Sunday, December 28, 2014

When You Choose Hope, Anything Is Possible

Looking at the pictures below and thinking about the emergency surgeries a year ago, it's clear anything is possible... when you choose hope. It doesn't mean success is inevitable or even likely, but when you choose hope, and combine it with dogged strength, the amazing support of great friends and family, and a healthy dash of luck, anything is possible. 

Forrest blew us all away during this trip to Playa del Carmen. Even tasks like climbing onto a boat moving up-and-down and side-to-side in the surge were unbelievably challenging, but with the Lees watching every step, and with Forrest's characteristic persistence, he surpassed all expectations. Forrest snorkeled for the first time in over four years, and was just as comfortable underwater as he was when he and I crawled into lava tubes 50 feet underwater in Hawaii. Toliver made great strides with helping open doorways for future service dogs in Mexico. The laws protecting the rights of people with service dogs in Mexico are new (2012) and are lesser known. We did find very helpful and accommodating resort and restaurant managers and hopefully the transition will be easier for future service dogs. It was an amazing, magical trip with the Lees, and Forrest summed it up as "Sweet."

Now to continue getting Forrest strong and prepared for the surgery at Johns Hopkins in two weeks! 


  Last Year Christmas Day in the ICU
                                                                                 This Year Christmas Day - boat snorkel in Mexico!

Testing out masks in the pool

Forrest and I exploring the reef!

Our overly friendly snorkel companion

Night out on the town!

Forrest and Madison starting a street band

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18th, 2014

It's been a great December. It's amazing to see how well Forrest is coming along, getting stronger and working hard, with his amazing community of friends and support team beside him. Forrest passed his midterm for his first college course, American History, as a result of lots of studying with Tami. He's been busy with a plethora of activities, as seen below.

This time last year Forrest was in the hospital getting ready for emergency surgery on Christmas day, so we are definitely cherishing every moment of this holiday season. Forrest is getting stronger, and as he gets ready for early January, which will bring the first of two complicated cranioplasty surgeries, we are thankful for this wonderful community, along with Forrest's strength, love, and indomitable sense of humor. We hope everyone has a terrific holiday season with friends and family.

Austin, Forrest, Mom and Dad

Forrest sang his heart out at A Place To Be Christmas recital, along with other amazing APTB kids, in front of a crowd of more than 300

Many friends surprised Forrest for his 22nd Birthday on Monday!

Forrest on an exciting Walmart trip picking out a bow-and-arrow for a gift exchange. Forrest, how did we ever get Mom to approve that?

Getting ready for the Middleburg Christmas Ball

Forrest and Tori showing off dance moves at the Ball

Forrest and many others braved the pouring rain to march with Canine Companions for Independence in the Middleburg Christmas Parade
*Rocky theme music* PT with Del