Friday, May 29, 2009

STANDING ON MY OWN!

What an amazing week I have had in therapy! A few days ago, I stood up (on my own) for my first time since my accident. I still have a long ways to go but my progress is amazing. My legs are still very weak but they are being healed by the power of God through all of your prayers! If you pray for me on a regular basis and pray to God for my recovery then you can watch the video below as proof that prayer works! You can see with your own two eyes, that nothing is impossible! I was told in the beginning that recovery from the severity of my injury would not be possible. Well, apparently my Doctors didn't ask God if it was possible, they just looked at their statistics!

Please understand that I am no where near out of the woods yet! My recovery is still going to be a long, and hard road. This injury is hard on my family as well as myself. This injury and my recovery has taken a lot from my family. Both time and financially we have had to make sacrifices to give me the best rehab in the country. I am forever grateful for my family and the sacrifices that everyone has made to see this miracle through. Please pray for my entire family as we leave in just two weeks and move to Atlanta for a couple months of therapy (June 13th I will be leaving.)

I am so extremely blessed with such a wonderful Christian family. From the minute I got news of my acceptance into the Beyond Therapy Program my Christian family went to work for me helping me find a place to stay. I have never seen networking quit like when you put my church family and parents small group to the task! It was unbelievable how the word has spread. I doubt there is not one single church in all of Georgia that does not know I am coming to Atlanta! haha! I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

Now for the moment everyone has been waiting for.....drum roll please!! haha The video below is of me standing up on my own. (im still working on the whole balance thing) but its coming! Please continue praying for me! Pray for my total recovery and with Gods help we will see that miracle happen!
I LOVE YOU ALL,
SO MUCH IN HIM
BRENT!

video

Monday, May 25, 2009

Some Exciting News! I STOOD UP!

Yes, you heard correctly from the subject above. The other night in therapy, I was able to stand up out of my chair. My therapists who comes to my house decided to work on my (sit to stand) ability. We have worked on the before, but in the past my dad, or therapists husband, Jim had to help me up my lifting on my gate belt around my waist. We tried to do it this time, without braces and by just holding onto my dad and jim's hands. When we counted to three I PUSHED through my feet and by pushing a little into the hands of my dad and Jim I was able to stand up. Once I was up my dad said that I was not pushing through his hands hardly at all. He said that most of the effort came from me pushing through my feet. I was shocked at how quickly I shot up and thought for sure that I was being helped up BUT I WASN'T being helped at all. I needed proof of this on my own so I told everyone to back away. I wanted everyone several feet away from me with NO ONE TOUCHING ME! They put the walker in front of me on my mat and on the count of three I SHOT UP into the standing position with very little push through my hands. I STOOD UP!! Everyone in the room was excited and could hardly believe it. This was the first time I have stood up on my own.

In the past my dad and brother would say that I was helping them when I pushed through my feet to get into the truck. They would say that it was a lot easier for them to lift me up and I was helping stand myself up. Although they said that often I did not know the percentage of help I was giving! Was it 5%? was I helping them 10%? I thought my brother and father would just muscle me up into the truck but I didn't know how much I was helping. Well THIS WEEK I found out that I am helping A TON! I was able to stand up on my feet with NO ONE touching me! Once I was up my father had to help brace my knees with his hands because I could not completely support my weight yet but WHAT A MIRACLE FROM GOD!! I would have never thought that I would be this far along in such a short time. Your prayers are working! I am excited about my therapy at Shepherds and can not wait to see the progress I will make there! Please continue to pray for me, pray for more miracles! I WILL WALK AGAIN!! we must have faith and believe!
I LOVE YOU ALL,
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some Great Rehab Options and my Atlanta trip!

Its another week and yet another blog post. There is a lot going on with me in the next few weeks as I prepare for my trip to Atlanta. We are currently still looking for an apartment or place to stay near the Shepherd Center. I would like to find an apartment or hotel that is right near the center where I could actually push myself there everyday. This limits my choices as there are only so many places near the center that would have the accommodations I would need for only a few months. Once we get the apartment or hotel figured out I will be focusing all my efforts on getting prepared for my move. I hope to be there for probably two months depending on money and my progress. How it was explained to me is that you pay for the rehab upfront,for the therapy. The therapists will continue working on you until they see a plateau in your progress. They will then send you home until you regain more movement. You will then go back into rehab for them to facilitate more return. This will be the first therapy where they will focus solely on my walking. On my previous trips to rehab they taught me life skills and worked a little on my legs using the locomat and various other equipment. I AM PUMPED AND READY TO GO!!!

I have some more EXCITING news! I have been looking for a rehab facility close to my house where they focus on spinal cord injuries. Several states have these centers that specialize in SCI injures but NONE were in Florida. A great center I have looked at in the past was called PROJECT WALK but it was in California. Project Walk worked on physical activity to rebuild neuro pathways which many doctors believe is the key to recovery. Today I found out that Project Walk has built a SISTER facility in SANFORD, FLORIDA! A lady who lives in Orlando had a daughter who suffered a spinal cord injury in April of 2007 about two years ago. She ran into the same problem we had which was finding a rehab facility close by that focuses on SCI injuries. Her daughter went to Shepherds in Atlanta and California for Project Walk for therapy but it put a huge burden on their family. Her mom decided to partner with Project Walk and build a recovery center in Sanford, Florida. The center is called STEP IT UP and follows the model of PROJECT WALK. The center has JUST opened this month and has started taking patients a few weeks ago. My mom and I are going there on Thursday to check out the new facility. I hope to workout there after I return from Shepherds. The Shepherd Center will be using state of the art therapies and equipment which is why the therapy is considered experimental. I am excited about both opportunities. PLEASE PRAY THAT BOTH WILL WORK OUT!!
I LOVE YOU ALL!!
SO MUCH IN HIM
BRENT

Friday, May 8, 2009

GOOD NEWS!!!! ANOTHER MIRACLE!!

I am writing you with a grin from ear to ear! What an amazing God we serve! I am going to share with everyone an amazing miracle that happened a few days ago.

As most of you know I have been rejected from almost every clinical trial due to my level of injury. Scientist and doctors do not know as much about the recovery of the spinal cord at my LOWER level. On Monday, I was very depressed and down in the dumps about how nothing is going my way. I am making so much progress and my legs are continually getting stronger with my PT at home. However, NO ONE will help me get over the hump and take me on with research and advanced therapies. I wrote my last blog post, venting about my frustrations with being rejected.

Back in October while at the Shepherd Center I signed up for Beyond Therapy, which is an experimental research program. At Beyond Therapy they use very intense therapies and physical activity to retrain the muscles and rebuild neuro pathways past the injury point. They have had amazing results from this experimental rehab and many top spinal cord doctors believe that physical activity is the KEY to recovery! When I signed up I was put on a LONG waiting list. I started about 60th on the waiting list with ON AVERAGE 2 or 3 patients being taken off the list each month! It was going to be FOREVER until I could get into this program.

On Monday, after writing my blog and being depressed about my current situation I went to bed praying to God for an answer. I prayed and prayed asking God to open doors for me in regards to my rehab. THE VERY NEXT MORNING, my mom came into my room and woke me up. She said "brent, someone is on the phone for you!" and handed me the phone! It was the director of the Beyond Therapy Program at Shepherds. She told me that one of the patients on the waiting list had to cancel and the time slot for admission on JUNE 16th is available! She said there are 42 other people ahead of me on the list but she would do me this favor and bump me up on the list, if I could make the move to Atlanta to fill the spot! YES...YOU HEARD ME CORRECTLY!! THE VERY NEXT MORNING GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER!! I prayed myself to sleep, and woke up with God answering my prayer! Someone "HAPPENED" to cancel, and the director just HAPPENED to do me this "FAVOR"! I think there is a greater person behind these coincidences. NO....GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER!! PRAISE GOD!!

On June 16th I will be moving to Atlanta to start BEYOND THERAPY!! We are all so excited, but at the same time we have A LOT on our plates. We are responsible for finding an apartment or hotel to stay in for the next few months. We have a lot of expenses and deadlines we have to meet at home before making the move. I ask for everyone to PLEASE keep me in your prayers. Pray this therapy will be effective and I will get a lot of benefit from my time in Atlanta. God opened this door to me for a REASON! Thank you all for your continued love and support!!
I LOVE YOU ALL,
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT

Monday, May 4, 2009

Clinical Trial Set Backs!

As most of you know I have been looking to participate in as many clinical trials as possible. Being apart of a clinical trial means that I will get the best in therapies at minimal to no cost. Hospitals and rehab centers like Shepherds and others across the country receives grants for research. That means that the studies are paid for and volunteers are needed for the research. People must apply and meet the criteria to be accepted into the programs. I have applied for numerous clinical trials and have been rejected on almost all of them.

The reason for my denial into these programs is because of my level of injury. My break occurred at the T11/T12 level of my spinal cord. At that level it is where the peripheral nerves branch out into the rest of my legs. Anything BELOW the T-10 level is not considered part of the central nervous system but the peripheral nervous system. At the T-10 level which is just ONE level above my injury is where the cord becomes a single cord and runs up to the brain. People with a T-10 and above is who ALL of the clinical trials are being tested on at this time.

I spoke with Dr. Wise Young who is the foremost authority on spinal cords in the US and in China. I asked if I could be apart of his clinical trials on some new and radical things that are coming up the pipeline on spinal cord recovery. He was very nice to me and told me to check in on several institutions who will be seeing out his studies. However, I told him I was a T11/12 lower motor neuron legion and he said that his study was for T-10 and above. ITS THE SAME STORY!!

I tried for the Action Clinical Trial at Shepherds, which would give me Beyond Therapy for 6 months FOR FREE and I was denied based on my level of injury! I am getting very frustrated at the lack of studies for people with my levels of injury. I am making progress and I see things changing all the time, but NO ONE will take me on and get me over the hump. Its aggravating to say the least. I feel like I could make HUGE gains if I had the equipment to increase my therapies. My PT who comes to my house has made more gains than I could EVER IMAGINE! However, I still need rehab and equipment (like the locomat) to get the most out of my recovery. PLEASE, PLEASE continue to pray for my recovery. I WILL WALK AGAIN, but these hang ups in my recovery are aggravating. I need prayers that I will make the right decisions in my future therapy. I also need prayers that I will be accepted into these programs. Being apart of clinical trials will also help me save money which I am having to watch closely for all my medical expenses. PLEASE NEVER GIVE UP ON MY RECOVERY! PLEASE KEEP ME IN FRONT OF GOD! I will glorify him, through all of my progress!
THANK YOU ALL,
SO MUCH IN HIM,
BRENT