Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Neuro Fitness Foundation Speech

I will be sharing my story at the Neuro Finness Foundation Golf Tournament, Monday, April 25th. Please come if you can, but if you can't here's what I will be sharing.


I’ve been coming to the NFF a little over a year. I would not be alive today if it were not for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let me tell you a little about my accident, and what the NFF has meant to me. At 5:15 a.m. on January 17, 2008, as a result from a drug overdose from taking Xanax, Ambien, and Methodone, my mom found me unconscious in my bed, covered in vomit, barely breathing. I was totally unresponsive and barely alive.

The paramedics who answered the 911 call had to work on me for 45 minutes to bring me back to life. I was rushed to Harris Methodist HEB Hospital. My doctors didn’t think I would live through the first shift. But I did. They didn’t think I would live through the first day, or the first weekend, or the first week. But I did. I was on a ventilator; I had aspiration pneumonia, brain injury, liver and kidney failure. I had six or seven dialysis treatments before my kidneys started working again. I started waking up after several days, but my doctors thought I was just having involuntary responses.

During the next several weeks I underwent many procedures to keep me alive. I had a chest tube, a stomach peg, then a gastrointestinal tube, a tracheotomy, permanent catheter for dialysis, PICC line, an arterial line, a central line and an intravenous filter for blood clots. Several of these procedures had complications that led to further procedures. I lost 70 pounds and received 17 units of blood in 2 months.

Eventually all my organs began to function and I was able to stop dialysis and begin getting off of the ventilator. However, I was receiving a certain medication that was causing Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome that was slowly killing me. It is very rare and has symptoms that mimic those of a brain-stem injury. If you combine that with my anoxic brain injury and stroke, it took a while for my doctors to realize that some medications were killing me, and the offending medications were discontinued immediately.

Eventually my body stabilized enough to be transferred to a rehab hospital. For the next few months, the staff worked with me to get me breathing on my own, eating solid food, drinking liquids, and started physical therapy. I could barely sit in a chair and could no longer stand or walk, and I couldn’t use my hands.

I had many months of therapy, and many interventions such as surgeries on both of my hands and feet, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and Botox. You name it, I had it.

I believe all of those therapies served a purpose in my recovery, but I think it was the NFF that helped bridge the gap between that phase of my recovery and moving toward more independence. Since coming to the NFF I not only have gotten much stronger, but I’ve been able to quit using my walker. I did my first 5K walk this past October and started back to school in the Spring. The progress that I have achieved this past year has been made possible, in part, due to the help I have received from the many great people at the NFF. I look forward to coming to the gym every week. I have met many nice people and have made some friends. I continue to get stronger and I am still making progress.

I know I still have a long way to go, but I am looking forward to the challenge and the new opportunities that lie ahead. I thank God for my second chance. I know that He has given me this chance for a reason. I have a purpose in life! It will be a privilege to help someone else, even if it’s just one person, to not make the same mistakes I have made.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm Free!!

As of this week, I have basically stopped using the walker!!! The only time I'm using it is at the gym, and hope to stop taking it there soon. Now I can walk all over my house by myself. Yesterday, I went to CVS to pick up my prescription, walked all over Home Depot, all over the grocery store, and finally went out to eat with my family at On The Border.

Obviously, this is thanks to more healing from Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior! I've also been slowly reducing a muscle relaxer I have been taking for two and half years. My doctor thinks my body may not need the amount I have been taking since I'm healthy now. Those two factors combined have let me break out of my “cage” as my mom and sister called it.

Thanks for all the continued prayers and support. I very much appreciate it!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Information Overload

Hello all my loyal blog followers . . . I did not know there were so many of you out there, so I'll be updating this more often.

Since my last update, I graduated PT and Speech at HEB. I still go there for Occupational Therapy where I work on my fine motor skills, handwriting, and other things that have to do with my hands.

I am still going to Goddard Sports Therapy in Coppell where I still get ASTYM treatment, work on core strengthening, flexibility, and walking without the walker.

I've started going to a gym where I work out three days a week. It's called the Neuro Fitness Foundation. It's a gym for people with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or people that have had a stroke. The equipment is set up to accommodate people in a wheelchair or you can just use it normally. The gym also has staff on hand to help you if you need assistance. So like for me, I need help getting from one weight machine to the other, and adjusting the weights.

I recently got another round of Botox in my arms and hands. Every time I get another round of injections I make significant progress. I don't have much spasticity left in my hands and arms, it's just a lot small things now. My OT made a splint to help stretch out the tendons in my right hand.

About a month ago I went to see my hand surgeon for a one-year follow-up. He is very pleased with my progress. I have surpassed all his expectations; which seems to be the case with every doctor I've had. Anyways, he and I discussed the possibility of another surgery for each hand. We both can see things that he can fine tune, but he is hesitant to do surgery until I have stopped making progress in rehab.

My PMR doctor does not think I need surgery. She thinks I need serial casting (which is where they cast my hand in the position you see above for about a week). My OT thinks that it's a bad idea to do serial casting and that surgery might be a good thing. My neurologist thinks surgery might be in order a year or two down the road, but not while I'm still getting well and making progress, and he doesn't like the idea of serial casting. So ultimately I have the consider all the expert opinions, and see what works best for me. I have to figure out what I'll be able to do after surgery that I cannot do now, and decide if it's even worth it.

If any of you would like to see some photos of my recovery you can either click on my Facebook link at the top right-hand side of this blog. Or for those of you who don't have Facebook here's the link to My Recovery.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Med Changes Update/New Stuff I Can Do

After many weeks of trying to tweak my medication, my doctor and I came to the conclusion to just go back to what I was on before all this happened. I'm doing much better now - I have stopped falling. Every once in a while though, I'll still have some anxiety and take a tumble, but for the most part I'm back to where I was before all this happened. Thanks to everyone out there for your thoughts and prayers.

It seems like every day now I can do something new that hadn't been able to do before. I am now able to write the whole alphabet from A to Z, I have started shaving with an electric shaver (I never would have had the control to handle that even two months ago), and finally sitting down at the piano and trying to push each key down with each individual finger. My doctor says even if I can't push a certain finger down that that is due to weakness, and just the act of trying to push the key down is strengthening my fingers. I will keep you all up to date on any new changes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Med Changes

It has been a frustrating start to the new year. I've been going through some medicine changes, and it has been causing me to be very shaky and fall a lot. In the past couple of weeks I've probably fallen over 20 times. I even fell in the bathroom and knocked a hole in the wall. To look on the bright side, thanks to the imprint of my backside in the wall we get to redo the whole bathroom. Even as I sit here at the computer, it is very hard to even control the mouse. Sometimes it just goes flying in the air. Please pray for me. I just want to feel better!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fulfilling My Calling

Today, I spoke to the kids at Winfree Academy in Grapevine. It was a very fulfilling experience. It was the first time, outside of rehab, that I've gotten to share my story with people other than online. I was very nervous, and wasn't sure how the kids would receive me. But I had nothing to worry about because they were very gracious, and listened intently to what I had to say. I believe God spoke through me, and used my story to touch some people.

I want to thank my aunt Susie for inviting me out there to speak. And thank all the kids for being so kind, and listening to what I had to say.