My 23-year USAF career ended, shortly after my return from a deployment to Saudi Arabia in 2002. I was formally diagnosed with SCA-6 in June of 2002, and was subsequently medically retired in November of 2002. I was still very active then and enjoyed running 5 days a week. Running was my release, my exercise routine, my time to relax; my time to rejuvenate myself. However, I lost that ability due to SCA and within 8 years of declining abilities I was forced to begin using a walker. Running was to be lost to my past.
In the last three years, I had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, I broke my left wrist, and I needed stitches to close a deep cut on my arm. All of these injuries were the result of falls in my home. I saw my father’s decline within myself and I knew how this story would play out. He also had SCA-6.
In April of 2010, I met with Dr. Clouse (Tom) for a little over an hour on a Wednesday. That Sunday I went to church for the first time in several years without a walker or cane. My walker is now in the attic and my cane is in my car trunk. It is amazing how simple Tom’s techniques are, yet how well they work.
I have a recumbent exercise bike (NordicTrack) that I ride several times a week and I try to keep my weight in check (5’11”, 190lbs). I was in reasonable shape physically when I started working with Tom, so I saw immediate results. The thrill of little things like stepping on or off a curb without assistance, throwing a Frisbee with my daughter, or a football with my son, are experiences I thought were gone forever. Tom taught me the skills I needed to do that once again. This has greatly increased my freedom and self-confidence.
However, nothing worthwhile comes without effort and I found that these are perishable skills. When the demands of family, church, and work make regular exercise difficult to fit into my life, my balance is definitely affected. My SCA progresses regardless of my busy schedule. I need to continue to make exercise a priority in order to enjoy the benefits of Tom’s techniques. If you want to walk without assistance, return some normalcy to your life, if you are motivated and willing to push yourself, then this program will work for you!
Tom is a selfless individual, who will push you hard as he has done to himself. Tom is a pioneer; he designed this program himself through trial and error. He didn’t have the benefit from someone showing him the how’s and why’s of what he teaches. He is truly a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks (and Falls) and now he wants to impart that knowledge on current “students.”