Sunday, September 28, 2008

My past few days!! featuring...ROBOBRENT!

Well my therapy this past week has been rough! Each and everyday I am put to the test physically coming home and passing out with exhaustion. I have seen some great things come out of my therapy sessions so far in my first week. I guess I have a lot to catch everyone up on from the past few days. So I will do my best to fill everyone in on my life in rehab. On Wednesday I was treated to an AFTER therapy outing. One of my hobby's is golf and my therapeutic recreation counselor signed me up to go to a golfing expo after my therapy sessions. She talked me into it because i knew I was going to be TOO tired, but I agreed and went anyways. Sleeping most of the way there when we arrived I was SHOCKED to find out I was at EAST LAKE GOLF COURSE!! I was at the PGA Tour Championship! Since it was Wednesday it was practice I was able to watch all the pros on the driving range before there first round on Thursday. I was able to meet Jim Fyurk and Ernie Els as well as many others. It was definitely exciting. We were also able to watch a para-golfer do trick shots which was MIND BLOWING!! Over all it was an AMAZING afternoon!
On Thursday I worked on walking with braces some more and did really well! It takes some getting use to but i was making great strides up and down the parallel bars. I know that one day soon I will be doing it unassisted. I am still praying each and everyday for complete healing and know that it will happen one day.
Friday was a very hard day. During my PT session I worked on my knees keeping my balance and doing push-ups from an elevated position. My left shoulder was hurting me so we had to stop and ice it. My left shoulder has made everything alot harder on me, but I am NOT going to complain because I do not want it to hinder my sessions. I will just grin and bear it so I can get the most out of every session. Its not a sharp pain but just an aching, from the muscles around my shoulder not having ANY strength from me favoring that arm for months. I can deal with pain....ive dealt with it for months, whats a few more weeks. I know my exercises are building my strength which I will need in my future sessions.
At 1:00PM on Friday I was scheduled for the Locomat again. This was my second session on the machine and I LOVE every minute of it. Well.....I dont enjoy them strapping me into the unit. The purposely SQUEEZE the life out of me for a few minutes until they get me strapped in the machine. Once in the unit they loosen the straps but for a good minute....I CANT BREATH, and all my insides get crunched! I tell them I have already broken all my ribs you dont have to break them again! To which they tell me to quit my crying and suck it up..."THEN THEY PULL TIGHTER, getting there leg on the mat for leverage as the pull!" I guess they know what they are doing?! Once they got me in the unit and make sure I wouldn't slip the loosen the straps so I can work comfortably AND BREATH! I was able to do GREAT things in this session! Whenever I was resting the graph would be flat but once I started to try to walk it would SPIKE pretty good! I was putting good pressure through the unit. I was excited at my progress and I look forward to my next session.

My mom took a video of me on the Locomat for everyone to see. She took the video with the camera on the the video is ON ITS SIDE!! I tried EVERYTHING to flip the video over but it is NOT a picture and wouldnt give me that option so you will have to watch me on the side. Just turn your head to the side OR you can just grab your computer monitor and flip it on its side! EASY SOLUTION GUYS!! Do I have to think of everything?? This will give you an idea of what I have to go through in therapy or at least on the Locomat!

One of my dear friends and FORMER teachers David Carter took the liberty using some of his photoshop skills of me in the Locomat. I mentioned in a previous post that I felt like ROBOCOP in the unit....Well....If I was ROBOCOP...I would look something like THIS!!

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!! PLEASE PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR ME!!!! I NEED THEM BAD!! God Bless you ALL!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I took my FIRST steps!

Well its Thursday night and I am writing everyone to tell them that I walked with braces today. When I got to therapy I was surprised to see my therapist with braces on the mat. She asked me to lie down and she began fitting me for the braces. Once she was done we went over to the parallel bars where I took my first steps!! The braces I have on my legs block my knees from bending because I have not gotten that back YET! However, my hips are working well so I am able to freely move them forward and walk. I have not perfected the walking yet, but its just going to take time and practice. I still have not given up on COMPLETE HEALING!! This is what I pray for everyday, and I humbly ask for everyone to please pray for the same.
It is amazing how far I have come since my accident. I was in a hospital bed fighting for my life to survive and now I am taking my first steps, when the doctors said Id NEVER walk again. My legs are still not where I want them to be as far as the movement. I need my lower legs back to be able to walk unassisted. This is something I pray for EVERYDAY!! I desperately ask God to please heal my broken body and make me whole again. He has already blessed me so much and I am very grateful for all his blessings. I know he has a purpose for me, which is the ONLY reason I am with you all today! I look forward to each day of therapy, even though it COMPLETELY wears me out! Friday afternoon I am getting in the Locomat again (pictures on previous post)! I am excited about my time in that machine! Please keep the prayers coming!
Enjoy the pictures of my FIRST STEPS!!

Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers! It is YOUR prayers and God's awesome love which has made it possible for the pictures you see now! Please do not stop praying on my behalf! Miracles DO WORK!! I am living proof of that!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A great day of Rehab!

Today was really great in Rehab. I started off the day walking on the Locomat!! This was the piece of equipment I have been wanting to get on since I heard of the machine. The Locomat is a robotic walking machine that costs more than most homes, or a really nice Ferrari! Only four hospitals in the U.S. have this unit and Shepherds has two of them! I was told that it NEVER happens that a patient is able to get into the unit that quickly. Others wait for weeks before they let them on the machine but my therapists wanted to me try and out. A spot became available at 8:00 AM so I was there bright and early ready to try out this new technology.
First they strapped me in a harness, which about squeezed the life out of me. I thought my kidneys and liver were shifted up into my lungs! They then rolled me up the incline and onto the treadmill. I hoist was lowered down and suspended me above the treadmill while the robotic legs moved in behind me and locked into place. Since this was the FIRST of my Locomat treatments they had to do A LOT of measuring to adjust the machine to my size and height. They programed it all in the computer so the next time they can just pull me up and it will automatically adjust to fit me.
Once in the Locomat they started walking my legs in the air. It was kind of funny looking! I kept making robot sounds like I was ROBOCOP, with each step! Once I got use to the movement they lowered my feet onto the treadmill. I WAS WALKING!! LOOKED like I was walking. The robot was walking my legs but HEY, it looked just like OLD TIMES!
Next the operator wanted me to try to move my legs in the machine. The unit has sensors that can pick up any force I put through the machine and it has several computer screens that can chart my movements. The machine was picking up some movement. I was trying to walk myself along with the unit and it noticed some spikes on the graph. VAGUE spikes, please don't get the idea I was sprinting on the unit. However, the machines noticed I was helping....SOME!
We took pictures of me in the unit so enjoy! Im sure you are harness looks tight Brent? Well.....IT WAS!!

I had a great time with Rehab today and I look forward to the weeks ahead. Please stay posted to this blog as I will try to write on it every other day to keep everyone informed on my progress.
I have also heard GREAT news that researchers and scientist in Denver Colorado at the Craig Institute has found promising breakthroughs with paralysis!! This is the closest they have come and they BELIEVE they can reverse paralysis now. Dr. Davies has been leading the team and have been coming SO CLOSE. They know the stem cells are the key but did not know how to manipulate them to get the desired results. Well....They have FOUND the results they wanted and as of TODAY he is publishing his findings. This is looks very promising. I ask everyone to please pray for the doctors to find a cure for this terrible injury!
I continue to ask everyone for there prayers! This is HARD work but I know that with God's help and with all of your prayers we WILL see a miracle!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My First Day At Shepherds

I arrived at Shepherds on Thursday afternoon. My dad was able to fly me down in the company airplane courtesy of Farner Barley Assoc. (I can not thank them enough for all they have done for my family!) Once we got to Shepherds I got settled into my new apartment. The apartments are wonderful! They are completely wheel chair accessible. The apartments are brand new and are on the Shepherd's campus. Once I got to Shepherd's I was pleased to find out that Jennifer and I are next door neighbors. She put signs up on every door saying "WELCOME HOME BRENT, NOW COME TO ROOM 013 AND VISIT ME!" It was so great meeting both her and her mom and I look forward to the next couple of weeks working out along side her.
Getting to rehab will be easy from where my apartments are located. I can push from my apartments over a walkway which runs over a street and into the Shepherd Center making it easy for me to go to rehab.
My first day started Friday morning. I met at the registration at 8:30 am and filled out all the paper work. I then went upstairs to the rehab gym for my evaluations. My first evaluation was with my OT (occupational therapist) her name is Mandy and is very sweet. My first day was just answering questions and setting my goals that I wanted to obtain. I told them plainly...."To Walk Again!" My OT took measurements of my range of motion on my left arm. The results were...ummmm...not too great! But being that my arm is fused I cant expect too much back. However, they are going to work on my scapula or shoulder blade (for the non biology majors out there) to help me get more range of motion. Although my range wont be much, they think they can tweak a few more degrees out of my range.
Next I met with my case manager who showed me the facility and told me what to expect at the center. My case manager is basically the one I go to if I have any problems.
I then at lunch and afterwards met with my PT (Physical Therapist), Lauren. Lauren again asked me a ton of questions and put me on the mat to check out my range that I had in my legs. She did just a few exercises because we were running short on time from all the first day questions. She noticed a lot of movement in my hips and quads but not as much from the knees down (which I already knew). We are going to finish up my ASIA testing on Monday. I am praying for an ASIA-C and I humbly ask for everyone to pray for the same. She mentioned to me that therapy will be tough and very strenuous, but I am up for the challenge.
Monday will be my first true test of rehab. Friday wasn't really rehab, just evaluations to see where I was at and what kind of therapy I will be needing. I look forward to the next few weeks and the opportunity that Shepherds will provide me.
A lot of people have been asking me what my address is:

Brent Adams
SCI Day-Patient
2020 Peachtree Rd N.W.
Atlanta, Ga 30309

I would love to receive mail from anyone! I LOVE getting mail:) Thank you all for your prayers. I pray for a miracle EVERYDAY! I know that with the Lord's help I will walk again!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Im Atlanta Bound!

Its Tuesday night and I will spend my day tomorrow packing for my visit to Atlanta to start rehab at the Shepherd Center. Please go to there website and you can see some of the treatments I will be undergoing and take a tour of the facility.
The plans are to leave early Thursday morning and fly to Atlanta where I will check into my apartment which is owned by the center and right across the street from the facility. We will spend all day Thursday getting settled in and exploring the Shepherd Center. On Friday morning I am scheduled to get registered with the day patient program. I will then go upstairs to be evaluated in the gym. I will go through several series of tests where they will check my movements and see where I have return in my legs. Most of my day Friday will be purely evaluations and explaining to me how the program works.
My friend Jennifer is already at the Shepherd Center and went through the evaluations on Monday. She told me that they will retest my ASIA level (AMERICAN SPINAL CORD INJURY ASSOCIATION) and I need the prayers of EVERYONE that I will be moved to an ASIA-C!! I am currently at an ASIA-B but i feel that I have now moved up a level and I need the prayers of everyone for the improvement in my current status. My therapies will not begin until Monday the 22nd. My therapies will be designed according to my current ASIA status and movements.
My days will begin at 8 A.M where I will go through a couple of hours of physical therapy, and then Occupational Therapy. I will then go to lunch and afterwards I will have the rest of the afternoon where they will put me in programs based on my needs. It is in the afternoons that I will get to use the new equipment and advanced technologies that Shepherd has available.
I would ask everyone to please, please pray for me and my progress at Shepherds. I pray that these next few weeks God will touch my legs and give me more return. I also pray that Shepherds will be able to maximize my strength and my movement potential. Since the day I woke up in the hospital my prayer has been for complete healing which is something I am certain only God can provide. I need everyones prayers now more than ever. This is going to be a huge step in my goal of walking again. I CAN NOT DO THIS ALONE!! I promise each and everyone of you I will work as hard as I possibly can. I will do whatever it takes and work myself to exhaustion everyday. If I make you this promise can all of my prayer warriors please make a commitment to go to God in prayer on my behalf? I will do my part, but with God being flooded with prayers from across the country and around the world I am sure he will hear our cries and he will bless me. God has already blessed me beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I pray he will use this injury to glorify him. I want my body to be a testament to the power of God so that I can be a witness to others and show them that NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE through God. I will never give up and I will NEVER doubt the awesome power of God.
My friend Jennifer got to Shepherd earlier this week and I would also ask for you to include her in your prayers as well. We are going through this struggle together. No one understands what we go through but each other. I pray all the blessings God has granted me he will extend those to Jennifer as well. She has all of her prayer warriors praying for me and I am going to add her to the prayers of so many of you who follow this blog.
I am literally blown away by how many people this blog has reached. Even players for the Buccaneers NFL team has been following my blog for awhile! Not to mention countless more who check this site regularly. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!! You give me strength and encouragement to BEAT THIS THING! I plan on writing on this blog more often during my stay in Atlanta. I also hope to post pictures and videos so everyone can follow my progress.
PLEASE PRAY FOR BOTH JENNIFER AND I! Pray for strength and for God to touch our legs and make us whole again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Amazing Day with the Tampa Bay Bucs!

Today was an unbelievable day that I will never forget. David Reed a great friend of our families had made arrangements for me to meet the entire team and be a guest of honor at the Tampa Bay Bucs training facility.
I was told that I was visiting a friend of his who works on the brain and motivating people. Not having a clue as to what he was talking about I went along to see this motivational speaker. Once we got to Tampa my parents handed me a brand new Tampa Bay Bucs shirt and cap. Things started coming together when right then we pulled into there state of the art practice facility. We pulled up to the gates and our names were on the list to visit the facility. Once we went into the front office I knew I was in for a great day. The facility was nothing like I have ever seen before one of the bests facilities in the NFL. We were met by Allen Barrett who showed us around the facility. We visited the media rooms, training rooms, film rooms, and the players lounge full of pool tables, big screen TVs, arcade games The WORKS! This facility was like nothing I have ever seen before, everything was new and the best! I visited the locker room when I met my very first Buccaneer Cadillac Williams! The stud running back for the Bucs. He came up to me and introduced himself and was really cordial!
After the locker room I visited the weight room where I saw the biggest guys I have ever seen in my life! Immediately a gentleman put down his weights and walked over and shook my hand and introduced himself as Joey Galloway the veteran star receiver for the Bucs. Just then the QB Jeff Garcia came by and talked with me as well. All of the players were so great to me. They all stopped what they were doing to come and talk with me.
Once I met a few players just walking around the facility I went outside to watch the end of there practice. As soon as the practice was over I was FLOODED by Tampa Bay Bucs! They all came over to sign autographs for me. Once I got to the facility I was given a duffel bag full of souvenirs from shirts, hats, and even an autograph football for the players to sign. I loved seeing some old Florida Gator stars as well. Ike Hilliard, Earnest Graham, Kevin Carter, Ben Troupe, all came to see me and reminisce on old Gator highlights! IT WAS GREAT! I was also pumped to see Ronde Barber, I asked him if Tiki (his brother) was ever going to come back and play maybe with the Bucs. He told me Tiki was slow and out of shape and would be worthless on the field. HAHA! Along with all the superstars I met COUNTLESS other players I could list them all but you can look up the Bucs Roster if you want to know everyone I met!
However, I had not met my motivational speaker yet? Jon Gruden the head coach then walked up to me and gave me one of his football pep talks! He told me, "Brent....YOU ARENT WORKING HARD ENOUGH!! If you are going to walk again you have to WORK your tail off!!" I said YES SIR!! I will work hard. He asked about my therapy and said he remembered my story and hearing about it. He knew of my progress and said if I ever needed anything to give him a call. I'm sure it was just polite gab but still! I asked coach Gruden to sign my football and hat. He signed my football and then just gave me the visor off his head and gave it to me after he signed it!
It was so wonderful being the guest of honor for the Tampa Bay Bucs! They treated me so well and made me feel great. Each player went out of there way to seek me out and talk to me! It was a day I will NEVER forget!
There are so many people I want to thank. First off none of this would have been possible without Dave and Jeannie Reed who made the event happen through their connections. I would also like to thank Shelton Quarles. Shelton retired at the end of 2006 after a 10 year career with the Bucs. He was a key member of the 2002 Super Bowl team and was also a pro bowl member that year as well. Shelton had been following my blog and knew of my circumstances. He was the inside man who got the ball rolling on my amazing day. He was the one who made it happen and I want to personally thank you! I met Shelton and like all the other players was a class act! We are downloading pictures of the day and I will post them soon!
I am leaving for Shepherds next Thursday and need everyone to pray for my trip and my progress in Atlanta. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. I am going to start writing more often on my blog so please share with other to check my blog often during my time in rehab. I will post pictures AND videos of my progress! So please check this blog for the newest updates.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Broken Body!! and....NEW MOVEMENT!

Well its late and once again I thought I would share with the world (or at least those who follow my blog) all that has happened to me recently. On Monday my therapist arrived to workout with me and we were able to do new exercises and once again find NEW MOVEMENT!! I can sit on the edge of my workout table with my feet on the floor. I then lay back but still having my feet on the floor I am NOW able to kick my legs out and straight them at the knee. My movements are quick kicks straight out then they fall back to the floor. This is GREAT news because it takes my quads to do this movement. My movement is slowly working its way down. First I was able to move my legs from side to side for just a few inches. Then my hips got firing and I could pull my legs up to my chest. I was then able to get my adductor and abductors these are muscles that run on the side of your thighs. This has given me the ability to spread my legs apart and pull them back together, and NOW my quads are firing allowing me to kick my legs forward! Some of these exercises are hard for me to do and some of the movement is slow with minimal to no assistance, BUT ITS THERE!!
I have come SO far from my initial injury and the ONLY reason I am getting this movement back is because of GOD and his blessings. All my prayer warriors are going to God and HE IS LISTENING! He is performing MIRACLES in my body. Miracles that can not be explained by modern medicine. I was a COMPLETE injury with NO HOPE of recovery, I was told that I needed to learn to live my life in a chair. I wasn't about to except that answer. Nothing the doctors could ever tell me would change my belief that GOD would heal my body. He would do what doctors and medicine could not! It was in that time that my faith was tested. I had no other alternative but to trust 100% in God. Doctors and medicine had gone as far as it could go, now I knew if I were to get better it would have to be a miracle from God. I couldn't loose faith because it is THROUGH faith that he would heal my body. Since my accident people never stopped bringing my case before God. We all asked him to please touch my legs and heal my body and with the prayers of so many he answered our cries. Please I still have a LONG ways to go and I still need your prayers and your faith in God to complete this miracle. I humbly ask everyone not to give up on me! I need your prayers for my upcoming trip to Shepherds. Both myself AND Jennifer needs your prayers. We have been given a huge trial in our lives and I need everyone to help us over come it! God is the ONLY answer, he is the only one who can heal me so we must not loose faith in our creator!
Several weeks ago my friend who works at UAMS where my surgeries took place sent me copies of my CT scans of my shoulder and back. These are AMAZING photos that I want to share with everyone. I want you all to see what an amazing God we serve. My body was BADLY BEATEN and the doctors gave me no hope of recovery. God is proving them wrong and we must praise and glorify him with each and every miracle