PT Gives Patient Hope with Treatment


James Farrell was in serious pain every day. Battling a rare condition in his pelvic area, Farrell desperately searched for months to find a therapist to treat him. And then he called The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center (AHMC) and spoke to Colleen Law, a physical therapist. Farrell went from painful days filled with despair and uncertainty to feelings of relief and hope, and that is why Law is the hospital’s newest recipient of the BEE Award.

Farrell has interstitial cystitis (IC), which is an inflamed or irritated bladder wall. It causes long-term pain and discomfort in the bladder and abdominal area, along with urinary frequency and urgency. According to John Hopkins Medicine, diagnosis and treatment can be difficult and the exact cause is unknown.

In his nomination of Law, he writes that he lives more than an hour away from Alice Hyde and struggled for two years to find a physical therapist close to home who could treat him. He eventually decided to call the hospital and talked to Law.

“She immediately agreed to treat me. I have had 26 treatments, as of this writing, and Colleen has been very professional and open to try new therapy and techniques,” Farrell explains.

One thing he particularly appreciates in the connection Law made with him during every session, with a deep focus on helping better manage his pain.

“Colleen is a tremendous listener who asks great follow up questions to better understand my condition at the start of each session. She has also been extremely kind and compassionate and communicates extremely well about the goals and techniques for each session,” he adds.

Farrell says he is highly impressed with her dedication to learn about his condition, pointing to the time she spent on her own researching and self-educating about IC. Law even went to another office for one of his appointments so she could better understand what he was going through and how to better support his pain management needs through physical therapy.

Her attention to detail also stands out to Farrell, as she writes detailed notes after each session so that he and his urologist can track his progress, calling them, “far more detailed than any other medical professional I have had.”

Working together, they developed a comprehensive daily routine to help Farrell improve his overall physical and mental health.

“Colleen has provided me a great deal of pain relief from my worst symptoms. I have learned a tremendous amount about the importance of stretching and breathing properly to help relax my pelvic floor,” Farrell says.

And he remains forever grateful for the difference his physical therapist at Alice Hyde has made.

“I have a much more positive outlook to living with my painful condition than I did prior to my sessions with Colleen,” Farrell reflects. “I willingly drive an hour to and from my appointments with her knowing that I will leave each time feeling much better.”