically as it came up through my, through my feet and into my ankles, we have a thing called proprioception. And they basically tell us it helps you understand its joints on the stand we are in relation to space. And that's that it's to dissipate and actually kind of disappear for me. So I started losing balance. It wasn't anything wrong with my brain, it's just that I couldn't get the right signals from my feet and from the white bearings, my weight bearing joints to my brain to understand and tell my body where I was. I had that with mum, but from a brain injury. Yeah. And so she didn't know who she was away. She stopped the way the world started. Special awareness because it's very hard to explain. Yeah. So this all just started happening. I don't know why, what's happening?

Speaker 4: (10:43)
You just kind of just randomly came on. So I started losing sensation and eventually started losing weakness in my hands. My jaw. I just knew something was wrong. I went to the doctors. The first time when I started getting pins and needles actually seeping into a physio, like some form of nerve issue of my lower back or, or something. Cause at the time I had, I had an injury, I'm a little bit. Yep. So say me, the basically nothing happened. A week later it started getting worse. Went back to my GP. He doesn't know, he didn't know what was happening. Obviously we could have the GP and had, you know, had I had signs of symptoms, they kind of live on possibly being meningitis as well. Yeah. He's sent me into, he see me in hospital, showed away basically after their next visit.

Speaker 4: (11:31)
So this was two weeks after that sort of started happening. A huge and obviously because he sent me diagnosed me possibly with a hypothesis of possible, possibly meningitis. I was treated for meningitis when I got there. By winter it wasn't, it wasn't I went and had my spinal taps. Yeah, spinal tap generally for meningitis in GBS cause they do present quite similar if they, if they think so. They're trying to cross the cross all the T's. We then, and then as they actually, when I went into hospital, I started getting huge migraines. I was getting migraines and I was skinning photophobia. So I've kind of actually optimized the life would just penetrate and just give me huge headaches. So I, when I was presenting what's, you know, and that's even another sign of possibly being in Jarvis and migraines. I, however, I didn't have a rash. That was, I need public one real, something they usually would get from in a data cell. We then had my spinal tap done, went for a CT scan. And then I was isolated basically because if I'm in a ditis spread it out at this point they still didn't know what I actually had. They were just going on. You know, the signs and symptoms on me, possibly heavy meningitis skins fascination and hits the spinal tap, then CT scan.

Speaker 3: (12:55)
Yep. Carry on. Mum's bringing in the middle of the webcast. She always does. Everybody who listens to the podcast knows this is a key ring from Mark to carry on mate.

Speaker 4: (13:08)
Yeah. And then and then I'll, then they for a week nothing basically improved. So all the all the drugs that they go to me throughout the time to help me try and beat meningitis were working. I was getting worse and I started losing what I'd done in relevance to that. I was actually getting really weak, but I couldn't actually convey that to them because I started getting, you know, I started losing my, my, I couldn't breathe and I started, I get to be on a ventilation also just so much pain. So I started getting hyper sensitivity. So basically cold felt like hot hot, felt like cold, a polo felt like a waste of time. I felt like I was driving into into the beat. So when I was just lying on the bed, I felt like I was getting pulled down by gravity. So [inaudible] rotation or anything kind of going out of whack, you everything just becomes imbalanced and it might, your brain can not understand or what, and it's trying to rebalance itself. And in that process that's kind of having, it's actually being detrimental to your, to your ability to kind of actually understanding the world just cause everything. Like basically if you'll need to bombard your nurse to actually understand, you know touch smells like every foot of sensation that you can basically think of.

Speaker 3: (14:27)
We had for granted so much and we know that this is, yeah, something's touching my right hand or I'm feeling my left hand or,

Speaker 4: (14:35)
And then basically third weekend I had an MRI and then the neurologist was actually away at the time. So the neurologist said that was actually from the house and told him the hospital for us. He was a white, you ever sees on a, on a spent sabbatical at another hospital. And so the neurologist from Palm smelt was coming up two or three times a week. Yep. So he came up and he basically once they won't say best, so he thought busters, a meningitis B bike. And I started and I had an Ida, my sister in law, she found a possible link to being something more neurological because I had this window of opportunity. We actually felt, you know, everything kind of normal, a little bit full for a time. And I asked Glen to kind of do some, do some assistance on me, who's my sister in law.

Speaker 4: (15:25)
She's now registered, now open a hospital. Wow. and she just chose a fifth year medical student at the time and she just done some systems on me and she felt my reflex is going through. I couldn't, my sensation was, was basically gone and she just went straight to straight to my consultant. My consultant got the neurologist to come in and they're all just basically look there, make straight away any new show way that ITVS basically Australian. I went straight into HDU. I was throwing spirometry, so I actually checked around my lung capacity was gone of the migraines. They organized for me to go for an MRI just to see what type of thing my body information was. And all of my, you know, all of my CRP scans, we were just through the roof. White blood cell counts were through the roof. So they knew that your, your menu system, but they couldn't, they didn't know what was happening on it. And obviously people, it's so rare you know, you, you come across that every, I don't know, once or twice in your lifetime.

Speaker 4: (16:33)
Okay. So now you're, you're in the, the finally worked out does it, is this thing. Yep. What sort of a battle did you have on your hands then? I was in the battle. Basically, they're trying to save my life. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So my, my, basically my, my lungs started to shut down. I immediately went down to about 50% capacity. As soon as I went into HDU I was intubated with mechanical ventilation to the full Monte, so conscious, so my brain's still, they're not just getting migraines. Stuff's like, it's still kind of occupational life. Nothing's happening mentally. It's all just the, my physical body shutting down. I can't move. I started all like, basically I lost all control of my bowels and whatnot as well. So there was things we didn't see wise. It was just, it just, everything went away.

Speaker 4: (17:29)
So like a massive brain damage. Yeah, something's happened to the brain, but it's just a little bit, it's just my, my peripheral nervous system is shutting down. So I was 23. Wow. I was 20. It started 2014 and yeah, so that, that all happened aren't you baited? And they basically, they started me on what they call immunoglobulin therapy, which is basically other people's antibodies. So, and that's about $1,500 a bottle. And I had about, I don't know, I think it was a call center of over five days, three bottles a day. Sorry, I'm trying to overpower it with, with normal white blood cells. Yeah. So basically trying to combat my immune system so they're pumping and you know what white blood cells from other, basically it's basically a blood transfusion into my body to basically, it can't stop DBS, it can only spoke.

Speaker 4: (18:41)
So the progress of it. So like I said before, you know, these, they're four week kind of if their month window that month window to try and stop it to get possibly from being a fatal condition. So I was in the third week, halfway through the three weeks, so they just water them. And you know, I already got to the stage where basically I was a vegetable and basically I was just trying to save my life. So I was intubated, heading immunoglobulin, stuck to a wall hours days. And I was in the hospital for about three months in ICU for about a month and a half. And then I went up to just the general ward. So it was amazing. So once they open up here, but it's just a waiting game, you can't really, you can't do much, they can do something else.

Speaker 4: (19:30)
You can do. You just watch you just hoping that, you know, me being a young kind of 24 year old at the time, it was going to kind of, that was going to be in a box, which to me, thankfully it was. It was. Yeah. And that's very grateful. Someone under the age of basically 50, 40, 50 to get genius. Wow. cause you, have, you got, you know, I, I love diving into the body. Do you think you have a predisposition to immune and overreactive immune system? Have you even thought about functional genomics and doing some testing along that lines to see? Well, you know, I've always thought that I'd always thought about looking at basically my DNA cause but you know, when I look at my, look at my look at my family, but I look at my family history, I've got none of that in my family. No kind of history of a neurological emission. We've got you know, quite a, the only thing we probably have in my family is the Alzheimer's cancer in our family. We don't have you know, you know, really what do you call it? Systemic kind of conditions, you know, mommy and my family have died of heart attacks. I think one. Yeah. [inaudible]

Speaker 3: (20:50)
We've got type two diabetes, but that's not genetic. That's just, you know, your modifiable risk factors that you can change. Well there is genetic fathers did it as well. Yeah. But it would be interesting. I mean I'm just fascinated by functional genomics and looking at understanding of why your immune system would kick into overdrive and actually cause an S is this likely to happen again? Not GBS. Well, we'll get to that in a minute, but you know, for other immune responses now here on land. Yeah, I'll definitely be interested in looking at research that we can. When I'm working with the DNA company and I've had dr mincer on the say they've just opened their labs up again and it'll be a few months before I'm qualified. But I can definitely connect you this if you want to have a look at that just to, I mean it's, I think it's something that everybody should do once in their life anyway.

Speaker 3: (21:49)
Yeah, it's fantastic, Dan. The stain, it can definitely help you plan and prepare for your future. Not stupidly, but just preparation was, you know, you'll tell him to stay on what's happened. Like what could possibly happen for you and what, you know, change it while you can change in regards to modifying your lifestyle to be able to enjoy, enjoy your, you know, your quality of life to the full extent. And even like things like, and this is getting a bit off topic, but you know what medications you might interact with in a, in a bad way or you know what your detox pathways are like. So do you need to be super vigilant when it comes to outside toxins, that type of thing or your hormone pathways or everything like that is involved at, so it's pretty, pretty, pretty good information to have. It's like, I reckon it should be like passport.

Speaker 3: (22:43)
So you have it, you know, and then you take the interventions to stop problems. But back, back to give a story. So you, you, you're fighting for your life now in your, you've, you've gotten through that really bad, horrific stage. How were you mentally coping with us as a 23 year old when you started to come back to life, if you like what you've been through, this traumatic, horrific experience. Have you dealt with that? You know, I've probably, I'm a very optimistic person, just like as a put my personality. I have a very optimistic look and I'm just in life in general. It was really tough. So at the challenge me a lot I wish I knew my wife, that's, it would've been easier, definitely been easier. You know, just being, you're being 23 and I'm very much a mum mama's boy. Yeah, absolutely. Nothing wrong with that. And my mum at the time

Speaker 4: (23:47)
You know, after raising my brother, my sister and I her entire life as a single mother. Wow. yeah, it's off to half. Yeah. I have a lot of, a lot of things in life. She was in Spain, so she decided, you know, how all of us, we're all growing up, we're living our lives. We started our new careers and, you know, looking, you know, what's going on in our own adult lives. If you took this opportunity, you know, to actually just enjoy this and go off on another Valium sabbatical for six, seven months over in Spain, lift my lift, my stepdad, he just say, I'm going to Spain. I'm going to go off and have all that. And she was basically two months in over there, and then they'll say, great. Trip as well. You know, I tried to, we rang basically nearly ever tried to ring every night through Oh, he used to be called Viber, you know, the original kind of. Yep. I guess. And you know, I basically said to every single time, as hard as it was to me, just to say on the phone was, you know, I said, I kept on saying to mum, don't come back. I'm going to beat this. And I'm not gonna pray, I'm not going to buy as much as I probably cried a lot of the time thinking that I was going to die.

Speaker 4: (25:17)
Yeah. To face your own mortality though, I mean ridiculously young age you know, like how do you see that now? What's your relationship with it now? I mean it's a pretty hard thing to buddy. Others that's I think I look at it more is I don't ever look at it as a, it's a fear concept. I probably look at it as a, as an opportunity to kind of, like I said, like before we even started a podcast, that's just an opportunity to actually still learn. Even though, even though I was going through this, I was like knocking it, if I get through this, what am I going to learn from this? So that's how I actually probably got me through. A lot of it was, you know, I'm not going to let this beat me, so what can I do with my life if I, you know, not if I was going to, it's like I was spicy.

Speaker 4: (26:06)
I was trying to tell myself that I wasn't going to, but you know, facing, facing that possible. Yeah, it was either I have my down moments. You know, you sometimes you're probably just thinking about wanting just to give up because it was just so that was quite hard and you know, seeing my family and my family and my family just probably, which has definitely been, you know, my Maori being from a Maori family, my and my mum overseas, I'd always had someone next to me. So yeah, my aunties, my uncles, my brothers, my sisters, my Dad, they all kind of took their time out of their days to kind of one at a time, go on a roster and just be there 24, seven basically, isn't it? It's so important to have that support. Yeah. And you know, like I'm a big, I'm a very holistic kind of person. Then before MALDI back home we have a thing called all, you know, like mother that can be, and so basically in anything, so a person, an object or you know, any inanimate kind of thing. But by them being there, they actually predicting them announcing me, if that makes sense. Absolutely makes sense. You know, if I didn't have them, I don't know if I'd even be here. Being beside your loved ones and having walking with them and their dark times is just so, so, so crucial. Like very family orientated person. So yeah.

Speaker 4: (27:36)
And you got a good one. I didn't have them beside me. I don't think I definitely would not have probably made it on my own. Because they were actually my thyroid, my motivation to actually fight and fight cause you need to fight, you need to fight when you're in deep, deep trouble and to find that fight when you're in pain and in, in terror and fear and all the rest of it. And the reason probably why I say I would show my wife at the time was because she's actually given me that strength and power to actually on the same or separate afflictions. Yes. I never actually fully understood it and she comprehended it. So I was obviously me being a 20 young, 23, all these just think of the physical aspects of life. And I never really considered, you know, how impactful the mental side of things, the emotional side of things and the spiritual side of things.

Speaker 4: (28:25)
But it's actually, she really helped me also is actually trying to understand who I am, what my identity is. Wow. I shocked. Cause if I had that back then as well, you know, I definitely would. Mmm. Fully understand and actually I would have been a hell of a lot better position to actually get full without ever even thinking or considering those kinds of things I would consider and think about them, but I wouldn't have, I wouldn't, you know, consume me. Yup. Yup. If they make sense. So I'm a big believer in if you have a strong, I didn't say even cultural identity, if you understand who you are, yeah. It gets you through. So, and that's, you know, being honest to yourself, being yeah, even on the others. And just taking them one step at a time, you know, it's not going to, you need to fully appreciate it.

Speaker 4: (29:17)
I understand that sometimes you do need that time to just kind of look at yourself and understand who you are. Cause if we don't, then you struggle. So this has brought you wisdom beyond your years really, isn't it? Yeah. So, okay, so, so you, you were in the rehab now for over a year trying to come from this thing and what was that better like? Like was it like coming back from a stroke or a brain injury? Was it like that now? Yeah, so basically it was really weird. So for me, I actually quite enjoyed it, but obviously obviously food through. I, I enjoyed the rehab, but the time that I was in the hospital, that was the tough part. So yeah, it wasn't until I probably got past it every elevation there point where I knew I wasn't going to buy. Yeah. Basically once they, once their fear of my own mortality here to pass, I was, you know, basically they basically told me, I was like, I've been in it and now all I have to do is put the work in. Yep. So be able to give myself from where I am right now, being dependent and now becoming, you know, my independent self again. Wow. I'm still alive so I'm stoked.

Speaker 4: (30:39)
I'm going to fight like crazy to get better. So I'd never looked at it as being, you know, I never looked at myself as being disabled ever. Maybe sometimes I maybe shouldn't because I know I probably pushed a lot of stress and, and you know I'm on my family when I was going through it there first time cause I, you know, obviously I think we forgot to mention them. I got this last year as well. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is what we've got to get to yet. So, yeah. So that, you know, I wish I probably was able to be honest. If I say, you know, on, on basically my family going through a lifetime because I know how stressful it was for them to kind of see me in that position and all they wanted to do was just help me and all in all I would do was just kind of internalize it and just keep it to myself and say, no, I almost went homeless and do it myself.

Speaker 4: (31:36)
Right. But, you know, that was a very selfish thing. Like when I look back on it, it's a very selfish approach that I had on it, even though I know they called me it. But that's because I was only ever thinking about the physical side of things still because you were young and I was young and you know, for me, being a 23 year old, you know, the physical side of life, very, very important. And being a man, you know, you messed the and he gets challenged and it was very, very hard to kind of get through that without ever feeling like I was burdening my family. So, you know, and that way when I look at it now, I, that was the wrong approach. But yeah, so basically once I got past, they pointed at this past the point that I wasn't going to be, that wasn't going to die. I was in hospital until basically I was my, I wasn't head. I took out the mechanical ventilation and I started doing some form of physiotherapy in the hospital and then they had organized me to go to a festival or a Ferguson. I know I

Speaker 3: (32:40)
Tried to get mum in there, couldn't get her and sorry.

Speaker 4: (32:43)
I got, I don't know where I got my funding from yeah since I was three months in hospital. And my rehab basically consisted of a lot of it was orientated around my goals and what I wanted to reach back to. However, when I read what I really enjoyed about lower foods, and it's basically like a campus that's a rehabilitation campus and it's for people that are under the age of 60. So it's not a, it's not a retirement village. It's actually for people that are, wants a big goal, be there long term. They had some of them who have long term conditions and took some of them terminal to a certain extent, but they're all there for the purpose of what's in there. Try and get better.

Speaker 3: (33:29)
Love that. I love that. Yeah. I did try to get my mum in there. She was too old to get there and we couldn't get funding and so on. But it did feel like a place where you were going to actually do something because I must say you're a neurophysio now, so we'll get to that shortly. But I must say the physio care that we had in the hospital was nothing short of atrocious. Yeah. I could have done it in my sleep. I think they went, they'd eat the lunch. That's pretty harsh. But that's, that's how I felt.

Speaker 4: (34:02)
And it's, it's really hard when I think about that because they are quite restricted in a lot of what they can provide. You know, me being like going through placements in one note as well in the hospitals, they all want to change how they approach things on the hospitals. That's why they're trying to implement, you know, code rehabilitation, gems and whatnot there as well to get more involved. But at the same time it's really tough because systems at the system is built around, you know, you've got so many patients that you have to see on a ward and you've got what, 10, 2030, 30 minutes at the met with them.

Speaker 3: (34:41)
I must say I must, I must re repair what I just said. The ones that were came round to us on the ward during the acute phase were lovely. Awesome. Yeah. When we were later put into the rehab with mum I fought to get her back into the system to get, you know, cause they said at the beginning she's never going to do anything again. We're not going to bother basically. And I fought and after a year I got her back in for two times a week and there was atrocious. And I felt like a box ticking exercise. The ones on the ward were different. They were very passionate and really, really wanting to help. So in, and this is no indictment on any one person or thing, but there was a systemic problem and there is a systemic problem with the way that the, the things are run at least an hour, the, our hospital and the way that you are judged, I remember and don't want to take her out for the interview, but six weeks she had as a block of two times a week.

Speaker 3: (35:43)
And honestly what she would do in that six weeks I would have done in a day with her. The tests that they tried to put her through, she was intimidated. She felt like a school girl, so she was not interacting with them. Because they were very judging her all the time, whether she should continue in the program. And at the very end of the program, they had a big panel where they all came in to decide your fate, whether you'd be considered to continue in the program. And they, they talked to me not to hear who's sitting next to them and says she's below the level of the worst dementia patient we've ever seen. You know, she's never going to do anything and this is a waste of time. And I turned to my mom and I said, well how does that make you feel mum?

Speaker 3: (36:28)
And she said, you know, well I was feeling quite empowered until I came in here. Now I feel totally, you know, down before. And they just looked at me and then jaws drop cause I had never heard her speak because they had never spoken to her as a intelligent person. So she had responded because she was intimidated by that medical setting and I knew that she was a nurse. I knew she had a, you know, stuff going on and she was intelligent and she was coming back. I believed in her and I just said to them, you can stick your program up there somewhere. I'm going to bring my mum back. And I did. From that point on I was like, right there is no help. I will go and do this all myself. And that's, you know, that's, that's just that particular bunch of people in one particular place. And that's not an indictment on them all. But that was, that was quite sad. And then I had a wonderful neurophysio. So let's get onto your neurophysio cause you've gone down this path now after going through this. Was that the reason that you went and studied neurophysiology?

Speaker 4: (37:35)
Yeah, definitely swung my Martha sessions that go that way. Yeah. I wasn't actually through PSI. I had an amazing neurophysio and when I went, when I was at Laura, focus on the reason why I decided to go down this path though you know, it was just, she just knew how to push me in the right ways and I wanted to do that for other people. And even when I was at Laura Ferguson, I met so many amazing people that had never asked the, you know, to have a stroke, to have no image, to have Huntington's disease, to have pockets. And so, you know, they never, never, they never asked for that. And just to be able to have it's just you know, the, the, the thing I think about the most is people, there's dependent, you know, if you're, if you lose your independence, I feel that's the huge, like the biggest thing as a human, you don't read it like it, it's that old cliche of, you know, you don't know what you have until it's gone.

Speaker 4: (38:36)
And so basically it's a pout. Somebody that does the pendant become independent again. That's the most rewarding thing that I can even think of from from, from absolutely. When I, when people ask me why I wanted to become a pussy, I say there's three things. So one of those I knew I always wanted to help people work from a health perspective. And originally I actually wanted to become a doctor and do medicine. So they laid onto their leads onto my second reason. That was the reason why I toasted the physio and it's purely because I probably had hit the, you know, Gordon, she was amazing. I'm going to start her name out there because she is amazing. They she made me understand that being a physiotherapist you just were able to have. And there's just this natural and therapeutic relationship that you just can't have as a doctor is, you know, as a relationship proficient.

Speaker 4: (39:34)
Yeah. Your ability to be able to have those real deep connection with, with your patients was like, there was, that's the reason why I really got back to where I am today because of that. So, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I'm a very people person. So having that intense of kind of relationship with each other collectively, you know, having that shared goal of kind of getting to that, to that same, to that shared place where they want to, that they want to achieve. As you know, second to none. It's a bond for life really, isn't it? I can see how much you love and respect what she did for you and how much it means. And this is why it's on me to becoming a physiotherapist rather than a doctor. The complete opposite of like, I had a neurophysio too who came to our house afterwards and he was wonderful.

Speaker 4: (40:31)
He gave me the belief that we could do this. He gave me the basic tools so that I could work every day with here cause I couldn't afford obviously everything. But he gave me the information that I could then put that into practice on a day by day by day basis. It's really common sense. It's just being able to apply it in the right way and try to break movements down. Now how do you teach someone to, I specifically look at it in three ways, you know, narrow cause as I think of it as he got function, strategy and impairment, that's basically, that's, that's my, that's like my go to for anything basically. So you know what you wanna achieve as function, you have strategies to achieve that function and then by you have an impairment which affects the strategy to be able to perform the function.

Speaker 4: (41:18)
Yes. Yep. So obviously the goal is function by why you have to do a specifically time work on the impairment and then effectively your strategies should try and improve and then you start, that's how you progress to the next kind of thing. And then, then what happens is you'll be able to perform their function again. It's like a soap tech. I'm like, I'm trying to simplify it, but that's how I try and approach things. Yeah, no, that makes absolute sense to me. Yeah. That's like free three steps and there's a variety of ways of how you can integrate your treatment methods. So there's a variety of treatment methods that you can use, but that's the ultimate call it, that's the, that's the basis of it that I run by. Wow, I'm going to bring them up to see you one day, what's the next thing I can do with it?

Speaker 4: (42:06)
So they basically, when I funded, when I recovered, I decided to become a therapist. So I enrolled into A A T and started in 2016. Obviously because I got a dog, cause 2015 had already started because I had a bit of paper and I just kinda wanted to give them my stuff that either actual year where I just worked and just got back on it to actually get back to normality. And then I decide to go on on the intake in 2016. And AAT is now I'm gonna fly should be an, it should be an advertisement for them or something. Yeah. Yeah. They're amazing. So I love that. I love being a part of that. They invest like the way our lectures were, they all came from a clinical experience. They weren't, they were heavily based on the theory.

Speaker 4: (43:02)
So, you know, they, they basically, they, they pushed down a farts to be able to have a clinical reasoning. And maybe I want to think on a fetus practitioners as clinicians, I want us to be clinicians. They want, they don't want us to be bookworms and lab and just writing, research things out all the time. Cause at the end of the day, you know, our, we're providing a service and we want it to be based around real good quality service. Not just, you know, anyone go on Google and find out and do this, you know, you know, I can do that. We want it to be able to, so they've really and forced their kind of encourage and encourage that type of learning. So it was very practical. And I'm a very practical kind of person. And it's really weird, you know, obviously when I was going through my rehab with his 2014 and they're learning and become in basically going through my physiotherapy degree, I look back on when I was through my rehab and I could see all the little tricks that you said. They will create these signs and your physio you create like the games and really it's actually, it's an objective measure for being. So I didn't really realize that it was actually like a, she's, she's testing me but I didn't know that. Wow. We've got them on or big take tests in all photos just to help me with like picking up things and putting them in. But secretly she had been timing me.

Speaker 4: (44:37)
She had made it basically. She made a lot of things cause I'm very sport all of my sports. So she made a lot of things in the games like paying the, we you know, you just, you can be as creative as you like as a neurophysio just to get that function back. Yeah. and you know, you learn, you learn basically all the main three, which is cardio, musculoskeletal and neuro. You always remember the principles of all three. Highly effective when you come out of uni, you kind of the side, we really want to kind of stop that all like basically to down and down. And so I obviously obviously matches. Obviously neuro, I do have a miscarriage. I do like that as well. And most people do do musculoskeletal. That's like your normal, full possessive, your body. Everybody knows about.

Speaker 4: (45:28)
But yeah, my interest is always possibly always going to be neurons just purely from an empathetic point of view. Having that rewarding feeling of being able to help someone get from a to B and just being a part of their journey with them. Yeah. They've ever wanted to be a credited with any of the, you know, them getting there. It's because it's all in. It's just being able to share their journey with them. But it's amazing to be able to, to provide that framework for people to, to learn from and to grow from. And so I just wanna like wrap up in a few minutes, but I want you, you got this again. Yes. You went through this whole thing again in January this year.

Speaker 4: (46:12)
August last August, 2019 so I was the special 1% of the entire world to get GPS twice. Wow. That's insane. It's super, super unlucky. But this time I have my wife, yes. Father-In-Law. I can never be grateful and thankful enough for them because this time, at least they, we knew what we were dealing with and we see Australia and stuff. It was just a lot and was still very tough and I still kind of, you know, internalized a lot of things. And you know, that, that same thing that the last time when I kind of found my cell phone with regards to my, you know, challenging my masculinity and keeping things internalized, trying to get through myself instead of feeling like I'm burdening everyone else with what's going on with me. But you know, Claire and Steven definitely helped me get through that. And I should apologize to my wife because I know it's probably very, very, very tough on it. Anyone you love and when you're going through hard times, you're always going to have moments where you didn't do what you wanted to do. When you look back afterwards. I mean, I've had times like with where I've been, like

Speaker 3: (47:30)
Afterwards gone, shit that wasn't good behavior, you know, on my behalf and, or you think, you know, but you're just in a desperate state of exhaustion and fatigue and the grind of it all and you did things that you're not surprised of. Now, you know, in my case where you think, you know, we have yelled at her for something or you know, just gotten frustrated and gone, Oh for goodness sake, you know, and then you're like, that's

Speaker 4: (48:03)
Time is as much as I was plus time round. It was amazing. Effectively Steven was my head of Gordon the farm. That's, you know, we went, we went to the polls basically three times a week and we went into the hospital twice a week. And he was the one basically taking me through all of my exerciser and whatnot and you know, clearly had to obviously go to work every day. But at the end of the day, she's like my biggest inspiration, the person that I aspire to be like, cause she knows who she is. She sounds awesome. Gotta meet. He's he always makes me want to be a better person or just a better man. Yeah. She, she sees me like she, she can, she sees through me if they make sense, she feeds me. She knows me better than I did myself. Yeah,

Speaker 3: (48:52)
You can be, you can be real with her too. You, you are who you are and she loves you for all the, all the good, the bad and the ugly. And isn't that what it's a wonderful thing. Yeah.

Speaker 4: (49:05)
Well the whole my kids look, I mean to me I couldn't make it bad side loss basically up to my elbows, into my knees as time. So I still had function and my, you know, basically my, it wasn't as bad, but it was still GBS even still take like six to seven months before I can actually, he's coming out the other end of this couldn't have been on myself. Yeah.

Speaker 3: (49:31)
Right. We're gonna wrap up now. What's the message? You know, there's a couple of good messages that have come out of today saying like, as a, as a young Mari, you know, men, you've faced us with amazing strengths and the wisdom that you are beyond your years. I mean, what are you now, 29, 2030 29 30 turning 30 wisdom beyond your years because of what you've been through and that is going to help so many people and your career and what you, what you do. And I'm very excited as it is. I know Steven is to see where you go in life because you know the power and the money that you already have now because of what you've experienced and your openness and your thing. I just think it's fantastic. And you're going to really be empowering lots of other people going through and this is probably, you know, your life's call and you know, is to help people and to do this and to share your story. You know, I think it's important. So this is hopefully the f

Listen Via...

What listeners are saying

My favourite running podcast by miles⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This is the best podcast for long runs. Lisa is just so relatable, honest, funny and inspires me to push my own limits. Awesome guests (I particularly enjoyed the podcast with Kim Morrison) and a wide variety of topics covered. Thanks for keeping me running, Lisa!
Jinni S via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 07/02/19


My favourite podcast ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Helps me get through my boring desk job. Absolutely love this podcast. Great topics and advice that has helped me to better myself and my approach to running.


Two thumbs up ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Always great guests, great insights and learnings that can be applied immediately for every level of experience.


Motivational and Inspirational ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I am getting my mojo back with regards to my health and running after treatment for breast cancer, I connected with Lisa as I was looking for positive influences from people who are long distance runners and understand our mindset. Lisa’s podcasts have been a key factor in getting me out of a negative space where I allowed others limiting beliefs to stop me from following my heart and what I believe is right for me. After 18 months of being in cancer recovery mode I wanted to get out of the cancer mindset and back to achieving goals that had been put aside. Listening to Pushing The Limits has put me onto other great podcasts, and in the process I have learnt so much and am on a pathway to a much better place with my mindset and health. Thanks so much Lisa for doing what you do and always being you.


This product has been added to your cart