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My Therapy Journey

Recovering from my stroke has been an experience I know I could not be as successful at if I did not have my amazing team with me. See below a set of videos starting with week one in recovery. This has not been an easy journey - and I thank each and every person that has helped guide me through this process.

St. Lukes Rehab
Phoenix, AZ
Arm Stretch

This video was filmed at St. Luke’s Acute Rehab. I’m working with Amy Betts, my OT, on relearning how to stretch my arm from my elbow instead of my shoulder.​

Again, this procedure is to regain the ability to regain full functioning of the affected arm - to extend it and bend it, always fighting its spasticity and the damage to the tricep, which is completely inoperable for now.

I continue to work on this issue.  My goal is to be able to bring an eating utensil to my mouth one day, among other uses!

 We stroke survivors resort to moving our “affected” arm with our shoulder until we:

  • Strengthen our shoulder & unlock impingement and/or other shoulder issues.

  • Reduce the spasticity in our biceps, which overcompensates for the lack of function in our triceps.

  • Regenerate the flexibility and strength in our triceps, which is seriously damaged in a stroke. 

As you can see here, the bicep and tricep are fighting each other, to produce a non-functioning arm.

St. Lukes Rehab
With Amy Betts
Going Home

Here I am at home, four weeks after I survived my stroke with my trusty walker and gait belt!

SWAN Neuro Rehab
Two Months Later

Stair walking in 2015 with Michelle, who was wonderful to work with!

Two Years Later

I attended the NAU Boot Camp, Flagstaff, AZ in 2017. Boot Camps are 5-7 day intense PT & OT full-day, individualized therapy sessions, offered by some neurology-specific clinics throughout the Phoenix/Flagstaff area.  

Why a hammer? When resistance is used during a stroke exercise, it forces the non-functioning muscle to contract, thus "reminding" the muscle how to function again, and creating  new neural pathways in the brain.​

Repetition and consistency are the keys to all recovery! A minimum of 1,000 reps are required to restore each damaged function!​

I'm working with Kali Nordin, who was assigned to me during the boot camp week. She's another gifted therapist and wonderful person! In this video we are working on regaining movement, strength and flexibility with my left arm. I'm also working on the extension, strength and control of my left arm, using a weighted hammer. That work continues.
I made some great gains during that week! It was hard as heck, but very rewarding - and Kali made it fun!

13 Months Later
Driving Again!
Arm Therapy with Amy

This video was filmed at St. Luke’s Acute Rehab. I’m working with Amy Betts, my OT, on relearning how to stretch my arm from my elbow instead of my shoulder.​

Again, this procedure is to regain the ability to regain full functioning of the affected arm - to extend it and bend it, always fighting its spasticity and the damage to the tricep, which is completely inoperable for now.

I continue to work on this issue.  My goal is to be able to bring an eating utensil to my mouth one day, among other uses!

Two Weeks Later
St. Lukes Rehab
Balance Therapy

This is the first time I’d been on an exercise ball since the day before my stroke (I used it daily for my exercise routine). Since my balance was impaired by the stroke, 

I couldn’t maintain my balance on the ball without the two therapists holding me up. It’s when I had another meltdown. I couldn’t believe this! I’d JUST used the ball two weeks before that, without a problem! 

How could this be?! Again, shock & disbelief

Four Weeks Later
Home at last!
South West Affiliated Neurology

The video was taken at SWAN Rehab in Phoenix, AZ, owned by Dr. Kay Wing. It’s a wonderful facility because Dr. Wing hires caring, well qualified therapists, is a certified/licensed physical therapist herself and believes in one-on-one concentrated care from the same therapist every week to maintain strong patient-therapist relationships.

“If Service is beneath you,

Leadership is beyond you.”​​

I'm working with Alyssa Bowen, my PT at SWAN. She is a gifted therapist, a wonderful person and has an electric sense of humor! At times, we couldn't stop laughing during our sessions! We also shared lots of ideas of where to find comic skits online - then, we would "act them out" during our sessions! I've never had so much fun while working so hard!

For more information, visit the SWAN Rehab website here. 

Moving forward...and back!

Kay Wing is working with me on the treadmill, while I'm harnessed in very tightly, eliminating the possibility of falling.

Kay challenges you to strive to do much more than what you think you can do! During this session, she had me walking backwards on the treadmill! Surprisingly, I was able to do it! 

It was an honor for me to work with her, and I was able to do so many times during my tenure there!

NAU Bootcamp
Flagstaff, 2017
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INDEPENDENCE!

I was so excited to share this information with others, because 13 months post-stroke, I had just completed an extensive “return to driving” class, which allowed me to begin driving once again! My independence was finally restored!  I was now able to drive myself to therapy, doctors’ appointments - you name it!  My dear friends who’d so generously driven me around for months, were now “off duty!”

 

During the first few months, I only drove on the surface roads because the highway traffic seemed to be traveling at excessively high speeds, which frightened me. The surface roads were more manageable and less crowded!  

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