Arthritis patient crochets blankets for babies

“I’m grateful there’s something I can do for a community that has given me so much.”

Arthritis patient crochets blankets for babies

Eileen Shuchat is 55 years old. She’s suffered for years from a number of autoimmune illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis. They’ve caused her debilitating pain, resulting in muscular-skeletal issues that required multiple operations. About 10 years ago, she had her lower back fused. And although the operation was a success, she’s experienced lower back pain ever since that can be so severe she’s unable to walk or even stand up.

Eileen says she’s blessed to have the best ongoing care from the physicians, surgeons, nurses and staff at St. Michael’s Hospital. One procedure she relies on is a caudal epidural, in which a steroid is injected through an opening at the base of the spine, to reduce inflammation and pain.

“Every three months Dr. Sussman and his team perform this procedure. And each time they take great care to ensure I’m comfortable, and that all my needs and concerns are heard. The follow-up and bedside manner are always delivered thoroughly and with great kindness.”

Eileen’s life is not without pain and frustration, but it is a full and happy one. She works as a life guide, helping clients solve problems that range from coping with pain to managing relationships to finding inner peace. And she credits St. Michael’s with making it all possible.

“St. Michael’s has saved my life and has given me back my quality of life. Now I’m trying to give back to them,” she says. “I crochet baby blankets for a special program run by the obstetrics department. I donate approximately 20 blankets a year. They are always incredibly appreciative. And for me, I’m grateful there’s something I can do for a community that has given me so much.”

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