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


  1. Love the wonderful post!! Grandma Norma and I had a great time looking at all the pictures was so fun. And you are so right about hope being the key! What an amazing 2014! Love to all

  2. I'm glad you've all had a nice trip over the holidays, especially now that more surgery is coming up. It looks like you all had fun! Praying that all with go well with the upcoming surgery.

    Love and Prayers, Joyce Ellis

  3. Wonderful progress! Love seeing all of you in the water. Forrest and Team 44- you all have done remarkable things and overcome so many hurdles. You all continue to awe and inspire family, friends, Middleburg community, and the Eastern Seaboard, but now you are international ambassadors in Mexico!
    Love Aunt Tricia

  4. Great pictures and awesome attitude toward life! We are so proud of you Forrest and so inspired by your family! We are praying for a successful surgery! Mary Ann and the Sacripantis

  5. We loved seeing these fantastic shots of your Mexican holiday! And the picture of you underwater, Forrest, made us all whoop with JOY! Bring some of that sunny warm weather home, please?! Your tan bod is gonna impress the nurses in a few weeks! Keep your prayer warriors posted, buddy. We love you! Shannon & the Davis Party of 6+

  6. Extraordinary! Looks like an amazing trip and many feats of accomplishment! Way to go!! love, Kim

  7. Sounds like all of you had such a wonderful time. You have made amazing progress this year. I am always SO very proud of all of you! Hooray for getting into that water again. Excellent and amazing. Love you lots!

  8. So nice to see you under the water again Forrest!!!

    Hey, Mita gave birth to baby#2 on Monday, Kendall Brooke Santos Kapaldo.
    Both are healthy.

  9. What a trip to celebrate your successes in 2014....hope is vital and paired with family, friends, therapists, medical staff, and all in the community and nation who celebrate your every success and think strong positive thoughts through your every challenge, 2015 will continue the progress toward your ultimate proud of all you do and the smile that is always on your face.....

  10. Looks like a wonderful time! So glad you enjoyed yourself. It looks like the perfect trip. Happy New Year!

    Christie Jones