Sharon Freeman knows the exhilaration of hiking in the desert and the mountains – she did it often living out West and after moving to Colorado in 1967. Today, her goal is to walk without a cane in her Parker neighborhood and be able to get herself to the grocery store rather than rely on her husband of 45 years, Bob, to take her.

Over the years Freeman’s lower spine curved outward – called spondylolisthesis – making her sit sideways and eventually causing so much pain in her leg that treatments didn’t help and there was no relief. On Jan. 13, 2016, Freeman underwent a four-hour lumbar surgery, including the placement of rods and screws. After three nights in the hospital and experiencing severe pain, her left foot was numb and she needed rehab.


Freeman chose Life Care Center of Stonegate and began a physical therapy program using parallel bars, bicycle, electrical stimulation and other equipment to improve her balance and gait. Within a month she went from no feeling in her left foot and using a wheelchair, to walking with a walker, and then just a cane.

“The therapist was very patient. The CNAs and nurses were all wonderful to me,” she said. “Stonegate is a cheerful place.”

On February 21, Freeman was able to return home with Bob and continued doing outpatient rehab at the facility three times a week for three months.

“Joey Seal, my outpatient therapist, doesn’t take any guff from me. I need that,” she chuckled.

And although she still uses a cane to walk, the pain is mostly gone, and she can see steady progress. Freeman is confident that she’ll meet her goal soon. “I’m still a little wobbly, but, I’m doing so much better,” she added. “I just want to walk every day and be active again.”