A Story of Hope: Martin Pistorius, Ghost Boy

Posted Thursday, February 12th, 2015. Filed Under My Daily Dose

I was watching Dr. Oz and he had a remarkable guest on his show: Martin Pistorius. This 39 year-old man is a true miracle.

According to Wikipedia, during the late 1980s, Pistorius and his parents were living in South Africa, where at the age of 12 he slowly began developing symptoms that included him losing the ability to move by himself. Doctors were unable to diagnose the exact ailment and believed it was cryptococcal meningitis and tuberculosis of the brain.

Pistorius eventually fell into a coma that lasted 3 years, during which time doctors informed his parents that they did not expect Pistorius to re-awaken or survive for much longer.Starting at age 14, Pistorius received part of his daily care via a care home during the day. At night, he was primarily cared for by father Rodney, who stated that he woke up every two hours to turn his son so that he would not receive bed sores.Pistorius believes that he began regaining consciousness around age 16 (around 1992),during which time he was able to sense the people around him but did not immediately recall previous events, something he has described as “a bit like a baby being born”. Around age 19, Pistorius regained full consciousness and awareness, but was initially unable to impart this to the people around him. He was capable of making small movements that were not initially detected by his primary caregivers. One day, Virna van der Walt—an aromatherapist and one of Pistorius’s day carers—began noticing that Pistorius would react to specific statements and questions she made. Upon her recommendations, Pistorius was sent to the Centre For Augmentative And Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria around age 25. There, they confirmed that he was aware and could respond to statements. Pistorius’s parents gave him a computer with communication software to communicate with the people around him.

What is remarkable is that he is recovering and on the show he was with his wife, a woman he met through his sister in 2008 and they were married in 2009. He graduated in computer science. It is remarkable and this story is an inspiration and one of hope.

He wrote about his experience and journey in the book, Ghost Boy.

Dr. Oz asked him a few interesting questions. One of them had to do with forgiveness. In the book Martin shares that at the point her could hear but no one knew, he listened to his mom asking him to die and that it will be best for everyone. Dr. Oz asks if he has forgiven his mother. Martin says that he has forgiven her and only feels compassion for her. He, himself, thought about death. It was so moving to see the depth of compassion one human can have.

We can all learn from this!

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