Monday, August 31, 2015

Great Check up today!!!

You are on your way again Champ! With Tami and Pops help we got off early this morning for Johns Hopkins and your seven week postop CT scan and follow up exam with Dr. Kumar.  

The CT technicians follow your blog and know you and Toliver by name! Scott was happy to see you looking so strong  and happy! Peeking over his shoulder as the CT loaded onto the computer I had a wonderfully optimistic feeling. 

After examining your scalp, reviewing your blood tests, and comparing your CT scans from before your July surgery to today's images, Dr. Kumar proclaimed to us that he was "SUPER happy!!" The bone grafts are healing and your CSF and brain have both enlarged dramatically. He commiserated with you saying "Forrest, you've been through a lot". Your respectful reply, " Yes sir, I've been to hell and back." "Well then," Dr K. said, "you should have a break from surgeries, enjoy being 22 and just living!"  

Sounds great, right?!?   He did explain that there is still a gap on the right side of your skull that will require more surgery.  Dr K. is planning to use bone grafts from two of your ribs to close the remaining gap, but wants to wait a full year to give you plenty of time to heal, make sure all of the infection is gone and that you have a chance to "enjoy living"! 

So after a double serving of Dullce de Leche gelato off we went to the Renaissance Harbor Hotel. Perhaps we'll have celebratory steak at the Capital Grille tonight.  Then early tomorrow morning back to Johns Hopkins Interventional Radiology to have your Hickman central IV line removed! YAYY!!!

And tomorrow  after yoga you have your first rehearsal for the Same Sky 2015 production!  Could there be a better way to start the next chapter of your journey than spending time with the cast & crew of Same Sky?!?!   Can hardly wait to see the public performance October 3 at the Hill School!!! 

Breathe deep and enjoy! 
Love and Peace,

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lots going on!

Hey Forrest, it's hard to keep up with you these days.   There's so much great stuff happening!

A busy day at the Brightwood "Beach" before Austin & and Martin headed back to Duke. We sure miss them both! ( Sorry Shayna I cut you in half!)

A rousing evening of croquet and good cheer with the Weedens...

...including a very close round in the dark with lifelong pal Nick!  Though Nick kept a close eye on your balance, Just watching you move independently around the course in the dark took my breath away! 

Remembering more than a year when we could barely open your mouth, it was a sort of celebration when Dr. Gallegos fitted you with your new Invisalign  retainer! Your observation, " It's kind of cool since it's not a big scary life altering procedure! " 

Shaka for sure! Hanging loose with Tami on the way to your first on campus college class at NOVA!  You were "cool as a cucumber".... While Tami and I were both a nervous wreck, wanting so badly for it to go well for you.  

No need to worry with Toliver tucked half way under your chair.... You Got This!!!

Every afternoon at 4:44 we try to take a moment, breathe deeply, and give thanks for our many blessings. There are so many; your continued recovery, great friends, our loving family, Toliver,  your amazingly supportive community of doctors nurses therapists and prayer warriors, and a chance to pay it forward by supporting wonderful organizations like CCI and A Place To Be! 

With a heart full of love and joy,

PS: We are so focused on the magic of now and the bright possibilities for the future that someone had to reminde me it was a year ago today that you spent 14 hours in the OR. What a difference a year makes...God bless Dr Kumar and the wonderful nurses at Johns Hopkins that got us all through that day! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dog Days of Summer


You've made amazing progress since your latest surgery several weeks ago. I hadn't seen you in over a month and was shocked to see how strong, fast and witty you were when I returned. Your gait is stronger, your voice is clearer and louder, you come up with funny retorts quickly, and overall you have more energy than I last saw you.

Despite the progress, it's still pains me to see you frustrated so often. We talked the other night about how you felt more like "you" and more independent. You've come a lot further toward independence these last four and a half years, and I can only imagine how hard it must be to have Tami, Mom and Dad, and others around you keeping you safe and reminding you to complete tasks, take meds, etc. Just know that we are here for you, through thick and thin, and with each year you're able to do more and more. As many docs remind us, frustration can be a motivator and an important step in TBI recovery. I hope one day you'll be tackling life on your own, but until then, lets cherish the good moments, and work through the tougher ones together. 

I want you to know how much it's meant to me to see your and Toliver's relationship grow. If I can help someone else have even part of that, all the work with Martin will be well worth it. I know it will be bittersweet and challenging to see him matriculate into "college" in a year and a half, when I turn him in for Advanced Training. However, I've seen how you and Toliver help each other grow, and I know Martin can do the same for someone else. Thanks for inspiring me to take on the challenge of puppy raising for CCI, I wouldn't be here without you. There's still time for people to join the CCI Dogfest Team you and Caroline created, the "Middleburg Labradorables." Anyone that wants to join the Sept 12th walk in Arlington or donate can click the "DogFest" link on the right side of the blog, or click here. 

We had many fun outings this week, including the National Geographic Museum(it's amazing, check it out!) in DC and an awesome afternoon at Chuck E Cheese. By the way, I think Chuck E Cheese should be the national service dog graduation test.. with the lights, sounds, pizza smells, and boatloads of manic kids, that place is a superb test! Tollie had a cool head as always. 


Building endurance for the Dog Fest walk.

A toasty get together at Salamander;  Martin's first exposure to fire!

Tami and Forrest take on Guitar Hero at Chuck E Cheese.

Forrest and Toliver inspecting otoliths at Nat Geo Museum.

OUCH!! Arapaimas hurt, who wants to visit the Amazon?

Passing out CCI Fundraising invitations around Middleburg.