Lois is a 72-year-old retired teacher and former marathon runner. Twenty years ago, she was in an accident that changed the trajectory of her life.
She remembers the exact date.
She retired from teaching on September 1, 2002. She was driving on a country road on September 9th when she says a “freak accident” occurred. Another driver was pulling a trailer behind his vehicle, and it was not hooked up properly. The trailer came loose and slammed into Lois’ car on the driver’s side.
“The hitch came in under the front tire and tore up my leg,” Lois says. She lost a large mass from her left leg and had a break in her right femur.
She spent three weeks in the hospital, during which doctors had to monitor her leg for infection and perform a skin graft on her left leg. They put a rod and screws into her right leg. She received strong pain medication in the hospital but was told to just take ibuprofen after she was discharged.
“I was in so much pain,” Lois says.
“There is Nothing More I Can Do for You”
For three years, she saw a number of doctors and physical therapists. In 2004, she was diagnosed with bursitis/ tendinitis in her hips and thighs due to the nerve damage that she suffered. She walked with a cane and had many steroid shots. Eventually, the doctors said they could give her no more.
Lois couldn’t escape the pain.
“The last PT I went to told me, ‘There is nothing more I can do for you.’ I just sat there and cried,” she says.
In 2007, she went to the pain clinic again. She recalls suffering from depression, anxiety, and fear at the time. “I was fearful that I was never going to get better,” she says.
Fortunately, the provider she saw that day was able to help get Lois on the right path.
She prescribed fentanyl to help with the pain and made two additional recommendations. The first was that Lois see a psychotherapist to address the post-traumatic stress that she was still suffering. The second was to schedule an appointment with KCP Physical Therapy.
“A Much Better Year”
Lois took both of those recommendations.
She came to KCP and started working with physical therapist Joy Pfuhl.
Joy discovered that Lois has residual chronic soft tissue dysfunction that exists because of the severe trauma to both of her legs. Exercise (strength, cardio, and especially stretching) and deep soft tissue mobilization became part of her treatment protocol at KCP.
Lois says 2007 was a much better year for her. “I found Joy, I started getting plasma injections, and was seeing a great psychologist. My depression and anxiety got so much better,” she says.
Lois was able to give up her cane and began to see improved functionality.
In 2017, she began suffering from gastroparesis as a side effect from the pain medication she had been taking. She gave it up, which caused an increase in her pain level. She also began suffering from neuropathy and experienced a burning sensation from her calves to her toes.
Physical therapist Joyce Kight at KCP had begun to offer dry needling therapy by this time, and it was the right solution for Lois’ calf pain. “Dry needling has done wonders for me,” Lois says. “It has totally helped that burning. I don’t know what I would do without it.”
‘Til I Die
Unfortunately, the injuries that Lois sustained caused permanent damage to her tissue and nerves.
Repeatedly, she will have small to moderate flares which KCP can help to manage so that they don’t become functionally limiting. Lois knows that she will never be fully healed but says “KCP has improved my quality of life tremendously. I now live with a minimum amount of pain.”
Lois takes control of her situation as much as she can.
Activity is better for her body than being sedentary. Lois joined the personal training program at KCP to ensure that she keeps moving and strengthening. “I go on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they have an extensive routine that I do for an hour. While I’m there, I get manipulation or dry needling or ultrasound, depending on if something’s tight or it hurts.”
“I’m going to be doing this ‘til I die,” she says.
Like A Family
Lois has been a client at KCP for over fourteen years now.
She says, “They’re like a family to me. There’s so much love and care. I get hugs from Joyce and Joy and Karina and Pam. I can’t find the words to say what they mean to me.”
Especially on the days that are tougher than others, Lois appreciates the care that she receives at KCP. “They are more than just physical therapists,” she says. “You can walk in and be upset, and they are always so understanding. They are so loving and caring. And they just listen. You’re not just going in to just do a rote exercise program. They listen and they care.”
The staff at KCP says that they absolutely consider Lois to be a part of their family, too!
“I have always been thankful to have so many clients that I admire and enjoy spending time with,” Joy says. “Lois is at the top of that list. She is a small, quiet woman of great strength and wisdom. To me, she is a role model for all. She takes on every battle with grace and determination. In the midst of her battles (even at her lowest points), she is always kind, gracious, and giving. The world needs more people like Lois, and KCP has been blessed to be part of her journey.”