Everyone who has recovered from a debilitating injury or illness has a comeback story of personal triumph.
Patients of every age come to us with a desire to feel better. Our physical, occupational, lymphedema and speech therapists are experienced professionals whose expert guidance and motivation can transform the challenges of a condition into the triumph of a life with enhanced mobility.
Read the triumphant stories of four of our patients, in their own words, and how rehab was their way back to doing what they love.
Meet Teresa Wheatley, OTOccupational Therapist in Outpatient
Learn more about Occupational Therapy
To make an appointment call 585.396.6050
I’ve done a lot of things in my 70 years, but one thing I haven’t done is bowl a perfect game. Not yet, anyway!
For more than 40 years, I’ve been in the same league at Roseland Bowl, and while people come and go and the teams change, it’s always been an important part of my life. My husband Tom bowls on the same night so in a way it’s like a date night for us. And of course there are my teammates! Diane, Cathy, Barbara and I have been playing together for three years now. We don’t win every game but we always have a lot of fun.
A while back, I began to notice some weakness in my hand and occasionally I’d get that tingling feeling like my hand was asleep. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then one morning I woke up and my index finger and middle finger were numb. I knew that wasn’t good! My doctor referred me to an orthopaedic specialist and soon that led to carpal tunnel surgery. The surgery went great, but the recovery process was slow. I’m an active person and I especially didn’t like sitting on the sidelines, watching everyone else bowl. I felt left out. My surgeon recommended that I do my therapy at Thompson Health and that made all the difference.
Teresa Wheatley was my occupational therapist. She was marvelous! She started by asking if I had any goals and I told her that first day that I wanted to get back to my team. We started slow, but every week I progressed and Teresa added new exercises that I could do at home. She was very patient with me and never pushed me too hard, and she was always focused on me and me alone. She’s a real pro, and I’m glad that we became friends. Thanks to Teresa and everyone at Thompson Health Rehabilitation Services, I’m back on the team and looking for that perfect game.
Meet John Ahern, PT, DPT, OCSPhysical Therapist Outpatient PT/SportsClinical Coordinator of Outpatient Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Learn more about Physical Therapy
To make an appointment call 585.396.6050
I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 16, putting on about 10,000 miles a year. I can’t see myself not riding. But then I couldn’t see myself getting into an accident that would almost cost me my leg, either.
was riding my 2008 Harley Deluxe near my home in Clifton Springs when
the car in front of me suddenly switched lanes. I swerved as best as I
could but I still clipped the edge of the car. I went sailing and hit
the pavement at 60 miles an hour, rolling like a tumbleweed for what
seemed like forever, and the whole time I’m thinking, “This is gonna
hurt.” I ended up in a sitting position, 30 yards from the crash, and at
first I thought I was ok. Then I looked down and saw my left leg bent
out at a 90-degee angle. I assumed it was just dislocated and that
they’d pop it in and I’d be up and around in a week. It was a lot worse
than that, and I learned later how close I came to losing my leg
altogether. I tore every ligament in my knee, and it would take six
surgeries and almost a year of therapy before I could get back to work.
worked with physical therapist John Ahern. We worked as a team and
slowly my range of motion and mobility increased. It was hard and I
can’t say that it was always fun, but I knew how important it was and I
knew that John was just as committed as I was. We spent eight months
working together, and while my therapy’s done, I’ll always consider John
a good friend.
bike was totaled, so now I’m riding a 2013 Harley Road King. My wife
Angela likes to ride as well, and this summer we’ll be heading to Bike
Week in Daytona and driving the famous Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap
in North Carolina, the best motorcycle road in America. Thanks to John
and Thompson Health Physical Therapy, I’m back on the road.
Meet Angela Kiklowicz, OT, CLT, LMTOutpatient Occupational Therapist
Learn more about Lymphedema
I’m one of the few people you’ll meet who actually loves to rake leaves. People find that funny, especially people with big yards and lots of trees. But I find it very peaceful and its good exercise, too. For me, everything to do with gardening is fun. Okay, maybe not weeding, but most everything! I’m a lifelong gardener. And I’m also a breast cancer survivor.
I was first diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy and my lymph nodes removed in 2014. All of my treatment—diagnosis, chemo, surgery—was through Thompson Health. Lymphedema brought on by cancer treatment made my arm stiff and was limiting my range of motion. My doctor was very firm about beginning rehab as soon as possible, so before my surgery I met with Angela Kiklowicz, an occupational therapist at Thompson Health. She taught me some exercises that would help keep the swelling down. Then, just a couple days after surgery, I began occupational therapy. We always took things slow, and every day I noticed we made progress.
Going through all of this was not easy, but fortunately I had the help on my daughter Morgan. She’s always been one of my biggest supporters. And I’m so grateful to Angela and all the people at Thompson Heath for everything they’ve done throughout this experience.
It was a long, hard winter, but now that the good weather is here, I’m back in the garden doing what I love. And I’m looking forward to many, many beautiful autumns filled with lots of leaves to rake!
Meet Cheryl Palermo, OTOccupational Therapist in Outpatient
When I tell people that I play the guitar, they always want to know what kind of music I like to play. The truth is, I love it all, from classical guitar to metal. As long as I’m playing, I’m happy. So when complications from a childhood injury flared up, making it painful to play, you can imagine how that made me feel.
Back in third grade, I was playing around in the bed of a parked pickup truck when I slipped and smacked my elbow on the side of the truck. It did not look good. I ended up having surgery, and while that went great, I’ll admit I didn’t take the recovery PT very seriously. What 8-year-old is thinking about their long-term quality of life? Well, sure enough, I ended up with a giant bone spur lodged in my elbow. Around 12 or 13, I went back to PT and my arm felt a little better for a while, but over the years my range of motion continued to decline and it got to the point where it was painful to play the guitar for any length of time. When I turned 25, I decided it was time to restart my life.
The surgery was a success, and for the first time in as long as I could remember, there was no pain. The old me hadn’t had the patience needed to do the post-surgery PT, but this time I was committed—and so were the therapists at Thompson Health. After I started working with Cheryl Palermo an occupational therapist, within two months, I started seeing major results. It’s like I have two arms again. I’m back to lifting weights and now I can play the guitar for three hours straight. Thanks to Thompson Health, I’m rocking out again.