9 months ago we brought you the story of Emily who was first diagnosed with a Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) at the age of 13 and was using a wheelchair mostly outdoors and walking with a crutch when we met her here at ARC at the age of 18.
Whilst FND can cause a vast array of physical symptoms, in the case of Emily’s, some of her biggest challenges were her feet pulling and posturing in a way that made walking extremely difficult and ineffective. Over a long period of time with regular Botulinum Toxin injections, splinting and therapy, Emily was able to stand and bear weight through her feet and legs.
Over the course of the past 13 months of working with Anna Jones who leads our ARC FND physio service Emily has made some huge gains in her function and these are the direct result of her ongoing commitment to her therapy which has included short intensive treatment bocks along with home practice and regular review points at the clinic. Emily is also supported more locally by her sports physio who has helped her to incorporate the work done at ARC into their regular sessions and is a great example of services working together to provide consistent and holistic patient care.
It is incredibly to be able to share that Emily is now driving (having recently got her P’s!) and whilst she has achieved her goal of being able to put her wheelchair in the car herself, it is even more amazing that she now no longer really needs her wheelchair and hasn’t used it for many weeks! She is now walking long distances outside without using her crutch or poles and is running on the treadmill at speeds of over 9km’s per hour which is incredible. The goal now is to be running outside (and this is coming on really well – check out the video) and to be walking barefoot on the sand without concern for her ankle stability. Another goal is to be fluid in walking up and down stairs without any rails or supports as now that Emily is walking around her Uni campus there are open stairs without rails to contend with and Emily is determined to conquer these and be able to walk freely around Uni with her friends.
Next time we see Emily we plan to meet at a local park to really challenge her high level mobility on bush tracks, open stairs and jogging on the oval. This is a fantastic result for Emily that she is now ready to be doing these tasks and is on track for achieving all her 2021 goals. Emily’s determination and positivity is wonderful to observe and inspiring to others and we are so proud that she has been happy to share her story to hopefully raise awareness of FND and educate others in this condition and what can be achieved.
Looking forward to reporting on the next chapter as we go!