Fort Drum soldier helped by ‘holistic’ treatment

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - A Fort Drum soldier who was incapacitated by tremors has a new lease on life, thanks to Army’s latest approach to physical fitness - Holistic Health and Fitness, or H2F.

Until 2020, Sergeant Paden Gillispie lived a normal life. Things changed that January, when he suddenly began to experience tremors and medical professionals weren’t sure what to do.

“They all gave me pretty much a dead end because I got the diagnosis ‘functional neurological disorder,’” Gillispie said Wednesday.

Over time the tremors got worse, leaving Gillispie unable to shave, move without a walker, or even get out of bed unassisted.

“Well I got to the point where I didn’t have quality of life. If I don’t have life I don’t want to be around. That’s just me as a person,” Gillispie said.

But things eventually looked up, thanks to H2F.

“H2F just kind of took me in. We did a different approach to the the normal neurologic aspect of treatment,” Gillispie said.

He’s referring to the ‘holistic’ approach, in which his treatment treatment focused on all aspects of health, from meetings with nutritionists and occupational therapists, to individually-tailored physical training.

“They gave me that warrior mentality. That’s the environment that I’m comfortable being in and just pushing myself non-stop and that was the environment I clearly needed,” he said.

His recovery has impressed Gillispie’s fellow soldiers.

It’s pretty powerful stuff, so I really don’t have the words,” said Captain Peter Guarraci, occupational therapist in the H2F program.

On August 3, Gillispie will be retiring from military service, moving on to real estate and an independent aerial photography company, able to work and live thanks to the H2F program.

“Some things take skill. Some things take time. Some things take effort, some things take love. Some cases like Paden, they take all four. I think that’s what makes these things the sweeter,” said Mark Taysom, the H2F program director.

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