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Friday, July 31, 2009

Progress Report

A couple of good things happened at PT this week! We discovered that my adductors (inner thighs) are firing; not strong enough to control any movement yet, but at least they're awake! And also, I have some sensation on my kneecaps. Progress is slow, but thank God that we are moving forward!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Exersaucer


Lots of firsts for this guy this week! We put him in the exersaucer last night (after he tried plain water for the first time) - we are cooling him down with the towel on his head. He seemed to really enjoy the new toy - so much to look at and touch!

Rice Cereal


The doctor said that we could start Anthony on rice cereal, so it's now his dinner. Along with a bottle of course. I don't think he knows what to think about it yet. And check out that baby gut!
video

Oh the Heat....


So hot he just couldn't stay awake. Anthony is such a good sport in this hot weather.

Truly an Inspiration

I had to share this heroic story. This father/son are so amazing - I cannot even imagine what it would be like to do something as hard as the Iron Man race, and then to be pulling another person the entire time on top of that. How wonderful - what a great world we live in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecwcq7FwHeY

4 Month Check Up

Anthony had his doctor's appointment yesterday and is a very healthy little guy!

17 lbs, 5 oz - 90th percentile
26 inches long - 75-90th percentile
45 cm head circumference - 90-95th percentile

What a big kid!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Anthony & Aunt Kendra

Anthony loves when Aunt Kendra comes to visit because she takes him on long walks and he gets to take in the world around him. Jared and I love coming home to a happy baby and a clean house. We wonder how she does it - somehow she has time to play with the baby, clean the house, do the laundry, and even clean the refrigerator! She must be just running around like crazy! We are SO thankful to her and Uncle Steve for coming to our house so often to clean and help us out!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Ames


Becky watched Anthony for me while I was at PT on Monday - he loved watching the older kids! Thanks to Joe and Becky for bringing us dinner, too!

Driving

Since Colby and Lynda are both in Virginia this week, I thought it would be a great time to start driving myself to therapies. We ordered portable hand controls for the car which install in under 10 minutes. After driving around for about ten minutes on Sunday to practice, I was ready to go Monday. It has been so nice to be able to take myself places - have some independence back! It takes me about 15 minutes to get in the car, take the wheelchair apart, and pull the pieces over my body to put them in the passenger seat. Quite interesting for people to watch I'm sure.

The next step will be figuring out how to get Anthony in the car with me. Right now I still have to have someone come over to pick him up to watch him. I'd really like to be able to drop him off at someone's house, so I need to figure out how I can get him up and down the ramp safely....options so far are the stroller or the baby bjorn, but I haven't tried either yet.

Anatomy Lesson

I went to PT at the UW yesterday and saw my physical therapist, Whitney. She was ecstatic about the fact that my toes are moving! She said people will often come in and say their toes are moving, and she has to be the bearer of bad news and let them know that it's actually just a spasm. But when she saw my toes and that I can obviously control them, she was thrilled, showing it to all of the other PTs that I worked with while I was at the U.

Yesterday was a great day with Whitney. In addition to learning how to do wheelies, I also learned more about my recovery. Of course she prefaced everything by saying that being able to move my toes does not mean for sure that I'll start walking again....blah blah blah.

I am able to move four of the toes on my left foot. I cannot move the little one yet. I can move the toes up, and I can also curl them under. These actions are controlled by L5 in the spine. My injury was at level T6. The little toe is controlled by the sacral spine. The muscles get fatigued pretty quickly which is typical. The first time I move my toes is much more pronounced than the 5th, etc. I'm doing toe exercises three times a day now to work them out enough, but not too much so as to burn out the nerve.

It does not make sense to me, even after going over this with Whitney, why my toes would work first. But somehow the nerve connection to move the toes is shorter than the connection to move my quads or butt or something like that. If anyone truly understands this maybe you can explain it to me! But either way, before people start walking again the first movement is usually with the toes. It's the easiest connection for the body to make again. This diagram gives you a better idea of which areas of the spine control which muscles.

She expects the progression to continue up my left leg, and the next thing to kick in would be my ankle. As soon as my left leg is working again I can start walking, with a brace on the right leg. I've always expected the recovery on my right leg to be a little slower because that was the leg I was having problems with for over a year. That leg went through quite a bit more trauma than the left did.

My legs were spasming like crazy - she asked why. I told her that ever since I was prayed for last Saturday (the 11th) my legs have been spasming much more than usual. She said "I didn't realize that was part of your story - no wonder you've been able to remain so positive throughout this experience." I let her know that was the only reason I've been able to remain positive, because I KNOW that I'll walk again, there is no doubt in my mind.

Whitney and the doctors are kind of like drug pushers - maybe they get a commission for getting me on meds, who knows! Every week she's trying to get me to go on meds to control my leg spasms. How do I make it clear that unless I am being thrown out of my chair by spasms, I will not be taking them?? She insists that things like transfers out of the chair will be easier. I'm sure that's true, however, the side effects of the medicine to control spasms are awful. I've been told by the doctors and therapists that you basically feel like you are loaded all the time, and you have no motivation to do anything. Sounds fun. Whitney mentioned yesterday that if I were on meds to control spasms, we wouldn't know that my toes were able to move. I wonder how many people's recovery is masked by the meds they are on?

Whitney did a thorough check of my legs yesterday, where she isolates muscles and checks for any sort of movement. She wasn't getting much response on the right side. On the left side she was much more hopeful. If I was trying to pull my leg up to my chest and she started the movement for me, the leg would continue. It was a spasm, not a controlled movement. But it's a good sign that my legs are spasming into the position I want them to be in - at least they are thinking about it. It's not spasming in some other random direction. She said "I think we are going to have other things moving soon." You bet we are!

I've talked with several people who started walking again, and the first step was the toes. I am thrilled that we can finally see the miracle at work!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pushing Boundaries

Well it's time for some show and tell. Here are a couple of the exercises that I do at PB to get my legs moving! The ERGYS bike is just like riding a bike, and gives me the same cardio workout. Six electrodes total are hooked up to me, on my hamstrings, quads, and glutes. Electric shocks are sent and my muscles fire in reaction to those shocks. It's pretty amazing to watch my legs biking and to be able to feel the cardio aspect.

This is my trainer, Ben.

This is a standing machine because as you can see, I am standing. I can use this similar to how you would use an elliptical machine, minus the electronic component.

The goal is to be out of my chair with my legs working as much as possible. The more time I am using the muscles and telling them to fire, the more chance for recovery. Ben and the team at PB were thrilled to find out that I was able to move my toes. Typically the toes are the first to move when a person is recovering. With quads, they would expect the fingers to be the first to move.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

My fabulous husband took me to the Nordstrom Anniversary sale today to celebrate my birthday (last Sunday)! I haven't been to Nordstrom in four months now, and boy did I miss it! I found some new tops and shoes, but the find of the day was these pants (as you can see by the fact that I'm posting two pictures of them). They are leggings that look just like denim. You see it takes FOREVER to pull up jeans while in a wheelchair, so I end up wearing yoga pants all the time. Which makes me feel like a bum when I go out places. I am so excited that I've found some faux jeans that should be easy to get on and off!

Anthony was on his best behavior in the store, not like the first time I ever took his dad shopping many years ago. We are in the men's dept looking at jeans and Jared (in his usual loud voice) yells "What are these, used jeans?" right in the middle of Nordstrom. They happened to be the in style jeans with tears in them. Oh Jared.



Saturday Morning Playing with Dad




So Hot!


Yesterday it was 84 inside our house. Anthony and I were so hot!! I tried to cool him down a little by putting a wet wash cloth on his head. No help for me though. Man I love sitting on a polyester cushion on days like this!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I love my toes!

Guess who can wiggle the toes on her left foot? Thank you Jesus! We are so excited!

Baby Laughs

Anthony started laughing at his dad last night - it was so cute! We are those parents now, sharing videos that you probably aren't interested in.....but here they are anyways!
video video

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Walking Again

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=8081986&page=1

Jared sent me this story today, and it's an inspiration. Just another thing to add to my faith and hope. The kind of therapy that this guy went through is exactly what I'm doing at Pushing Boundaries here in Seattle. How blessed am I?!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Funny Card

My sister-in-law Jody has been fabulous about sending me cards and gifts to encourage me along this journey. The card I received yesterday was so funny, and I have to share it.

Front:
Hang in there...sometimes life hands you lemons, but then you can make lemonade.

Inside:
Of course, sometimes life pulls down your pants, runs a power sander across your naked butt, then pours lemon juice on your raw, abraded buttocks.

In that case, a cool citrus drink wouldn't really help but, darn it...you've got to hang in there anyway!

Made me laugh out loud - isn't that the truth?! What a great card - thanks, Jody!

My Funny Husband

Anyone who knows Jared knows of his frugal ways. He lives by the saying "Any fool can spend money" which has been passed down from his Great Grandpa Anardi, I believe. One of my best friends, Kari, actually has this taped to her mirror to help her avoid those expensive trips to Target that we all enjoy!

Jared and I kind of seem like an odd pairing given the fact that I love to shop so much. A couple of weeks ago Jared commented on how we've been really good about not spending money lately. This is because I cannot drive myself to the store. Yet. ;)

So last night Jared comes into the living room where I am sitting and says "When did we become rich?" with a big grin on his face. He likes to throw this one around when I go get new shoes or get coffee or any time I spend money really...So I answered "Yesterday." His concern this time? I was using the heated dry cycle on the dishwasher. He had turned it off a week or so ago, and I turned it right back on as soon as I'd discovered what he had done, assuming he must have just hit the button in error. But no, he purposely turned off the heated dry, which we've used for about four years together now....Hilarious!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Weekend




This weekend we went over to Kennewick to visit my family. Steve & Kendra went with us, though somehow I never get pictures of them with Anthony - we need to fix that next time we see you two! Anthony was excited to see his Nonna Meri and his Uncle Josh, and we enjoyed the visit as it's been 2 months since we last saw them. We also had a chance to go to church while we were there, and it was wonderful to see all of our old friends!!

BFFs


Roma loves it when her cousin Ryder comes to visit!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kate McRae

Kate is a five year old little girl who just had a brain tumor removed. Read her story here, and please join with Christians nationwide in prayer for her - she needs a miracle!

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate

Here is a video from her parents:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ese3zYZ-NA4

4th of July




We had a great weekend at the canal. It was hot and sunny so we were outside all weekend! We enjoyed making Anthony & Lucas pose for us, and Anthony seemed to like his first time laying in the grass. The fireworks along the canal were great as usual, and none of the neighbors were injured (unexpectedly) so that's always a plus. We enjoyed spending time with all the family and friends who came out for the day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waterboarding in the Gitmo











We fondly refer to bathtime around here as waterboarding, as Anthony seems kind of shocked by it every time he gets a bath. Roma likes to join us for waterboarding too.