Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I apologize for not writing recently! I have been so content having Sydney home that I have not been diligent in updating the blog!

Since Sydney has been home, she has continued to improve. (The miracle continues!) She now walks everywhere with one cane, and around the house she walks without canes! In addition to wiggling her right toes up and down, she can now move her foot to the side! The next big recovery we are watching for is the ability to flex her foot up, which will enable her to take a step without requiring a brace to hold her foot in a flexed position. Her pain has become very manageable; she only takes Tylenol.

She goes to therapy at TOSH in Murray twice a week. At therapy Tuesday Jason put her on a treadmill in a harness, and gave her pointers on how to improve her walking technique. She was so excited for the specific tips! Thursday, Nikki had her practice dancing to “The Wizard and I” music. This was fun, and very timely as Sydney just got asked to the Christmas Dance which is on Friday! She is so excited!

She walks and strength trains at home 4 days a week. (Many of you have seen her walking at WalMart or at the AF Rec center.) She walks a mile in about 20 minutes – which is quite fast – without canes! She works on homework in the afternoon, and is steadily getting caught up! (Thank you teachers for working with her!) She anticipates attending school full-time in January for third term. She sent in her college applications a few weeks ago, which is scary and exciting!

She still has muscle spasms after she has exercised or walked and her muscles are fatigued (clonus – a common result of spinal cord injury). However, these have really decreased! Her legs used to shake all the time after standing and walking, but now it is only after quite a bit of exertion (walking a lot or exercising). She still has a strong plantarflexion spasm (her foot pushes down like a ballerina) every time she steps on her right foot. Dr. Dodds put her on an anti-spasm medication at our last visit, which seems to help. By decreasing this right foot spasm, it makes it easier and less painful to walk. We believe this will decrease over time as she continues to heal.

Good news – she is driving! She uses her left foot to drive, and says it is really easy! It is nice for her to have this form of mobility and independence back.

Sydney has great friends who invite her to hang out. For example she went to see the Music Man play at Lone Peak and loved it! Her productions class made her a beautiful quilt made out of jean pockets they donated! (See picture). They each wrote her a note and put them in the pockets. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen! It is very soft and warm, and Sydney now uses it for a bedspread on her bed. Many of you have watched the video Makenzie made and asked if you could hear sound for the song Sydney sings early in the video. Here is a link where you can watch this with sound:

Many people have asked why Sydney has had to re-learn how to walk. Why did she have to work so hard to learn how to roll over, how to sit up, how to stand up, etc.? After being paralyzed, did her body forget how to do this? Was she weak from being in bed? Here is the scoop from a non-medical professional (me): When Sydney's spine was broken it damaged her spinal chord. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that conducts sensory (feel) and motor nerve impulses (for movement) between the brain and the rest of the body. Her breaks were in the middle of her back (T10-L1), with one vertebrae dislocating and twisting her spinal cord out at a 90° angle. At that point, the cord was damaged and could no longer relay information between her brain and her body from the middle of her trunk down. Even though she hadn't lost any muscle mass, she no longer had any nerve communication to her muscles. She could not feel them, could not tell them to move, etc.
As the miracle of her recovery started to take place, some of this nerve function was restored (some of the nerves in the spinal cord healed), and some of the nerve function regenerated (her body built a new pathway from her brain to her limbs to work around the former damaged pathways). But here is the challenge: visualize, for example, 100 nerves going to each leg to control the individual muscles. Let's say you have now regained the use of 10 of these nerves. Using the few muscle areas the 10 nerves now control, you need to somehow learn how to move again (without the benefit of all the other supporting muscle areas), and you need to intensely strength train the 10 muscles that have nerve function to do all the work for the other 90 muscle areas! This is why learning to move again is such hard work and seems so awkward! As Sydney was regaining function, her legs felt very heavy, and had only limited feeling and function. She has been regaining feeling and function from the top-down. At this point she has moderately good feeling and function in her trunk, upper legs, and pretty good in her lower left leg. She still has areas of numbness everywhere, lack of sensation in her lower back (cannot feel hot/cold or pass pin prick test), and still feels quite a bit of numbness in her lower right leg (but it is recovering and coming back!) The more nerve function she regains, the better she can move. She continues to heal and amaze us all! Likewise, the more strength training she does, the better her muscles with nerve control can adapt and take over for areas without nerve control.
She has been using an e-stim kit at home for a few weeks, which we love! She secures two electrodes on her right shin, turns on the e-stim, and it sends a strong electrical current down the working nerves to her foot and forces her muscles to contract. It will only work if there is a working nerve path to follow, so she has only been able to use this since she recovered some nerve function to her foot. Placing the e-stim on her shin forces her toes to contract up, and also contracts her right foot to the side (the nerve paths that work today). The benefit of this is if she only has a few nerves working to control her foot, they may not control enough muscle to flex her toes up very much. The e-stim strengthens the nerve signal for these few nerves and forces a stronger muscle contraction, which means the few muscles she controls will be strengthened faster so they can better lift the weight of her foot. When we first started using the kit we were so excited to watch her toes flex up so high that we just sat and watched it for about 10 minutes! Family entertainment at its best!

We love you all and appreciate your prayers and support! We call Sydney our “Walking Miracle” (coined by Mrs. Woolsey!) We are so grateful for the Lord's mercy in healing her, are so grateful for your September fast and continued prayers, and are grateful for Sydney's example in exercising such great faith and in living an exemplary life following all the commandments, for which we believe she was blessed. After the fast and prayer, our family was blessed with peace and comfort; so we didn't need to struggle with the ongoing anxiety, fear or discouragement which can be such a burden under these circumstances. After Sydney was told in a blessing she would recover, we felt such immense hope, gratitude and joy, that we have treasured the miraculous blessings we have observed during her recovery. As friends heard about this tragedy and came to visit or extend sympathy, please forgive our family for not having the typical tears of sadness. We have felt so blessed and are so grateful by this miracle that we can only express joy and gratitude.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hello, everyone! Here is the youtube link to the video Makenzie made about Sydney Makenzie is Syd's best friend, and she showed this video at the Glee Club concert. Thank you Kenzie - you are so talented!

As for an update on Sydney, Tuesday night she was able to wiggle the toes on her right foot up! Previously she could only move them down, and only if she was having a muscle spasm (she didn't have enough strength to move them on her own without the spasm). Tuesday she wiggled both up and down, and without a spasm! She will continue to work on this to strengthen it, and her next goal is to be able to move her foot at the ankle. She still wears an AFO brace on her lower right leg to keep her foot flexed so she can walk, but we know that with time she will get this functionality back! At therapy yesterday, Jason used "e-stim" (electronic stimulation) to flex her toes. We think this will help her build her muscle strength on her foot, so we are hoping to order an e-stim kit for home. Jason is also having a rep come to one of our therapy sessions to show us options for a better foot brace.

Sydney is doing great! She tries to do her exercise routine twice a day, and walk twice a day. It takes her about 1.5 hours to get through the exercise routine, and then we walk for about 30 minutes. Today she walked a mile in 26 minutes and 26 seconds! She was cruising!

Thank you for all your love, prayers and support!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hello, everyone!

I need to tell you about our fun day on Thursday! We spent the morning at the gym checking out all the exercise equipment. We found quite a few things we could do there that would be helpful. I am thinking Sydney and I could both get buff!

When we got home, the Stake Young Women Presidency visited. It was so nice to visit with them and to hear their words of encouragement.

In the evening, we went to the Glee Club Extravaganza! Emma King, the president of the Glee Club, and Sydney's friend from Junior Miss, organized the concert and dedicated it to Sydney - which was so sweet! We were really amazed with all the talent at the concert. They sang, acted, danced (including some amazing break dancing!), a talented band played a U2 song, Devin sang an amazing song and played the guitar (Devin is a future famous person – he is making a CD), there was the most creative and fun fashion show, Nick from BYU came and sang, and Mr. Nelson (Colby's English teacher) was the most entertaining emcee! They also showed a touching video Makenzie made about Sydney (Makenzie is Syd's best friend – and so talented!) I will post the video after I get a copy from Makenzie. We had a great time! We were so impressed with everyone's kindness and thoughtfulness toward Sydney. I know how busy these kids are at school and with extracurricular activities, so I was so impressed they worked so hard to put together this amazing concert and make it such a special night. Sydney came away feeling very loved and supported. The downside to staying home with mom all day is I'm sure Sydney misses seeing all of her friends at school. It was so nice for her to see everyone and feel their love and support! The Glee Club donated all the proceeds of the concert towards Sydney's medical expenses – which is very generous! Thank you Glee Club, and to your parents as well!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hello, everyone! Now that I have learned how to post pictures, I thought I would post these cute pictures of Sydney taken for her Drama class at school. (Scott Hancock, Daniel's Dad, took these pictures).

I would also like to up
date you on the last couple of days. We have been so happy to have Sydney at home! She has found that living at home is great therapy! She climbs stairs at least 3 times a day, goes through her exercise routine every morning and night; and yesterday for her walking practice we went shopping at WalMart and Kohlers! I'm sure everyone at the stores thought I was a pretty mean mom, as she had to open the doors, get the items off the shelf, etc. Tonight she raked leaves with the youth as part of a service project, which really worked her core muscles! All of these activities strengthen her balance, so the OT's encourage me to have her do as much as possible as it strengthens all of her muscle groups. This does wear her out, so we have to give her time to rest at home to recover. We are trying to establish a routine of getting her heavy workouts completed the first half of the day; taking time to rest, and then studying in the afternoon. We would like to get Sydney caught up on first term, and then second term, as she would like to attend 1-2 classes at some point.

Yesterday we had our follow-up visit with Dr. Maughan, who is the neurosurgeon who operated on Sydney after she was brought to the emergency room. We are so grateful that he sacrificed a night of sleep to come to the hospital and use his skills to repair her back! I will post the pictures of the x-rays after I can figure out how to read the format of the files. When he saw Sydney he said something like "It is so wonderful to see you walk into my office and not be in a wheelchair!" He is so happy she has had such an amazing recovery! We asked him when Sydney could stop wearing her TLSO brace (we call it the turtle brace). He said that at this point she could take it off now for periods of time, which is so wonderful as it will give Sydney a new level of independence! Before, Sydney could not get out of bed without me helping her get the brace on, as she could not be in an upright position without it. Dr. Maughan says she should still use it as needed for support (her back muscles will not be very strong yet), for protection (especially in public places where someone may bump her), and as a reminder to her body to not move in an inappropriate way. Today Sydney went without her brace for a good portion of the day and it felt so liberating! But at the same time she was quite sore by the evening so we put it back on.

Today we went to Cottonwood for her outpatient rehab eval. Jason will be Sydney's PT, and Nikki will be her OT. We will take Sydney to Salt Lake 2 times a week for rehab, and then work with her at home the other 4 days. This way we can get outpatient therapy through March. Today they did evals measuring Sydney's strength and endurance. Next week they will review our home therapy/workout routine and modify it as needed. After next week, Grandma Joyce will drive Sydney to rehab so I can start back to work part-time, working from home. This next couple of weeks we'll try to figure out a routine where I would be able to work while Sydney rests, studies or does the exercises she can do on her own. I'll build in a breakfast and lunch break so I can take her walking. (We are still figuring this out!) Meanwhile we are going to enjoy the next 2 weeks as it is really fun to go walking together, to workout, and otherwise talk about life in general and figure out how to be independent at home!

We are so grateful for your love, support and prayers! (For now you can focus your prayers on Sydney's overall recovery and especially her right foot :) It really does make a difference when you know everyone is praying for you and supporting you! Sydney is so grateful to everyone! She is especially grateful to the Lord for his mercy in healing her.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sydney came home today after 44 days in the hospital! She will really miss the nurses, therapists and patients at the hospital. They all treated her like family and provided so much service to her while she was recovering. She feels fortunate to have them in her life.

She received such a warm welcome home from the ward! Please see the picture! Each of the ward members brought Sydney a bouquet of balloons, forked them into our lawn and attached notes in ziploc bags! It is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I made an early trip home from the hospital to bring Sydney's things, and while I was home I kept seeing neighbors drive up to the house to bring bouquets of balloons. What a touching act of service! Sydney felt a lot of love when she pulled up to the house and saw all the beautiful balloons, notes, signs and yellow ribbons on all of our trees! Thank you everyone! We are spoiled to have the best ward, neighbors, friends and family in the world! Jill and Ruth also brought us a delicious dinner – thanks!!

After a rest, it was time for Night Terrors! Sydney invited a few close friends, her brothers and her new friend Lance to go through with her. We all got scared :) (Cole screamed like a girl the whole time! ha ha!) I was so glad Lance was there, as he kept Sydney safe while she walked up hills, over some pretty rough terrain, and through a weird psychedelic surprise at the end! When Lance left Sydney cried. She said “Mom, he is one of my best friends.” We are grateful to Lance for always believing in Sydney, for supporting her, and teaching her to walk! He has a big heart and really cares about his patients. Sydney plans to visit Lance at the hospital from time to time as she continues to make progress in outpatient rehab.

Speaking of outpatient rehab, Lance tells us that Jason, our new outpatient PT, just received the Physical Therapist of the year award at the conference Lance was attending. We look forward to working with him!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zombie day! We have found that rehab is such a fun place to be! Since they are having an inspection on Friday, and most of the regular staff does not work on Saturday, the hospital staff made Thursday their official Halloween party day – with a theme of Zombies. It was so fun to see everyone dressed up! Of course Sydney did not want to miss out on the fun! She slept in curlers, and then got up early and fixed her own hair and make-up to become the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland! She did a great job – and won 1st place in the costume contest! I will post a picture of her and the staff.

The staff brought a delicious potluck lunch, and during lunch Sydney and Josh did the Thriller dance routine for them. Josh is so much fun!

Wednesday October 27, 2010

Today was a travel day (ha ha!)

While Sydney was practicing rolling a suitcase down the hall, we heard an announcement over the loudspeaker something like this: “Hello. This is your pilot. Thank you for flying with us on flight 1222. You may safely stow your luggage in the overhead compartment. Please take your seat and prepare for departure. We will be traveling at 500 mph. The weather will be sunny and 68 degrees. etc....” It was so funny!!!

Sydney had a great day in Therapy today! Lance and Ron and Josh are making sure she is ready to go home with the skills she will need. Today she learned some techniques for carrying her school books.

Advantage: she can take it up and down stairs or through tight spots or crowded halls, and it frees up her hands.
Disadvantage: it is heavy and could strain her back.

Rolling Laptop Suitcase:
Advantage: takes the weight off her back, and is not too difficult to roll down the hall.
Disadvantage: it is much heavier than a backpack, which is important if she needed to lift it up stairs or through tight spots. Also, she can only use 1 cane; and actually preferred using no canes and pushing the suitcase in front of her.

The Young Men and Young Women from Uncle John's ward came up to visit Sydney in the evening and entertained her with skits. That was a lot of fun!

Last night a surprise visitor dropped off some flowers and a very nice note telling Sydney she had been selected for the Woman of the Week, aka WOW award! What an encouraging gesture!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hi everyone! I think I will start posting updates about once a week now that Sydney is doing so well. I'll let you know how she does once she gets home, and will also update you when she starts outpatient rehab. We are looking forward to many milestones in the future – so I will be sure to keep you updated!

The therapists are starting to prepare Sydney for her transition to home. Lance is working on a sheet of exercises she will need to do daily at home. We are anticipating about 4 hours a day of exercises, walking, and stretches to continue her progression. She can do some of these on her own, but currently will need someone assisting for most of this time. Sydney has not had her outpatient rehab eval yet, but we are anticipating that we will take her to Salt Lake twice a week for guided therapy, and then the other 4 days we will do the therapy ourselves at home.

We also need to build in time for her school work, as she will need to make-up her school work for Term 1, and then catch up on Term 2. And of course we need to give her time to rest, as the therapy really wipes her out! She will be plenty busy at home!

Today in PT, Lance showed her how to use the stationary bike to strengthen her quads, and had her practice walking down the hall sideways while bouncing a ball back and forth with the PT Aid, Dave. He also took her for a long walk outside, up and down stairs, and bought her an ice cream cone to eat while walking (that part was fun!)

In OT, Ron had Sydney play wii boxing with another patient to work on balance. I'm sure Sydney's brothers will volunteer to help her with this part of her therapy at home! :) He also had her vacuum the staff break room, where she got a few offers for housecleaning employment!

This evening Sydney worked on her Chemistry homework (I'm sure Ms. Wenz appreciates this!) Overall, she has had a very happy and productive day! She has built a lot of friendships with the staff and patients in rehab. She will really miss them when she goes home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, Sunday & Monday October 23,24,25

Hello Everyone! Look at the top of Friday's entry, as I have added a link to Sydney's and Christian's dance routine! (You will notice that the professional videographers definitely do not have any competition with our home videos! Not the greatest quality! But we still enjoy them!) I will summarize the last few days below:

After a morning session of therapy, we brought Sydney home for an overnighter! It was so nice to be home! Her brothers were very excited to hang out with her, and drove us crazy racing the wheelchair around the house and taking her canes to try them out. They were also very nice to Sydney, and when she went upstairs to have a rest they kept asking when she would come back down. Sydney had a chance to see what it would be like at home, and we found a few tweaks we needed to make (such as a bedside lamp so she won't have to get out of bed to turn off the light), but other than a few adjustments I think everything will work out just fine. We worked out a system where she can use her cell phone to call us when she is done resting during the day so we can come and help her get her brace on. She also calls us when she needs something at night (the home version of a nurse call button!) Yes, we do go in to check on her, but she has a quiet voice so we won't always know when she needs something.

Another bit of good news – Sydney doesn't need blood thinner shots anymore! She has been getting a shot in her stomach every day, and her stomach is pretty black and blue at this point, so she won't miss these shots!

When we looked out the front door, someone had brought a big hand-carved jack-o-lantern with arms holding a bouquet of balloons, and a cute note welcoming Sydney home! How thoughtful and fun!

Sydney was really looking forward to going to church and seeing everyone again. We ended up being late because we started walking, but then became worried that her canes might slip on the wet sidewalks (it was raining), so we turned back and decided to drive (we live right across the street from the church – so we never drive to church!)

As we walked to the chapel doors, we realized the meeting had already started. Just then, the Bishop, who was conducting, looked up and saw Sydney at the door and choked up a bit and said “there's Sydney Heyrend”. Everyone turned to look and it seemed that the congregation became hushed. This choked up Sydney and intimidated her a bit and she didn't want to walk in late in front of everyone (she was already a little nervous!) The Bishop seemed to sense this so he started conducting again and pretended like he didn't notice her, so she got up the courage to walk in. After she sat down our sweet friends and neighbors would turn and smile at her to encourage her. She became quite teary and we had to borrow some tissues from Darcy to get her through the meeting. She felt quite overwhelmed to be in church with all these sweet people who had fasted for her recovery, who had been praying for her every night, and who were either providing service to her and our family or were anxious to help her in anyway they could. She has been so strengthened by the prayers, and is so grateful for everyone caring for her enough to fast for her recovery.

She stayed for all 3 hours and was so happy to be surrounded by friends and neighbors. We brought her a soft chair from the Relief Society room to sit on, as the other chairs were a bit too hard.

After church we had dinner, and then took her back to the hospital. Sydney's Uncle John had invited BYU's Young Ambassadors to come to the hospital to visit Sydney as she loves singing and performing – so he thought this would be a special treat. And it really was! We invited the other patients and staff into the hospital break room, and the Young Ambassadors performed a very inspired program for everyone! We thought just a few Ambassadors would come, but around 20 came! Everyone was teary during this program as well – they had chosen some very inspiring songs and hymns, and it was a very touching evening. They left Sydney with a Young Ambassadors T-Shirt, a bracelet that says “Anxiously Engaged”, and a Halloween bucket of treats. Sydney had a wonderful time, and we really enjoyed meeting these amazing young people! Sunday was such a wonderful day!

After a day of rest, it was time to get back to work! Remember how Sydney walked the whole floor in 2 minutes and 26 seconds with just 1 cane? Well today she walked the whole floor in 2 minutes and 27 seconds without any canes! Wow! Lance holds onto her safety belt, but the faster she gets walking, the better her balance is. Lance then worked with her on some technical aspects of walking, such as starting, stopping, 180 and 360 turns, and walking backwards and sidewards. He also worked with her on bending down to pick something up off the floor (without tipping over!) With good concentration and technique, she picked something up that was 11 3/4” off the floor without falling!

In OT, Ron had her work on balance and core strength. He had her stand and wash his office window. Next he had her bend to pick up bean-bags out of a bucket and throw them through a target. We keep thinking Sydney might come out of the hospital with more sports skills than she had before the accident; but actually she hits about the same number of targets as she hit before! (Don't ask her about her aim!) 4 more days until Sydney comes home, but then who is counting!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

We had so much fun watching Sydney, Christian and their therapists perform the “Word Up” routine today! Try watching this on youtube:

You may also want to check out the video on Christian's blog:

Christian is the other featured dancer; he is Sydney's friend in rehab recovering from a mountain biking accident. He went home on Saturday! Sydney's amazing Physical Therapist, Lance, is the guy with the big hair (he also chose the song and assigned Sydney and Christian to create the dance routine!) Josh, holding Christian's belt, is Syd's Occupational Therapist and he helped with the dance moves! Kris, short blonde hair, is the Recreational Therapist (she arranges fun outings for Syd like Halloween costume shopping!) Sarah, with short brown hair, is Syd's new friend and is a former rehab patient, recovering from a paragliding accident.

The video quality is not the greatest, as Tim was sitting so close he could either tape Sydney's and Christian's face or legs but not both!

Other activities on Friday:
Sydney walked around the entire floor with only 1 cane in 2 minutes and 26 seconds,
breaking the record she set with 2 canes! She is becoming a very good walker! She also walked around the entire floor once without any canes (Lance held her safety belt to help her balance).

We are really looking forward to having Sydney come home tomorrow for the overnighter. Remember to not visit her at the hospital on Saturday or Sunday as she won't be there! We will be going back to the hospital by Sunday evening, as the Young Ambassadors from BYU are coming to the hospital to sing to her and the other patients – which will be really enjoyable!

For those who live close, Sydney is looking forward to seeing you at church on Sunday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just a brief entry tonight...

Sydney is getting ready for her show tomorrow, so she and Christian spent more time today coming up with and rehearsing their dance moves! They are looking good!

In addition to her dance rehearsal, Lance helped Sydney with exercises and stretches. She had a busy but fun day!

Here is the 1st verse of “Word Up” by Cameo (you can hear the song on YouTube):

Yo! Pretty ladies around the world
Got a weird thing to show you
So tell all the boys and girls
Tell your brother, your sister and your mamma too
we're about to go down
And you know just what to do
Wave your hands in the air like you don't care
Glide by the people as they start to look and stare
Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick mamma
Come on baby tell me what's the word – Word Up!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today the staff lined up at the break room to watch Sydney rehearse (rock out!) Lance knows Sydney likes to sing and perform, so he burned her a copy of the song “Word Up” by Cameo and asked her to create some dance moves to go with the song and perform it for everyone this Friday! She and Christian (her good friend and inspiration in rehab – recovering from a biking accident) will be the featured performers, with Lance and Josh holding their safety belts from behind just in case they get too into their moves! Who said therapy couldn't be fun! Watch out Paula Abdul – Sydney has some good dance moves!

This morning we visited the 2 outpatient rehab centers we are considering for Sydney. One is Neuroworx, which was a very impressive site. Dale Hull is the founder. He was an OB/Gyn, but suffered a broken neck about 11 years ago in an accident and became a quadriplegic. He has regained quite a bit of use from his legs and arms through hard work and applying the latest research for recovery. They have a state of the art facility.

We also visited TOSH, which also has a good reputation for rehab, with two very experienced therapists who come highly recommended.

After discussing the pro's and con's of each, Sydney currently is leaning toward TOSH. She connected more with the therapists, liked the facility better (more windows – not as claustrophobic), and she is far enough along in her recovery that she does not need the specialized equipment at Neuroworx.

In PT today, Lance had Sydney walk with “moving parallel bars” (the Moses staffs held horizontally by Mom and Grandma). She practiced moving her arms in sync with the opposite legs. (These are things you and I don't even think about – we just do it naturally! Sydney is having to consciously think about these techniques and practice them to relearn this skill). Of course, in the afternoon Sydney was back outside for her all-terrain hike! Lance had her walk all the way to the end of the hospital grounds and back. By the way, Sydney invited Lance to go through Night Terrors with her next Friday – and he accepted! (Mom and Grandma are secretly relieved as he could catch her better if she trips!)

Sydney had a very fun and productive day! It was capped of by a visit from the young women from Sydney's church! Thank you everyone for your support! It has been such a privilege to watch Sydney's faith and hard work through this miraculous recovery! It has also been humbling to see the outpouring of love, prayers, support and service from all of our friends and family! Thank you! We love you all!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Well, Sydney went jogging today! Twice! (She is trying to keep fit! Ha ha!) Lance held one hand and her safety belt, and Brad held the other hand, and they ran her down the hall! She said this was very hard! She buckled a few times, but Lance held her up. It was pretty amazing to watch! Lance says that if she trips while walking, it is important to be able to speed up her gait (jog) enough to catch herself. She also walked across the gym again without using canes, with Lance holding onto her safety belt. Next, Lance had her walk with 2 big poles which helped her balance, but did not allow her to lean her weight on them (like canes). She looked like Moses with the 2 big staffs! We can't wait until she can walk without any assistance – that will be such an amazing day!

Of course, you know that Sydney tries to break her own records, right? Well today was no exception! She walked 500 yards in 2 minutes and 32 seconds, breaking her previous record of 3 minutes! She is getting fast! She can do this without any assistance except when she starts getting tired. After her successful morning session, Lance told Sydney he does not want to see her in the wheelchair around the hospital – only the canes. She can now walk down to the gym, around her room, etc. which gives her more time to practice her walking!

For her OT session, Sydney walked down to the hospital credit union with Ron and withdrew some money, and then went to the cafeteria to order Ron's lunch. (She ordered him a salad – which will keep him healthy!) She then carried the bowl of salad in one hand, and used a cane in her other hand and carried this back to the elevators and to her room! Quite the balancing act to carry something and use only 1 cane! Ron held onto her safety (gait) belt to assist.

For the second session of PT, Lance took Sydney outside for more all-terrain training! They went up and down a flight of stairs on the way out, and up and down a flight of stairs on the way back in. Outside she walked up and down a fairly steep wheelchair ramp (walking down was much harder). She also walked across rocks, wood chips and across inclines and slants. She is going to get such good balance!

It is so wonderful to watch Sydney's progress every day! We feel so blessed that she is recovering and doing so well! Thank you for your service, prayers, love and support!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

You won't believe it, but Sydney walked across the gym without any canes today! Lance held onto her safety belt to help her balance, but she made it across! She was so excited! This was definitely the highlight of the day!

After all this excitement Lance gave her back the canes and took her outside for another “alternate terrain” session. Sydney told Lance a couple of weeks ago that her goal is to be able to walk through Hee Haws “Night Terrors” when she leaves. Sydney worked at Night Terrors last year (yes, scaring people!) and she wants to be able to walk through this year to prove to herself she can do it! To help her reach this goal, Lance had her practice walking outside with canes over rocks, wood chips, up and down small hills, etc. He also had her climb up 19 steps (very hard!) and back down those same steps on her way back into the hospital (this is the 2nd floor bedroom goal!) He had her do a 180º and a 360º turn, and walk backwards and sideways. Quite the workout! Lance realized today he only has 2 weeks left to work with Sydney – not very much time! There is so much more he wants to do with her, but some of it will need to wait for the outpatient therapist. It will be hard for Sydney to not work with Lance anymore!

We are discussing the possibility of having Sydney come home on Friday the 29th instead of Saturday the 30th, as she wants to walk through Night Terrors on the 29th. It probably doesn't make sense to drive back to Salt Lake late Friday night to sleep at the hospital for a morning session of therapy. We will let you know for sure what we decide.

We are planning to have Sydney come home this Saturday the 23rd for her first “overnighter” at home. We are excited! We will have the house ready by then. Sydney is a little nervous, but mostly excited!

Thanks for your love, support and prayers! We look forward to each day to watch Sydney's amazing progress!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Watch out! Once you time Sydney she always tries to beat her record! Today was no exception! Sydney walked 500 feet in 3 minutes, crushing her time yesterday of 4 minutes and 30 seconds! She can now walk as fast as the average walking person!

OT worked on standing and sitting from a low surface. They also discussed backpack strategy. How to get it on and off a wheelchair, and what to do with your books if you are walking with a cane (we want to try a rolling laptop case, but didn't have one with us).

In the afternoon Kristen took Sydney outside and had her walk over wood chips, rocks, up and down curbs, and across inclines and declines. She walked for over 20 minutes with only 1 rest! After this endurance marathon she was totally wiped out! She slept for almost 3 hours – totally knocked out!

By the way, we sure have fun asking Sydney to wiggle the toes on her right foot for us! Such a thrill!

Thank you for your love, prayers and support!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today Lance worked on Sydney's balance and control. The sport of choice was....Soccer! Pretty scary to lift one leg to kick a ball! Sydney is really going to like sports by the time she finishes therapy! She also walked through a grid of shoebox compartments Lance placed on the floor. She had to concentrate to lift her foot and precisely place it into a compartment; and then repeat the process with her other foot to walk across this grid.

Next Lance worked on Sydney's speed. He had her walk 500 feet using 2 canes, and clocked her at 4 minutes 30 seconds - which is really good!!

The highlight of the day was Halloween costume shopping! Sydney found a great costume, but I won't spoil the surprise of what she is going to be – you'll have to wait for Halloween! While she was shopping, she picked up a wig for her therapist Lance, since he is stylishly hairless! I'm sure he appreciated it. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We had some more miracles today! You may remember that Sydney has been unable to move her right leg below the knee (flex her foot, wiggle her toes, etc.) We were wondering if the recovery she was blessed with perhaps did not include her right foot and some other functions, and we did feel very blessed with the recovery she has already had. Then Sydney received a blessing from her Bishop where she was told these areas would heal. Tim prayed about this blessing a week ago and was distinctly told the Lord was waiting to bless Sydney, but needed her to exercise faith in Him for these ongoing miracles. These experiences were very heartening to Sydney, and she has exercised faith that these miracles would happen, despite medical expectations. Today her faith paid off! She can now slightly wiggle the toes on her right foot! WE ARE SO EXCITED! We are so grateful! Prayers are being answered! She is healing in every area!

Since this news is so exciting, a report of the rest of the day will seem very mundane! But I will tell you what Sydney did today anyway, as we want to look back on this experience and remember her progress. Today Lance had her walk with canes through environments more challenging than the hospital hall. She walked around the therapy room where she had to walk around objects, turn, walk sideways in a tight spot, walk backwards, etc. Then he took her outside and had her walk on grass, walk across a slant and up an incline. This was all very challenging, but she concentrated and did very well, and we know her strength will increase. Lance also had her climb up and down 2 stairs using just canes and not the rail. This was also very difficult – but she did it! We are so grateful we have Lance as a therapist! He knows exactly how to further her progress! He says Sydney's miraculous progress makes him look good; but we also know his skill and insight are just what we need to help Sydney progress to her full potential!

We are so excited by Sydney's progress! We feel so blessed! We are so grateful! Thank you for your continued prayers for her. Tomorrow is going to be a blast, as Sydney LOVES to dress up for Halloween, so OT and RT are taking her on an outing to shop for a Halloween costume! You will HAVE to trick-or-treat at our house to say “hi” to Sydney, as she is coming home on Halloween! Thank you for your love, support and prayers!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Although Sydney has never been into sports and working out before – she is turning over a new leaf! In addition to working out every day, she played baseball with Pam today! This was very tricky trying to balance and not fall over, while also trying to hit the ball (which was hard for Sydney even before the accident!) These therapists are so creative!

Sydney has also discovered that you don't need any special “Stairmaster” equipment to get a good workout - just climb stairs! She had quite a workout climbing up and down 14 stairs with assistance (yesterday was just 3 stairs). This was very difficult. She is trying to build her strength for climbing stairs in our home, as her bedroom is on the 2nd floor! You are thinking we are really mean parents to make her return to her 2nd floor bedroom! Sydney is the one who really wants to return to her bedroom; but we do have a backup plan of putting a bed in the dining room if the stairs are initially too much.

She did some more walking – holding one cane, and holding Grandma's hand. Lance also had her workout on the mat to strengthen her balance.

In OT we talked about how to adapt our home to accommodate Sydney's current level of mobility and strength. We tried out a few different kinds of chairs to put in the shower, talked about different kinds of wheelchairs (she currently doesn't have the endurance to walk long distances), and discussed wall rails and other conveniences to make it a little easier once we get her home. This will be an adventure – we will be so excited to have her home!

Thank you Ms. Wenz's chemistry class for the fun poster! Thank you everyone who visited this week! Thank you for the sweet letters and notes and kind acts! Sydney loves you all and is so cheered up by your support!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sydney had another fantastic day today! Lance decided to increase the challenge. Why just walk down a hall? Sydney climbed up and down stairs holding to rails. Although this was very hard, she did a great job! Lance also took her outside to practice stepping over a curb and onto a sidewalk with the assistance of canes. Although this was also very hard, she did very well! So many muscles to train!

Speaking of muscles, Lance had Sydney practice standing and sitting, and also had her work on strengthening her core muscles by kneeling on the mat in front of a big plastic ball while her mom hit balloons to her. She also practiced getting out of her chair and crawling up onto a raised mat. We are so grateful to have a therapist who knows what he is doing! He knows how to zero right in on areas to strengthen!

In OT, Ron let Sydney cook her spaghetti dinner! Delicious! You gain a new appreciation for everyday mundane tasks when you see how much effort it takes for someone without full strength and abilities! Altogether, this took about 2 hours (4, 30 minute sessions). Of course much of this time was spent learning how to go about a task (for example, how do you get a big pot full of water and onto the stove?)

We believe Sydney will come home October 30th (Halloween – one of her favorite holidays!) We are looking into outpatient rehab facilities to take her to once she gets home. We'll know more in a week or two. Meanwhile, they told us she can have an overnight “pass” to come home on a weekend to explore how we manage in the home environment. That will be fun to have her home for a night!

For those of you taking a vacation over Fall break – have a great time!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

You will never believe what Sydney did today! She walked 200 feet just holding Lance's hand! She looked like a beauty queen strolling across a stage! So composed! I caught her first walk of 100 feet on camera and will try to get it to Carin to post on the blog (maybe this weekend?)

To work up to this amazing feat, in the morning session Lance had her practice standing up and sitting down from her wheelchair without a walker in front of her for support. She did well with this; so next he had her stand and balance while he nudged her to see if she could regain her balance. She did well; so next he asked his assistant Brad to throw a big ball to her to catch. This forced her to maintain balance while reaching outside of her comfort zone to catch the ball. After these exercises, Lance gave her canes and she walked 350 feet! We were quite amazed by this! Little did we know that Lance was planning to have her walk without canes! In her second PT session, he and Brad walked on each side of her holding her hands and holding the safety belt around her waist. She was so excited to do this! After a little rest, she did the beauty queen walk – holding just one hand! Wow! And this was without a brace on her left leg! Unbelievable! This has been such a memorable day!

In OT, Sydney learned how to navigate around the hospital kitchen to prepare her spaghetti dinner. It takes so much planning to do this! Getting into the right position to open the refrigerator door, reaching to get the food out without losing balance, carrying food to the counter and setting it down without losing balance... She started chopping the vegetables standing up, but after awhile was pretty tired so she sat down in the wheelchair to finish. She didn't have a chance to actually cook the dinner, as another patient was using the kitchen in the afternoon. If you are hungry tomorrow – come to the hospital for lunch! She is going to prepare a great meal!

Since the kitchen was occupied, Ron put her to use wheeling up ramps and opening doors. It is SOO hard to open those big, heavy hospital doors from a wheelchair! You will have to try it sometime! I have a new appreciation for the buildings with a button you can push to open the door!

Today was another miraculous, stupendous day! Every day we think it can't get any more exciting, and then the next day we are surprised by something amazing! Thanks for your prayers and support! It is so fun to watch this miracle unfold!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today was relaxing and fun! Sydney went to church in the morning. We counted about 80 service missionaries in attendance who come to the hospital to provide the sacrament to patients and provide comfort and blessings. What a nice service they provide! They say they love what they do – they love helping and comforting people.

Sydney also played dress-up today; she fixed her hair and make-up and looked so gorgeous! It's fun to do this when you can. :) She also enjoyed the visitors who came to see her. It is so nice to see friends, neighbors and relatives! She is feeling well enough that Sundays will be open for visits from anyone who wants to come and see her. She gets pretty wiped out during the week, but Sunday will be her well-deserved day of rest!

We are thinking Sydney will come home around Halloween. It will be nice to have her home! She will continue out-patient rehab when she gets home. Once we adapt to a routine at home for a couple of weeks, we are thinking she could go over to the school for maybe 1 class a day; with a goal of being at school full-time by Term 3.

We are so grateful for her miraculous recovery! Thank you again for your support and prayers!

I'll close with this quote the young women in her church framed for Sydney:

“What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Anybody need help with grocery shopping? Sydney is your girl! She went grocery shopping at Smith's today, and bought all the ingredients for a Spaghetti dinner (which she will cook on Monday!) Riding over in the car made her a bit nervous (which is understandable after being in a car accident!) But when she got there she transferred to a wheelchair, then to a walker, then to a grocery cart! She pushed the grocery cart around the store and loaded her items into the cart! The biggest challenge was reaching the spaghetti sauce on the bottom shelf! Josh (Occupational Therapist) gallantly let her sit on his leg (a.k.a. emergency backup chair!) so she could reach the sauce. She then unloaded all the items from the cart at checkout, and Josh paid the bill. Wow! She is doing great! Miss Independent!

When she returned to the hospital, Kristen handed her the canes, and Sydney walked 520 feet with only 1 stop! She is cruising! Kristen then challenged her to transfer out of her wheelchair onto the floor. This was very difficult so Kristen assisted her. She then wanted Sydney to lie down, roll over, get into a crawling position on all 4's, and climb onto the mat. This proved to be a bit too difficult, but now Sydney has a new challenge!

Mr. Smith and Miss Plain will be excited to know that Sydney did some Calculus homework today – that is dedication! As Saturday is a lighter therapy day, Sydney has a goal to do homework on Saturday mornings. What fun!

Last night, Sydney received a visit from Sarah, a former rehab patient who was able to learn to walk after breaking her back paragliding 4 months ago. It was very encouraging to see how well Sarah is doing, and it gave Sydney a chance to ask her a lot of questions about what she was doing to adapt at home.

Tomorrow is Sunday, which is a day open for visitors. We look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow! Thanks again for your prayers and support! We are grateful for Sydney's miraculous recovery!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today was another momentous day! Lance gave Sydney the forearm crutches this morning and she walked 210 feet! She looked so good that in the afternoon session Lance gave Sydney canes to walk with! After she made her way across the gym and back, he said “I have good news and bad news.” Grandma Joyce said “we only want good news.” Lance said, “Well it is the same news. We are only going to use canes for now on!” Sydney considers this to be GREAT news! She told him last week that her goal is to be able to walk with a cane by the time she leaves. She is well on her way!

During her mid-day session, Lance had her practice the same exercises on the mat she did yesterday. (For example: lie down on her side, swing legs up, roll to back, roll to stomach, roll to side, sit up.) This was quite a challenge yesterday. Today he said he was going to time her. The challenge was on! He punched the stopwatch and she started flying! She flew through the whole routine in 10 seconds! He was so shocked he couldn't stop laughing! (Lance is a pretty reserved guy – so not a typical reaction!) He said “I should have clocked you ages ago!” He timed her for the other routines with the same results! When Sydney was done and went back to her room, she couldn't stop giggling, and then she started crying she was so happy!

The last event of the day was a trip to the Mall! A necessary skill for a teenage girl! Sydney bought a pretzel and practiced skills such as transferring from the wheelchair to the walker, walking to a table, sliding a chair out and sitting down in the chair. The fun part was going to the Sephora make-up counter! You don't really have time to put on make-up in the hospital! She walked up to the counter in her walker and balanced while applying eye make-up! (She even insisted that Josh try a little, and being a good sport – he did!) When she got back to the hospital, the therapists all gathered to her room to see how the trip was, and Lance took her picture since she was all dolled up!

She had such a happy day today! She is so excited about her progress! We are very grateful for how much she has been blessed. Thank you for your love, support and prayers!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Watch out – Sydney is back on crutches! Today she tried out fore-arm crutches! It is quite the technique to learn how to walk with these crutches. She had to really concentrate to place each crutch at the right time and then take a step while maintaining her balance. As she was precariously taking a few steps she said to Lance, “I hope you don't mind if I don't turn the corner in these” as she was sure she would wipe out! Lance said “what if I do mind?” Then he had her perform a U-Turn right in the middle of the hall! He also had her slowly take a few steps backward to her wheelchair! She was amazed she could do this without falling! She went 108 feet in the crutches and was completely exhausted from the exertion of balancing by the time she was done! But she was so excited to be on crutches!

The other PT session was focused on strengthening exercises. She practiced sitting up, lying flat and using her elbows to prop her up, and for the first time he had her lie on her stomach (although he was careful to not strain her back). In OT Sydney worked her arms with big elastic bands.

We are learning in the morning sessions, that “hydration is key” (a favorite saying of Sydney's nurse Janet!) With spinal cord injury patients, it is a challenge to maintain high enough blood pressure. When Sydney gets up in the morning she is very light-headed and weak. We have to make sure she has been drinking enough to keep her pressure up, and we also wrap her legs in “grandma tights” and ACE bandages to force the blood back up to her upper body. If her blood pressure drops too low, she takes some medicine to increase it. This will improve as she gets more mobile.

Overall it was an exciting day! As a reward for her hard work, she ate dinner in the cafeteria with Grandma, rather than having a tray in her room. Much more social and fun! Tomorrow she has a big day planned – it will be her first “outing”! Check back to see how it goes!

Love for Sydney continues.....

To date, over 3,100 visits have been made to Sydney's Journey  to follow the progress that she is making.  That is since her accident just a few weeks ago. 

Many neighbors and friends comment on how they anxiously check on Sydney's progress each day.  As one of them, I am grateful that the Lord has been so good to Sydney and her family.

So Sydney, you indeed are a Rock Star....with over 3,000 views from your loyal fans:)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sydney had a great day! She walked 382 feet in the walker without stopping! Her endurance is improving every day. She has been wearing braces on both legs to keep her feet in a flexed position, which makes it easier to move them forward when walking. Today Lance took the brace off her left leg, which will make it much harder. Sydney says it is like learning to walk all over again, as she needs to work to move her foot now too. But she is excited that Lance feels her left leg is ready for this.

They took a break from crutches today, as she had some electrical shocks in her back when trying them out yesterday. They did a cat scan and everything looks OK, but they are just being cautious. It is probably just a shock to her back to try to balance on the crutches. Maybe she can try them again tomorrow or in a few days.

For OT, they took her outside in her wheelchair and had her wheel for a full mile! She is going to have buff arms! I forgot to tell you that yesterday they had her practice “wheelies!” Her uncle Gary will love this! Sydney did NOT enjoy this! She gets scared when it feels like her wheelchair is tipping back, so they made her tip it backwards on purpose to show her that it has little wheels in the back that will catch the chair before it tips over.

She fixed her own hair in a ponytail again today – and she did it without grabbing the sink! Her balance is really improving! She also practiced standing from the wheelchair to the walker and is getting much better at this.

It is so exciting to see the progress every day. One of the nurses called Sydney a “rock star” today! I think she is a rock star too! Thank you for all your love and support!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sleep, glorious sleep! Sydney had a great rest last night! She felt like a new woman today!

She started off the morning by getting dressed all by herself – which really impressed the OT!

In PT, she walked 282 feet without stopping! She is looking so smooth and controlled! She did so well, that Lance said she was ready to try crutches! It was a whole new technique to try to balance with crutches! She learned to carefully put the right crutch forward and out, and then take a step with her left foot; then carefully move the left crutch forward and out, and take a step with the right foot. She is very excited to learn how to balance while slowly using crutches. With the walker she could use her arm strength and lean forward to balance; but with crutches it is a whole new ballgame. She loves the challenge.

She practiced car transfers, getting into and out of her mom's car. Which means her mom could get cleared in the future for a “pass” to take her on an outing! Something to look forward to!

Pumping weights is paying off, as she can now lift herself from the bed to the wheelchair without a transfer board. Lance also said she can soon start using her walker in the room instead of the wheelchair; although this will officially be cleared after we see the results from a cat scan they took today, to make sure her back is healing properly. (The x-rays from yesterday look great – now they are just checking the tissues).

We hope you are all doing well! We can't wait to see what Sydney does tomorrow! Ciao!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do you ever have one of those nights where you don't get any sleep? Sydney does too! We talked to the nurses today about how to help her get a better rest. We are thinking better night-time pain management will help. We asked them to provide her pain meds at a scheduled time during the night rather than wait for her request. Otherwise, she wakes up in pain in the middle of the night and can never quite get on top of it. We'll see how the plan works tonight.

Today Sydney was pretty tired so mostly yawned through therapy and then went back to her room to catch some early Z's. Lance had her practice pulling herself up from her bed to a standing position in her walker – which is so hard! If she gets good at this, she will be able to use a walker in her room rather than a wheelchair – which would be so exciting!

Radiology took some new X-rays today to see how well she is mending. We are anxious to see the new images! She is the new Titanium Girl!

Sydney and Grandma ran into Dr. Maughan (the neurosurgeon who operated on her) on Saturday. He was so thrilled to see her up and moving about! They told him all the great news about Sydney's recovery and he was very pleased. He said she should only need to wear her TLSO (turtle brace) for another month. It will be SOOO nice to get rid of it! As fashionable as it is, she won't miss it!

We got some other great news today – Sydney now has a home/hospital teacher! The teacher is from Murray High School, which is right across the street. She will come 2 times a week for 1 hour each session. Although Sydney has been pretty fatigued during this recovery, we will see how reasonable it is to squeeze a bit of homework in here and there.

Thank you for all your support! We are blessed to have such great friends and family! Sydney feels very loved – her room is decorated with posters from her friends at church and at school, and with cards and stuffed animals from family and friends. It is by far the most festive room in the whole hospital! (The radiologist did a double take today when he came in the room!) We love you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday October 2 & Sunday October 3, 2010

Saturday October 2, 2010

Sydney is now officially buff! She can press 100 lbs – more than her body weight! She also walked 500 feet with only 3 stops! She had a lot of pain issues today, so the weekend therapist wanted her to take it easy and not push so hard, but she was very determined and did all that walking through a few tears.

Sandy Dougall sent a note to Sydney that quotes Jeffrey R. Holland:

“When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we have ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised: I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left. My spirit shall be in your hearts and mine angels round about you to bear you up.”

I thought the morning session of conference was so applicable. President Uchtdorf talked about how we should slow down when we hit turbulance (many of us have a tendency to speed up and try to work/rush through it). Elder Holland talked about how much God loves us and how blessed we are to have so many who provide faithful service (I thought of all of you!) And Brother Christofferson talked about a consecrated life.

After listening to the afternoon session of conference and resting a bit, Sydney hit the books and finished 2 chapters in Fitness for Life. It felt great to study again!

Thank you to all of you who continue to provide acts of service for our family! We love and appreciate you!

Sunday October 3, 2010

Today was a day of rest – which felt nice. Sydney had only 30 minutes of therapy (which helps to prevent her muscles from stiffening up), and then enjoyed a day of watching conference and resting. I think it will be good for her body to rest. She also enjoyed some visitors, which lifts her spirits. Feel free to come and see Sydney on Sundays! She looks forward to your visits!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

All the young ladies and women out there (and men if they will admit it) will relate to a key skill Sydney worked on today – self grooming! Today her OT had her stand up in front of the bathroom sink and fix her own hair! Boy, was it ever hard work! It is a killer to get into a standing position from the wheelchair (hence the intense arm workouts!) Sydney did it with help from Josh. The next step was to balance against the sink with weight on both legs, and be brave enough to lift both arms up. Scary! She did it! This morning she was probably wondering if having long hair was really worth it, as she had to brush it out herself! She was able to do this (with a lot of grabs for the sink!) Next she whipped it into a quick ponytail (the preferred hairstyle for rehab), and wala! She self-groomed! She felt quite a bit of self-accomplishment from this and was grinning from ear to ear! We know she will continue to get better at this as she gets stronger. She needs to work up to curls for Senior Prom, right?

Which reminds me of Audrey Hepburn's favorite poem (and one of my favorites too!) It reminds me a lot of Sydney.

Time Tested Beauty Tips
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored,
renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands;
one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

Now we know Sydney tries to break her records every day, and today was no exception! She walked 196 feet without stopping! Wow! In the afternoon, she paced herself to work on endurance, and walked 350 feet while taking a rest every 50 feet. We want her to work up to walking to school, right? :)

For OT, Sydney practiced rolling her wheelchair up a ramp – which is harder than it looks! But if she can climb Timp, she can do this – right? And she did it! She also practiced car transfers (getting into and out of a car from a wheelchair). She is working up to her big outing next Thursday – going to the Mall for lunch! An essential outing for a teenager!

Although Sydney's first priority is to work hard to get better, she is slowly going to “dip her toe” into the schoolwork arena to see what she is able to do. Thank you to her school teachers, counselors and principal for working with her!

Last, I thought I would mention something that gave me a sigh of gratitude. Yesterday I obtained a copy of the medical records to send to the insurance company. As I read through these sobering reports last night, I came across the assessment of Sydney when she was admitted to Rehab. Naturally, as the doctor examined Sydney's physical state, he was sobered by the severity of her injury. As the doctor described Sydney and her physical condition he said “She has a pleasant affect possibly disproportionate to the degree of her disability.” I believe he was quite taken aback by her pleasant, optimistic and calm demeanor when faced with what he anticipated to be a bleak future. We are so grateful for the blessing of recovery Sydney received, for the power of the fast and prayer, and for the tender mercy of the Lord to allow her to recover use of her limbs. Because of Sydney's great faith, she has been able to be at peace and optimistic through this experience. We are grateful for this.

To you all, we appreciate all the support, love, prayers and kind acts you have shown to Sydney and our family! We love you and appreciate you all!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sydney! Big 18! The nurses and staff came in this morning and woke Sydney up to sing Happy Birthday to her, and this started off her great day!

In OT she pressed 90 lbs – almost up to body weight! Lance got her up walking, and she walked 125 ft without stopping – wow! She transitioned to another wheelchair, as the “ferrari” was difficult to get into and out of, and still beat her wheelchair racing time around the floor by another 15 seconds! If you blink, you miss her! When rolling over on the mat today, she was able to bend her knees up by herself and roll over (still can't do this on the bed, as the sheets create friction and the bed is soft). When transitioning to a sitting position, she was able to slide her legs off the mat! She is getting more mobile every day!

Makenzie and Nick decorated her hospital room so cute! Makenzie, a.k.a. Betty Crocker, baked her a chocolate cake! Grandma Joyce brought more cake and cheesecake (which the hospital staff loved!) Sydney also received some thoughtful and darling gifts, cards and comments from many of you, flowers, and visits from her brothers and a few others. Her friend Christian, who is recovering in rehab from a neck injury, stopped by to visit as well.

Overall – a very fun day! Thank you for all your love and support!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today is the one week anniversary of Sydney being in Rehab. What an exciting week! We feel so blessed with the progress she has made. We are grateful for the skill and dedication of the staff in Rehab, and we are grateful for the blessing of her recovery. Thank you for keeping her in your prayers – it has really made a difference. Sydney's Bishop visited and gave her a blessing which was needed and really appreciated, as Sydney still has some key areas in her body that need to heal and recover, so if you can focus your prayers on this, we would really appreciate it.

I forgot to update you on her hamstrings and muscle spasms (and many have asked). We put a heat pack on her through the night, which really helped; she is on a new and stronger muscle relaxer, is getting a massage every day targeting especially tight spots, and we are gently stretching her throughout the day. This is really helping. She still gets spasms and has muscle tightness and pain, but not as severe as Sunday.

Pretty soon it is going to be difficult for Sydney to keep topping her records, but she had a record breaking day again today! She is back in the “grandma tights” so her blood pressure was better today. She walked 85 feet in the walker without a rest! She was totally wiped out when she finished, but she wanted to do it again, so they put her in a harness and she walked 90 feet! Wow!

In OT, she beat yesterday's arm extension record of 50lbs. by pressing 80 lbs! She is getting closer to her body weight of 97 lbs (yes, she is a lightweight!) In the 2nd session they upgraded her wheelchair from the “sedan” to the “ferrari”, and they timed her racing around the entire 12th floor. In the upgraded wheelchair she beat her time by 15 seconds! For the 3rd session they took her in the kitchen and stood her up next to the counter. She had to hold herself up and balance while reaching up to lift down items from the shelves. This was hard work, but she did it!

Tonight her grandparents from Idaho visited, as well as the “Big Kahuna” from Fox news! Quite the surprise! (Sydney's uncle arranged this). Sydney enjoyed both visits but is totally tuckered out.

We are looking into arrangements for Sydney to finish her Senior year so she can graduate. We are thinking as she gets her strength up Saturday might be a good day to work on homework as it is a lighter therapy day. We are thinking it will be a good idea to restrict visits during the week and have Sunday be more open to visits from close family or friends (although brief visits are best – anything longer than 10-15 minutes really wears her out, and we would still like to restrict this to only close family and friends for a little while).

Thank you for all your love and concern! We feel your prayers! Sydney has great faith she will walk and remains optimistic and positive every day. Thank you for the many acts of service you provide for Sydney and our family!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dr. Dodds visited Sydney this morning and told her “you are a star!” He and the rest of the rehab floor are so excited about her progress! When Sydney went to her 2nd physical therapy session, some people lined up to watch her (especially Pam, her CNA and new friend). Lance put Sydney on the walker again and first she walked 26 feet, then 30, then finally 46 feet! You should have seen the look of determination on her face! She was breathing so hard, and when she sat down her legs wouldn't stop shaking. What a great morning!

Lance also worked with her on the hoverboard. Sydney lies on her side, with her top leg on the board. She can then extend and contract her leg, which allows her to strengthen her leg muscles without the extra strain of gravity, as the board supports the weight of her legs. She also practiced standing and bending her legs. Ron, her OT, worked on her arm extensions with weights, and she went from pressing 25 lbs to pressing 50 lbs! She has some amazing therapists and we are so grateful for them!

The afternoon session was tougher. One result of a spinal cord injury is low blood pressure. Sydney is on medication to increase her blood pressure, and also wears tights to push the blood from her legs back to her upper body. Today they tried putting her in knee hi's instead of tights. We're not sure if that is what made the difference, but her blood pressure dropped this afternoon and she was too light headed to stand or walk in physical therapy. But overall, the day was still an amazing success!

A very pleasant part of the day is when a massage therapist came in and massaged the muscles along her spine for about 25 minutes. She felt so much better when he was done! We are hoping this helps to reduce the intensity of the back pain and spasms. She said she could breathe without as much pain after the massage. By the way, we counted the staples they removed from her back – 38! Quite the zipper!

Quote for the day: “Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force.” - Franklin Roosevelt

Thank you for all your love and support! Sydney is doing great! She is optimistic and happy and has great faith. She is such an inspiration to be around.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Today was such an amazing day! After working with Sydney in the morning, her Physical Therapist said (I will paraphrase) “I shouldn't say anything because I hate to get people's hopes up, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't learn how to walk.” What a great way to start out the day! We were on a high the rest of the day!

True to his aspirations, for the 2nd session the PT brought out a walker and assisted Sydney to stand up in the walker. We found that it takes a lot of muscles to stand and balance without tipping over (even when you are holding onto something!) He has assigned Sydney some glut and other exercises to practice in her room to help her with balance (she will be the next J Lo!) During the 3rd session, he put Sydney in a harness and assisted her with leg and other support as she walked across the room! Wow! Next, he had her walk across the room with assistance, but without the harness! We were so excited!

We talked to the Rehab Director, and she let us know that they decided in their staff meeting to extend Sydney's stay so she can work on walking skills! This is great news! We are so grateful for the support of the staff. It seems like rehab would be such a rewarding place to work! They are just as excited as we are.

Ron, the OT, put Sydney to work on the weight machine to build her strength with extensions (lifting the weight of her torso with her arms), which will help her lift to get into and out of a wheelchair or bed, and to lift to get into a walker.

The next great news came from Sydney's nurse; she took out Sydney's staples! No more zipper back! And even more exciting – now she can have a shower!

Rhonda, the Nurse Manager, dropped off a list of quotes to each patient on the floor. Here is one I will share tonight:

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” - Helen Keller

I am grateful to Sydney for looking forward to the newly opened door and being an inspiration for all of us. Thank you for your prayers and support. The posted comments and notes are wonderful morale boosters!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sydney started out the morning attending a 30 minute church service at the hospital. The room was packed! Most attendees were church missionaries assigned to minister at the hospital, along with a few patients who were well enough to attend. Sydney really enjoyed the service, but found that 30 minutes in a wheelchair is a long time! She was pretty sore by the time we made it back to her room.

On the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), the therapy sessions are cut in half, but patients still receive limited therapy to get them out of bed, out of their rooms, and to keep their muscles stretched out.

For physical therapy, Misty wanted to have Sydney practice walking again – which is exactly what Sydney wanted to do! Unfortunately, Sydney's hamstrings had tightened up so much she could hardly move her legs without triggering severe spasms in her back. After a few very painful steps, the remainder of the session was spent trying to very gently stretch Sydney's hamstrings. This was disappointing to Sydney and she shed a few tears, but we all know that any journey consists of peaks and valleys. It takes courage and faith to continue moving forward even when we encounter small setbacks and challenges along the way.

For occupational therapy she joined a group of patients to learn breathing, relaxation and imagery techniques to help you deal with stress and anxiousness related to traumatic injuries, as well as to help you deal better with pain. This was helpful and timely, and helped Sydney get through a few more painful stretches. We will need to give her hamstrings some time this week to loosen up.

When Sydney received her lunch tray, the SunChips bag said:
“Big changes can come from small steps.”

It seems that everywhere we look we receive inspiration! We believe it is through the small steps we take every day, even under adversity, that we are able to move forward! Thank you for all your love, prayers and support! Thank you also to my mom's stake which is also praying for Sydney!

How to make a Comment for Sydney....

I have been asked to give a brief tutorial on how to leave comments for Sydney and her family. 

1.  Choose the post (or day) that you wish to comment on.

2.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post.

3.  Look for the link entitled "Comments", click on it.

4.  There may be comments already posted, or none at all.  There will be a dialogue box that you can type in your message.

5.  It may ask you how you want to sign it (Open ID, your current email address, etc).  Click on your choice.  This is what will appear as the name that appears by your comments.

6.  Verification:  It may ask you to type in a word that it presents in a distorted fashion.  Please do it.

I have set up this blog so that anyone should be able to leave a comment.  Initially, that was not the case and I have changed that as of last Sunday evening.  Please give it a try, it is not as hard as it may seem:)

Lot's of love for Sydney

I am not a family member to Sydney, but I am friend who is helping with this blog.  In the past week, this blog has been viewed 1,584 times.  It has been viewed by people in many states and some in foreign countries. 

With that many viewers, please take a moment to give Sydney a word of encouragement.  I'm sure she will appreciate not only having you keep up with her progress, but also will enjoy a personal mention from you.  Prayers are always welcome as well. 

She is doing well, let's help her all we can!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sydney is moving onward and upward! Today they took her to the parallel bars and she walked without a hoist! The therapist rolled in front of her and supported her knees and helped her balance her legs, but she supported her body weight (using the bars) and moved her legs forward and set them down. Miraculous! Sydney was grinning from ear to ear!

Yesterday the doctor walked into the therapy room when Sydney did assisted walking the first time with a hoist and his jaw dropped. She could see him in a mirror in the corner. He watched her for awhile and then left. He came to her room later and told her she was doing amazingly well! We hope he now understands that miracles can happen. When Sydney started rehab a few days ago, he did a physical assessment on her and told her she would be in a wheelchair, so they would teach her wheelchair skills then send her home. We are hoping he will now change this assessment so she can stay longer to work on walking skills.

This morning when occupational therapy came in, what they had planned did not sound aggressive enough to Sydney, so they took her down to the therapy room and had her work out on arm weights! She is going to be so buff! She is so motivated to work hard and progress, she is helping to direct her care!

As you can imagine, all this hard work really tuckers her out. She is so completely exhausted between sessions, and deals with a lot of pain at night. We know the pain will improve with time, and so will her strength, but this is definitely hard work. (I told the school she should get PE credit – don't you agree?) :)

Thank you again for all your love, support and prayers! Sydney is working hard to beat the odds. With your fasting and prayers (we feel them), the miraculous and merciful blessing from the Lord, and her hard work only good things can happen!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Today was amazing! Lance took Sydney into the rehab room to a walkway with parallel support bars on each side. They put her in a big sling to support her torso, then hooked the sling to a hoist on the ceiling. They pushed a button to pull the sling up until she was in a standing position. She held onto the bars with her hands to support the weight of her body. Lance sat in front of her on a rolling stool supporting her as well. She would then try to lift her leg with the strength in her quads and hip flexors and kick it forward to take a step. Boy, are those legs ever heavy! Lance helped her lift and move forward, but it was so exhilarating! It was hard to flex her feet to set her foot down properly, so he inserted braces into her shoes to keep her feet flexed. Wow, what an experience.

Sydney hit another big milestone. She was able to complete a log roll by herself! She did this rolling to both sides! She grabs her pajama pants to pull one leg into a bent position, which helps the momentum for the bottom half of her body, then wala! Over she goes! She used to love rolling off the bed at full speed when she was a baby – that must be why she picked up on this so fast!!

Just as we were thinking the day couldn't get any better, Josh, her OT, took her out to lunch at Subway! As Sydney has been working at Subway, she especially loves to eat there! Of course, she had to work for it! She had to roll herself all the way there, practice approaching and opening a door in a wheelchair (Josh helped), and roll herself all the way back. But it was definitely worth it! How amazing to take yourself somewhere on a beautiful, sunny day when you have spent the last week immobile in a bed!

To top off her day, her cousin Hali came down from Idaho and gave her a full manicure and pedicure, and fixed her hair. Not only does she feel great; now she looks great too! (Of course she is wearing the new PJ's Grandma bought for her as well!) Sydney had a bright smile on her face all day. It has been wonderful.

Thank you all for your sweet notes, prayers and support! Emma, Sydney's friend from Jr. Miss, called this week. She is President of the Glee Club, and they would like to dedicate their Fall fashion show and concert to Sydney and donate the proceeds to her medical expenses. What a generous thing to do! The youth of this generation are SOO amazing! Sydney's seminary class just sent a poster to her with a signed stack of cards – this is so helpful!

The silver lining to this is Sydney's parents and Grandma get to spend a lot of time with her – which is so nice! She is such an amazingly sweet, strong and inspirational girl. We are really enjoying this time with her as she usually has such a crazy schedule we only see her running out the door. We will treasure this time.

Thanks again for your support!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It is sooo great to be in rehab! They really work you! The morning started out kind of rough when occupational therapy had Sydney reach above her head to the back of the bed to try to pull herself higher on the bed. She had some pretty severe back pain and spasms which was no fun. But the rest of the day made up for it with some exciting events.

Sydney's Physical Therapist, Lance, pulled Sydney into a sitting position and had her practice putting her fists down on the bed to push her torso up so she could slowly shift her torso off the bed and across a short board into a wheelchair. Lance helped her a lot, but it was pretty thrilling to anticipate the independence she will have when she has the strength to do this! She then rolled herself around in the wheelchair. We are all going to be jealous of her buff arms!

After the wheelchair, Lance put her on a mat, and had her practice the log roll. While lying on her back, she stretches our her arms, bends her elbows, clasps her hands together, and rocks her arms back and forth to build momentum, digs one elbow in the bed and swings the other arm over to roll her body over. This is how she will roll out of bed. Lance helps her with it now, but she is determined to get better.

The highlight of the day is when he put a walker next to the bed and had her hold onto it with her arms to hold her body up. With her legs down, she could feel her left foot, but could not feel her right foot. (Stubborn foot!)

Josh, her recreational therapist, took her outside for a spin in the wheelchair. After you have been stuck in a hospital bed for 6 days, this was a really nice change!

Shannon, a fellow Lone Peak High student, visited Sydney today. Shannon sustained a severe head injury earlier in the year in a motorcycle accident. She was in Primary Children's Hospital for 7 weeks, and had to relearn her cognitive functions, speech and motor functions. She was there to tell Sydney that it was hard work, but she was able to miraculously regain function. This was very inspirational to Sydney.

Thank you to the drama department for all the notes of encouragement on a giant poster! Thank you to Brother Graff's seminary class for their kind notes as well! The young men and young women have also written Sydney wonderful notes of encouragement, as well as friends, family and neighbors. I read your uplifting comments on the blog to Sydney every day. Thank you to the young women for picking our fruit, and for the nice ladies who taught the young women how to bottle fruit! It was a combo service and learning opportunity! Thank you to all the kind neighbors who brought meals in this week – my kids all thought I was a great cook until they tasted your cooking – now the truth is out! Your food is delicious!

We look forward to tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sydney made it into Rehab today! They put her right to work. After sitting her up, they helped her grab her legs and pull them into a frog position; and then helped her pull on some stylish pajama pants. Yay! No more immodest hospital gowns! To celebrate, they helped her get into a wheelchair and take a tour of the rehab floor. Pretty exciting!

She met Dr. Dodds, and he explained his philosophy that after she develops enough strength to take care of basic tasks on her own, she will head home. She could then continue some therapy to strengthen her legs on an outpatient basis. He estimates her being there between 2-4 weeks; but we will take one day at a time and see what happens.

In rehab she gets 3 hours of therapy a day: 1.5 hours of physical therapy, and 1.5 hours of occupational therapy (life skills). Right now these are broken into 30 minute sessions. After therapy, she is tuckered out and falls fast asleep (I'm sure the pain meds help to knock her out as well). We have hung up all the posters and cards in her room – it is looking pretty cute!

When I was gathering some things from Sydney's room I saw a book on top of her bedside stand that was given to her at Junior Miss. It is called “The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer”. What an appropriate motto!

We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday, September 21

First day out of the ICU – and it is so nice to be “unhooked”! No more IV's! (Still a picc line, but no tethers!) Sydney had a great day today, she was feeling much better (no stomach pain).

The rehab director told us Sydney would enter rehab either Wednesday or Thursday. Sydney is excited. The director explained that the amount of time in rehab completely depends on the individual situation, but it may take about 3 weeks to learn wheelchair skills and basic self-care skills (getting dressed, getting out of bed into the chair, getting to the shower, etc.) If Sydney shows promise with leg mobility, it will take much longer to work on mobility and walking skills. We told her we are expecting a longer rehab! :)

Sydney's aunt brought a nice framed verse from the hymn “How Firm a Foundation”:

Fear not, I am with thee oh be not dismayed

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand

Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.”

Everyone seems so inspired and provides such strength and encouragement!

We have teased Sydney about how she will set off the airport security system with her new titanium back; and after we took a peak at her incision today, we teased her about having a giant zipper on her back! The incision is down the entire length of her back and is stapled together, so it looks like a big zipper!

When physical therapy came, they found some response in Sydney's hip flexors and quads, and ability in her left foot to slightly flex and extend (with intense concentration – what a workout!!). She is continuing to struggle with her right foot, and cannot wiggle her toes or move her foot. They encouraged her to continue working on it. When a nerve pathway is damaged, it is sometimes possible for the body to create a new pathway. (You could focus your prayers on this). Sydney practiced sitting again today – she is getting good at it!

We hung up a bright, colorful poster the young women in Sydney's neighborhood made for her, and Grandma read her notes, letters and comments you have all sent in, which even made Grandma cry! Thank you for the great support!

Yesterday Sydney was cheered up by a visit from Bishop Starley, and today we were grateful for a visit from President Glade, who shared an inspiring story, some wonderful counsel, and gave her a wonderful blessing.

Thanks everyone! More tomorrow!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday, September 20

Big day today – Sydney graduated from the ICU! Her next destination is Acute Neuro Rehab, but as they do not have a bed available yet, she will be admitted to the hospital for a few days until they have space. The therapists have been training Mom, Dad and Grandma, and we are now responsible for passive range of motion exercises every hour (where we bend and stretch her legs and feet to keep the muscles flexible), position (where we rotate her every 2 hours from back, to side, to other side to avoid bed sores), and her fashionable sheepskin boots (which we take on/off after 4 hours to avoid foot droop). We have also learned how to put on and take off her turtle brace, and are observing and assisting with physical therapy.

Today Sydney practiced sitting in a chair. The therapist does a “log roll” to roll her on her side, pulls the blanket under her to slide her to the edge of the bed, holds her legs and torso to lift her into a sitting position, bear hugs her and pulls her into a standing position, pivots, and then sits her on a chair. Her goal is sitting in a chair for 4 hours over the course of a day. Sydney also practiced finding her center of balance so she can sit without tipping over.

Highlight of the day – getting her hair washed! She is now ready to model for VO5 commercials! (The brand of shampoo we found in the hospital). Low point of the day – the pain meds caused a lot of bloating and she had an extremely painful distended stomach most of the day – no fun! Another highlight – reading a giant card from the Primary kids, getting a cute stuffed animal and books, and a cute card from Maren. So sweet!

We have been asked about whether she can have visitors yet. In rehab visits are only allowed between the hours of 5pm and 8pm. Other than close family and friends, let's wait a while longer to allow Sydney to get her strength up. (And with close family and friends, please check with us so we can let you know if it is a good time/day). As she starts feeling better, I think she would love to have her friends stop by for a short (and positive) visit to show support and love. This is a team effort – right?! For now, it would be better to send a card or post on the blog (I will read posts to her). She gets really exhausted from therapy and is still dealing with a lot of pain. (You may want to know it is her birthday on the 30th if you want to wish her a great day!)

Sydney is so grateful for all the love and support you have shown her. She has felt your prayers and the power of your fasting – it is working miracles! Thank you to our Methodist friends who are praying as well! To all, your comments and cards really lift her spirits and keep that beautiful smile on her face. This will be a long road, so I know she will appreciate continued support down the road as she focuses on an intense therapy regimen. I appreciate the delicious meals friends and neighbors have brought in, and the acts of service such as neighbors picking and bottling my fruit (wouldn't you know it would get ripe this week!) Thank you to Carin for setting up this blog for us, and thank you so much for all your phone calls, emails, texts and notes. At some point I will have an opportunity to return all these calls, but for now know that we feel your love, it has helped us, and we are very grateful.