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Jean's Physical Therapy Story

"Tami was there for me when I needed it most."

"I needed someone to lean on during my journey with MS."

For Jean, having someone to lean on has been an important part of her journey with multiple sclerosis, a nervous system disease that hinders communication between the brain and body. Since her diagnosis in 2000, Jean's search for solutions to her challenges she faces every day. This led her to the ACMC Balance Center where she found both relief and companionship in Balance Center Coordinator, Tami Kobiena.

"Balance has always been my biggest issue."

At a seminar in 2010, Tami explained to Jean how the Balance Center could help her build strength and flexibility to improve her stability. "Balance has always been my biggest issue and that's why I came to see Tami," Jean reflected.

"Tami gave me momentum and made me want to do my exercises."

During therapy, Jean worked on stretches and spent time in the Computerized Dynamic Posturography Booth (a platform that uses sensors to measure balance on a shifting surface). She was also given at-home activities to improve her independence. "I don't know what it is about Tami, but she gave me momentum and made me want do my exercises before coming to each session," Jean said. "I wanted her to be happy with my progress."

Once Jean completed all of her sessions, she realized she missed the friendship she had built with Tami. "When I was no longer visiting the Balance Center anymore, I just kept thinking — I miss seeing Tami," Jean remembers. But they stayed in touch.

"We stayed in touch through the farmer's market."

Jean is an avid gardener and sold produce at the local farmer's. "It was one of the things that keeps me going," Jean said.

Tami would visit the farmer's market to see Jean even after their therapy sessions ended. "I would go to buy Jean's tomatoes," Tami said. "It gave me an opportunity to visit with her."

"We still get together as good friends."

Their time catching up at the market often led to meeting for coffee, lunch or crocheting. "I am no longer one of Tami's patients, but we still get together as good friends," Jean explained, "plus I still use the stretches and exercises she taught me years ago."

"We have a friendship beyond therapy," Tami confirmed. "She is now my source for homegrown vegetables and great conversation."

Tami recalled the years they worked together and Jean's kindness when she brought her homemade oslo kringle, a Scandinavian pastry as a Christmas gift.

"Tami was there for me when I needed it most."

From her time in therapy to the bond built at the market, Jean considers herself the president of Tami's fan club, affirming, "She taught me to listen to myself and was there for me when I needed it most."