Katherine was kind enough to write this month’s greeting and we are so excited to share it with you.

In Katherine’s own words:

Neuro-plasticity is the idea that the brain can “re-wire” and that the intact/functioning part of the brain can take over for the damaged/removed portions.  During the life-saving surgery after my brain stem stroke, 60% of my cerebellum was removed.  The cerebellum is the part of the brain which coordinates your body movements, balance, and fine motor skills.  As a result, the entire right side of my body was severely weakened.  Obviously, having an impaired sense of balance and coordination nearly took away my ability to walk forever.

Re-learning to walk has been one of the most difficult challenges of my entire life.  For the first year and a half following my stroke, I was confined to a wheelchair.  I could barely even hold up my own head.  As daily therapy and time progressed, I was able to walk very slowly with a walker.  Today, I am able to get around using just a smaller-based quad cane, and sometimes, particularly around my house, I hobble around with no cane at all!

My walking will likely always be pretty slow, and I am still very limited in how I can get around as different surfaces and levels can be very tricky.  Honestly, I will probably never run any marathons, though who am I kidding, I would’ve never done that before my stroke either!  Unfortunately, I still take a bad fall now and then and never completely feel in control of my body.  Though I must say, since I began my lovely friendship and training with Risa, I have never felt more in control of my body.  I totally understand why they used to call Pilates “body contrology.”  Walking and moving from my core enables me to confidently stand up every day and take that next challenging step.

pilates instructor with stroke victim

I can’t thank Risa and the whole Sheppard Method Pilates family enough for this priceless gift.  Thank you so much!


Katherine Wolf