Just wanted to let you know about our experience of ARNI and in particular our 2 days with Tom at his home in Surrey.
Len had a diving accident in March 2008 whilst on holiday in Egypt this in turn led him to suffer a basal ganglion haemorrhagic stroke which affected his right side with paralysis – he was 48 at this time. Since March 08 Len has made amazing progress and has been walking since end of April 2008 – this has been progressive over the period of the last year. He has received OT and physiotherapy since his stroke until May 2009. He was then told that he had reached a plateau so therefore there was no further treatment available to him.
We discussed other options however it appeared that there was no further options available this was to our minds unacceptable. It seemed we had another obstacle to overcome, we have never given up hope that Len will get back as much use as possible in his right arm. He has a small amount of movement in his shoulder which has been achieved – however this needed further help and assistance. We didn’t know what to do to improve this arm …….
It was then having searched the internet for exercises and any information on stroke survivors that we discovered Tom’s website for ARNI. It seemed to be too good to be true that we had possibly found an alternative for us to pursue. That evening I emailed Tom to advise him of Len’s condition and ask for his advice and support…….I spoke to him a couple of days later and felt really excited about the possibilities that he had talked to me about – I spoke to Len and together we decided to go and visit Tom in Surrey for a 2 day introduction to ARNI and how this could help Len.
We arrived at Tom’s middle of July 09 Len was walking with a stick at this point – one of Tom’s first questions was Why are you walking with a stick my friend? Stick’s are for old men! Len hasn’t used hi s stick since – this is due mainly to several techniques that Tom showed to him in order to help Len with his confidence in walking and balance. We also had a student working with us Shirley who was from Middlesex University. Both Tom and Shirley were so friendly and helpful but equally were there to ensure that Len was pushed that little bit outside of his comfort zone in order to get as much from the 2 days as possible.
Our priority was working on Len’s arm which a lot was achieved over the two days – with all the exercises which Len was shown and worked on he was able to turn his wrist over and back – also he was able to grasp a small object “very carefully” and transport this to another person’s hand.
Since we have been back home – Len has abandoned his sticks and continued with the exercises that Tom and Shirley have worked with him on and already we can see more very small but definite improvements.
Having previously been advised by OT and Physio not to use a ball to exercise the fingers and refrain from walking too far – so as not to over do it! It is frustrating that the exercises Len has done so far have been within “other peoples” comfort zones……We would advise anyone to push themselves that little bit further on the road to getting better if you don’t use it you will lose it. So passive exercise really is of no use – you need to be active. Tom is a hugely inspirational and energetic person to meet he is absolutely the right person to take advice from after all – he has been where all stroke survivors find themselves – and got himself back using the techniques he shows and innovates directly for others’ individual requirements!
We are really looking forward to meeting with Tom again to show the progress that we know Len will make over the coming months…..
Jo and Len Faria