I’m a 31- year old woman. I am a diabetic who let my diabetes get out of control. This ended up damaging my feet and legs, and I lost a good part of my sight. I also had to go on dialysis. While on dialysis, I broke my back and ended up in a wheelchair for five and a half years. My back doctor wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to walk again. Shortly after my back surgery, I received my transplant. I had a couple more surgeries. One included my right foot. I needed to bring it to a 90 degree angle to walk on my feet and maybe get out of my wheelchair. After my foot surgery, I was given a walker and a therapist was coming to my house. I graduated to a cane. Then I fell and broke my right foot and was put back in the wheelchair. I was walking in a foot brace still while my foot was healing. I went to other therapists to help me lose weight and be able to walk without hurting. He released me after two months. He didn’t do a thing for me. I was back where I started in pain. I went for a check-up with Dr. Guisinger, my foot and ankle doctor. I remember telling her, “I’m so weak, I can’t do anything. Please send me to a therapist who can help me walk and do things like a healthy person. I know I might never get to that point of a real healthy person but I just want some kind of life better than this one.” Dr. Guisinger and I talked about what I needed to do to help me get straighter. Dr. Guisinger said, “I think I know a therapist who can help you. I’ll give her a call. Fill out this paper work and she’ll call to talk to you.” I went home and filled out the paper work. Then I received a call from Melissa Nephew from Nephew Physical Therapy, and got started. Right off the bat I felt that Melissa understood what I wanted out of my therapy. She was very easy to talk to and very understanding about the side effects of my medicines. She was always willing to try to fit me in the schedule so I could try to get my three days in. My other therapists would have never done that for me. Melissa always made me feel comfortable and she gave me my confidence back. Melissa always encouraged me to go the distance. My biggest challenge was in my balance exercises. And I did it! Since I reached my goals I joined the gym. Going to the gym is going to help me stay straight. My therapy took me eight months, but I can do so many things that I had trouble with or couldn’t even do. Now I can bend down and tie my shoes, or stand and cook meals without taking a break. I can now do housework, stand to take a shower, I can go and shop for an hour or so, and best of all, I can slow dance with the best partner, my Dad. Some people might think, “So what! I do these things everyday,” but I had a broken back and was told I was going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I took these entire everyday things for granted. Now thanks to God, He put Dr. Guisinger and Melissa in my life and I can do things again! Jessica S., 31, Holland, MI

Jessica S

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