Wednesday, February 29, 2012

a weekend away...

this coming weekend i have the wonderful opportunity to go to a wounded warrior wives retreat. they offer a few a year but this is the first i had heard about it and the first opportunity to go. it is at a beautiful resort about an hour away.

this will be my first time away overnight from ben since we have been home and i am as nervous as all get out! when he was in the hospital i knew the nurses and knew that if anything happened he would have emergency care if needed. someone will be staying with ben along with some of my family and i trust them all! i know things will be fine but i am praying the nerves will just settle and i can enjoy my time to the fullest!

i don't know how many ladies will be there but i know there will be a whole bunch of different stories but the one thing in commen is that all of our men are injured in some way or another. some are amputees, some with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, shrapnal wounds, PTSD and in most cases some of everything, and these are just to name a few issues. our job is not an easy job (and that is a weigted thought) but we love our men and would do anything for them...

one of the leaders that puts these retreats together posted a question on facebook that got quite alot of answers...242 to be exact! it gives you a small idea of what us wives of wounded soldiers go through and yet can still find humor in it all and yet some are so very real and serious...

You know you're a wounded warrior wife when...

-When your home is childproofed yet you don't have children.

-Your husband thought you Zumba class ended later than what it did so he doesn't call on the way home. I'm soaking in the tub and I hear footsteps. I don't get alarmed because I've studied his gait for so many years I can hear the limp in his steps.

-You haven't slept through the night since your husband got hurt.

-You sit down and watch your husband pull shrapnel out of his body and both joke if it will be bigger than the last one

-Your mind never stops thinking of ways to prevent uncomfortable situations from happening.

-You have PTSD from his PTSD.

-you have aquired some of his brain injury

-When you can't remember your own appointments but you can recite his perfectly.

-you find yourself doing safety sweeps and perimeter checks even when he is not with you
-When you walk through hell with him and love him anyway.

-when you lay in bed crying wishing there was something you could do to really help them

-When you have to remind yourself that you need some self-care because you haven't showered, put on make up, or worn a cute outfit in days.

-When you miss your husband

-when your daughter screams at you that she is angry that HER daddy has a TBI

-When you have a secret "signal" system and speak code in public so as not to draw attention to yourself to avoid an upcoming panic attack.

-my kids totally blurt out my husband's injuries ANYWHERE! Like WalMart...Gavin will be like, "My Dad got shot 3 times!!" Then I have to explain it to the poor unsuspecting stranger.

-When you'd give up the full use of your limbs or brain, just to see them happy doing what they risked their lives for, and loved so much.

-When you're carrying around your husband's prosthetic leg like it's just another accessory. At the hospital, it's pretty normal but in public, you get looks but it doesn't bother me b/c it's my new normal.

-You have to hold yourself together everyday, and when the tears start, they aren't stopping for quite some time.

-When you have had enough of the mood swings, hollering, begging him to get out of bed, and you feel like all you do is give and all they do is take, and you wonder how much more you can handle. and it doesn't matter how much you love them, because, let's face it, if we didn't love them we wouldn't be there, you wonder when enough is gonna be enough and you pray for a miracle, and just the strength to go on

-When all of your son's classmates calls your husband a transformer.

-My dining room has become a rehab room complete with a stretching mat, walker, standing frame, medical supplies

-You have incredible wheelchair wrangling skills and your moves resemble a NASCAR pit crew on race day

-when you spend so much time "being strong" for the family you find yourself crying during the biggest loser

-When a smile on his face means more than you ever could imagine - b/c you don't see it often.

...the list goes on and on and on! i could definetly relate to alot of them! i am excited to go and meet some other ladies that have gone before me, are where we are at and those that are just beginning their journey. i pray that we all get the rest that we need while we are there and at the same time be rejuvinated to know that we are not the only ones out there going through what we are going through!
please be praying for every lady that attends and also for ben and i as we are apart and his safety!

with that i leave you with this...

-on tuesday ben walked about 3/4 of a mile on the treadmill with weight breaks in between and then followed by the pool.

-wednesday morning he had pt and did alot of core and ab work with the ball. had about a 2 hour break and then went to the gym. that day he walked a mile straight with NO breaks, then weights, then more on the treadmill and then the pool for over an hour!

-monday he got casted for a foot slint that should be ready in a few weeks. this hopefully will help with the inversion (turning in of his foot) and correct stepping of his left foot. prayerfully will also help with his walking and balance.

-amazing praise report...ben will get to trial hyperbaric oxygen treatments for free!! we will hopefully start his first session this next week. there also might be opportunity to have the majority of sesssions to come covered as well since it is not covered by insurance. more on this later!

-wednesday while watching the news a special comes on about a missionary to Sudan. They showed shots of the lack of quality of life and how they were poor to which Ben said, "my life is so hard but I have nothing to complain about!"...such a wise and amazing man he is!

-ben saw a car the other day that looked like my old one and he said its now in "Honda heaven." I asked him if he wanted to see photos of it from the crash and he said he wasn't ready. I haven't seem them either...I will be ready when he is....i think!

-ben's bad pre accident bed habits are returning...hogging the bed and stealing my pillow!

-his prayers are powerful and only getting better!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

never once...

We started a new series at church this morning and at the end the played the following song. It was so good for my heart, soul and mind to hear. I have pretty much been listening and thinking about it all day long. It ministered to me as I hope it does to you.

It was a gentle reminder...

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You've done
Knowing every victory
Is Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Thursday, February 23, 2012

back in the saddle...

As one of my old spin instructors in GA called a spin bike seat...the saddle. I spent alot of hill climbs, jumps, speed and did I mention hill climbs? I miss J as an instructor not only because of her good teaching but also because she is an amazing motivator and could read you. Needed to get stress out...go to her class and you would walk out with leaving all that stress on the floor in sweat beads! Ben would come into the class at times. He of course would sit the whole time, put it on the bikes highest tension and ride the class with no breaks for water. J would try and break him and he would try and break her! Mind you Ben was 190 pounds solid muscle and J is prob 100 pounds with solid muscle...not failing to mention rock solid abs that left me wiping my chin from drool. Anyways, it was hilarious to watch because they would both have that look of stubborn determination in their eyes. Me, well I just tried to keep pedaling and not fall off my bike!
Ben also was an avid road biker. It was not unusual for him to ride 25 miles into work about 4 times a week. We would bike together but he had to slow way down for me. I miss seeing him do the things he loves...but he will get back to them!

So, speaking of the saddle...Ben got back in it this week! He has been riding a more of a sit down bike but was wanting to try the spin bike. I went with Ben and his OT for another hand. Ben climbed up on the bike all on his own. He practically was able to get his feet in the straps and so on. Of course right when he got on the bike he put the tension on a very high setting and just started pedaling. Actually having it on a higher setting for Ben was good so that he wouldn't go flying off!
He went for about 5:30 min on the high setting. Just in that 5 min he was breathing heavy and starting to sweat! Obviously he will have to wean his way into it but for sure it will be a good cardio workout for him! It also forces him to try to keep his head up...which is still so hard but he sure does try! Were hoping to get him an outdoor bike that works for him now for the sping and summer. It might have to be a recumbant one but I doubt Ben will long as he is outside and on a bike!
I am so proud of him!

One of my lil brothers came home for a visit after completing his training for his new job! It has been so good to see him. We first saw him at my other lil bros basketball game! These basketball games are stressing me out! We are still in the district phase and tomorrows nights game will determine if we go to state! Win!! If they win they go to Yakima for playoffs which would mean a few days out of town for us! A change of scenery would be so yes, they will be winning!

Remember when we had that huge snow/ice/wind storm about a month ago? Well we had all those branches come down...

Well, Ben's been working on it...

Well, I got tired of it so while Ben was resting today I got out Ben's trusty hand saw and went to work! The big parts of the tree I was able to move to the side and the limbs and such I got in a big pile on the other side of the house. Awwww, I can see more of our grass again! Nothing like some manual labor to get the heart pumping!

Short but sweet post! I shared with Ben the other day that even though this journey be hard we get to live in the midst of a miracle every day. He was pretty impressed! You too are living in a miracle every day...just you breathing is a miracle!
Count your blessings...every single moment!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

silently planning...

He will silently plan for you,
His object of omniscient care;
God Himself undertakes to be your
pilot through each subtle snare.

He will silently plan for you,
So certainly He cannot fail!
Rest on the faithfulness of God,
In Him you will surely prevail.

He will silently plan for you,
Some wonderful surprise of love.
No eye has seen, nor ear has heard.
But it is kept for you above.

He will silently plan for you,
His purposes will all unfold;
Your tangled life will shine at last,
A masterpiece of skill untold.

He will silently plan for you,
Happy child of a Father's care,
As if no other claimed His love,
But you alone to Him were dear.

I came across this in my readings and it is settling in my heart. It is truth and everything that I am feeling in my heart. The "silently" is so hard yet to know His purposes will all unfold is so good for my spirit to know. I could go on and on about this...let it sink into your heart...

Another week of busy with a capital B! Life moves so fast and it doesn't leave Ben and I to sit around much! I feel that it is good to stay busy and live as "normal" of a life that we can now instead of sit around and sulk...which is so easy to do!

This post will be yet another post of random things we have been up to. I think random posts are becoming a thing on here but hey, it keeps it interesting right! This way you get a small glimpse into what is going on even if it is just a photo!

We have been going to my lil brothers basketball games! They are now in districts! They lost there last game but have another one coming up Sat...

{lil bro warming up and then the losing faces!}

we celebrated ben's birthday...ok a few weeks ago! Birthday pre day massage "good morning birthday boy" greetings, breakfast, standing, mission impossible at the theatre and a basketball game...

trying new foods and recipes. curry lentil soup, pumpkin chili, barley drinks (taste nasty yet super healthy), and asian chicken (who says you cannot bbq in feb with a headlamp??) and Ben's been trying to help more...

Ben reading the Word over us in the mornings...

back to the chiropractor...

Ben got a lil practice of feeding a baby in! He did great...

Ball work and stretching with me when there is only ST and no OT/PT that day...

trying to be vintage...

best valentines day gift ever...running two treadmills down from my man walking...

Speaking of Valentines day. Ben and I have never been big fans of the day and played it pretty low key and just liked to love on each other all year. I think that Valentines day threw up all over face book this year! :)
Ben and I had said we were just going to do cards and chocolate this year...I would just buy the chocolate and the party would begin! My dad called and wanted to take Ben out at first I said nah cuz we were just going to be low key but dad put his foot down! So later on Monday they hit up the store. I was out of the loop and when they got back I was given a pile of clues that I was not able to look at until Ben said I could the next day.

and I got Ben some chocolate and some yummy, yummers cupcakes! Oh and since it had been some time since we had red meat I also bought some good steaks that I bbq'ed oh so perfectly...

The rest of our Valentines was watching some Biggest Loser while indulging on cupcakes...ok, admit it you do the same! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

charging forward...

I love the above photo of Ben! This was captured when him and his PT where exchanging funny words while taking a break! I don't even remember what got him smiling but I am glad that I was able to get it! It is still getting closer to his regular smile which means his muscles and face are still healing!

This is a well deserved post so y'all can see a few of the things that Ben is working on in therapy. He has been working so hard and yet it is never enough to him! He will do "anything to get me better" and anything "to get me out of this situation and brain injury." I will say that he gets super frustrated that he just cannot get up and do what he wants to do. He continually says, "if I could just walk" "all I want to do is walk." In his mind he can do it all but his body just wont do it. I cannot even think that I could comprehend what he is thinking or going through. His balance and hips are so off right now that when he wants to and trys so hard to walk it throws him all off. His biggest request is just to "walk on his own with no assistance!"

He has been working on his walking...alot! The last few weeks it has been outside, inside, on the treadmill, with a walker, trialing a cane, with nothing, with support of therapists...any way that we can think of to get him going! It is amazing how hard he works and doesn't want to stop...he just keeps going and giving it his all! The last few days were really nice so they hit the street and did some walking. In the am he went out with his PT and walked both directions from the driveway and back. Later that day in working with OT they went all the way to the mailbox and back! That was the pic I posted a few days ago! GO BEN!

Ben has also been getting in the pool about 2 times a week anywhere from 45-90 min! Of course he loves it! Ben lives for the water! About a year before our accident Ben had the opportunity to go to scuba school in the Florida Keys. This was not one of those schools that are a few weeks long but this was a military one that lasted about 8 weeks and was hard! I remember him calling me with the quietest most tired voice saying, "we have about 5 min to talk before I fall asleep!" He said it was the hardest and mort tiresome school he had ever done! Ben came out of it graduating with his master diver certificate and bleachest blonde hair I had ever seen on him!
Anyways, he had been wanting to use his snorkle and mask again so I found them in the garage to use. It took him a few trys to get the rythemm down again but now he goes underwater and gets his swim on! The first long swim was 9 min underwater and then this last week he went up to 15! It's pretty amazing to watch! He has a long ways to go but since the pool is set at 82 degrees he gets alot of good muscle relaxing in and good stretching of his muscles!

Remember the tree that split in front of our house in the snow/wind/ice storm? Well, Ben and his OT have started to saw some of it and get some good arm use in at the same time! Ben, like his swimming, is in his element! Being outdoors is just an amazing adventure for him and makes him so happy! The first time they started it was about 45 degrees and the second time 60! Darn weather is messing with us!
Of course Diesel had to watch in on all the fun and get some play time! Oh, I failed to mention that he had to go to the vet this last week for a chip and rabies shot and weighs 55 5 months! Oh man, I think he's going to be a big-in!

There is one more amazing thing Ben has started doing! He has only done it three times and the second time went about double the time and the third a few min longer! He got on the treadmill again! I was not able to see him the first time that he went about 6 min but I was able to see him the second time when he went about 12 min! I was running on a treadmill and Ben and his therapist came in and Ben must have told him he wanted to get on the treadmill too! So just four treadmills down from me Ben started walking! I paused mine (got in 5 miles and payed for that later), jumped off and got a few pics and a video! This time last year Ben was on the treadmill all harnessed up and with two people helping him! This time, the treadmill, Ben and his therapist standing behind him! It was amazing!! He went about 12 min this time but yesterday he went 15...walking at a 1.5! He told me today that when he starts walking on his own again that he's "going to be all over this town and show people what I am made of!" Lord, please continue to give him this ability of freedom!

I think this was the first time Ben got on the treadmill in CA...

This was last year in walking but not alot of control of his body...

and this was on Tues...

As you can see Ben has been hard at work! Like I said above, he never, ever gives up and says he is doing it all for me, him and Diesel! This man always puts others first.

A few specific prayer requests as far as Ben's body...

1. head and neck control...ben's had botox, massages, chiropractor and therapies to help. it's kind of coming along but needs alot more healing! where his neck and head goes, so does his body so it throws him all off!

2. walking...ben's biggest desire at this point and almost all he talks about these days. sometimes he just wants to leave places because he feels he cannot participate how he wants to and that his body is holding him back. please pray that the Lord continue to help coordinate his body and that the connections would be made for his ability to walk on his own. I really believe that once Ben is able to get around on his own that he will take off...nothing will hold him back! It will free him up from so many things that now hold him back. He wants it, I want it...we need it!

3. bathroom abilities...he still has a catheter. he hates it. ben's sensory ability is coming back a little in this department but it is something that his brain is still a lil slow on...

4. his tone in his muscles. he does not have contractures and he can move them and build them up muscle wise but they get tight which limits his movements at times and causes tremors.

5. bens mind emotionally...his mentality is amazing but like any other person he gets frustrated, disturbed, annoyed and another one of his big things now is that he wishes that he can do more for me and around the house. although we still make decisions together (as much as he can) he knows that his role of the man of the house has changed for a bit. He wants to lead, he longs to be the man God created him to be, he wants to be involved in things and be there for me. please pray for his heart and that the enemy would have no place in his life!

Thank you all for following our journey so faithfully! We feel your prayers and appreciate them so much! What we are going through is nothing I could have ever imagined that we would do but if people are blessed by it, encouraged and brought closer to Jesus then it makes it a lil more worth it! To God be the glory!

The God who says he will...WILL!!

"Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God..." Ps 62:11

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Neh 8:10