Friday, August 30, 2013

The Morning After Surgery

It's Forrest. My cool surgeon Dr Ramineni just stopped by. He said I'm doing good. He said "No horseback riding, but I can go home today!" Thanks for all the messages and FaceTime visits. To my new friends in history class, I hope you're doing good in school and good luck on the history test today.

Here is a special video message from me and my good friend, Bob Marley:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Surgery Update

Forrest is in post-op and is doing well.  Thanks for all of the prayers, love and encouraging messages!  We will update more later. 

~ Forrest, Rae, Kent and Team

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Scheduled Detour

Hi friends!  Forrest has jumped right in to History class at Kettle Run High School, already having completed a week and a half.  It makes for a busy day for him, getting up earlier than usual, then off to school with one of his amazing nurses.  His afternoons at home are filled with homework - often hours of reading, worksheets, flash cards and studying.  We are all enjoying expanding our US History knowledge right alongside of him.  Forrests' struggles with memory continue to be a big hurdle in many areas of his day, especially in learning class content.  We quiz him throughout the day on definitions, historical figures and events and have learned that repetition seems to be the key.  By the end of the day, you can tell that he is worn out from the additional hours of mental effort, but always rallies to share a few laughs with his friends, family or team before bed.  In true Forrest fashion, he has handled the transition from education at home to a classroom with confidence and determination.  While in the class with twenty plus students, Forrest receives support from the incredible Special Education Department teachers of Fauquier Schools. He is determined to do whatever it takes to keep up with the intensive pace.  His nurse also accompanies him to school everyday to ensure his safety as he ventures back into the routine and busyness of a public school.  Today during class, Forrest answered a question correctly from the teacher and also volunteered to share a definition from one of his homework assignments with the rest of the class!

This afternoon, Forrest and Team 44 made the trek to Washington DC for a scheduled visit to Washington Hospital Center.  Tonight he is having an MRI done, just to make sure everything in his "noggin" (as 44 likes to say) looks good.  Tomorrow morning, Forrest will have reconstructive scalp surgery. Forrest is having a scalp expanding device surgically placed under the skin on the backside of his head.  Over the next couple of months, it will be gradually inflated, stretching the skin.  Then in a second surgery, the doctors will hopefully be able to move the extra healthy skin forward to get rid of the devitalized scar tissue that keeps breaking down.  This will give him new, healthy skin on those areas to better protect his skull and titanium "lid" from infections. His procedure tomorrow is midday so we will post an update when he is safely through surgery.  If all goes well, he will have one overnight at the hospital before returning home on Friday.  He is looking forward to Facetime or Skype visits with friends this weekend!

Thank you all for your positive thoughts and prayers,
Tami (and Team 44)

X-Rays following the successful MRI today

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School 8/19/13

It's been an incredible summer, Forrest. One filled with good friends, long sunny days, and many hard won battles. This weekend you celebrated In great style at Jim and Shannon's sendoff back to school pool party for you and your friends. It's hard for you and your family to say goodbye to your awesome friends as they head back to colleges across the country. It's been fantastic having many of them here this summer. Creating fun games in the gym or outside, while getting the hard work of physical therapy done, sharing their laughter and optimism with all of us, and celebrating each of your milestones.
We're counting on FaceTime, phone calls, and messages until they are home from school again.

And today you also started back to school at Kettle Run High School, to complete the two remaining credits you need to graduate from high school . After two years and seven months of grueling work, you are strong enough, you are ready. Your enthusiasm was palpable this morning. What others might take for granted; the opportunity to attend school, to grow, to learn, to make new friends, is an extraordinary victory for you...opening new doors and a whole world of possibilities.

It will be hard, Forrest. You still struggle daily with your short-term memory, tire easily, and get understandably frustrated when the simplest things seem so impossibly difficult. But you always find your sense of humor, crack a joke, and manage to have us all laughing before we even realize what has happened.

We are eternally grateful for your unsinkable spirit and for the family, friends, teachers, mentors, nurses, aides, therapists, doctors, prayer warriors, and pets, who have all helped make this miraculous day possible. Now the real work begins… Homework!

With Love, Faith & Joy,


There's nothing better than chill'n in the pool with great friends!

Celebrating my last night of summer with Liza, Shayna, and Giovanni!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Forrest Rides Outside 8/14/13

Forrest had his fourth lesson at Sprout today, working on endurance, strength, balance, coordination & memory, with his favorite equine therapist, "David". After all that work, he and "David" celebrated their progress with some time out in the fresh air! And Forrest made a new friend, Ben, pictured here riding with Forrest. Forrest said tonight, "it was lots of fun and encouraging to be outside on horseback again. "

Forrest will be riding in a demonstration at Sprout's open house this Friday evening! This is an incredible therapeutic riding center with great horses, riding instructors, physical therapists and amazing volunteers. Check it out at

With gratitude for all of the talented and caring folks at Sprout,

Team 44

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kicking it into High Gear 8/12/13

Forrest, you have been working so hard getting strong and ready to start school next week.  We traveled last week to Richmond and spent three days of intensive work at Sheltering Arms outpatient clinic (pictures and a video link below!). Your therapists were excited to see you and were thrilled by your progress since your last visit. In some of the evaluations your scores revealed 400% improvement over your results from February!  The results this time give us specific areas to focus on to continue improving your balance, coordination, speech and memory.

We also saw your surgeon, Dr. Ramenini, in DC again and he is pleased with the way your wound is healing. We celebrated by walking across the street and into National Rehab Hospital where you had spent more than six months in rehab and left on a gurney. This time you walked into the ward and were met with cheers and warm embraces.  Your physical therapist, Erik, told you that you are proof that persistence pays off!

As well as things are going now, you still struggle almost every day with the emotional frustrations of your physical and cognitive challenges. Sometimes you just need your space.  We try to give you as much as we can and still keep you safe. We've found the best remedy is to count today's blessings, focus on the limitless possibilities in your future, and then get busy to make them your new reality. As you say, "tough it up"!  I don't know anybody tougher...

With love and gratitude to your many therapists, nurses, doctors, teachers, prayer warriors, and above all else, your brother & friends who have stood by you and helped you Keep the Faith.

- Mum

The video and photo captions below were written by Forrest. 

Me with Mr. Woodruff. We played lacrosse together this last weekend.
I went peach picking with Shayna Rice a few days ago
Me with my speech therapist Preston at Sheltering Arms
It was great to visit with physical therapist Erik from NRH last week
Guy time with Sundance, Matt, Nick, Gio and Ben

Here is a link to me running at sheltering arms lastweek

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beach Week Rocks!

Oh Forrest, we have surely learned that life brings us both incredible highs and unavoidable lows, but throughout we have been truly blessed. Last week was a High, one of the best weeks so far.  We reached one of our major goals of getting you back to the ocean you and your brother have loved since you were both small.  The only thing missing was Austin!

As is your style, we traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with an entourage. With the exception of hospitals in Georgia, this is the furthest you have ventured since your injury. The incredible Medical Team nurses, Michelle and Dawn, came along to ensure your safety, Tami was Chief of logistics, and our good friends the Selfes added all the adventure and spice imaginable!
It was an incredible magical time filled with beaches, waves, sunshine, good friends, camaraderie, and challenging PT with Sundance!  (check out the YouTube link and Photos and captions written by Forrest below)

This week we are back at Brightwood and dealing with another breakdown of the fragile tissue surrounding your scalp incision. Yesterday we traveled into DC to see your surgeon. He examined the area, treated it topically, and applied a bandage.  So once again you are sporting another version of your many turbans.  And we are facing another series of surgeries to replace the devitalized areas that have been traumatized by so many prior surgeries with healthy scalp. You impressed Dr. Ramineni with your progress and strength and joked with him about your noggin!  Together, Team 44 will clamor over this small bump in the road...already we are plotting new adventures to come!

With joy and gratitude for Forrest's magical beach week with the Selfes,

Mum & Pops
Me, Sundance and my mom and dad at the beach.
Having fun playing putt putt golf with my parents, Tami, and the Selfes 
With one of my nurses, Michelle.
Me reading Calvin and Hobbes at the beach with Tori.
Sitting with Tori on the deck of the Beach house.
The whole group of us (minus Tami and nurses) on the beach for a picture.
Playing corn hole with Tori, Tyler, and my Mom.  Mom and I won. 
Dr. Ramineni looking at a spot on my head.
Nurse Gayle and I playing with Silly putty while waiting at the Doctors office.

- Click on this link to see me playing with Sundance at the beach: