Today, I’d like to share with you a special story about Hanger Clinic ExoSym (IDEO) device patient, Dave, a positive guy who never gave up on making the impossible possible. ♥

After severely shattering his ankle in a mountain biking accident twelve years ago at the age of 17, Dave managed to push through the recovery, ignoring the pain – determined to live life with no regrets. However, as the years went by, the lingering pain became increasingly difficult and Dave found himself wondering how he would manage to keep his film company running when the standing and carrying of heavy camera gear left him bedridden days after his events. Eight years post-accident, Dave eventually had to give up his film passion and pursue a desk job where he could rest his ankle.  Searching day and night for solutions to his pain, Dave agreed to an ankle fusion that ultimately left him in the same, if not worse, pain as before the surgery. Now, eight months post surgery back on disability, Dave & his fiancée Lee were more determined than ever to figure out the best solution for his ankle, even if it meant amputation. Lee began emailing every prosthetist and doctor she could and time and time again she was told that a below the knee amputation would be an advisable solution for Dave’s situation. Knowing amputation was in his future, Dave and Lee searched for the best below the knee amputation option they could. This search led them to local prosthetist, Tabor Melwood, who insisted on a meeting to discuss Dave’s future. Having had clients in the past who elected to have an amputation, Tabor ensured the couple that they were not alone, but first suggested a meeting with Dr. Jacquie Hebert and her team up in Edmonton, AB. Dr. Hebert suggested as an alternate option before amputation that Dave try a limb salvage device called the ExoSym at the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, WA. She told them about a recently referred patient who had achieved great success with her pain levels in the device and was leading an active lifestyle once again. It was in this meeting with Dr. Hebert that Dave first learned about the serious effects and potential of phantom pain post amputation. A decision not to take lightly. There started Dave’s journey to get the ExoSym.

Lee & Dave (pre-ExoSym)
Dave & his fiancée Lee (pre-ExoSym)

After looking at the expenses required to combat the exchange rate (Canadian to US), the device itself, their travel costs and footwear, Lee decided to start a GoFundMe campaign and to Dave’s astonishment, they reached their fundraising goal within three days! Dave says he’s never felt more inspired than he did in those 96 hours – an amazing feeling to see how much his friends and family pulled together to help change his life. And on September 8, 2015, Dave received his ExoSym device, a day the once seemingly impossible life he desired to live became possible once again.

Dave & his ExoSym

To Dave, putting the ExoSym on makes him feel awesome. ☆ If he hasn’t put it on in the morning and he starts feeling sore, he tosses it on and the pain goes away. #simplyamazing He’s able to go to the grocery store now, walk the dogs with his fiancée – all the simple things in life that once seemed so difficult are now a reality. For the first time, Dave realizes he doesn’t have to lie down on the couch as soon as he gets home. The couch is no longer a place to rest, but a place to put his ExoSym on and get moving. ☺

grocery shopping = no problem!
Grocery shopping = no problem!

Dave is still searching for the perfect shoe to work with his high arches and wide feet. He has had success with the Nike Vomero’s and while the carbon fiber nature of the device does take its toll on them, he likes them the best. Dave recommends the CEP brand of compression socks because you can purchase them based on your calf size and also because they have a lot of fun colors.

Having never been a “gym rat” type of guy, Dave’s newfound mobility has spurred him onto the world of fitness and he now works out with a trainer twice a week. Dave and Lee even enrolled in a 90 day fitness challenge at their local gym! Dave also meets with a physical therapist on a monthly basis to ensure his body isn’t overcompensating and shifting problems and says this has been really helpful in staying on track with his progress. Dave feels great and wants to thank Jared (the Hanger Clinic PT) for encouraging him to get active! In addition to the gym, Dave also does home exercises like single leg squats and stretches and feels this is an important start to an #exosymplyamazing day! His advice for other patients is to keep both your ExoSym compression socks and your non-ExoSym device foot socks in singles in your dresser – makes life easier when you need to grab them!

working out!
Dave getting after it at the gym!

If there is one thing Dave wished people knew about him, it would be how hard it is to live with chronic pain and how it affects everyone and everything around you, no matter how positive you are. Dave says he used to have a preconceived notion that he should bottle up his emotions and just try to put on a front, but now that he has shared his feelings, he’s found that he enjoys life so much more. He credits his positive mindset for getting him through the last twelve years, and the amazing companionship of his two dogs Winston and Melissa. Winston fought through cancer to stay by Dave’s side and Dave feels thankful he was able to spend the last six months of Winston’s life with him at their home. In Dave’s words, “I guess Winston knew the ExoSym would work before we did, and he had done all he could to help me get through the tough times.” ♥

Dave and his buddies :)
Dave and his buddies 🙂

Dave also feels incredibly blessed to have had his fiancée Lee by his side every step of the way – through the good times and the bad. More than anything, Dave would like to give a big bear hug to Ryan Blanck who made it possible for him to finally live a life without chronic pain. A gift with no price tag. Dave has heard Ryan joke about how he saves relationships with the ExoSym, some may laugh but Dave says this is a real thing! The brace immediately eliminated the daily struggles and strains on their relationship due to Dave’s chronic pain.

Thank you, Dave, for inspiring us with your positive attitude and will to keep fighting. Your story is a reminder that just when you don’t think you can go on another day, you have to keep going. You must hang in there and keep trying. Keep your hope up. Stay positive. Believe in the impossible and one day it just might come true. ♥

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAmazing

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