April 28, 2012

Gravity Happens

What a week. It all started out normal - school, therapy, work - everything seemed to be going along as usual. On Thursday Garren decided to spice things up!

Thusrday morning we were scheduled for another swallow study. The last time we did this, several months ago, the results showed little or no progress from the previous study. The therapist wanted to get another look at what was going on inside his throat, so she scheduled another swallow study to help us determine how to go forward. Well, the results were disappointing to say the least. When Garren attempts to swallow, everything goes down to the beginning of the esophagus. But then it just spills back up and over into his airway, causing him to cough it back up. His body just isn't responding to the swallow the way it should. So while his mouth and tongue have gotten stronger, there is still a reflex and a response that are not happening.

We asked "what now?" Our therapist said that it would probably be best to take a break for 3-6 months, continuing with the strengthening exercises at home. Due to the nature of the injury to Garren's brain, this is one of those things that could just start working again. But there is no way to know if or when it will.

Later that afternoon Garren was at his physical therapy appointment. We love working with the team there. They are a great group of people who really want to see Garren walk on his own. Garren was working on his balance, with one of the PT's standing in front of him with a large strechy band wrapped around his waist. Garren began to fall forward, and responded the way he should have by putting his foot out in front to catch himself. But somehow his body twisted off to the side and he fell face first in the floor. He smacked his nose on the floor, busted his lip, and even lost consciousness for a few seconds. It caused quite a scare! They transported him to the emergency room just to make sure everything was ok. No broken nose, no stitches in his lip, and no concussion - so they sent him home.

Other than a fat lip and some bruising under his eyes, Garren is fine!

BTW - this was nobody's fault, and we want to make sure our devoted therapists know that we love you and are very thankful for all you are doing to help Garren. Please don't feel bad about this. As they say - "Gravity Happens!"

April 18, 2012


I recently read the book "The Strategy of Satan" by Warren Wiersby. Here are a couple of quotes from that book that struck me:

"Satan seeks to make you impatient with God's will."

"He will try to control your will through pride so that you will think and act independently of the holy will of God."

"Whenever you an I act in direct disobedience to the will of God, we are displaying pride and independence."

"One of the most important lessons the believer must learn is that he cannot be independent of God."

I don't like to wait. I want what I want when I want it, which is usually now! Waiting is hard. Seeking God's will is hard. Waiting on God's will is hard. Sometimes I feel like Abraham, when God told him to pack up his family and "go to the land I will show you." (Genesis 12:1) My experience in following God has been much like that. "Get ready to go. I'm not going to tell you where, just follow Me. Just listen to My voice, I will lead you where I want you to go." This is so against everything within me. I'm the one who prints out a Google Map with step by step directions before I go on a road trip. I like to know exactly where I am going, and exactly how I am going to get there.

But God's plans are always better than my plans (and my plans are pretty good!) I have had to learn to be patient, to be secure in the Lord's promise to lead me, if I will just listen and obey. My prayer is that I will slow down, listen, obey, and follow Him, one step at a time.

So how can I know if I am making the right choices? How can I know if I truly am stepping out in faith and following God, rather than just doing what I think is best? Before you make a big decision, you might try using the following set of questions as a filter:

Test #1:
 "Am I doing this for the glory of God, or just to please myself?"

Test #2: "
Am I rushing ahead or am I willing to wait?"

Test #3: "
Can I defend what I am doing from the Word of God?

Test #4: "
As I contemplate this move, do I have peace and joy within?"

Don't allow Satan to use impatience to get you off track. Let the Holy Spirit control you from within. Give it all over to Him, listen, obey, and follow.

April 02, 2012

How's Garren?

How's Garren doing? That's the question. We hear it all the time. It is a constant reminder that there are people all around the world who continue to keep Garren lifted up in prayer. And we are so thankful for that.

As you know, there are two areas that Garren is focusing on right now: walking and swallowing.

Walking - Garren continues to impress his therapists with his hard work and determination. They love working with him because he loves working hard. A couple of weeks ago, they decided to speed up his walking on the Locomat, the fancy million dollar treadmill at the rehab center. Normally they would have him walk at a speed of about 1.7 km/hr. But they decided to bump it up to 4 km.hr. Garren did great! After 3 days of that, they had him try walking with a walker, unassisted. Until that day he had been able to take about 9 steps with the walker. I watched him take 51 steps with the walker, unassisted. It was slow, but it was awesome!

Swallowing - Back in January/February we had moved to Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat for some specialized swallowing therapy - the McNeil program. We finally got approval from Medicaid, and began therapy every day for several weeks. The lead therapist was not impressed. We got the feeling that she did not enjoy working with children, and she admitted that she did not like filling out the Medicaid paperwork every three weeks. Garren worked with two other therapist there, alternating between the three. After 5 or six weeks, we decided to take Garren back to the speech therapist at CMC-Union that he had been working with before. She has since taken the McNeil certification course, and agreed to start seeing Garren again. She said right away that she could already see improvement. That's always nice to hear.

When I was standing in Garren's room about a week ago, I watched him sleeping. I saw him swallow in his sleep 2 times. Two of his night nurses have said they see him swallow in his sleep sometimes. I asked Garren if he is noticing anything. He said at school the other day, he threw up in his mouth a little bit, and his body swallowed it back down (this may sound gross...but I don't care!) And this morning during his speech therapy, his therapist says she saw him reflexively swallow.

Good news. Garren continues to show signs of progress. It is so nice to have some changes to report. Thank you for all of your prayers. Prayer really does work!