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 


  1. That is just so incredible!!! YAY!! You are awesome Forrest!! What a miracle:)

  2. A sentence even......what is next Forrest. We can't wait to see and hear!! It was soooooo exciting to be there last week and get to hear the beginning of the voice moments. Thank you for that special gift. Keep it up and please know what a blessing these good reports are to hear. You are our champ for sure!

  3. Forrest, you are absolutely awesome! NOthing can stop you now!!! Soon, you'll be busting out the rhymes! You have given us all such a wonderful Christmas. News like this, fills my heart with joy. warm regards, Abby Laughlin

  4. Yea!! I'm still giddy after reading this post! What a great start to my day. Thanks, Forrest!
    Katherine Weeden

  5. What a way to start my morning! This is fabulous! I'm so excited....my heart is thumping!
    Fantastic Forrest Strikes Again!

  6. Wow Forrest, you are truly amazing! The strength of your determination and resolve is an inspiration to all of us this Christmas season and beyond. Thank you for providing us with such joy! Keep up the great work - you'll be singing before you know it! Love and hugs to you and all of your team! Love, The Rafferty Family


  8. I remember discussing with Rebekah that if anyone could make it through and recover from "this", it would be Forrest...achieving the impossible seems to be just what you do! As I sat here, reading, with tears in my eyes (and I already knew the miracle before I was reading the blog and still I cried tears of joy!);I can only imagine what joy and pride your "Mum" has to be feeling, along with the rest of the family...but Mums (and Dads) seem to understand on a different level and your Mum is a very special one. We are all so blessed to see how amazing Team 44 is, the fortitude and tenacity, the drive and desire, and just how far you have come; it is truly astonishing. I can't wait to hear about the next miracle, and the next....

    We continue to pray for all of you and wish you the Merriest of Christmases,
    Love & Hugs,
    The Plowman Family

  9. I believe in miracles and this just proves that they exist!!! This is such wonderful news. I am thrilled for you Forrest and especially for you Rae – I know how you have waited for this moment. May this Christmas Miracle be the crack in the door to many more marvelous and joyous happenings in the road to recovery.

    Merry Christmas to all of Team 44, family, friends, nurses, doctors and support team – none of this would be possible without each and every one of you and the efforts you have each given throughout the past 23 months.

    So exciting to read about this progress.

    God Bless you!


  10. Hey Forrest...that is fantastic news. Everyday you are learning more and gaining more confidence and skills. Team 44 has worked so hard and maintained such a positive attitude. So proud of your determination and humor. I see the twinkle in your eyes and know It is just getting better everyday. Miss you, big hugs to everyone. Love Aunt Tricia

  11. Dear Forrest, Rae, Kent, and Austin,
    I am sitting in a Starbucks with tears of joy streaming down my face as I read of this wonderful news. Christmas music iis playing in the background and i feel such JOY! Regaining your spoken voice is a profound gift to us all. Thank you for your determination and persistence through many dark days. We love you all and know this is another.big step back!
    Diane and Jay

  12. FORREST!!!!
    You only met me once, but that once you introduced me to your horse, drove a truck full of semi-intoxicated college kids home from the race without having a license,played yard games, and generally made me feel like I fit right in at the Allen home, even though it was my first time there. That one visit would not tell you that I can pretty much cry on command. Ok, not on command, but pretty darn easily.

    I am sitting at my kitchen table, reading your first words in almost a year, and I burst out crying in happiness. My brother, who has not met you urgently asked me what was wrong, and I tried to explain while blubbering. Explaining while crying is not very effective, let me tell you. I called my mother who is also following your miracles, and blubbered the good news across the phone line, repeating myself a few times to get it across clearly.

    I am so unbelievably proud and amazed by everything you accomplish Forrest. Instead of miracle on 34th street there is Miracle at Brightwood this year. Merry Christmas Forrest, and may you utter the same words in a few days on Christmas morning.
    Ever a believer,

  13. The very best Christmas gift ever. You ARE awesome, Forrest!

  14. I can only imagine how these words are making this holiday time so very special for you all! Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!!!
    Patti Brantley