Lung transplant patient uses physical therapy to overcome common signs of aging
“Physical therapy has kept me moving, allowing me to get down on the floor and play with my grandson. This means the world to me.” – Rickey Draft
In 2015, Rickey Draft was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This is a disease in which tissue deep in your lungs becomes thick and scarred over time. This makes it so your lungs can’t properly move oxygen into your bloodstream. There’s no cure for this disease and life expectancy is typically 3 to 5 years, unless you can get a lung transplant.
Whether it be faith, luck, or a combination of the two, Rickey got his transplant and began physical therapy before the surgery to strengthen his body for what was to come. The surgery was successful and Rickey’s body accepted the transplant well, but he’s now facing new challenges.
With growing concerns of being unsteady on his feet and overall weakness that was keeping him from being active, Rickey was facing issues that are common for older adults. In addition to his low back pain, extremity weakness, shoulder pain, and risk of falls, he had been diagnosed with Shingles.
“I wanted to walk faster to keep up with my wife and dog. I also wanted to have better lung capacity and not be short of breath. I wanted to keep my muscle tone and work on my balance and overall weakness. Since COVID, I haven’t been working out as much due to being confined at home,” explained Rickey.
After recovering from his lung transplant, Rickey achieved a personal goal when he completed a 5k. He’s pictured with his wife Marcia, and physical therapist Terri Jeurink, who were there to cheer him on.
Turning into a physical therapy advocate for life
Having had great success with physical therapy in the past, Rickey knew that it could help resolve his new concerns and allow him to get his strength back. He’s once again working with Terri Jeurink, PT in our Allendale, MI clinic. Every one of our team members has welcomed him with open arms.
“Rickey is loved by everyone because of his caring personality. He shows a lot of faith in us and believes in what we’re telling him and asking him to do to help him get better. Plus, it’s not uncommon that he shows up with donuts for our entire staff, which is always appreciated,” says Jeurink, with a smile.
Since starting physical therapy Rickey has shown improvement in his lower body strength, standing and walking endurance, and improved balance. He no longer walks with a cane, is able to comfortably walk in the woods with his dog, and does some light masonry work as a hobby. Of course, Rickey is most excited about the ability to play with his grandson again.
“I think prayer has really helped me through this journey and has put the right people in my life,” explains Rickey. “My wife and I do daily morning exercises to help us get our day going. We learned these from PT in the past. The Northern Ivy Rehab Team is always watching over me and has helped me in so many ways. I know that I can depend on them to help me and care for me.” – Rickey Draft
Is physical therapy right for you?
We encounter a number of different symptoms as we age. While some of these may be a normal part of getting older, there are a lot of things we can do to help you move easier, live with less pain, and get back to doing the things you once enjoyed. If you have questions about pain or an injury, or if you’re wondering if physical therapy is right for you, we can help. Physical therapy is an essential treatment for certain conditions and getting started is easy! You can see us with or without a referral from your physician with most insurances. Because we have patients with a variety of different needs and preferences, we’re now offering in-clinic therapy, telehealth, and at-home rehab. Give us a call today!
Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, PT, DSc, GCS, CEEAA
Ivy Rehab Network
Holly is a practicing physical therapist, partner and Director of Clinical Services at Ivy Rehab Network. She has more than 40 years of experience in sports management with young athletes, and is board certified as a geriatric clinical specialist and certified exercise expert for aging adults. Deuer is certified as an aquatic and oncology rehabilitation specialist and serves as adjunct faculty at Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.