Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kidney Stones...

Hey all...
The past few weeks Ben has been complaining and pointing to some pain on his left abdominal area. The took an initial x-ray which shower air (gas) which might have been from the feeding being removed. He kept complaining about the pain so after several x-rays, CT scans and a few other scans they found out that Ben has a small kidney stone in each kidney! Hello...that explains the pain! The last few nights they have been giving him IV fluids to help them flush out quicker. He was also started on a med to help disolve them.
Please pray that they pass quickly and comfortably. This is I am sure an annoying and painful process for Ben of which he doesn't need!
I will keep you posted!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

10 months...

{back in the days of dating...}

Today hits the 10 month mark. Wow! I have alot of different feelings, emotions and questions going through my head and heart write now. I have asked the Lord multiple times, what are you doing...because at this poing I just don't understand anymore and I want answers. Answers that the Lord is patiently having us wait for!
10 months of not knowing...have you ever been there? It is not the funnest place to be especially when you have a brain injury or other medical condition involved. In the not knowing times I can genuinly say that Jesus has not forgotten us and has blessed us with so much...way more then we deserve! He has not just blessed us with taking care of us but He is healing Ben right before our eyes. It may not be at my pace or my time but it is happening! Do I lose hope, trust, faith, joy and so on...yes it wavers at times. I wouldn't be human if I didn't have all those emotions. I have come to find out it is how I handle them. I have to choose everyday to put my faith in Jesus and hope in Him. It is hard at times but I know that I cannot just believe and trust when I see big changes in Ben...it has to be everyday, every moment. I have to admit that sometimes I just don't want to and that is where Jesus tells me that I don't have to always be strong but just obedient! Do you know how much pressure that takes off of me!?! So refreshing!
As a wonderful lady put it about her man...(changed it to fit us because it is how I feel too...), " God works miracles but in mysterious ways. I miss my man (even though I see him) today more than ever, the feeling never subsides, even after 10 months. I never knew what it meant to love(in this way) before Ben and now through this journey, I know what it truly means to love. Love is definitely a selfless emotion but one that I am so glad I have an opportunity to experience with Ben."
Ben has come so far in his recovery and it blows me away how strong and determined he is! God is in the healing business and I still desire more miracles and 100% healing for this man of God and my husband!

I was reading with Ben our Streams In the Desert devo the other day and I came across this, "They (Isrealites)persevered only when their circumstances were favorable, because they were primarily influenced by whatever appealed to their senses, instead of trusting in the invisible and eternal God. God desires that we grow in our ability to see HIm in everything and to realize the importance of seemingly insignificant circustances if they are used to deliver a message from Him." It goes on to say, "The world says that seeing is believing, but God wants us to believe in order to see! The Psalmist said, "I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Do you believe only when your circumstances are favorable, or do you believe NO MATTER what your circumstances may be? Faith is believing what we do not see, and the reward for this kind of faith is to see what we believe!"
Can you see where the Lord might be challanging me? Seeing is not believing yet trusting my Jesus before He brings the miracle! Everyday I am challanged by this and He doesn't let me forget!

This past week has been a good one for him. He had some great pool therapy sessions, neuro psych evals and best of all an outting to Cold Stone! Ben ordered the biggest container and wanted it filled to the top with peanut butter ice cream! I asked him if he wanted any add-ins and he shook his head no. He almost downed the whole bowl and I was not surprised by that at all! I think it hit Ben this week that he might be at a plateau. His energy level has changed a bit and at times he has said that he doesn't feel like he is making much progress! It hurts me to see this when I see how hard he is working and how much he puts into his therapies. This is not an abnormal to plateau in brain injured patients but it has to be so frustrating for him!
Please pray for Ben in this area! He is working so hard and needs to see some more improvement! Please also pray that the enemy have NO PLACE in Ben's heart, mind and spirit! Please also pray this over me so that I don't get disouraged by the improvements that don't come quickly. It is so hard for me and I cannot even imagine how hard it is on Ben!

Blessings and more updates to come!
Katie and Ben

PS...if you are leaving anonymous comments and are not already sharing your name can you please let me know who you are? Some of you may need to leave anonymous comments but I would love to know who is posting!! Thank you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

a fantastic time at home...

ok, i am back from yet another travel adventure! I had a wonderful time with family and friends! I flew out Thursday evening and was picked up by one of my ladies Erin! We had a good chat on the way home. I spent Thursday night with my brother (who surprised me and got off work early) and my sis-in-law!
Friday morning I lounged at their house and then joined up with my sister and her kids for an adventure to Costco! Later that evening I had the priviledge to go to a wedding with my parents! Congrats to Justin and Kelsy!
Saturday morning I was to go on a hike but the rain held us back! So, what did I end up doing....my nieces 3rd birthday party! Ummmm hello can I say PRINCESS party! The only ladies that she wanted at her party were her cousins! It was a hoot and they were all so adorable! Later that day I did some sorting and took a nap! Church in the evening followed by dinner with my other sis and her family!

{Princess party!}

Sunday morning I was able to meet up with a lady who has been faithful to her Jesus and has been an insiration to me after she and her husband lost their baby about a month ago. She is a true testimony of faith! After coffee with her it was off to sort more things and then a few rounds of bowling! My first game I broke 100 and then lets just say my 5 year old nephew beat me on the next round! It was a ton of fun!! Sunday night we had ALL the family...12 nieces and nephews (and 2 on the way) and 12 other bros/sisters/parents for a fun Father's Day get together! It was alot of fun and so good to be with all of my family!

{they are heavy ok...}

{me and my dad}

Monday morning it was to the airport! I was sad to be leaving my family but I was eager to get back to my Ben! I got back mid afternoon and of course Ben's face lit up and I gave him mass hugs and kisses!
It was hard when we were in GA before the accident because it was the first time that I had ever moved away from my family without having a date when we were coming back! I got used to it and Ben played a huge role in that! Now it is even more difficult to be away from all of them because of the situation that we are in! They have been a huge blessing to us and I look forward to some of them coming down again while we are here!
Ben and I are back in the grind of things! He cannot get anymore slack from his therapists because he says he is sad and misses me! He continues to stay strong and fights on! My goodness he amazes me every day!
Please continue to pray for him! He is in a spot where things are not progressing as fast as he wants and you can see and sence the frustration that he is feeling! Ben needs to see and realize how far he has come...for doing nothing after the accident (couldn't even open his eyes) to what he is doing now is amazing! I give all the credit to Jesus and Ben's hard work...ok, a bit for me too! :)

Katie and Ben

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

a general comes...

Today was a busy yet good day for us!
Ben had a great day in PT and did some standing again! He did so good as usual! This new standing frame that he is using has him put his arm on some arm rests and that is about it! When he stands, he is on his own. He does have a tiny little belt on his lower back but that just makes sure he doesn't fall back. His legs are getting stronger and his knees do not buckel when he stands!
After PT we went back to his room. He had a few minutes to close his eyes to rest and then we graciously welcomed General Sutton and a brain injury doc from the east coast. We were told she would be coming the day before and were asked if she could come and meet with us!! We chatted for about 10 minutes about Ben and his recovery. Then she presented Ben with a coin for the brain injury program she has been working on. She is a very gracious lady and we enjoyed having her! Ben showed off for her and I was a very proud wife!
There was a large lunch in honor of General Sutton coming and of course Ben and I partook! I think I ate enough pasta for the whole Army...of course I evened it out with salad and Diet Pepsi! After lunch Ben and I went with Rec Therapy to the Farmers Market that comes to the VA every Wed. Ben had a strawberry and a macaroon. We walked to the rose garden and then back to Ben's room for a nap! While he napped I had a meeting with all his docs and therapist who gave their updates on how Ben is doing. All were very positive and they are very proud of Ben. Ater the meeting and Ben still napping I snuck away to Target and to get a pedi! We ended the evening with dinner, Bingo for me/getting ready for bed for Ben and then snuggle time for both of us!
Busy day but a very good day! One more highlight that I forgot to mention is that Ben's neuro psych doc asked Ben to write out his mood for the day and he wrote the following (she asked him to write it more clear each time)...

So, as you can see it was a lovely yet busy day!
I am going to take a quick weekend trip to WA to attend a wedding, SEE MY FAMILY, and celebrate Fathers Day! I will be back to post soon!

I leave you with this verse that I discovered yesterday...
"Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying!" Rom12:12

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

back in the saddle...

After 15 hours of driving in the car and a good long weekend in San Diego I am back with my man! It is sooooo good to be back with him...missed Ben so much!
The facility that I looked at in the area is not going to be a fit for us. I got a short tour but was not settled about it at all...thank you Lord for your discretion. After I visited the facility I drove a bit south to San Diego to visist some wonderful friends there! We had a blast and just had some good ole girl time! For as hard as it was to be away from my man (even before the accident I never wanted to leave his side) it was good for me to get away for a few days and have a change of scenery.
The last few days I have been just able to chill with Ben and be near him! I love going to his therapies and seeing how hard he is working! Yesterday he was in the pool and doing so well! Thinking back to when he first started pool therapy and now, he has come so far! A new thing that they had him do was squates! He held onto the rails in the pool with his hands and then would slowly bend his knees and squat. He had a little help from his therapists but for the majority of it Ben was doing it!
Ben continues to mouth quite a few words. I told him last night that I was going to get him a cup of water and then be back to snuggle. He looked at me, patted to the right side of the bed and fully mouthed "right now!!" I asked him if he wanted to snuggle right now and he nodded yes...how could I resist! I was also talking to my mom today and when I had hung up I looked and Ben and he totally mouthed, "who was that?" It blew me away because he has never asked before and mouthed it so well!
Today in PT he was able to grab both handle bars on his chair, lean forward and get his bumm off the chair at least 6 inches!! This is huge!! Now every time they ask him to stand he contributes so much! Ben is such a strong, never give up man...he amazes me every day!
Ben's diet was changed from a diced/mashed/pureed (or whatever he got) to a dysphasia regular diet...pretty much means that he can eat anything he wants with a few restrictions! This means that he is getting better and better at his swallowing!
We got his sleep study results back today. Not the news I was hoping for but not entirely all that bad either. He slept decent but Ben doesn't get into his deep REM sleep. So, in that whole time of monitoring he never was in a deep sleep. He has a very mild case of sleep apnea but not enough to do anything about. As far as his seizures go....he had a 90 second seizure in the 12 hour study! I am grateful that it was short and there were not more with longer durations. The plan is to put him on a small dose of a new med at night that will help him sleep but then will also help with any remaining seizures. When you have seizures it call really poop you out whether they be long or short....so the med should help this.

Prayer requests:
1. Speech...it is soft and breathy but it is there...pray it comes in full force!
2. Muscle strength in truck, legs, arms, and neck!
3. New med that they are adding will take care of the sleep and seizures and not add more issues.
4. Ben would remain encouraged and be built up spiritually, physically and emotionally.
5. Direction and wisdom for me as I make upcoming decisions for us...much easier when I had Ben to help me/us!
6. More connections would be made in his brain and 100% healing would take place there!
7. That Ben and my hope, faith and trust would remain strong in Jesus...some days are easier then others but it is there!
8. Jesus would show me more ways to encourage and love on my man!

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement! I love getting all your comments!

{girls just want to have fun}

{beach beauty}

{having fun}

{proof i call my man}

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sleep study and praise reports...

Ben and I are pretty consistant about doing devotions at night before he gets all settled and sleepy. I kept up with my own for awhile but recently (probably since we have been here) it has not been that consistant and the Lord has really been talking to me about this. So, I have been reading through Romans and am only about 4 chapters in to it. There have been several scriptures that have already hit home. Some are encouraging, some convicting, revealing and most all about faith! There is the well known one about Abraham never waivering in his faith and his faith growing stronger and then one that I discovered about him that was interesting. In Romans 4:18 it says, "Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping-believing that he would become that father of many nations." I so want to be more like Abraham. Yes, he has his lying, cheating, crazy ways but he was a man of great HOPE and FAITH! Talk about a waiting period that he had in his life...waiting to become a father for so many years that it was deemed impossible! Oh I am waiting too! I am waiting for many, many things! Do I want to wait any longer...heck no! Will I, heck yes! Some days I don't think I can put another foot in front of the other! Some days I want to stay in bed all day long. So, yes, sometimes my faith and hope are weak...that is ok I have found out...as long as I don't lose it!
I have faith and I have hope....I want to build it more and more! I want it to grow and while it is growing continue to praise Jesus.
One more scripture I came upon in devos with Ben is Psalm 105:19. It says, "Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph's character"! Oh boy...this has been my road for the last 9 months and I think it will continue from here on out! I just found this scripture quite interesting and confirming as to what is going on! Just a lil glimpse into what Jesus is doing in my heart!
To update all on the sleep study that took place this last weekend! It went well and we both survived the night together! Ben was sleeping every time I woke up (and that was every 3 hours) and I was trying to get sleep! My bed was a chair that folded into a bed. It was about 24 inches wide and as hard as a piece of plywood! All in all it went well. They do not have any results yet but I am anxiously awaiting them!

On to the PRAISE REPORTS!!!!
Today after I was outside doing my devotions I came in to find out that Ben's doc was trying to get ahold of me. I found him and Ben's case manager and they told me that Ben's time here will be extended another 60 days!! This is huge as we were looking to go to another facility the end of the month! Thanks to a mass amount of prayers and Ben's hard work we will be staying a bit longer!! I am going to be looking at another place in Cali this week and also a place in NJ later this month or the beginning of next just to be prepared for our next phase. If God decides that He wants to do all the healing here then we will just go home after here! Please keep us in your prayers as that time gets closer!
Seoond praise report is that Ben's feeding tube is coming out today!! He has been eating his 3 meals a day of regular food for over 2 weeks now and doing really well! His fluids still need to be thickened a bit but other than that he is doing great. All his meds are not given in pill form and he is able to swallow them all!

I will be updating again soon! This Thursday I am driving to southern Cali to look at a rehab place and then hanging/resting/sunning for a few days with friends in San Diego! I will try and post updated, specific prayer requests soon!!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Where we reside...

I am finally posting some photos of where we are at in Cali! Most of my family and Ben's parents have been here and loved the place. They keep everything up and it is quite peaceful! So, here you get a small glimpse of where we are at for the time being!

Friday, June 4, 2010

In Rememberance...

Today is a very sad day for our Ranger families. These past few months there have been several casualties overseas but this one just hits a tad harder. Staff Sgt. Pedro Brandao Lacerda, a U.S. Army Ranger assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment died as a result of complications due to a spontaneous brain aneurysm on May 29. The reason it hits harder is because he was an instructor along side Ben in his battalion.
Lacerda’s awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Parachutist’s Badge. He has also been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan campaign Medal with combat star, Iraq Campaign Medal with combat star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. He will be posthumously awarded with the Army Meritorious Service Medal.
Staff Sgt Lacerda is survived by his wife Marina and his children Yasmin and Pepe.
Today marks his memorial and a day where he will be honored as an amazing soldier. Please keep his wife, kids, family and friends in your prayers as they will need them in the days to come!

On another note, Ben will be going to Stanford Hospital tonight for a sleep study. They have been trying to put this together for him and tonight is the night! During this sleep study they will watch his sleep patterns and also do a 24 hour EEG monitoring session to trace any un-noticed seizures. He has only had hour long EEG's so to have a 24 hour one will be good! We will be leaving here about 6pm in the evening and then settling into a room for the evening. I will be Ben's primary care giver so I will be getting him ready for bed, giving meds and being with him until the morning when we come back. Please pray for both of us! I am going to be trying to get some sleep that night but having the responsibility of an all night shift will be a bit!

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement! Blessings!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

week in review...

It has been an eventful last week for Ben and I! I will give a brief update on all that has gone down for each day starting with last Tuesday.
Tuesday...busy day of errands for me in getting ready for an early flight out the next day to GA. Ben had a good day of therapies. A little before 2pm Ben's parents came into town! We were glad to have them! Ben got to spend some time with them while I went to a quick meeting. I came back and we all chilled for a bit and then got Ben eating some dinner. Ben had a few things to do that evening and so his parents and I got to go have some dinner ourselves! It was good to spend time with them and I know Ben loved it very much!
Wednesday...I got up way before the birds did to head to the airport. I arrived at the parking lot and came to realize that the dress I had bought for the wedding I was attending was left hanging in my room! Folks, I forgot my dress!! Of course I had no time to go back and get it so away I flew without it!
I got into Atlanta about 5pm and went to Chick fil A right when we got into town! Oh how I have missed that place! From there I went to the church Ben and I attended and got to see many friends that have been amazing to us! It was so good to see all of them!
Thursday...Slept in a bit and then went on post to see some of Ben's work buddies and to give them a "live" report on how Ben and I were doing! It was so good to see all of them! Later that afternoon I got to see more friends and soak in some sun by the pool! It has been awhile since I have layed out and it felt so good! Later that evening it was more friends at dinner and then falling into bed!

Friday...in the morning I got to spend some time with a few ladies that are married to Ben's work buddies! They have supported us and loved on us so it was fun to see them and spend some time with them as well. Since I had left my dress behind in Cali of course it had to be replaced! So, it was off to the store with my bestie Brooke for some shopping! I came out of the store with 2 dresses and not just one! All for a good cause though..i have several more weddings to attend this summer! Later that afternoon it was more pool time and then in the evening we went to a movie and had a ladies night!
Saturday...the morning and early afternoon were spent lounging and getting ready to head up to Atlanta for the wedding. We took off that afternoon, got checked into our hotel and started getting glammed up! We were shuttled to the wedding from the hotel a tad after 6 and the rest of the evening was spent in glam! This was the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to! Cocktail hour, five course meal, napkins placed in your lap....you name it we got it! It was exquisit...all I have to say is google the St. Regis hotel in Atlanta and you will get a taste of the glam we were apart of!! I will post more photos in another blog..but here is a sneak peek!

{location of wedding reception}

{me and bride Emma...Ben old speech therapist from Atl}

Sunday...7am flight back to Cali and my man! I don't think I have slept that much on a plane in my life...tired! I got back to Ben about 1200 and it was so good to see him. He didn't have much to do that day so we got to just hang out and rest! We had a good snuggle time that night...so good to be close to him Ben!
Monday...another day off from therapies but to make up for it we ate! They were having a Memorial day BBQ and Ben ate a ton! We were ablt to be outside for a few hours and just relax!
Tuesday...Ben was able to get back in the pool today because there were no therapies on Monday. His PT said that he did excellent...did some marching/walking in the deep water! For lunch we got the priviledge of eating with a command sergent major who came to visit. He was sharing where he has come from, how he was injured and his recovery. When we went to leave we also got the honor of meeting Congressman Farr who came to visit. After all that excitement Ben was ready for a snooze!

What a week for both of us! Ben continues to be strong. He is showing more emotions which is good for him yet hard for me! He had a sad face the other day and I asked him if he was sad. He nodded his head yes. I asked him to mouth it as to why and he tried. I could not figure out what he was saying so I asked him to write it down. He wrote you and...and then I asked him if the last word was me. He nodded yes. I asked him if it was because he thought that I would leave him alone and he said no. I aked him then if he knew that I would be with him forever and he said yes. I then went to ask him if it had to do with the future (house, job, babies, life) and he nodded yes!
Of course he is going to be thinking all these things and I am sure gets discouraged. We had a good chat about it and were able to pray about it as well!

Still praying for 100% healing no matter how long it takes! Please continue to partner with us and keep him in your prayers!! Prayer works!