Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Long December 1/1/13

"It's been a long December and there's reason to believe that maybe next year will be better than the last.
The smell of hospitals in winter and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters but no pearls."
Words from a song

We have spent Thanksgiving, his Birthday and Christmas doing emergency surgeries on Forrest.  No one is more tired of it than Forrest.  But he always has a smile and a funny comment for you when you walk in the room.
This has been a rugged holiday season for Team 44. While we have lost the third lid and it is certainly devastating and very concerning on how we go forward, we also have to admit that he is doing much better than he ever was prior to and after the previous cranioplasty removals.

There are concerns on the infection, what future cranioplasty will have to done and what skin transplantation will have to be done to try and assure a more successful outcome.  We worry about the PICC line, suture breakdown and side effects from the antibiotics. We are monitoring the effects atmospheric pressure will have on his brain without the protection of a cranial cover.  It will be some months before the infection is completely under control. After that the appropriate skin procedure can be done and the appropriate cranioplasty repair will be reselected.  There will be more research and discussions and visiting with experts in this area. Forrest has entered a rarified few that have lost their cranioplasty this many times. He also is one of the few that have come so far and made so much progress. We are determined not to lose that progress. We are dedicated to making sure the next cranioplasty will be the last one.

On the positive side we are grateful that he had a great party with his friends and enjoyed it immensely.  He is strong and healthy, eating on his own and walking and talking.  He is still the Forrest we know and love and he makes a huge effort every day to make forward strides, both physically and intellectually.
With any luck we are checking out of the hospital and going home. He is anxious to have dad's cooking instead of hospital food. But this afternoon he was quite happy to have a slice of pepperoni pizza as a substitute.
He continues to have a great attitude and approach to rehabilitation even though he is certainly tired of being operated upon and told what to do constantly. He has smiles for those around him and an enduring optimism that few of us who have been through anything remotely similar can match.  He is certainly forgiven the odd cross word that comes with the pain he deals with on his part.  He is being watched carefully by those around him and we continue to make progress in many different areas of rehabilitation even without the cranium.
So we continue to hang on to the hope that next year will be better than the last. We know this in our hearts and we continue to make it happen with words prayers and actions around Forrest and with him.  Thank you, Team 44, friends, family and well wishers.  We will make 2014 better.

Watching Cartoons
Up and walking the hall together 


  1. Forrest and team 44.........only onward and upward and healing in 2014 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love is the strongest force and there is no end to the love sent to all of you every moment !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! An early welcome home to Forrest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Yes, WE WILL make 2014 better!!!

  3. What a beautiful post, Allen. Our hearts, minds, prayers, thoughts and love are with you 24/7. Forrest is an extraordinary miracle, and your family is an inspiration to us all.

    All love, Jim and Gail

  4. In the incurable optimist department, I don't look at this as a loss of three lids. I look at the extraordinary gains that Forrest has made while he had those lids. Each one of them provided the next step in recovery, each one got him closer and closer to his goals. They sheltered him from the storm and allowed him to made progress. There is no reason to believe that the next lid, and all it's ancillary procedures won't be an important factor in the next course of improvements along the way. 2014 and Team Forrest all the way!!!!!

    Abby Laughlin

  5. I see the helmet is beginning to get a little character...GREAT!!! You may need it for a bit, but Team 44 is planning the next move....each move brings you closer to the end of this deal with each step so compliantly...I can't fathom the depth of your determination and zeal....And your progress in the past month despite so many set-backs is unbelievable. Keep up the hard work...don't be afraid to ask for an extra hand or support because Team 44 will never be far from your side to cheer, love, and support, Sharon

  6. Hi forrest, its stephanie cibello from cci class. You just keep on inspiring me more and more, i drew something for you. After my first stroke part of my therapy was to color to regain the right side again. I have now advanced to drawing and as soon as i can figure out how to send it i will.

  7. Hi Forrest and Team 44. Yes, you all have been through a great ordeal these last couple of months. Things had been going so well for so long that we all thought we were on the home stretch and running strong!! We just never know what life might throw at us next, but Forrest, you are one of the most determined persons I have ever, ever known. And, the same goes for your wonderful family and team. You are all extraordinary, to say the very least!!

    Love and Prayers Continuing!

    Joyce and Wilbur Ellis

  8. Dear Forrest, Kent, Rae and best big bro EVER Austin,

    I've been pretty slammed with the flu for the past 10 days which has given me a lot of time to reflect. A gift between hacking non-stop!

    So, I've had the chance for a lot of conversations with God about Forrest. Oh, I picked a bone with him a good deal of the time, but I never came away not smiling.....while I was yammering on with my list of requests, I was reminded of some extraordinary accomplishment of Forrest's during this past year. I thought about the spring time party at your house and was then prompted to look at the short video I made of Forrest singing at the holiday program for APTB. Lightening fast progress in 6 short months....miraculous, really. Forrest's gentle manner, his handsome face, ever present smile, kindly voice, his tall, tall gentle giant self patting my shoulder or the shoulder of whomever is near him. Every time I pray for Forrest, this is how I seem to end up thinking of him. And well, it's peaceful. What begins as a fervent (sometimes frustrated) conversation always ends up peaceful. I think He's trying to tell me to chill.

    Only Forrest and God will ultimately know the reason behind these repeated surgeries. But, I have to think of the HOPE and the PROMISE that Forrest's story of miraculous recovery will bring to the family whose loved one is facing the first cranioplasty, or the second...or now, the third. And all of you will be able to smile and offer such extraordinary encouragement and confidence. Oh, the blessing of those that will be on the receiving end of this comfort!

    I know that there is work ahead for Forrest and decisions to be made. You can rest assured that I will be praying for lots of very specific things and creative solutions and successful surgical outcomes and bionic time lines. In the meantime, I'm praying that you can break camp and get home. Home to Toliver, Dad's cooking, the Man Cave, winter snows and healing.

    We send so much love to all of you.

    Shannon, Jim, Meg, Kara & Brett and Charlotte xoxo