STUART, Fla. - It’s been a year since WPTV viewers first met Andrea Murphy.
In 2013, she had just completed surgery to remove a rare tumor in and around her spinal cord called melanocytoma.
She was the 23rd patient known to be diagnosed with the rare condition.
Her diagnosis, she says, was entirely a result of listening to her body.
She had just completed teaching a Zumba exercise class.
When she got home, her legs were numb, tingling and painful.
Doctors didn’t know if she would walk again after surgery, but she was also told that if she had ignored the problem for one year, she would be paralyzed.
She recalls now what doctors told her in the hours after surgery.
“When they came into the room, I said well what about my leg. I can't lift it, I can't move it, I can't feel it. And he said, well I told you there is a good chance of it you having paralysis and being in a wheelchair. And I remember looking at him and saying, no way,” she said.
The painful, difficult therapy has not kept Murphy from fighting.
In the last few weeks, Murphy has gotten back into Zumba classes.
Every day, Murphy continues to face the ups and downs, which is often very painful.
“If one person understands what pain is all about, it's me,” she said.
The perspective has helped the acupuncturist at Oceanside Physical Therapy relate to her patients.
Owner of the business, Bryan Graham, has helped Murphy with her recovery, and watched her improve.
“She's been a fighter, that's the biggest thing I can say.”
Very soon, Murphy expects to be teaching Zumba classes again.
“You get tired of it, so you just say, it's not going to be like this forever.
Things are always going to change, and it is. It's changing. It changes month to month,” she said.