Eventually, the now 32-year-old travelled to Sydney where he underwent MRIs and lumbar punctures. He was diagnosed with having idiopathic acute transverse myelitis – a type of inflammation of the spinal cord – which can, in some cases, be a precursor to multiple sclerosis.
“They basically labelled it as an attack on my spinal cord but they didn’t know why. The tests they did didn’t come back with any reason,” he adds.
Aalden was off work for 18 months and says for much of that time he hid himself away as he struggled with the pain and depression.
More than eight years on, Aalden says the experience was a positive one.
“I saw it as somewhat of a blessing because it sort of slapped me in the face. I used to stress about all these minute things,” he says. “One in three people never recover,” he adds.
“One in three people get worse and one in three do recover so I felt very thankful that I recovered.”
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.