I think Forrest summed it up best in his answer to a student's question after a recent Same Sky performance. The pretty high school senior stepped up to the microphone and asked Forrest, "How has your disability impacted your life?" I held my breath because I never really know what Forrest is going to say... I needn't worry. He smiled his charming crooked smile at her and replied, "I wouldn't really consider it a disability. I've had lots of fun and new opportunities since my accident....that I didn't really think were going to be possible. But thanks for asking!"
One of the most Incredible opportunities Forrest has had is to be a part of the Same Sky cast. Their contagious comaraderie and courageous performances have touched the hearts and minds of more than 6000 students during October, Disabilities Awareness Month. Who could have imagined this would be possible???
Sometimes the best adventures take you out of your comfort zone and off the beaten path. Time in the woods always seems like a good idea to me. So Forrest and Toliver joined Dolphin Quest's stream clean up outing. In spite of the rain and the uncertain hike, we kept Forrest dry and safe. It turned out to be a delightful new form of group physical therapy...picking up trash!
Gio and Shayna's spontaneous week end visit motivated us to venture out for Gold Cup. With both of them glued to his side, Forrest was able to safely navigate the terrain (without his wheel chair!) and thoroughly enjoyed a gorgeous fall day at the races. The best part of the day was to see Forrest enthusiastically embraced by friends and followers who were thrilled to see him out and about!
Back at BrightWood, under Gio's careful watch Forrest picked up a Lacrosse stick for the first time since his August surgery. Naturally, his first toss to Gio was a behind the back pass! By the end of an hour long practice, Forrest was stepping into the groove and slamming the ball into the net!
I store all of these precious moments in my mother's heart, grateful beyond words for Forrest's unsinkable spirit, the love and faith of family and friends, the blessing of bright, joyful, autumn days at home.
Tomorrow we pack up Forrest's mobile entourage and head back to Johns Hopkins for Forrest's 16th surgery. He will likely spend five days in the hospital for tests and consultations prior to a dual surgery on Wednesday, November 5th. The current plan is for a gastroenterology surgeon to surgically close his leaky troublesome stomach tube and replace it in a more functional location. Simultaneously Dr. Kumar, his cranial facial reconstructive surgeon, plans to surgically excise an old devitalized skin graft on his scalp. This will make sure there is a healthy resilient surgical site for the two bone graft surgeries to follow in 3 and 6 months.
It is hard to leave the relative safety and peace of home to head back into our own personal war zone. But we are grateful, both for the time we've had at home to recharge and for next week's opportunity at Johns Hopkins to continue Forrest's journey of recovery. Wherever it takes us, Team Forrest will go together with a glad heart and the strength of our faith and conviction.
We will do our best to keep the blog updated next week. Your comments and messages of encouragement are always a great boost to our morale and keep us focused on a future bright with endless possibilities!