Monday, October 27, 2008

My first few days home!

As I mentioned in my previous post I returned home to Florida on Friday evening. Returning was kind of bittersweet due to the fact that rehab was going so well. I really wanted to stay at Shepherd and work out for as it would take to start walking again. God has answered so many of our prayers throughout my time in Atlanta. One of my prayers before going to Shepherds is that I would be found to be an ASIA-C and that I would regain more strength in my legs. Well, both requests were answered. We serve an awesome and powerful savior! My wish is that everyone can feel his power and witness it the way that I have throughout my injury. I want so badly for the Lord to use me to bring honor and glory to him.....this is my prayer!
So many amazing things have happened to me throughout my stay at Shepherd. I wish I had hours to type a novel of just some of the experiences I had at the center. I saw God everyday when I went into the gym to workout. I realize just how much the Lord had blessed me with an injury that could have been much, much worse!! Looking around the center I see people who are unable to care for themselves. Patients who were 100% dependent on others to live. I realized my blessings when one of my friends who had to be fed by his mother looked at me from across the table and said, "Brent, id give ANYTHING to be where you are right now." Right then and there I realized just how fortunate I TRULY was and how I was blessed to have THIS injury and not something worse! I have to say thank you to everyone who has kept me in your prayers! I will use this injury to help others and show everyone that nothing is impossible to those who believe. Today I looked back over my mounds of letters I had received since my injury! The outpouring of love from my Christian friends and family was over whelming. I actually took some time to re-read some of the cards and realized just how wonderful it was to have the support and love from everyone. It was you who kept me encouraged and it was ultimately GOD who gave me the strength to press on and BEAT THIS THING!! I will keep pushing towards my goal here in Florida for awhile. I will workout everyday and train myself in order to walk again! With prayers and will happen!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Im Going Home!!

After five weeks of intense rehab at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta I am going home today. I will be discharged Friday afternoon but will still have a full day of therapy. After therapy I will then drive home with my family. Both my dad and brother drove up Thursday night to help with the drive home to Florida.
What an amazing month I had at Shepherds. I know that the Lord was guiding me throughout my stay here. Some amazing miracles have happened since my arrival at Shepherds. I have been classified as ASIA-C (which is a miracle) and have also been seeing more strength and A LOT more sensation coming back into my legs. God is USING me to show others his power! I hope and pray that my rehab will bring honor and glory to God. I want other to know his wonderful power if we just believe in him and have FAITH!
I also would like everyone to know just how much your support has meant to me throughout my stay here. I have been flooded with mail EVERYDAY at the post office. I am such a lucky person to have so many friends who love and care for me. I look forward to opening and reading all the mail and I realize just how wonderful it is to have such wonderful Christian friends. I look around in the Shepherd Center and see people who are struggling each and everyday coping with there injuries. I cant IMAGINE how anyone can go through this without the Love and Support of a close Christian family!
The North Atlanta Church of Christ here in Atlanta has taken me under its wing since ive been to Shepherds. David Hogan and his wife have been so gracious by meeting us everyday at the door and sitting with us in church. My friend Joe and Sarah Jane Bedwell drove down from Nashville, Tn to have lunch with me and tour the center and then drive home. My good friend and former roommate Jay Weaver and his new wife Amanda came down with Jay's parents on a Sunday afternoon from South Carolina just to have dinner with me and drove home. Both Jay and Amanda were amazing during my accident, they were there for me as well as my family and I love them dearly for it. Both of them were wonderful in starting this blog to keep everyone updated on my progress. Last but not least Hans Oliver the Pleasant Valley singles minister and Eric Buckner my dear friends left on Tuesday afternoon driving 8 hours to Atlanta from Little Rock. They spent an entire day going through my therapy sessions with me and went home afterwards!
Guys you want to know what it means to have a Christian family? I just listed 4 examples. Not to mention the COUNTLESS others of you who sent me cards, letters, emails! This is why I love being a Christian! I do not have to face the darkest hours of my life alone! I look around at others who need the same kind of support that has been given me. What a great ministry it is to show a stranger just how much God loves them.
It is because of all of you I have been given the strength to persevere. Each and everyone of your cards, letters, emails and phone calls gives me the encouragement to give everything I have in rehab. I know that the Lord is glorified by his Christian brothers and sisters rallying around me! I still need the prayers if I am going to BEAT THIS THING!! The doctors did all they could do for me after my surgeries. I have not had ONE drop of medicine or cure go into my body to heal me from this injury! However.....I AM GETTING BETTER! Praise God! The only way my body will be healed is by going to God and asking him to touch my body and make me whole! I hope that he can use me to further his kingdom by taking this injury and bringing glory to him!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I know I posted on my blog last night but today I received incredible news!! All our prayers have paid off and God has listened to our prayers and has blessed me tremendously. This is one of the most powerful blog posts to date. I hope you are all encouraged by the wonderful power of God and you lift him up in praise for his continued blessings on my life.

Today I was TESTED AN ASIA-C!!! This is INCREDIBLE NEWS!! My status has been moved up! I know many of you are not familiar with what an ASIA test is so allow me to get technical for a few minutes so you can understand the magnitude of this miracle.

ASIA is an acronym which stands for the AMERICAN, SPINAL-CORD, INJURY, ASSOCIATION. or A.S.I.A. They do a test to give you a GRADE. This grade describes the level of return and the how much incompleteness you have in your injury. The grading scale is as follows:
ASIA-A (COMPLETE INJURY) no motor or sensory functions. Your spinal cord is dead and it is VERY rare to overcome this level. This usually means your cord is completely severed or is DEAD and can not be fixed. The result of an ASIA-A prognosis is you will have to learn to live your life in a chair!
ASIA-B (INCOMPLETE INJURY) there is some spinal cord sparing. The spinal cord is not completely severed and some of the sensory nerves are still intact. You will receive some sensory return.
ASIA-C (INCOMPLETE INJURY) you have some motor nerve sparing. The ASIA-C says that your spinal cord is receiving signals at the lowest part of the spinal column. This means that the cord is sending signals through the entire spinal cord all the way to the bottom of the cord!
ASIA-D (INCOMPLETE INJURY) This is a better grade meaning you have gotten more return through certain testing of motor functions. The test will see how much active motion your body can generate to meet the criteria to be labeled a D. What the criteria is I'm not sure?
ASIA-E (INCOMPLETE INJURY) This is a normal person. Full motor and full sensory nerves. Each and everyone of you would classify as an ASIA-E.

Today I was RE-CLASSIFIED as an ASIA-C. They have detected motor nerve sparing throughout my spinal cord!!! This is a MIRACLE FROM GOD!
When someone has a spinal cord injury the question isnt just where the cord was damaged by HOW BAD was it damaged? Many people you hear of having a spinal cord injury and are perfectly fine today. Those people usually were given a high grade RIGHT after the injury. Someone broke there back and two days later are labeled an ASIA-D...well that means they will be just fine in time, there cord was not badly damaged. Doctors will also say that time is of the essence. The longer you are away from your injury the lower your likeliness of regaining anything back. They say that you will see the most return right after your accident after the swelling in your spine goes down.

HERE IS THE MIRACLE!!! When my accident happened my cord was BADLY damaged. Due to the trauma it took them 72 hours for my body to be stable enough for them to perform my back surgery. That is wasted time my cord was starved of what it needed to survive. Once I came out of surgery and awoke and was given the prognosis of an ASIA-A COMPLETE INJURY! Doctors and therapists tried to break the news to me easily as to what the meant! Close to 5 month later I was reclassified as an ASIA-B (INCOMPLETE). For this to occur 5 months after an accident is VERY VERY RARE!! As of today my level has been increased to an ASIA-C!! God works miracles TODAY!!

The only reason I have come so far is due to the wonderful power of God and all the prayers that have gone up on my behalf. I ask you all to please stop sometime in your day and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for his blessings in my life. Thank him for watching over me and seeing me through this tragedy. It is still my prayer for complete healing! I know it can happen!! The therapists were pleased at my new prognosis but told me that is still no GUARANTEE on how much return you will receive. Every spinal cord injury is different. I have surpassed the odds but I am not out of the woods! I still need prayers for my healing!! I know that the power of God is ALIVE TODAY!!!! He can touch my legs and make them whole again. Let's all spent the next few days in praise for his wonderful grace and mercy and thanksgiving for serving such an AWESOME GOD!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another successful week!

Well its Monday night and I just started my fourth week here at Shepherds. My stay here has been very productive. I have learned new things to help me throughout my daily life as well as strengthening my legs through intense therapy.
I would have to say that the blessings I have seen from this accident I will remember forever. I am still touched by the number of people this blog has reached out to over the past few months. My parents started this blog while I was in I.C.U. in order to answer everyones questions and keep them informed of my progress. My dad and sister started the writings and I took over once I was able to type. Hearing the stories from so many people each and everyday has touched me more than you will ever know. This blog has been my ministry and I believe it was apart of God's plan to show others what can happen through faith and prayer. I would have never thought that a simple blog could wrap around he world and be followed by so many people. I get messages from people I have not seen in many years who tell me they follow my blog daily. THANK YOU! I want to personally thank each and everyone of you for your continued support throughout this struggle I have been facing.
Each and everyday I am working on getting better but I know that ULTIMATELY it has to come from God. Nothing I can do can rebuild my spinal cord but I know that ANYTHING is possible if you believe. I have already seen so many blessings and progress that everyone thought was impossible. I should not be able to do what my body is doing! BUT I AM! The sky is the limit my therapists say. With an incomplete injury "no one knows" how your body will heal itself in time. Having this injury is sometimes frustrating in that I have found out there are really NO EXPERTS in this field. Sure, they know the statistics and HOW the spinal cord works. Doctors can tell you everything about the spinal cord but have NO CLUE of how it ultimately functions and heals. Why some people get better while other do not?
I learned A LONG time ago that I would not find my answers from doctors or medical jargon. I knew I had to go to the top. I learned that in business as well; you go to the decision maker. I knew right away I had to talk to the creator in order to get anything done! He knows the spinal cord better than ANYONE! He is an EXPERT in the field and also CREATED THEM! Who better to ask than the one who made me?
We started this blog and asked everyone to go on my behalf and slowly my body started to change. I know it was due to prayers its the only reason! I still have a long ways to go however. I still need more return in my legs in order to walk functionally in my everyday life. I also need prayers for my shoulder which has been causing me increased pain these past several weeks. I have no doubt that miracles can happen today, but we MUST keep asking and be persistent in our prayers! With God on my side I know I can overcome this terrible injury!
Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What? Brent wrote on his Blog?!?

Sorry guys for the delay. I am trying to write on the blog as often as possible without flooding everyone with useless rambling of non-important matters. EXAMPLE: (Today is Monday and I had the meatloaf for lunch-it was bad, it tasted like the sloppy joes I had the week before......) Im sure no one wants to read that so I only try posting when new and exciting things happen.

It is Tuesday night and I have the Locomat first thing in the morning at 8:00 AM. I get pumped every time I get on the unit because I get sensations in my legs I have never felt before. I am beginning to feel more in my legs and have been for the past few days. My legs always feel awake and when they touch something the sensations are becoming stronger. As I have said before it is almost impossible to explain a feeling. What adjective can you use to tell someone how it feels to raise your arm above your head??.....its feels like......??? ummmm???? However, the feelings I am getting are becoming more and more noticeable. I feel as if my legs are waking up. I am seeing great improvements on the Locomat with my leg strength. Tomorrow they will do an L-Test again to see how many NEWTON METERS I am pushing through the machine (Oh the swiss!). The Locomat was made in Switzerland so everything is calibrated to there units or measure.

I look forward to my therapies in the future and see where the Lord takes me and my recovery. I know that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Talking with the nurses here I have come to realize that all doctors are pessimistic. While talking to one nurse she told me that she always gets discouraged talking to doctors because she sees things happen ALL THE TIME that goes against statistics. People who get discharged saying they will never walk again have come through the doors YEARS later walking. Not everything can be figured out by medical science. God works in mysterious ways.

He can make the body whole again and do the impossible. I was perfectly made many years ago by God's design. He had a plan for me and he created me the way he wanted. God created me in his image and pieced me together according to his perfect plan. This accident was tragic and horrible but it is NOT the end of things but the beginning. This injury is MY TEST! It is when I must lean on God to give me the strength to overcome this injury. My life was spared for a reason. God has a plan for me and he needed me alive to fulfill it. The accident left me with this terrible injury but I will not let it beat me! I will turn to God my creator and humbly ask him along with thousands of others who go to God on my behalf to make me well. Nothing medical science can do will repair me except the power of God! I must keep the faith and never waiver from the truth. I am a child of God and he will take care of me. I must not loose my focus, I have to leave EVERYTHING in his hands.

I want to thank so many of you who read my blog daily. It is such an encouragement to me to know that I am in some way affecting people. I hear so many stories of people checking my blog to read the latest updates on how God is blessing me. Please never give up on me! I humbly ask you to keep me before God during these times. My prayer is to WALK AGAIN, it has been my prayer since that terrible night I woke up in ICU. Miracles happen everyday to those who believe and are faithful! I am praying for a miracle!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Recent Progress and Blessings!

Well I have just gone through my second week of therapy at the Shepherd Center and I am truly convinced this was the place the Lord wanted me to come! I have meet so many great people here who have encouraged me and helped me throughout my recovery. My therapists here are really sweet to me and work me hard (per my request!) I believe that the Lord will continue to bless me throughout my recovery and I will use my story to bring glory to him!
I will have to catch everyone up on my current therapy sessions. I have been getting in the Locomat (look on previous posts for pics). I LOVE getting in this machine and it makes my legs feel so great. I have been scheduled to get in it three times this week at 8 in the morning. I usually have the session before everyone gets in the gym at 9am. They are seeing some movement in my legs in the unit and are very optimistic about my progress (I could have told them that before I started therapy!)
I know that God has a plan for me and this accident is just a trial that I must face. Everyone has trials in their lives that they must confront. This trial is MY TEST! I truly believe with all my heart that HOW I deal with this trial will dictate the blessings the Lord will rain down on me. Feeling sorry for myself and being locked in a room will not glorify him. However, I believe that I should work hard and give all my credit of my progress to the Lord. I will share my story with others to show them how God is working in my life that the blessings that will be showered on me will be unmeasurable! The Lord has already blessed me beyond measure. Coming to Shepherds I look around everyday and see people in the gym who have it 10 times worse than I ever had it. People with absolute no function of the arms or legs breathing in straws to move there wheelchairs and I thank GOD for my level of injury!
I was encouraged today talking with one of the physical therapists today. She has been working at Shepherds for 18 years. After she got done with me on the Locomat we had a few minutes to talk before therapy started at 9 and the gym got flooded with people. I told her of my injury and she said that it is VERY VERY RARE for someone considered a complete injury for as long as I was to all the sudden be changed to an incomplete! She told me that incomplete injuries have all the hope in the world for recovery. She said "no one knows how the body will heal!" She has seen incomplete injuries come back walking years after there injury and she told me she believed I would be one of those people. Hearing of my progress and how my status was changed by GOD'S miracle (which is the only way it could have happened) she told me to never give up! I was encouraged by her words and I know that God will see me through this tough time and I firmly believe WITHOUT A DOUBT I will walk again (I knew it the day they told me I wouldn't!)
Yesterday afternoon I was FITTED FOR BRACES!! They fitted me for the type of braces that can be converted to smaller braces with more return I get in my legs. He asked me if that was something I would be interested in getting. He said do you want me to fit you for the rigid braces that can not be changed? or the hybrids that can be converted for when you get more movement. Without hesitation I told him I needed the ones designed for when I get more movement back! I am looking forward to getting my own braces and "LEARNING TO WALK AGAIN!"
Today I had my first pool therapy session. I got in the pool that was HEATED...(ohh my goodness it felt so GOOD!) I felt like I was in a huge hot tub (except no bubble jets). Once in the pool the therapist saw A LOT of movement in my legs. I was able to kick my legs a little and do more movement than if I was out in a gravity present environment. The therapist put my legs up against the wall of the pool and bent my knees and I could PUSH OFF THE EDGE! She had to grab my legs to keep me from pushing myself out into the pool! I was very encouraged by what I saw in the pool and I look forward to more therapy sessions there!
Everyday I am getting stronger. My shoulder is still something I must deal with and sometimes it hinders my therapy. However, its just something I have to deal with, I will get better in time. I want to thank everyone for there continued prayers and support. I am still blown away by the amount of people this blog has reached! I am in awe of how the Lord will open doors for you to glorify him. Who would have thought it would have taken a life altering accident for him to give me this platform!? It is a BLESSING!! A blessing that I have this opportunity to minister to others. If this accident is what it takes to minister to others I will take this accident ANY DAY!! Its hard work, but it will all be worth it in time! Please, please keep praying for both myself and Jennifer as we work for our goal of complete healing. Physical therapy will do nothing in comparison to the power of God and his blessings, THAT is why I need your prayers more than anything!
(sorry no pictures) I will try to put some up in the next post!