Jon Stevens is an exercise physiologist at Mayo Private Hospital. Here, he recounts the inspiring recovery of one of his patients.
Garry came to me in 2014 after a lengthy history of chronic pain.
He dislocated his toe while working as a stockman in 1992 and that led to the chronic foot pain he started feeling some years later.
Degenerative changes in the joints of Garry’s foot, he was told, meant that his best option was the surgical removal of his toe.
After some months of recovery time, the pain returned and apparent nerve damage meant further procedures were required.
Garry had toes and then his forefoot removed, and eventually a below-knee amputation in 2006.
After each operation, Garry completed rehab, regained employment and tried to move on with his life only for the pain to continue returning.
By the time he came to me, Garry was taking heavy doses of pain medication and could only walk 500 metres at a time with the aid of crutches.
A new treatment plan was devised for Garry. He began seeing a new specialist, undertaking treatment with a psychologist, and started gentle physical activities through exercise physiology.
Before long, Garry stopped taking pain medication and took up the activities he used to do regularly.
His rehabilitation has continued and now after seven months he is walking upwards of 4.5km at a time multiple times a week. Perhaps most importantly, Garry is able to play with his grandchildren.
He has also inspired his wife and family to get active and together they are reaping the rewards.
Garry has recently received a running blade so that he can realise his goal of competing in a charity fun run in the next six months.
Garry says his best moment to date has been his wife Tammy telling him with a smile on her face that she had finally gotten her man back. He’s an inspiration to us all.