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


video

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