A WOMAN has revealed how she stumped doctors after waking up paralysed one morning – with no one able to figure out why.
Lying in bed, Sophia Moore was terrified when she found herself with severe pain in her left hip and unable to walk with no explanation.
The dancer, then 13, was rushed to hospital and has since left medical professionals baffled, undergoing nine surgeries in an attempt to discover the cause of her constant pain.
The sudden loss of movement still remains a mystery, with Sophia unable to retain normal motion in her legs to this day.
"It was incredibly sudden," the 23-year-old, from Chelmsford, Essex, said.
"The day before, I had been walking around a shopping centre and trying on clothes with my mum and everything had seemed perfectly fine.
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"I had had incidents in the past where I had some sort of injury where the onset of pain was quite sudden and it had always passed quite quickly, so at first I wasn’t too worried.
"But when it didn’t pass after a few days, my mum took me to a physio.
"He was very worried and sent me straight to A&E."
As she was just a teenager, Sophia said she assumed her mum would be able to get her "fixed" just as she had always done.
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But over the next few weeks, the youngster was in and out of hospital for tests to find the root of the problem and "no one seemed to have any answers".
Sophia was previously diagnosed with hypermobility – a condition where her joints are too flexible and loose – after suffering from unexplained joint pain, dizziness and fatigue aged seven.
But doctors couldn't connect the dots with her current symptoms.
In September 2013, the musical theatre performer underwent an arthroscopy on her hip – a keyhole surgery used to investigate joints and treat minor damage.
Following two further operations, Sophia was told she had joint hypermobility syndrome – a disorder which affects the connective tissue in her body.
However, the exact cause of her paralysis is still unknown, meaning there is no real way to treat it.
She said: "I cannot rely on my body in the same way as other people do and I remain in constant pain today.
"I am unable to put any weight through my left leg without excruciating pain, so I cannot walk and need crutches to mobilise.
"No one knows why this is the case.
"My symptoms are still being investigated at University College London Hospital, including in the Institute for Dance and Sport Medicine, where they are trying to find the source of my pain and to try to find a way to help reduce the pain levels for me.
"My hip problems are almost certainly linked to my JHS, but to what extent no one knows, and they probably never will."
I remain in constant pain today.
Sophia was forced to put her dreams of dancing professionally on hold and desperately felt like she was missing out on life.
Each new procedure then set her back further, and this continued for the following decade.
"I have had periods when I've been able to walk and dance, but also periods when I've been in constant pain and unable to walk except with crutches," she said.
"From April 2013 until October 2020, I only danced when I was able-bodied.
"When I was unable to walk, I stopped dancing, found life very hard and often became withdrawn and depressed.
"My first operation in September 2013 made things better and I could walk and dance again.
"But things regularly went wrong with my hips – only once with my right hip, but regularly with my left one.
"Each time I went back on crutches I stopped dancing – and my dream got further and further away from me."
'HOPELESS TO HOPEFUL'
Following a total of six arthroscopies, Sophia then received pins in her left hip for a year, before it was entirely replaced in the hope of improving mobility and reducing pain.
It appears to have done little to help her condition, but she praised the NHS for never giving up trying to help her.
Despite everything, Sophia has continued to dance when she can, using crutches from the brand Cool Crutches to aid her, matching any costuming she wears.
She is even in her third year of a musical theatre degree at Performance Preparation Academy in Guildford, Surrey, where she embraces her disability and dances the pain away.
Sophia now hopes to become one of the West End's first disabled stars.
She added: "I did a lot of work on myself, and also a lot of growing up, and I accepted that I would most likely be disabled for the rest of my life.
"It was around this time that I began to dance on crutches, but it quickly became apparent that NHS crutches would not stand up to the task.
"Cool Crutches have a broader resting place for my hands which is very useful as I support my whole bodyweight on my hands when I dance.
"I couldn't live without them.
"I have been through a range of emotions over the last 10 years of my life.
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"They range from hopeless to hopeful, resigned to resolute, broken to resilient, depressed to excited, unimportant to confident, afraid to determined.
"The fact is I love to dance – whether able-bodied or on crutches. It is my passion."
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