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Monday, December 28, 2009

Roma and Anthony

Here is a fabulous video of Anthony watching Roma eat. She is on the other side of the sliding glass door. And you can see that she is bothered by him as she leaves the bowl between bites. I think he scares her most of the time as she would prefer to be outside these days. The picture quality is awful because of the low light in the room - sorry! I didn't want to do anything (like turn the lights up) that might stop the fun!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Morning

Loving the new hat.

And really loving his new light up Curious George. Anthony really loves George as you can see by the look in his eyes.

Helping dad open presents.

We had a fabulous morning celebrating with Anthony. Santa was good to us this year! We were also able to webcam my mom and brother and Ryan, Jody, Kaitlyn and Caleb to open gifts with them which was great! What did people do before Skype?! It's so fun to be able to celebrate the holidays together even when you aren't in the same city.

Christmas Eve

We went to Mike & Colby's this year and had a great time celebrating with the family and Mr. Lynn. The boys seemed to enjoy their new gifts, though Anthony really didn't get the opening presents thing. Maybe next year....

Cooking With Dad

Anthony and I have really enjoyed having Jared home the past four days. He works three days this week and then we'll head out to the canal to celebrate the new year. We are looking forward to relaxing with the family and quality time to play with Lucas and Anthony!
Today Jared made homemade ravioli napoletana from his new Silver Spoon cookbook - it was delicious! Anthony had his first pasta and he loved it. He seems to be enjoying finger foods!

Christmas Pics of the Cousins

We had originally planned to have the four kids take their pics together, but Ryan and Jody weren't able to come home this year so we have two pics.

Prayers for a little one

Wilson Braun is a friend of a girl I went to college with - please keep him in your prayers. He is almost two years old and was just diagnosed with cancer. He is now undergoing chemo treatment at VCU and is going through the battle of his life. I'll never understand why cancer has to exist, and especially why little guys have to deal with it. Jesus is the only one who can heal Wilson, and I know his family covets your prayers right now!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Jared and I are so thankful for each and every one of you this year. Thank you for the love, prayers, and support you have given to us - no secret it's been a tough year, but without you it would have been that much harder. Each of you who reads this has played a part in encouraging us and helping us this year. We are truly blessed with wonderful friends and family who we can always rely on. We love you and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Upgraded Status

I went to see my spinal cord rehab doctor at the U today and am pleased with the results. She has changed my ASIA classification from ASIA A complete to ASIA B incomplete. This is the first time my classification has changed since my injury (which was 9 months ago).

Here is a breakdown of the ASIA status as set by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA):

A = Complete: No motor or sensory function is preserved in the sacral segments S4-S5.

B = Incomplete: Sensory but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level and includes the sacral segments S4-S5.

C = Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and more than half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade less than 3.

D = Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and at least half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade of 3 or more.

E = Normal: motor and sensory function are normal.

Only three more letters to go to get back to normal! Let's hope the next three letters don't each take 9 months - ah!

Pushing Boundaries Update

Here is the latest newsletter from PB - I'm excited to hear that they are expanding their facilities and will be able to serve more people!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vita Christmas Party

Steve and Kendra took us all out to dinner to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family - we had a great time, and lots of fun back at their place for a gift exchange. Anthony was completely obsessed with his 7 year old cousin, Justin, and Justin was great entertaining Anthony! Anthony was spoiled with lots of fun new toys and adorable clothes - thanks everyone!!

Anardi Christmas Party

We got together with Kim's family on Saturday and had a great time seeing everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good Morning!

He is so proud now that he can pull himself up in the crib - still doesn't use his legs, but his upper body is getting a good workout!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Great article...

I am so thankful to Kim and Lynda for making it possible for me to go to Pushing Boundaries - I am getting the best treatment out there for SCI and I am so, so grateful!

Trading Wheelchairs for Walkers: Promising New Therapy

from WebMD Health

Gina Shaw, Medical Writer

A few months ago, Sherri Drakeford would never have dreamed she could walk on crutches. The 45-year-old mother of two had been hit with a double health whammy: After years of battling multiple sclerosis (MS), she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Drakeford had three surgeries and spent 12 weeks in the hospital, followed by 7 weeks of chemotherapy. What progress she had made in strengthening her body and fighting for mobility was erased by postsurgical weakness and months spent in bed.

Then Drakeford's neurologist at the University of Texas-Southwestern Hospital in Dallas heard about an exciting new machine that had been brought in by Patricia Winchester, PhD, chair of the hospital's physical therapy department. The innovative treatment uses a combination of a treadmill and a suspension harness to help people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities regain some of their ability to walk.

In September 1999, Drakeford began a rigorous training program on the treadmill. In a typical training session, Drakeford is strapped into the harness like a mountain climber. Then, Dr. Winchester wheels her up a ramp onto the treadmill. She's hooked up to a suspension system at the shoulders, and hydraulic lifts hold her upright. Then she takes one step, then another, and another. Two to three times a week since September, she has traveled to the medical center. She is improving her stamina, balance, and ability to support her own weight, week by week.

"For the first time in 4 years, I can walk on crutches," Drakeford reports ecstatically. "I showed my oncologist last week and he was stunned: I can't wait to show my neurologist. I can't walk a long way and I have to have someone spotting me, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I could walk on crutches at all."

Learning To Walk Again

Essentially, the system retrains the body to walk. For patients with neurological deficits caused by spinal cord injury or MS (like Drakeford), poor muscle strength, decreased muscle tone, and poor balance make walking difficult. Treadmill workouts help to retrain the locomotive center in the spinal cord, which Dr. Winchester says is thought to control the step patterns of walking. The suspension harness allows patients to bear as much or as little weight as they can manage, gradually moving up to standing more and more under their own power.

"The number-one outcome is improving a person's function. Once they start walking, they will maintain the level they have achieved through therapy," says Dr. Winchester.

So far, Dr. Winchester has worked with a total of 13 patients using the treadmill-suspension system: six MS patients, six spinal cord injury patients, and one woman with a traumatic brain injury. She happily reports that every one of these patients is making progress.

"One patient with spinal cord injury had been doing physical therapy for a year and still was not ambulatory," says Dr. Winchester. "He's a T-10 paraplegic. After 2 weeks on the harness, he's already started walking with crutches over ground."

The woman with traumatic brain injury has also experienced remarkable results using the treadmill and harness. Three years after her injury, she continued to experience such severe tremors that she couldn't even roll over in bed by herself. After 6 months of using the treadmill, says Dr. Winchester, "She's now independent in bed mobility, transferring independently from her bed to the wheelchair to the toilet, and she's now walking with minimal assistance with a rolling walker." On the treadmill, Dr. Winchester reports, the tremors aren't even visible any more.

Dr. Winchester's case reports of success with peer-reviewed reports from the University of Bonn, where weight-suspended ambulation was first used in this way. It has been used for some time to rehabilitate stroke patients. But Dr. Anton Wernig, a German researcher, was the first person to use the treadmill training for patients with spinal cord injuries. Previous studies showed that function in paralyzed animals improved with treadmill therapy, and their condition deteriorated once they stopped.

Dr. Wernig, who dubbed the treadmill system "Laufband," has published reports of the system's success in several international neurology journals. "Many patients with chronic paralysis, still wheelchair-bound and not capable of walking without help from others, became independent and learned to walk for some distance without help," he writes in the August 1999 issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma. In cases of both acute and chronic paralysis, the German studies find that patients who participate in treadmill therapy fare better in achieving improved mobility--sometimes after years in a wheelchair--than do patients who pursue standard rehabilitation therapies.

"Our hope is that if patients can learn to walk over ground independently, they won't have to rely on other people or wheelchairs for assistance," says Dr. Winchester. "My goal is not for them to walk on the treadmill the rest of their life, but for them to get improved enough to walk in their home and in the community setting."

Drakeford, for one, is a believer. A few weeks ago, she returned to the community gym where she can once again exercise independently. "It's given me the confidence that I can get up and walk again, at least in the walker and maybe on crutches," she says. "After 4 years, that realization just about blew me away."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

coupons, coupons....

Though I'm sure most of you are not interested, I just want to share that today at Target I got free hot cocoa, pens, and lotions (about $20 in total savings), along with some other greatly discounted items, using coupons. I think that qualifies as making money while shopping, Jared. My new job title since retiring from the business world is "shopper" and I'm damn good at it. I don't need any pens and I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but they were free so I couldn't not get them. I made up for the savings by spending the money on other full priced items in the store, so all in all we are still negative for the whole trip....;)

It's always something...

To add to my misery last week, I spilled an entire bottle of amoxicillin all over Anthony's crib, my wheelchair, and of course the carpet. We now have a lovely pink stain the size of a fist on the carpet, along with splatter marks all over. I was furious at the time, but now see the hilarity in the situation. I guess we can now add replace carpet to the list of things that will need to be done when I'm out of the wheelchair. New carpet will go nicely with my new kitchen cabinets.

Then today I spilled an entire container of soup (the soup my husband worked so hard to make me) as I was trying to get something out of the fridge. Thank God Colby was here to help clean it up or I might have cried for a very long time. Dropping/spilling items is probably the thing I dislike the most right now!

Also, props go out to Mike who has now emptied the diaper champ for me twice. That is a horrible, nasty job - thanks Mike!

Back to normal....

We are feeling much better around here now! Anthony is no longer needing the neb treatments and doesn't have a fever. His breathing isn't 100% normal yet, but he is SO much better than he was last week. I've got a happy, playful baby again - thank God for that! And we are counting down the days until Jared comes home -boy do we miss him! Only five more days!

Pics from this week

Yes, Anthony only wore pajamas all week. Typically we consider the wearing of PJs all day to be a sign that you have given up on life, but I made an exception last week as all A did was sleep.