Thursday, April 29, 2010

A swimming he will go...

(a triathlon Ben did a few years ago with some buddies)

Yup folks that is right...Ben got approved to do water therapy in the pool!!! This is good news! Ben lives for the water! Whether it be wakeboarding, snorkling, diving, or just swimming around with his mask and fins in murky water! He loves it...did I mention that he has an amazing of the reasons I married him! :)
His first session in the pool should be this coming Monday morning! I will be able to watch, take videos and go to a place where I can see him under water! Should be fun!
We had another team meeting yesterday with his docs, therapists and case manager. They are very impressed with how Ben is doing and challenging him to do more!
Ben will be getting his last dose of Dilantin (most sedating seizure med) this Friday!! He will still be on 2 other ones but they are way less sedating! Please pray that the seizures stay away and his cognative ability continues to increase!
Ben was on the Lokomat (robotic walking machine) yesterday for 30 min again! His PT said that there was a few minutes when he would grunt and make noise with every step! This is new but it is getting voluntary voice out! She would encourage him to grunt softly when he was walking slower and the louder when he sped up...he did it!!
Ben continues to assist in feeding himself! Put a dish of chocolate ice cream it front of him and he goes to town! He does really well with his swallow and head control with now minimal queing!
Wii games are now in the works! Rec therapy has found something that he is interested in besides going outside! Ben has played a few things so far and getting some good control of the controls themselfs. When you try and help him with his hand, he shoves ours away...he wants to do it on his own! I think we might have to buy a Wii for our own use!!
So far this week has been a great week! I just have to keep praising Jesus in it all...good times and bad! Yeah God!!
In a book I have been reading about praise the author writes, "Esther knew, for such a time as this, she was born. And that sense of purpose enabled her to do what she had to do, which was save her people from destruction, even though she risked he life doing it." For such a time as this...oh how that applies to me right now! This for sure would not have been in my time line but for some reason it is in Gods. I was for some reason born for this...I am trying to see the purpose in it all. Some days I see it and others I am still baffled. But in such a time as this I purpose to choose to love my God and love on my Ben! It is an honor to do both! The author goes on to say a bit later in the chapter, "You don't have to make your life happen; you just have to worship God and let Him make it happen. You don't have to strive to figure out your purpose. You have to strive to know God! He knows your purpose. Your praise will illuminate the path by which God will guide you into your future and the purpose He has for you! You won't accomplish it, He will! Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit!" (Zech. 4:6) Do you know how good that it is to hear that!?! It is a good reminder to me that God has everything in control! Um, yes, I would love to be in control but I don't think that I would get anywhere with that control but maybe make ruts in the ground because I had been going in circles! How much do we strive to make things happen and then come to find out that it was not apart of God's plan and purpose for our lives...what a waste of time! He says, all I have to do is strive to know Him more! Well, I am striving to know my Jesus more and in doing so He will accomplish our plan!!

Please pray for:
~ No more seizures when med is completely stopped!
~ VOICE!!! He is so close to doing more and more!
~ Continued relaxing of his muscles...from the tip of his toes to the top of his head!
~ Water therapy will help him
~ Complete 100% healing!

Thank you for all your love, prayers and encouragement!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Miracles are still happening...

Today marks another month on our journey. Eight months to be exact.
Eight months ago today was a day that changed our lives forever. At the
I thought it was the worst day of my life but today I look at it much
different. I really don't look to that day anymore, I look past it!
There has been so much that has happened since the accident and for as much
as it has changed our lives it has shaped our lives. You may be thinking,
oh she is so strong, she has a good head on her shoulders! Well folks, I am
human, strong and I try to keep my head on my shoulders! I must admit that
there are days when I cry out to God and ask when the end date is, how
much longer is He going to have Ben fight to have his body back, and when
can we go home. Jesus has gotten me through this...that head on my shoulders
thing...well it gets floppy many, many times but God holds it strong.
I think He had a good idea when He created me that I was set for something
that only He could have me do...why, I have no idea. I do know that He has never
left me or forsaken me! He is in control!
Yesterday was an amazing day for Ben!! You may think what I am about to write
may be minute but it is huge for him and I am for sure saying YEAH GOD!!
So, yesterday morning Ben's speech therapist caught me in the hallway and said that she was going to try Ben on some real food! She said that he was doing so well on the pureed foods that she was going to advance him to regular but still soft food!
So when lunch time came along Ben's try included chicken strips and diced carrots. His therapist cut up the chicken in normal bites and put them in his bowl. They gave him his special spoon (bent a tad) and Ben went to town! He got that chicken in his mouth so fast, chewed and swallowed!! He fed himself about 6 bites and then got pooped out. His OT was able to help him about a bit to finish it up! About 3/4 of the way through eating Ben started making some noises and grunting. After several questions from ST she discovered that Ben was not choking, aspirating or in any discomfort. When she asked him if he was trying to get voice out Ben nodded his head yes!!!! He did this several times and even a few times when ST asked him to do it!
Another thing that he was able to do was drink out of a straw! He was not able to do this in Atlanta and not even here when they trialed him on it 6 weeks ago! They say the more that they eat the faster speech on my man!!
My heart has been happy and jumping for joy all day long! God has something up His sleeve and He continues to show us glimpses of that plan!! I cannot wait to see more of what He has!!
A scripture that I have been meditating on, reading over Ben and meditating on is in Is. It says:
"Have you never heard? Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
It has so many promises to it and all about God's power in our lives! I like that the Lord never grows weak or weary! I need Him for that because that means He can build me up in my weariness and weakness!!
Continue to pray for my man! Ben works so hard and refuses to give up even in his weakest times!!
Blessings to you all!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A TV interview...

Well, this day has turned out to be much different than I had planned. Ben had his therapies this morning as usual. He was up on the Lokomat for another 30 min and did great! He did the whole thing without his neck brace and for the majority of the time he held his head up high!
After those morning therapies we went out into the new garden that the call the healing garden. Today they were going to have a dedication ceremony for the garden and the Fisher House (the house I stay in.) The house and garden were both donated by an elderly man in the area and of whom we got the joy of meeting yesterday. So, we were sitting outside soaking up some sun and a lady from the VA came up and asked me if we would be interested in doing a TV interview about the new garden and Ben's recovery! I said yes and then was like what have I gotten myself into?? The lady who asked me said, "perfect, they will be here in about 30 min!" Ummmm, freaked out now! I had a lil prayer time and went on with reading my book and tending to Ben!
About 30 min later they crew showed up! I was thinking that I was so glad that I put make-up on this morning and wore something other than sweats! It was a time of questioning and getting filmed. After that was done they asked if they could get some film with Ben in therapy. Of course that got everyone scrambling and we decided that it would be fine to do it at about 2pm when Ben had speech. They came back and Ben showed off! He did great! No one told him todays date but he was able to point out on a piece of paper (from 3 options) todays date! He didn't get the year which is normal but he did really well in what he did!!
Overall it was a good day! I was thinking it was going to be nice and relaxing with enjoying some good food from the ceremony and just chilling out with Ben! Little did I know that we would be interviewed and on the news! I am sure that in the future Ben and I will look back on it and get a few laughs from it all!
Ben continues to do well and be strong in his therapies! One thing that I wanted to share is what he had been doing with his neuro psych doctor. She comes in Mon-Thurs and introduces herself, and reminds Ben what the date is, where is at and so on. On the days that she does not remind him is when he gets to tell her! He is usally spot on to his surroundings and orientation. Sometimes he gets a bit confused but this is just ok with me. One thing that his doc has been working with him on is problem solving. Not in life issues but more as solutions. She uses a white board to help in these therapy sessions. Some of the things that she has used are the following:
1. A12B_C4_5 (she gives him three options to fill in each blank. She will ask him each option and Ben is to shake his head yes or no)
2. ABC12_DE_456 (same solving as above)
3. Foot=Toes Hand= thumb, fingers or glove (again multiple choice)
4. Ben=Neb and Katie= katie, takie, or eitak
5. Morning=breakfast Evening= brunch, dinner, snack
In all of these questions she also has Ben mouth all the words and try and answer with his mouth before giving head nods. Ben usually scores 95% on all these quizzes!

Ben continues to amaze me with his determination and strength to move forward and not give up! I tell him everyday that I am so proud of him and that I love him so very much and to that he gives me big kisses!
Thank you for all of your continued thoughts, prayers and encouragement! It means so much to both of us!
My sisters come in this weekend so I am off to get things ready for them to come! We will try and stay out of trouble...


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I again will be asking for left overs...

This will be just a quick post to let you all know what is going on today so you can be praying for Ben! Today he will get another round of Botox. I had a meeting with Ben's doctor about it last week and we decided that this time around Ben would just get it in his peck and shoulder area. We talked about doing the neck but Ben has been making some big improvements on head control, mouthing words, swallowing, and just doing really well. If we did the neck we would take the risk of weakening all that for at least the next two months. I thought...if Ben is making improvement then I don't want to strip that away from him. If he is still not improving and is where he is at in 4 months from now then we will bring it back to the table to talk about it!
So around 2ish today they in his docs words "will be getting Ben good" with some good doses of Botox. He is going to be injecting Ben with more then last time so that is going to be a good thing! There are a few risks involved so please be praying that it all goes well and that it will be very benefitial for Ben. Also please pray that it works and that Ben's shoulders, arms, chest and all relax and are able to start working more!!
Again, I asked for the leftovers of the injection but he just laughed at/with me! Oh well, I will keep trying!!


Friday, April 16, 2010

100th blog post...

(my friend just gave to this me from years it)

Today marks my 100th post! Wow, time has flown by and I am surprised to already get to 100! In the ones that I have posted there have been many, many miracles that have taken place in our lives and all I can say is to God be the GLORY!
Alot has taken place in the last week! Two of my little brothers (well both are over 6') drove down from WA to spend a few days with Ben and I. We were able to squeeze in an Oakland vs Mariners game (of course the Mariners lost) and also went up to San Francisco! We had alot of fun together and Ben showed off and was happy to have them there too! The only downside to the visit is that my quite room turned into nights of loudness because one bro snored and one talked in his sleep! In return for my lack of sleep I got good brother lovin and some good cooked meals by them!
I also was able to go down to San Diego for a few days to hang with some amazing friends! We had alot of fun and it was very relaxing and a good change of scenery for me. We had lots of laughs, good food and I got to give 3 month old baby, twin boys some sugar to their cheeks! They are precious lil guys! Thank you to my San Diego family for taking care of me and for all your encouragement and lovin!
While I was gone my brothers were with Ben on Sat and part of Sun and then Ben's Aunt and Uncle from Redding were able to visit Ben on Monday when they were in town! Of course they nurses here are wonderful to Ben but it is nice to know that he had familiar faces around! One nurse even fed him some peaches and ice cream...she spoiled him!
Some things that Ben has been doing in therapy since I have been back....
PT - riding the bike machine again and doing well, new standing lift that makes Ben work harder, lots of leg stretching...Ben continues to move his legs more and more, and he was on the Lokomat (robotic assitive walking machine) twice this week! Ben's head control has increased immensly since doing this machine in Atl!!
OT - more stretching, splinting, shaving, toothbrushing, dressing...all things his therapist is working with Ben on. He continues to do well with these tasks. Still not able to do on his own but so much better and quicker!
ST - Working alot on swallowing. He is eating his bananas again and still on the pureed foods. Ben tolerates them really well. His therapist tried him out on some diced peaches and he seemed to do well on those too. ST is co-treating with OT in the afternoons and working with Ben to eat on his own!! He has a bowl with sides and a spoon with a thicker handle and it is bent towards him to make it easier to get in his mouth. He wanted to get a spoonful of peaches and go to town but they told him for swallowing purposes he could only get one at a time. Those peaches are slippery lil suckers but he was able to have the coordination and get one on his spoon at a time and get it in his mouth!! He did great!
ST is also working alot on mouthing words! Ben has been doing great on this! It stinks because when I am with him he is mouthing so many but I cannot read lips...he is trying so hard to communicate! She is also now giving him homework and oral and facial exercises in front of a mirror to work on. Ben continues to work hard on all of them and gets them almost every time!
I had a conference with all of Ben's team this past Wed and say that they see continuing improvements. I heard "small but meaningful" alot in our meeting. Ben will be off his Dilantin (one of the most sedating seizure meds) May 1! After he is off of it completely they will do another EEG (seizure monitoring session) to see if he is having any continuing seizures! Please pray that he be seizure free!!!
One thing that has totally blessed my heart (and I have not even asked them to do it) is that if Ben is sleepy or they feel like he is down a bit they will take him to the door that has a whole bunch of scriptures on it and ask him to read them. They will read them with him and he is to track with his eyes and try and say the words with his mouth!! I was so happy to hear that they are doing this with him!!

Prayer requests:
1. As they continue to decrease seizure meds that they would stay Jesus name!!
2. Continuing of builing up muscles and trunk control!
3. Muscles to loosen and would continue to kick in
4. He would be able to communicate!! Voice would come!
5. His mind to continually be restored and renewed!
6. Strength for me to fight on and not settle for where I am in life or in my relationship with Jesus
7. Jesus would teach me new things...i have learned the faith and patience part! :)
8. Jesus would teach me how to be an encouraging wife in the way that Ben needs right now and how I can pray specifically for him!

Blessings to you all and thank you for all your encouragement, words of wisdom and prayers through these 100 blogs...I know there will be more to come!!

(Bros and I at Oakland game)

(me and my Linds)

(extended them)

(sad to say see ya!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Special prayers please...

The past few days I have had some small conversations with Ben...him using his head nods and shakes. I asked if he was frustrated about where he was and his recovery. I also asked Ben a few more questions about life and where his heart is....and it broke my heart with what his answers were! Right before this I was reading him some of his favorite book Wild At Heart. The part that we were reading was talking about a powerful man and strong heart. I asked Ben if he felt like he was a powerful man and had a strong heart now and he shrugged his shoulders and gave me a slight head shake no!
I truly believe that the enemy is feeding Ben lies and trying to get Ben to give up on what Ben knows to be true! Ben is a very strong man and easily motivated but like any other person the enemy tries to take that strength away from us!

PLEASE pray that Ben will be strengthened and that the enemy will have NO place in Ben's mind, heart, soul and spirit! Also pray that Jesus shows me how to pray over my man! I prayed over Ben right after that and claimed many scriptures as well! I had him mouth I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME and he did a good job.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If the people have no bread, let them eat cupcakes...

People, people, people! I have a problem! That problem is cupcakes!
Every week this A-maz-ing
cupcake shop donates all of their left-over cupcakes...and they
are scrumptious!They come in 3 long tupperware containers and they
look so pretty!These are not your cupcakes whipped up from
a cake mix (which I love)but these are hand mixed, hand decorated
and of course all with tenderloving how could you say no
to these lil creatures of awesomeness!?! You can order them
for holidays, birthdays, with your own special message and so
many more things! Lord help me I have a new problem in my life!
Ok, so I need to be rescued from these lovely lil things and get
the image of a mouth-watering chocolate cupcake smothered in coconut
frosting out of my head! If I do not stop eating them (which has not
been to many...but too many) I will be looking like this....

Did I mention these amazing, don't put me down cupcakes start at about
6 bucks a crack...never would pay for them at that price but surely if
they are donated it makes it so much easier to devour...and then some!!
I don't think if I eat to many I will turn into a pretty lil cupcake
but if they stay around me to much longer you might find me looking
like this...

...and since this blog is truly to be about Ben's recovery I will say
that I gave him a lick of frosting and he couldn't have been happier...
ok he really doesn't like cupcakes and frosting but it made me feel
better to share a piece of my amazingness with him!
So not the typical blog post for me but had to get it off my chest and
get me on the computer and AWAY from the cupcakes!!
I leave you with this...

I guess this is my reward these days...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Trying to be a Mary not a Martha...

(Ben and Anthony a few years of his buds who came to visit...this is a rare scene!!)

Ben and I have been reading through Luke along with the Psalms everyday. It has been so good for both of us and I have been short verses and having Ben mouth the words as much as possible. A few nights ago while reading in Luke 10 I came across the story of Mary and Martha. It was when Mary and Martha welcomed Jesus into their home for a meal. Mary sat at Jesus' feet and Martha got to all the busy work. Martha came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me!" But Jesus said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken from her."
I got to thinking about this and how I have at times in this journey fallen into the same trap! It happens both in the physical and the spiritual. In the physical I want to do everything I can for Ben! Be with him every moment, clean him, dress him, brush his teeth, shave, get him in his chair, feed him and so many other things! Did I mention that I want to be with Ben every waking moment!?! It took me a long time (through people who have gone before me) to realize that I could not do all of these things for my man but what I can do is be with Ben when I can and just love on him! Yes, I have to take that step back and literally sit at Ben's feet and love on him. Of course there are a few things that I still do when I am there because I am a tad, ok obsessed, with making sure his pearly whites are cleaned but for the most part I have stepped back and allowed the nurses to be nurses! There is a time when I may have to do all these things and more so I need to save up! Right now I encourage Ben to stay strong, tell him I am soooo proud of him, tell him to Ranger up, and just love on him with hugs, holding his hand and giving him LOTS of kisses!
In the spiritual part of this scripture Jesus is teaching me continually to sit at HIs feet and just listen. I can search for answers, ask questions, run around thinking I can take care of Ben and get him better on my own! All Jesus asks is for me to sit at His feet and relax in His presence! He has Ben and I in His matter how far I try to run from it some days. I try now everyday to be a gentle, loving wife to my Ben and also to sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him love on me! I know some days I will want to take things into my hands and things might get crazy but I am going to try my hardest everyday! on to my man this past week!
PT/OT - Ben has been on the tilt table with moving legs on it, tummy time, sitting on the side of the bed to help strengthen trunk control, up in the standing frame and wiping the table off, a new neck collar for a trial, ultra sound stimulation to his shoulders/neck, and lots of functional object use.
Speech Therapy - Ben has had a few tests in ST since we have been here and has scored 99% on both...the only remaining 1% that he didn't pass is talking! They have been working with Ben on oral tongue workouts and building that up. Things like licking the applesauce off different areas of his lips and sticking tongue in and out. Ben's ST is also getting him to mouth easy words that force him to use his lips like pop, mom...Ben is doing well with them!
Neuro Psych - this is one therapy that Ben has not had since Atlanta. His neuro psych doc has been very impressed with how Ben is doing. She says that in the week that Ben has been here he has stayed more alert, had better concentration and overall doing great! While working with him he has gone from distingushing 2 letter words to 7 letter words...recognizing what they are...all of them!! Ben has also been doing simple addition problems and getting them all right...he is now in the double digits! He has started in subtraction but still in the single digits there! Ben has also been able to know what his full name is, his birthday and some days what year! The way he does this is his doc will ask him if his birthday is in March, Ben shakes his head no, is it in July, Ben shakes his head no, is it in Feb, Ben knods his head yes!! He gets them all right! Before Ben has not been able to do this or remember it!! Ben is doing amazing with his neuro doc! Another wonderful thing is that she sees Ben 4 days a week at 4pm...Ben stays awake for the whole session and does great! In WA he had speech at 4pm and almost slept through every session!
I had a conference with Ben's whole team on Tuesday and it went really well. They all had good things to say and that they loved him already and were going to keep doing all the could for Ben. One good thing is that they are weaning Ben off of his Dilantin. This is a huge seizure med that he is on that is the most sedative as well. They will be decreasing this med every week for 6 weeks and then getting another EEG to see where the seizures are at. If there are no signs of the seizures then Ben will be off the Dilantin for good and just on 2 non-sedating meds for the seizures until they feel he can come off all of them! This is HUGE and prayerfully Ben will be off all of them soon!!
Since being here we have had some wonderful visitors! Two guys, who are now out of the Army live not to far away and have been able to come and see Ben a few times! Ben knows who they are and they were swapping some words and Ben using his head shakes! Another wonderful lady was a dear friend Shelly M. She came yesterday to spend some time with was such a blessing to have her come and be with us!
I will be on here again soon!! Keep praying for my man...God is up to big things in his life!!
Blessings to you all!!