Friday, November 14, 2014

Back to Work

Someone told us early on that "recovery is not for the faint of heart". 

It's clear Forrest that, as one of your followers recently wrote to you, "You have the heart of a warrior!"

Two weeks out from your last surgery and we are already on countdown to your next .... eight weeks and four days from today.  And you are hard at work to sharpen your mind, strengthen your body, improve your voice and regain your balance.  

Pilates is both fun and challenging with Kay and Toliver on guard.

NOVA offered you a medical exemption to withdraw from your online history course, but you refuse to quit. So you and Tami double your efforts to catch up and prepare for your mid term exam.  

At PT, your pal Del has to tell you enough after you complete three more reps than he asks for!

Your friend Derek stays close to catch you if you loose your balance playing pool, but that doesn't stop you both from enjoying a seriously close match! 

Onward and upward, Champ.  Your courage, sense of humor, and your unwavering friends will carry you on wherever the road leads! 

Blessed to be on Team Forrest,

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Home At Last !


Thank you All for the prayers, warm wishes, encouragement, Skypes, visits, TLC and faith in Forrest. 

There really is no place like home! 

And Austin's homecoming for Thanksgiving, is just around the bend!
 We have much to be a Thankful for. 

God Bless,



We are forever grateful for the incredible care Forrest has received this week at Johns Hopkins and for Tami and Nurse Dawn's round the clock vigilance!  

This morning Dr Kumar enthusiastically described Forrest's trajectory as "definitively upward"!  Right now our trajectory is BrightWood bound and we couldn't be happier.  

Toliver was especially thrilled when FINALLY  Forrest joined him on his ride down the elevator and out the front door.  The whole outside world is indeed brighter! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Happy Saturday

Forrest had a good day today.  He woke up with a smile on his face and his voice was much louder and clearer than the previous few days.  He walked down the hall with help from the hospital Physical Therapist, played catch with Toliver and Skyped with awesome friends Nick and Tori.  We are still on track to break out of Hopkins midday tomorrow and will do our best to keep you all updated. 
-Team 44
Thumbs up with Nick
44 trying not to smile for a pic with Tami.  He said we could only post this pic if it was small.  :)
A day late, but this is playing basketball with friend Ben on Friday.  44 is being supported by a physical therapist behind him in this pic...he's not quite steady on his own yet.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Grateful for Special "Noggins "

Among the many blessings bestowed upon our family during this journey of Forrest's recovery are the amazing doctors nurses therapists teachers aides caregivers extended family members and friends who have so generously given their time energy talent and devotion to help Forrest find his path.  

Today Dr. Kumar and Forrest delighted in putting their "Noggins" together outside of the operating room!  

The current plan is to give Forrest another day at Johns Hopkins to make certain he is stable on the new medications and that the new stomach access is healed well enough to be fully functional. If all goes well tomorrow, we hope to be BrightWood bound on Sunday!!!

Many thanks for all your blog comments, Facebook posts, video messages, texts, prayers and positive energy. We couldn't do this without you. 

With Love & Gratitude,
Team Forrest

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Update from Johns Hopkins

Hi friends.  Forrest had a relatively quiet day today.  His head bandages came off early this morning and the doctors are very pleased with how it looks.  Forrest is still weak - from a combination of residual anesthetic, pain medication and a new seizure medication.  He also has not had any nutrition for three days!  This is because of the surgery on his stomach and the new tube location, which is looking good so far.  He received Pedialyte through his new tube today and the current plan is to start with a little bit of smoothie nutrition tomorrow. 

We have only heard a few words from Forrest since surgery, but we know he is able to talk, which is a blessing!  We believe the overall weakness as well as a sore throat from being intubated during surgery are the reasons he has not made much effort to speak yet.  He has been relying on gestures, small smiles and writing to communicate.  Here is a message from him to all his incredible supporters!

Forrest saved his biggest smiles of the day for his friend Christina, who fought the Baltimore rain and traffic to brighten 44's day.  Seeing his face brighten up when she walked into the room proves that there is no better magic than friendship!

Thank you all for the wonderful messages, thoughts and prayers!  Although this week did not begin as we had hoped, we are confident in Forrest's unwavering spirit, the support of his team at Johns Hopkins and the healing love from friends and family.

- Team 44

Thanks Christina!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Matrix

Forrest, Rae, Toliver and I started the day early.  We went over at six to relieve Tami after her all night vigil at Forrest bedside. Toliver was excited to see Forrest. 44 was determined to catch as much sleep as possible before they took him off to preOp.
The morning was a flurry of doctors quick discussion about what's going to go on and sign authorization forms.  Since we were doing multiple procedures there was a timetable that had to be closely followed. G.I. surgeon's, central IV lines and craniofacial reconstructive surgery was all going on with multiple doctors and nurses involved.  Dr Kumar was orchestrating and had the starring role in the scalp reconstruction,  
The whole process had been turned in serious doubt from the seizure the day before.  We were determined to understand the cause before we went forward with the procedures today. Once we were finally able to determine that it was simply a medication adjustment we could proceed on.  Dr. Kumar picked the group back up realigned everyone in the process and it went smoothly on today. 
These procedures today were to prepare the scalp for the reconstructive bone grafts which will reform his cranium.  This is going to be done in two stages in the winter and spring.  The stomach tube or PEG tube which he receives a large amount of his water and medications through was giving him troubles and was approximately three years old.  It needed to be surgically revised and a new connection to put the tube through his stomach. 
Both these procedures were achieved in good order.  Forrest is resting comfortably with a little bit of IV pain medication to help him through the day.  
Toliver is very relieved to be bed side with Forrest and be back in the same room as it makes him concerned when he is separated for any length of time.  Operating rooms are one of the few places that service dogs cannot go.
So Rae and Tami are resting preparing to take back over while I am sitting bedside with the boy as he is sleeping.
We have dodged another bullet. There are some days weeks months and years we feel like we must be living in "The Matrix"movie we have been dodging so many bullets.  With a little luck we will be out of here on the weekend and back at Brightwood.
Thanks for all your support, prayers  and care.
Dad and Team 44