It’s safe to say that Courtney Runyon understands loss better than most people. After all, she lost everything important to her in one awful, traumatic year.
It was December 2017 when the then-33-year-old was told by physicians that there was nothing they could do to help her. She has an autoimmune disorder that paralyzed her from the neck down, making breathing, swallowing, and speaking a challenge.
Courtney was suddenly at the bottom of a long, slow climb back to wellness. She was forced to move home to Texas to live with her parents, leaving her friends behind. She felt trapped and alone, and suddenly her 30s felt like a period not to be enjoyed, but endured.
“I lost my relationship, home, savings, job, moved away from my circle of friends, and lost my ability to take care of myself — ALL AT ONCE,” she wrote on her website.
The change was especially jarring because before the paralysis, Courtney lead an active life filled with travel, family, friends, and laughter. She ate a plant-based, organic diet, did yoga, meditated, and enjoyed her job. Then, in an instant, it was all gone.
After trying every treatment and exercise she could find, Courtney decided to take a different angle to address her lingering paralysis. She turned her attention inward, focusing on the people and situations in her life that were causing her stress — and then eliminating them.
“I was exhausted, frustrated, and confused why I wasn’t getting better,” she stated. “So I took a serious look at my life and cut ties with anything causing me emotional or physical stress — even the people, things, and places I loved most — and once I said goodbye and let go of the final string to my ‘old life,’ I started improving two days later.”
“Diet, exercise, and meditation isn’t everything,” she added. “By getting rid of the stressors in my life causing inflammatory emotions I truly started to heal.”
It took three years of intensive physical therapy and stress reducing techniques to bring Courtney to the point where she could stand unassisted, then walk for short distances. Another turning point in her recovery was when she decided to stop wishing for what could have been and start enjoying the life she has now.
“I made the decision to love the wheelchair and nursing home chapter of my life, just as much as the last and the next,” wrote Courtney. “I CHOSE to be happy. I started exploring ways to love my life unconditionally and live my life to the fullest — even when it wasn’t the life I wanted.”
Courtney embarked on a weeks-long trip to rediscover her zest for life. Although she is permanently disabled, she finds adventure everywhere and never says no to a spectacular new experience. She went ATV-riding in the jungle of Costa Rica, traveled through Guatemala on a yoga retreat, and backpacked through Morocco.
Courtney fully believes that “you don’t have to change your circumstances to change your life. It’s changing the way you SEE your life and yourself that gives you a new reality.”
She is now a motivational speaker and influencer who shares her message with thousands of others who may feel “stuck,” or even paralyzed, in their lives. She hopes her journey from loss to triumph demonstrates the importance of embracing our differences instead of fighting them.
Courtney refuses to let her circumstances stand in her way. While she was in rehab, she dreamed of walking the beach in a beautiful red dress. Watch the video below to see her accomplishing that goal!
Don’t forget to share her message far and wide!
Want more good news?
Sign up for Smile, our free daily good news email with over 600,000 happy and optimistic subscribers!
You share, we give! Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need.
$14.76 raised today! Learn more here.
Share to Give!
Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to help provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need. Spread good news, change lives! Learn more here.
$14.76 raised today!
Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.