Sunday, October 23, 2011

Update: Sunday, 10/23/11

We apologize to our many wonderful followers for the lack of posts this week. It has been an incredibly difficult week and we just ran out of steam. But the truth is, we have come to depend on the blog too and your comments for our own sustenance. Your support, encouragement and prayers shared through this medium have become one of our most crucial lifelines.

Forrest had such a string of great days, milestones & celebrations the week before his latest setback, that this last infection & emergency surgery seemed unbearably cruel. Now we can see that without the benefit of that week's strong parameters, we would likely have missed the early warning signs of the brewing infection. While it has been a devastating setback, we still have much to be grateful for. To date all of the CSF samples have been sterile, suggesting that the infection was caught in time and did not reach his brain. The surgical removal of his second prosthesis and the intravenous antibiotics have been effective, his white cell count is down and he is not running a fever anymore. We have taken over responsibility for all his nutrition and he seems to be responding well to a more wholesome organic diet. We take turns making & delivering his four daily "smoothies" and the doctors & critical care nursing staff have embraced our somewhat unorthodox feeding plan. Today the neurosurgeons said our approach to his nutrition is the most important thing anyone can do right now to support his immune system & help him resist another life threatening infection. Of course the best thing we could do is get him out of the hospital and back to BrightWood. But this setback has dashed our hopes of an imminent homecoming, and we were SO excited about bringing Forrest home before Thanksgiving... I guess we'll just have to reschedule Thanksgiving this year!

Without a doubt, our greatest blessings are our devoted family and friends. Our support group is unrivaled. Austin and Maylin seem to possess a bottomless well of strength & youthful optimism. When Kent or I are overtaken by the black fog of a parent's emotional despair, the unbearable fear of not being able to protect our youngest child, Austin or Maylin step in, light a candle, and lead the way. Forrest's peers and our friends continue to bolster our spirits and our faith. The indomitable Mama Bear Task Force of Valerie, Shannon, Emily & Carina graciously & fearlessly filled my shoes this week, so that I could make a pivotal business meeting. And my dear sisters (blood & soul sisters alike) endlessly restore my faith when it falters and add clarity & conviction to a healthy whole and joyous vision of the future.

Last night Forrest was able to smile at my bedside antics attempting to dance with him and, ever the gentleman, did his best to offer his hand for another round. While his smile lit up my world, his most classic "Forrest" grins are reserved now for his friends' video messages. We play them again & again. Please keep them coming!

We don't know the new plan yet or even how long he will remain in ICU, but it will likely be several weeks. We do know we will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to help Forrest win his battle. And we know that win he will. In the mean time, short visits from healthy friends are warmly welcomed. We miss our tribe, and can't tell you often enough how much we cherish each and every one of You.

With love from Team Forrest,



  1. Whatever day Forrest comes home on will be a day of Thanksgiving~ no matter the date. It's been said so many times, but again, I hope you know how very much you are all loved, and that our hearts and prayers surround you, always... May that love and those prayers be a fortress and light around you through the dark times, and your joyful companions when this battle is won. xx

  2. This Everest Forrrest is climbing has many more crevasses and plateaus than all of team 44 and hundreds of friends and supporters would like, but the trajectory is definately up, and for that, I guess we must be grateful. Much love to Forrest who is hanging in there and trying harder every day to come back, and also to Rae, Kent and Austin--I know the word inspiriational is used a lot on this blog, and we can all see why-you are an amazing family, and you are so fortunate to have each other. Thanks for this latest blog--it's so important for your many friends and fans to keep up to date with Forrsst's progress.

    Stay strong.


  3. We are holding you all as closely as we can in our thoughts and prayers. It is incredible to read of Team 44's devotion and ability to do whatever it takes; even delving into nutrition with the new "smoothies" for Forrest.
    What an fantastic true Thanksgiving it will be when Forrest is finally able to enter the new "man cave" and you all get home to Virginia! With Much Love, Julie, Eric, Oliver, Isabelle Nettere

  4. Dear Team 44--Just want you to know that your work with/for Forrest continues to be a beacon for all of us. Each step forwards or backwards is felt by your community of admirers and friends, and we are grateful for your willingness to include us in the journey. We send our love to each and very one of your team members. Tom and Ann Northrup

  5. Hi Team Forrest, My sister and I are in K. C, Mo. right now, and we both send you our love and our prayers for Forrest. We will, as always, continue our prayers for all of you, and we hope for the very best results. Keep on Keepin' on!!

    Joyce Ellis and Beverly Harlow

  6. Sure do wish we were closer. We are so thankful that those close are helping so much. Bless you all. Aunt Lynn

  7. Hi Austin, Forrest, Kent & Rae

    Forrest in reading the blog I saw something there we all really need to secure permanently in our mind:

    No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

    Those are such heartwarming words to me!! I know you will turn a corner one of these days and there will be God's rainbow shining down for you.
    Today at church, there was a lady I had never met before who was visiting from Arizona and when I was introduced to her she said "I was told about your grandson Forrest and I want you to know I now read the blog and he and his family get a daily prayer from me!" As I rose to leave she said to remember that she would be praying for you to get well and go home. :)

    Your story has spread world wide and so have the prayers. Love you.

  8. Dear Forrest and your never-ending-ever-loving Team44,

    The one thing that is so evident to me through all of your trials and tribulations is the awesome power of God and love working through this with you. I love the rainbow scenario from Grandma Norma, and think someone else commented before.... It is through the storm that the sun can shine to make that rainbow...and I do believe that all rainbows are gifts from God. I know with all the love and support and home made super nutrition, that rainbow is not too far away. We too continue to pray and to check the blogs, I know my ladies bible study also continue to keep you, and full healing, in our prayers.

    Love & Hugs, Viki, Rick, Mandie & Ryan

  9. Your extended family around the country will stand with you for as long as it takes as well.
    So many people, many unknown to you all are with you in spirit, praying fervently for all things healing,strong and positive for Forrest and his devoted and loving team.

    Love to all, anne m

  10. Thanks for the update! Wish we could pop over in person to say hello! So happy to hear about the smiles. I so admire your optimism and I can't imagine how hard it must be.

    We love you all and are continuing to pray for healing and return to the farm!:)
    Kelly and family

  11. Hi all! We are continually thinking of and praying for your whole family. Each member is so inspirational and the story of all of your strength has travelled far and wide!
    I love reading about your 'unorthodox' feeding methods! We saw a HUGE change in James's stamina, color, strength, and attitude when he got real food as opposed to just formulas that met his nutritional needs on paper. I pray it does the same for Forrest!!
    With love and prayers,
    Clare, Tom, James, and Eve Mansmann

  12. Hey Forrest, Rae, Austin and Kent...Maylin too,
    What an incredibly wonderful and smart idea to take over Forrest's nutritional needs. I am a true believer in nutrition as an important part of healing! There are so many wonderful green leafy things you can put in those smoothies too! I agree with Rebekah, whatever day Forrest comes home will be Thanksgiving! We love you Forrest and continue to pray for your recovery! Miss you in the hood...Love, Barbara and the gang from Rabbit Hill XXOO

  13. Hang in there Team Forrest! Continue to know we send you love daily. Thanksgiving is every day we are thankful and clearly that is today!

    Gail Rousseau

  14. Dear Team Forrest,
    You guys are ALL doing great! I can't imagine how difficult this setback must be, but know that a triumphant upswing IS on its' way. Always sending positive thoughts, prayers, and loving support,
    Berkeley and Thomas Gunnell

  15. I wish I was there to make Forrest a few of my super-dooper protein smoothies, too. Good for you for taking over this important task! Maybe some of my favorite ingredients will give him a boost, too: blueberries (for the brain, of course), mangos, bananas, good organic spinach, fresh ginger, a little ground flax seed, wheat germ, magnesium powder, the protein powder, and orange juice. I will toast Forrest and the entire team 44 every morning as my blender whirls with my own smoothie. I relish thinking of the day when I can mix up this concoction for Forrest in your own kitchen at Brightwood, as a prelude to a hearty REAL meal for him.

    This journey has become so long and so difficult. We can only hope that the difficult challenges are behind you for good, now. I love the image of Rae and Forrest dancing, as best they can, in the ICU. I envision the two of them dancing for real as Forrest gets stronger and stronger. He WILL heal and recapture his youthful life, albeit with greater wisdom.

    You are always in our hearts and prayers.


    Diane and Jay

  16. Please know that we continue to think of you all here in Bermuda, and we had such a blast organizing the Windreach event in your honor, Forrest! Keep up all the good spirits and energy,
    Lottie (DQB)

  17. Team Forrest is pure strength... It amazes me every day. I'm sending all my positive energy your way :) Keep on... keepin' on!


  18. Saw a great quote on Facebook this morning that reminded me of Team Forrest...
    "I don't quit when I'm tired, I quit when I'm done." Keep fueling the fire, we are all behind you! Love and prayers, Laurie

  19. I found this poem online and thought of all of you as the powerful oak tree:

    Mighty Oak
    © Kathy J Parenteau
    Stand tall oh mighty oak, for all the world to see,
    your strength and undying beauty forever amazes me.
    Though storm clouds hover above you,
    your branches span the sky,
    in search of the radiant sunlight you
    count on to survive.
    When the winds are high and restless and
    you lose a limb or two,
    it only makes you stronger, we
    could learn so much from you.
    Though generations have come and gone
    and brought about such change,
    quietly you've watched them all yet still
    remained the same.
    I only pray God give to me the strength he's
    given you,
    to face each day with hope, whether
    skies are black or blue,
    Life on earth is truly a gift
    every moment we must treasure,
    it's the simple things we take for granted
    that become our ultimate pleasures.

    (Source: Mighty Oak, Inspirational Poem

    May your strength and love continue pulling you forth, we will be right behind you in case you need a little push.

    Take care,

  20. It's a blustery night outside tonight. The skies are magnificent, the winds high, the clouds swirling and changing the amount of light getting through as the sun sets.

    It's reflective of my thoughts about Forrest and your family.

    As someone beautifully noted before, we take every step forward and back with you, Rae. You are daily covered in prayer.

    It was a privilege to spend some time with your both your boys last week.

    I never cared for the movie Hangover particularly (heck, what self respecting mother admits to having seen it?!), but when I saw Forrest chuckle at the trunk scene, well, I'm a new and solid fan.

    I particularly enjoyed reading "Mossflower" for a bit to Forrest. Geez, what a complicated story with a lot of tough names to pronounce! It WOULD be a Forrest favorite. :)

    I loved it when Gnoff says, "(All you need) is a good matey to walk by your side through thick and thin."

    You already know this, but Austin is a mighty good matey. And a devoted brother. And a privilege to know.

    Charlotte is home tomorrow for a week of fall break. We are eager to head in to see Forrest. I'll touch base with you and Austin to make certain it's OK.

    So much love to your incredible family - and constant prayer.

    Shannon et al. XO