Rec Therapy Month: Jillian’s Story

In honor of Recreational Therapy Month, we will be highlighting some of our amazing patients throughout the month of February. Today’s spotlight is on Jillian Dechen. Jillian is 30 years old and was a patient on the General Rehab unit after a diagnosis of Fulminant Multiple Sclerosis. 

Tracy: How has recreation therapy influenced your daily life?

Jillian: It helped me see all of my possibilities and potential. Now I know that I will still be able to do what I love to do, but it may look a little different. I didn’t know I could still participate in all the things I loved to do, but recreation therapy showed me I could.

Tracy: How have you integrated back in the community?

Jillian: I slowly integrated back into the community. It was not an over night thing due to my MS. Today, I am still doing everything I love to do, just differently. I am now back to driving, taking public transpiration, working part-time as a home health nurse, cooking for myself, going out with friends and family, dating, working out, traveling both solo and with friends/family, participating in Magee’s Peer Mentor Program, and much more. 

Tracy: How has recreation therapy helped your recovery?

Jillian: It has been so helpful because I could go to my recreation therapist with a “problem” at any point in my recovery, and she helped me navigate through it. She showed me how I could still do the things I loved, just differently. She gave me the education and confidence to travel, participate in MS support groups, and do walks and bike races to support the MS Society. Recreation Therapy gave me the sense I was not alone and gave me the confidence I would get my independence back.

To learn more about General Rehabilitation at Magee, click here

Photos: Jillian in November 2016 (left) and July 2014

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