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Hello all!  As I was mentally prepared to complete my last physical therapy session as my knee is getting stronger, it is mixed feelings for me.  I have been with Sports Training Physical Therapy for almost a year – began in Oct 2015 to prepare myself for 1st surgery in November by maintaining muscular strength in my leg as much as I can before they become atrophy due to immobilized leg for few weeks from surgery.  I was supposed to stay with them for 3 months after my 1st surgery, but I experienced some issues with my knee in February 2015 – few episodes of knee subluxation (pop out/ins).  It turned out that I needed 2nd surgery to remedy my knee issues.  I returned to them after my 2nd surgery in May for few weeks until yesterday.  Even though my recovery after 2nd surgery was difficult and miserable for me, my physical therapists and staff listened and helped me to get through as much as I can not only during the sessions, but outside of the sessions as well.

I am grateful that the therapists and staff at Sports Training Physical Therapy are working with me in all areas especially communication area.  We use interpreter from time to time when needed such as evaluations and in-depth discussions.  Typically, some people may not bother to write down to let me know what’s going on such as gossips, jokes, stories, or information that are mingling in the room, but my therapists and staff made an effort to include me by writing down on notepad to share something with me as well as I do with them.  That does make me feel so good and happy that they are mindful of me.  What is even more is that my therapists and staff have tremendous amount of patience by writing down and waiting for me to complete my writing between us rather than leaving me to write down and come back to me when I am done writing.  I am accustomed to people just doing that to save some time for themselves or pay attention to any patients who speak/hear, but with that kind of amazing behaviors and attitudes from my therapists and staff, I am deeply honored to be treated like any patients, not just Deaf patient who doesn’t speak/hear.

As my therapist with interpreter was discussing with me for long term home exercise training plans, my therapist said that I graduated from my physical therapy and it struck me.  That’s one of milestones for me to get my knee back to normal as much as I can, so I can resume my activities as I no longer able to do so – skiing, snowboarding, biking, hiking, playing basketball and softball, and much more.  I still have some works to do on my knee and I do feel that I am on my way to become fully mobilized – running, cutting, and jumping like before!  What is even more is that my therapist asked me to get in touch with her to let her know about my next follow-up appointment with my surgeon this November, see how I am doing with my training programs, and ask her any questions or additional training if I needed.  It touches me knowing that even though I am no longer my therapist’s patient, she is interested in seeing me to making it all the way to my “FULL and healing” recovery.  Hopefully, this November appointment with surgeon will conclude my journey of my ACL/meniscus repair/recovery.

My legs as of 18-Sept-2015

My legs as of 18-Sept-2015 – healed scars and no longer swollen right knee

Close-up of my right knee

Close-up of my right knee – healed nicely and amazing battle scars to show off!

So, the next chapter for me is to build up my knee to full mobilization as much as I can especially running, jumping, and cutting and shift my focus from my personal recovery to writing a book/producing a DVD with ASL (American Sign Language) about Deafblind hiker’s Appalachian Trail journey with his SSP (guess who that is? 🙂 ).  It is a huge project for me, but it is a good time for me to start.  I think I will continue to use this blog for my next chapter to keep our followers and supporters posted.  If any of you are interested in pitching in or providing some feedback or anything, please let me know via email or Whatsapp.

Thank you from bottom of my heart, Sports Training Physical Therapy therapists, staff, and owner.

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Howdy folks!

I realized that I forgot to mention one thing….really important thing.  After few years of not able to make it to infamous annual Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, I finally got to attend to this year’s festival after the announcement of hosting the last festival this year after 40 years of hosting the festival.  The festival was majority of hearing womyns, but this year was largest  number of Deaf/Hard of Hearing womyns attending – around 115.  The request was from these Deaf/Hard of Hearing womyns that they wanted to see presentation in ASL.  I thought about if I could give our presentation (Ad-Cane and myself), but Ad-Cane is not womyn.  I gave it some thoughts and decided that the presentation should be about me sharing my personal experiences as a Deaf Female Long Distance Hiker with the world.  I submitted my proposal and asked for two presentations – one in ASL only and one with voice interpretation.  My proposal was accepted.  I was thrilled!

I gave both presentations for 1.5 hours which I thought should be sufficient time, but before I knew it, 1.5 hours went by so fast!  Next time, I may ask for 3 hours instead!  🙂  The title of my presentation was “My Journey on Appalachian Trail as a Deaf Female LD Hiker – April 2010 – June 2014”.  I explained to the audience that I have given presentations in the past with my hiking partner, Ad-Cane, but he is not womyn, so it was my first time giving presentation as myself.  If anyone wanted to to know more about Deafblind, Ad-Cane, and SSP, I asked them to hold these questions and see me after the presentation as some of them did.

I enjoyed sharing my experiences, tips, suggestions, and photos with the audience.  It was a bit weird that I did this way as I have been used giving presentation with my hiking partner, Ad-Cane, as it was our journey from start to end.  However, I was glad that I went with different approach to share something of myself as Roni “RamSham” Lepore – Deaf Female Long Distance Hiker in “Hearing Male Hiking environment”.  It did gave me some perspectives that I haven’t thought about since then.  I can see that it serves as an inspiration to womyns who came to listen to my presentation – anyone can do it if one puts her/his mind to make this happening and be patience with a “progress”.  I thank to Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for allowing me to share my experiences and womyns for attending my presentation.

Ram Sham's Presentation:

Ram Sham’s Presentation: “My Journey on Appalachian Trail as a Deaf Female LD Hiker – April 2010 – June 2014”

Ram Sham presenting

Ram Sham presenting

Ram Sham's hammock at Michigan Womyn's Music Festival

Ram Sham’s hammock at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival

Roni at Michigan Womyn's Music Festival

Roni at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival

Around 100 videos are available on YouTube.  I am working on updating each videos with the information such as date of shooting, map location, video description and etc.  It takes some time to update these videos with the information.  For the followers who do not know ASL (American Sign Language) or uses captions/subtitles to access the videos (ie. for telebraille or English as second language), I am sorry that the captions/subtitles will not be available right away.  I plan to work on adding captions/subtitles to some videos after completion of AT this year – between November 2010 and March 2011.  Meanwhile, enjoy checking out these videos.

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Appalachian Trail

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km - through 14 states - Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km

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