Sunday, August 31, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
This evening Angel brought a few movie choices and Forrest chose Hercules, the animated Disney movie. We're bedside watching the movie right now with him. A few minutes ago the "I can go the distance" song came on, which Forrest has sung many times with Tom and in front of audiences, and Forrest mouthed the words along with us, too quiet to hear but nevertheless there. Tami just walked in the door and will be staying with him tonight. Tomorrow more visitors are arriving and we'll work some lacrosse into the physical therapy mix! Thanks for all the messages, he smiles when we read them aloud.
All the best,
Austin and Team 44
Friday, August 29, 2014
Hi friends, this is Toliver. My special person, Forrest, just got out of ICU! We moved to a new room in Intermediate Care (IMC) and he is resting right now. The doctors seem pleased with Forrest's progress but have told us that he has to stay pretty still, so I haven't gotten to play with him yet. I over heard Mum and Tami say that I look sad and worried, and I am! It is hard to see my person in bed with all the tubes and things I don't understand. So I do my best to cheer him up by looking adorable and making all the nurses and doctors smile when they come in our room. This afternoon I very faintly heard Forrest whisper my name, Toliver, so I think I must be doing a pretty good job.
I do want to share something with you. Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), the organization that brought Forrest to me, and me to him, needs signatures on a really important pledge! This pledge is to try to keep people from making their personal pet dogs fake service dogs. Here is a quote from the CEO of CCI about this issue:
"This pledge will help shine a light on all the people who outfit their untrained family pets to look like service dogs so they can enter places they don't belong. It will also highlight the discrimination that people with disabilities are facing with the real service dogs they depend on every day."
We need you to help CCI get 50,000 pledges by midnight on Sunday. This is really important to me so that I and my other service dog friends can keep doing what we love, taking care of our special people! Here is the link to the pledge: CCI PLEDGE
Thank you all for helping me take care of Forrest and for lending your voice to help CCI continue their amazing work.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
|Angel, Gio, Shayna and 44 at King Pinz|
It's been a wonderful summer. Knowing Forrest has the first of several major surgeries scheduled August 27 at Johns Hopkins, we crammed as much quality time as we could into the past few months. Family trips to Bermuda and the Outer Banks reaffirmed our belief that, as Forrest says, "Anything is possible!"
Forrest's friends infused his summer with their love, enthusiastic activities, and invigorating positive energy! In addition to activities and fun, friends Gio and Nick (and Bro Austin) helped keep Forrest safe during the night through overnight shifts in the ManCave.
Working with Kay and Del, Forrest gained muscle mass, balance, and endurance. Under Tami's guidance and tutoring, Forrest's speech and cognitive abilities continue to expand.
With Pop's terrific cooking, he gained 16 pounds this summer and hit his pre-surgery goal of 165 this week! And through music therapy with Tom and fabulous camp activities at A Place to Be, Forrest's voice, character, and confidence have all soared to new heights.
As his surgeon at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Kumar, exclaimed at Forrest's recent pre-op examination, "Forrest you look great. You have come so far and have optimized your condition for surgery!"
That was the plan. Forrest is strong. He is ready. So next Tuesday we travel to Johns Hopkins and on Wednesday, Forrest will undergo a groundbreaking 10 hour surgical procedure. The surgery involves the transfer of a full muscle flap from Forrest's back to his "noggin" (as he calls it). This new tissue will provide some protection for his brain and vital circulation to support his beleaguered scalp. We are anticipating a 7 to 10 day hospital stay, if there are no complications, and a 10 to 12 week recovery period. Additional surgeries are anticipated 6 to 12 months later to harvest healthy bone from the back of his skull and implant it within the new muscle flap. This will finally create a safe environment for his brain and a complete skull, without using any foreign prosthetics.
We are eternally grateful for the family, friends, and support team that have given Forrest such a terrific summer and such a strong start to the next chapter of his recovery. We will update the blog next week from Johns Hopkins to keep you posted on the Comeback Kid's progress.
Mum & Team Forrest
|44 and Megan doing a mirror activity at APTB Mentor Camp|
|Pilates with Kay|
|Arm wrestling with Del|
Video of arm wrestling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGSo-W22vBM
|Pool party with Austin, 44, Tori and Nick|
|Football with Nick and Gio|
Monday, August 11, 2014
But even more importantly, never take anything for granted.
Walking, talking, eating, hanging out with your friends
Your life can change in an instant
And whatever you do, tell your family and friends you love them!
On the morning I left to snowboard, on my way out the door, my mom said
She has never forgotten to tell me she loves me and I know that is the
Not everyone has a TEAM 44 beside them, and I am aware of that
But what you do have is your family, friends, teachers and mentors who you can reach out to
Since my accident, I have ridden a horse
Starred in my own show
Spent time with my friends
Graduated from High School
Marched in a parade with Toliver
Raised money for organizations like "A Place to Be"
If I have learned anything, I have learned that if you are a kind person and show others love,
|"Underwater life is fun! Swimming in the golden sun!"|
|"My brother, my friend, when it rains...you bring the sun!"|
|Myself, Kyle, Nathan, Brendan, Crystal, Cameron, Amy, Toliver, Lauren and Megan - the incredible "44" cast!|
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Today the article about your journey came out in the Metro Section of Washington Post. We hope that it creates greater awareness about the life changing power of Music Therapy and provides hope and encouragement to others struggling to recover from Traumatic Brain Injuries.
To read Forrest's article, click here: Washington Post
You are spending your summer getting stronger in every way; physically, emotionally, spiritually. Your humor and wit are keeping pace! As your friends and family challenge you to reach a little further and dig a little deeper, we find more often than not we are struggling to keep up with you!
A week in Emerald Isle, NC allowed us to spend time with Austin and visit him at Duke's Marine Lab in Beaufort. You created new football passes on the beach with pals Tori and Nick and practiced yoga moves and guitar in the evenings. You even out "chilled" Cousin Susan in a very competitive beach lounging contest!
Its good to be back at BrightWood now, with just 3 1/2 weeks until your next surgery, we will relish every moment together, inspired by your determination and optimism. Onward and Upward, Champ!
With Love and Gratitude to your amazing brother, father, friends, extended family, mentors, teachers, doctors, nurses, and many followers who believe in you and sustain us all.
|Cousin Susan came to visit us at the beach and joined us for dinner!|
|Jamming with Nick (and Tollie)|
|Cousins Cailin and Eric|
|Yoga with Aunt Tricia, Tori, Mum and Nick|
|Tori, Tollie and I buried Nick|
|Enjoying food made by Pops!|