A usually calm and collected Lydia Riojas raises her voice a happy and excited octave or three when asked about her five grandchildren.
They bring her great love and joy.
“They call me “Nan,’’ and now “Nan’’ can again dance with them,’’ the 57-year-old Riojas said of the group, ranging in ages from 19 to 5. “Because I found tremendous help with Megan (Kelley) and Rock Valley (Physical Therapy). I can do so many things I could not do before. My life is so much better.’’
There truly is joy in her voice.
Time was, however, when Riojas, a caring and dedicated preschool educator, was hesitant about the simplest of activities.
Urinary incontinence, a daily battle with the urgency to attend the restroom, had taken control of Riojas, a vibrant and upbeat type, whose personality can brighten even the darkest of rooms.
It left her frustrated, unable to be active with her grandkids, made keeping up with her preschoolers a challenge and left her planning her days around the bathroom.
That’s when Riojas, at the suggestion of her physician, sought the help of Kelley (PT, DPT,) and Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s Moline, Illinois-based “The Ave.’’
“The Ave,’’ it must be noted, is a building filled with tremendous energy, paced by amazing therapists and staff working each day to better the lives of those they serve.
“Life-changing is what it was,’’ Riojas said of the decision to seek Kelley and Rock Valley’s help. “Life was a struggle. It made it tough at work and it made it tough with my family. I have a wonderful family who supports me and I’m a positive person, but until I got help from Megan it was hard. I can do things with my family, my grandchildren and now my two-year-olds (at work) know I can keep up with them at every step.’’
After a thorough evaluation, Kelley, she of the 10,000-watt personality and truly one of life’s good souls, put a tremendous plan in motion to better Riojas’ life and return her to activities previously put on hold.
“We began with pelvic floor strengthening and working on urgency suppression,’’ said Kelley, now in her ninth year as a member of the Rock Valley family. “She was instructed in basic home exercises and management strategies and progressed in difficulty as she was able to.
“She then was shown core exercises and ways to integrate what she had learned into her daily life,’’ Kelley added. “We walked slowly through the process to make sure that she gained confidence and control in her life.’’
Ever determined, Kelley noted that Riojas’s dedication to getting better and buy-in to the process, paved the way for her success. Success, it must be noted, that did not happen overnight.
“Lydia put in the effort from Day One,’’ Kelley said. “She showed up ready and willing to take the steps necessary to take back her life and she did just that. She went from planning out where and when she would use the bathroom to dancing with her grandkids without fear. She was motivated and stuck with it even when the results were not instant.’’
For Riojas, Rock Valley has become a trusted friend she will always be able to turn to.
“Megan is simply amazing,’’ she said. “I tell anyone who will listen how Rock Valley changed my life. “Nan,’’ is back dancing and enjoying life. There is a reason for my smile.’’
And that reason? A deep and sincere dedication to “Making Better Lives.’’
By: Johnny Marx, Storyteller