D1 Blog

Amy S. – D1 Colorado Springs Therapy Testimonial

March 14, 2013 –


“Life breaks all of us but some of us get stronger in the broken places.” –Ernest Hemingway
This quote hung on Amy’s wall long before she fell on ice while snowshoeing at Echo Lake in January of 2012. She suffered a left proximal humerus fracture and five days later went into surgery with Dr. Pak for an internal fixation. Dr. Pak predicted a minimum of one year to get to 160 degrees of flexion, but that she’d probably never match the right side again.
Soon began Amy’s eight month journey to rehabilitation, and to becoming the living example of that favorite quote. She began working with physical therapist Jennifer Schwomeyer in February. For eight months and fifty total visits she was part of the family here at D1. It interrupted her career as a software consultant, as she was out of work from January 9th until April 9th. “It was a long winter,” she remembers.
There were other factors working against Amy. At 35 she was diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition defined by diminished bone density. On top of this her body wasn’t yet finished recovering from back surgery. She’d recently had part of her L5 vertebra removed in November of 2011. Jennifer evaluated both her back and her arm fracture, but didn’t spend much time on the back other than to build a home exercise program. The break was more pressing.
The goals she set for herself in the beginning of her program with us were as follows: Swim the backstroke. Practice yoga. Snowshoe with poles. Bike more than 7 ½ miles without shoulder stiffness.
Amy’s personality is striking in many ways, like her uncanny retention for numbers, dates, and statistics. She’s like a database of local events. We sought her informant skills to spice up our social calendars. When she first came to us there was no secret she’d been through trying times, and often used wit and sarcasm to express this. As time went on her spirits improved and her energy moved into a place of aggressive dedication. It was clear to all of us that we were finally getting to see the real Amy.
“I had my breakdowns, especially when they told me I had to go back under.” A manipulation was risky because of her osteopena. Dr. Pak and she decided to go through with it anyway because she just wasn’t making progress with her range of motion. Amy underwent her manipulation and screw removal in June of 2012. In the aftermath, she at last felt like she was starting to turn a corner. The first time she did a plank and realized she could hold herself she says, “I almost cried.”
Of Amy, Jennifer says,“She’s a go-getter. Even when I was stretching her shoulder and she was in tons of pain she’d always tell me to keep pushing.”
Scott, who also helped Amy through a substantial part of her recovery, says, “She’s a driven, goal oriented person. She had the tenacity to continue with her struggle and return to high level athletic pursuits.”
“This experience has given me perspective. We’re all in here trying to get our wings back. Literally, I had a wing that didn’t work. Going into it I knew there would be some degree of successful recovery because mine was not a life or death situation. But still it’s a journey and it requires focused effort. I knew I could get back to doing the things I love, but the question was how long it would take, and how well I’d be able to do them,” says Amy.
Today we measured her flexion with no warmup at 160 degrees. She recently snowshoed four weekends in a row. She completed the Snowshoe Grind at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver in December. It’s considered the hardest snowshoe ascent in north America. On Thanksgiving day she went on a 19 ½ mile bike ride in New Mexico. And on the one year anniversary of her fall, she went back to Echo Lake and snowshoed it by herself for peace of mind. She has certainly epidomized Hemingway’s wisdom. Through breaking, she’s found strength and courage that she perhaps never knew she had.
“What’s my story? What do I have to say to other people struggling through physical therapy? You have to get yourself in here. You have to commit to your recovery and you have to be willing to work with the people who are here to help you. Otherwise the model doesn’t work.”

Category: CO - Colorado Springs Therapy