Grace: It’s so crazy to think that today marks exactly 7 months from the accident! It definitely seems more like a lifetime ago. And, on the subject of 7’s, the past 7 days have brought us through another transitional period, including highs and also a low, that ends with us writing this post from our new apartment, after spending our first night there last night!
Low: Ivan was in Indiana for all of the past week attending a Music For All Summer Symposium. Haha, well actually this might count as a high for Ivan (we’ll see what he writes below!) since it included music and travel and was his first official job assignment from Valley Christian (VCS), but from the wife perspective…I missed him far more than I could possibly write here. Any change in routine is difficult for me, plus the fact that he’s been by my side continuously since December, plus the fact that we’re married. So yeah.
High: Therapy officially started back this week! In case I haven’t said it here before, I actually love therapy. As always, we continue to be amazed by the quality and quantity of care available here (for example, getting 60 min personal sessions here vs. 60 min with a group class in SoCal). It’s been so refreshing to be able to discuss realistic neurological recovery goals as a young adult instead of just being guided by traditional benchmarks that were drawn from an older age group (75% of strokes occur in people over the age of 65). So we were feeling lots of hope last week!
High: Family support! I enjoyed my final week at my parents’ condo last week…I can’t say enough about how amazing our month-long stay there has been. Obviously, I love them just because they’re my family (plus they own a cat!) , but they’ve been serving and supporting us the whole way since December… and then went super above-and-beyond this week: taking me to Kaiser multiple times, helping get the last details of our apartment fixed up before Ivan got home, being patient with me when I had episodes or was just struggling with Ivan being gone, planning fun activities to pass the time…not to mention helping Ivan get to and from the airport in spite of his inconvenient flight times. THANK YOU GUYS!!!
Final High: Ivan is safely home now!!!!! ❤
Ivan: Wow, I can’t believe it’s been seven months! Going through this accident and all its ramifications is like stepping to the other side of a transparent curtain…once you’re on the other side, you can look back on your “previous” life, but everything looks different now, and you can’t go back. Good thing we have an omniscient, omnipotent Shepherd to follow! 😉
To borrow a quote from a certain famous hobbit, it’s probably safe to say that lately Grace and I have felt a bit like “butter scraped over too much bread.” Our mental and physical energies have been pushed almost to the limit, and at times it feels like we are constantly pushing a boulder up a hill, only to see the boulder roll down again…but we are discovering that through the Spirit of God there is always an undercurrent of grace in our lives that produces renewed strength, moments of peace and joy, and thanksgiving.
I spent last week at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, learning about the wonderful world of percussion! As a pianist, it was fascinating to jump headfirst into what seemed like a whole new world, a different sub-culture of music than what I was used to, but I was very grateful to VCS for allowing me to attend, to help me prepare for some of my teaching duties this upcoming year. I was so proud of how well Grace handled this past week! It wasn’t a smooth ride the whole way through, but she put every ounce of effort she had into it and God brought us back together again last Saturday.
This may be a good opportunity for me to give an overview of how Grace is currently doing, at the seven month mark. As we continue to work with medical professionals toward Grace’s long-term recovery, we are still gaining new information and insights about our overall situation. Here is what we know: orthopedically, Grace is doing well! The bones in her legs have healed well, and Grace has been able to walk on her own, without assistance, for at least two months or so now. The original prediction was for September. Praise God! While she probably will experience pain in her legs for the rest of her life, nowadays we have only minimal continuing care on the orthopedic front.
The issues that remain are neurological, and cognitive/behavioral. On the neurological front, Grace still has no feeling in her left hand, which limits the extent to which she can be an independent adult (personal care, cooking, household activities, etc.). Through therapy and lots of hard work, Grace can move the fingers of her left hand, but without the actual sense of touch most things are still too dangerous to do.
The cognitive/behavioral side of things is probably the most complicated to try to explain. The traumatic brain injury (TBI) that Grace experienced affected her frontal lobe, which has affected her ability to process and structure information. Specifically, Grace still needs an outside source/person to help her know what to do next. Also, too much information/stimulation still causes her brain to “shut down”–hence, no church attendance yet. All of this is difficult to describe using words, and even I am still learning the best ways to help provide structure for her on a daily basis.
Some of you may have wondered: “How can Grace write so well in her blogs if her brain is still injured?” The answer is that, thank God, the part of her brain where her intellect and natural gift for writing is found has not been damaged (as far as we can tell). It is located in a different part of the brain than the part that was injured.
So Grace is still Grace. She is still kind, God-focused, incredibly smart and talented, funny, extraordinarily perseverant and hard-working, and beautiful in every way possible. She tries her best in everything she does, and is choosing patience every day. I could not be more proud of her. I think only God will ever know just how hard the challenges she faces every day are, but I am honored that I can walk with her. Thank you all for continuing to walk with us! At this point, Grace’s recovery will progress at a much slower rate than initially, in the first couple months, so there may be more time in between updates. But we will continue to trust God and rely on Him, and we will always be thankful to know that so many brothers and sisters in Christ are continuing to lift us up in prayer! Thank you all. God is good! 🙂