Saturday, May 7, 2011

Miracles Do Happen! I am Proof!

I should probably start this post off with an apology. I am sorry it has taken me so long to post an update. These past couple of months have been pretty hectic with therapy, job interviews, and spending time with friends. I have been flooded with emails and messages about my lack of postings. I am so blessed to have the support and love from so many people who follow my blog and my progress. God has blessed me so much during this long road to recovery. However, it is the support of my family and friends that keep me going and pushing forward!

I do not regret this life for one second, but I am thankful for the blessings and opportunities this injury has provided me! I have always known that God has a plan and a purpose for me. I am so glad that he has given me the ability to reach people in a way I never had before. Sometimes the hardest times and the most difficult circumstances are God's blessings in disguise. When we stop depending on ourselves and start trusting God 100% with our lives is when we will start seeing his blessings. I know that throughout these past few years my faith has grown tremendously and I have learned to trust in God and let him guide my paths. God has brought so many people into my life who have taught me a great deal about myself. I am thankful for everything and everyone in my life. I am thankful for the good times and the bad because it is in the bad times in life that we lean on God and make ourselves stronger Christians!

These past few months have been awesome for me! I have made unbelievable strides in my recovery and it seems God just opens one door after another! I have been blessed with job opportunities and significant progress in my rehab. I can feel a difference and change in my legs and I know God is not done with me yet! The other day in therapy I walked with canes instead of my walker and did WONDERFUL at it! I think over time I am going to start using canes instead of my walker and hopefully become much more efficient at my walking. It was only my 3rd time ever walking with canes and this 3rd time was by far the best! I am going to keep at it and in time, ill be walking everywhere. My therapist mentioned that she wanted to go on a community outing for therapy one day. She mentioned going to a restaurant "Moes" and I would have to leave my chair at home! I immediately said YES!! I am excited to start walking outside of therapy and my apartment and start walking out in public. Sometimes you just have to fly the nest! I think I am ready to spread my wings! The more I walk in my braces the better it is for me. Walking is some of the best therapy I can do, because I am using all the muscles and retraining my brain how to take steps again! I still have a ways to go, but with incomplete injuries such as myself there is no telling how much I can recover!

However, I know that therapy alone will not give me the results I have been seeking. I have known from the beginning that I would need God's help and a miracle if I was to beat this terrible injury! I still believe in miracles and have not lost faith for ONE SECOND that I will receive that miracle in time. I am starting to see a lot of improvements and I know recovery from an SCI is painfully slow but I have no doubt that miracles can come at any time. God has a plan for me and I am NEVER giving up. I will see this thing through to the end, no matter how long it takes I will never give up! My recovery has provided me with a wonderful testimony to share with people my many blessings. I want people to see God working in my life and know that he can do the same for them!

Several weeks ago, I was able to reach a huge milestone. It was a very special day for me and a bit emotional. After my time in the I.C.U. at UAMS Hospital I was transferred to Baptist Rehab Hospital. I stayed there for only a few weeks because of my shoulder complications. The therapist were not able to work on my rehab effectively because the surgeon did not want me to bare weight through my shoulder. My parents got an apartment in Maumelle while we waited for my surgeon to clear my shoulder for weight baring so I could return to BRI and continue my therapy. The apartments were located right next to a lake with a park and walking trail around it. I would go on many strolls around the lake with friends in my power wheelchair. Those were some of the toughest times for me!! I kept my emotions hidden and put on a strong face but having to deal with everything just left me broken inside. My good friend Alyssa would visit me often in the hospital and even spent her Christmas by my side even though I was still in a coma. She would go on walks with me around the lake while I rode in my power chair. One day we stopped around the lake and everything kind of hit me at once the reality of where I was and the journey ahead of me. Despite my emotions, I promised Alyssa, ONE DAY, I was going to get up out of this chair and walk around this lake with her! A few weeks ago I got the call from her telling me that I needed to keep that promise! So we met at the lake where the promise was made, I grabbed my walker and my braces, stood up out of my chair and started walking the path with her!! It was funny, but people were jogging past me the entire time encouraging me as I walked. One guy came by and said, "Wow man, did you blow your knee out?" I just laughed and was like, ummm Something like that! That day was very special to me because, while I was walking I heard a familiar voice. It was my friend Lana who I went to college with at Harding. Lana sells prosthetic implants to surgeons and was actually in on my shoulder surgery. Lana was able to see me come full circle. She remembers me from the operating room to walking around a lake, I was happy she was there to see it. I do not think it was a coincidence that she was jogging the lake that day, it was a GOD THING!

God has blessed me SO MUCH!! I have been given a second chance and I am going to take advantage of every opportunity to share with others how God has blessed my life! I should not have survived that accident. Doctors were not very optimistic that I was going to pull through. But God was bombarded with prayers from all over the world on my behalf and he answered those prayers by giving me a second chance. God spared my life but I was left was a daunting task ahead of me! My road to recovery was going to be a long, hard road but with the support of my family and friends one that I KNOW I will accomplish! PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR ME! Pray for complete and total healing! I have NO DOUBT, NONE WHAT SO EVER that miracles do happen and I know God is not done with me yet!
God Bless you all!

Monday, March 7, 2011

What an awesome God we serve

My blog post this week is not going to be so much on my recovery, (which is going great) but instead, I wanted to share some things that were on my heart in hopes that it can encourage others.

We serve an AWESOME GOD! Each and everyday I am so thankful for the life he has given me. I am so blessed to be able to laugh and enjoy the love of all my friends and my family. So many times people think that because of my disability that it has in someway hindered my living. In the past it was true. I had a hard time adjusting to the changes in my life and admittedly sometimes I let them get the best of me. However, I know that my life is so much more.

God has granted me a second chance at this life. I feel that I should use that second chance to the best of my ability to bring honor and glory to God in all things. My recovery although it seems slow at times is actually progressing quit well. Each week I am getting more and more feeling and glimmers of movement I had not had before. Some night I wake up with my legs throbbing and I cant go back to sleep. I know God is working in my life and in my body. I am constantly reminded of the motto which my sister started while I spent all those critical days in the hospital. The motto although simple still rings true to me today. GOD NEVER PROMISED US THIS LIFE WOULD BE EASY, BUT HE DID PROMISE IT WOULD BE WORTH IT! Those words are so very true and I think of them often. Our only purpose on this life is to bring glory to God in all things and to prepare ourselves for the life after this one.

I feel more than ever that God has a calling for me. My calling on this earth is to encourage others and to show them the love of God. I do not believe my accident was caused by God. It was just that.....AN ACCIDENT, but I feel that God can use all situations in each of our lives to help us become better Christians and to glorify him. So many times I use to live for this world and the things in it. I was always so worried about my physical circumstances and stature. I know now that there is so much more to this world than just meaningless things. I want God to use me everyday! I want others to want to know God through meeting me and I want to so badly give him praise throughout everything.

People ask me all the time how my attitude has remained so upbeat throughout this entire ordeal. The answer is simple; I do not live for the things of this world anymore. I do not look at myself any different now as I did before, except for the fact that I now have a more focused view of my purpose!

I want to thank everyone who has continued to support me and follow my progress along this journey. So many people still read this blog on a regular basis and it gives me so much joy to know that it is touched so many people. If you would like to know when I post my updates, you can click to FOLLOW ME and it will send you an email notification on each of my posts. I always look forward to reading the comments from everyone, they lift me up so much. I will continue to post videos so everyone can see my progress. Just know, that each gain I make that I am doing so ONLY by the grace of God who has looked after me throughout it all!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Progress is Coming!! Prayers still needed!

What a wonderful past few weeks I have had in my walking. Two weeks ago my outpatient therapy ended at Baptist Rehab. I had been going there 3x a week for the past couple of month to learn how to walk in my new braces. I am able to stand on my own, walk and sit down unassisted. I have gotten better at controlling the braces so the only thing left for me to do is PRACTICE!

Not only have I been walking in my braces but I have been learning to be functional in them as well. I am able to walk in my apartment and do small tasks like washing dishes in my sink and getting things out of the fridge. I try to walk in my braces everyday in my apartment and slowly try to ween myself from my chair. The more practice I do the better I will get at walking. I am so thankful to everyone who has stuck beside me throughout this long journey I have been on these past few years. It is not easy but through prayers and faith I have been blessed with the ability to walk in braces (for the time being). My ultimate goal is to walk again, and to live a normal life as I did before my accident. Some would say that this is impossible, well MOST people would say it is impossible. However I have never once doubted for one second that this would not become a reality. I know the mountain I have to climb ahead of me and I realize that it will take everything I have in order to reach the summit, but it is a task I am determined to accomplish.

Life is not always easy and for the past few years everyday has been a struggle. However, we were not called on this earth to live a life free of trails and hard times. Everyone faces hard times in life but it is our resiliency and our willingness to put all of our trust in God if we are to overcome them. I have been faced with a physical challenge but what has been laid in front of me is not impossible to overcome. Doctors, scientist, and many other skeptics may say otherwise but I do not believe them. I NEVER HAVE!! I always have faith in what the bible teaches. Faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. The analogy is simple if we understand the meaning. A mountain is an immovable object, something that NO ONE on earth could ever move. But with God's help and if you have faith, an undoubting, unwavering faith then God can move mountains for you.

I believe God hears our prayers and that he still does work miracles. I have already seen so many miracles in my life since this tragic accident. The fact that I am alive today is proof of just one of the many miracles in my life. I know that God is not done with me and I know my recovery is far from over.

If there is one thing I could ask of everyone who follows this blog it is this: Please pray for me!! Please go to God and ask him to work yet another miracle in my life, to touch my legs and make me whole again. I know it is possible I know he can move mountains in our lives. I believe in miracles!! I have come a long ways in my recovery but hard work can only take you so far. I believe that the answer has been right in front of my face from day one. I CANT DO THIS ON MY OWN! I COULDN'T THEN, AND I CANT NOW! I have never been able to do this on my own. I NEED GODS HELP!! I need a mountain moved for me!

Its funny that so many times I think to myself, "if I just push myself a little harder, or workout a little more than I can achieve my goals." I do not believe that to be the case at all. I still need a miracle in my life in order to reach my ultimate goal of being healed. I dont doubt that it can happen. I hope all of you share my faith and optimism of my recovery. Ask your churches or your bible study groups to pray for me. Ask your friends to do the same and together we will go to God with prayers and petitions.

I want to thank everyone who has been beside me from the beginning. Throughout all of those hard times in the hospitals. From the cards, and emails, phone calls and letters of encouragement. My support group has never left my side. My church and friends have been there for me and have been willing to help me throughout it all. I simply ask you to not give up on me yet, I know you wont!

I have so much to be thankful for and I am so blessed to be a Christian.
Thank you all!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Long Over Due Post

I apologize for the delay on this blog post. I realize it has been over a month since my last post. I wanted to let everyone know just how blessed my life is today. I am still doing therapy 3x a week at the Baptist Rehab Outpatient Clinic. Starting Tuesday Jan 18th I will also be starting back at University of Central Arkansas Physical Therapy school. I had about a month off from therapy at UCA due to the Christmas Break.

In therapy right now I am currently working walking more efficiently in my new stance control braces. Learning to walk in them is a bit tricky, but once I get it down I will be able to walk much more efficiently. Right now we putting both braces in the stance control setting and putting a 2 lbs weight around each ankle. The tricky part in using these braces is to create an extension moment in the knee in order to allow the knee to unlock as I swing my leg forward. Once I learn to use them correctly I will be walking not only more fluidly and look normal!

As I have mention in previous posts these braces will allow the knee to break during the swing through phase of my walking, but lock out the knee during the stance phase (or when my foot touches the ground). However in order to allow the knee to release during the swing through there must be a slight extension moment (hiking the knee backward) very slightly in order to break the lock, I will then swing it forward at the same time which allows for a more fluid walking pattern.

I have been so extremely blessed by all the support and love that has been shown to me each and everyday. I look forward to going to church to be around my peers and such an AMAZING support group. I always get encouraged when I go into church and I am so extremely blessed to have the support of so many people. I could not imagine what it would be like if I did not have the family and friends that I have!

I have taken a few videos of my walking but did not like my progress in the video to post! haha. I get nervous when the camera is on, but ill get over it. Its funny but turn the camera off I will knock off 10-15 steps PERFECTLY!! turn the camera on and its every few steps I will mess up on. Its a learning process, but one that I am dedicated to learning!

Yesterday in rehab I finally decided to post a video, although it is not my best work, its all I have at the moment. The camera is never on when I am walking the best but you can get an idea of how these new braces work! My orthosist (the one who made the braces) still has some fine tuning to make but did not want to make the changes until I was comfortable and learned how to walk in the braces. Once the tweeks have been made it should allow the walking to be even easier and more fluid, but with the changes its a little (LESS-SAFE) which is why he wanted me to master the walking first before he made the walking easier. In the video below I also have weights on my ankles (under my pants). I hope you enjoy the video, believe me I have come A LONG ways from when I first started walking in them!

TO GOD GOES ALL THE GLORY!! Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I strive to walk again! I am still confident in my healing and know that it is still just a matter of time! With him all things are possible! Thank you for all of your support!