Thursday, December 27, 2012

Picture of the Day 12/27/12

After more than a year of patiently working with Forrest, encouraging, challenging, and Believing in his potential for recovery, Del helps Forrest make another huge milestone. Today, for the first time since March 2011, Forrest was able to lift himself up from a prone position to all fours and then inch by inch slowly push himself up until he was balancing his own weight as seen below.

Quote of the day: "Once you choose hope, anything is possible." Christopher Reeve

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hi Team 44 Followers,

Merry Christmas from Forrest, Austin, Rae and your author today Kent.
Forrest continues to make progress almost daily.  He has recently had a birthday and turned 20.  He had a fun party with his friends the other night and the family was home and had a great Christmas together.

As usual SuperBro and SuperMom have been doing a great job and spend an inordinate amount of time working with 44 and no doubt have helped him progress so well.  We have had a great team healing him throughout this year.  Tami, The Medical Team nurses, Dell, Steven, Tom Sweitzer, his teachers, therapists and Rebekah and many others have helped him.  We also appreciate the many great friends who have come to visit him, party with him and Facetime and Skype with him.  It really keeps him energized.  He got the new Wii U for Christmas and is anxious to play it with his friends.

The amazing things that he has done in the last few weeks is unbelievable.  He has started to form words and then has started speaking very quietly as well. The words are very quiet and few and he has trouble with some of the sounds but continues to make progress on a daily basis.  He continues to improve on other fronts and can walk several "laps" around the room with balance assistance.  He is making progress on almost every front, some of it is hard but he continues to work and make progress every day.

The medical issues are still daunting and we continue to tackle them with our great group of nurses and Doctors. He still is fighting the infection that recently sent him back to the hospital but his incision is healing well and he continues on with antibiotics via the PICC line.  He will likely switch to oral antibiotics after he finishes this course of IV.  He battles vertigo and is working on his swallowing and medication issues.  So he fights on making progress on many fronts.  After a rough almost two years it is great to see him smiling and working so hard.

Forrest has always been the comeback kid and he continues on!
Friends at a Brightwood Christmas party
Forrest enjoying great friends

An obviously candid Christmas photo

Video above of Forrest playing "pong" while practicing his standing coordination & duration

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Miracles

A couple of months ago, Rae told Forrest that what she wanted more than anything for Christmas was to hear his voice.  At the time, it seemed like a bit of a long shot.  Forrest was faintly humming occasionally, but was unable to do it on command. With an enormous amount of effort, he was just beginning to be able to move his tongue, but again, it was limited.  He was communicating with hand signs and slight nods.  Then came his Dynavox, a speech generating computer that Forrest nicknamed “Frank”.  Forrest and Frank soon became partners-in-crime, with Forrest using the computer to type and then “speak” various messages and communicate with others.  Frank is loud and clear enough that even friends could hear it via Skype and FaceTime!  It was amazing to see Forrest’s sense of humor come out in his thoughts and jokes and to watch his typing skills become faster and his spelling and word choice become more complex. Sometimes he would share his frustration, typing "There's no word that can explain the way I feel." and "Why can't I talk normally?"  But even with all of this, Forrest’s voice remained silent, still only humming occasionally.  

That is, until last Wednesday.  The day started like any other...Forrest’s mood had been happy and energetic all week…it was as if he knew he was about to surprise us all with the first of our Christmas miracles.  During music therapy on Wednesday, Forrest was working so hard to make any noise, but was clearly struggling.  We decided to try the hug trick.  Forrest tends to hum when he gives and gets a hug – I always tell him that it is his way of saying “hi” or “good morning”.  So, I leaned in to give him a hug, asking him to tell me “good morning” with his voice.  I was expecting to hear a slight hum, but in true Forrest fashion, he did something quite different.  He very quietly whispered “good morning”.  What followed was a flurry of activity and excitement as Forrest began mouthing and sometimes whispering a word we asked him to.  It was mostly silent, but he was very clearly mouthing words and it was easy to be able to determine what he was trying to say.  We were basking in this new step and celebrating the advancements Forrest was making…but Forrest was not done with the Christmas miracles.

He next began humming more consistently on command, a new skill.  Then he started opening his mouth while humming to quietly say the word “mum”, which made Rae's homecoming yesterday truly extraordinary.  Then last night, during physical therapy, when asked how many pull ups he wanted to do, Forrest quietly but clearly stated “ten”.  A simple word, but filled with promise of amazing things to come.  Forrest, however, was still not done with his miracles!  While sitting around talking about all his great accomplishments, someone stated that Forrest was awesome.  Forrest nodded his agreement, and then with prompting and encouragement, clearly said his first sentence, since May 25, 2011, “I’m awesome”.  The ManCave exploded with cheers and whooping as amazement and excitement filled us all.  Forrest really IS awesome – bringing us a Christmas miracle and making Rae’s Christmas wish come true, all with two magical words.  
We can't wait for  Forrest to share this life changing new step with friends and family over the holiday season.  Contact Tami or Austin to get yourself on Forrest’s social calendar!
With excitement and the warmest of holiday wishes,
- Tami 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Picture of the Day

Forrest has settled back in at Brightwood.  We were so excited to see that Forrest's little detour to Washington Hospital Center did not result in any apparent physical or cognitive setbacks!  His dedicated nurses from the Medical Team have been keeping a diligent eye on his new PICC line and incision sites, and a check up today with Dr Falkenstein resulted in a great report!  It has been a busy few weeks with travels and visitors.  Rae left Saturday for work in Malaysia, waving at Austin in the sky as he flew back from a conference in Hong Kong.  Kent returned from a conference right before Forrest broke free from the hospital.  Amazing Aunt Tricia left yesterday and we now are enjoying the help and company of the wonderful Aunt Lynn.  We are so thankful for all the people that have been here during Forrest's journey to recovery!
Today, Forrest has been busy, with Music Therapy and school then some new physical/occupational therapy exercises with his team. He has been frequently sharing laughs with us and it is great to hear and see the laughter that sometimes shakes his whole body.  He is currently engaged in a competetive game of chess with Austin.  Forrest has only needed a few reminders of the rules, even though he has not played since before the accident.  That's our champion!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yahoo Heading Home 12/6/12

Forrest busted out! while we are grateful for the wonderful nurses doctors & therapists at WHC, we are thrilled to be on our way to BrightWood! Thank you for the love prayers and positive energy! Team Forrest.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Update from WHC 12/4/12

Oh Forrest, after a rough night of post-op fevers and emesis, You managed to rally today. This morning with help you struggled up to sit beside and were able to sit for a while. You were game to try standing, though that didn't go so well with nausea taking hold again. Aunt Tricia and you share a special connection. She has a way of bringing calm and confidence that smooths many tough hours for both of us. And when you need a laugh, Tami ad libs jokes until your sense of humor bubbles up to the surface. The highlight of my day was watching your smile when Shayna reached out to you via FaceTime! You showed her your new PICC or Central Venous Catheter line that terminates in a large vessel near the heart, placed so that you can receive long term IV antibiotics to fight the infection at home. If all goes well tomorrow we are planning to liberate you on Thursday. We can't wait to return to BrightWood for you to continue your blessed journey of recovery. With love, Mum

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Come Back Kid 12/3/12

Thank you all for your love, prayers, messages and above all, belief in Forrest and his full recovery! With monumental logistical and emotional support from Aunt Tricia, Tami, and his Medical Team nurses we mustered Team Forrest's mobile unit yesterday and set up what will hopefully be a BRIEF camp at Washington Hospital Center. Many of the nurses remember Forrest from his earlier surgeries here and have come by to offer their warm wishes. Forrest sailed through surgery this morning. The doctors are optimistic that the infection is superficial and his lid is safe! Although he is in some pain he rallied to send his characteristic thumbs up to his friends and extended family. We hope to get home in a couple of days as soon as the preliminary lab work indicates it is safe to break out of here! We are grateful that we were able to get this taken care of so quickly and now Forrest is anxious to get home to his Man Cave and friends. With love, faith, and longing for home, Team Forrest

Friday, November 30, 2012

Unfortunate Detour 11/30/12

Forrest developed a tiny opening in his scalp scar today with a little bit of drainage. We took him to WHC in DC this afternoon and the neurosurgeon & plastic surgeon examined him. Forrest laid a big smile on them and handed Dr Armonda a Team 44 bracelet. They were both amazed by how great Forrest looks and how much progress he has made. They did decide unfortunately that the best thing for Forrest is to admit him Sunday for a Cat Scan and exploratory surgery at 7:30 am monday. They plan to keep him in the hospital a few days until they get cultures back. We are lucky we caught it early. We are hoping and praying it is superficial, just involving the scalp and not his prosthetic. He is strong now. Together he and his amazing Team, which includes all of you, will beat this and he will be back on track soon. We will post more when we have more information.
Love. Rae
Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

picture of the day and forrests first post

  Today marks a historic day for Forrest and his blog on several accounts.  Since Forrest continues to have episodes of motion sickness, his ability to travel is quite limited.  Part of overcoming this condition involves taking short trips on days when he is feeling well (and the weather and roads are good!).  Fortunately, with the aide of his nurse and his support team, Forrest is able to make it to several places that are close to home and familiar to him.  Today, we took advantage of the sunshine and made the short trip to town to visit The Common Grounds where he was able to see long time friend Alix.  We were joined by two of Forrest's amazing aunts and his Grandma Norma.

The blog has been an important lifeline for Forrest and his team to stay connected to friends, family and community.  Today, for the first time ever, Forrest had an active part in updating his blog.  From signing in to uploading the photos to writing the headline and photo captions, Forrest used his improving fine motor skills with his right hand to maneuver around the blog and his computer.  Once he finishes typing his photo captions, Forrest will push the "publish" button to post his very first entry! 
we're amazing! with alix

family is splendid

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We have so much to be thankful for, Forrest. Last year we were thankful that you survived another devastating setback and your aunts & uncles brought carry out turkey and loads of love to share with us at NRH where you had been hospitalized for almost 6 months.

This Thanksgiving we are blessed to be home together, surrounded by friends, family and The Medical Team's ever vigilant nursing staff. While you're not yet eating, you are clearly nourished and sustained by their love, faith, and encouragement. You are reenergized by their enthusiasm for your progress and do your very best physical and cognitive work when they are by your side cheering you on! Below are some highlights from the week, including your first stroll in the grass, appropriately in your Grandmother Boo's Memorial Garden, with your family celebrating this milestone! Another of you standing tall with Peter & Mat sporting a new hat Peter gave you and one of you teaching Sarah, Keith & Madison how to "talk" with your Dynavox! With love to all your friends & Thanksgiving for our many blessings, Mum

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Update 11/18/12

Inspite of the complex medical challenges you face every day Forrest, you continue to amaze & inspire all of us. Two months ago when you were struggling to open your fingers you began the arduous task of communicating with the only tool available to you, a gaze activated communication computer. It gave you the tiniest crack in the seemingly insurmountable wall between you and your world. As you began to control the computer with your eyes the most amazing thing happens... You begin to stretch out your fingers of your right hand on the keyboard searching for letters and words. For weeks your double vision sends your fingers to the wrong keys. Then suddenly a connection is made somewhere in your healing neuromuscular pathways and when those pathways fire, you type out whole sentences. This week when Austin asks you how you are, you type "Brilliant!" adding, "No one or no thing can stop me." and you are right! Especially with a brother like Austin and your core group of friends by your side!
Below are a couple of highlights from the week: The difficult work of standing tall and battling your unpredictable cardiovascular system is made more manageable with Sarah's encouragement! Visits from faithful friends like Peter are so much fun for both of you now. And their presence motivates you to keep pushing your physical boundaries and to share your thoughts using your Communication devise. We remain eternally grateful for your brother's unshakable determination and your friends' love and belief in your future. With hope, faith & love, Mum

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Amazing Accomplishment 11/14/12

This week, after more than a year of trying, Forrest is beginning to really communicate with us. He is gaining more control of his hands and particularly the fingers on his right hand. With incredible effort and determination he is typing and it is clearly HIS voice and sense of humor we can see at last. This is his response to Austin today!

And Forrest, your Mum and your whole Team are thrilled. We can't wait to see what you will do next. With love and gratitude overflowing, Mum

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pictures of the Week. 11/4/22

With careful coordination and loads of support you made it, Forrest to Fauquier Hospital for an abdominal ultrasound. The good news is, you made it there safely and we ruled out lots of bad problems. But unfortunately we still don't know why you continue to have recurrent bouts of dizziness, and emesis that makes each task more difficult and puts you at risk for aspiration. In typical Forrest style you gave the ultrasound technician a thumbs up for her efforts. Then today you proved your determination to beat the dizziness by standing for the first time in our stable next to ThunderJam. "TJ", Austin's retired competition horse, we believe next Spring will gladly be your first ride. There's nothing like the feel, the earthy smells, the quiet strength and confidence of a good horse. He is on your team Forrest and will be there for you when you're ready Darl'n. With love & gratitude for each day of hope & recovery, Mum

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Update: Halloween 10/31/12

Hope everyone made it through the hurricane alright. We did fine here at Brightwood, the generator worked as planned and kept Forrest comfy in his man cave. Thank you for the blog messages, we love reading them to him. Brian Selfe's post was wonderful in illuminating both the dark and the wonderful times in the last year, and showing just how far up the mountain Forrest has climbed. Speaking of climbing, Forrest continues to make great strides during assisted walking sessions and he continues to fight hard in other therapy sessions daily. He continues to have trouble with dizziness, motion sickness, and emesis, so he is making a trip to Faquier hospital today for an ultrasound. We asked him if he wanted to stay at the hospital instead of coming home this afternoon, and he gave the firmest head shake possible, so I guess we'll bring him back afterward... :)

All the best from Brightwood,

Waving goodbye at Departure Time

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pictures of the Week 10/20/12

You work so hard Forrest. We are right beside you every step but still, we can't really fathom how deep you must reach for each inch of ground you regain. This week we marveled as you threw a ball for the first time in over a year, walked 28 feet supported in your new walker, and did your best to write all the letters in your name on the white board. It makes your day when your friends can Skype or come visit to see your amazing accomplishments and progress. When Tori, with her family, and then Liza, both home from college, came to visit with you this week, all your burdens slipped away, your face lit up, you listened, soaking up their stories, your memories, your life being rebuilt, moment by moment... It's pure magic, that connection, that bond with true friends that makes anything possible. I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring. With love & gratitude, especially for the kindness and generosity of your friends, Mum

Monday, October 15, 2012

Update - 10/15/12

From October 15th, 2011
Mum and Forrest in the ICU
I know we aren't supposed to look back or down, Forrest. But some dates still haunt me. So I went back and read our journal and the blog from this week last year. It was such a heart wrenching setback, the Staph infection that sent you back into surgery and almost cost you your life. I can barely breathe now reliving those dark days...But sometimes it is good to look back Forrest, just briefly, to remind us how blessed we are and how far you have come.

From Neuro ICU recovering from surgery your blog entry on 10/15/11: "For now we count our blessings. He is alive, he is able to understand us and knows that we are always by his side. We are eternally grateful for your unending love, prayers, encouragement, and most of all your belief in Forrest and confidence that he will heal, he will return to his home, his friends, his future....As I sit with you now Forrest, I see a quiet determination alive in your eyes. We will never give up, never surrender. No matter how long it takes or what obstacles we encounter. Together we will go over, under, around, or straight through them. We are still on our road home. We will get there and it will be all that we dream of."

And the Miracle is unfolding. You are home Forrest and healing, gaining strength each day with the love and encouragement from your unshakable friends and the prayers, support and perseverance of so many of our family members, friends, and community.  Just today, after months of trying, you finally made music with Tom, blowing ever so faintly but clearly into the slide whistle. Later you attended, via Skype, the second annual Dolphin Quest Bermuda fundraiser for adaptive sports, an event launched in your honor last year.  You thrilled us all by launching the first dolphin bow with your own salute! 
 Forrest making sounds on the slide
whistlewith Music Therapist Tom
After a well deserved nap, we took your new "freestyle" walking PT outside so that you could breathe in the magical aroma of a clear Virginia fall day. This so energized you that you harnessed your emerging control over your legs and rallied to kick the soccer ball while STANDING! We finished this amazing gift of a blessed day at home together all gathered around your bed, soaking in your smile as we recount your recent accomplishments. It is good to be home, Forrest. God has surely blessed us with this magical time together.  We are grateful every day for those who have helped you make it so far from that terrifying time and for all your friends and supporters that continue to cheer you on. Yes, you have a long way to go, Darlin', but you are gaining ground every day and spreading your light for all to see.  Shine on, Mum

Dolphin Quest Bermuda crew sharing "shaka" signs
with Forrest and Team following the WindReach fundraiser
 Forrest "freestyle" walking outside with help

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Team Member and Video of the Day - 10/9/2012

We would like to introduce you to Stephen, the newest member of Team 44. A physical therapy student at Shenandoah University, Stephen helps during the weekends and other evenings when needed. His PT knowledge combined with his enthusiasm and positive energy make him a valuable addition to the team and a great friend and motivator for Forrest. 

One of the goals we have with Forrest is to have him standing at some point each day to help improve circulation and of course, strength. Whether it is standing bedside, on the tilt table or walking in the StarGait, everyday Forrest firmly plants his feet and stretches his 6'3" frame until he is upright and towering over all of us. Today, we opted to skip the usual options and instead used Austin, Stephen, Gayle and Tami to practice what we called "freestyle" walking. Watch the video below to check out the independent movement Forrest is making with BOTH legs! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pictures of the Day 10/4/12

After more than a year and a half of battling to overcome the dystonia that grips your muscles and often binds your fingers into clenched fists, once again you are able to hold a marker and make your mark on a white board. The months Tami has spent teaching you to sign and Austin's relentless determination to help you master "The Secret Handshake" surely have helped you begin to regain some control of your hands & fingers. Last night you & I reviewed shapes & you doggedly struggled to trace them again & again until we were both thrilled with your work. Still you signed for more practice so together we wrote your nick name until with a little help you did it yourself! Your expression in this photo speaks to my Mother's heart of both the frustration and the pride that you must feel when you look at your work. But this is just the beginning, Forrest. There's no stopping you now. At last, you are on your way. Love, Mum

Monday, October 1, 2012

Picture of the Day - 10/1/2012

The Three Musketeers model Forrest's growing collection of stylish glasses...filling the ManCave with the always important healing power of humor and laughter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pictures of a Great Day 9/25/12

Oh Forrest, after so many difficult days, what a gift a great day is. Everything falls into place and we can just celebrate being alive. You whipped out THIRTEEN squats on the tilt table (a new 44 world record) then shared a laugh with Austin at my attempts to pass the lacrosse ball! Your contented smile speaks volumes about the magic of FaceTime with Madeline. You have regained precious ground today, Darl'n and done so with grace & determination. The future seems bright with possibilities again. Sweet dreams, Mum

Monday, September 24, 2012

Picture of the Day - 9/24/12

Forrest and friend Caroline enjoyed a competitive game of "Go Fish" this morning.   Forrest started the game with no pairs and despite making a late surge, Caroline ended the game victorious!  We are excited for a rematch!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pictures of the Day(s) 9/20/12

Forrest's days may be long and fraught with unimaginable obstacles, but he is blessed with caring friends & followers who lighten his load with their time & love. The last few days have been brightened by FaceTime with Shayna, Gio, Nick, Madison, & tonight with Hoku & Courtney from Dolphin Quest Oahu! Mahalo for keeping in touch with Forrest. These special connections are the best medicine possible! With love, Mum

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Johns Hopkins - Update

The Johns Hopkins neuro-opthamologist was a little surprised by Forrest's Entourage as we all packed into his tiny exam room. But he was amazed when Forrest worked for a solid hour to get through his vision assessment. He was able to confirm that Forrest has 20/20 vision and almost full field of vision, though he recommends readers for close up work. And we got a new high tech solution for his double vision: a single strip of satin scotch tape strategically placed on one lens of his glasses. This blurs one of the images enough so his brain "sees" just one image and without the patch, he can still see out of both eyes! We are hopeful that with this encouraging news and a new gaze activated AAC ( augmentative & alternative communication) computer, Forrest will be able to begin to prepare for the challenging task of completing his last semester of high school.

We are on our way home now. Forrest is resting on his gurney, Pops is at the wheel. Nurse Gayle is ever vigilant protecting Forrest's airway, Austin our Chief Operations Officer, is monitoring traffic, Tami has jetted ahead transporting Forrest's wheelchair and preparing the Man Cave for our arrival, and as MaMa Bear I am counting our many blessings and giving thanks for this incredible Team 44. A Team now of hundreds, if not thousands, of family, doctors, nurses, teachers, therapists, aides, technicians, peers, friends, followers, prayer warriors...optimists and believers of second chances & healing Miracles.

We are eternally grateful that Forrest's spirit is still strong, that his playful sense of humor brightens our days, that he knows he is loved & treasured, and that our family & friends see his progress and have never waivered in their faith that he will recover.

Forrest IS The Come Back Kid. And he is coming back, stronger every day lifted up by faith, love, and persistent pursuit of the goal, his full recovery.
Here is Forrest & his Entourage at Johns Hopkins today.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Picture of the day 9/6/12

Forrest has been under the weather the last couple of days. But he is feeling better after a visit from Dr Falkenstein tonight. Thanks Dr F! We're wrapping up the day now with some special therapy in the massage chair which gets a definite thumbs up from Forrest, Pops, and Nurse Johnie!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Picture of the Day 9/4/12

Forrest & Austin share a virtual High Five while Skyping from Brightwood to San Diego. It is so incredible to watch Forrest connect with his Brother & friends across so many miles and unimaginable barriers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Picture of the Day - 8/29/12

Forrest impresses Del and Mum with his "bring it on" attitude and determination during PT today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Picture of the Day - 8/28/12

Thanks to Nick for taking the time to visit
Forrest (and Ron Burgundy) before
heading off to school!  

Friday, August 24, 2012

2nd Picture of the Day 8/24/12

Forrest Gives his intrepid Transport Team & Johns Hopkins a spirited thumbs up after completing his Cat Scan this afternoon. We are on our way back now winding through Baltimore rush hour traffic. More later. Mum

In Route to Johns Hopkins

Forrest and his transport team (family + Tami + nurse Gayle) have just departed for a consultation with a specialist at Johns Hopkins. His spirits are high and we will be back this afternoon.

Brought to you by Team 44 Medical Transport Division
(Click on image to see full picture)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Video of the Day 8/22/12

This Friday we will be transporting Forrest in his van, by gurney, with a nurse and family members present, to Johns Hopkins for a hydrocephaleus consultation. We will post an in-depth update this weekend after a successful trip. 

A big shout out to Aunt Tricia for helping me hold down the home front while Mom and Dad were away for the first time together! Thanks so much and we miss you(especially Sundance)!

Below are a couple of videos taken today that are just a glimpse of the amazing progress he has been making the last few weeks, through hard work and his indomitable spirit!

All the best from Brightwood,

PS: A big thank you in advance to Mom, Dad, and Tami for allowing me to head to San Diego for a couple weeks. 

With lots of hard work and practice over the last 3 months, today, for the first time, Forrest was able to advance his right foot 10 steps on his own

Many wonderful visits from his friends this summer while they were home from school have had a huge impact on his demenor and his progress. Forrest would like to say thank you in sign language to all his friends and supporters.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Picture of the Day (part 2) - 8/15/2012

Enjoying fun time with Sundance and Jackie after a morning of hard work!

Picture of the Day 8/15/12

Jackie shares the healing power of play with Forrest. Lining up the Lego pieces is hard work made lighter with a child's joyful encouragement.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Update: August 9, 2012

Today's blog is written by Giovanni and Shayna, two of Forrest's good friends from Mercersburg:

Hey Forrest,
You have come so far since the last time I saw you. Your quick responses and witty humor let us all know it won’t be long before you are running around and back to your energetic self. Tuesday was incredible, friends from Hill, Mercersburg and Highland gathered to give you a little celebration for all your hard work. If anyone deserves some appreciation and relaxation it is you.  Everyone gathered together for some burgers, stories, and to show you that we care. So many people are still supporting you and thinking about you everyday.

You were even a champ through the August heat, finding peace on the back patio while enjoying everyone’s company. As usual you spent most of the night entertaining and showing off your new improvements which included giving everyone fist bumps, high fives, hugs and peace signs. Everyone who was near you couldn’t stop smiling due to your high spirits and new accomplishments.

Coming home has been a great leap forward for you, getting back to a familiar place has really helped you to improve exponentially. However, nothing can compare to the therapy of having your friends around you just like the good old days. The memories and feelings that you have will last a lifetime and can help far more than any medication. You have people who love you Forrest, your Mum, Dad, Austin, Family members, friends, and of course Sundance. You are so close, Forrest! Keep pushing each and everyday and soon enough it is going to pay off. Even at the hardest stages in your life you continue teaching people valuable lessons, like never giving up or taking a day off. We are all so lucky to know you and even luckier to call you our friends.

Your friends,
Giovanni & Shayna 

Forrest is the center of attention yet again

Forrest gathers with a great group of friends

Monday, August 6, 2012

Update: August 6, 2012

Forrest, its your Mum. You are working so hard each day and making steady progress for the first time since last October. You are healing at long last. We know there are incomprehensible obstacles still ahead in your journey, but you are strong. You have proven your courage and resiliency beyond measure.  And your cadre of supporters, led with determination and grace by Austin will lift you up when you falter or grow weary.  

There are exhilarating and heartwarming moments every day now. Your amazing Aunt Tricia reassures me that working with you on a daily basis may be really hard, but it's great because she knows what she's doing really "MATTERS."  That clear sense of what really matters in life is a gift you have bestowed on everyone who has been touched by your journey. We continue to be blessed by friends, family and a community that offer support on a daily basis. Just this week Dr Gallegos graciously came to BrightWood to check out your teeth and advise us on oral care.  Drs Falkenstein and Lee have helped us through innumerable medical challenges and your core friends rally around you every chance they get. It's exciting now for them to see the huge gains you are making.  They have been by your side offering hope and faith when you couldn't respond. Now you can repay their devotion with a smile, a fist bump or a quick response. You soak in their energy and optimism and return it back ten fold. 

 The power of friendship and family, of that human connection we all rely on, I believe, is the real secret behind your ability to keep fighting day after day, to never give up.  No matter how hard the challenge is, you offer your crooked smile and a thumbs up, your way of clearly saying "Bring it On"!

With love and gratitude for all our Angels,


Forrest shaking Dr. Gallegos's hand

Aunt Tricia(dog trainer extraordinaire), on left, facilitates Forrest dropping the ball for Sundance to retrieve

Whitney & her Mom visit

Nap time