Megan Torio, 28, broke her back and was left in a wheelchair after an abusive boyfriend through her from a moving truck. But she has defied doctors to walk again and has rebuilt her strength at the gym
Mrs Torio was told she would never walk again after an abusive boyfriend threw her from the vehicle travelling at 65mph. But she gradually rebuilt muscle in her legs and had metal rods removed from her back to do it
‘I was nervous about having sex again. I was done with men,’ she said.
‘I thought no man would be interested in me. But I now have my sex drive back.
‘I will live in chronic pain and I miss running and dancing in high heels, but I’m very happy to be alive. I could have died that day.
‘I continue to get stronger and better every day.’
Following the accident in 2010, the determined 28-year-old, from Jacksonville, Florida, underwent months of painstaking physiotherapy and defied doctors to relearn how to walk.
Speaking about the abuse, she said it left her both physically and mentally scarred for years to come.
‘I was awake and remember the whole thing. I couldn’t breathe as my ribs were broken,’ she said.
‘I blacked out at the hospital due to the pain.
‘They took skin from my back to make me a new labia, and you would never know in a million years I’d had surgery there. I had 15 stitches put in and was swollen for a fortnight.
‘I was told I would never walk again. I was devastated. I’d been so independent so this was a big deal.
‘I’d lost the use of my bowels and bladder and was given a catheter. I felt hopeless.’
X-rays revealed she had also broken her spinal cord, shoulder, collar bone and six ribs.
Many of the injuries were sustained as she struck a road sign, which caught her between her legs.
Her broken spine was among a raft of horrifying injuries including broken bones and a sliced labia, which left her unable to have sex for a year
Brave Mrs Torio defied medics and managed to walk again, including standing for wedding photos with husband Ron, 38, seen here
Mrs Torio remained in Halifax Hospital for a month before she was transferred to Brooke’s Rehabilitation Hospital – also in Florida – for extensive physiotherapy.
Although there was no guarantee she would ever walk again, she decided to buy a walker to help her rehabilitation.
She was determined to get back on her feet, especially as she’d previously worked so hard to reach her physical peak.
They took skin from my back to make me a new labia, and you would never know in a million years I’d had surgery there -Megan Torio, 28
Mrs Torio had turned to food after having a difficult childhood and reached 15 stone by the age of 19.
Determined to change, she joined the gym and attended cardio, spin and weight classes twice a day.
In just a year, she slimmed to eight stone and even appeared on the cover of a fitness magazine.
She had planned to pursue a career as a fitness model – but her dream was crushed after the incident.
Despite the odds being stacked against her, she decided to return to the gym in her wheelchair to work on her mobility.
‘I wanted to work on my legs. They were my favorite part of my body – long and lean,’ she said.
‘I put myself on the weight press. I knew I wouldn’t be able push it but I wanted to pretend to. I wanted that ‘pushing’ feeling.’
But afterwards she was left in excruciating pain and felt as though electricity was running through her leg.
Despite being left paralyzed, Mrs Torio started going to the gym and rebuilding muscle in her legs. After suffering excruciating pain, she realized the sensation had returned and was determined to walk again
The pain was caused by nerves in her quad muscle growing back. Despite the agonising pain, she continued with her work-out regime
She was taken back to hospital, where doctors told her that her left quad muscle was twitching.
‘It was only moving about an inch, but it seemed like a miracle,’ she recalled.
‘My surgeon asked, ‘What did you do?’ After I told him about the gym, he said the twitch was all we needed to give us hope I’d have more mobility in my wheelchair.
The pain was caused by nerves in her quad muscle growing back. Despite the agonising pain, she continued with her work-out regime.
Eventually, she was strong enough to ask her neurosurgeon to remove the rods in her back.
Following surgery, she attempted to stand for the first time.
‘One day I picked up my walker I’d bought during physio and thought, ‘What the heck, what do I have to lose?” she said.
‘I put my body weight on my left side. I had sweat running down my forehead from the pain.
‘I stood up for a few seconds before sitting down. It felt weird and I was light-headed, but it was contagious. I wanted to do it again.’
She worked on standing every day and eventually got to the point where she could manage to stay on her feet for two minutes. Then, she pushed herself to start taking steps.
In 2011 she bought a cane to help her get around and that March, she met her now-husband, Rod, through a friend.
She spent months having painful physiotherapy but astonished medics when she started to walk again
She was so anxious about the date that she almost cancelled – but luckily, a friend persuaded her to go.
‘I thought no-one would be interested in me. I was paraplegic and didn’t feel like a woman,’ she said.
‘I was embarrassed about being in a wheelchair so I used my walker on our first date to walk from the car in to the restaurant.
‘On our second date, I was determined to use my cane. Though I was sweating and in a lot of pain, I wanted to show I was an independent woman and I didn’t need a man to look after me.
‘After that, Rod encouraged me to use my cane. He was so supportive.’
Miracles aren’t handed to you on a silver plate, you have to work for them
She went from strength to strength, eventually regaining use of her bladder and bowels. Just a year after being told she would never walk again- on her 25th birthday – she stopped using her cane.
She even managed to stand for her wedding photos when she married Mr Torio in a ceremony in a local court house in March 2012.
Doctors have told her that she is able to have children – and her sex drive has returned.
She has shared her story to encourage others to battle through and show the unexpected is possible.
‘Miracles aren’t handed to you on a silver plate, you have to work for them,’ she said.
‘I think I was in denial that I would never walk again and I think that’s what got me to where I am now.
‘After I was finally able to walk on my own, without a frame or cane, I went to see my surgeon and he was in tears.
‘I believe in mind over matter and getting what you want.’