Saturday, November 6, 2010

Brian: November Update & Videos

October was a pretty significant month. I completed another two week therapy session in Baltimore at Kennedy Krieger. Also, October 25th marked a year since I was finally able to overcome secondary issues and beginning trying recovery therapies in an attempt to regain as much as I can.  I remember talking to my father in the hospital and agreeing to devote as much of the first two years as we could to trying to recover what I could and then reassessing things.  While the end of the year will make my actual accident two years ago, that October 25th date is the date we go by since it took that long to get out of the hospital and overcome being basically near bed ridden in Charlotte in my apartment.

I spent the first couple of weeks of October in Baltimore and I would say the trip was a success.  This time both my parents went the entire time, which was a little scary, but I survived two weeks in a 900 sq ft condo with them and I think we actually had a pretty good time. It was another two weeks of therapy where we reassessed things and tweaked some of my at-home program since I was last there in June. The first day I had an exam from the doctor that officially showed that I am making progress. Without getting to technical (ASIA-scale), I'd say the test showed that my level of 100% normal sensations and motor function had dropped a level and that I do have some signals crossing the injured area of my spinal cord, which was not the case back when I was there in June (I was considered at ASIA-A, complete after leaving CMC, I am now considered at ASIA-C, incomplete). Obviously, the signals crossing right now are scarce and weak but they are definitely present. This is actually a pretty big deal and the doctors fully expect me to make more gains--but how much and how quickly is TBD.

As usual I try not to get too high or low about anything but this was good to hear. It shows me that the things I have been able to do are paying off.  In some medical terminology, they would say my injury has gone from complete to incomplete, which they say only happens in 10-15% of people, for which I was very thankful to hear.

It was also good to see the progress, which has kind of reinvigorated me in some ways. It has also made me think if I can work harder what may else be able to happen? A guy I met there who is an ex-college athlete and has been at this a year or two more than me recently had an exam that showed he gained five levels of sensation and motor function, which is just amazing news.  I'm hopeful, as my initial injury level was even lower than his, so if I could gain five levels that would be huge for my recovery. It has made me stop and think that maybe I can gain just as much, if not more, as I continue to work harder.

I posted a few clips of things I do up there, namely some pool therapy and brace walking. The pool therapy is nice because the buoyancy really makes it easier to move things. The pool floor is a treadmill and in the video you will see us trying to duplicate the natural motion of walking the best that we can. I can initiate most of the movement and the therapists help me keep the movement to as close to walking as we can. In the brace walking you will see that the braces keep my legs very straight and most of the movement is from my hip flexor which is a lot stronger on my right side.

The updated status and progress on my injury has been a blessing and it has been good to see that things are paying off.  I'm feeling really motivated to even turn it up a notch and encouraged that it also may be opening the doors for to some different types of therapy that appear very effective but limited to people with an incomplete injury status, like I just found out I have become.
Again, I cannot thank you all enough for your support.  I promise you that I am working hard and making all the efforts I can in order to take advantage of the therapies that your generosity has helped provide.  This has been such an encouraging month that the hard work in therapy has been paying off.