LVAC Success Story – Patricia Gilliano

 

Sometimes our path in life stems from talents or passions we discover early in our youth. That is the case with Patricia Gilliano, who grew up in Philadelphia where she was drawn to the medical field and to fitness. From serving as a volunteer candy-striper at a hospital during high school to training as a fitness instructor in college, then pursuing a college degree in nursing, she has always been motivated to help people improve their lives through education and adopting a healthy lifestyle. She has been an advocate for balancing traditional medicine and homeopathic care. Today she holds a Masters of Nursing Administration and an MBA. The mother of three grown sons, she is currently working as the Chief Nursing Officer of Spring Valley Medical Center. Her story of dealing with an injury and the challenges that it brings-both physical and mental-is as informative as it is inspirational.

 

LVAC :

You have dealt with two serious shoulder injuries. How did they happen?

 

Patricia:

In 2012 I had begun to try Cross Fit in Florida to stay healthy and deal with major stress I was experiencing in my life. When I arrived at home after a workout, I felt a twinge in my right shoulder. I didn’t pay much attention to it, thought it might have been a pulled muscle. The stiffness I was noticing began to turn into pain and I sought out medical help to figure out what was happening to my shoulder. Within three months a twinge had turned into chronic pain and the range of motion in my shoulder was diminishing drastically. An MRI was ordered, which showed a 20% full thickness tear of the rotator cuff. By then the pain was unbearable, combined with sleepless nights and virtually no mobility left in my shoulder, I had to find answers. A handshake was excruciating – a hug? Forget it. I was totally baffled as to how this could have happened so quickly.

 

LVAC:

What did you do?

 

Patricia:

During a flight I found an article for a procedure being done in Miami, Florida, which included using stem cell treatment for joint injuries! Desperate-especially since I couldn’t get into a surgeon for another 5 weeks- I made a call. They seemed to understand my shoulder issue, so I went to Florida for treatment. This is how I learned of my actual diagnosis, ‘adhesive capsulitis’, which simply put, is a frozen shoulder. At this point I was ready to cut my arm off, that’s how much pain I was in.

 

LVAC :

Did the stem cell treatment help?

 

Patricia:

It did! I was not able to complete the entire recommended regimen because of work and family obligations, but I had two separate injections from the stem cells spun down from my own blood, right into my shoulder joint. Within the first few days I had dramatic pain relief and within four to six weeks of the injections, I had improved enough to begin lifting light weights. I also had massage therapy two to three times a week. From the time I began to feel that first twinge in my shoulder until I felt like I had reached a full recovery was about nine months. I felt like I had survived an amazing journey. I was so happy to be able to get back to work and my fitness routine. I was able to see two sons off to college, and became involved in my youngest son’s high school ice hockey career.

 

LVAC :

We’re guessing that this is not the end of the story.

 

Patricia:

In December 2016 my work required that I relocate, so my youngest son, my fiancé and I settled in Las Vegas. That’s when we joined LVAC. One month after arriving in Las Vegas, my other shoulder started to get sore. I said to my fiancé, ‘There’s no way this could be happening again! I have been so careful to do everything right.” I remembered a small piece of information I had come across during my research. I didn’t want to believe it. I knew that frozen shoulder syndrome occurs most frequently in women ages 40-60. It also has a hormonal component and affects diabetics more often than non-diabetics. It is less common in men, but can occur in men as well. The research stated that if adhesive capsulitis were found in one shoulder, it would hit the other shoulder as well. I didn’t want to believe it. I just couldn’t bear the thought of having to go through that all over again. But I knew I was more informed and prepared this time, so I began again doing everything I needed to do to get through it. The hardest part of FS is the daunting pain. It is worse at night and it takes you on an emotional roller coaster as you try to figure out what it is, how it happened, and how to heal it. Being active and suddenly having something that inhibits how you live your life was really difficult as well. I found that I had to determine what I could do with the limitation the shoulder presented, and stay active. LVAC was instrumental because I could workout anywhere or anytime. I did cardio and some light weights and worked up to taking my favorite group fitness classes, like cycling, that allowed me to participate without putting stress on my shoulder. I know that some people with this condition opt for surgical intervention, but for me, knowing the risks and possible complications, I felt the holistic and wellness approach was a far better solution for my recovery.

 

LVAC :

We are very happy to see you recovered and enjoying your life again. What wisdom would you share with someone who is working to overcome an injury or a serious illness?

 

Patricia:

No matter what you are enduring, you can be better tomorrow than you are today. Life’s challenges do not mean it is okay to give up or quit. Get over the sadness and get on a bike, or treadmill, or walk the track, but do something. I was not about to become a statistic or grow older sooner than I was ready. At LVAC, everyone is welcome and can do something, and no one judges you. We come together and we all leave a little better than when we walked in. I would also tell people to build a support team around them. My husband Steve was a rock and came to the gym, training alongside of me to encourage me and keep me positive. I am very grateful for his love and support.I believe that everyone has something to offer that can make this world a better place. This year my focus is to be a better wife, mom, nurse and friend. I hope I can help make life better for others who are facing their own challenges.