Carmelita's Story

 “The LivestrongTM support group helped me feel less isolated, and the exercise helped physically and emotionally.”

After her surgery, Carmelita was unable to walk, bathe or dress herself. She began her long rehabilitation journey at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, where she had her surgery, and continued acute inpatient rehab after transferring to St. Francis in  Greenville by ambulance. The outpatient rehab continued at Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute at North Grove in Spartanburg for several months . With many months of hard work, Carmelita progressed from her bed to a wheelchair, to a rolling walker, to a cane and finally to walking normally again. The biopsy revealed good news – the tumor was benign, but her symptoms persisted. Another trip to the neurologist brought another devastating diagnosis: Parkinson’s disease.

Carmelita heard about the Livestrong at the YMCATM program and enrolled. “The Y picked up where therapy left off,” said Carmelita. “The support group helped me feel less isolated, and the exercise helped physically and emotionally.” Carmelita came to the Y every day until she was able to return to work, and the Y staff helped schedule her Y visits to accommodate her work schedule so she could finish the 12 week program.  Carmelita said, “I felt like people really cared. I enjoyed communicating with Y members outside of the program, and I formed some lasting relationships within the program. The networking helped me connect with other resources I needed.”

The Livestrong program provided a safe place for the members to bond and encourage each other, inside and outside of the Y. “I loved the water exercise – Caleb took time to help us go at our own pace,” says Carmelita.

Carmelita believes that exercise is essential. She uses her Fitbit to count her steps each day, and she does strengthening exercises each morning before work. “Exercise is a must for me now, especially with the   Parkinson’s,” said Carmelita. “I experienced depression during this time, a symptom of Parkinson’s Disease, and the walking and strengthening exercises helped with it.”