Thursday, January 16, 2014
Can you believe how fast the holidays went by. Another year to look forward to. Sam's baclofen trial went great. Baclofen is a medication used for decreasing muscle spasms. Most people take it orally and the body distributes it to all muscles in the body. The problem is it needed to be more spinal cord specific. A group of researchers developed a trial of the drug that is put into the body like an epidural. So a couple of days ago I took Sam up to the U of U for the trial. Sam's only apprehension was the needles they used. She had an IV placed, a flu shot, and the epidural that requires the use of a couple of needles. After the medication was injected she was assessed every two hours to see if her spasms, especially in her legs had been reduced. The assessment prior to the trial was hilarious. The doctor and physical therapist came in and neither could bend Sam's legs first thing in the morning. Both proclaimed Sam as the person with the worst spasms they have ever seen. Sam uses the spasms she gets to assist her in moving in some cases. The majority of spinal cord patients have some level of spasticity. We stayed in a room for about seven hours. It took almost two hours for her legs to go flaccid. So what this tells the doctors is the baclofen would be a benefit to her. A company has developed a pump that doses small amounts of the medication into the spinal cord to help reduce or eliminate the spasms. They instructed us to go home and think about having the pump surgically implanted. We are going to let Sam think about it for a few days and talk with her main physical therapist about her thoughts on its use. When Sam's legs were spasm free the doctor asked her how they felt. She said "weird". She was so used to feeling the spasms the feeling was foreign to her. Her regrets of that day were, the IV placement hurt her little arm, and the doctor doing the epidural was not a hotty. Go figure. Sam snap chatted her friends and did homework the whole time. The epidural wore off sometime the next day. We are still waiting for the power car seat to help Sam get in and out of the car but it looks like it will be soon. A couple of people at Neuroworx are starting to walk again. It is so enjoyable watching someone getting a chance to walk again. It is taking longer than Sam or we want but, she is progressing toward recovery. We continue to appreciate everyone who visits Sam. It truly is part of her psychological health. Please know how much we appreciate the concern everyone shows us for Sam. Thanks for taking care of us in our time of need. Its going to happen!! Pray, Pray, Pray. Love You Guys.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Sorry its been so long since our last post. Sam continues to be busy with therapy four days a week. She is doing so well when transferring from her wheelchair. Vocational Rehab is going to do a couple things for Sam. They are going to install an electric rotating chair in a newer car we just purchased. They will also help Sam go to college. We are going to start her with a couple of online courses at first. Sam's hip had been hurting her so we had xrays and a CT scan done and all was well. The therapists have really been working the hip and she is about ready to start walking on Lokomat again. Sam will do the Baclofen trial for her spasms after the holidays. This will also help the therapist know in what direction would be best to take Sam in her recovery. We appreciate all of her friends that continue to come and visit Sam. It makes her day and she likes to keep up with what her friends are doing at college. We had 48 people for Thanksgiving! If you know Sam she was gracious when so many came to visit but was ready to be alone as soon as she could. Her Uncle Tom and his family drove up from Louisiana and spent Thanksgiving week with us. We had a great visit and my brother told me how much he enjoyed visiting with Sam. It was hard to see them leave. So many people in Louisiana are doing prayer list for Sam and everyone else we tell them needs help. What great friends and family we have! Please continue to keep all those like Sam or anyone who is suffering in your prayers and thoughts. Prayer works.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Hello all! It continues to be busy around our house. For insurance reasons we had to take Sam up to the UofU to the doctor that treated her while inpatient. Sam was pretty nervous about the meeting. It was made worse by the staff telling her that she would have to see a doctor who works with Dr. Rosenbleuth. The last time she saw Sam it did not end up good for this doc. Jill kindly told them about that experience and the contacted Dr. Rosenbleuth. I was ready to light a fire under someone. I made the appointment and if I wanted Sam to see this person I would have said so. All worked out. Dr. Rosenbleuth was so good to Sam. They talked for about 45 minutes then he assessed her functioning. He couldn't believe how strong she was. He was impressed at how far along she has progressed and his words were very encouraging. Sam was in a much better mood after it was all over. Sam continues to work with Neuroworx four days a week. Progress is slow but all involved think there is much more to happen. Dr. Rosenbleuth also told us about a breakthrough for spasms. Most spinal cord injury patients have spasms. The nerve impulses are trying to find the right path but are sent elsewhere. I will bring Sam up for a trial with this new procedure when its available. Hopefully that will decrease her spasms and make her life a little more enjoyable. Sam has been busy with friends. She recently went to the Imagine Dragons concert and had an extremely good time. I had to listen to her and her friend sing all the songs they just heard. Thanks for all the prayers and visits we really do appreciate all of them.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Hello All! Its been very busy lately. Samantha's physical therapist went to a conference held by the people that provide the walking device called the LokoMat. She told us every reason they gave for having a patient use the trainer was specific to Sam. She said I kept saying to myself, that's Sam. So when she got back she talked with us and Sam. She wants to walk her with the LokoMat and with the therapist all four days we go and keep her longer for all the other training she wants her to complete. She told us she wants her to do it for three months then she will reevaluate her. Sam agreed and so did we. Sam has been awesome but tired when we get home. Neuroworx is having a new building constructed next to the workmans compensation building across from Jordan High School. WCF is putting up the front money and the land adjacent to their building. This will triple the size of the area that patients can be treated. I am so thankful for Dr. Dale and Jan Black for starting this fine center. It has truly changed many lives. Last night Sam and I went to a donation dinner at the WCF building. A new video showing some of the current patients and brief interview. If I can get a copy I will. It was great and Sam looked good during her interview. Those donating are truly awesome. There are many but some names I remember or Sorenson, Mannsell, and Miller. The MC that night broke his neck at the C2 level. Most people do not live with that break. I could not even tell he had been in an accident. He looked completely normal and did an amazing job. The stories were great and gave me so much hope for my Sam. Sam is strong and continues to be focused. Thanks again to everyone who thinks and prays for Sam. Love you!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
I have had so many mixed emotions as this year mark has gotten closer. At times it has flown by and at others it seems like it was ages ago. I remember so many details from the night of the accident. It still makes my heart race when I think of that night. Uncertainty, fear, and panic were the primary emotions and I can still feel the way I did when it happened. Although it is still so painful-I literally still get emotional about it every day-it has gotten better. I can only really speak to my own experience, but I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned. I am not quite to the point of being thankful for this trial, but I am grateful for the things I have learned.
Pretty quickly after the accident we began noticing so many miracles. I truly know that miracles happen. There are so many things I could list considering the entire last year. From major things-Sam survived the accident and her spinal cord was not severed-to smaller things-opening to the perfect scripture for the moment- we have seen the Lord’s hand over and over. Although He allows hard things to happen, He is there to help us through it. I am so thankful for the miracles I have been witness to this past year in Sam’s behalf.
My testimony and faith in the power of prayer has increased significantly this year. The first day after Sam’s surgery was one of the hardest. I wanted to be supportive for my family, but I was so emotional. I prayed for strength. I felt the power of other’s prayers in my behalf and received strength far above my own. Many times I physically felt prayers. My mom and I discussed that we felt like a warm blanket was constantly around us. I know it was the prayers of others we were feeling. When I started the blog I would ask for specific prayers to be said. Within a day we would see those prayers being answered. Thank you so much for praying for Sam and our family. They have helped far more than you know. Again, I have learned if we will just ask, He will help us.
I have always believed that we are given trials we can handle, but I didn’t think too deeply about it. I have learned that if we are willing to try He will make up the difference and help us through it. This has not been easy on anyone in my family, especially Sam. But, we are able to continue on because of the constant help of Heavenly Father. I know that if we go through a trial we will not be left alone. We will be given the resources we need to make it through.
I have also learned that it is possible to find happiness during a trial. I was so thankful for my boys at the beginning. They are so innocent and happy and they truly gave us moments of happiness during the difficult days of the ICU. My mom told me that she read somewhere that, “Happy people are happy regardless of the circumstances.” I am thankful that we are naturally positive people. Although it can be awful, we have been blessed with many happy moments. My mom has commented to me that because we have felt the depths of pain and sadness our moments of joy are even sweeter. This is so true. The smallest improvements in Sam’s condition make me feel so happy and thankful.
One of the greatest blessings of this trial has been the loving support of friends and family. We have been so overwhelmed with the kindness we have been shown. People say that you learn who your real friends are when times get tough. We have so many amazing friends! We have been so blessed. So many of you have helped in countless ways. At the beginning there was Zumba Night, the Fun Run, remodeling the house and the ramp, the meals, money, and visits, and so much more. And you continue to keep giving. Almost daily we are blessed by someone’s kindness. We cannot thank you enough.
I am so grateful for Sam’s friends. I don’t know if they know how much I love and appreciate them. They have been here every step of the way. They make Sam feel loved and included. I worried that they would stop coming over, but they never have. When Sam is having a bad day, it just takes a visit from her friends to turn the day around. I just want them to know I will love them forever for being by Sam’s side this last year.
I am so thankful for Sam’s progress. One year ago we were told she wouldn’t have use of her hands or legs, and minimal use of her arms. She couldn’t scratch her nose or hold a card. Today she can use her arms. Her right hand is almost normal function and her left hand continues to improve. She is regaining sensation in her legs and hopefully movement will come soon. She gets stronger each day and is able to do more each day. Although progress with a spinal cord injury is slow, we are grateful she continues to improve.
I am so thankful for Neuroworx. They have the most amazing group of therapists. They are making the difference in Sam’s life. They truly care for her and are doing all they can to help her succeed. She loves therapy-her best days are spent there. They are truly giving Sam her life back.
Finally, I have learned that Sam and my parents are the strongest people I know. My parents have sacrificed so much and work so hard to give Sam the best care they can. I know it is so hard for them to see Sam go through this. But, they stay positive and hopeful. My dad is working two jobs so Sam can have the therapy and care she needs. He never complains. My mom quit her job and takes care of Sam full time. She goes without sleep and does everything possible to help Sam heal. In the face of tragedy they have shown their true colors and they are truly the best of the best.
I am so proud to be Sam’s older sister. It is so hard for me to watch her go through this. But, she is so amazing. I know she has bad days, but she fights to have good ones. She works so hard at therapy. She has improved so much and continues to make progress. She is so selfless. She worries more about her friends at therapy than herself. She always wants to help others. Sam is very private and does not always like to share her feelings. But, earlier this year she spoke at my wards New Beginnings for young women. She blew me away. She has a testimony. She is not only physically and emotionally strong, but spiritually as well. I hate that she has to go through this, but I am so proud of the way she endures.
This year has been trying, but I am thankful for the things I have learned. I am excited to see what the next year brings for Sam. Thank you all so much for your loving support and concern. It is truly appreciated.
Monday, July 1, 2013
This past week Sam was assessed for walking therapy! She cannot move her legs yet, but the walking therapy is intended to help the brain remember what it needs to do and establish new neuro paths from brain to legs to make it happen. Locomotor training is what they call it. One of the two people who designed the locomotor was the one who assessed her. A very polite yet intense individual. She was all work! She gave Neuroworx the go ahead with what they were doing and was pleased at what she saw. They only worked her that day for about twenty minutes, but they can keep her going for an hour at a time. It was great to see her vertically. A hoist supports her in a harness and two therapists are helping her legs and one is supporting her at the waist. The place is just amazing. The people there really love their jobs and encourage Sam at every turn. She was pretty tired after therapy. She elected to take a nap rather quickly when we got home. Thanks to our community for all the love and encouragement. Keep it going!
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Its pretty busy around our house since Sam's accident. I think we have put about 70000 miles on my truck since the accident. Sam's graduation went well. She had a few days off from therapy graduation week but was glad to get back into it. She looks forward to working out. Then one day Sam's Aunt Chris who lives just outside of Seattle called. She had spoken to her boss and asked if she could use some of the company tickets for Sam to watch the Yankees and Mariners. Her boss told her to give the family Diamond Box Seat tickets. Sam was pretty stoked hearing about the games. It made up a little for her missing Senior trek. We drove the 918 miles up to Seattle last weekend. Having great seats to a sporting event like this was terrific but when our hostess said she was taking us out on the field, you should have seen Sam's face. She stated she had died and gone to heaven. We spent an hour on the field watching batting practice then was escorted to the dining room for dinner before the game. Dinner was amazing and our seats were right in front of the Yankees on deck circle. Sam took a lot of pics of her favorite team and got a ball from Robison Cano. She slept with the ball right next to her that night. While watching the game Sam and Kaitlin were mentioning how hot the Yankee ball boy was. Sam encouraged Kaitlin to say hello but couldn't do it. Next thing you know Sam is waving at the kid and he came over and talked with them after the game. I gave him a crusty look and he knew his time was up. The next day Jill, Sam, Kaitlin, and Ashley her cousin went back the next day and watched another game. Of course Uncle Royal and Aunt Chris were superb host. We had an excellent time the whole weekend. It was great to see family we haven't seen in a while. We were pretty tired when we got home but Sam was ready for therapy the next day. She has had an awesome attitude and has been working hard. We appreciated everyone who thinks of us. I can't thank Aunt Chris and her boss enough for making my Sam's day. Keep praying for Sam and all those who are in her situation. Good things will come.