When you walk through life with intense pain, it can be hard to imagine that the best is yet to come. For HAC member, Jan Seitz, unbearable pain in her foot was consuming her life. At the age of 54, Jan had had enough with her agonizing pain in her foot. She saw about 10 doctors to try to find some relief, but most of them told her the pain was in her head. She carried on her day to day life until one day, her ankle collapsed. Even though there was more pain, she felt a sense of relief. Maybe now, a doctor will take her pain seriously.
Jan went through countless tests for about a month. She saw a doctor from her hometown of Champaign, Illinois. This doctor was interested in doing experimental surgery on Jan’s foot, and he wanted to do it fast. Jan learned that she needed a major tendon transfer. She was lucky that her foot was still attached; the doctor told her it was a miracle it hadn’t fallen off. Jan was ready to do whatever needed to be done to fix this pain. She had the surgery immediately.
Jan left the hospital the day after her surgery, sporting a bulky cast and a shiny new wheelchair. Although she wasn’t pleased with her new outfit and mode of transportation, she was grateful to know that she was on the road to recovery. Being the intelligent, hard-worker that she has always been, Jan wheeled herself right back into work.
She went to work in the wheelchair for about six weeks and then advanced to crutches. Physical therapy followed for 10 months. Jan knew from her meetings with her doctor that physical therapy was the key to finding her footing again, so to speak. She was dedicated to attaining her optimal health again, so she did whatever she had to.
A few months after her surgery, she started to feel some pain in her other foot. She wasted no time in getting a professional opinion on her condition. The first doctor she saw told her that she needed to have the same procedure on this foot as she had on her other foot. If Jan learned anything from her previous experience with doctors, she knew that she needed multiple opinions before making any life-changing decisions. She made an appointment to have her foot looked at by 5 doctors from Rothman Institute Orthopedics. At the Rothman Institute, their philosophy is that surgery is a last resort. This settled well with Jan. They fixed her problem with a more practical solution; a new orthotic and a new exercise routine.
In order to keep herself active, Jan joined the Hockessin Athletic Club on her first day of retirement. Jan says, “From my first day of retirement, the HAC has served as the catalyst for my return to robust health. I no longer limp, no longer have frequent falls due to lack of balance, my blood pressure has returned to normal, my bone density has improved, and I am taking fewer medications.
“Ancillary to working out, I adopted a healthy diet and healthy change in lifestyle. Bottom line – I’ve never felt better!”
When she first started out at HAC, Jan was very worried about her balance. Her balance had been compromised, due to the history of pain and surgery on her tendons in her foot. She started using a Bosu ball and could only balance for a few seconds. “Now, I’ll do it for about 20 minutes and then get off because I have something better to do! I can do 100 squats on it.” Aside from her balance and strength training, Jan enjoys riding the bike for 50 minutes when she comes into HAC; it’s the perfect amount of time for her to watch her daytime show on the TV!
When Jan went in for her 1 year check-up with her doctor, she heard nothing but great news. Her blood pressure was perfect and she no longer needed medication to help control it. Her bone health improved from Osteoporosis to Osteopenia and her bone density improved in 3 pivot areas – which is quite rare!
“Coming here feels good. I like the facility – everyone is so friendly. I love the HAC ProShop (maybe a little too much). I’ve never felt better in my life.”
“When I leave here, I have so much energy, I could burn the house down! I have so many friends and neighbors who think they’re not in good enough shape to come to HAC. I say, ‘That’s the whole idea!’ I see more and more people my age using walkers and canes. I never wanted to be that way. I was so determined to walk on my own again.”