Saturday, September 16, 2017

Post Surgery Update

Forrest's surgery yesterday went smoothly.  Dr. Kumar is very happy with the outcome.  He was able to remove most of the hardware and revise the graft.  We can't wait to see it in full once the dressing is removed!  He has not had any complications post-op, and although sleep itself was hard to come by, he had a quiet night.

Sleepy post-op smiles
 In other news, please enjoy these pics from last weekend's CCI DogFest.  Forrest was co-captain of the Middleburg Laboradorables team with his friend Caroline Elgin.  They were the fourth highest fundraising team in our area!  (Photos courtesy of Nikki Cheshire)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Planned Surgery

Hello friends, Tami here.  Team 44 is in Cleveland this week for Forrest to have surgery tomorrow (Friday, September 15th).  This was a planned surgery to reduce the likelihood of the recurrent infections that have beleaguered Forrest.  Why Cleveland, you may ask?  Forrest's surgeon, Dr. Kumar, who has poured countless hours into rebuilding 44's skull, left Johns Hopkins and is now at a hospital here in Cleveland.  We wouldn't have anyone else operate on Forrest's skull, so here we are!   The goals for this surgery are to remove as much of the remaining hardware (screws, plates...etc) as is no longer needed and remove as much of the old graft as possible to restore healthy scalp.  Dr. Kumar may also harvest fat from Forrest (if they can find any on his skinny frame!) to transplant to further protect his bone and even out what 44 calls his "speed bumps on his noggin".

We hope to be home early in the week.  As hard as it is to go back to the hospital, looking at the recent devastation from hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires, we consider ourselves so lucky to even have a hospital to go to for this opportunity to continue to strengthen and protect Forrest's skull.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for Forrest.  We will update tomorrow.

- Tami

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Busy Summer!

Hey everyone, it's Forrest.  Sorry that it has been a while, I have had several things to do.  Here is a recap of what I have been up to this summer.

I was part of 4 A Place to Be Summer Camps!  I played an aspiring rock star in "Penny the Piano", played instruments, sang songs and danced during "Pop Rocks Recording", was a Junior Mentor for the second "Pop Rocks" and learned about acting and being expressive during "Theater Improv".

I have also been working a few hours a week at Dolphin Quest and have helped out at home on the farm.

The most important thing that I have done this summer was that I went on a family vacation with my parents and brother to go fly fishing in Montana.  It was an amazing experience to be able to do some things that I haven't been able to do since my accident.  I went wet wading and fly fishing with my "adopted grandma" Marcia Woolman; crossed streams on foot (under the watchful eye of Austin); got up early to go to where an animal had died to watch the grizzlies and wolves gather for food and we saw a lot of wildlife in general like bison, bears, pronghorns, ospreys, wolves, longhorn sheep, mountain goats, Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout (and lots of kinds of trout) and thousands of insects including giant thirsty mosquitos!  We also went on a 14 mile trail ride on horseback.  It felt like I was back in the days before I hit my head.  It felt like old times.  It was very nice to be able to hang out and relax with Austin for a week.  With him away at school most of the year, we don't get a lot of time like that together.

Here are a bunch of pictures from the trip:


Monday, June 5, 2017

A Month of Adventures (with a lot of pictures!)

Hi everyone!  This is Forrest.  It has been a little over a month since we last updated and I have a lot to fill you in on!

Speaking to the crowd at Berklee after showing the movie
On May 10th, Mom and Dad rolled out to the Galapagos and Toliver, Tami and I went to Boston.  My Music Therapist Tom was graduating from Berklee College of Music with a Masters in Music Therapy that week.  We weren't able to go to his graduation, but we went for a special premiere of the documentary movie that Tom and I are in.  We showed the film to a group of his music therapy peers and classmates.  They thought it was very good and liked seeing how Music Therapy affected my situation.

Mini Golf at the Mall of America
The next day, Tami, Toliver and I flew to Minnesota.  We went to Minnesota to see Tami's family.  This was my first long trip away without either of my parents.  While in Minnesota, we went to the Mall of America, the Minnesota Zoo and a Minnesota Twins baseball game.  It was a great trip.  One highlight was Toliver at the zoo.  He was well behaved and when we saw the wolves, they put their front paws on the glass and seemed to recognize that Tollie is a canine.  They were whining and wagging their tails like they wanted to play.  Toliver was also the first dog ever in their new kangaroo walk-through exhibit!
With some of Tami's family at the zoo

At the Minnesota Twins Game!

Wolf saying "hi" to Toliver!

After we all returned from our adventures, I went with Mom and Dad to visit a friend named Lee Lee.  Lee Lee has a Traumatic Brain Injury as well and is recovering at Bryn Mawr rehab in Pennsylvania.  She is making tremendous progress since her accident in December!

With Lee Lee
This last weekend, Tom and I went to the Kennedy Center and spoke in front of a whole bunch of people about how music was a part of my recovery.  We showed a segment from the documentary and then spoke for a bit.  This was part of a big event on Friday and Saturday that was called "Sound Health: Music and the Mind" and it talked about the brain and it's connection to music.  It was a partnership between the National Institute of Health and the Kennedy Center.  I got to meet a lot of really cool and important people like - Musician Ben Folds, Musician Renee Fleming, and Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH.  Here is a YouTube link to the panel that Tom and I were a part of on Saturday.  Our part begins around minute 11!

With amazing singer, Renee Fleming!
Renee has seen "Music Got Me Here" and she really liked it!

Windy, squished group pic before the Friday night NSO Concert
With Tom and Ben Folds!

Shayna and Gio (not pictured) came for dinner and the Symphony on Friday and Corina and Madeline came to the see my panel on Saturday at the Kennedy Center!

And...speaking of the documentary, we have a new title!  Most of you know it as "High Notes", but it is now "Music Got Me Here".  Here is our first official poster!  We will share the new website link soon!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Another Big Moment (and other updates)


Thursday, April 27th was yet another milestone in your journey.  The stomach tube that has been your constant companion for the length of your recovery was finally removed!  Dr. Falkenstein performed the much anticipated procedure and you have been excitedly telling friends and showing off your now tube-free abdomen.  The tube has been a bit of a security blanket for us, knowing that we could rely upon it to administer medications and supplement your nutrition or fluids when necessary, but you have worked really hard the past few months to eat well, stay hydrated and take all of your medications orally so that you could reach this momentous occasion.  

Last week you did some research to find a eco-friendly way to dispose of your expired medications from previous years.  You independently printed off details of two options and showed them to Mum.  Luckily, there was a collection day on Saturday in Loudoun county, and you handed over the meds to Lieutenant Prince at the PD in Middleburg! They bring the medications to the DEA where they are incinerated, avoiding making their way into our waterways.  

Today is an important day for A Place to Be, the organization that has done so much to help your recovery through therapy, music and friendships.  It is "Give Choose", which is a day for people to donate to local non-profits.  You have been busy over the last week to promote this and encourage people to donate.  It isn't too late to give today!  Here is the link for any blog followers that would like to contribute to this great cause!

You have an exciting couple of weeks coming up and we look forward to sharing stories of your adventures here on the blog.

Proud and blessed to be part of Team 44,

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Boston Marathon Milestone!

Darlin' Forrest,

There are some milestones along your journey that simply take my breath away.  April 17, 2017 will always be remembered as one of those Magical Milestones. For the first time in over six years you set out on a road trip with a Mama Bear, no aide, no nurse hovering over you.  Of course it wasn't just any friend you set off with.  Ben has been at your side and involved off and on in your recovery for over three years.  He knows your strengths, your challenges, the potential pitfalls and the medications you cannot miss. He is the perfect Wing Man for such an adventure. With Tami's incredible organizational skills, you were deployed with everything you, Ben and Toliver might possibly need.  

So off you went on Sunday to Boston to cheer Charlotte on in her quest to complete the Boston Marathon for the third time, raising over $22,000 for the Boston Medical Center which the Davis family matched for A Place to Be in your honor!!!  You just had to be there for her...and you were!  Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for Charlotte's courage, perseverance and friendship and to the whole Davis Clan for their generosity and for welcoming you, Ben and Toliver into their tribe's loving embrace for the entire event. 

Thanks to Nick Weeden for his faithful friendship over the long course of your recovery and for opening his home to our road weary warriors upon arriving in Boston. Many thanks to Ben for making the whole adventure possible and for long hours behind the wheel, apparently brightened with loads of boisterous song and merriment!  Thank you to all who donated to Charlotte's amazing run. And as always our thanks to countless friends, extended families, doctors, nurses, therapists, prayer warriors and believers that have stood by your side through the good and bad days, always encouraging us and helping us hold on to the impossible vision that such an adventure just might be possible...some day!

And of course, thank you Forrest for your crazy optimism, contagious sense of humor, dauntless determination, and endless hard work making my wildest dreams for you come true.  I can hardly wait to see what comes next....

Love you, Champ!

Forrest and Ben depart BrightWood!
Forrest with Nick - longtime friend and
 weekend host
With the Davis clan (minus Shannon, who was behind the camera)
heading to cheer on Charlotte on Monday morning
Finish line hugs!

Charlotte, 44, Meg and Win

Forrest, Toliver and Ben with Charlotte's sisters Meg and Kara.