A strong work ethic and quiet strength describe Leo Corl, 60, a Bellefonte farmer who has been through more health challenges in the last few years than many of us experience in 20. "He also has a great sense of humor," adds Rose Corl, his wife of 35 years. "Our farm veterinarian always says, 'it doesn't matter what kind of situation I go into at the Corls'; I know that I'll leave there laughing!' That really describes Leo."
Early in October, doctors discovered a mass in Leo's brain, with swelling and bleeding, and he needed emergency surgery. Leo had brain surgery at Mount Nittany Medical Center. The doctors determined that the cancer in Leo's brain mass was the same as the cancer he had battled in his colon and spleen in 2010.
As a result of the brain tumor, Leo had no feeling in his left arm and leg. "After surgery, Leo's neurosurgeon told us that Leo needed rehabilitation," explains Rose. "He recommended HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Pleasant Gap for therapy. We were relieved that we did not have to go far; Leo's 91-year-old dad wanted him nearby." She adds, "Also, my mother went to HealthSouth for stroke rehabilitation and she did so well there. We felt good about our doctor's choice."
Leo arrived at HealthSouth in a wheelchair on October 10, unable to move his left arm or his left leg. He spent 17 days at the hospital, working hard in physical and occupational therapy for three hours a day. Leo progressed to using a walker. He could also open and close his left fist, and move his wrist. Rose adds, "During therapy, I learned so much about how I was going to care for him when we got home. The therapists taught me how to help Leo walk, and how to safely transfer him in and out of the wheelchair, and in and out of the bed. When Leo was discharged, I was confident that I could care for him safely."
When Leo went home, he transitioned to outpatient therapy at HealthSouth's Pleasant Gap Clincic, which is connected to the inpatient hospital. He progressed from using a walker to a four point cane, and he can do more for himself at home now. " I could not have asked for better care," says Leo. "The nurses and therapists went out of their way to help us."
Leo's mantra about cancer is, "It's Going Down." "That's the kind of attitude he has," says Rose. "He's going to beat it."