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Towanda Woman Saved From Pain

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Did you know your muscles make noise?  Not that you can hear, of course.  But we recently got a demonstration of a machine used at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center that allows doctors to hear what's going on in your muscles.  And a woman from Towanda says it saved her from a lifetime of pain.

Mary Pennay of Towanda walked to the couch by herself to meet Newswatch 16 for an interview.  That might not sound notable to you, but to her it's fantastic progress, after months of constant, debilitating pain.

 "I thought, because I'm so active and I do so much, that I had injured my spine," said Mary.

It was the summer of 2011 when the 66-year-old started struggling.  She admits there were nights she didn't sleep at all, and instead sat in bed crying.  Months of testing and scans came back with no answers.  But then someone suggested she meet with Dr. James Hora at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre.

"And that's when my recovery began," sje said.

"She's been gradually getting stronger and stronger and she's gone from wheelchair to walking," Dr. Hora pointed out.  He is Director of Neurology at Geisinger Wyoming Valley, and Director of Neuromuscular Medicine for Geisinger Health Systems. 

He showed us the EMG, or electro myography, machine used to diagnose Mary.  One of the tests involves a tiny needle inserted into a muscle, so the doctor can listen to what the muscle is doing.

"We insert it in the muscle, it records the electrical activity inside the muscle, and it gives us an idea of how nerve and muscle are working together," said Dr. Hora.  "Many times patients with unknown medical disorders present with a nerve disorder.  And we figure out that they have diabetes or something like that."

In Mary's case, it was an inflammatory nerve disease, an auto-immune issue that's treatable with the right medication.  Once the inflammation was taken care of, the nerves began to heal on their own.

"I used to be a Type-A but with this I had to learn to be a Type B+!"  she laughed.