The Gift Of Exercise

Dennis Emery really wasn’t enjoying life. He really wasn’t doing anything in retirement after 36 years at what used to be known as Reda Pump. And he really didn’t like his physical condition knowing that he needed to lose weight.

So, in March of 2011, he joined the Wellness Connection at Jane Phillips Medical Center. The very next month, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But, he was losing weight and feeling better both physically and mentally, so he kept participating in a group exercise class three days a week.

Then, in September of this year, the 65-year-old from Dewey underwent deep brain stimulation, which is a surgical procedure used to treat several disabling neurological symptoms—most commonly the debilitating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Think of it as a pacemaker for the brain to help lessen tremors and emotions. Emery credits the Wellness Connection for helping him prepare for the experience.

“I would not have done as well during the surgery if I would not have lost the weight and had developed a good mental attitude about it,” Emery said while noting his procedure lasted less than three hours when most take six hours.

Not only has Emery dropped 50 pounds, but he has more stamina to enjoy life, which includes his woodworking hobby and singing in the church choir. He is also able to perform many physical activities most with Parkinson’s are unable to do.

His doctors were so taken with his success that Emery has been asked to be a guest speaker at a Parkinson’s symposium in Tulsa next summer.

“I like going to group exercise classes because it is like having a personal trainer to make sure I do everything properly and get the most from my workouts,” he said.

Looking back, Emery said he’s in a much better state than he was three short years ago.

“I’ve changed my entire attitude. I’m much more positive and I feel better about it. Before I started exercising, I sat around doing nothing but wonder why I retired. Today, I am glad I retired, but I’m a lot more active.”

Indeed. Emery is participating in the Wellness Connection’s annual holiday challenge to keep exercising and maintain weight through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. He has a goal to lose another 50 pounds.

And that’s something he really would enjoy.

For more information about JPMC’s Wellness Connection, call 918/331- 1102.

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