Christine Wilshire of Pennsburg, PA, recently walked down the aisle with her husband, Jay, to renew her vows at the same church in Illinois where they were married 30 years ago. It was a joyous occasion with their original best man and maid of honor in attendance, as well as their youngest son, Alex. But just over 2 ½ years ago, it was not an occasion she could have envisioned.
In 2010, at more than 400 pounds, Wilshire could barely walk a few feet without getting out of breath. Back pain  racked her body, making it impossible to exercise. After seeing pictures of herself on a trip to Palm Springs, CA with her sister to celebrate her 50th birthday, she realized she needed to do something about her weight. Diabetes ran in her family and she was already pre-diabetic. She looked into gastric bypass surgery, but was told she needed to lose 10 percent of her body weight before having the surgery.
That’s when she came to Good Shepherd Physical Therapy – East Greenville for help. Her physician referred her to the facility for her chronic back pain. It was August 2010 when she made her first visit to the site, located in the Upper Hanover Shoppes on Gravel Pike. She struggled walking from the handicapped parking space to the front door, but that walk was the beginning of a huge turnaround for Wilshire.
The staff welcomed her, developing a plan of care to get her moving again and to alleviate her back pain. Therapists walked with her, gradually getting her to walk to the end of the strip mall and eventually around the mall.
“Walking to the end of the strip mall was like climbing Mt. Everest at first,” says Wilshire. But she continued walking, gradually building her stamina.
By February 2011, by combining a high protein diet and exercise, Wilshire had lost 80 pounds, far exceeding the 10 percent requirement to have the weight-loss surgery. She considered continuing without the surgery, but decided surgery was the best option, since she had struggled in the past with regaining weight after large losses.
Two years later, Wilshire’s weight loss totals 262 pounds, an accomplishment she attributes to the support of her husband, Jay, sons Alex and Patrick, and the staff at Good Shepherd: “There was so much encouragement from the therapists, fellow patients and volunteers. I could never have achieved what I did without their support,” she says.
Wilshire continues her workouts at the facility, which offers a fitness program, and she also walks with her workout buddy, a Good Shepherd volunteer.
“I am so proud of Christine,” says Karen Long, PTA, site manager of Good Shepherd Physical Therapy – East Greenville. “Her determination has been remarkable and inspiring.”
When Wilshire decided to celebrate her achievement and new life with a vow renewal ceremony, she asked Long to come help her choose a dress. “Karen and the staff at Good Shepherd are like family to me,” says Wilshire.
With new energy and a healthy lifestyle, Wilshire is able to do things she hasn’t been able to do in years. She recently started a new job at Ayusa, helping to find families to host foreign exchange students. And while she has surgeries ahead to face as a result of the drastic weight loss, she is approaching her new life with optimism and joy.
For more information on Good Shepherd's programs and services, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us .