A WOMAN who was left paralysed after being injured at work has described how going to the gym in Clydebank is helping her feel like herself again.

Michelle Moffatt was working as an ICU nurse in 2019 when she bent over to pick up a pen and two discs in her back prolapsed.

Michelle, now aged 40, explained that this then put pressure on her spinal cord, which led to her being paralysed from the waist down.

“It wasn’t even anything particularly major,” she said.

“It was bending over the wrong way that caused it - which is crazy because now I have no feeling in one leg, my bowel doesn’t work properly, my bladder doesn’t work any more, I’ve got a bag for my bowel, and I’m in my wheelchair all the time.

“Part of my mobility issues comes from a kind of complication that I had after my first surgery.

“I had a clot in my spine and that kind of led to the paralysis of my legs.

“That was a random complication that happens to one in a million and it was nobody’s fault.”

Following her injury Michelle said that she felt really depressed and that her “whole life had been turned upside down”.

She gained around six stone through overeating and a lack of exercise.

This all changed when Michelle joined PureGym in Clydebank and began working with personal trainer Fred Hunt-Smith.

“It’s knackering at first,” she said, “but for my mental health, getting out of the house and getting about is amazing and so good for me.

“After being in the gym I feel like I have more energy. It totally boosts my mood.

“At first I would sometimes say to Fred ‘I don’t feel like I’m coming along that much’ and he’d say ‘yeah you are, your weights are going right up’.

“Now I can go out every day. I’ve been doing two to three miles at minimum on my wheelchair, and I don’t need to worry about ‘is that going too far?’ or ‘am I going to need somebody?’. The fact that it’s helping me be more independent is incredible.

“I feel like I’m me again.”

After her injury, Michelle said, she felt like she wasn’t coping.

Then she discovered Glasgow-based charity Spinal Injuries Scotland, which helped her meet others with similar injuries and provided her with support she said had been “phenomenal”.

In April, Michelle and Fred completed the Kiltwalk in aid of the charity, with Fred completing the three-mile Wee Wander at Balloch Park in a wheelchair - something he said was “an eye-opening experience”.

The 23-year-old said: “I had to really understand how challenging being in the chair yourself is - and it was a hot day so it was pretty tough.”

Now, Michelle, who lives in Dumbarton, is eager to see where she’ll be in a year’s time.

“It’s enjoyable,” she said, “but it is hard work.

“However, I just think about the difference that it’s made and I wonder in a years time how much further on I am going to be.

“In my house I have stairs, and I have to push myself up with my arms, but now all of these sorts of things are getting easier, so obviously that’s helped my mood.”