Crossing the Finish Line After an Organ Transplant
In September of 2015 Rickey was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease in which tissue deep in your lungs becomes thick and scarred over time, making it so your lungs can’t properly move oxygen into your bloodstream. As a result, your brain and other organs don’t get the oxygen they need. There is no cure for this disease and life expectancy is typically 3 to 5 years, unless you can get transplant.
While this news was devastating, Rickey, along with Marcia, his wife of 49 years, weren’t about to give up. Seven months later his health took a turn for the worse and Ricky was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and after only 10 days, he got the news he was waiting for – he was about to receive a double lung transplant.
“The Lord has put some amazing people in my life and one is Terri at Northern PT. She pushed me at all levels and I am now a much stronger man and can really enjoy life.”
-Rickey, Northern PT Patient
Rickey started physical therapy at Henry Ford shortly after his surgery and once he returned home, nearly a year after his initial diagnosis, he began receiving his therapy treatments with Terri at our Coopersville clinic. At the time, his arms and legs were very weak and he used a walker, not only for strength, but to help his balance. Basic household chores and light physical activity were difficult. With the constant love and support from many family members, friends, and his team of healthcare professionals, Rickey started the long road to recovery. It was around this time that Ricky’s sister-in-law Melinda challenged him to walk the Irish Jig 5k alongside her, six months later. Melinda had previously donated a kidney to someone in need and she thought it would be fun to walk together as an donor and a recipient.
Terri and our team got to work helping Rickey improve his balance, and strengthen his lungs, legs and arms. When he started, he could only walk about 100 feet with his walker before stopping to rest but over the course of the next six months he made amazing strides and could eventually walk up to three miles without assistance. That distance made the 5k seem like a real possibility.
When it was time for the big race Rickey walked, along with his PT Terri and Alex, who helped him reach various fitness goals along the way. Rickey’s sister-in-law Melinda was also there along with many friends and family members. In the end Ricky’s hard work paid off when he completed the 5k and crossed that finish line!
“My job is rewarding every single day because of clients like Ricky. Each person has their own personal, physical issues and I enjoy helping to resolve those issues through physical therapy. Every client means so much to me, so I want to create a lifelong relationship. When they need a PT I want to be that comforting, dependable resource.” Terri J., Northern PT Therapist.
Rick completed therapy and began his post PT fitness routine at Northern Physical Therapy (NPT) immediately after he was DC in 2017. Ever since, Rickey comes to the clinic nearly every day for fitness (and sometimes just for coffee too) and has become one of our best friends. We made this Facebook post in January as thanks for all his love and support he provides the team:
Sometimes we have clients that touch our hearts. They stop in just for a cup of coffee while running errands, or just to say hello. They let us borrow their tools, and even hang shelves for us using said borrowed power tools. They fill our bellies with donuts and apples for breakfast and always have pockets full of candy. We worry about them if we don’t see them every day. They support us at all our events. And sometimes they’ll actually get in a little workout on the elliptical while they’re here. Rickey & Marcia – we’re looking at you!