Former ‘DWTS’ Contestant, Victoria Arlen, Opens Up About Terrifying Disease Relapse
Former Dancing With The Stars celebrity contestant and ESPN SportsCenter host, Victoria Arlen, recently shared her experience of a disease relapse that left her paralyzed and speechless for the second time in her life. In a candid interview, she opened up about facing her worst nightmare and the challenging path to recovery.
Victoria Arlen’s Relapse Left Her Paralyzed, Unable to Speak
When Arlen was 11 years old, doctors diagnosed her with rare neurological disorders, transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which trapped her within her own body for four agonizing years. Despite the odds, she made a miraculous recovery, achieving incredible feats such as winning gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games and becoming one of ESPN’s youngest reporters.
Last year, however, Arlen faced a devastating relapse, plunging her back into a state of paralysis. The nightmare began with unusual sensations in her face after hosting ESPN’s SportsCenter. Alarmed by the symptoms, she quickly sought medical attention, fearing the worst. Unfortunately, her fears were confirmed as the paralysis spread through her body.
“I’m lying there thinking, ‘I can’t die like this.’ I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed before. I was like, ‘No, God. This isn’t how the story is supposed to end,'” Arlen said.
The rapid deterioration of her condition led to a loss of mobility and difficulties with speech. The diagnosis of a relapse shattered her hopes and thrust her into uncertainty. It was a race against time for the doctors to intervene and reduce inflammation, potentially preventing lasting paralysis.
The Road to Recovery Was Challenging For Arlen
The road to recovery was a grueling journey. Arlen faced physical challenges as she slowly regained her ability to sit up, walk, and stand. Each step forward was a painstaking process, but her determination propelled her through the mental and physical hurdles. With unwavering faith, Arlen overcame the psychological impact of the relapse, gradually rebuilding her trust in her body.
Although she continues to battle nerve pain, Arlen remains grateful for her life and cherishes every moment. She draws strength from the prognosis of medical professionals, who believe the likelihood of another relapse is now low. Dr. Michael Levy, her neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, expressed optimism about her long-term recovery.
Returning to her role as an ESPN host just weeks after her relapse, Arlen demonstrated her resilience and determination. She continues to inspire others through her nonprofit foundation, Arlen’s Victory Foundation, and strives to make a positive impact in the world.