'Ghost Boy' tells true story of waking from 12-year coma

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'Ghost Boy' Tells True Story of Waking From 12-Year Coma

In 1988, at just 12 years old, Martin Pistorius' health started to decline. He soon went into a coma-like state for 12 years, but now he's awake and telling an amazing story.

Pistorius says while he couldn't move or speak during all those years, he was still conscious. He tells his miraculous story of recovery in his book "Ghost Boy."

Pistorius also wrote a piece about his ordeal in the Daily Mail:

"I was treated for tuberculosis and cryptococcal meningitis, but no conclusive diagnosis was made. Medication after medication was tried -– to no effect. I'd travelled beyond what medicine understood. I was lost in the land where dragons lie and no one could rescue me."

Pistorius says he began to "wake up" mentally around age 16 and was completely aware by 19 -- but nobody knew that.

Feeling frustrated and desperate, one day Pistorius' mother told him she hoped he would die. Reflecting on that day, she told NPR: "I know that's a horrible thing to say. I just wanted some sort of relief."

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'Ghost Boy' tells true story of waking from 12-year coma
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'Ghost Boy' who was in vegetative state for 12 years heard mother say: 'I hope you die' http://t.co/WN0zh4WWBq http://t.co/126uHgPZU3
.:: The Ghost Boy: The uplifting story of how Martin Pistorius survived a mystery paralysis to find love http://t.co/jCWBCXB4ZT via @Femail
→ http://t.co/KsBqFAlPdY Martin Pistorius 240 Man awakens after 12 years in coma, says he was aware of everything http://t.co/1QuY6XV2BZ
At age 12, #Martin #Pistorius suddenly turned from a healthy boy obsessed with… http://t.co/E0GMsVJYH3
Martin Pistorius’ Story A Testament To Human Spirit http://t.co/yJAUbSFx1u http://t.co/fcMe6kTKTw
Martin Pistorius was trapped in his body for 12 years. Learn how he broke free http://t.co/lajHyvLPGD (via @npratc) http://t.co/JxnBj2e2lx
Man tells of his ordeal with "locked-in syndrome", and years spent watching Barney reruns http://t.co/8HYPtiT0NP http://t.co/zwIxbWUZsR
Martin Pistorius was interviewed this week on NPR's new show, Invisibilia. #AugComm http://t.co/bDhZGhvLKP
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The condition that best describes what Pistorius was going through is called Locked-In Syndrome. It's rare and causes complete paralysis of muscles, except the eyes. There is no cure.

Yet all wasn't lost for Pistorius. At 25, a care worker urged Pistorius' family to take him to the Centre For Augmentative And Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria, which would help Pistorius start communicating with the outside world.

After that, Pistorius got various devices that helped him communicate with others more and more. Amazingly, his body has gotten a bit better, too.

"It involved inexplicable neurological developments and a painstaking battle to prove that he existed."

Pistorius found love and married in 2009.

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