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 came down with meningitis, and as a result, damaged my spinal cord. I was paralyzed from the chest down, and wasn’t guaranteed to walk again. But it was an open-ended question, and I really felt I would walk again. However, I wanted to know how long it would take, and the stages I would go through, and how long each stage would take. Additionally, I wanted to know when the other consequences of spinal cord injury, such as bowel and bladder issues would resolve, if at all.
It was really difficult to find information, even with today’s instant internet browsing. So, early on, I resolved to write a book about my recovery, which resulted in Toe Up to 10K. And I decided I would include the embarrassing subjects of bowel and bladder issues. However, as I was writing the book, I experienced a significant recovery. I know all individuals are different, and people with the same type of injury as I have will not walk again, no matter how hard they exercise, but I believe many people do benefit from rehabilitation exercises and do walk again as a direct result of those exercises. So, the book’s theme changed from what it’s like to damage your spinal cord, to one of how I recovered from a spinal cord injury.
The book I wrote serves two purposes. First, it gives the reader a glimpse of what people experience when the spinal cord is injured. I also wrote about my own timeline and stages, so people newly diagnosed with a spinal cord injury can have a timeline for comparison. Second, I believe the book serves an inspirational purpose. I know 100% of people who try will not walk again, but 99.99% of those who walk again try very hard. Later, after I recovered, I found out that I was given only a fair chance of walking again. I wanted to inspire those who are facing the same challenges I faced, and perhaps they could adopt the same strategies I used during my recovery.
I learned the power of social media and message boards to share experiences. Even after two years, I still learn about strategies to deal with spinal cord injuries, and also share my experiences with other people in the Spinal Cord Injury community. Sharing experiences lets you know that others have gone through what you are going through and lets you share information to others of what you have gone through.
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: www.stevenfujitaauthor.com