Jill Abernathy

After a devastating injury when I was 21 which left me managing paralysis and pain in my right leg, I chose then not to “fit the mold” of having a disability. About 5 years ago when I turned 40, I started to feel the effects of the injury on my overall health. I found it difficult to go up and down stairs as well as started taking medication to manage the pain. It was then that I realized I needed to do something different and joined a specialized gym. I saw incredible improvement in my strength and overall health.   I am currently a member at Iron Orchid in Maryville where I enjoy working out with amazing coaches and members 3-5 days per week. The Gym has helped me to gain the strength to stay active. My husband Chad and I love hiking and have made it our goal to book a trip each year to see different parts of the country. Our most recent trip was in October to Tennessee where we hiked 26 miles in 5 days! Recently I felt something pop and tear in my “good” leg while working out. I panicked over what this meant for my ability to stay active, as I rely on this leg to make up the difference for what my right leg cannot do. With the diagnosis of a torn calf muscle, a set of crutches (kind of a joke hopping on a “bad/now good” leg you can’t feel), significant pain, and the possibility of surgery I was devastated. Chad quickly made call to Pat for an appointment and we got in with Mark Slaughter at Fitness4Life Physical Therapy the same day to get a second opinion and therapy started. At my first appointment with Mark, I was so thankful that he wasn’t just focused on my current injury but looked at my whole situation. He took time to evaluate my injury, but also listened to my complicated history and came up with a treatment plan that included healing and strength. I told him my goal of hiking in Colorado this summer and he said “well, let’s make that happen.” I knew at that moment that I had found the right fit for my recovery. So often I have heard “is that a good idea with your right leg?” Mark was quick to jump on this journey with me and we got started on a rehabilitation program. He provides the most kind- hearted encouragement and pushes me at each workout to do more than I thought I could do. Mark has extensive knowledge that he shares in terms that are easily understood. He takes the time to explain the “why” behind the exercises. In the short 3 weeks that I have been with Fyzical Therapy, I am doing more than I could have imagined already. I have no doubt that I will be enjoying my next adventure with Chad in Colorado this summer. Pat & Mark, you truly make a difference and I am blessed that an injury has brought me to Fitness4Life Physical Therapy!