20 years ago, the day after our daughter’s wedding, I had a horrific horse accident. Knowing my new horse was going to buck me off I aborted landing on my feet, than fell to my butt, and then shouted “My Foot Fell Off”! The white bone of my leg was exposed, and my foot dangled next to it. This was my first journey into the world of pain. Being healthy and in good shape I had no idea how hard it was going to be to exercise an injured limb. Without Physical Therapy I am sure I would not have had the complete recovery and active lifestyle that I had enjoyed for 19 years. As life progressed I found that to keep this lifestyle I occasionally needed PT services because my ankle showed signs of arthritis.
In January of 2015 my ankle was diagnosed as “bone on bone”, meaning that I would have to make a decision on what I wanted my life to look like in the future. I decided to take the risk and have ankle replacement surgery but where, and with whom? So started my research. As 2015 progressed I started to experience pain everywhere because I continued my active lifestyle being totally out of balance. I woke up one morning in late spring with Piriformis Syndrome (pain in the butt) and found myself back in a PT clinic recommended by my Doctor. I had excellent care but as my body behaved I started having serious pain in my shoulder and was told that in order to fix this I had to go back to the Doctors for a script. I am grateful for the medical world of today, but it has to change its philosphy and remember that their is no such thing as “separate parts” when talking about a body. This started my search for a wellness center.
When I told my story to Michelle at the front desk, that I was looking for a therapeutic wellness center I could go to after I had my ankle replacement, she was warm and receptive and suggested I have an interview with Darci Whitehorne, a Physical Therapist, to see if she and the clinic suited my needs. Darci was focused and caring as I told my story and she felt sure they could help me recover from my future surgery and so did I. She addressed my most important concern of not being treated as a “part” that was separated from my body. She explained that no referral was needed so as the pains appeared from recovery they could treat those issues as well. Darci showed me the fitness room. A sunny private space for “one on one” or small groups. It’s hard to work an injured part in a gym filled with athletic buffs, so this was very appealing. She also pointed out the TRX System (Total Body Resistance) along with the traditional weights, balls, etc. I had been looking for a system such as the TRX’s approach to exercise, but at the time only found this type of system in Burlington. I was thrilled. Also intriguing was that they offered Cold Laser Treatment. I was familiar with red light treatment and how it healed injuries faster, so I was excited that they were using “new technology” along with standard practices. I was sure I found the right place for me. Believing in setting ones self up for success, I started therapy with Darci in October of 2015, way before my surgery date. This allowed me to stay active as my “bone on bone” was causing havoc. I also worked with Cody, one of their physical trainers, to keep in shape before my ankle replacement surgery that was now scheduled for January 5, 2016. My relationships began. I now had a wellness center to go to. Everything about Therapydia is warming and a total experience.
On January 5 at the Mercy Hospital, known for ankle replacements, I had what seemed like a successful surgery according to the x-rays and the surgeon. On January 7th, still at Mercy, I was soon to go on a journey never anticipated. A serious wound was discovered on top of the ankle when they took off the temporary dressing. The healing of the wound became top priority. If an infection was to occur, I could lose my foot. My therapy for my ankle was put on hold. No one could tell me how long it was going to take to heal, as each body heals differently especially for wounds, but I could tell it was months not weeks. I was in a “catch 22” situation in that what was necessary for the wound was not good for the replacement recovery. I had to elevate and stay off my feet for months, way beyond the time that I should have started bearing weight and reclaiming movement. On March 26th my Doctor gave me permission to start out-patient therapy. I was so excited. Darci had called me at home as she had not heard from me and was concerned, that helped my spirits knowing I was truly going to be in good hands.
The wound, although out of danger, was still ever present so Darci applied Cold Laser Therapy and it was amazing. Within (6-7) sessions it was remarkably changed. No oozing and healing rapidly occurred so it was no longer in my thoughts. My ankle however was not doing so well, my foot was stuck in neutral, and I had extreme nerve damage that caused the pain to continue. I was terrified that this was what I was going to be left with. The unfortunate part of ankle surgery is that no one in the PT world knew of anyone that had this procedure so no factual predictions could be made. Darci and the “Sunshine Team” (my name for them) had strong conviction that there was no reason I could not get my life back to “normal”! Darci and I easily slid into a partnership, and I became enthusiastic about healing. The procedures she used were a combination of innovative stretching, yoga, Cold Laser Therapy, and massaging (sorry don’t get your hopes up it is not the feel good kind). We agreed that I should start with Cody their personal trainer “now” even though I had so much pain. This marriage with PT focusing on the injured area, as well as having Cody work with me “one on one” is a unique service of Therapydia. Cody’s gentle but progressive approach pushed my mind to accept the fact that my body can do more than the pain dictates. When Cody says softly “this is what we were going to do on the TRX today”, I remember just looking at him for a few moments thinking he was crazy, then I did it!
My journey has really only started, but “my journal” reminds me how far I have come. I appreciate the tiniest bits of improvement, like I can get a boot on, but getting it off, well…… At 68 staying fit is a full time job and constant pain is exhausting. The energy and optimistic attitudes of everyone working at Therapydia truly engaged my inner sprit; without that I might have accepted less, but I now feel that I will get to “normal”. A journey I never dreamed I would take.
I am forever grateful for the entire team at Therapydia.