Tiara Gordon: New Beginnings

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this. Imagine being in a hospital room alone and hearing the doctor tell you that they are going to have to amputate your leg. What would you feel? What thoughts would be running through your head? Tiara had gotten a cut on her foot that just would not heal, and as a diabetic, she knew the outlook was grim. When her doctor told her she would have to have her leg amputated, she recalls, "I was devastated. I didn't know if I'd ever walk again." As a mom of 3, being mobile and independent is so important for Tiara. As she recalls that moment in the hospital last year, the raw emotion of it still as strong today as it was then.

Tiara's story is one example of many on how limb loss affects much more than just the body/the anatomy. Losing a limb also often has a profound emotional and psychological impact on many patients and their families. It can be a very scary and stressful time where there seem to be more questions than answers and the future can seem very bleak and uncertain. Many patients and their families feel all alone and that no one understands what they are going through. That was where Tiara was. She needed answers. She needed hope, and that is when Tiara was introduced to Optimus.

We met Tiara after one of the therapists at the rehab facility she went to after surgery contacted us. Our patient advocate, Lyndsey, went out and met with Tiara, and for the first time, Tiara was able to see someone who wears prostheses and is able to be very mobile. Hope began to dawn for Tiara. Drawing strength from her devout faith in God, Tiara began to realize that amputation is not the end. It is simply the beginning of a new chapter. There will be ups and downs, and while getting used to using prosthesis was a little strange at first, with hard work, Tiara has realized that she could conquer those early fears. Now, over a year later, she is walking, staying active, and maintaining her independence.
Tiara offers this advice to those who, like herself a year ago, are facing amputation surgery and are battling with doubts, questions, and isolation, "You are going to be mobile again. It's going to be ok." If given the chance, Tiara would give to that new amputee the same gift of hope and encouragement she was given in the beginning of her journey. Knowing you are not alone and there are others out there who have gone through this and understand how you feel can offer such hope. Hope is a powerful thing that has the ability to completely change your outlook and your life. It is all about new beginnings.
We love working with Tiara, and we celebrate with her how far on her journey she has come. Her smile and her positive attitude brighten each of our days every time we see her. As Tiara tells it, "You all [Optimus] have really helped me a lot. You all have been great." But, truly, the privilege has been ours, and we look forward to continuing to work with Tiara for many years to come. 
 forward to continuing to work with Tiara for many years to come. 

Getting Back in the Game: Donald Shingledecker
Donald Shingledecker was doing what he loved when his life changed forever.
On May 3, he was umpiring a baseball game when his left leg dropped out from underneath him.  He had a blood clot so large that it was like, "trying to get a marble through a drinking straw." He had multiple procedures done, including a femoral bypass, an 8-inch stent and blood thinners. Unfortunately, the blood flow was still cut off, and the leg had to be amputated above the knee.
He is in the process of starting over again, and it just taking it one day at a time. Donald is already using a cane during physical therapy, and a cane and a walker outside the clinic. He struggles with strangers staring at him in public, as well as with phantom limb pain. However, he finds inspiration from his three children, ages 22, 19 and 15, and from Optimus Prosthetics.
He first came to us on the recommendation from another umpire.
"There are no words," he said. "Except for comfortability.  When I walk in the door, everything that I needed was given to me on the spot.  And that started with care.  I don't know how to describe it.  You all have been wonderful to me."
Donald said that his practitioner, Kelsey, took every step she could with him, and that Jim challenges him every time he comes in. While he wishes he didn't have to go through this at the age of 55, he knows he'll be alright with Optimus Prosthetics by his side.
His goal is to get back out in the field and continue umpiring. With his positive attitude, we know Don will be back there in no time!

Jim's Corner-   Standing Swiss Ball Stabilization
Optimus Prosthetics Jim Scharf
Jim Scharf, PTA
The goal of "Jim's Corner" is to provide helpfu l information and be  a resource for those helping patients fitted with prosthetics learn t o use them correctly in order to enjoy a better quality of life as an amputee.

Last month we discussed "The Pelvic Bucket" and "The Blue Marble" as a way for a patient to learn how to involve their core and find their neutral spine position. So this month we are going to apply these principles to an exercise. With the exercise below we can now combine the principles of core stabilization which will also demand posture, weight shifting and balance. It is very important that before this exercise is attempted that the patient has the balance skill to stand unsupported, or involve another clinician to hold onto a gait belt.
The patient is to try to stand bearing their weight evenly on both legs and "hug" a Swiss ball. Instruct the patient to "find their pelvic bucket and hold it still" throughout the exercise. The clinician will provide the manual perturbations (random pushes) into the Swiss ball to challenge the patient's trunk musculature which will also directly challenge their weight shifting and their standing balance. We want to cue the patient to try to keep their trunk still and to not to let the ball move as the clinician pushes into the ball. The clinician will push into the Swiss ball with random pressure in random locations and random placement. It is best to start off with gentle pushes into the Swiss ball so we don't over power the patient and they can start to get some skill acquisition.
Be careful of too much or too aggressive pushes into the Swiss ball; we don't want to overpower the patient and knock them off balance, resulting in a possible fall. If the pushes into the Swiss ball are just too much for the patient, lighten up and have them "match my resistance." Again be very careful working within patient tolerance, as they can easily lose their balance, especially backwards.
I will usually perform 3 sets of 15 to 30 seconds each. In the example below the clinician pushes in no particular order; I just am numbering the pushes to illustrate the point.


Jim Scharf, PTA, Prosthetic Assistant/Gait Specialist
Jim has been a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant since 1988.  Jim has worked with lower extremity amputee patients throughout his career.  He serves as a Gait Specialist and Liaison when prosthetic patients are meeting with their therapists. Feel free to contact Jim if he can assist you in any way at:jscharf@optimusprosthetics.com.
In This Issue
Cincinnati Courses:

Course #1
10/04 12:00 PM 
Garden Manor
Course #3
10/11 12:00 PM
Tri-County Extended Care
Course #2
10/13 12:00 PM 
Ivywoods Care Center

Course #3
10/18 12:00 PM 
Liberty Nursing Center of Colerain
Course #3
10/20 12:15 PM 
Daniel Drake Outpatient Rehab West Chester
Course #2
10/25 12:00 PM 
Health South Rehab-Norwood
Course #3
10/27 12:00 PM 
Health South Rehab-Drake

Columbus Courses:

Course #1
10/04 12:00 PM 
Select Specialty Hospital

Course #1
10/12 12:00 PM 
St. Ann's Rehab

Course #6
10/13 12:00 PM 
Tuscany Gardens

Course #2
10/18  8:30 AM
Traditions at Stygler Road

Course #2
10/20 12:00 PM 
Kindred of Pickerington

Course #5
10/21 12:30 PM 

Course #1
10/25 12:00 PM 
Summits Trace

Course #7
10/26 11:30 AM 
Mt. Carmel Rehab

Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
8517 North Dixie Drive, Suite 100/300
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900

Optimus Prosthetics, Columbus
3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 
(614) 263-LIMB (5462)

Optimus Prosthetics, Cincinnati
4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite B
Cincinnati, OH 45212
(513) 918-2320
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