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Ashley Barnett

There are two things I have done seven times in the past four years that have been monumental in my life, whether they were happy or disappointing: going to Uganda on two-week mission trips, and having spinal surgeries.

Since the spring of 2014, I have had seven spinal surgeries, all of which have been successful but each presenting their own recovery struggles or slow timetable to full healing. I have also gone to Kapeeka, Uganda seven times in the past four years on multi-week mission trips/service trips. It seems like these two should not go together, and for awhile, they did not. Going to Uganda to spend time with the 200 children we visit each year is the highlight of my year, and joy of my life. In 2016, I was in severe pain and needed an extensive posterior cervical fusion, requiring me to cancel my plane ticket to Uganda and back out of our fall mission trip. I was devastated, and also anxious to think this could continue to happen in the future.

After my surgery recovery was complete, I still had a great deal of pain similar to what I had before surgery, and I was so disappointed to think something had gone wrong. When my spinal surgeon suggested trying Physical Therapy again, I outwardly agreed but inwardly rolled my eyes, as I had been down this road before and didn’t seem to have positive or helpful outcomes with past PT programs or physicians.

My first visit to Athletico Bloomington East was in March 2017. At the time of writing this it is July 2018, and I continue to return for helpful sessions each week! To my grateful surprise, my time there with my Physical Therapist, Steve, has very honestly changed my life and also the quality of my life. It took awhile to begin to feel less pain and feel stronger, but it has been a marked change for the better. Steve has been encouraging, challenging yet patient, and supportive of my needs. I now live with less pain, much more faith in physical therapy, and also, have been back to Uganda three times since my first appointment with Athletico. Very recently, we returned from a mission trip to Uganda during which we got to give a new pair of shoes to over 200 children in need, donated by someone in the United States.

My body has slowly healed, as has my hope. I genuinely mean it when I say that my time as a patient here has changed my life, and I am forever grateful. Thank you, Steve, and thank you Athletico!

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