After having been in serval accidents, Wendy Colello was diagnosed with Acquired Cerebellar Ataxia. In the meantime, she has learned a lot about Ataxia through support groups. Due to her recent decline, Wendy got motivated to actively engage in physical therapy again.
This is my story. I was a heavy drinker until I was 32 years old. I got sober in 1999. About 2 years later, I had a seizure. I started seeing a neurologist for seizure disorder. It was 2001 when I went to get an MRI and the results shown on the test were Seizure Disorder and Cerebellar Syndrome. At the time, my writing was a challenge, my vision was poor, and my balance was a little off. I chose to stay in denial for the next 10 years. Throughout this time, I was compensating for my symptoms. I was not aware of Ataxia or had any information about it.
In 2015 I fell down my stairs and hit my chin, resulting in a broken jaw, and in 2017 I fell and broke my hip. I am still convinced they were accidents. I did have eye muscle surgery to improve my vision. I was working as a support assistant in a group home and my job had become a little challenging for me. My neurologist sent me for another MRI and an EEG. The EEG came back with no seizure activity but my MRI showed damage in my brain stem in 2017. My symptoms slowly got worse, I went to physical therapy and improved my movement by 70%. I am ashamed to say, I DID NOT CONTINUE TO EXERCISE after my therapy. This was a valuable lesson I have learned, and stress to everyone how important it is.
My condition began to decline again and I decided to start Physical Therapy in 2021. My diagnosis is Acquired Cerebellar Ataxia from alcohol use. I had to quit my job of 21 years and have applied for SSDI. I joined NAF and began to learn many facts about the disease through the help of the members. I attend support groups for Ataxia and learn something new every day. I go to the gym 3 times a week for strength training, circuit training, exercise my core and walk on the days I don’t train. I am helping with the Virginia Walk and Roll fundraiser in Williamsburg this September. I admire everyone who struggles with symptoms of Ataxia, and highly recommend a good Neurologist and attend support groups.
Thank you Wendy Colello for sharing your story, keep up the good work with your physical therapy!
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