stabbing left me a quadriplegic
helping and inspiring others
By Wyatt Guttenberg
15 years ago, a month before my 21st birthday, I was stabbed in the neck while trying to help a stranger who was getting jumped at a party. When I was originally injured the doctor told me that I’d better get used to reading the newspaper because that’s all I’d ever be able to do. Instead of giving up and being a victim, I immediately rejected that idea and set out on my journey to defy the odds, and for the last 15 years I’ve been researching and exploring every option when it comes to treatments.
Getting rejected from clinical trials. I’ve turned myself into a human guinea pig experimenting with all types of alternative treatments, nutritional supplements, and the latest innovations in health and healing. Some of them seem to have been helpful, some of them weren’t, but the point is you never know unless you try.
As of now I’ve gotten to the point where I can sporadically move almost every part of my body, and have at least a little bit of sensation in almost every part of my body. The next step for me is stem cell & NAD+ treatment. My family is in no way well off, but through a lot of hard work done by my family, friends, and me, we’ve raised almost $28,000 to go towards treatment. This has been a total grassroots effort comprised of things like a gofundme campaign, yard sales, email campaigns, and fundraiser dinner/auctions. Even the majority of auction items for the fundraiser dinner were compiled through donations by local businesses because of a flyer campaign we decided to do. My dad literally spent entire days going door to door to local businesses, explaining my situation, and asking if they’d be willing to help. Believe me, if we can do it then almost anyone can.
One of the most important reasons I do this is to show other people who might be in a difficult situation, a situation where it seems like there’s no hope, that this is possible. There is a way to get things done if you put your mind to it. Eventually I’d also like to turn this into a blueprint for a foundation that helps other people in need get treatments that could be life changing for them and their families.
Q & A – Reddit
Q. Probally not the question you’re looking for, but how did it feel to get stabbed? What happened? What first aid did you receive? (ShibiStorm)
A. To be honest I didn’t know I got stabbed. I didn’t feel it. The actual stabbing cut the ligaments in my neck which weekend the structure. Then I was knocked down and hit my forehead on the ground. The first thing that happened was an immediate PING sound. I thought to myself “Oh I must be about to be knocked out,” but that never happened. Then I went to get up and couldn’t move anything at all. Then my friends picked my up (never do this with a neck injury) and drove me to the hospital. I was so convinced that I had just fallen that I actually got into an argument with the police officer who came and asked me who stabbed me. The first few months are really blurry. I was on a ton of medications. I remember a lot of anxiety attacks, particularly at night because I couldn’t move to get comfortable. Then months and months of physical rehab.
Q. Since your injury, have you found things you are passionate about that you were not previously? Have you been able to accomplish certain things you set out to do? (truebouta)
A. Yeah definitely. I’ve gotten really into science, philosophy, theology, physics, metaphysics… all kinds of random interesting subjects that I probably never would have gotten into if it weren’t for the injury. As for accomplishments, after my injury I decided to start college and got my degree in IT. I was pretty proud of that.
Q. Was the attacker caught? (paraphrased – squishysquishh)
A. So growing up I was friends with everyone; the nerds, the stoners, the cowboys, jocks, and the gangsters. For some reason I just seemed to click with everyone. While I was in the hospital a guy who I had been friends with, definitely what you would consider a gangster, (for context he’s currently serving a life sentence in prison) came to my hospital room. He told me he knew who had stabbed me, lifted up his shirt, flashed me a gun, and said “Give me the word and I’ll take care of it.” I told him “no, that’s not what I wanted.” and that was the end of it. I’ve been told by a few other people that they knew who the guy was, but there were never any arrests made or anything like that.
I have forgiven him though, and wish no ill will.
Q. Could you expand on your sporadic movements and sensations? How long did it take before you started feeling and moving, and what therapies have you done that led to these results? (laserfazer)
A. So yeah. This is a bit hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it. I’ll do my best. There are times when I feel… sort of an energy build up in my stomach, or legs, or hands. When I feel that build up, say in my stomach, I’ll try to do a sit up. My stomach flexes super hard and I can usually get my head and shoulders off the bed on the first try. The second try it’ll be a little weaker, and so on. Usually I can get 4-5 flexes off before things shut down. The sensation is pretty consistent, I guess the sporadic-ness of it is just how much sensation there is. Sometimes I’ll have about 60% sensation in my right leg, sometimes 30%.
The amount of time it’s taken for everything is different, and it’s so gradual that I couldn’t tell you exactly how long it took. The movement in my biceps and upper forearms took a few months, the rest has been accomplished over years.
I’ve used all kinds of things to try to stimulate the nerves in my body. Electrodes, vibrating massagers, heat & cold stimulation. There are 2 things that I would give the most credit to though, different types of supplements, and meditation. I can make a list of different supplements I’ve used if anyone’s interested. The meditation is a bit… unexplainable (to me at least) though. A lot of times if I’m having trouble I can zone out, put myself in a trance like state, and then it’s like for a brief instance my body and mind are in sync and I can move.
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