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Episode 39: "I Wouldn't Trade It For Anything" Says Jean Abbott After a Wrongful Diagnosis of Over Thirty Years Left Her Confined to a Wheelchair
29th June 2021 • Your Biggest Breakthrough • Wendie Pett, ND and Todd Isberner
00:00:00 00:35:06

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Have you ever been told one thing, but it turned out that the truth was completely different? Can you imagine being told that you have a debilitating disease that you never had?

Today, we speak with Jean Abbott, a resilient woman with a mind-blowing story. Jean was misdiagnosed as a young child with Spastic Diplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy

After 33 years of countless doctors visits, medical procedures, unnecessary medications she was correctly diagnosed with Dopa Responsive Dystonia (DRD) and given a new chance of life.

In this discussion, you'll hear...

-Why Jean says she would go through it all over again...04:30

  • Always wanted to show people that they could stay positive despite their physical limitations
  • Over 25 people got a correct diagnosis from hearing Jeans story

-Jean's faith journey...06:40

  • Jean accepted her debilitating condition and continued to trust God
  • "When I think about the positives in my life, that's when I realize how blessed I really am"

-The effects of Jeans diagnosis on her family and growing up...08:20

  • Decided from a young age that she could still do everything all the other kids could do, but maybe just a little differently
  • She had 2 older brothers and nobody ever babied her

-How to shift limiting beliefs...10:15

  • Change prayer focus and how you're going about being close to God
  • Devotionals
  • Daily readings from Crushing by T.D. Jakes

-Jeans initial symptoms and diagnosis story...11:30

  • Diagnosed around age 4 with cerebral palsy
  • Limited mobility with legs and arms
  • Sleep was a huge factor in symptoms
  • Symptoms worse as she was getting older, which is abnormal for Spastic Displesia
  • After having children, her symptoms were getting worse because sleep was declining
  • Had to use mobility scooter
  • No spasticity, no rigidity, lost all mobility that she had, couldn't even sit up in a chair
  • Depression and anxiety set in
  • Daughters were putting her to bed every night
  • Started going to counseling with depression and anxiety
  • Went back to another doctor and was told that something seemed strange and recommended a Neurologist
  • Went to see new Neurologist and when she talked about the effect of her sleep. The doctor immediately said she thought she had DRD. Prescribed some medication
  • Jean almost refused medication because she was in such disbelief
  • Jean had new medicine and glass of wine at dinner that night and was able to walk alongside her husband to the car
  • 3 days later, on Easter Sunday (at 33 years old) she was standing in a parking lot without holding on to anyone (first time in a decade), that's when I realized my life had changed
  • Connection to God in that moment that she had never experienced before
  • Amazing calmness came over her
  • Everything was scary but she wasn't going to let fear affect her
  • New doctor: Dr. Martha Nance

-Jean's best advice for those struggling with debilitating diseases...20:50

  • Trust that God has a plan for each and every one of us
  • If we hold on to the bitterness and hatred, we will be imprisoning ourselves
  • Try to reach acceptance for what we cannot change
  • Take things day by day or even hour by hour

-How the family responded to Jean's new diagnosis...22:05

-The importance of accepting support during hardship...23:50

  • "If you let me help you, you're actually giving me a gift"

-Advise on asking for support...26:00

  • Be as open as you possibly can to let them in
  • If you say 'no,' you're pushing them away
  • Jean's website

-How to develop an attitude of gratitude...27:15

  • Start your day on a positive note (prayer, gratitude, intention setting)
  • Being very specific with daily intentions
  • When negative thoughts sink in, ask yourself how you can find the positive in that negative thought

-How to accept that pain might be purposeful...29:25

  • Sometimes it takes more work than normal to stay positive
  • Know when to turn to God more

About the guest:

Jean Abbott was misdiagnosed as a young child with Spastic Diplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy. After 33 years of countless doctor’s visits, medical procedures, unnecessary medications and surgeries, she was correctly diagnosed with Dopa Responsive Dystonia (DRD) and given a new life! 

Jean is the author of MisdiagnosedMy Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had.

She has appeared on the Today show, Good Housekeeping and the U.K.'s Daily Mail to share her story. Since then, an overwhelming number of people from around the world have contacted Jean to tell her how inspired they were by her journey from “wheels to heels”. 

As a mother of three children, Jean enjoys all the adventures of her new life, but wouldn't change the journey that brought her to where she is today. Her positive attitude is highly contagious as she encourages others to appreciate the little things in life.

Call to action:

To learn more about Wendie and her Visibly Fit program, visit

To find out more about Todd and his coaching program for men, find him on the web at

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