Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank you all for your support!

On this Sunday evening, I wanted to thank everyone for giving me so much encouragement from the video I posted last week. I was blown away by how many people that video impacted. It allows everyone to see with there own two eyes the power of prayer. I must say, that I still have a LONG ways to go in my rehab. I am not where I want to be in my goal of walking. I have regained a lot back in my legs, but I still need the assistance of a walker and braces to walk. My quads are not yet strong enough for me to support my body weight without the aid of braces. However, as you can see in that video, I have regained my hips which is something I was not suppose to do. I can take normal strides from the hips in order to walk. PRAISE GOD! I still need my quads and hamstrings to come in stronger in order for me to walk "normally".
I have made HUGE gains in my recovery. My ability to walk so far is beyond what anyone thought would be possible. With hard work and determination (and the power of God) I know that I will one day walk again. If I have come this far whose to say my recovery can not go even further. Everyday, I look down at my feet, trying to gain more control and movement in them. I sometimes stare at them for a long time just trying to get that BIG TOE to move a little bit more! This accident is so humbling! Who would have thought that just over a year ago, my concentration and thoughts would be towards MOVING MY BIG TOE!? It amazes me how God puts our problems into perspective. We can be humbled and brought to our knees so quickly. We feel like we have everything under control, then in a flash you are concentrating on moving a BIG TOE! I pray that everyone can use my experiences and understand how small we really are in this world. I hope people can realize that the only thing big enough to handle our problems is God! We have to give it all to him. The doctors (although they did a marvelous job on me) can not fix the body quit like the one who created me. I still remember the prayers a cried out laying in the hospital bed in ICU when I heard the news of my injuries at 3 AM. I prayed and prayed that I would be healed from this injury. After THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of prayers from friends around the world, my healing is slowly becoming a reality. I have to be patient, and steadfast in my recovery. Im not going to put a date on my full recovery, but just the unwavering FAITH, that it will happen! I will show the world what is possible! PLEASE continue to pray for me! I need help from everyone, and I know that with my friends and support it will happen. I am SO LUCKY to have the support group that I have! THANK YOU!!!!
GOD BLESS,
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Sunday, March 22, 2009

IM WALKING! Still have a long ways to go!

Well, its Sunday night again which means its time for my weekly blog post. As I promised in my previous post, I have attached a video clip of my walking. I must say, this is NOT my best walking performance I have ever done. After church today, we took a video of me walking before I went to my therapists house for more rehab.

I want to thank EVERYONE for there continued prayers on my behalf! The video below is just an example of the power of prayer! I wasn't given any hope of walking again. NOW....my legs have gotten movement back in my hips and I am able to take normal strides (as you can see in the video). I will try to post more videos in the future so everyone can see the results of all your prayers! I still have a long ways to go in my rehab, but so far it is coming along GREAT! I am getting more return in my legs and with God's help I will be walking again soon!

The reasons for this blog is to show others that through Christ ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! If we believe in our hearts and do not doubt the power of God, then we will see miracles. I give ALL the glory and honor to God for my recovery! However, I still have a LONG ways to go! My recovery is not even close to being complete, this will not take days, or weeks or months....but YEARS! I have to be persistent and NEVER GIVE UP! I have to keep pressing on! EVERYDAY, working towards my goal of complete recovery. Doctors, will say that it is impossible and that it is EXTREMELY RARE to see recovery in SCI victims. Well....I proved them wrong once...I CAN DO IT AGAIN!! Nothing is impossible if we BELIEVE in our hearts without doubt! I pray that this blog reaches people and encourages them to take on their trials. Everyone deals with struggles in their lives! Mine struggles happen to be physical (among other struggles) but, I can over come my trials if I believe! PLEASE, PLEASE keep praying for my recovery! The more prayers that go to God on my behalf has a DIRECT impact on my recovery! I NEED ALL OF YOU TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN! PLEASE share my story and blog with others!
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!
SO MUCH IN HIM
BRENT

video

Monday, March 16, 2009

A great day of therapy, and continued progress!

Its another Sunday night which means another post on my progress! Today I visited my therapists house for another grueling therapy session. What a GREAT SESSION it was and a great week for that matter. This week we have noticed even MORE MOVEMENT! In the past I have been able to kick my legs out a little if I was laying on my back with my quads on a stretch. I was able to flex my quads and kick my legs out from the knees. Holding the contraction is still something I struggle with, but I'm getting better at it each time. This week at my house we started working on my leg extensions sitting up (without my quads on a stretch) AND I DID IT!! the movement was not a lot, but with my feet off the ground and sitting on the edge of my workout mat, I was able to move my leg out a few degrees. The movement wasn't great, but it was movement nonetheless! In the past, and even today I sometimes cheat(on accident) and use my hips to move my legs. My therapist is QUICK to stop me from cheating and to focus on contracting JUST the specific muscle group for the movement. Let me just say, I don't cheat on PURPOSE! Its REALLY hard to concentrate on contracting the right muscle, and sometimes I contract the wrong muscle which carries over and moves my leg slightly. I've tried to explain what the feeling is like, but its so hard. Next time you do a SLIGHT movement, move your fingers, raise your arm over your head, walk. What do you "THINK" to allow that to happen? You dont...it happens automatically without you even thinking about it. For me however, I have to concentrate on contracting every muscle in order to move my leg...its the HARDEST thing to do. But I will get better at it in time.

I am making REMARKABLE PROGRESS. Some of the greatest advancements that I have made is in my sensation. My proprioception (which is the ability to know where an object is in space without looking at it) is phenomenal. Close your eyes and have someone raise a hand over your head....you know what they are doing, because you can feel it! In the past, I could not tell where my legs were or if they were moving. Today, I can tell you exactly what they are doing and what is being moved! I CAN FEEL THEM!! Praise God!! I feel that week by week, I am getting stronger and I know I still have a LONG road of recovery ahead of me.

Since the weather has warmed up here in Florida I have started doing pool therapy. My therapist (who by the way is amazing) has a pool at her house and it is set up perfectly for rehab. Today I was able to move my legs much better since I was in a gravity eliminated environment. I did bicycle kicks in the water, and leg presses against the side of the pool. I am excited to start doing more pool therapy and adding that to my workout regiment.

I have decided to post a video of me walking in my next post! I tried to get it done today, but the pool therapy WORE ME OUT! I will have my mom film me walking in the driveway to show everyone my progress. I sure hope I walk ok and I don't fall! I am petrified of falling! My body can not with stand anymore broken bones. Some of my problems with walking is just overcoming my fear of falling. I will get there in time! So stay posted for next sundays blog post! I hope to have a video of my progress!
I LOVE YOU ALL
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Monday, March 9, 2009

We serve an AMAZING GOD!!

Its Sunday night which means its time for another weekly update on my life! It still amazes me that people still follow my progress daily. Even though they do not leave comments I know that my blog is read by so many people! I am told all the time that they check my blog regularly and it encourages me to know so many people support and love me! I am so unbelievably lucky and thankful to all of you who pray on my behalf daily. I would like to encourage you to please share this blog with others. This blog is my ministry and it allows me to speak to others and hopefully give them encouragement. God uses people everyday to glorify him, I would like to hope that I am giving him glory through this blog. This blog however is only the beginning. In time, I would like to start speaking to groups about my experiences and showing others that through faith nothing is impossible. God will protect his children and he will show us miracles if we ask for them!
A few weeks ago, a member of our church family here in Orlando suffered a similar experience to what I had gone through. We received a call that a lady in our church's mother was in a serious car accident in Birmingham, Alabama. She was in critical condition with a broken back! Immediately the fear went to paralysis and if her mother would ever walk again! Maybe it is fate that this injury would happen to me so that I could help others? We kept in contact with the family trying to give them encouragement. My family knew all to well what they were going through. Through many prayers by the grace of God she did not suffer paralysis! She is actually taking steps now with a walker! PRAISE GOD!!!
We can not determine the paths our lives will take. All we can do is take the trials that are given to us and do our BEST to pass the test, while giving all the glory and honor to God all along the way! This accident is a daily struggle and is hard on both myself and my family. However, I do not ACCEPT this injury and never have from day one! I knew I would not spend my life in a wheelchair and told the doctors "that I will walk again!" despite the fact they said it wasn't possible. I told them that I WAS going to walk. They had heard that talk before! Everyone with paralysis says the same thing.....its just denial! I do NOT think like most people! My confidence does NOT come from what I can accomplish on my own, but through the grace of God! All of the statistics on spinal cord recovery has come from people trying to beat the odds ON THERE OWN! I am not going at this recovery by myself. My progress is due solely by the power of God. Recovery IS possible! I have seen it in many people! My friend Matt Courson from Arkansas who was involved in an ATV accident is now walking WITHOUT braces on the parallel bars in therapy in Baltimore! Pat Rummerfield has COMPLETELY beaten the odds and is walking perfectly fine today. My good friend Jennifer who I had mentioned in my previous postings is also making great recovery at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock.
My recovery is still in its infancy! I am really not that far out from my injury yet my progress has already been AMAZING! PLEASE PLEASE keep praying for me! Tell others my story so that they can be encouraged by my trials! THANK YOU SO MUCH for your prayers!
I WILL WALK AGAIN!!! I WILL!!!
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Monday, March 2, 2009

MY PLANS FOR THE FUTURE!!

People have been asking me lately about my plans for the future. I decided to spend this post giving everyone a look at my current situation and my plans for the future. As everyone knows I am DEDICATED to therapy and working on walking again. That right now is my number one priority. I am waiting on my admission into the BEYOND THERAPY research program at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. I am currently 51st on the waiting list. The list should shrink soon after the candidates for the ACTION CLINICAL TRIAL (which was the program I did not get into) are removed from the Beyond Therapy list. I hope to go there in a few months for my therapy.

I am also looking for a vehicle to help further my independence. We have decided on a pick up truck with a lift to pick up my chair and put it in the bed of the truck. Due to my left arm being injured I will not be able to break my chair down and put it in the vehicle. I will need a crane lift to place the chair in the back. I have been to Vocational Rehab which is a government agency which provides aide to help people with my type of injury get back into society. Vocational Rehab pays for vehicle modifications and equipment that I need. HOWEVER, Vocational Rehab does not have any money. They categorize each patient to which I am the TOP LEVEL on the priority list due to the severity of my injury. I was told that the agency does not have any money due to the economy! I will be put on a list and once there is funding they would look into getting the mods for my vehicle. How long that will take I have NO IDEA? We are looking at a small pickup (extended cab)a Chevy Colorado or equivalent. I need something low enough to the ground so I can transfer over to the seat, if the truck is to high I would not be able to transfer.

On a good note: A friend of our families is an entrepreneur and has decided to help me in my rehab! PRAISE GOD!! He is currently waiting on some funding to come through and once it does he will help sponsor me in my rehab goals. He has decided to start a foundation in my name in order to give me the help I need. PLEASE PLEASE PRAY for this to go through. I can not put into words what this man means to me. He and his wife has such a HUGE HEART and I love them DEARLY!! If the funding goes through I will be able to get the rehab I need in order to ONE DAY WALK AGAIN!! Mark my words: I WILL WALK AGAIN!! My progress will be ALL for the HONOR AND GLORY OF GOD!!

It has always been my goal to one day return to Little Rock, Arkansas. I have made Arkansas my home for 8 years. I still keep in contact with all my friends in Little Rock and miss them dearly. However, in order for me to move back I will have A LOT of stuff I will need to get in line. I will need an accessible apartment, or house and most importantly A JOB! I am currently looking into my options and praying for them daily. I have received news recently that my insurance company (Arkansas Blue Cross and Shield) will cancel my policy if I do not return to Arkansas shortly. In order to keep my policy I have to be an Arkansas resident. This causes a problem for me! As most of you know, I would not be able to get by without insurance because of my vast medical problems. My insurance has already paid ummm, lets just say millions in medical expenses. If I were to change policies my premiums would go THROUGH THE ROOF! because of preexisting conditions! This RECENT news has scared me, and I need the prayers of EVERYONE that this will work out! I HAVE to have insurance and I cant afford the premiums of a new policy. This news has handcuffed my options and my time frame on things!

As I just stated I have MANY MANY concerns and worries about my future! My future is uncertain? I do not know what will happen but I need the prayers of EVERYONE that things will workout! Where will I have rehab? How will things work with my insurance? My vehicle, and mods? A JOB and living arrangements? These are all concerns and I ask all of you to PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE THINGS!! I am so lucky to have the support and love from so many of you!! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! God has a plan for me and I cant wait to see how he uses me to further his kingdom!
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
SO MUCH IN HIM!
BRENT