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Brooke Buckner Overcomes Stroke, Amputation to Live Fulfilling Life

Brooke Buckner knew something was off.

Feeling ill while driving his wife’s Mustang, the tool maker and Harley enthusiast pulled over, parked the car and promptly passed out. The next thing Brooke remembered was waking up in a suburban Philadelphia hospital bed.

Brooke suffered a stroke.

“It felt like somebody poured a hot bucket of water down the left side of my face,” says Brooke, 58, of Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

Stroke Recovery

After spending five weeks in the hospital following the stroke, Brooke needed outpatient physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. The stroke forced Brooke to relearn how to do things and understand his new normal.

“The whole thing was an extreme life changer,” says Brooke. “No more driving, no more bikes, no more working.”

How Brooke would process those life changes while regaining function and independence was key. Brooke and his wife, Lori, learned of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network through a relative and made the choice to go to Good Shepherd Physical Therapy.

Prior to starting with Good Shepherd, Brooke was in a wheelchair. He couldn’t stand up on his own, let alone sit up.

“I had no balance, no speech,” says Brooke.

Intensive therapy put Brooke on the path to recovery, allowing him to walk with assistance. He had better balance, enhanced strength and increased independence.

“I just really fell in love with Good Shepherd,” says Brooke. “They couldn’t be nicer, more educated people. And I had fun going. If it wasn’t for Good Shepherd, I don’t think I would’ve gotten as far as I have.”

Amputation Presents Whole New Challenge

If recovering from a stroke wasn’t difficult enough, Brooke’s rehabilitation path was complicated by a disease he was born with: Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

The disease impacts the peripheral nerves, causing loss of normal function and/or sensation in feet, legs, hands and arms, according to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association. After decades of living with the disease, the pain grew excruciating. Brooke could no longer walk. At one point, he was forced to crawl to move around.

Eventually, his left leg was amputated eight inches below the knee. While his pain was alleviated, Brooke had to learn to walk all over again — this time, with a prosthetic leg. He returned to Good Shepherd, where he progressed to walking with only the assistance of a forearm crutch.

“They’re amazing,” says his wife, Lori, of the Good Shepherd team.

Brooke’s long-term goal is to one day walk without a crutch. His positive attitude and humor left a mark on the Good Shepherd team and other patients at the Souderton location, say staff members.

That optimistic outlook has only grown brighter. Brooke keeps busy by hanging out with their dog, Kiera, helping around the house, making a variety of model cars, trucks and planes, and playing video games.

“I’ll be satisfied with whatever I get, but I try to set my goals to overachieve,” says Brooke. “I’m really looking forward to the rest of my life now.”

For more information on how Good Shepherd can help you or a loved one through stroke or amputation rehabilitation, call 1-888-44-REHAB or contact us online.