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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Rehabilitation goal: Get an Omaha dance teacher back on pointe

February 16, 2018

Lupus survivor Hannah Matthew poses with dance partner and spinal cord injury survivor John Abkes during Westside Church’s “Road Trip” Christmas pageant. Hannah and John were reconnected while both attended TherapyPlus outpatient therapy sessions. 

Program Snapshot: In addition to Madonna’s TherapyPlus outpatient  program, patients can participate in our intensive Rehabilitation Day Program. The focus of this program is to maximum recovery so individuals can resume activities that make life meaningful. 

Hannah Matthew is back on her toes, praising God for the gift of dance after a battle for her life began nearly two years ago. 

What started out as aches and pains in February 2016 progressed to the point where the Omaha dance teacher says it hurt to put a shirt on, let alone go into the dance studio. Diagnosed with lupus, Hannah says her health continued to decline. As doctors struggled to pinpoint exactly what was causing her heart, lungs and kidneys to fail, Hannah was placed in a medically induced coma. When she woke up, “I wasn’t able to lift up my arms, turn on my side. Nothing,” Hannah said. 

Hannah’s family turned to their faith and social media, asking for prayers and support as she recovered. Husband, Conner Matthew, created video updates on her progress in Nebraska Medicine and when they were able to start rehabilitation at Madonna’s Omaha Campus, May 1, 2017. 

“We are happy to announce: we’re going to Madonna!” said Conner. 

“Yeah!” said Hannah.

Once at Madonna, Hannah continued to make huge strides in her rehabilitation program, weaning off the tracheostomy, feeding tube and building back muscle she lost as a result of losing 40 pounds during the illness. “Hannah’s faith-filled words and actions here inspired my personal journey with Christ,” said Sammy Hofling, NA. “Being able to share that mutual faith at work created a lasting bond that continues.”

Hannah left Madonna a few weeks later using a walker and continued in Madonna’s comprehensive TherapyPlus outpatient therapy program. Once she regained her stride, she set her sights back to dancing. Working with Hannah, Amy Taylor, PT, incorporated dance steps and movements into physical therapy sessions to continue to strengthen Hannah’s legs and fine-tune movements that used to come second-nature to Hannah. 

“The dancing is her passion and her dream and that’s when we see the most results is when we find that meaningful purpose,” said Amy.

Hannah continued to work on her form and steps outside of therapy.Her efforts paid off. She was asked to choreograph and dance the Christmas Waltz with former Madonna patient and spinal cord injury survivor John Abkes in a local church’s annual Christmas production called “Road Trip.” 

Hannah is now back to teaching dance saying, “It’s “It’s a miracle I’m here today. Good doctors. Good nurses and a God who is good and faithful.” 

Watch her video: Madonna helps Omaha dance teacher get back on pointe after illness

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