Beth Case Study Transcript - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Beth Case Study Transcript

My name is Beth Seaman, I’m 35 years old, I live in Mount Prospect, Illinois. I have a six-year-old daughter, a four-year-old daughter and I have twin sons who are eight months.

After Amelia was born, I felt great and everything was normal and then I started to try to lose some weight and exercise and to get back into shape. I had been taking a kick boxing class and I thought that possibly I had strained something and I had just tremendous pain in my back and in my side and in my hip.

And I felt that it was going to go away on its own and I waited for three months and it never subsided. It just kind of continued to be there and even to get worse.

As an accountant, most of what I do is go to meetings and sit at my desk and I had considerable pain while I sat. I would need to get up and walk around quite a bit. It was hard for me to sit in meetings and to even focus on what people were saying because at a certain point, all you can think about is the pain.

And finally, I decided that there must be something else that can be done. So I went and visited just my regular internist and they took x-rays and isolated that I did not have a fracture and sent me on my way to physical therapy.

A couple months later, I was still struggling with the pain and I was having trouble accepting that I was going to continue to be like this. It was affecting my personal life. I felt like I couldn’t spend time with my kids and play with them in a way that I wanted to. I couldn’t sit on the floor and play with my girls.

All I could think about every day was that I was in pain and that I couldn’t think about, my outlook on, my outlook for the future wasn’t very good.

I couldn’t think about doing normal things, like I couldn’t think about having another child because my body couldn’t take it.

And so it was just out of the question. Then actually, at a Halloween party that we host every year, a friend of mine, she mentioned to me, I hear you have back pain. And we talked about it and she said, oh, I do to, and I saw this doctor at RIC, who specializes in women’s health issues and muscle skeletal problems.

And so, at that point, I thought well, I don’t know, I kind of hem and hawed over the decision of whether to see Dr. Fitzgerald. And then I finally decided, I made an appointment right before Christmas time, I remember, so I saw her January 2 on 2006.

Well, she did a normal exam and talked to me about my problems and what I was feeling and she confirmed to me. She said, you know, these things that you have aren’t normal and that you don’t really have a diagnosis.

And she reviewed my records and she said you don’t have to learn to live with this, you can get better. And that was the first time in I think about six months that I had felt any hope at all that my life could get, you know, I could return back to normal.

About a month after I saw Dr. Fitzgerald, I was starting therapy and she was great, her philosophy was I’m going to teach you the skills and what you need to know in order to fix your own body.

I have attended therapy at RIC for 3 1/2 months and at most, at the beginning, I attended once a week and then I attended once every two weeks, and then every three weeks, just to sort of taper off.

And I would say, about halfway through therapy, I was going through and living my life without really any pain. I was feeling great. I felt back to normal and I was amazed in such a short period of time.

And the trick was really, just finding someone that knew what the problem was and knew exactly what to do.

I was able to forget about the pain and continue to live my life, go back to living my life actually, spending time with my kids and going out to dinner with friends, and doing social activities, going to a little dance class with my younger daughter, all these things that I couldn’t do before.

So I sort of forgot about all my limitations. And was just able to think about things like normal people do, which for us was whether or not we wanted to have another child.

And I did talk to my therapist about it and she had indicated that it wasn’t a problem for my back, that my back was going to hold up and not to be afraid and so I decided to try to have another child and got two, had twins.

I tell people all the time, I give out Dr. Fitzgerald’s name to everybody. Any woman who tells me that they have back problems, and a lot of women tell me "I have back problems, I have pain and I don’t have an answer." They have doctors just like I did, have had well-meaning physicians tell them that they just have to learn to live with it.

And I tell everybody about Dr. Fitzgerald and RIC and what they did. It’s just most amazing that I did feel like I have my life back, that I, before I didn’t, I wasn’t living and then after coming to RIC, I was able to be myself.