Saturday, May 7, 2011

Miracles Do Happen! I am Proof!

I should probably start this post off with an apology. I am sorry it has taken me so long to post an update. These past couple of months have been pretty hectic with therapy, job interviews, and spending time with friends. I have been flooded with emails and messages about my lack of postings. I am so blessed to have the support and love from so many people who follow my blog and my progress. God has blessed me so much during this long road to recovery. However, it is the support of my family and friends that keep me going and pushing forward!

I do not regret this life for one second, but I am thankful for the blessings and opportunities this injury has provided me! I have always known that God has a plan and a purpose for me. I am so glad that he has given me the ability to reach people in a way I never had before. Sometimes the hardest times and the most difficult circumstances are God's blessings in disguise. When we stop depending on ourselves and start trusting God 100% with our lives is when we will start seeing his blessings. I know that throughout these past few years my faith has grown tremendously and I have learned to trust in God and let him guide my paths. God has brought so many people into my life who have taught me a great deal about myself. I am thankful for everything and everyone in my life. I am thankful for the good times and the bad because it is in the bad times in life that we lean on God and make ourselves stronger Christians!

These past few months have been awesome for me! I have made unbelievable strides in my recovery and it seems God just opens one door after another! I have been blessed with job opportunities and significant progress in my rehab. I can feel a difference and change in my legs and I know God is not done with me yet! The other day in therapy I walked with canes instead of my walker and did WONDERFUL at it! I think over time I am going to start using canes instead of my walker and hopefully become much more efficient at my walking. It was only my 3rd time ever walking with canes and this 3rd time was by far the best! I am going to keep at it and in time, ill be walking everywhere. My therapist mentioned that she wanted to go on a community outing for therapy one day. She mentioned going to a restaurant "Moes" and I would have to leave my chair at home! I immediately said YES!! I am excited to start walking outside of therapy and my apartment and start walking out in public. Sometimes you just have to fly the nest! I think I am ready to spread my wings! The more I walk in my braces the better it is for me. Walking is some of the best therapy I can do, because I am using all the muscles and retraining my brain how to take steps again! I still have a ways to go, but with incomplete injuries such as myself there is no telling how much I can recover!

However, I know that therapy alone will not give me the results I have been seeking. I have known from the beginning that I would need God's help and a miracle if I was to beat this terrible injury! I still believe in miracles and have not lost faith for ONE SECOND that I will receive that miracle in time. I am starting to see a lot of improvements and I know recovery from an SCI is painfully slow but I have no doubt that miracles can come at any time. God has a plan for me and I am NEVER giving up. I will see this thing through to the end, no matter how long it takes I will never give up! My recovery has provided me with a wonderful testimony to share with people my many blessings. I want people to see God working in my life and know that he can do the same for them!

Several weeks ago, I was able to reach a huge milestone. It was a very special day for me and a bit emotional. After my time in the I.C.U. at UAMS Hospital I was transferred to Baptist Rehab Hospital. I stayed there for only a few weeks because of my shoulder complications. The therapist were not able to work on my rehab effectively because the surgeon did not want me to bare weight through my shoulder. My parents got an apartment in Maumelle while we waited for my surgeon to clear my shoulder for weight baring so I could return to BRI and continue my therapy. The apartments were located right next to a lake with a park and walking trail around it. I would go on many strolls around the lake with friends in my power wheelchair. Those were some of the toughest times for me!! I kept my emotions hidden and put on a strong face but having to deal with everything just left me broken inside. My good friend Alyssa would visit me often in the hospital and even spent her Christmas by my side even though I was still in a coma. She would go on walks with me around the lake while I rode in my power chair. One day we stopped around the lake and everything kind of hit me at once the reality of where I was and the journey ahead of me. Despite my emotions, I promised Alyssa, ONE DAY, I was going to get up out of this chair and walk around this lake with her! A few weeks ago I got the call from her telling me that I needed to keep that promise! So we met at the lake where the promise was made, I grabbed my walker and my braces, stood up out of my chair and started walking the path with her!! It was funny, but people were jogging past me the entire time encouraging me as I walked. One guy came by and said, "Wow man, did you blow your knee out?" I just laughed and was like, ummm Something like that! That day was very special to me because, while I was walking I heard a familiar voice. It was my friend Lana who I went to college with at Harding. Lana sells prosthetic implants to surgeons and was actually in on my shoulder surgery. Lana was able to see me come full circle. She remembers me from the operating room to walking around a lake, I was happy she was there to see it. I do not think it was a coincidence that she was jogging the lake that day, it was a GOD THING!



God has blessed me SO MUCH!! I have been given a second chance and I am going to take advantage of every opportunity to share with others how God has blessed my life! I should not have survived that accident. Doctors were not very optimistic that I was going to pull through. But God was bombarded with prayers from all over the world on my behalf and he answered those prayers by giving me a second chance. God spared my life but I was left was a daunting task ahead of me! My road to recovery was going to be a long, hard road but with the support of my family and friends one that I KNOW I will accomplish! PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR ME! Pray for complete and total healing! I have NO DOUBT, NONE WHAT SO EVER that miracles do happen and I know God is not done with me yet!
God Bless you all!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT



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Monday, March 7, 2011

What an awesome God we serve

My blog post this week is not going to be so much on my recovery, (which is going great) but instead, I wanted to share some things that were on my heart in hopes that it can encourage others.

We serve an AWESOME GOD! Each and everyday I am so thankful for the life he has given me. I am so blessed to be able to laugh and enjoy the love of all my friends and my family. So many times people think that because of my disability that it has in someway hindered my living. In the past it was true. I had a hard time adjusting to the changes in my life and admittedly sometimes I let them get the best of me. However, I know that my life is so much more.

God has granted me a second chance at this life. I feel that I should use that second chance to the best of my ability to bring honor and glory to God in all things. My recovery although it seems slow at times is actually progressing quit well. Each week I am getting more and more feeling and glimmers of movement I had not had before. Some night I wake up with my legs throbbing and I cant go back to sleep. I know God is working in my life and in my body. I am constantly reminded of the motto which my sister started while I spent all those critical days in the hospital. The motto although simple still rings true to me today. GOD NEVER PROMISED US THIS LIFE WOULD BE EASY, BUT HE DID PROMISE IT WOULD BE WORTH IT! Those words are so very true and I think of them often. Our only purpose on this life is to bring glory to God in all things and to prepare ourselves for the life after this one.

I feel more than ever that God has a calling for me. My calling on this earth is to encourage others and to show them the love of God. I do not believe my accident was caused by God. It was just that.....AN ACCIDENT, but I feel that God can use all situations in each of our lives to help us become better Christians and to glorify him. So many times I use to live for this world and the things in it. I was always so worried about my physical circumstances and stature. I know now that there is so much more to this world than just meaningless things. I want God to use me everyday! I want others to want to know God through meeting me and I want to so badly give him praise throughout everything.

People ask me all the time how my attitude has remained so upbeat throughout this entire ordeal. The answer is simple; I do not live for the things of this world anymore. I do not look at myself any different now as I did before, except for the fact that I now have a more focused view of my purpose!

I want to thank everyone who has continued to support me and follow my progress along this journey. So many people still read this blog on a regular basis and it gives me so much joy to know that it is touched so many people. If you would like to know when I post my updates, you can click to FOLLOW ME and it will send you an email notification on each of my posts. I always look forward to reading the comments from everyone, they lift me up so much. I will continue to post videos so everyone can see my progress. Just know, that each gain I make that I am doing so ONLY by the grace of God who has looked after me throughout it all!

THANK YOU ALL AND PLEASE PRAY FOR ME DAILY!!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Progress is Coming!! Prayers still needed!

What a wonderful past few weeks I have had in my walking. Two weeks ago my outpatient therapy ended at Baptist Rehab. I had been going there 3x a week for the past couple of month to learn how to walk in my new braces. I am able to stand on my own, walk and sit down unassisted. I have gotten better at controlling the braces so the only thing left for me to do is PRACTICE!

Not only have I been walking in my braces but I have been learning to be functional in them as well. I am able to walk in my apartment and do small tasks like washing dishes in my sink and getting things out of the fridge. I try to walk in my braces everyday in my apartment and slowly try to ween myself from my chair. The more practice I do the better I will get at walking. I am so thankful to everyone who has stuck beside me throughout this long journey I have been on these past few years. It is not easy but through prayers and faith I have been blessed with the ability to walk in braces (for the time being). My ultimate goal is to walk again, and to live a normal life as I did before my accident. Some would say that this is impossible, well MOST people would say it is impossible. However I have never once doubted for one second that this would not become a reality. I know the mountain I have to climb ahead of me and I realize that it will take everything I have in order to reach the summit, but it is a task I am determined to accomplish.

Life is not always easy and for the past few years everyday has been a struggle. However, we were not called on this earth to live a life free of trails and hard times. Everyone faces hard times in life but it is our resiliency and our willingness to put all of our trust in God if we are to overcome them. I have been faced with a physical challenge but what has been laid in front of me is not impossible to overcome. Doctors, scientist, and many other skeptics may say otherwise but I do not believe them. I NEVER HAVE!! I always have faith in what the bible teaches. Faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. The analogy is simple if we understand the meaning. A mountain is an immovable object, something that NO ONE on earth could ever move. But with God's help and if you have faith, an undoubting, unwavering faith then God can move mountains for you.

I believe God hears our prayers and that he still does work miracles. I have already seen so many miracles in my life since this tragic accident. The fact that I am alive today is proof of just one of the many miracles in my life. I know that God is not done with me and I know my recovery is far from over.

If there is one thing I could ask of everyone who follows this blog it is this: Please pray for me!! Please go to God and ask him to work yet another miracle in my life, to touch my legs and make me whole again. I know it is possible I know he can move mountains in our lives. I believe in miracles!! I have come a long ways in my recovery but hard work can only take you so far. I believe that the answer has been right in front of my face from day one. I CANT DO THIS ON MY OWN! I COULDN'T THEN, AND I CANT NOW! I have never been able to do this on my own. I NEED GODS HELP!! I need a mountain moved for me!

Its funny that so many times I think to myself, "if I just push myself a little harder, or workout a little more than I can achieve my goals." I do not believe that to be the case at all. I still need a miracle in my life in order to reach my ultimate goal of being healed. I dont doubt that it can happen. I hope all of you share my faith and optimism of my recovery. Ask your churches or your bible study groups to pray for me. Ask your friends to do the same and together we will go to God with prayers and petitions.

I want to thank everyone who has been beside me from the beginning. Throughout all of those hard times in the hospitals. From the cards, and emails, phone calls and letters of encouragement. My support group has never left my side. My church and friends have been there for me and have been willing to help me throughout it all. I simply ask you to not give up on me yet, I know you wont!

I have so much to be thankful for and I am so blessed to be a Christian.
Thank you all!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Monday, January 17, 2011

Long Over Due Post

I apologize for the delay on this blog post. I realize it has been over a month since my last post. I wanted to let everyone know just how blessed my life is today. I am still doing therapy 3x a week at the Baptist Rehab Outpatient Clinic. Starting Tuesday Jan 18th I will also be starting back at University of Central Arkansas Physical Therapy school. I had about a month off from therapy at UCA due to the Christmas Break.

In therapy right now I am currently working walking more efficiently in my new stance control braces. Learning to walk in them is a bit tricky, but once I get it down I will be able to walk much more efficiently. Right now we putting both braces in the stance control setting and putting a 2 lbs weight around each ankle. The tricky part in using these braces is to create an extension moment in the knee in order to allow the knee to unlock as I swing my leg forward. Once I learn to use them correctly I will be walking not only more fluidly and look normal!

As I have mention in previous posts these braces will allow the knee to break during the swing through phase of my walking, but lock out the knee during the stance phase (or when my foot touches the ground). However in order to allow the knee to release during the swing through there must be a slight extension moment (hiking the knee backward) very slightly in order to break the lock, I will then swing it forward at the same time which allows for a more fluid walking pattern.


I have been so extremely blessed by all the support and love that has been shown to me each and everyday. I look forward to going to church to be around my peers and such an AMAZING support group. I always get encouraged when I go into church and I am so extremely blessed to have the support of so many people. I could not imagine what it would be like if I did not have the family and friends that I have!

I have taken a few videos of my walking but did not like my progress in the video to post! haha. I get nervous when the camera is on, but ill get over it. Its funny but turn the camera off I will knock off 10-15 steps PERFECTLY!! turn the camera on and its every few steps I will mess up on. Its a learning process, but one that I am dedicated to learning!

Yesterday in rehab I finally decided to post a video, although it is not my best work, its all I have at the moment. The camera is never on when I am walking the best but you can get an idea of how these new braces work! My orthosist (the one who made the braces) still has some fine tuning to make but did not want to make the changes until I was comfortable and learned how to walk in the braces. Once the tweeks have been made it should allow the walking to be even easier and more fluid, but with the changes its a little (LESS-SAFE) which is why he wanted me to master the walking first before he made the walking easier. In the video below I also have weights on my ankles (under my pants). I hope you enjoy the video, believe me I have come A LONG ways from when I first started walking in them!

TO GOD GOES ALL THE GLORY!! Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I strive to walk again! I am still confident in my healing and know that it is still just a matter of time! With him all things are possible! Thank you for all of your support!
I LOVE YOU ALL,
IN HIM,
BRENT

video

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone! I Am So Blessed!

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holidays and enjoying the colder weather. I for one am NOT enjoying the cold weather as the temperature changes my bones (i.e. metal in my bones) begin to ache. However, it is good for a change of scenery from time to time and getting the cool air instead of sweating every time you go outside.

I have had an exciting few weeks in therapy recently. I have been going to therapy 3x a week doing out patient therapy at Baptist Rehab (where i did my acute stay after my accident) and once a week at the Physical Therapy school at UCA (University of Central Arkansas). I have taken this entire week off of therapy in order to have the final fitting done to my braces. I have been using the braces for over a month but they were not the finished product. Once I had walked in them and agreed to the fit, they would then put the finishing touches on them and make any changes. I should be getting my braces back tomorrow and its back to the routine next week.

During my therapy sessions at Baptist, I had been learning to walk with the braces in stance control setting. This allows my knee to bend during swing through and then lock once my heal strikes the ground. This will allow me to walk more fluidly once I get it down. Since the beginning of my therapy I had been using an overhead lift and harness to help me in case I were to fall. But starting last week I have been spending the entire hour walking with both legs in stance control and without the safety net of a harness. I am starting to disengage the knee and swinging it forward on almost every step. It actually looks like im walking normally! SLOWLY...BUT NORMALLY!

During my therapy at UCA the professor and students are working on strengthening my legs and working on my walking motion. In order to this I am locking both of my knees out and putting 20 lbs on each ankle! I say, "I" but what I mean is "MY THERAPIST" is "MAKING ME" put 20 lbs on each ankle! She loves to push me to my limits and BELIEVE ME SHE DOES! I would have a hard time walking with 20 lbs on each ankle BEFORE my accident, let alone after. BUT I DID IT!!!! I am getting much stronger in my hips and taking more fluid steps with the weight on each ankle. (the video is below) and remember, that is 20 lbs of weights on each ankle :) just had to throw that in there again!!

God has continued to bless me through out my rehab! I am SO VERY FORTUNATE to have the support of my family and friends. My friend/neighbor upstairs Alexis came down to help me wrap presents tonight (because I am not good at wrapping) and we were talking about my accident. Retelling that story just reminds me of JUST HOW FORTUNATE I AM!! Most of the people who go through such a traumatic injury do not have the support of their family like I have had OR my friends! Hearing the stories OF ALL THOSE PEOPLE who came to the hospital that night almost brings tears to my eyes! Filling out the waiting rooms and sitting in the hallways......i am so very lucky!! Everyone has stuck by me this WHOLE time! My church family at Pleasant Valley helps me out so much as well as my family who have sacrificed SO MUCH to help me reach my goal of one day walking again!

PLEASE continue to keep me in your prayers and never give up praying for total and complete healing! I believe in miracles, I know God can do ANYTHING! who knows, one day I could wake up and be 100% healed! I have NO DOUBT that could happen! God is so powerful, but we must keep the faith and put our trust in the one who made us! AND WE WILL SEE THAT MIRACLE ONE DAY!

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

video

Sunday, November 14, 2010

GREAT NEWS! I STILL NEED YOUR PRAYERS!

I have had a GREAT past couple of days in therapy! On Friday I had two therapy sessions. 8 AM at Baptist Rehab followed by an 11:30 apt at UCA where I was able to work with my wonderful PT, Twala and her class. They had me walking on a treadmill on Friday and to make it more difficult they put 10 lbs weights on each leg. It was difficult but I was able to do it (video below).

This session was especially emotional because some of the PT students in their 3rd and final year of Physical Therapy school did an internship at Baptist during my acute care. They saw me during the roughest time, when I was a physical and emotional WRECK. They remember seeing how timid and afraid I was entering therapy with my shoulder immobilized, swollen and scared out of my mind. I was unable to do ANYTHING on my own during my first stint at Baptist Rehab. I remember it well when my friend Jessica had to help me transfer from my wheelchair onto the workout mat. She had to do EVERYTHING because I was unable to move my left arm. Jessica was in the class on Friday. She started crying when i stood up out of my chair, and walked to the treadmill to start therapy :( It was a bit emotional for me to, just seeing how far I have come and remembering her working with me during those rough times.

I am so encouraged by my therapy these past few weeks. I feel like I have gained so much in this short period of time with the intense therapy I have been getting. I wake up early every morning (5 am) and do all of my "at-home" workouts before the sun comes up. Riding my bike for 40 minutes, followed by 45 min of standing and then E-stim on my legs. After that, I usually have therapy at Baptist Rehab at 9 a.m. I am working hard towards using my braces functionally and getting out of my chair. It takes a lot of practice but one that I am COMMITTED to achieving! The new braces takes A LOT of practice, to help me walk functionally but I know I will get there!

On Wednesday I had a doctors appointment with my physician Dr. Kiser. He has been my spinal cord and rehab doctor since my accident. He said that he wanted to possibly put me on a certain type of medication called 4AP which was created for M.S. patients but they have seen a lot of positive things come from Spinal Cord Injury patients taking the drug. The drug does not work on everybody, only some depending on the injury. He wanted to try me on it to see if it could help me in my recovery process. The only downside are the possible side effects the drug could cause? However, I want to try it and see if it would help me. Every spinal cord injury is different and no one, not even doctors can tell you EXACTLY how each individual cord was damaged. Damage happens on a microscopic level and to tell exactly the severity of each injury and what was damaged can only be determined from physical tests. i.e. If you can move or do certain things, than this part of your cord is functioning and/or not functioning and was damaged. Each nerve axon has a protective sheath called mylon "IF" the damage to the cord is due to a demylonation of the nerve axon this drug will help bridge that gap to make the connection. However, it will only work "IF" that is the case. But, there is no way of telling exactly if it is the case? haha. I am trying to do all the research I can on this drug and see if it will be something I should consider taking. The drug has a side effect of possible seizures. This would NOT BE GOOD, so I want to make sure it is something I want to try. PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS!! Pray that my recovery continues to go well and as always NEVER STOP PRAYING FOR TOTAL AND COMPLETE HEALING! I know it is possible and I believe it with all my heart it will happen :)

GOD BLESS YOU ALL FOR CONTINUING TO FOLLOW THIS BLOG
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT



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Friday, October 29, 2010

More Therapy For Me!!! Walking is going GREAT!

These past few weeks have been WONDERFUL! I have been continuing my rehab at University of Central Arkansas working with an AMAZING Physical Therapist. She has helped me so much in my walking. Last two weeks she had me walking on a treadmill!

The first time on the treadmill they had me walking on a body weight support system. The body weight support system is a harness that suspends me over a the treadmill. I starting walking at a normal walking speed. My therapist then lowered the body weight support system more and more until there was slack in the harness, and I was 100% bearing all the weight through my legs, AND I WAS STILL WALKING!! They sped up the treadmill and I was able to keep pace! My new braces are amazing, and I am able to walk so much easier with them. It is still a lot to get use to because I am trying to learn to walk more functionally in the braces.

Last week in therapy I walked without the body weight support system on the treadmill, using just the parallel bars, after walking with the bars we got out the loft stand crutches and I worked on bearing weight through the crutches as I walked on the treadmill. After my walking on the treadmill, we then did e-stim therapy on my quads, getting them to flex as I kicked me legs out! Im very excited with how things are going!

Another great thing, is that my doctor has written me a script to get outpatient therapy at Baptist Rehab, the same place were I did my acute care after my accident. I have so many friends and therapists that work at Baptist and I will be able to do therapy there several times a week ON TOP of my therapy at UCA! I am doubling up on my therapy trying to get use to my new braces and hopefully in time get out of my chair! GOD IS GOOD!! I have been so blessed since coming back to Little Rock. I am so excited to be around all my close friends and the people at Pleasant Valley.

I have even started a new tradition at my apartment. This week I had my first GAME NIGHT! HAHA! During my time in Florida, I was so blessed to have some WONDERFUL friends come to my house every Monday to spend time with me and play games. Robin, Sarah, Nick, Jennifer, Alisha, Barbie, Theresa David, and Owen would come to my apartment almost EVERY MONDAY for the time I spent in Florida and would have a game night with me! I MISS ME FRIENDS and all they did for me in Florida! I have decided to carry on the tradition and we grilled out hamburgers and played games (I still miss my moms cooking though) haha! This Thursday my whole family is coming to Little Rock for Harding's Homecoming! I am so excited to see them again! Please pray for a safe flight to Arkansas and a great weekend.

AS ALWAYS PLEASE, PLEASE continue to pray for my recovery! I am going to be double timing it with all the therapy I will be getting in the coming weeks/months. Please pray that my walking will continue to get better and I can recover even MORE in my legs and one day WALK AGAIN!! I KNOW I WILL, I just have to keep the faith and BELIEVE that it is possible! Nothing is impossible with God, please continue to pray for me! This has been a LONG, HARD road to recovery, but I am JUST AS DETERMINED as I've always been to walk again! Keep me in your daily prayers to accomplish this goal that I have ALWAYS had and I promise you I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I need your prayers!

I am writing you all today on behalf of a good friend of mine. Bethany Cox, a girl who went to Harding University was in a very serious car accident on Sept 7th in Little Rock. Talking to her family and friends I found out that we suffered much of the same injuries. She was taken to UAMS because of her trauma and spent about a month in ICU there before being transferred to Baptist Rehab Hospital. Hearing Bethany's story is de ja vu for me having experienced much of the same things. She is currently on the same wing at BRI (just a few doors down)were I spent several months in acute care. All of my old nurses and the staff who worked on me are currently with Bethany. (I know she is in GREAT HANDS)

I did not know Bethany before this accident, but several of my friends contacted me and told me of her accident. Bethany is a few years younger than me so we never crossed paths at Harding. But I already feel close to her based on the same experiences we have shared.

Bethany had severe lung trauma, which she needed constant suctioning of her lungs in order for her to breath, and also had a brain injury (SOUND FAMILIAR)along with a broken arm (mine was a shoulder but close enough). Hearing her story and her injuries just made me relive all those hard and painful times I went through. I went to UAMS after hearing of her accident and met with her mom and dad, Duncan and Kim. We became very close and would text each other everyday to tell me of Bethany's progress. Being that I had been through the same things they would contact me to find out "what certain things meant" as most of you know, Doctors do not tell you ANYTHING in the hospital.

Bethany is facing a different struggle than i faced however. She broke her neck at around the C2,C3 level which meant she would be a quadriplegic. Based on her level, she should not be able to breath or even talk on her own and would rely on a ventilator for the rest of her life! However, GOD HAS OTHER PLANS FOR BETHANY!! She is currently breathing on her own and we talk most every night on the phone. She has most all of her feeling back and is slowly regaining movement in her arms and legs. The doctors graded her an ASIA C last week (same as me) but Bethany is just a MONTH out of her injury! Her parents are so new to this injury and understanding how the recovery process works. The fact she has gotten so much back so quickly is a miracle in and of itself.

I need my prayer warrior to go to work for this family!! They are all going through a hard time adjusting to this, but I KNOW God can do MIGHTY THINGS as he has done in my life and through my recovery! Give Duncan and Kim the peace of mind that God is in control and the encouragement to face these struggles with Bethany. Please pray that Bethany will NEVER GIVE UP and stays encouraged all the while pushing towards her goal of total healing. God can do ANYTHING! i have seem him do it in my life as I know he can through Bethany as well! Her story is an AMAZING one and I would love for everyone to visit Bethany's Caring Bridge site and give both her and her parents some encouragement. You have all been down this road with me and have prayed for me all these years! PLEASE DO THIS NOW FOR MY FRIEND BETHANY!! Show her the love that you have so graciously showed me throughout all of my trials!
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!
So much in him,
Brent
The link to Bethany's caring bridge site is below.

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/bethanycox/createorsignin

Thursday, September 30, 2010

ANOTHER MIRACLE IN MY RECOVERY!

God continues to bless me throughout my recovery! As I mentioned in my previous post an amazing therapist at University of Central Arkansas has allowed me to come and be apart of her class as a teaching aide. She was explaining to her class my injury level and what that entails. I am what is considered a lower motor neuron lesion injury. Basically what that means is my spinal cord was damaged below the central cord. The spinal roots that come off of the central cord come down into the lower parts of your spine. I broke my back where the roots branch out below the central cord. What that means is I would have flaccid paralysis. My legs would not have spasms AND they would not be able to contract with electrical stimulation.

(EXCUSE MY TECHNICAL/MEDICAL JARGON)in order for a muscle to contract with electrical stimulation it must produce what is called a REFLEX ARCH in the CENTRAL CORD which runs from your brain to about the T-10 vertebrae. Below the T-10 vertebrae level you have the spinal roots or peripheral nerves. Once an electrical signal has been given to muscles it will send the signal up to the central cord to the injury point, create a reflex arch, send a signal back down to contract the muscle. However, I broke my back BELOW the T-10 level which means signals can NOT go to my central cord in order to create the reflex arch. This is why I do not have spasms in my legs and electrical stimulation will not contract the muscle. It is MEDICALLY IMPOSSIBLE!

This is why I have been excluded from almost every clinical trial. Most every clinical trial uses electrical stimulation to contract the muscles and recruit them to help in walking. Since my legs do not respond to electrical stimulation I have been excluded from every trial.

I have been using E-stim almost everyday before I go to bed. My good friend Dave Reed has let me borrow his e-stim unit which has kept my muscles healthy and strong. The unit has kept the muscle fibers active and the circulation of blood throughout my muscles. The therapists believed that my e-stim usage has kept the motor neurons in my muscles active and vibrant although the muscle would never be able to contract.

My therapist asked me if I had ever tried a DC current (Direct Current)? MOST ALL e-stim units on the market are made with AC current (Alternating Current). But a DC current sends a constant electrical stimulus to the muscle. However, you can not keep DC current on a muscle for too long because it can burn the skin which is why most units are AC. Well my therapist had a DC unit and tried it on me, AND IT WORKED!!!! MY MUSCLES CAN NOW CONTRACT which will keep my muscles strong and can be used to recruit muscles to help in my recovery.

I asked Dr. Kiser here in Little Rock what this means? I was told that I could not contract my muscles, and he HAD NO IDEA how I was doing it!! He said that I must have had a regeneration of axons in my cord which has allowed for the connection. IM SO EXCITED this is a HUGE mile stone in my recovery! GOD IS SO GOOD TO ME! AND I KNOW I WILL WALK AGAIN!!! I have never doubted it, I am doing the impossible all because of the grace of GOD!! NEVER STOP PRAYING, NEVER STOP BELIEVING!!

SO MUCH IN HIM!!
BRENT


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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Some new braces and therapy!!!

I have wonderful news! A few weeks ago I was fitted for new "STANCE CONTROL BRACES!" The Stance-Control Brace was developed by an orthotic company here in Little Rock and is used all over the world. The stance-control brace is the most technologically advanced brace that is made. It is just one step closer to helping me WALK functionally.

How the braces work:
In the stance control mode the heel and footplate is molded to the contours of my foot. Once the heel makes contact with the ground it will trigger a mechanism to lock out the knee. However, when my heel comes off the ground it will unlock my knee allowing it to swing freely in a normal walking pattern. Whenever someone walks they do it in two phases. A STANCE PHASE and a SWING-THROUGH PHASE. Each leg alternates as one is planted on the ground for stability (stance phase) the other swings through to make the next step and vise versa. As you know my hips are working to allow me to take steps but my knees are weak and buckle on me during the stance phase! But now I have a STANCE CONTROL brace! This will allow me to walk in a normal motion instead of straight legged like my current braces allow.

GOD ALWAYS TAKES CARE OF ME:
Another one of my crazy stories of how God has been working in my life throughout everything!

The orthoist told me that I would need a lot of training and Physical Therapy to learn how to walk in these new braces. He mentioned a PT who was a professor at UCA (University of Central Arkansas) Physical Therapy school who specialized in Spinal Cord Injury and has worked a lot with the stance-control brace. On a random whim, I looked her up on facebook and wrote her a letter explaining my injury and how I would LOVE to have her evaluate me and take me on as a patient to help me walk in her free time. She wrote back and said that she would love to help me and would be willing for me to be a class project for her P.T. students. She would evaluate me and train me to walk in the braces and her class would watch and assist as a learning tool. The best part is that it is ABSOLUTELY FREE!! Because I am a class project she will do the therapy at no cost. The professor knows SCI (spinal cord injures) well because her husband is a C5/6 quadriplegic.
She even volunteered to drive from Conway to Little Rock, about a 30 min drive to help fit me for my new braces. On Tuesday afternoon she met me at the Orthotics lab and helped the Orthosist fit the braces to help me walk more functionally. I will get the braces late next week and will begin my therapy shortly with my new Physical Therapist. GOD IS GOOD!!!

I am so excited about this new therapy and I am continually amazed at how God takes care of me! I can honestly say to all of you; if you give your life over to him than you will never have to worry. It is just amazing to me how he continually handles every situation that arises in my life. Bills, therapy, unexpected situations, God has ALWAYS provided for me! It is like I do not have a care in the world because I know that things work out for the best! He has plans for me and if I just shut up and quit fighting with him over control of my life, EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT! I know that he is in control of my life and it is such a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders. I know i will walk again one day and I am working hard to achieve that goal, but throughout it all i assure you it will all be for his glory!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support after all of this time! I am the luckiest man alive!

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
So much in him,
Brent

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My return visit to the UAMS I.C.U.

I know it has been awhile since my last post and I apologize for the delay. I was at church this past Sunday night when i was stopped by an old family friend from back home in Florida. Joe Stephens went to my church when I was born and has been close to my family ever since. He has been following my blog EVERYDAY since my accident, and said, "its been since July 10th since your last post." I was shocked to hear that Joe had followed my blog this whole time. Sometime I got the impression that people had fallen away from reading my blog. I wrote on it mainly for myself, kind of like my journal. Joe made me realize that it is still followed by people, even though I don't realize it!

I have some wonderful news to share with everyone! If you wanted to hear how God has been working behind the scenes then sit down because, BOY DO I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU!!
Last week a friend of mine was injured in a mountain bike accident at a near by park and was in the hospital at UAMS (she is doing ok now.) I went there to visit with her and her family to hopefully help a little since I know a thing or two about being in a hospital. After I visited with her and her family for awhile, I got the nerve built up to visit the I.C.U. in the other building where I spent all those months.

Before I go any further I need to give you guys a little back story!
(People ask me all the time about my stay in the I.C.U. and what it was like being in a coma. I can honestly say I remember very little about my entire stay at UAMS. I was either in a coma or so heavily sedated I didn't know what was going on. But, I do have memories...but only just 2 or 3 of them. They are of small 10-15 second snap shots whenever I would wake up for a brief amount of time. One of those memories I could not get out of my head!! I remember waking up in the I.C.U. with a ventilator breathing for me. As I opened my eyes I saw a young nurse standing over me with her hands on my arm, when I looked up it appeared that she was praying, with her eyes closed. I remember looking at her name tag and it reading JOY! I could not get her face out of my head for YEARS!! I even remember asking my mom if she remembered a JOY?? It was the ONLY nurse I remember throughout my stay there. But, she never could recall a Joy ever working on me. My mom kept detailed notes of all the doctors and nurses who ever worked on me, but there was never a JOY. For the longest time, I thought maybe I had dreamed her? or made her up? But I could never get her face out of my head)

- BACK TO UAMS. and my I.C.U. visit. As a nice lady led me through the halls of hospital when we finally came up to the I.C.U ward. I was kind of hesitant going in there and seeing the hall where I had spent all those weeks. I was not suppose to be in there but one of the nurses said it would be OK, but only if I wasn't in there for long. As soon as I went into the I.C.U. i saw a nurse sitting with her back turned to me looking through a window monitoring a patient. As I came up behind her I said,.....JOY??? She turned around and said...YES!? I could NOT BELIEVE IT!! one of only a few memories I ever had in the I.C.U. was of this girls face and seeing her praying in my room. AND IT WAS HER!!! I WASN'T MAKING IT UP! She remembered me very well and we hugged and caught up for 30-40 minutes. Joy could NOT believe it was me, she said I looked totally different than when she saw me in the ICU haha OBVIOUSLY. Joy then walked through the halls with me and was showing me off to all the other nurses. Joy told me most of my nurses who worked on me were on a different shift.
Its amazing but I see God behind every little thing that happens in my life like that! My ONE memory of a nurse would be the FIRST nurse I see. When I shouldn't be allowed into the I.C.U. one of the nurses makes an exception for me, and the FIRST person i see was the girls face i could never get out of my head. (THAT IS A GOD THING) It was a weird experience being back in there and even seeing the room where i spent all those hard nights. Im not going to lie....it was kind of tough with me being back there and reliving all of that. :(

God has blessed me SO MUCH!! I am forever grateful at the blessings he has given me. This accident has changed my life and has made me realize that I AM NOT IN CONTROL!! I use to think I had the whole world figured out, now I know that my time here is so short and can be taken at any moment! (IT ALMOST WAS!) It is a comforting fact that I can lay all of my troubles and worries down. God has taken care of me throughout ALL of this and he will continue to see me through to the end!

NEVER STOP PRAYING FOR MIRACLES!!
I LOVE YOU ALL!!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I have some WONDERFUL news!

Well, as always God has continued to bless me all along this long and hard road ive been on for the last few years. Things at work are going wonderful, I am becoming great friends with the people at abc Financial and I am really starting to come into things with my job. I have never had to learn so much stuff IN MY LIFE! It seems everyday I have a new software or process to learn in the company, BUT I LOVE IT! Ive never been one to shy away from a challenge.

I have continued to keep up with my therapy. I ride my bike for 45 min a night and stand for about 30 minutes. I also try to do mat exercises as well and on Saturdays I go to my church gym and walk with friend (i.e Matt Roberts and Joe Monan-thanks guys) The past couple of weeks it has been difficult for me to walk at the gym because I could never get into the building on a Saturday. Well, this past Sunday the facilities manager gave me 2 brand new shinny keys to the gym and to the weight room so I can work out ANYTIME! They must REALLY trust me :)

Another MIRACLE that has come my way is what happened to me today. The blessings just
keep on coming. I had an appointment with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services this morning at 9am. Arkansas Rehabilitation Services is the Arkansas chapter of the Voc Rehab program that I was apart of in Florida (which paid for my van mods and wheelchair) It is a government agency which helps people with disabilities get back to work and KEEP their jobs. They help pay for things that you may need and have been a HUGE help to me financially. When I arrived my counselor who was assigned to me was late to work that day. So the NICEST lady named Lynda decided to meet with me. She got out my file and we began going through the process of being apart of the services. She asked me, how i was injured and then paused and said...."WAIT A MINUTE....HAVE YOU SPOKEN AT PLEASANT VALLEY BEFORE?" i said yes, I have spoken their many times. She went on to say, that is where SHE GOES TO CHURCH and has seen me speak on several occasions. As it turns out, she goes to the early service and I go to late so she never sees me. (ITS A BIG CHURCH)! We talked for about 30 min about my speaking and my progress and she told me should would expedite my policy to try to get funding as soon as she could for anything i needed. To say that my counselor just "HAPPENED" to be late that day, and that Lynda (who goes to my church) just "HAPPENED" to take on the case herself is NO COINCIDENCE! God has been behind this from the beginning! She is going to go to the Seekers bible class next Sunday so she can see me :) its AMAZING how things work out!

On another note... I am being fitted for NEW CUSTOM braces on Friday. I have an appointment to one of the best orthopedics places in the country who will make custom braces for me to make walking functionally easier. I am excited about how things are working out!

I have posted a video of my walking this past Saturday at the church! Always keep the faith! God will work miracles in your life!
Please continue to pray for my continued progress and recovery, I WILL WALK AGAIN!
God Bless,
Brent


video

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Things in Little Rock are WONDERFUL!

Well, I have successfully completed my third week of living on my own! Things are wonderful and I have been having a wonderful time with my friends and my new apartment. Work is exciting and tiring, with both the learning curve and constant training I am doing! I come home everyday and get my workouts in before I go to bed. I ride my bike, stand for awhile, do mat exercises and electrical stim my legs every night!
I have been so incredibly blesses with the way things have worked out in my life. Sometimes we do not see the good through tragedy but my life is with out a DOUBT A BLESSING! I have a wonderful job, great friends and a wonderful church. Everyone is so helpful and willing to help with anything I need. On Saturday Anita Scott from church and two of her daughters came to my apartment to help with the deep cleaning and to do the small tasks I can not do. My neighbor who lives above me goes to my church as well and has offered to take my trash out. It is amazing how God provides for me.
I have started a new chapter in my life, but I will NEVER forget everything that was done for me from everyone back home in Florida. My friends and church family there were so great to me! My (GAME NIGHT) buddies I will never forget and think of you guys often! For 2 YEARS, they came to my house every Monday night to play games and spend time with me! FOR 2 YEARS they drove an hour to my house for a few hours each week! I am so lucky to have friends like that! Although I am several states away, you guys are on my mind A LOT!
I have not nor WILL NOT ever give up on my recovery! I will work as hard as i need to in order to walk again one day! I KNOW IT WILL HAPPEN! I ask for everyone to PLEASE keep me in your prayers and my recovery. I know everything is in God's timing!
DON'T GIVE UP ON ME, and NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON GOD AND ALWAYS BELIEVE IN HIS MIRACLES!
I LOVE YOU ALL!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Monday, May 24, 2010

My first week of work and many more blessings!

Well......
I have successfully finished my first week of work. I am so happy and excited with this new chapter in my life! The people at ABC Financial are amazing, and I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a great group of coworkers. They are more than happy to help me with ANYTHING I need. After my first week they had contractors come in and install handicap automatic doors to enter the building. So now all i have to do is when I come into the office is swipe my security card over the key pad and the door automatically opens. They are going to designate my OWN personal parking place with MY NAME on it right next to the door and they are having contractors jack hammer out the current concrete ramp and install a better one that will be easier for me to get up! Everyone at ABC is so helpful and welling to do anything and everything to accommodate me! I was able to meet the "TEAM" that I will be apart of and everyone there was so friendly and nice. My boss is very understanding to my needs as well because his daughter is in a chair also (its a God thing)! I was given my new desk with all kinds of toys to play with. Daniela who is the facilities manager is like Santa Clause, I just ask for things and they appear on my desk within the hour! Its so great and everyone is very helpful.

As for my everything else, it is WONDERFUL! i have spent lots of time with my friends here and have enjoyed going to Sunday and Wednesday night church back at PV! This morning I gave everyone at PV a little surprise! For the seekers class my good friend Bill Oliver who is an elder at PV asked me to do a favor for him. After hearing it, I was more than happy to oblige. The seekers class which has probably 200 people in it is held in the basketball gym and there is a large curtain that runs down the half court line and separates the court the seekers class is set up on half of the gym. Bill's lesson was on prayer and how we should pray to God and that he answers prayers. He said, we all here prayed for a young man several years ago and he told my story, he said would everyone please welcome back Brent Adams....AND I WALKED IN from behind the curtain, everyone stood and clapped and cried!! I walked to the podium and put my arm around Bill and talked to the class for about 15-20 minutes.....STANDING THE WHOLE TIME :) I was overwhelmed by the reception and after a few tears AS ALWAYS...i got through it! it was a GREAT experience and was so happy to do it! GOD HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME!! I could never have imagined the reception I got and how everything has worked out since my move back to Little Rock! I feel this has been in Gods plan from the beginning! I pray that my life and my recovery will GLORIFY GOD! This is the ONLY reason why i have NOT GIVEN UP! I feel that if I give up than God will not get the Glory he deserves for sparing my life and healing my body! SO IM GOING TO KEEP PUSHING ON! No matter what it takes or how hard i have to work I will keep pushing on till this journey I'm on is seen ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO THE END!! I will give God ALL THE PRAISE AND GLORY ALONG THE WAY as I strive to walk again! :)
ALWAYS KEEP THE FAITH ALIVE!
ALWAYS IN HIM,
BRENT

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My First Week In Little Rock!

Well, I've successfully finished my FIRST week in Little Rock. Things couldn't be better! We arrived right at 5 pm last Friday and unloaded everything in the U-Haul just minutes before it started raining HARD!! What a way to be welcomed back to the Natural State with tornado's and severe weather. On Saturday, my entire family went shopping for furniture and washer/driers. Since we still had the U-haul we figured we would make good use of it to tow all my furniture back to my apt instead of the delivery fee. My apartment is really coming together, It is definitely a MAN pad but very nice inside, with my new couches and my entertainment center it is amazing! (don't worry David, I got ALL of the sports channels AND in HD!)

Last Sunday was a bit of a catastrophe! My dad,brother and sister in law were to fly back to Orlando from Little Rock leaving at 5:20pm on Delta. Their flight took them to Memphis and then changed flights at 7:20 to Orlando. A few minutes before we were to leave for the LR airport my dad checked the status and the flight had been DELAYED due to mechanical problems, which meant they were NOT going to be able to make there connecting flight in Memphis. THEN, the flight ended up being CANCELED out of LR all together. So they changed the connection to LR-Detroit-Orlando with like a 16 hour layover in Detroit, getting them into Orlando at 2:30 pm on Monday. After haggling them for an HOUR i told them...."LISTEN...Memphis is two hours away from LR. If we leave right this second and drive 100mph down the interstate we can make the connecting flight out of Memphis", so WE DID THAT!! I sped all the way to Memphis and they jumped out and ran to their terminal.....TO FIND OUT IT HAD BEEN CANCELED TOO DUE TO MECHANICAL PROBLEMS! haha WHAT A NIGHTMARE!

Other than getting my apartment set up I've been doing lots of therapy every night and even went to the gym at my church and did some walking! SEE VIDEO BELOW!! I am so excited to be starting this new chapter in my life! GOD HAS BEEN SOOO GOOD TO ME and has opened all of these doors for me. Sometimes I think God had this in his plan since BEFORE my accident. I don't consider it a coincidence that I met Paul the president of ABC Financial on an airplane in Chicago a month before my accident. God has had this in his plan from the beginning! PLEASE keep praying this transition goes well and NEVER stop praying for my recovery! I KNOW it will happen! I HAVE FAITH IT WILL.....ALWAYS HAVE! GOD BLESS!
Always in him,
Brent
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