Name: Kati Hook
Age: 35 years old
Where do you call home? I live in NW Indiana on my parent's farm. I have an apartment in the barn.
Education: I have an associates degree in Occupational Therapy. Through my internships, I learned tips and tricks that have helped me to maintain my independence.
What is your relationship status? Who do you live with? I am single, I live with my Frenchie, Mabel who keeps me very busy.
What's a typical day for you? I have an aid every day that comes and cleans. She also is a great cook and loves to cook for me. We go and work out 3 times a week at a gym. We also love to shop for food and clothes. Living on the farm I love to be out with the horses, goats, dogs, and pig. When the weather is warm, my nieces and nephews come over and we swim, cookout and make lots of smores. I also attend speech therapy a couple of times a week.
How long have you known you are living with FA? When and how were you diagnosed? I was diagnosed when I was 19 years old, so have been living with FA for 16 years. Wow does time fly when you're having fun. I had scoliosis and went to an Orthopedic doctor to find out how to treat it. As he was examining me, he had me close my eyes and stand which I couldn't do. He then was convinced that I had more than just scoliosis. He then suggested I see a neurologist. That doctor prescribed a blood test resulting in a positive for FA.
Are there any others with FA in your family? I have two other sisters and Jami and Carli. Carli was diagnosed with FA when she was 21 years old.
Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. The transitions from walking to walker and then wheelchair were very stressful and difficult decisions to make. But with each transition, it made life easier. As far as adaptions, I have many. Grab bars are definitely my friend. Love my roll in shower, my van which has been modified to keep me driving and an electric wheelchair is great to cover lots of areas.
What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I go to the gym 3 days a week. I love the pool therapy! I do the arm bike, a bike that moves your arms and legs called the new step. I also do a weighted arm pulley.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I'm slightly obsessed with my dog Mabel and I wrote 2 books about her. "A Day in Mabel's Paws" and "A Weekend in Mabel's Paws" As a little girl I never had a book, Barbie doll or even a cartoon that positively featured a person living in a wheelchair. I want to give Kids and my FAmily a positive outlook and through my Frenchie, I feel that I accomplished my goal.
What is a good trick to make daily life easier? Try not to sweat the small stuff.
When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? I might go to the gym to work out my funk or take Mabel for a walk.
What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? Having FA has taught me to be grateful for the little things. Not falling that day or not spilling the plate of food when I carry it to the table.
What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? "Accept what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.
What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Don't adapt and change things to make them easier, as long as it's safe. A little struggle is good. You can never go back and do them like before if you make it easier. "If you don't use it you lose it". This quote is so true with FA.
"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? How do you live your life in the face of adversity? I try to live life and not use FA as an excuse. I understand that life is hard on everyone and that everyone has their struggles. Yes, with FA, it is different but you just have to learn different ways to enjoy life. Not going to let FA get in the way.
Tell us a little more about you...Every year my family has an event the third weekend in July called FA Woodstock. It is a great three days of swimming, fishing, horseback riding, eating and lots of laughing. It is a great place for FA'rs and their families to hang with other families. If you haven't ever attended, this year is the year. It is our 10th year and we have lots planned. You can check it out on our website and check out my two books too! www.hooksflyinghranch.com