FORT WORTH — On Monday afternoon, Fort Worth police Officer Matt Pearce found himself stretched out on a mat in a downward dog yoga position-- though he insists he doesn't do "yoga."
The move is, by most accounts, a miracle.
"That's about as far as I can go," he tells his occupational therapist.
"Feel that stretch there?" she responds, urging him to stretch more deeply.
The yoga pose, the stamina, even the unassisted steps Pearce takes as he walks across the gym at the Fort Worth Police academy; they are all miracles.
"Doctors tell me all the time, we never expected to see you alive, let alone walking," Pearce says. "I'm all about beating the odds."
Monday was, again, another milestone for Pearce. It was the final time working with his occupational therapist before heading to intense outpatient therapy.
It's been barely six months since the Fort Worth police officer was shot in the line of duty in the west part of town. His shooting triggered a massive manhunt News 8 covered live on-air, for hours. He was picked up in a field and taken by helicopter to JPS Hospital in Fort Worth.
"In my (body camera) video you can hear them say 'where are you shot?' And my response is 'Everywhere. I'm shot everywhere,'" Pearce says.
Pearce says doctors pulled five bullets from his body, including one from his face and one from his leg, which he says shattered his femur.
"It was indescribable pain. Indescribable pain," he says of his broken leg. "If you don't believe in God, come talk to me because there's no way I was supposed to come out of that field alive."
But surviving and thriving are two different things. In the months since his release from the hospital, he's been doing heavy physical and occupational therapy.
"He was a very complicated case," says his occupational therapist Amanda Simmons. "He had a lot of pain, a shattered femur, he had hip stuff going on."
Simmons has focused on getting Pearce stronger and able to perform every-day tasks like tying his shoes, which became difficult after his shooting.
The therapy has been strenuous and sometimes painful.
"It hurts. I'm not going to lie, it hurts," Pearce says.
"He's come a long way," Simmons says."He has a long way to go, but he's come a really far way."
He's gone from using a wheelchair to once again becoming self-sufficient.
"There's no medical reason this man should be alive," Simmons says. "And now he's walking and driving and eventually going to go back to work."
But Officer Pearce says for as many challenges as he's overcome in the gym and in his recovery, he says he's not going to be satisfied until he is back on patrol.
"My goal is to be back to work from one year from date of injury," Pearce says. "March 15 of next year, I'm hoping to be back in a uniform and on the streets.
"I'm not giving up. 'Give up' is not in my vocabulary," he says.
It's a part of his journey he never expected, but is determined-- despite the setbacks-- to keep walking the path he's always intended.