Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Who's Gonna Shine in 2009?

Look at how much he can open his eye when he wants to. Presents are always a good motivator!
Playing Rockband with Sis...he loves to pound on the drums.

Happy New Year to all of you!
Trip #2 to the snow...24 degrees out with snow coming down hard, but this boy still loves to sit and just eat snow!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I know we did. I am still amazed how much more Luke participated in everything, compared to how he was last year, can't wait to see how he does next year. I have to brag on Luke for a minute. The kids had their annual dental check up today. This was the first time Luke has been for a cleaning since he was hurt (I know bad mom, but for some reason I was paranoid of it.) Luke did awesome! He opened and closed his mouth and did everything the hygenist/dentist asked him to do during the cleaning and getting x-rays. I was so proud of him, and thought he deserved much more than the ruler he picked out of the treasure box:) Good news...everything looks good, no cavities! You rock Luke!
Can you believe that 2008 is almost over? I know there are many people who are glad to see the year come to an end, because with a new year, comes the hope of better times, less trials, less stress. Hopefully we all learned something from the trials we were each faced with in 2008, that will make us that much stronger for anything that comes our way in 2009. If there is one thing I have learned, is that trial will always come when you least expect it. So, my wish for all of us in 2009 is may we all have more faith and less fear, more gratitude and less greed, more love and less hate, more joy and less sadness, more giving and less wanting, more peace and less stress, more enjoying and less complaining. Many thanks to all of you for your love, support, help, EVERYTHING you did for us in 2008! May God Bless each of you in 2009! Now, watch out world because there's this Gladiator we call Luke, and he is gonna SHINE in 2009! Believe!

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. Jeremiah 33:3 NLT

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow Much Fun!


Lynsey sits on Santa Luke's lap.
Luke coming down the hill...see his big smile.
All of us in the snow...gotta love the masked man!

Yesterday we made a spur of the moment trip up to Payson hoping to find some snow. Well...no snow in Payson, but about 20 minutes up the road we found the perfect snow tubing hill! Mike took Luke down the hill a few times on the tube...he enjoyed it, even though it was freezing out! I think his favorite part though was when Mike set him in the snow and he started eating it...huge handfuls of it! We had a great time playing in the snow and we are hoping to get back up there after Christmas. We hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas...thanks so much for your prayers and support this last year. Believe!
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. (10) And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:9-12

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Healing well




Luke got his stitches taken out today so all is well. He has recovered great from the surgery. Despite having to make a trip to the Urgent care on Monday. He took a little fall on Sunday, and apparently his elbow was out of socket, something known as "nursemaid's elbow?" The doctor snapped it right back into place and we were on our merry way...in and out in less than an hour made for a happy mom. I wish the same could be said for the trips to the eye dr, we have a minimum hour wait every time we go there, so we are usually there 1 1/2 hours for a 10 minute visit! Today though, I had the chance to meet another mom whose almost 2 year old daughter got ran over by a car in Sept. I had been following her journey. This little girl also had to have her eyes lifted. She is such a cutie...she kept giving Luke kisses. You can check out her journey at http://thebutlerfamily15.blogspot.com/. Just another reminder to count your blessings ...life can truly change in an instant. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season...it seems to come too fast and then in the blink of an eye it is January already. Make sure you take the time to reflect on the reason we celebrate the season...believe!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What a Relief!

The surgery went great!! Praise God! Last time it took Luke about a month and a half to really get back to himself. Today....about four hours! We are so happy. So what they did is undo the opening they did back in September, then the doctor also sutured Luke's left eye shut to allow it to heal. He will hopefully take those sutures out at his follow up visit next Thursday. Luke is doing great, you would never know he had surgery today. He has been very vocal...I just wish sometimes I knew what he was trying to tell us...I know, all in God Speed, not Stacey Speed. So, the only bad thing about today is, I never think it is a good thing when the hospital staff starts to recognize you. It means we have been there way too much. I told Mike after we were done, the next time we go to the hospital it better be to have this baby. Thanks so much for the prayers today, they worked in a mighty way! Believe!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Surgery in the morning...

Just a quick update to let you know, Luke's eye surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9am. We would certainly appreciate prayers for a successful surgery and a quick healing! Believe!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Visit with Santa


Luke was able to see Santa this week! Lynsey said he was a whimpy Santa because he couldn't hold Luke very well, thus the slouch in the picture. He told Santa he wanted trucks. Then, this week he got a letter from Santa in the mail. He was very excited when I read it to him. He has been very vocal this week...pray this keeps up. In the past, he will be vocal, then refuse to say words the next week, we like to hear him try to talk though! They have scheduled the surgery on his left eye for Sat. Dec. 13th, no time yet, pray this goes smoothly unlike the last surgery. I want him to be happy for Christmas.

I had a lady ask me yesterday if I really believed Luke would walk again. It got me thinking...how could I not. When he was first hurt, we prayed he would survive...prayer answered, then we prayed he would be able to breathe on his own...prayer answered, then when a nurse told us she thought he may not be able to see or hear, I prayed he would at least be able to do one or the other (not good to be greedy right?)...prayer answered in a mighty way (she was wrong!,) then we prayed that he would wake up from his coma...prayer answered (I will never forget that day and his first cries in 4 months!,) then we prayed he would show some sort of purposeful movement...prayer answered, then when he started eating little tastes of baby food we prayed he would one day be able to eat by mouth...prayer answered, then we prayed he would start following commands...prayer answered, then we prayed he would be able to hold his head up without support...prayer answered, then we prayed he would be able to do some "normal" kid things...prayer answered...I could go on and on and on. So now, we pray that one day he will be walking and talking, and we wait for this prayer too to be answered. Believe!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So much to be thankful for!

Luke as a pilgrim...Thanksgiving 2006.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

I think when you have been thru what we have been thru over the last year and half, giving thanks takes on a whole new meaning. We certainly have SO much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! First and foremost, I am thankful to God, who has never left our side this entire journey and we know He never will. He has used an eight year old boy named Luke, who we are proud to call our son, to show us and countless others that miracles still exist today if only you believe. I am also thankful for Luke, who is our hero in every sense of the word. He has survived being given a less than 5% chance, progressed way more than many doctors thought he ever would, taught us about courage, perseverance, and hard work. We are so thankful for the fighting spirit he has been blessed with, and we know God has great plans for him! I am thankful for Lynsey, who has never missed a beat when it comes to her brother. It warms my heart each night when she crawls into bed to lay by him or grabs his arm to arm wrestle. I am thankful for Mike, who loves his Wing man so much, and who does SO much for Luke. I can not wait until the day they can go hunting and fishing again. I am so thankful for all of our family and friends who help us out so much! Without all of you, this journey would be so much harder and so much lonelier...thanks for being with us for the long haul. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving day. I hope that you, too, will look around and see that no matter how big of a financial crisis America may be in now, or how bad life seems to be, there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. May God Bless you all this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving! Believe!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Here we go again....

Luke had yet another follow-up with the eye dr today. I know, I haven't written about his eyes in awhile so you probably thought all was well.....not so much!! While his right eye is doing awesome and he is beginning to open it more, however, his left eye is still very irritated and bothers him so much. It will be 3 months next week since he had the surgery. So the doctor says well it still looks the same. So I said, "At what point do you consider closing it again." Maybe I shouldn't have asked that question because his reply was, "I think that is what we should do." Here we go again with yet another surgery for the Gladiator to go thru. I pray, pray, pray that this will be the last one for a very long time (is forever too much to ask)! He said it is not as invasive as the opening, however, I hate the fact that they have to put him out yet again. It is just not good for the body to have to go thru that time and time again. So, I guess we can pray for a miracle that the eye will start closing and blinking on it's own before he goes in, which looks like it could be sometime in mid-December. "...With God all things are possible" Matthew 19:26 Believe!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Luke Stories...

Here are two cute Luke stories of the week. Yesterday he learned he can take off his shoes and socks by himself. He was so proud! It is so neat to see him do something for the first time, and the look on his face that says, I did it! Go Luke! I have also been telling him this week that Santa is going to be coming soon. In fact, we have already decorated the house. Luke even pointed to the stocking that was his. So, I told him he needs to be able to tell Santa with his mouth what he wants for Christmas. The first thing he said was Fish...so I asked him if he wanted a fish or to go fishing...he said to go fishing. Honestly, Mike has been gone hunting; I think he just wants a break from mom. Last night though I asked him again, and this time he sounded like he was trying to say trucks. So hopefully I can use good old Mr. Claus to get him to use his voice more. Make it a great weekend! Believe!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Are they working?

The million dollar question seems to be...are those stem cells working? Now, keep in mind, they tell you it takes about 2 weeks to start seeing results, but can sometimes take 3 months. However, we have seen a few things this week, but sometimes I find myself second guessing. Last night when we went to bed, Lynsey said to me, "Mom, I think those stem cells are really starting to work," so I figured maybe it isn't just me. It is hard to explain, but it is like Luke has reached a new level of awareness. Here are some examples and the Luke stories of the day. On Friday, when I was dropping Lynsey off at school, I guess Luke decided he was ready to be a Desert Mountain Coyote again because next thing I knew he was opening his door like he was ready to get out and go. When I shut the door, he was very upset, but he had never done that before. Then last night, the phone rang. I was in the kitchen and after two rings it stopped, I decided Lynsey must have answered it. That is until I heard buttons pushing from where Luke was. He had reached for the phone, brought it up to his ear, pushed a button to answer it! The last example is he really doesn't move a whole lot when he sleeps. However, the last week or so, he has been moving around a lot. This morning he woke me up and he had both legs hanging off the bed and was completely on his stomach. I am just glad he knew to wake me up to move him. So slowly but surely those cells are going where they need to go. Thanks for the continued prayers of healing and recovery. "The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him." Lamentations 3:25 Believe!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lite Gait


Well...Luke has passed his test for the lite gait with flying colors! He looked so good walking on it. Basically, the machine goes over a treadmill, and we are on the floor helping to move his feet. Luke did really good moving his right leg by himself, but because of the tone in his left leg, it is a lot more work and harder for him to move on his own. Hopefully, the machine will retrain his brain and get rid of that tone! So, now we just see if the insurance will pay for it, which they say, most likely not. In the meantime, we are going to rent one for three months and see how he does. The biggest thing is, we need to get him on it everyday for at least like 10 minutes, but he has to be willing to work! Today he walked almost 300 feet on it, which is awesome! Lucky for us, it is made right here in AZ, so we save quite a bit in shipping, and can get it next week if we tell them we are ready! Pray he will have the strength, stamina, and drive to work hard on it so we can see great improvements in his mobility.


Once again I say, thanks for checking on Luke. Unless, you live in a secluded island in the middle of nowhere, you know that times are bad. Everyone has their own struggles they are dealing with on a daily basis, yet you continue to think of us and Luke. For that we are grateful! I just keep telling myself....this too shall pass and we will all be much better off because of it...believe!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Pics....

Mike won this stuffed animal playing the games!
Lynsey and Luke at the entrance...I loved the flowers here!

Here are the long awaited Sea World pics...nothing too spectacular. It is hard to get pics with the animals and us in them too:) I will say Luke loved the Shamu show...he was very vocal during it, and you could for sure tell when he caught sight of Shamu. As for the Dolphin show...Lynsey wanted to sit in the soak zone so Mike went down with her. Luke and I stayed up top and we both got pooped on by the pigeons or sea gulls. We didn't even know until Mike and Lynsey came back up and started laughing. Mike says that could only happen to me. We did have a fun day, and I think Luke enjoyed it.
Now for the big news of the day...we found out today that Lynsey and Luke will be getting a little sister!
This next week Luke is going for an evaluation to see if he is a candidate for an assisted walking device called a lite gait http://www.litegait.com/ . Basically, it is a machine that retrains the brain to walk and helps build strength. I found out about it by another little boy's web site I follow that has a brain injury (www.caringbridge.com/visit/reece.) The funny thing is when I called the company today to get more info...guess where they are based....Tempe, AZ!!! Go figure...right here! So that is a good thing. We take him there on Thursday. Please pray he is a candidate. The other thing we need prayers for is for Luke to get the ambition and drive to do all of this hard work he needs to do to get better. It really is a lot to ask of him (especially when you consider all he has been thru), but it is what it is going to take. I have been reading a book called Stronger After Stroke . It is great! I actually emailed the author to see if the same basic principles apply to those with a traumatic brain injury. He said for sure! Well the number one principle is the patient has to be willing to put in lots of work (like 5 hours per day with lots and lots of repetition!) So that is where we are at now. The book is very hopeful and offers lots of great tips. To get the most out of the stem cells, Luke needs lots of input, but we can't force it on him, he has to be willing to receive and work too. Thanks so much for your prayers...together we will all make BIG, AMAZING things happen in our Gladiator! Believe!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All went well...

Just a quick update to let everyone know we made it back to the US safe and sound. Now, we just need to pray those little cells go where they need to go. Thanks so much for your prayers. We took the kids to Sea World yesterday, so I will post pics when we get back. Thanks again so much for the prayers and checking in on Lukey!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat


Luke had a great time trick or treating!! He loved seeing everyone in their costumes. Thanks to all of our neighbors who let him keep the handful of candy he grabbed. I think by the tenth house or so he finally starting taking just one piece:)

We are set to head out for Stem Cells this Tuesday! I can not believe it has already been 6 months since he last got them. People always tell me, doesn't time go by so slowly for you? It is actually the opposite...it goes by way too fast. This next week it will be 1 year and 8 months since Luke was hurt. Yes, we would like to see him doing more, but we are so thankful for how far he has come. We know the best is yet to come...all in His time. So, please remember, as you set out to vote this Tuesday, say prayers for healing and recovery for our little Gladiator...together we can pray those cells go where they need to go for more healing in Luke! Believe!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trip to the....


Today we went to the Pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins for carving later this week. Before Luke was hurt, he LOVED to carve pumpkins. He would spend hours cleaning the pumpkin out just perfect, then would carve away to his heart's content. So, a few days ago I asked him if he wanted to carve a pumpkin this year. He got a big grin on his face and gave me a big thumbs up sign. Today we went to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins. In the picture above you can see, the Luke moment of the day. I was helping Lynsey find a pumpkin when we looked over, and there was Luke reaching for a pumpkin!! I will get pictures later this week of the Gladiator's pumpkin carved. Thanks for checking in...believe!
Remember....to watch "The Doctors," tomorrow for info on umbilical cord stem cell therapy and banking cord blood if you are interested. If you are in AZ, it is on at 2pm on channel 3.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Play Ball!

A friend sent me an email about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who are now playing the World Series, she said it reminded her of Luke. In 2007 they were the worst baseball team in the American league, written off as perennial losers, and thought to have zero chance of playing in the 2008 World Series. In 2007, Luke was written off by many doctors as having little chance of any meaningful recovery from his injury. Well if you have followed Tampa Bay in the last few weeks, you know they made it to the AL finals, set against the reining champs from 2007, the Boston Red Sox. In one of the most amazing come-backs in playoff history, Boston got hot and won game five 8-7. Worse yet, Boston won the next game and tied the series 3-3. In those extremely tense and frantic moments, the beliefs, confidence, focus, and poise of Tampa were tested to the limits. And that test continued throughout the final game before Tampa finally won. We have certainly had moments where our beliefs, focus, and confidence have been tested beyond any limits you could ever imagine. Tampa Bay, however, did not give up, they keep believing, fighting, and swinging--- even when their confidence has been shaken and all momentum has stalled. This is exactly what we have done, when those doctors told us Luke would never do anything, we would not believe it. We have and will keep believing, fighting, and pressing forward forever, because you can never give up! We will continue to step up to the plate, just as the Devil Rays did to get to where they are, and keep on swinging! On that note, Luke is scheduled to get his second stem cell treatment on November 4th. Please fire up all of your prayer warriors for Luke on that day, for a successful treatment, and amazing results. Now the Luke story of the day, Mike turned on the World Series game tonight, when the National anthem came on, we looked down at Luke and he had his hand on his heart...how precious is that, I am pretty sure we haven't seen nothing yet from this Gladiator...a grand slam is coming! Believe!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cord Blood

First let me say, I am not a political person or one to try and argue a point. However, I do want to spread the word about this program to anyone that may be expecting, my sister passed it along to me. It is a show coming up next week on saving a baby's cord blood. Many doctors will tell you not to do it because the odds are so small you will ever need it, however, TRUST ME, when you are in the position where you could possibly use it you would give ANYTHING to have it. We have already signed up to bank our new arrival's cord blood, and when I spoke with the rep at CBR he told me in 2000 when Luke was born, there were only 8 known conditions for which the cord blood could be used, however today there are over 80!!! So in eight years time, a ten fold increase in the possibilities of healing....imagine the possibilities the future holds. So, please spread the word to anyone you know who may be expecting or anticipates having kids someday. I promise, if they are ever in our shoes, they will be forever thankful!

This coming Monday, October 27th, The Doctors, the new medical talk show created by the producers of Dr. Phil, will feature two CBR families-the Hextells and the Barbers- whose lives have been significantly changed by the decision to bank their baby's cord blood stem cells.
During the interview, the parents of
Dallas Hextell and Hannah Barber , who were both diagnosed with a form of brain injury share their perspectives on the importance of cord blood banking education. The show's celebrity host, Dr. Travis Stork, as well as resident Ob/Gyn expert Dr. Lisa Masterson, lead the discussion about how a child's own cord blood stem cells are being used in regenerative therapies designed to help heal injuries to the brain. As you know from many of our CBR Moms conference calls, there are many new developments for the use of cord blood stem cells in regenerative medicine. This show will be a great educational tool not only for you, but for all of those who are looking to learn more about cord blood banking!

Luke continues to do good....thanks so much for continuing to pray for his continued healing and recovery. Believe!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thank you!

First and foremost a HUGE, HUGE thanks once again to East Valley Sol (www.evsol.org) and to everyone that came out to the fundraiser last month. We received word yesterday that $12,000 was raised for Luke (and the same for Santana.) Is that awesome or what???? Thank you! Thank you! So, with that along with the money raised from the D-Backs game and other donations we have the $14,000 needed to do another Stem cell treatment. We have set a date to go back on Nov. 4th! Thank you to everyone that has helped us so much!! Please know you have played such an important part in the healing of our gladiator; I pray you will be blessed many times over for your generosity.

Luke has had a busy week. Mike took the kids with his family up to Greer this weekend while I had a scrapbooking event. They had a great time even though the weather didn't cooperate as much as they had hoped. Monday we took a walk down to the neighborhood park. Luke loved being there and going on the swings and slide. Then last night we got out the T-ball set....I tell you, the kid amazes me so much! In his first 5 swings he hit the ball off the tee with his first swing every single time. I think he played for over a half an hour just hitting the ball. Then it was time to get out the Barbie jeep...the first time around he started out good, then wasn't so sure. However, after we ate dinner, his cousins came over to get it in it with him and he loved it!!! Him and Tyler just took off down the road, Luke of course kept wanting to steer it off road to do some four-wheeling. The funny thing is, when Mike first put Luke in, he reached right down to where the gear shift is. The kid remembers everything!!! Don't worry we are not going to make him ride in a pink Barbie jeep...Mike is going to give it a custom paint job:) We just figured why spend $400 when we have one already. This week we have also started the new NACD program. I am really liking the program they gave us this time, it has a lot of school-like activities for Luke which I think is good. Yesterday was our first day back to work with it, please pray that Luke will get better every day with it because it sure beats driving to therapy. Thanks again so much for everything!! Believe!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pictures

Luke playing T-Ball. We were amazed at good his seeing was, especially his depth perception at hitting the ball off the tee. One thing is for sure, he still has game...now if we could just get him running the bases....all in His time, I know! Believe! Super Luke! We really did try hard to get a smile...they were hard to get! In fact, he was a little annoyed, we even got a few of his pinching Lynsey and one of him pointing at me.
Lynsey and Luke in their Halloween costumes!
Lynsey loved this pose.
With their cousins.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Something New!

It seems like it has been awhile since I have had something new to report on our gladiator...but guess what...today I do! It actually happened for the first time on Tuesday, but I wanted to make sure he kept doing it and he has. We took lunch to Mike at the shop after oxygen on Tuesday, so we were eating lunch when Luke pointed to Mike's drink. Now keep in mind this is a large size drink with a normal size straw. Up until now, Luke had drank from a straw that was about 4" long and in a cup that was made to hold about 3 ozs of liquid. So Mike gives Luke the drink and guess what....he drank from the straw. There are many amazing parts to this because first of all he got the pop to come up, then he swallowed the liquid...which is huge!! Here is the most amazing thing to me though, Luke has not been practicing this, he has not been working on it in therapy, something in his brain just clicked and now he can drink from a normal size straw and swallow thin liquids...something he has not done in a really long time! Praise God for this latest step forward and pray it is the start of many new things to come. So, the next time you drink from a straw think of Luke and his new thing, but then also stop and pay attention to everything your brain tells your body to do to drink from that straw and how many muscles are used...I think you will be amazed. Believe!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thank you East Valley Sol!

Luke and Santana at their party!
A HUGE, HUGE thank you to everyone at East Valley Sol for the awesome party/fundraiser they put on last night for Luke and Santana (http://www.prayforsantana.org/). If you were not there, you missed out...these guys put on a great event!!!! Thank you so, so much for all of the work you put into it, from organizing, to setting up in the 100+ degree weather, to moving things when the wind came, everything was AWESOME!!! You guys will forever have a place in our hearts! Thanks also to everyone that attended the event...I know you can all attest to what a great night it was. I had many people tell me...this is the kind of charity everyone should support, they help out kids, yet everyone that came out last night also had a great time. So, if you were not able to attend this year, bookmark this web site, http://www.evsol.org/, and make plans to attend their event next year, where they will have new kids to help out, but I am sure the same good times! Thanks again so much to everyone at East Valley Sol and everyone that attended last night....God Bless you all for the amazing support you have shown our Gladiator! "Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." Proverbs 11:25 Believe!

Friday, September 26, 2008

NACD Visit

Just a quick post as we had our quarterly meeting today with the NACD for Luke. I told Mike before we left I felt like we were going to principal's office because today we were meeting with Mr. Doman, the president of the NACD. When we last saw him he told us not to do the eye surgery, so I was afraid of what we would say. While he was not too excited we went ahead and did it, especially with the way Luke has been acting lately, I think he had some great suggestions for us. I am sure Luke was very happy with what he had to say, I think the smile he got on his face proved that to us, as his smiles have been few and far between lately. He said Luke deserves a vacation doing what he loves. So Mike asked Luke to raise his hand if he wanted to go fishing, the hand shot in the air at lightning speed! It looks like a trip up north fishing is in our near future. Next, he recommended giving Luke a break from his therapies at St. Joe's and just concentrating on doing the program. Then, he asked us what Luke liked to do before he was hurt, we said anything outside. He said, "Get this boy a power wheels and let him ride!" Why didn't we think of that? So, Luke does have a few power wheels, a quad and a go kart, but he is not contained very well in those, and I am not sure Lynsey's old pink Barbie jeep will do the trick, so looks like we will be power wheel shopping this weekend. He had some great suggestions, he thinks all of Luke's "busy-ness" could be playing a role in his change of behavior, but also that maybe he could be depressed now that he is seeing the world go on around him. So, he said make the next few weeks all about Luke and what he likes to do, not the work he has to do to get better. That is exactly what we will do! Believe!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'll Walk..

Luke Playing Tic-Tac-Toe by throwing bean bags.
Luke kicking the ball to knock over the pins.
Standing with help from a big ball.

I figured I was overdo by a few posts for pictures so here are a few from therapy this week and one of Lynsey too in the shirt she wore for her speech for VP. Luke is wearing his Thera Togs, they help him with his posture. The eye dr says his eye is looking much better and wants to see him next week. He is still not participating like he was in therapy before the surgery and has been super grumpy this week. Everyone thinks it just has to do with him getting used to his eyes being open. Thankfully the therapists are all patient with him. I also think it has something to do with the fact we are gone from nine to five at some sort of appointment every day of the week except Sat and Sun. That will be changing the end of next week when he finishes up this round of oxygen therapy:) I think that will help. I know I can hardly wait...I have seen more than my share of the valley freeways, this much is for sure! It gives me lots of time to listen to the new songs on the radio. This week I have noticed a new one by Bucky Covington called, "I'll Walk." I get teary eyed every time I hear it...I long so much for the day when Luke says to me some of the lyrics from the song:

...And says, I'll walk.Please hold my hand.I know that this will hurt, I know you understand.Please (mommy) don't cry.This is already hard.Let's go, don't worry.I'll walk.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you this Saturday night at the fundraiser. We will be using any money raised to help pay for more Stem Cell Therapy in November. This will get us closer to hearing those words Mike and I so long to hear, "I'll Walk." Thank you so much to everyone for your continued support. I don't think I have said it in awhile, but we would never want to walk this walk alone, you mean so much to us!! Believe!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall Ya'll!!

Luke had his appointment with the optometrist/vision therapist today. I think it went pretty well, and I liked the doctor. She basically said Luke's left eye is so sore right now, we need to concentrate on getting that eye better. Then she gave me some exercises to do with him that will help him get better movement of his eyes. Since his eyes were closed for so long, we have to start with the very basic movement and go from there. She said just getting the basic could take weeks or months...pretty much like everything else with a brain injury no one knows, only time will tell. He is starting to get to be a little more like he was pre-surgery. After our appointment we went to Target. I let him pick out his Halloween costume by telling me yes or no. Guess what he chose...Superman!!! Quite appropriate I thought:) Tomorrow we go to the opthamologist. It amazes me how 2 doctors can give you 2 completely different opinions on things, so we will see what he has to say on how Luke is healing. I must say too...a huge congrats to Lynsey...the new Vice President at her school. We are so proud of her...she did everything herself...posters and speech. You go girl!

Fall is the season of bountiful blessings and giving thanks. Do me a favor, this week look around you at all of the blessings you have in your life, you might be surprised. Trust me, you never realize how some of the things we take for granted every day are the biggest blessings...until they are gone. I would give anything to hear Luke say, "I Love you mom," to see him walking out to parent pick-up at school, to see him outside riding his bike, to hear him talk about the wabbits, to bug him about doing his homework, you know it really is the little things that make life. Look around and realize how blessed you are, even in these trying times everyone seems to be in, then look up and Give Thanks. "Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 Believe!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Big Push!

Luke had another follow-up appointment today with the eye doc. He said his eye is looking better than last week, but still not where he wants it to be. So, he has added another drop three times per day in addition to the ointment every half hour. Pray this works!!! We also do have an appt with a vision therapist on Monday. Today at therapy Luke was way better than last week, so he is getting back to himself! Praise God for that because I a little worried!

Now for the big push....the big Fundraiser is only 11 days from today!!!! It is coming up fast. Make sure if you have not signed up yet, you do so today at www.evsol.org. As of now they are at about 400 people, but have room for 700...so let's fill up Tempe Diablo Stadium. In addition to the auction/raffle items I previously posted, here are some more that have since been added: Since my last email we’ve added a bunch more stuff including dinner for 10 at the new Outback Steakhouse at the San Tan Mall, a $250 gift card to City Hall Steakhouse, $100 to Fleming’s, $100 to Majerle’s restaurant, A Suns VIP package that includes 2 lower level tix, a tour of the locker room and the ability to sit on the bench during warm ups, 5 different signed pics of the Suns, an all star weekend package, A Matco tool drawer set (thx Mr. Anderson!)….amongst tons of other sports stuff, fitness packages, kids stuff, etc. the 2 jerseys (Ryne Sandberg and Shaq have been beautifully double matted framed professionally…they look incredible. It is going to be a great night, so don't miss out! A HUGE thanks to everyone at East Valley Sol for all of the hard work they have put into this. I pray you will be blessed a hundred times over for your extreme generosity! Thanks to everyone that has already signed up...may you be blessed many times over as well! Believe!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Follow Up Visit


Luke had this follow up today with Dr. Cassidy, the ophthalmologist that did the surgery. He said Luke is healing nicely, although is left eye is very red. We have increased the frequency and amount of the lacri lube we are putting in that eye. Luke has just not been himself since the surgery at all. He is very lethargic and yesterday at therapy they could not get him to do anything. Dr. Cassidy said he would have expected him to be more animated as a result of the surgery. He thinks Luke could be acting like this because the anesthesia is still wearing off (although it has been over a week and he never had a problem with this before) or because he is just overwhelmed with the vision stimulation he is getting. I asked him about vision therapy, but he did not think it is necessary. He thinks he just needs more time to get used to his eyes being open. I am going to go with my gut on this one and have done a search and found 3 optometrists I am going to call about vision therapy for Luke to see what they say. From the things I read on the web sites, I say he is the textbook person for vision therapy (can I just tell you how very thankful I am for the internet and google in this journey!) This could be just a difference of opinion from an ophthalmologist/optometrist. So if anyone knows of a good vision therapy specialist, I would love their info. Please pray we are led in the right direction on this for Luke so we can get him back to pre surgery Luke. We seem to be at one of those 3 steps forward, 2 steps back points, which I do not like. So, on that note I will close with one of the verses I kept repeating over and over in my head when Luke was first hurt and things were literally hour to hour, and I will be thankful we are no longer there. ."...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 Believe!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Eyes...

I think today is the first day since Luke has had his eye surgery where he is actually seeming a little more himself. He had a rough few days after surgery. Now, he looks like he was in a really bad fight with all of the bruising. I will say the oxygen therapy is helping with that. We go to the doctor for the follow-up on Thursday. I am going to ask him about maybe doing some vision therapy or something with Luke. He just seems to be in such shock with being able to see. I am sure his little brain is going into processing overload, when you consider his eyes were closed for 18 months, and now not only are they open but also filled with goop. He seems to be getting adjusted to them being opened, as he is not grabbing at them as much.

For those of you that have signed up for the fundraiser...many have asked if you will receive tickets in the mail. The answer is no, your name will be on a list the night you arrive. For more details on the fundraiser you can go back a few posts or go to www.evsol.org. Thanks so much for your prayers. I know that we have been blessed in so many ways along this journey. I know that the hand of God has been in our lives at the times when we needed Him most. Someday I know we will look back at this period of our lives and realize that there were only one set of footprints in the sand. I know we could not have gotten thru this otherwise, had He not carried us thru as He continues to do day in and day out, with all of you on the side lines cheering us on. Believe!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Surgery update

Just a quick update to let everyone know the surgery went well. It is really to early to tell how Luke is reacting to it, as he is quite groggy from the anesthesia still. I think he is kind of in awe they are open, I mean they have been closed for almost a year and a half. The hardest thing is getting him to keep his hands away from his eyes, but I imagine any "normal" kid that had something done to their eyes would want to grab at them too. Thanks for your prayers! Believe!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Camping and Bike Riding!


Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! We did...camping up north, although we did come home a day early due to the rain. Luke had lots of fun doing things outdoors...launching rockets, riding quads and razr, throwing pine cones. Let me tell you, he remembers where the gas is on the quad and wants to go full throttle! Today Luke was able to ride a stationary bike my dad used when he was getting back from knee surgery. Luke did awesome as you can see in the video! Remember..lots of prayers for his surgery on Wednesday...pray the only regret we have is not doing it sooner, because he improves so much from it. Yesterday my nephew was over and I had the telethon on for a little while. We were talking about kids in wheelchairs and T said, "Luke can't go on TV because his eyes are closed and everyone will think he is sleeping." I had to laught then I told him only two more days and Luke's eyes will be open. T said, "Yes and when his eyes are open he can talk." Oh, to have the faith of a child. Pray that T is right...with God all things are possible. Believe!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thanks!


First things first...a HUGE thank you to the Kurt Warner's First Things First Foundation and to Ann for letting them know about Luke. I just came home to a HUGE basket full of goodies for Luke, an autographed card from Kurt Warner, and a bag full of motivational books and CD's for us. There is also a signed letter that says at the bottom, "The Lord is watching over you, Your faith in Him will give you the strength you need." Mike is a football fan, but I on the other hand not so much...from now on thought, I will for sure say Go Cardinals and God Bless you Kurt Warner. Thank you so much....what an awesome guy!

Next, we had the pre-op appt with the eye dr this morning. The surgery is a go for Wed morning, so please fire up the prayer chains for a safe surgery and smooth recovery. He just warned us Luke will be uncomfortable for a few days, and will have some black eyes for a few weeks. Here is my ultimate prayer though, I asked him how many times he has seen the eyes start opening on their own after the surgery has been done (because it is reversible,) his answer was one time. So, my prayer is that Luke will be number two!!! Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend! Thanks so much for your continued support...don't miss my earlier post below about the fundraiser (see what else Kurt Warner did) and always believe! Great things are done when man and mountains meet, These are not done by walking down the street.

Don't forget...sign up today!


There is less than one month until the big fundraiser for Luke, Santana, and some other awesome charitites!!! PLEASE if you plan on attending, do not wait to sign up...it helps them plan for food, etc. You can go to http://www.eastvalleysol.org/ to register online. It is very easy. Here are just some of the awesome items they will have up for auction/raffle that night: a 2006 Toyota Camry, Ryne Sandberg signed jersey, Shaq signed jersey, weekend in a Prescott cabin, Lazy Boy recliner, Luxury queen mattress, Budweiser mini fridge, tons of signed baseballs and pictures, partylite candle basket, Tupperware basket, foursomes from 10 different golf courses….this is just the surface of what they have…along with dozens of awesome packages for men, women, children, etc. Also, a signed mini helmet from Kurt Warner of the AZ Cardinals....a HUGE thanks to Ann at Rural Electric for contacting them on our behalf!! There is also going to be a great band...www.thewalkens.com...and who can pass up the great food from Someburros!! Thanks to those of you that have already registered..we can not wait to see you that night and for you all to see Luke and how far he has come! Thanks to EVERYONE at East Valley Sol for the hours of work you have put into this...may you be blessed many times over for your generosity that truly does come from the heart.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Stem Cells

We are getting close to that time where we need to decide whether or not we are going to do the Stem Cell Therapy again. On Friday, when Luke's home bound Physical Therapist came to see him, he asked me that same question. I told him we are struggling with the decision, so I asked him what he would do. He said, based on the improvements he has seen in Luke he would for sure do it again. He said the progress Luke has made since April takes most kids that he sees years to make. See, Mike and I don't know these things. To us, walking and talking is the progress we want to see, forgetting about the baby steps it takes to get there. So, please pray for guidance as we decide if, where, and when to go for the therapy again. Luke can go again the end of October. This brings me to my next point...I have said this before, but if you are pregnant or know anyone that is, please tell them to save that cord blood! My sister did when she had her son in April and recently received this story from the place it is stored:

Chloe Levine, who suffered brain injury from a stroke before she was born, is one of the latest CBR Clients (Cord Blood Registry) whose life is now dramatically different because her parents saved her cord blood. Her inspiring story, which was broadcast on the news this week, clearly shows the exciting new uses for cord blood and the profound impact it has had for Chloe and her family. Here is the link: http://www.cordblood.com/azfamily1.asp.Injuries and accidents can happen to anyone at anytime. More than 1 million children sustain brain injuries each year in the U.S. Based on Chloe's experience - as well as several other CBR children - a child's own cord blood holds tremendous promise as a treatment for healing injuries to the brain and other nerve tissue. I encourage you to take a look at Chloe's story and share it with your family and friends.

We recently found out we are expecting a new baby in March 2009 (a huge surprise for us but nonetheless we know this baby is coming for a reason.) You better believe we are saving that child's cord blood. In fact, I have already emailed the doctor at Duke that is using the cord blood in cases of CP. As of now, they are not doing it using siblings cord blood, but she definitely said to save it because it is coming! So, I will probably be emailing her every three months to see if it is time for that yet. It would just be so much easier if it were already happening in the US!

Updates on Luke this week: making new sounds, if only we knew what he is trying to tell us. I was amazed at how good he did at therapy on Friday working on crawling and getting onto the couch. We have an appointment this Thursday for the pre-op visit for his eye surgery. Please continue prayers of healing and restoration, as well as guidance on the stem cells once again. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth ... John 16:13 NLT Thanks so much! Believe!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fishin' and Four Wheelin'


Luke did two things this weekend he has not done since he was hurt: go four-wheelin' and go fishin'. Two of his favorite things!! We went up to Payson this weekend and had a blast. We woke up Saturday morning and went and picked wild blackberries. We had to go four wheelin' to get to the blackberries, but it was worth it! Luke picked two and ate them both. He then had fun picking bark off a tree and throwing rocks into a creek. We ate lunch and had a rest. Then my dad asked all the kids, "Who is ready to go fishin'?" Let me tell you, Luke was the first one to raise his hand high in the air, we all cracked up laughing at how fast he responded. Now the place we went fishing to...really wasn't fishing at all, and I can't believe Mike (Mr. Fisherman) even went. On the way home though, he even admitted, that wasn't so bad after all. It was a catch-a-trout pond near the fish hatchery outside Payson. We let every kid catch one fish (because you had to pay about $8 for every fish caught.) Luke had more fun playing with the fish caught in the bucket. He was messing around with a fish in the bucket when he reached in and pulled the fish out...he was SO excited. Everyone at that place heard him hollering and laughing...he had so much fun just grabbing the fish out. I think maybe there is some more fish therapy in his future:) Thanks for your continued support! Please continue prayers for healing and restoration. Believe!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Therapy!


Luke continues to do good in his therapies. We are really working hard on speech. We really need to get his air flow going. He is breathing about 1/3 of what he should be, so we are doing lots of blowing stuff. When he says a word now he has to say it letter by letter, sound by sound, so it takes awhile. His new words are sis and Mike. I have also been showing him flash cards with things on them to get him to say what it is. It is good practice for him making different sounds. We continue to try and get him to say yes or no with his voice instead of with his hand signals...he can sure be stubborn with this sometimes:) In his other therapies he has worked on swinging in a swing, which he seemed to love, but said no when asked if he wanted to do it again? He has also been playing basketball and soccer. He is getting really good at shooting hoops using both hands to hold the ball. Today was his first day trying soccer, kicking the ball, with lots of support, but it is good for his balance having to try to balance on one leg. Thanks for continue to check on Luke...please continue prayers for those eyes to open before Sept. 3rd!! Also, details on the fundraiser for Luke are at the left, online registration is now open at http://www.evsol.org/ Believe!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NLT

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sounds...

Well....I just returned home from being gone for 5 days to the Creative Memories convention in Minnesota. I had a great time, but it is good to be home. The first thing I noticed after being around Luke was that he was making different sounds and had a different sounding laugh. I told Mike and he said he had noticed it too. So yesterday when I took him to therapy, they had me in another room going over paperwork for about 45 minutes of his speech session. When I went back in the therapist commented right away on the sounds he was making. She said he almost did every sound in the alphabet, although some such as oo, u, are harder for him. She was quite impressed though. We definitely need his air flow to come around now. She is ordering a spirometer (who knows if that is spelled right.) This will help us gauge his air flow and give him a visual when he is blowing into something. It is basically a tube he blows into with a ball that moves up to indicate the air flow he is getting. This morning he woke up pretty early. I went over to see what the problem was and he put out his hand to push me away and said, "no." This was the first time he had done something like that.

We also started back at the hyperbaric oxygen this week. We were really worried how he would do, but so far he has done great! Please continue prayers of healing and restoration in our little man...thanks for continuing to check on him:) "Call on me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reflections...

This week started off on a not so good note. Lynsey's first day of school was Monday. She is now a fifth grader...where has time gone? I must say though, the first day of school is probably the hardest day of all for me. I want more than anything for Luke to be able to go to school and play with his friends, have fun at recess, be a little boy, and maybe even learn a few things too:) He should be starting third grade this week not having to worry about therapy, therapy, therapy! So, when I am feeling down, I will just randomly open my devotional to which ever verse comes open. Monday it was "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10. How appropriate considering how good God has been to us and how we know and believe he has great plans for Luke. So, I let my sadness go and focused on Luke. I told him even though sis was at school, Luke gets to be homeschooled. He thought that was funny. We have turned his room into kind of a therapy room, so he gets lots of working out and learning things too I hope.

Monday afternoon he had therapy at St. Joe's. They were talking to me about their program, etc., so I did not get to see a lot of what he did. The speech therapist did tell me they did some cognitive testing on Luke. Basically, they tell him stories, scenarios, etc. from a book and he points to the correct answer. Well....drum roll please....so far in the testing he is at a cognitive level of a 6 year 4 month old!!! Praise God for this in a HUGE way because when they tested him in January, they determined him to be very severely cognitively delayed! So he has essentially made over 6 years progress in 7 months, and they still have more testing to do. She was very pleased with where he is at. So Monday ended up being a great day!

For those of you that know me well, you know I am a major planner and list maker. Well, if there is one thing I have learned thru this journey it is, our plans are not our own. I would have never thought or planned two years ago that my life would revolve around therapies, drs appointments, hospital stays, surgeries, etc. I mean Luke was just starting first grade, both my kids were in school all day. I thought now I will have all the time in the world....funny how quick that can change. You know what though, I would not change one second of it, if it means Luke getting better and he is! We will keep doing whatever we need to do for our little guy. I saw a quote the other day that said, "Sometimes we make plans and God laughs." How true that can be...my life plan certainly did not contain the events of March 6, 2007, and if I had a choice, that day would be wiped away. Still, I can't help but know that day is part of God's plan for our lives in some way, shape or form. So much good has come from that horrible day and all of you our family and friends that have been there with us are a huge part of that. So thanks...please continue to pray for healing and restoration in Lukey. Believe because as it says in Jeremiah 29:11...we know God (not just us) has great plans for Luke!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Busy, busy, busy



Sorry it has been so long. This week has been crazy. Luke started outpatient therapy at St. Joe's on Wed and Thurs. So far, so good. He will have outpatient therapy there for about a month, then we will continue on with the home therapies. In other news....Mike and I have made the HUGE decision to have Luke's eyes opened with a lid lifting surgery. As you know, we have been going back and forth on this now for over a year! So many people that we met at Barrow's really feel it will be a huge benefit to Luke to get them opened. They think it will motivate him more, plus so much of our sense of balance comes with being able to see where we are in relation to the world around us. I think the deciding factor for us was the resident who was working with Dr. Kwasnica for the month we were there has a daughter who was born with one of her eye lids not opening. He said the surgery was the best thing they did for her. He came and talked to Mike and I both and answered a lot of our questions and fears about the procedure. I don't think it was chance this doctor just happened to be there the month we were...someone is giving us a big sign to get a move on! So please pray we are making the right decision with this...please pray those eyes will open before and the surgery will not be necessary. It is an outpatient surgery and is scheduled for Sept. 3rd.

On another note, one great thing that has been a huge help for me, is now we can slide Luke's wheelchair up to the table, give him some finger foods and he can feed himself. So for breakfast I cut up pancakes for him, and lunch give him some lunch meat, cheese, and some chips, and dinner cut up pizza or whatever, and he will eat it all by himself, using his fingers of course, but I think when his eyes are open he will do good with silverware. A funny thing about this is for lunch he will feel for all of the chips and eat those first before eating the other stuff. Little stinker! He is also continuing to try to say words and making a lot of sounds. Last night he said, "go," once and has a new sound, "ung" that we are not sure what he is trying to tell us. Pray for his airflow to increase for speech and his oral motor muscles to get strong.

Also, you will notice on the left side I added a fundraiser that is coming on Sept. 27th for Luke. It is going to be a fun, fun night. If you would like more info, visit their web site at http://www.eastvalleysol.org/ or contact Nick. Online registration is now up and going on their web site!

Thanks so much for your continued support, prayers, words of encouragement, they get us thru the bad days and keep us pressing forward to that light we know is somewhere at the end of this tunnel that can sometimes appear to be never ending! Believe!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Wheels!



I had to post a picture here of Luke's new wheels. Plus...his old wheels that are now retiring (or actually being donated.) The old wheelchair comes with a story. First of all, it was ordered in April 2007, we finally got it in October. It cost over $6,000 (although the insurance did cover it.) It has a cool custom mossy oak camo paint job. I remember very well the day I took Luke and we picked it up because they had to adjust everything to fit him. I also remember very well the guy telling me, "This should fit him until he gets to be about 13." I almost completely lost it at that moment, but composed myself and told the guy, "Oh, no he will be walking long before then." He gave me a look of compassion as I am sure he thought I was completely clueless to the situation we were facing. But here we are...9 months later, with a brand new chair that Luke can push himself. We did not get to pick the colors, but the gold and black is not that bad. Go Gilbert Tigers! Dare I declare that in another 9 months this chair will be gone because Luke will be walking? Believe and see!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ready to be home

Luke is finishing up his last week at Barrow's...1 more day to go!!!! I promise more pics soon. We are so excited to be going home for good after almost 4 weeks. We are certainly glad for the progress Luke has made. I figured up the hours of therapy he has had while we have been here and so far it is about 35 hours. So, I think the progress he has made is great! We will be starting outpatient therapy here at Barrow's next week. He will be getting 2 hours of Speech, OT, and PT each week here. Hopefully we can still keep him with an hour of horse therapy a week and an hour of PT at home with his physical therapist, Greg, plus we have a new program from the NACD that has some good things for us to do with him. So, we will certainly be busy, plus we plan to start oxygen therapy again the first week or so in August. Anyone know where we can get the extra 3-4 hours per day we need to do all of this therapy? It would be such a help if there was an oxygen chamber in the east valley because that is a 4 hour plus ordeal by the time we drive there and back and it is every day. We will do 40 dives then decide if we want to do more. Here is why we want to do the oxygen therapy (HBO,) again: "HBO can boast the stem cells provided the timing is right. We must let them find their target tissue, find a home and set up housekeeping and that process can take up to 90 days. After that mark you can use high levels of Oxygen to boast their growth."

Someone sent me an email questionnaire this week, one question was who is the one person you miss the most...my answer was my son prior to March 6, 2007 at around 5pm. We just all want him to get better so bad. We are certainly very thankful for how far he has come and very, very blessed that he is here at all, given the trauma he survied. Some days are just harder than others. I also feel bad for Lynsey and how much this has affected her and how much she has had to sacrifice, barely complaining at all. She has not had a summer vacation now for two years, her life is scheduled around Luke's therapies, she is shuffled between aunts, grams, nanas, friends (although I am sure she loves this and we certainly appreciate it very much.) She is starting school here in another few weeks, and I know she desperately wants her brother back with her at school. This will be the last year they will have to be in the same school, as she goes to Jr. High next year. So, please continue prayers of healing and restoration in our little man...we want our perfect little boy back more than words can say. In time it will happen because this much I do know...God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage and if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. Believe!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Busy week in therapy!



Well it is end of week number three at Barrow's. This week they worked on Luke walking with the walker. He made it 50 feet on Thursday. This is with a lot of help, keep is mind, but with time we know he will get better. He does great with his right foot, but his left foot has a lot of tone he has to work against. They are trying to figure out how to best work around that, although Mike said today the therapist said he did better than yesterday. Today they took three of the kids on a little outing to a place called Stuffington Bear. Luke made a horny toad.

I have to say, everyone at Barrow's has been great, our stay here has been great! It has for sure been a little push Luke needed and also given us lots of ideas of things we can do with him at home. They have given us a discharge date of next Friday if all the paperwork goes thru. Then we will continue going up there for outpatient therapy, although they have not told us how many times per week that will be. We are also going to start Luke back going to the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy here in a few weeks. They recommend you do it 3 months following stem cells to give them sort of a boost. We saw great results with it the first time, so we will give it another go. Thanks for all of your support...have a great weekend, and always believe!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Great things!

Sorry...it has been a crazy but great few days! Luke has a few new tricks up his sleeve and he loves to show off. The first one, I have to admit, I never thought I would be excited to write about, but I am. He can pick his nose with his left hand!! That is right...his left hand, the one that is in a fist and contorted in some of the pictures I post. He had his first purposeful movement with that hand on Monday when he licked frosting off of his finger, then today he could pick his nose, and even when I left the hospital tonight my aunt told him to wave by and he lifted his left arm and hand up. This is an awesome improvement as Mike has promised to take him fishing when he can use both hands:) Guess a trip to the lake is in our future.

Today we had Luke's evaluation with the NACD. They give us an evaluation to fill out on the program and I had put that we felt Luke was reaching a plateau-well that was my first mistake! The last time they evaluated Luke was the beginning of April, before the stem cell therapy. Well they are amazed at the progress he has made. She looked at me and said, "Stacey, the last time we met this kid could not hold his head up, he certainly could not sit up, could not move his left hand, his left leg was much weaker than his right where now they are equal, and you think he has reached a plateau." Okay, so what do I know, I guess that is what happens when you are with him day in and day out, you forget about the small things that are getting us to the BIG thing! So she was super impressed with his progress and also the strength he has in his muscles.

Now this was my post from Monday that I never got around to posting...
Luke had a great day in therapy today! His started off with the cutest puppy coming by for a visit, pet therapy. They put the little shi-zuh on Luke's lap and let him pet him; he loved it. He especially liked it when the dog barked for him, and hours later when I asked him how many barks Tiger did, he would hold up two fingers. Then in speech he worked lots on blowing bubbles and blowing his horns. His mouth seems to be getting so many more movements. (Mike and Jaimi, the therapists love the Oregon ducks blower horn and want to know where they can get them. It is Luke's favorite horn to blow:) This afternoon he was able to make a fire truck and spider out of food with the great recreational therapist, Natalie, who also happens to be the aunt/sister of our dear neighbors. I think he had the most fun licking the frosting off his hands. They told me to put some on his left hand, sure enough he brought it up to his mouth to lick off. They all agree he is capable of doing so much with that arm (he proved that today), but has some "learned non-use" of it. The best thing of the day came when Luke woke up from an afternoon cat-nap. Mike had just gotten there. He woke up saying a new sound, "n." Then it became a, "no," sound. We told him no more using his hand to show us no because now he can say it. So I asked him if he liked barbie dolls and he said, "no." Praise God for all of the great things we are seeing...He can only do great, awesome things, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. Lamentations 3:25

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Better Day!


Luke had a much better day today...thank you for your prayers!! For the most part, he was pretty cooperative. They have started taping his open eye open during his therapy sessions. He is tolerating it pretty well with his right eye. However, his left eye does not blink so he hates it. The only thing he really refused today was trying to walk. He was being so stubborn and fighting the therapist so bad she couldn't even lift his leg up. It was towards the end of his session so she didn't want to fight too much. Mike said he had him up and walking (with tons of help of course,) around the room tonight so at least he got that in. Otherwise, in speech today he was blowing bubbles, practicing making animal sounds, making sounds when playing with cars, chewing gun, drinking from a straw. In OT, they are really working on his left hand, and the therapist is noticing a difference since he started working with Luke this Monday. He also works on Luke's balance, and also said he is noticing a difference with that. We have too. He does this new thing when he is sitting in his wheelchair where he sits up really tall with his head straight and chest out. I call it is Superman pose. In PT, today they were working on standing, going from sitting to standing, reaching over his body down to pick up objects and then throwing them to me. I am just glad he did so much better than he had the last few days. Next week they are going to try a reward system where he earns a token for each therapy session he is actively participating in. He can then use the tokens to buy small toys. In the pictures he is walking on the parallel bars, putting a puzzle together, doing aqua therapy, and standing playing a tambourine. They had their meeting today and want to keep Luke for another two to three weeks. Please pray he makes amazing progress these next few weeks. "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) Thanks so much for your continued prayers. Believe! Have a great July 4th weekend. A special thanks to everyone that has ever served in the military for serving so we can all have the freedom we celebrate this weekend. God Bless you all!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Need some motivation!

Well...the serial casting did not happen...turns out they had the wrong patient. I will just leave it at that. If you have been following Luke for any time, you know this is par for the course for us. They did however, come and fit him for new Afo's. These will help him be able to walk a little better.

Luke is having a hard time staying motivated for his therapies. He has learned to tell them no or pretend like he is asleep so he does not have to work. Yesterday they had him trying to walk on the parallel bars. He did it great the first time, then she let him walk backwards to get back. So, he learned then if he took a few steps forward the next time, then he could go back and be at the end. So that was what he did. So, our prayer request is to pray for Luke to get motivated to work. I guess I shouldn't have mentioned his stubborn side earlier this week because that is definetly coming thru:) Believe!

My words…will come true at the proper time.” (Luke 1:20)
“What the Lord has said…will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:45)

“The Lord is sure to accomplish those things
A loving heart has waited long to see;
Those words will be fulfilled to which she clings,
Because her God has promised faithfully;
And, knowing Him, she ne’er can doubt His Word;
He speaks and it is done. The mighty Lord! "

Monday, June 30, 2008

Week 2...


We had a great weekend celebrating Lynsey and Luke's birthdays! A really great thing is we are able to bring Luke home after his therapy on Saturday and when he wakes up on Sunday. We just have to make sure to have him back by 9pm each night for insurance purposes-it is considered a "therapeutic visit??" So now he is eight and as we keep telling him, eight is great! He had a special visitor come to his room the night of his birthday. Tara, one of the awesome people that helped him on the night he was hurt. Tara and her husband actually both helped Luke that night. She was helping Luke on the helicopter flight to the Copa. Thank you Tara for stopping by our room and for everything you did that night.

Tonight he has discovered the controls on the bed and thinks it is funny to move the bed up and down...not sure how I am going to stop that one. We'll see...

Tomorrow Luke is going to get casts on both of this legs, it is called serial casting. The purpose is to get his feet and legs in the right position for walking and standing. The guy that came in and spoke to me about it said he really thinks Luke will benefit from the casting. Basically, what has happened is they are not in the right position due to his brain sending mixed signals to the muscles in his legs and feet and he has developed some bad patterns. So, they cast his feet and legs in the position they need to be in for a week, take the casts off, then redo for another week, then take off again, fit his feet for new AFO braces (a kind that is more geared towards walking and standing,) then recast for another week. Hopefully at the end of those 3 weeks, his feet will be where they need to be and he will be better able to walk or at least a little more able to try without having to work around the changes that have taken place. He is able and encouraged to still do his therapies every day and put as much weight as possible on his feet while they are in the casts. Other than that...not much else to report. Thanks for everything...believe!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Luke!

Eight years ago we were blessed with a precious baby boy we named Luke. How fast time flies! Little did we now the journey our little Lukey would be on. He has always had the sweetest soul, our little cuddler and blankie boy. However, it is his stubborn side that I am certainly most thankful for. I honestly do not think had he not been blessed with that stubborn, fighting side he would be where his is today. I know we could focus on everything he missed out on these last 15 months and everything that might have been, but what good would that do really? Instead, let's focus on where he is! He is now able to eat birthday cake, where as last year he was not, he is able to open presents, last year he was not, he is able to stand with help, hold his head up, pull my hair, take steps with assistance, sit up, feed himself when you give him the fork with food on it, wash his face with a wash cloth, squeeze your hand to say, "I Love You," tell you that no he is not a girl with a grin on his face (from his test yesterday,) answer yes/no questions with great accuracy, identify objects with accuracy, even read words with accuracy, sit in a car in a regular seat belt, push his own wheelchair. He is able to give you a kiss or a hug! Yesterday, they had him up to try walking with a walker. It is a cane like walker. I think he thought it was a baseball bat, because at first he just wanted to swing it. Today, Mike gets to take him on a field trip to the Science Museum. Wow! What a difference a year has made! All this for a boy they said may lay in a bed for the rest of his life. For anyone who says, Miracles do not exist, I say God is good....look at my son because he truly is a living, breathing, (trying to walk) miracle! I also know that He knew when those doctors told us those horrible things just how wrong they were. He knew and still knows the plans he has for Luke and they are GOOD! Thanks for everything! Please continue prayers for healing and restoration in Luke's brain...they are working...remember that light at the end of this tunnel...it is coming! I look forward to writing the update on the day Luke turns 9 and all the things he may not be able to do now, but that he will be able to do then! Believe!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NLT

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First Few Days...


So far so good…we have had a great few days at Barrow’s. I must say, they waste no time here and get to work. Luke had a barium swallow study today, and that went well. As we expected, he can tolerate up to nectar consistency, which is just under thin liquids. It seems the problem is mainly that is soft palette is not closing off his nose, although no liquids actually come out of his nose. We are told time and him holding up his head can help strengthen this. If any Speech Therapists that follow Luke have any suggestions, we would love them! In PT and OT, they are working on his left side, and are making a splint for his left hand. They are encouraged because he does still have a full range of motion which is good, and they have gotten him to do a few things with his hand. The PT today was great! She found Luke a wheelchair just his size, that he can move by pushing the wheel or moving his foot. He thought it was funny when they told him to run me over. I told him he needed to steer it because Daddy always says I am a bad driver:)He laughed at that. So, the wheelchair we came home with after PCH which cost almost $6,000 (insurance paid for) is basically of no use for Luke. As the PT told me today that is a good thing, because it means progress is being made. They are also going to order new AFO’s which are the foot braces he wears, which will fit better and allow him to move his feet more when trying to walk. It has been a great day and a half so far. The room we are in is big, and we are at the end of the hallway which is nice. We are also able to take him for walks around the place. Tonight I took him on a walk down the bridge they have here. It is a good workout for him to maneuver the chair around. I also can not say enough good things about everyone here. They are all great! One of the nurses has given Luke the name, “King Luke;” he thinks it is funny when she calls him that. Tomorrow the speech therapist is going to do some cognitive/communication testing with him. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes for all of us, and all of the thoughts and prayers. Please continue lots of prayers for healing and restoration…believe…good things are happening!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Barrows Here Luke Comes!

We just got the phone call that Luke is to report to Barrow's at 10am tomorrow to start his stay for in-patient rehab. We are very excited for this opportunity to really get some in-depth therapy for Luke. This means Luke will be spending his 8th birthday at Barrow's. We have promised him that if he works really hard then he will get a big party when he gets out. Please say lots of prayers that we will see awesome results from this. I have heard from many people that the rehab at Barrow's is great. Thanks for all of your continued prayers and support...God has been so good to us in so many ways, but I truly believe the BEST is yet to come. Ironically, it was one year ago this week that Luke woke up from his coma by making his first sounds in four months...maybe this is our lucky week...as it happens to be my birthday tomorrow, Luke's the 27th, and Lynsey's the 30th. Believe!


Patient endurance is what you need now... Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36 NLT

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thank YOU!!


Just wanted to say a HUGE THANKS to everyone that came out to the D-Backs game last night to support Luke. Even though we may not have been able to talk to everyone, it was great to see everyone, despite the fact that the D-backs lost...by a lot! Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone once again for everything you do to help our son. We are forever grateful..please continue prayers for restoration in his brain. God bless you all for everything you have done and continue to do for us. Special thanks to Kelly for the great pics and to Shawna for organizing everything last night. Believe!