A gregarious blonde, statuesque woman, Denise Wallace has never been a
woman who easily slows down, or gets down. In fact, her larger-than-life
personality makes friends and family chuckle at the idea of Denise actually
trying to be LOUD. But, a special therapy called “BIG & LOUD”
has given Denise the ability to curb symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
(PD) and continue enjoying life’s simple pleasures like walking
with daughter, Kim or reading outloud to grandson, Graham.
Parkinson’s Disease negatively impacts a person’s ability to
move, walk and talk. A neurological condition, Parkinson’s Disease
is both persistent and debilitating. Caused by the progressive deterioration
of nerve cells in the brain, Parkinson’s initially affected Denise’s
muscle movements and motor skills. After a series of medications and numerous
consultations with specialists, Denise was declared a candidate for deep
brain stimulation surgery. During this precise surgery performed by a
team at Duke Medical University, Denise was conscious as her skull was
drilled, opened, and electrodes were placed in specific areas of the brain
to pinpoint and adjust her brain circuitry to get it functioning properly
again. The post surgical results from deep brain stimulation were such
a dramatic improvement that Denise has since become the “go to person”
that Duke refers Parkinson’s patients to speak with when considering
the radical procedure. In fact, she has now consulted with over 200 patients
considering the futuristic procedure. She is also a proud ambassador for
the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Besides having a tenacious will to maintain a high quality of life, Denise
attributes her successful recovery to an innovative treatment therapy
offered at CVMC’s outpatient physical therapy program. Named after
founder, Lee Silverman, the voice treatment LSVT LOUD and similar physical
therapy, LSVT BIG, involves the use of quick explosive physical motions
and exaggerated speech therapy. Denise has found the therapy greatly improved
her quality of life and ability to walk.
Caroline Windham, Denise’s physical therapist at CVMC says that Denise
is a model patient driven to push herself. Caroline tailored a LSVT BIG
& LOUD treatment regimen to fit Denise’s unique needs, establishing
personal goals and working with her intensely. The evidence-based treatment
protocol involved Caroline and Denise working in one-hour sessions for
four days a week for four consecutive weeks. Denise was simultaneously
given exercise homework assignments.
“Without Caroline’s efforts to work with me to incorporate
this BIG & LOUD therapy, I would probably still be doing the Parkinson’s
Shuffle,” said Denise.
In addition to her BIG & LOUD sessions, Denise also enjoys working
out at CVMC’s Fitness Plus where she loves practicing yoga. “You
never feel like you have to impress somebody at Fitness Plus,” said
Denise. “Everyone is there because they need it. Since the staff
are hospital staff, I’ve found that everyone is very tuned in to
the needs of members like me with specific diseases or health concerns”.
If you are interested in knowing more about LSVT please contact Caroline
Windham, PT, DPT or Stacey Murphy, MSP, CCC-SLP in the
outpatient therapy department at CVMC at 828.326.2131. Caroline Windham is a licensed physical therapist
and Stacey Murphy is a licensed speech-language pathologist. Both have
been certified by LSVT Global, Inc. to provide treatment for individuals
with movement and speech disorders related to Parkinson’s disease
and other neurological disorders using the LSVT approach.