Monday, June 14, 2010

Working Hard in Atlanta, GA



Hello Everyone! Boy, it's been a long time. Time just seems to fly by when you are busting your butt to walk again. As many of you know, Kalli and I have been living in GA with some friends while attending a therapy study called NRN (Neurological Recovery Network). The program is going very well and they never cease to amaze me how many ways they can figure out to make you sweat. The program here has me up on a weight assisted treadmill five days a week along with guided over ground walking with new and more difficult devices than the loft strand crutches I am currently using.

Just recently we have switched up our therapist to a great guy named Brian. It has been a good experience for after 60 days we just needed a change of pace. It is amazing how every therapist has a new twist to throw into the therapy and our daily work out routine. This change gave me another positive surge of energy and renewed Kalli's and my excitement and determination to stay with the program for a longer period of time.

Even though it is harder than heck, I have been walking with loft strand crutches for two and a half months now for the most part everywhere I go. I guess the only way I could explain how it feels is like having a 500 pound gorilla on your back lugging him around everywhere you go. Luckily, this gorilla seems to be on some sort of diet plan and he keeps getting a little thinner and trimmer each month. The latest and most difficult walking device that we have tried in therapy has been a pair of downhill ski poles with little rubber stoppers on the bottom. They are more difficult because I am not able to put nearly as much weight through them as I can with my crutches. Attached is a video of me using them for the second time just this week.

An interesting thing that we are looking into this coming week is the possibilities or options that may be out there for my hands surgically. The Shepherd Center has a great specialist that works with spinal patients on achieving more functionality of their mitts through surgery. We don't know any information and have a consultation planned in the upcoming month to learn more to see if I am even a candidate. This has been something that I have been curious about and wanted to pursue. Even though my hands are continuing to get stronger, it is still very difficult for me to get complete extension and it seems as if this may be something that I could get help with surgically. Not only am I looking for something to help functionally, I also am hoping to find some relief of the pain I am often experiencing in my hands as a result of them being so tight.

Over the course of the last year an important part of our progress has been a wonderful ability to prepare for the next step. NRN has been a wonderful stepping stone where we have seen great progress but there will come a time when we will be ready to move away from this endeavor as well. I have applied to a program in California called Project Walk. This is a great spinal cord facility that is cutting edge and incredibly intensive. The program has been around for quite some time and consists of mainly personal trainers opposed to most facilities being more of a hospital setting with physical therapists and occupational therapists. The down side is that Project Walk does not have any studies to participate in, nor can you use any insurance to cover your sessions. At this point I don't have any insurance coverage for physical therapy left anyway since at the rate I was doing it I used up my sessions by the beginning of February. Since it is not billable through insurance, all sessions are charged by the hour and you can only imagine how expensive a specialty clinic such as this will run. We are incredibly excited for Project Walk and ready for the next step of this journey. One of the best things about Project Walk is that it is located only twenty-five minutes from our old apartment in San Diego. So, Kalli and I are thrilled to be quite close to picking life back up where it was so abruptly taken just over a year ago. Wow, it has been an entire year.

The next few months will be busy because not only will we be continuing therapy we also will be trying to plan our move back. Moving back will entail getting our stuff moved from GA to WI and then from WI to CA. We also need to start the apartment hunt, I need to go car shopping and Kalli needs to find a job. As overwhelming as all of this feels, the excitement to get back to life in CA gives us motivation to figure it all out. If anyone has any connections near San Diego to help Kalli find a teaching or nanny position please let us know!

In order to make my next step in this journey possible, my family and friends have decided to throw a Second Annual Golf Outing to help finance Project Walk. The only information I know of so far is it will be held at High Cliff on August 30th with a shotgun start at 10am. There will be more details soon. If you would like to sign up now please contact Mark Lee at mrk3525@gmail.com or call him at 920-851-3037. I really hope people will be able to make themselves available that day so I can strut my stuff with my new walk hopefully even more improved by then! Last years was so fun and much appreciated because it allowed Kalli and I to focus on therapy over the last year as our full-time jobs. I am truly excited to walk over to a golf cart, sit down, and ride away whereas last year around that time it took two people to lift me into the cart where I was then strapped in with belts in order to help me stay sitting up straight. Wow, how far I have come.

Can't wait to see all of you!

video

8 comments:

  1. that's amazing buddy! it's great to see the progress.

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  2. Look at you go!! How exciting! ~Ashley~

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  3. HipDawg!

    I'm so happy you're making such an amazing progress! And REALLY COOL that you're moving back to Cali. Me n Linus r trying to move out there in January, so hopefully i'll be seeing you soon!

    You better come visit Sweden some day though like you promised or i'll kick your ass!

    Love to you, Kalli, and the family

    /Guillermo

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  4. "WOW! How far you have come" is right!!!

    Following your progress over the past year has been one of the most powerful experiences in my life. A true miracle is something that can only be explained or accomplished through the intervention of a "higher power" --not attainable by man alone. It seems that so, so many of your fans agree you have been granted a true miracle. The very fact that you are ALIVE is in itself a miracle!
    Along with this miracle you have been blessed with many gifts:

    ~a large, loving and loyal group of family and friends

    ~dedication of incredibly talented and hard-working professionals

    ~opportunities and availability of studies and programs with the latest technology and most current trends in rehab

    ~various financial sources and generous donors to put it all within your reach

    But all of these gifts would still have been fruitless if it had not been for the gifts God has put inside of you, personally:

    ~your determination, perseverance and courage to continue pushing through pain, frustration and setbacks

    ~your humor, writing skills and capacity to include and involve others in your journey

    ~your ideas, wit and ingenuity to help think up and develop new methods, equipment and plans to keep the progress and the focus moving forward

    ~not to mention your "whatever-it-is" that keeps Kalli so devoted, self-sacrificing and close to your side!!

    I can't tell you how proud I am to see you using all of your gifts in such a positive, productive way, and I can't thank you (and God!) enough for being such a powerful inspiration to me...and I'm sure, to many others.

    Keep up your incredible attitude and drive!! I'm looking forward to seeing you "strut your stuff" in August. {Hugs} to both you and Kalli!

    Love, Rose (Ta's Rose)

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  5. Prayer Groups says "Hey!" and "All good
    things come to those who wait".

    Seek, and ye shall find, knock....
    ... and the door will be opened!

    Hang tough, friend!

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  6. Way to go, Andrew! God is Good!

    We're keeping you both in prayer as the adventure continues, and it would sure be fun to be part of the golf outing again.

    Keep up the great work-- the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and all that good stuff!

    Steve & Amee Pable (POP)

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  7. Delight thyself in the Lord, and, He shall
    give thee the desires of thine heart!
    Psalm 37:4

    A lovely thought for the day from the
    Prayer Group...who...thinks of you
    often and sends you positive energy!

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  8. In addition, make sure that your oral physician does not over or under-perform in the realm of x-rays. Too many are costly and unhealthy, while not getting a regular x-ray of your teeth is just as bad. A routine x-ray examination should be taken every 5 years.

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