Monday, April 6, 2015

Embracing This Moment

     After so many highs and lows throughout this journey, it is thrilling to see you doing so incredibly well.  You are stronger, quicker, and your ability to really communicate your thoughts and feelings is growing almost daily. 
    Your friends, therapists and doctors instantly see and feel the difference and are astounded. You are whole. Your voice resonates with confidence. Your humor is sharp and insightful.  While you still move with a limp, there's a healthy bit of the old Forrest swagger in your walk. And though there are still gaps, your memory is improving also. 
    On Friday, Dr. Kumar grasped the difference immediately and we both felt you were ready to see the before and after 3-D CT scans of your skull.  When you see the images for the first time, the gaping deficit of the before image is in stark contrast to the symmetry and wholeness of your reconstructed skull.  
"I had no idea," you whisper.
The before and after CT Scans of Forrest's head is a stunning reminder of the challenges he has faced.

    With your heightened sense of self awareness and growing communication skills, you were able to really talk with Dr. Kumar about parts of your journey. You told him you remembered that some of the doctors who saw you didn't think you were going to make it or didn't think you would be able to have a full recovery. Dr. Kumar replied that the doctors have probably never seen the outcome of this particular series of surgeries before.   He explained to us that when he developed these procedures as a Navy surgeon for patients in uniform he didn't know if or when they would be able to help civilians.  You are the first civilian patient to undergo this series of reconstructive surgeries for a catastrophic cranial injury.
He said now you can show other doctors what's possible and create hope and new opportunities for TBI patients who have not responded to conventional treatments.
    Dr. Kumar told us he is thrilled with your progress and the potential for your future. You offered your hand to Dr. Kumar and told him gravely, "Thank you Sir for your good work".  Smiling, Dr Kumar replied,  "I couldn't have done it alone. You're a fighter, Forrest. We did this together".
    Although your father and I have studied all of your CT scans, we have never been blessed with this vantage point.  When I look carefully at the before and after images of your skull now, and looking back remember all of the setbacks and complications, I don't know how it is possible that you not only survived, but accomplished all that you have.  Without the love, prayers and faith of friends and family, without the hope and joy that Tom and music therapy brought us, I don't believe we would have made it to see this miracle reconstructive surgery succeed.
    There will be more tests, CT scans, MRIs and 6 to 9 months before we will know if all of the bone grafts will take and heal. There will likely be more challenges and surgeries in your future.  But hopefully we have seen the last of the heart wrenching setbacks and the major life threatening operations are behind you.  Now we can focus our energy on rebuilding your life. And by living a life full of joy, passion and purpose you will surely help others find their own path, their Place To Be in this world.    
There were so many joyous moments this week, moments shared with friends and believers who make your journey, this life, one overflowing with love, laughter, and joy.

Here are a few of the highlights:
Shannon Davis and her beautiful daughters visit
Forrest asks Charlotte to wear his lucky APTB bracelet while she runs the Boston Marathon!!! Her family is matching the donations she raises for the Boston Medical Center as a gift to A Place to Be in Forrest's honor! Isn't that amazing?!? Please check out her page and help make this a really big check!!

Here's a video of Charlotte and Forrest making their deal!

Tori, Forrest's great pal since kindergarten, reminisced about the good ol' days and had a rousing game of pool!
We celebrated Easter Sunday with Del & Mary at Cornerstone Chapel followed by Brunch!
Life long pal, Madison, and Forrest share a laugh and practice their dance moves.

With a heart overflowing with gratitude for this new blessed opportunity you have been given.  


  1. Forrest you are just looking and doing so well! I think I will print this blog entry to hang up at church and share with all of my friends who have been praying for you! It is wonderful to see more pictures of some of the friends who have encouraged you along the way! Keep up the good work Champ! Proud of you. Aunt Lynn and Uncle Ron

  2. So happy to see your progress Forrest!! You are a fighter!! There are special plans for your life!! We love you! God bless!

  3. As I read the latest blog, study the 'before and after' and see the return of your beautiful, bring it on smile, the joy and gratitude I feel is totally beyond words which is probably why there are tears streaming down my face. You are my Champion of Champions, Forrest!