HOWARD, Wis. (WBAY) Two and a half years ago we introduced you to an inspiring Howard woman, determined to make the world see her for the person she is, not the wheelchair in which she sits.
Even though a car crash in 2013 paralyzed her, Jen Naze vowed to find a way to some day dance at her son's wedding.
Suddenly, this fall, in the middle of Jen's journey to walk, something unexpected happened that her doctors can't even explain.
"I'm so good! I'm happy. I'm healthy, and everything is starting to come together finally," Jen tells us with a big grin.
She is one of the most positive people we've ever met, never lacking smiles, despite doctors saying her legs would never again work.
"In my type of injury, 18 months is kind of the period where they say if you're going to regain any feeling or any movement or any changes, it's going to happen within 18 months," she explains.
She passed that milestone a long time ago. It's been more than four years since a car accident left her paralyzed.
Doctors determined her spine is 80 percent compressed, but she's always held hope that other 20 percent would somehow lead to mobility.
Jen has allowed us on her journey to walk from the beginning, through years of grueling physical therapy, trying to build muscle and discovering, with help, she could crawl.
But between work and insurance, she had to stop therapy this spring.
"I think in the last couple of months, there's been life changes that happened that," she says. "Everything happens the way that it's supposed to happen."
This summer, she got a new job, started working from home, spent more time with her kids and began taking better care of herself mentally and physically.
Then one morning, it happened.
"About two months ago, all of a sudden now my legs tingle. It feels like tingling all the time, so all the way down to my toes. They're tingling right now," says Jen.
She called her doctors, looking for an explanation to suddenly feeling legs she was told she'd never feel again.
"I haven't had a follow up, really, with my surgeon, in four years, so when I went in, he said, what's going on? And I told him, and he looked at me like the doctors look at you, right?" says Jen, making a questioning face. "So what exactly does it feel like? So then I explained it. At that point he kind of knew, well this is real, and we don't have an answer to it. The only thing that it could be is prayer, at this point."
In Jen's favorite time of year, a season about miracles and believing, she believes something bigger is at play.
"There's no medical reason, no. We've already passed the 18 months that it would be a medical reason. Right now, it's all God," says Jen.
Jen just underwent more tests to make sure nothing was wrong and says she got a clean bill of health.
Doctors determined her sensory nerves are regenerating, but because her leg muscles haven't been used in so long, doctors say her motor nerves are not functional.
What it means for the future, she doesn't know, but her hope hasn't wavered.
"I feel like I just need to keep taking the little pieces that I get, so if this is all that it is, well, at least it's something. And I think more than anything, I think it just shows the power of prayer," says Jen.
She says it's taken a community to get her to this point, and it's time to pay it forward.
Four years ago, the hospital that cared for her adopted her family for Christmas.
She only accepted, vowing she'd one day pay it forward.
That day has come. Jen is now providing Christmas for a mom in her neighborhood fighting cancer.
"It took her days, well a day, because I really didn't give her a choice. I said, I know how it feels and you're going to take the help. I know that someday she's going to pay it forward as well. It's all the spirit of Christmas," adds Jen, a smile again beaming across her face.