I have had the privilege of working with one of the kindest, sweetest and most motivated individuals, Louis Anderson. I began working with Louis at Movestrong™ in June 2012 and we have been a great team since. Louis is a very special client; he underwent a total knee replacement at The DeClaire Knee & Orthopaedic Institute at the young age of 74 and has also lived with Parkinson’s disease for the past 10 years. For those of you unfamiliar with Parkinson’s disease, it is a neurological disorder that affects the part of the brain known as the midbrain. Parkinson’s disease can affect an individual’s balance, speech, muscle tone, and gait just to name a few. There are different forms of Parkinson’s disease and everyone is affected differently. Louis and his amazing wife Carol have done a wonderful job managing his symptoms and living with the disease. However, having Parkinson’s made recovering from a knee replacement more challenging. Louis had two strikes against him when it came to his recovery, age and Parkinson. These two factors combined made it harder for Louis to gain strength, flexibility and balance following his surgery.
Louis successfully finished physical therapy at The DeClaire Knee & Orthopaedic institute but he and Carol knew he needed more strengthen and flexibility training. Louis and Carol along with a consultation with me decided personal training at Movestrong™ would be the next best step. Louis would work one on one with me to increase strength, improve his flexibility, and any other areas that were weak. Louis and I’s journey began Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:00am. At our sessions we would work on strengthening his lower legs as well as balance and gait exercises. Louis was extremely focused and dedicated and rarely missed a session. Louis and I did various exercises ranging from sit to stands to bicep curls, to obstacle courses. The moment that sticks out the most in my mind is the day that Louis began walking and swinging his arms simultaneously. This may not seem like a big deal to anyone but one area that is greatly affected by Parkinson’s disease is an individual’s gait pattern. Many individuals who have Parkinson’s including Louis develop a shuffle pattern and eliminate involuntary arm swinging. Therefore, the one morning I saw Louis walking back to the gym with his head held high and arms swinging I knew our efforts were accomplishing many great things. Louis has continued to train with me since this moment because strength and balance training must be continued for the rest of someone’s life no matter how healthy they may be. Louis has accomplished many other amazing feats since starting Movestrong™ and continues to exceed my expectations.
Louis holds a very special place in my heart for many reasons. His gentleness and kindness often times reminds me of my grandfather, “papa”, who passed away almost 2 years ago. My papa had Parkinson’s disease similar to Louis. Unfortunately my papa was a bit more stubborn than Louis and did not always welcome help. He put up a strong fight against Parkinson’s but unfortunately lost in the end. Every time I get the pleasure of working with Louis I cannot help but feel in a way I am receiving the opportunity to help my papa. He would not let me help him in the capacity that I was able to but at least now I get to help others with a very similar struggle. Indirectly I feel that I am helping my papa and therefore, each day I see Louis I am gently reminded of the wonderful man my family and I lost.
Movestrong™ has a wonderful community of people that use our facility for various reasons. I feel fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to watch these individuals transform into strong and confident people both inside and out. Please come visit us to hear and see all the other wonderful stories that have emerged over the last year and a half. We would love to help you accomplish your goals this year.