Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brooklynn, Emma, and Austin

So, visiting North Carolina. The scenery was beautiful especially the beautiful houses all lit up with Christmas lights. Yeah, no. I didn’t even pay one bit of attention to the scenery because I was too involved with my sweet little nieces! My nephew was there too, he just didn’t always want much of anything to do with me. So anyway, we did a lot of things when I was out there. Some of those things include getting new coats, going shopping, and making gingerbread houses. But what we did the very mostest was make these small little bead animals. It’s where you take some beads and you put them on a string in a certain way so they come out as animals….. I don’t really know how to explain it, but if you want to go see, we got all of our patterns from Anywho, so we did that a lot! In fact, I found out that we did over 20 of these little critters.

Austin was SO cute! Oh man, it kills me how cute he is! But yeah it’s adorable because the two things he will randomly say all the time would be NO! and daddy. It’s so cute how he says them, I don’t know how to explain it, just say it like a two year old would say it. Lol. And yep, I think that’s just about it. At least for now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just another update

Hey guys, I’m here again, because I decided that for the time being, this will be my journal, essentially. Anywho, so I wanted to say that one, I have been SO excited about my glasses all day! Lol. It’s been great. And the other thing I thought I ought to mention is that I get the opportunity to go out to North Carolina this Saturday! Then my mommy also thinks I should update you on school and my volunteer job, so yeah, I guess I’ll do that too.

So yeah, about me and my new glasses. It’s just been funny how obsessive I’ve been with my new glasses. I can actually see things now. It’s crazy! I often times will push my glasses down to remind me of what I saw yesterday, then put my glasses back on to see how I can see now! Omg, it’s amazing! I wish I could better describe to you the miracle that has just taken place in my life, but oh man, it’s been a miracle. Anyway, so I’ve been super happy all day today (which is unusual). It was kind of funny, in my drama class today I went up to some people and I just said, all peppy, “hi guys!” and this girl in my class named Kimmy was like, “wow, Shannon you’re really happy.” Haha I thought it was great. But yeah it’s just been like that almost all day, just because I can finally see, and I’m so excited about it!

Anywho, so enough about my glasses (for now). Let’s talk about my adventure! I get to go to North Carolina to see my brother, sister-in-law, 2 nieces and my nephew this Saturday! I’m so jazzed! It really is my sweet, little, adorable nephew that has kept me going through some of these hard times (besides Brian Regan of course). Austin’s SO cute! Anyway, so I get to fly out there on my own on Saturday and then I come home on the 23rd, so I’m still here for Christmas. But yeah, I’m so super excited.

So about school. I surprisingly enough have all As once again. Except one A- but it’s in an AP class, it’s not the end of the term and it’s because I haven’t taken this one test but as soon as I take that it should go up to an A! So yeah, it’s okay that I have one A-. The most amazing thing I think about all of this though would be that I have an A in AP Biology, which would for sure be my hardest class. Anywho, I think that’s it about school……

Finally, volunteer job. I don’t know if we ever told you that I volunteer at the hospital every week, but I do. However, I think it would be the most boring thing EVER. I am on the pediatrics unit so I thought I could maybe play with the kids or something. Turns out, I was flat out wrong. Instead, all I get to do is push a button when a visitor comes and wants to get in to the pediatrics unit of the hospital. So I guess you could say that I am in charge of the security for the pediatrics unit on Mondays from 1:30 to 4:30 but I wouldn’t necessarily call it that. That sounds much more exciting than it really is. But it looks really good on college applications! Lol.

Yeah so I’m pretty sure that’s it. At least for right now. But please, let me know if you have any other questions!


Monday, December 13, 2010


Dear blog-readers. Today I would just like to update you on one of the most exciting things that happened to me today. I can now see! Oh my gosh, I’m so excited! It’s crazy the difference it makes when I put these glasses on and off, it’s like black and white. That’s how bad my vision has gotten since this injury. Anyway, I should probably back up for just a second. So today we finally got to go see the eye doctor. The reason why I say “finally” and “got to” is because I have wanted to see him for SO long. Just so that I could see again, and not always have to go like 2 feet away from the board to see anything and stuff like that. Anywho, so we finally got to go see him today. He did what I thought he would do, he gave me a prescription for glasses. I think I look SO ugly in glasses, but if it makes it so I can see finally, it’s worth it. So yeah, that would be my big important update for today. But oh my gosh, I’m so excited. It was funny, as we drove around today I just could not stop obsessing about how I can finally see things! Oh man, it’s so great!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Brian and progress

So I decided that we don’t need to be so lazy about updating my blog all the time and maybe I should start to update it more often. That is, if anyone still reads it. Because I’m not sure if anyone still even does. So anyway, there are 3 main things I would like to address to you today. First would be BRIAN REGAN!! Second would be standing, and third would be running!

So anyway Brian Regan. Oh man, this was the best thing ever! So my Bishop, who is a CFO for NuSkin, had a business party for their company with a Brian Regan entertainment. So my bishop could get a whole bunch of tickets for this thing so he gave me 6 flipping tickets to go see Brian Regan!!! Oh my gosh, it was incredible! He had quite a few new jokes that I hadn’t heard before, but he also did have some I knew very well. Including this one joke he has that goes something like this: My teacher once asked me what the I before E rule was and I said I before E, always. Okay? So he was forgetting his own lines for this joke but it was great because I was on the third row and I said always before him so he looked down at me and then said always. Oh man it was great. Even though, I unfortunately didn’t see it, my friends and family still told me that was what happened. Anywho, so yeah I got to bring my family and two of my closest friends. It was pretty exciting. And although I did not get to go back and meet him or anything, its ok because I’m still counting on his promise that next time he comes in town we can get backstage passes.

So about standing. If you don’t remember, it was not very long ago when I couldn’t walk without assistance let alone stand for very long. So I still have quite a few issues with standing, like I really just can’t stand for very long but it was so great what happened to me the other day. So I was in seminary and I just didn’t feel like sitting. Which is really weird for me because I ALWAYS feel like sitting. But yeah so anyway, I asked my teacher if I could maybe just stand reverently during class. And he said that would be fine so I did. He eventually said something about having a new calling, being the reverent child, then he also had me come stand at the front of the class to show everyone how reverent I was being. Anywho, so then I got kind of tired not too long after I was up there, but I decided I needed to stick it out to practice standing so I could get better at it. So I then stood up for almost all of the class. At like 2:05 I finally sat down, but yeah, that would mean that I would have been standing for over a whole freaking hour! Which is incredible, by the way. I still can’t do that, unless I force myself to, but I just get tired way too quickly.

So running. Running was great. I found out the other day that I can totally run again! Which is kind of a miracle, no wait, it is a miracle. I totally ran from McDonalds, which is right across the street from the school, into the school! It was great. And granted, I still did kind of feel like the whole world around me was just like bouncing up and down and stuff but I still ran! And that’s really all that matters. Lol. So yeah, I’m jazzed to start playing football again once spring comes back around. I don’t really know who I’d play with but still, it’d still be totally awesome! Anywho, so I think that’s just about it.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The big miracle is still emerging!

I keep thinking that I will find the time to post something to the blog. But there always seems to be more to do than can be humanly accomplished. Then I think back on how we dropped everything and lived at the hospital for 7 weeks. Why do we forget such important lessons??

Tonight this entry was prompted by an experience Shan and I had. Shannon still struggles to go to sleep at night. Her dad or I usually spend time with her, reading scriptures, telling her stories (especially about her hospital stay), etc. I guess if you lose a whole month or more from your life, you kind of want to know what was happening to you. A few days ago, Shannon started printing out the blog we have written with all the messages and we started reading it. For me, it has brought back a whole array of emotions that we experienced at the time. As I was reading to Shan tonight, what came back so strongly was all the love and support that we got from so many many people. Many of the posts I had a very hard time getting through for the tears that were in the way! My heart just swelled with gratitude and love for all who have been there for us. It is mind boggling to think of so many.

I was also reminded that we are on a journey towards our one big miracle. In the hospital, we looked for and saw every little miracle along the way. One entry talked about the baby steps we take on the road towards the big miracle. That big miracle is Shannon's full recovery. We aren't there yet. And when I stop to reflect on our daily happenings, I realize that there still are many tender mercies and little miracles coming from our Father in Heaven on our way to that big miracle. We are so close to that big miracle and we see it happening every day. Shannon's strong determination is a great asset to her. She truly is in control of this miracle now!

Early on, when Shannon was slowly coming out of the drug induced coma, several people commented on how Shannon would now have control. Through her hard work and determination, we certainly are seeing that now. She is amazing. The time in the hospital is pretty blurry to her but life today is very real and in her mind, (and it is her experience), this time now is much harder than in the hospital. And still she keeps working to improve and do better and to keep the faith. She is amazing.

Just for the record, I will give you a few updates. Shannon's eyes continue to improve albeit very slowly. Her balance is really doing well most of the time. Her awareness of people and things around her continues to increase. Due to the doctor's comments, we are letting Shannon drive occasionally when she is with us. She is doing rather well but her reflexes and awareness are still not quite strong enough to take the needed driving test. As she mentioned, she got a 4.0 last term but she had to really work hard. She had lots of support from her Dad and her teachers but she did it. Her moods are stabelizing and her coping skills are increasing. As I said, she really is amazing and is making ongoing progress.

It puts things into perspective when you see the doctors. 6 weeks ago when we saw the neurosurgeon after a month, he walked in, looked at her and his eyes began to fill with tears, just seeing her there. Last week when we told him about her grades, he looked at her, slowly began to shake his head and said, "Unbelievable!". Yes, when we remember where she was a little over 6 months ago, we all know that it is a miracle. That miracle continues to happen and the end in not here yet. We are grateful to know that the Lord is still very mindful of Shannon and our family. We know that prayers continue to be answered. It is never as fast as she (or any of us for that matter) would like, but the answers do come!

Congratulations Shannon on your 6 month mark! You continue to defy all odds! And we are so glad! We love you!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

4.0 and faith

Well my friends, I figured we should probably update the blog a lot more often. So here I am, updating the blog. First things first, I think this term I’m getting a 4.0! I am so excited for that! Especially for getting an A in that wretched AP Biology class. I didn’t think that was even possible, but here I am with an A in AP Biology! And even better is that this class is one of the few which have already put in all of their stuff for this term, unlike many of my other classes, which would be why I’m not totally certain I have a 4.0. So anywho, my sister-in-law, Kim, told me I needed to further emphasize my 4.0 on here by saying some of the following things. I’m getting a 4.0 this term. Not only that, but I also have 3 AP classes. So the 4.0 on a weighted scale would be much higher. And I had a brain injury just 5 and ½ months ago. It wasn’t just some lousy brain injury either folks, it was a BAD one. It was one that was a necessity to take out an entire ½ section of my skull. If they would’ve only taken out a ¼, like they usually do, I would have died. It caused me to be 7 weeks in that freaking hospital. In fact, I’m not even supposed to be in school right now, let alone getting straight A’s. If any other person EVER, were to ever do this, they would for sure have gotten maybe only like C’s or something. Like we’ve said all along, I’ve defied all odds ever written in any stinking book! Huzzah!

As for everything else, I cannot quite get enough faith or prayers or whatever in my behalf these days. I’ve tried my very hardest to come closer to the Lord, but for some odd reason, I still feel so distanced. Even with my whole heart believing that He can do ANYTHING, I still don’t seem to have enough faith. So if anyone has any great ideas for me that would be spectacular. I mean hey, I’m reading my scriptures every day, saying my prayers every day, etc, yet for some reason I still can’t feel His love. Or anyone’s love for that matter. In all honesty, I have no clue who the crap actually wants me in their life or not. Which is something super hard and extremely sad to try to deal with. Because even my parents, I feel like I’m just a burden to them. And I know I’m not, at least I must not be, but I can’t feel it. And I know that must be hard to understand but it’s just how I feel.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We're still here.

I think about the blog almost every day. The last time I wrote, Shannon misunderstood my intent in some of my writings which caused a bit of a challenge. Since then I have tried to figure out whose blog this is! It began as a method of informing family and friends about Shannon's condition, from hour to hour. Those first few weeks were such critical ones. We wrote about her medical condition and the writing slowly turned to how we were coping,dealing, learning, and growing in our faith. At least for me, it was not only theraputic but healing. Writing helped me to put things into perspective as well.
But as Shannon continued to progress, the blog became more and more her blog. It is her blog. It is about her. Yet, her story has many characters in it and her family members are certainly main characters.
I am sure you have noticed in the last few posts that Shannon doesn't always agree with what I write. So not knowing for sure what all I may write about tonight, please know that these are my opinions, my perceptions, and not necessarily those of the main character, ie., Shannon. :)
There is so much in my heart that I would like to share about this whole process but it feels like we need to read the end of the book and come back to the middle. And since the ending is not written yet, it's hard to give you the middle. I think I will need to write in my own journal and someday transfor it to Shannon's story.
It's been over 5 1/2 months since the accident. They have told us repeatedly that the major part of the recovery takes a full year at least and then it continues on even after that. Tuesday evening, Shannon and I had a choice experience with Aaron. You may recall that he is Shannon's oldest brother, a doctor in his general surgery residency. He flew to be with us right after Shannon's accident. It was bedtime and Shannon was having a hard time settling in for sleep. Those quiet moments before sleep comes are particularly difficult for her. Aaron sat on her bed and rehearsed to her how serious her injury was. He told her of his friend who is a pathologist who told him that as a pathologist doing an autopsy, once they see an injury like Shannon's, they look no further for the cause of death. Very few people live with an injury such as hers and if they do, they certainly aren't up walking, talking and definitely not going to school. And yet, that is exactly what Shannon is doing. From the very beginning, we have seen one miracle after another. Shannon prays for a miracle and may not recognized that God has been granting one miracle after another--He has and He is. They just don't all come at once. Aaron talked with her about the miracle that she is and how grateful he was that she was alive and doing as well as she is. Tears were shed, hugs exchanged and expressions of love given. It was a sweet and tender experience for me to be a part of. What strength, support and love there is between siblings.

We had our entire family together this last weekend. It was not planned, but another tender mercy from Father in Heaven knowing that it could help us carry on, it fell into place and we were together! I looked at each member of the family and saw how this experience had affected us all--each very differently--some good and some not so good. There is still much healing that needs to happen for all of us. But we are a family; a forever family, a family that is not complete without every one of us. I don't think that there are many families out there that has the diversity in it that we have and yet we all love each other and are better together than apart. I am so grateful for each one--from my dear devoted husband, each child and the spouses and those beautiful grandchildren. It takes a lot of work with all the diversity but it seems that each is willing to put forth the effort and build upon the foundation. What a blessing...

My update on how Shannon is doing--very well! Shan is working so hard to do well in schoool and she is succeeding. She has always been an excellent student and still is. She has to put forth a lot more effort now but she does it. The only class she is struggling with is AP Biology. She has a great teacher who is working with her but it is still just a very tough class for her. But rest assured, her plan is still in place. She has been accepted at the UofU and we expect that she will be accepted at BYU as well very soon.

Shan recently received one of here greatest wishes...she wanted long hair. We had planned on extensions but after learning more about them, chose to buy a wig instead. It is a beautiful wig and very natural looking. But I think she has learned just like with the rollerblading; what she thought was so majorly important, isn't as important as she once thought. She wears her wig some days and some days not.
Shannon's eyes seem to have gotten a little better. She doesn't complain of double vision any more and she doesn't seem to squint to see as much. Her balance is much better but from time to time, she still loses it some. But she erects herself even carrying her computer bag on one shoulder and her 40# book bag on the other! She is amazing!
Shannon continues to reach out to others. As tough as the friend issue is, she doesn't give up on them. She reaches out. She reaches out to YW leaders who she dearly loves. She reaches out to nieces and siblings. She reaches out to many other children in the neighborhood. She continues in her volunteer job at the hospital. She repeatedly tells her "mommy and daddy" that she loves them. And she thinks she doesn't do anything for anyone! Goodness, this world is a much brighter place because of her.
Last, we are still here...we are still working the recovery process the best we can. We still visit lots of doctors and do quite a bit of therapy. We are still fighting the insurance. (The lastest is that they are now refusing to pay for the therapy they APPROVED! No wonder healthcare is a mess--the insurance companies have quite a racket going! They pay when they want to.) We are still making chocolate milkshakes for breakfast! We are still dealing with the emotional challenges. We continue to express our gratitude to all who continue to support us and be there for us. What a blessing so many others have been in our lives.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

5-month mark

So there really is nothing to report, at least not that I can think of, if anyone has any questions, just let me know. But today is my 5 month mark! And I was pretty excited about that so I just had to put that on here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From Shannon

Well it’s me once again. I’m just here to say WOW and thank you all so much for everyone who prayed for me and my sweet family. I honestly cannot believe that I was in a medically-induced coma for 2 and ½ weeks and that I was on the very brink of death. I mean hey, without God’s help, it’s the only way I could have possibly survived that. But here I am, doing just fine. I mean hey I have almost straight As (with the exception of one A-) and I seem to be doing fine elsewhere too. The thing I still really struggle with is my memory; it does not seem to want to let me remember much from seconds ago, and vision. In fact, I’ve even been looking down instead of straight ahead when I walk most of the time. So that much kind of sucks. That reminds me of my “that much is good” saying I said in the hospital almost every day. But yeah, so there’s all of that, and one of my friends got in a car accident the other day, for more information you can visit her blog which is And I’ve been rollerblading a little bit. Still have not fallen since the time I went to my friend’s and back. But it’s not nearly as great when you have to have someone with you all the time and you can’t just go! But yeah, so anywho, I don’t think there really is anything more to report....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sept. 19

Last week we had 3 doctors' appointments which is not out of the ordinary. But this week we only had ONE! Each time a doctor stretches out the time between appointments it helps us realize that Shannon is continuing to heal and is well on her way!
Here's a few updates: Rollerblading: Every chance Shannon gets, she wants to go rollerblading! So much so, that this "old mother" of hers, decided the old blades that she had been using to skate with Shannon were not going to cut it! So I bought me a new pair in hopes that I can get MY BALANCE back and keep up with Shannon for a while. She is doing marvelously well! Last night she rode her blades down to a friends' house (about 2 blocks) and all the way back with out any problems. It is a slight hill which she hadn't really been on since the accident. She really is doing great on them and it has also helped a lot with her balance.

The miracles don't seem to stop. Shannon is doing very well in school, even in her AP classes. We found that her ability to stay focused for a long time is difficult especially when she would take a test. So with the help of the 504 plan, it was decided that she would do every other question on a long test. That has helped immensely. Some things can't be done that way, like the group section of the test. But she did ok there. Her test scores may not be as high as they used to be but so far she is still pulling "A"s in all of her classes. She definitely studies more than she used to--or at least it seems to us that she does. She is still tired at the end of the day but it seems to me that it is not as extreme as before. It is very difficult for her to stand in one place for any amount of time so she says she just has to keep moving some how or another. That issue was one of the main factors that she decided not to go to the "Sadie Hawkins" dance. She didn't know if the boy she was thinking of asking would know enough about a TBI to understand.

Challenges still continue in several areas. I think when you first hit a hard trial as we did, it was easy to be spiritually in tune. When we "lived" at the hospital, our thoughts were focused on the Lord and His amazing grace, power and support. As I type this it reminds me of how it was in the missionfield. Without distractions of normal life, one truly can draw nearer to God. It's when things are somewhat back to normal and the demands of life take time away from that intense concentration that we seem to lose our intense focus on the Lord. And that then becomes our trial...staying spiritual in tune with the Lord with the distractions of life. I think as far as a trial goes, as far as spiritual growth goes, that is the bigger trial.

Another challenge that Shannon faces is that as she continues to improve, I have a tendency to assume and expect things to be back to normal. It is hard in the challenges that are faced with teenagers, to remember that Shannon is a teenager and the emotions and desires are intensified because of the TBI. So when our relationship gets rocky, I want to handle things as I have in the past with teenagers. But I can't do that. It is a very fine line to know where the issue is a typical teenager maturing issue and where the TBI takes over. Typical disagreements that most all parents have with their teenagers seem harder to deal with because of the TBI. Fortunately, Shannon's goodness and desire to do what is right prevails.

The last challenge is a delicate topic for I don't know who all reads the blog. But one day, Shannon will want to remember how it was so she can be more understanding of others. Because Shannon is at school and involved with friends at school, there is often expectations of her friends that she should be the old Shannon. Depression is a major obstacle as those with TBI attest. It is difficult to accept a new life when the old life was going great!! Shannon has been negative about her situation--who wouldn't be? Depression is not something that you get over in a day or two or with a pill or two. There are many components to it and a TBI brings added components as the brain is healing the emotional connections. It seems that many of Shannon's friends are not able to accept, deal with, remember, support, etc as Shannon continues to heal. The visits, calls, texts, invites, etc from friends has almost become non-existent unless Shannon initiates them. She is amazing how she continues to reach out to them. They certainly interact with her at school and support her there which is good. I have heard from some friends that they don't know if Shannon is allowed to go do things. Could that be the excuse?? That surprises me because she had been going and doing lots of things including going to other people's houses, YWs, and now even school, etc. And I have told many of them that she can go. It has been a hard thing to watch especially with some that I thought for sure would always be there. Maybe there are other reasons but the ones I mentioned are the ones that I have been told about.

Now rather than end this on a downer note, let me tell you about Shannon's volunteer position. Shannon has signed up to be a volunteer at the American Fork Hospital in pediatrics. My goodness there is a lot of paperwork and training that has to happen before a person can volunteer!! She had to show that all her immunizations were current. They had asked us in the hospital when Shannon had had her last tetanus shot and she was due for one. We just assumed that they gave it to her. So when we went through the hundreds of pages of hospital records, no mention of a tetanus shot was found. So we had to get that shot taken care of. The hospital supplied the TB tests which took 2 shots a week apart and a follow up check to be sure all was clear! She took all the trainings needed and did all the paperwork. She picked up her uniform shirt and her badge and she starts next week!! She is excited to be able to serve and especially serve where there are children. This by the way was Shannon's idea.

In the past, we wouldn't have known about all the details of things like school or volunteering. But because we get to be Shannon's chauffeurs and help her with such things, we have the opportunity to be more involved in the details of her life. It is a great blessing and a joy to us to spend more time with Shannon than we would have if she had not been in the accident. If we could change whether Shannon had her accident or not, as hard as it has been, as her parents I don't think we would want it changed. We have seen too many miracles, felt the love and the support of family, friends, ward members and people we don't even know, watched the great qualities of our daughter grow even stronger, and have felt God's presence in the details of our lives to want to give that up. That's easier to say now because we know we will have that full recovery!! But we have seen tremendous blessings in our lives and many others due to this trial in our lives. The trial isn't over yet and there are still tough aspects to deal with but knowing that God loves us and is there for us makes it do-able. We know God will bless us and help us to see things a little better. Oh, if we could only always "look through the lens of eternity".

(Oh and by the way, we have passed the 4 month mark since the accident.)


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Roller Blades!!??!!

I don't know if we have mentioned this before but Shannon has really had a hard time about not being "allowed" to rollerblade. It has been a very big issue and in fact, we heard about it several times a day until she had seen all the doctors who could possibly give her permission and they had all said no! But at each doctor, she would ask, with her goal oriented determination, "what exactly do I have to do to be able to rollerblade?" She wouldn't take a simple "wait and we'll see" answer but had to have some specifics. One of the specifics was to work on her balance by walking a straight line heel to toe without losing her balance. Well, she has worked hard on that but we all know there would be more to the approval of rollerblading than just that--or so we thought! Once again, Shannon's sheer determination has proven us wrong. Read to the end...

Today we had an appointment with Dr. SuchNeibar, the Rehab doc. She last saw Shannon a month ago. Just 4 weeks ago, Shannon was mad and upset the whole time at the doctor's office. There was no way Dr. SuchNeibar would think for a second that Shannon liked her at all. It was not a good experience for any of us! However, Shannon has made some drastic improvements in 4 weeks. Today, she didn't show any hostilities, sat rather quiet, responded well to questioning, etc. Dr. SuchNiebar was amazed! Then it was my turn to be amazed as well. When the doctor did an exam on Shannon, it was truly amazing to see how much she had improved!! It was easy to recall how she had performed at the last appointment even with the muscle strength testing. Wow! Shan has made a lot of great progress! Dr. SuchNeibar kept saying “wow” as she would test her strength in different areas. She then, had her do the heel toe walk. Well, since Shannon has practiced that so much, she did very well. She didn’t do as well standing on one leg but kept telling SuchNeibar that she could do it better. It was pretty normal….6-10 seconds with minimal wobbling. After the exam, Dr. SuchNeibar said, “Shannon I think it is time that we get you doing some other activities. What would you like to do?” Shannon looked at her funny, wondering what she was talking about and said, “What do you mean?” Dr said, “Well, like biking…” before she could say another word, Shannon, with great hopeful anticipation, spat out, “rollerblading?” ! I don’t know how the Dr could have said no! So we talked about it for a while and Dr SuchNeibar said that the purpose was to help her work more on balance with a different kind of activity and so she would allow rollerblading with certain limitations. The limitations included using all safety equipment (Shannon said, "well, ya, DUH!"), no hills, tricks, jumps, etc. until approved by parents and it must be done under supervision! Shannon was elated! We finally saw a smile out of her!!
I think the only thing that could compare to her excitement was her call from Brian Regan!! As soon as we got in the car, she started calling people to tell them the great news! It was fun to listen to her but I still had my apprehensions. And it sounded like most of those she called did too as they would make comments showing concern for her safety!
We weren't in the door at home 5 minutes before she had her blades on and was ready to go. She had another appointment at 4:00 o'clock and so really only had 15 minutes. We went out on to the flat area of our driveway. I was right there as well as another friend. I didn't quite know what to expect. Although she was a bit off, she said that it felt like it always did. She had always played basketball on her rollerblades so after a few minutes had to have the ball. Again, I kept myself within arms reach as best I could! She made several baskets and I would retrieve the ball for her. After about 6 minutes or so, she began to tire a little. She went after the ball once, hit the grass, and promptly landed on her bum! I told her she could land on her bum all she wanted just no place else!! A few minutes later she was by the grass again and fell again. Within the next couple of minutes she had lost her balance twice more. But she always landed on her bum. This is really going to be a great exercise for her balance but scary for her mom!! We definitely will take it VERY SLOWLY! She isn't as in control as she needs to be but if we take it slow and work on it frequently, it will come. It was great to have her be able to do something that she has wanted to do so badly since the accident. Oh those sweet tender mercies.... Of all the things that I am learning through this whole ordeal, I think recognizing how much God is in the details of our lives is the most important for we have experienced those tender mercies so often. And so we have hit another milestone...back on rollerblades!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

1st full week of school

It's so great when Udell writes because he is so concise, gives great updates and is much more eloquent in his writing skills than I. Oh well...
It is true, I did take a significant break last week (more than just a couple hours)for the first time since the accident. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I was headed home. Our grandson was born this week 5 days after I left. We are anxious to get to a point that Shannon feels that she can travel that far so we can go see the cute little tyke!
This being Labor Day weekend, we kept trying to find some place that we could go for a family getaway. It's too short of a break to go where Shannon wants to go (a beach or her nieces' and nephews) and even if it weren't, any time we talk about driving anywhere more than an hour away, she just doesn't want to. I am not sure but I think it could be one or more of the following reasons: 1) riding in a car still just wears her out, 2) attention span creates frustration when staying in the same place for very long, 3) its a confined space and she can't really stretch her body out 4) she is reminded that she still isn't well enough to drive. It's a good thing that we like home because that's where we will be for a while.
It has been an interesting week for me to watch. I say watch because Udell, being the intellect that he is and was here to get Shannon started in school, has become Shannon's tutor. How grateful I am for the wonderful father and husband that he is! He has spent many hours at the school this week. As Shannon became more aware of the challenges she faces in school, she repeatedly changed her mind on what classes to take. We think we are finally where she is going to be. She dropped AP Literature because the work and reading seemed overwhelming. And then she picked up the second round of AP Calculus (BC) and a regular English class making her have 8 classes. Then she found out that universities do not give you more credit for taking the 2nd calculus class; she said "what's the point?" and dropped it. Each time there was a class change, it was a domino effect on her schedule and it took a while to get things in place. It also added different teachers that needed to be informed of Shannon's situation. Even though they did the 504 accommodation plan last week, the assistant principal hadn't sent it to the teachers! So we had and have more items to be sure the teachers are informed about.
Shannon has done very well in school. It was not successful in trying to get someone to help her navigate the halls of this 2500 student high school but she says she is doing fine getting from one class to another. Shannon also frequently says that some of her classes are so boring. That's not typical of Shannon and we are wondering if maybe the short attention span and the lack of moving around is more the cause of the boredom. Or maybe there just are some teachers that are boring.
Shannon is so dedicated to her schoolwork. Reading is still very taxing on her and again, her dad has been the one she has asked for. So Udell feels like he is taking a biology, a stats and a psych class! :) He'll sit and read to her and she takes notes on her computer. She truly is amazing at finding ways to compensate for the challenges.
One very big challenge is that she does get extremely tired. It is important to her not to be singled out for any reason and so she doesn't want to get up and leave a class. From what she says, she does put her head down and rests. By the end of this first week, she was really tired! She isn't sleepy tired, it's the cognitive tired and that then affects her physically. It is hard to stand for a long time so I guess there is a physical aspect to it as well. All the professionals just keep telling us, it takes time! We never have had a lot of patience in this house!
We saw a pretty good example of dealing with the cognitive fatigue last night. She was so tired and didn't want to do anything or to really even talk much. She was also feeling down for she doesn't feel she is surrounded by friends like she used to be. But, much as before the accident, she started texting a few people and soon she had 3 friends over. They played some cards and then went outside and kicked some balls around for a while and then watched a movie. She seemed to have a good time and perked up substantially. She wasn't needing to focus or concentrate mentally on what she was doing and so not only were her spirits lifted but she had more energy. There is such a stark difference between being cognitive fatigued and physically fatigued.

Today Shannon was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost at the Stake Baptism. (Thanks Primary President for giving her the opportunity!!) We had only been sitting there a few minutes when the mom of the twin boys being baptized came over. She was a bit emotional when she told Shannon how awesome it was that she was giving the talk because the twins had and still do pray for her every time it is their turn to say the family prayer. It meant a lot to her and I am sure she will take the time to remind her boys of Shannon's miracle and the power of prayer in their lives. For me, it was, first, good to know that we still have people actively praying for Shannon and second, to again be touched by the amazing teaching opportunities that have come due to the accident and it made me aware, again, that Father in Heaven is mindful of us. I think more than ever, I have had simple little experiences like this one that is constantly reminding me that Father is very aware of us. As He uses Shannon's miracle to touch so many of His children and as we struggle along, He allows us to know some of the blessings that have come to others because of all this. As Shannon's family, we have been made aware of many miracles that have come about as people have witnessed the ongoing miraculous recovery that she is experiencing. I don't think that Shannon appreciates that yet and may not for a very long time. It is not an easy thing to live through.
For now, her miracle is this; just a short (or in our minds-long) 17 weeks ago, Shannon was nearly killed suffering a very severe brain injury and for at least 3 weeks after, we didn't know if she would live or die and yet, today she is back at school, taking some pretty challenging classes and volunteering at the hospital. She still has a long road ahead of her, but from where she was and has been a long the way, she is a living walking miracle! She doesn't like any attention being drawn to that fact, but the reality is, that it is true!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back In School

Pheobe felt that I should make an entry this week since 1) I haven't written for quite a while and 2) I was here this week while she was in Seattle. (We thought a new grandson was on his way last weekend, but he decided to hang out in a more comfortable environment for a few more days. Pheobe spent several days there and got home early this morning.)

But the big news is that Shannon started her Senior year of High School last Wednesday. She is taking a full load of classes--2 AP Math classes (Calculus BC, Statistics), AP Biology, AP Psychology, Drama, English, Debate and Seminary. She and I went and talked to the assistant principal on Monday and got a 504 accommodation plan in place which will help her perform well in her classes as she continues to recover from her TBI. I spent time talking to her teachers and they are all really supportive--in fact one of her teachers suffered a TBI in a car accident a few years ago and has a personal understanding of all this. For the most part, things have gone well this week. We will be interested to see how things go as the workload of classes gets into full swing. She met with the psychologist again on Wednesday. He showed Shannon the scans of her brain as he taught her about brain injuries and the process of recovery. She seemed to enjoy that and has a good rapport with him. We continue to see improvement in mood stabilization and increased stamina. She was more tired after school on Thursday than she had been on Wednesday. I don't know if that was a cumulative affect or if it was because the classes on Thursday were more challenging.

Some time in the past few weeks Shannon decided that she wanted to volunteer at the American Fork Hospital--she really wants to be able to work with children who have suffered brain injuries. She had filled out the applications, submitted them and had an interview last week. Wednesday, they called to offer her a volunteer position. So she will be working at the hospital once a week on Monday afternoons. She seems pretty excited about that.

We are at the stage where there is more time between significant milestones. We are finding again and again that for many things there are no concrete answers--just lots of questions. Some answers come with time, which can be pretty frustrating for Shannon and for us. We appreciate you continued concern for us and for your support and help as we walk down this path together. Thanks so much!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thursday we met with Dr. Giles, the last time Shannon met her, it wasn't very pleasant. However, this time was much better. This is the doctor who prescribes the medications for Shannon. She was very pleased at the progress Shannon is making.
We also met with a pediatric psychologist that will be helping Shannon with some of the challenging adjustments she is still facing. We were all very impressed with him and his knowledge about brain injuries. It is always such a great feeling to leave a doctor's office and feel like they really know what they are doing for you! So much of medicine is a guessing game because we are all so different.
We have had two meetings with the school. We had such hope that this would be easy to get the help needed but as with all education people, they are spread too thin. We are still at some what of a stalemate with Shannon as she believes she will be totally fine at school all day. And with her determination, she just might very well show us that we are underestimating her will power!! Her balance is still a bit of a concern...especially when there is a lot going on around her and when she is tired. With the amount of concentration that is needed for all the classes she is taken, we are concerned about how tired she will be as well. But as we have said many times before, time will tell and we will just have to wait and have patience and trust in Shannon and the Lord.
Someone mentioned Shannon's restrictions and so I thought I should update everyone there. As Shannon has continued to progress and make wise choices, the more of her "freedoms" (rather privledges) have been given back to her. There are some that will not ever be because they should have been restricted long before the accident. But yes, Shannon can go out with friends, she has full access to her computer so long as it is being used in the family room/ kitchen. She has her phone for the most part but not for use in her bedroom! HOWEVER now the phone is not in working order so she still can't call. Dad is working to get that taken care of as well. But all in all, for the most part, Shannon has complied with the restrictions to the point and has progressed far enough that we believe she can handle the types of challenges that may come with the phone and computer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where did it go?

I went to find what I had written last about the insurance, knowing I had written about the 2nd appeal and I couldn't find the entry. In going back again today, I found where it was supposed to be! The entry on Thursday 8-6-10, near the end, I say there is always good news and bad news. I had written a very lengthy explanation of the bad news and I think I decided it was too much so I deleted it thinking I would rewrite it and then never did. Since it took me so long to write it in the first place, I totally forgot that I had deleted it! It all just goes to prove that my brain is mush!
The "bad news" was the details about the 2nd insurance denial. I gave a lot of details but today I will really only give just a few. First, obviously it was denied. We had the opportunity of "presenting" (only 10 minutes) to the 3 person committee by teleconference. We even had Dr. SuchNeibar on the line and gave her input. They didn't say a word until the end and with the first question out of the doctor's (from the committee) mouth, it was obvious he had already made up his mind before we even got on the phone. I truly do not believe that they had read all the documentation that we had sent. As you recall, one of the main medical issues was that Shannon's condition causes her to fatigue to the point that a trip to SLC to therapists would make the therapy sessions very ineffective. The doctor actually even recognized that by asking why the hospital didn't have a place for us to stay that was closer to the hospital! Ya, he asked that! Then he said, knowing that we are paying out of pocket for the current therapies, "why don't the parents just use that money for a hotel closer to the therapists?" He truly wanted to totally displace the family so Shannon wouldn't have to deal with the fatigue issues. Doesn't that admit that they know she can't travel to therapy? Then we get the denial letter and it says that her CURRENT conditions do not warrant more therapy! Well, first, she has made a lot of progress which is due to the fact that we have paid out of pocket for her therapies that they should be paying for this entire last month! She still needs the therapy, but not as much so she has remained in therapy. And we were appealing the denial of the services back 4 weeks ago. This, by the way for anyone who might want to know, is Regence BlueCross BlueShield. You can obviously tell that I get pretty steamed about the whole issue. I believe much of it is because we are private pay individuals without a big business client to back us up. We are easy for big BlueCross BlueShield to refuse to pay. We have been told that because they have the big bucks that we would not have a chance if we took them to court. Again, the little guy... We have 180 days to file our last appeal. This appeal goes to an outside group that is not supposed to be biased by BlueCross BlueShield. But they are paid by them and one of the voting members of the last appeal committee is the one that delivers all the documentation to the outside group. Somehow that doesn't give me a lot of confidence that it will be unbiased. So when we have taken a long enough break from the stress of dealing with the insurance, we will file the last appeal and see if it has all been for not.
Gratefully, we have had good therapists that have continued on with Shannon with us paying them. Continuity is so important. They have really taken Shannon a long ways. We are grateful for their efforts and their tolerance with all the challenges that they have faced!
With the update on the insurance, which was supposed to be posted a week ago, I will end this post and finish the one I started last night.

Monday, August 16, 2010

All good news!

Thank you all for your comments! There were very helpful during a time that the support was needed. Once again the Lord provides a way to let us know that His angels are watching over us!

Tonight I wanted to give a couple of updates. First, we went to the eye doctor last week. That was a very positive experience. The doctor looked in her eyes and remarked how great the corneas looked! As you recall, the last time her vision was 20/70 and 20/80 but it has improved to 20/40 and 20/50! He expects it to just continue improving although it may seem slow. He suggested she sit in the front of the classroom and use reading glasses only if she wanted to. Then he didn't want to see us back for 4 months!! Good News! We love the good news!! She does still struggle with her eyesight and squints one eye a lot but she does get by very well.

More good news is that Shannon seems to be much calmer with fewer incidents of anger or sadness. We have had several very good days in the last week. Yesterday all 3 therapists commented on how well she was doing and how her attitude made all the difference. She about wore me out though! Yesterday I went with her and her physical therapist on a walk for 70 minutes!! It had a pretty good clip most of the way. We made a few brief stops; Grandma's and 2 of the YW leaders homes. But I was tired when we returned. An hour and a half later, Shannon was involved in OT and then Speech, one right after the other. Immediately, after that we went to the AF hospital because Shannon had an interview for a volunteer position she herself had applied for! She would be awesome and it would be a great place for her to give back to the community. We hope that the fact that she is a senior and is still in recovery won't stop them from letting her serve there. After the interview, we met Shannon's sister for a quick ice cream, went back home and a bunch of kids came to go swimming with Shannon. At 6:30 pm, she finally slowed down! It was a very long day and today it shows in that she is more tired than usual but she is still doing all that she needs to be doing. She is truly a fighter!
Another little miracle to tell you all about! We went to the dentist for the first time since the accident. Shannon went for 6-7 weeks with out a toothbrush in her mouth and habits are hard to re-establish. So her teeth have been very neglected. The dentist found a tooth that must have been injured in the accident and had since broke plus he found two very small cavities in the back of her mouth. They are all simple enough that he can fix them in one appointment. He was amazed and said himself that it was a miracle that there were not more problems with her teeth! So another miracle to add to the list. It surely is a very long list of tiny miracles that we continue to experience in the process of our "big" miracle!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Rebuttal

This is Shannon: So just to inform you all…. I may still have some vision problems- which then leads to some balance issues. As for discouragement, I’m pretty sure that’s pretty darn self-explanatory, I mean hey, when you can’t do all the things you could before, discouragement plays a pretty big role. As for depression however, I do not see that as an issue at all. The only things that could contribute to depression are my horrible dreams every night or some of my discouragement. Other than that though, I believe there is nothing wrong with my depression state. Take it from someone who has actually lived in the body everyone seems to be talking about. Fatigue, that’s only a little bit of cognitive fatigue, which really doesn’t count because the only time my parents ever see effects of that are when my therapists are trying to make me do something I don’t want to do! I mean hey, it’s not like it’s because of fatigue or anything, it’s just dumb in my mind. As for the impulsivity, wish I didn’t even have to go there. Because it freaking sucks how much my parents think I’m impulsive even though I’m really not. At all. The only recent thing I’ve done “impulsively” was leave my grandma’s house to walk home without telling my mom. But that was not impulsive because we had been there forever so I was just ready to go home, completely understandable. And I didn’t tell my mom because a) she already knew and b) because I was afraid she wouldn’t let me walk home. The other thing they’ve said I’ve done impulsively is that I did this worksheet without reading all the directions first. But the problem with that is that each direction told you to do something! So after I did it, then I’d read the next one, but pretty soon, I realized I had messed it up. LAME!!!
Other than that, I agree with the rest of the things my mommy already put. But I also must add that I did get a phone call from Brian Regan on my birthday!!!!! And it was freaking awesome. I know my mom has already posted that, but it’s always something to cheer me up! :) I didn’t believe him saying it was actually him but eventually I did. It was so crazy, man!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Patience Requires Time--Lots of it!

I was reviewing the blog looking for a comment from someone early on and came across the entry that talked about "miraculous doesn't mean instanteously". Oh my, how true that is!! How grateful I am for all the little miracles along the way that keep us from forgetting the BIG MIRACLE of a full recovery. I thought I would share a couple of the most recent little miracles for they have not ceased, we just aren't paying as much attention as we should.
Sunday, Shannon was asked to talk to the children in Primary. It was a difficult task considering Shanon hasn't been in front of a group yet. But she was asked to come to both Junior and Senior Primaries and talk to them about miracles still happen today. She talked about how the Brother of Jared had to do something himself before he got the miracle of the Lord touching the stones and causing them to give light to the barges. He had to make the plan and then find the rocks and then the Lord gave him the miracle. She then told the children that they had caused a miracle by doing something--by their fasting and praying for her because she was alive and there. All the doctors did not think she would live and yet she was standing in front of them. It was very sweet and very tender for me as her Mom to listen to. The tender mercies from this experiences--first, she was asked and second, she had to recognize herself that the fact that she is alive is a miracle. As she left the senior Primary, the Primary President said to the children, "There is your modern day miracle." She felt that internally as she was leaving without a doubt.
The question people are asking us all the time now is, "is Shannon going to go back to school?". The answer is absolutely. She is adamant that she can handle all 4 AP classes as well as debate and 2 other classes. We, of little faith, are concerned that it will be too difficult; not because of the academics but because of her cognitive fatigue. Her attention has gotten a lot better but still lacks some but mostly because of the fatigue. We are concerned about her balance walking down the halls of the high school with 2500 other students but hope that the next two weeks will make a significant difference to her balance. We are concerned and plan to be very involved--more than ever before, but we believe in Shannon. Even now at times when the fatigue gets to her, she can become focused just to prove it to us! She is a very determined girl!
So the next tender mercy I want recorded follows. Yesterday I began the process of finding out who I needed to talk to in order to get any supports we might need for Shannon. I had been told that each school district had their own TBI team. So i called the school district, and after being transferred only twice I ended up with one of the team member. I had actually been given her name before but I had lost it and so it was only by chance that I got her. We talked for a while but she couldn't help me a great deal without Shannon's records and because there was another team member that was over the secondary schools. But in the conversation, she did tell me that to get a different school counselor (whih I knew we would need), I would need to talk to the assistant principal over that department. So I called the school and was put in touch with the right assistant principal. The great tender mercy...he totally understands TBIs for his wife had a severe TBI just 3 years ago. I could have cried--to know that there is someone in authority at the school who "gets it" will make everything a little bit easier. I asked him questions about his wife and if she had dealt with some of the things that Shannon is dealing with and he said yes each time. He knows! That alone gave us peace and reaffirmed the knowledge that the Lord has a plan and it is interwoven with people's lives so that the right people are in the right places at the right time for the support that is needed for His children. It is amazing and I am once again so grateful to God for letting me know that He is there.
I think I mentioned that Shannon has begun to put a schedule into place each day. She was always excellent at planning before and making lists of what needed to be done when there was a lot to do. She is doing well at that and it is making a difference. She has more control and she is more productive each day. She has been positive with her therapists and we are cutting back on the amount of time that the therapists are here. She is scheduling activities throughout the day that they have recommended that she work on. She gets help from us when she needs it. This has also been good because the number of visitors have dwindled as would be expected. She certainly misses having people come. FYI--we don't really schedule when people come anymore, first because there aren't that many and second, because she is able to handle most any situation. Late afternoons and evenings are always best but now she even has some days where she is able to see people in the mornings. So call to see if we are here but you are welcome any time to visit. I don't know how many people are even reading the blog anymore but at least we are recording some things that will make a great history for Shannon.
We are still dealing with lots of challenges; eye sight, balance, depression, discouragement, impulsivity, and fatigue. I talked with the education specialist at Primary Childrens' today and she reminded me again that Shannon's injury was a very serious injury and it takes a very very long time for recovery. She is amazed at all Shannon is doing. So we need to remember that when things seem to be going so slowly and be grateful for where we are!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thursday 8-6-10

It’s past time to update the blog. There are just some days that are so difficult and/or so busy that even thinking about writing on the blog doesn’t come to mind.
Shannon’s birthday party and open house was a great success. Thanks to all who came, emailed, called, stopped by. It was a great day! I was quite concerned because Shannon got up in a pretty down mood. We had canceled all therapies because it was her birthday. So she had a lot of time to just do her thing and it probably wasn’t the best for her. But we continue to enjoy tender mercies. About 1:45 in the afternoon Nephi knocked on the door. As you may recall, this is the man that fell from our roof back in February and made a miraculous recovery from a brain injury as well as many other injuries. He was stopping by just to wish Shannon a Happy Birthday since they couldn’t come that evening. This was the first time that Shannon has ever actually met him. She was pleased to see him and for the next 45 minutes they talked about the similarities and the differences of their TBIs. It was really awesome and it picked Shannon’s spirits up a lot before her friends came for the party. Thank you Nephi!!
People began to arrive and we began watching the clock for we knew what was going to happen at 3:00 pm. The phone rang; Udell answered it, and then told Shannon it was for her. She wanted to know who it was and Udell just said it was for her and she would have to find out. I ran for my camera and got it going about the time she said “hello”. For the next minute or so she just kept saying things like, “really?” “You are kidding me”, “who are you?” “No, really?” She wouldn’t believe the caller when he said that he was BRIAN REGAN! Her favorite comedian that she and her dad quote all the time and have helped her through some tough times. Shannon’s sister-in-law, Kim’s sister, Erika, got the idea that it would be cool for Shannon to meet this guy she quotes so much. She got the ball rolling and then turned it over to Kim. Kim must have made a number of calls and sent several emails getting it all set up! Shannon was thrilled. She talked with him for maybe 10 minutes. He told her that he had read her blog and that she was a real inspiration to many people. He told her that he would like to meet her and that if she was ever in a city where he was performing, he would get tickets for her, her family and some friends to come to his show so he could meet her. As the conversation was coming to a close, Brian said, “well, you take care” and she said, “You take luck!” which happens to be one of Brian’s jokes. She loved pulling that one on him! Throughout the rest of the day, she would tell anyone who wanted to hear who she got to talk to that day! It was a great birthday present. Thank you Brian, Kim and Erika!!
That made the difference! The rest of the day was a pretty happy day for Shannon. She was exhausted by the end of the day but she was also very happy. It turned out not to be such a big deal for us either for I had good friends and family that stepped in and really lightened the load. How grateful I am for good friends and family.
So as most of the blog entries go now that we are home, there is always some good news and also plenty of not so good news. Tuesday, Shannon had an appointment with Dr. SuchNeibar. We went up early and delivered the remaining cookies from the night before to nurses and therapists in the hospital that had been there for Shannon. We did find Dr. Maloney this time. She was so excited to show him how well she was doing and I think he was pleased about seeing her. We also got to see our favorite PICU nurse that related so well to Shannon. I guess not many people go back that have been saved in the PICU so they don’t ever get to see that fabulous work that they accomplished saving lives! We have tried to do that each time we go to the hospital for that reason. We even were able to catch Shannon’s favorite therapist that we have always missed in the past. So that was all great. Then it was time for the doctor appointment.
It was the last appointment of the day and the doctor was busy doing many other things. This is a teaching hospital so we spent some time with a resident before actually visiting with the doctor. We had left a message that we wanted to talk to Dr. SuchNeibar without Shannon there. She gets so upset when we talk about things that she is still struggling with because she doesn’t think she is. The doctor wanted Shannon’s hearing tested so we talked to the doc while her hearing was tested. (Her hearing is perfect!) We told her about the challenging mood swings, that she doesn’t see her deficits and the on- going depression. We told her also where we thought that Shannon was at in her progression. Those kinds of things never sit well with Shannon because she thinks she is fine. In the course of the appointment, Shannon learned that we were still giving her the adderall. She had been refusing to take it before we saw Dr. Giles 2 weeks ago. Dr. Giles told her she had to take it so we thought that Shannon was on board again for taking it. The adderall was in the daily pill containers and so we just gave her what was there. We assumed she remembered what the pill looked like so she knew she was getting it. But evidently not…when we reported the meds she was taking and included adderall, she was furious with us. The rest of the appointment was mostly about her being mad about something. The doctor again told her that rollerblading as well as driving was not in the picture for a while. That made her even madder. When she is upset she doesn’t hear anything else that is said. Even so, the doctor talked in great detail to Shannon about how critical it is that we protect her head right now and how important it was to take all the medications from the doctors. It was not a pleasant experience with the doctor as Shannon was so mad at her and she was being pretty ornery. We were at the hospital for over 4 ½ hours! But everything else physically is doing fine. We thought again that we had made it through another barrier but the first day home, she refused her adderall again. What can you do?? I won’t hold her down and force her to take it. So we are beginning to see the effects of no adderall; she is more tired and her other meds aren’t working as well.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Birthday wishes

If you are unable to attend the open house to wish Shannon a "Happy Birthday", please feel free to send her a note through the blog or facebook. It hopefully will be a day that will bring lots of happiness into her life.

We have had several people ask how Annika is doing. Thank you for caring. She is doing well. She tolerated the pain well, she is eating well even though she is missing 3 teeth, and healing nicely. We will soon start the process for another bridge.

No, there is still no word from the insurance company. They tell us we should know something by Monday. We are hoping that the fight will be over and not just the beginning of another appeal.

Fast Sunday is coming up. Anyone who would like to join us by including Shannon in their fast would be awesome. I think we will be focusing on the things that are going to be so needed for her to go to school. Those areas include; a major reduction in her cognitive fatigue, her physical endurance, her balance, a reduction in impulsivity, and emotional stability. Shannon is such a goal oriented, determined young woman. This without a doubt is the hardest thing she has ever dealt with and may be the hardest in her lifetime. She can get frustrated and discouraged but she still continues to amaze me. With her birthday coming, it is just one more reminder of how blessed we are to still have her with us. Thank you all again for your faith and prayers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Birthday Time

We wanted to give a quick update and also extend an invitation to a birthday celebration/open house that we are having on Shannon's birthday this coming Monday, August 2nd. This is Shannon's 17th Birthday--one that almost three months ago we weren't sure we would see. We have wanted to do something that would allow us to say a personal "Thank You" to the wonderful people who have supported us with their faith, prayers and encouragement. The open house will be an informal affair at our home and will last from 6-9pm on Monday August 2nd. We know it is Family Home Evening night but hope that the time will not interfere with plans you may have for your families. So if you can, stop by and wish Shannon a Happy Birthday!

This week has been a really good week. Shannon is making much progress. Her stamina and endurance are a lot better and her abilities continue to expand. For the most part she has been upbeat and has maintained the positive attitude that Pheobe mentioned in her last post. On Tuesday we went to see Dr. Walker, the neurosurgeon that performed the initial surgery and then the bone flap replacement surgery. He was really pleased with how well Shannon is doing. She had hoped that he would give her the "go-ahead" for rollerblading but suggested to her that she continue to work on some things before she takes that step. Although very disappointed, she still gave him a big hug as the appointment came to a close. He has truly been one of God's miracles in our lives over the past 12 weeks. Yesterday morning, Shannon had the opportunity to attend the Provo Temple with a group of Young Women from the ward. It was great to see her doing something she enjoyed so much before her accident.

One of the things that Shannon has a difficult time understanding is why people think she is so amazing. When we go to church or to some activity, so many people want to come up and talk to her. Little children who have been praying for her for weeks want to come and meet her, some for the first time. It is really touching to see. Shannon doesn't see what the big deal is--why people continue to be so interested in her and her progress. It makes me realize that the most heroic acts are those that are born of just doing what you can in the circumstances you are in. We rarely go off seeking for opportunities to do heroic things. We are faced with challenges and we do our best to slog through, despite our weaknesses and our fears. And we never do it alone. We have people all around us to reach out and serve, support and sustain us. We continue to be the recipients of so many acts of kindness. Thank you so much for the meals, the weeding, the lawn care, the visits, the phone calls, the concern and the faith and prayers. We are eternally grateful to you all for the blessing you are in our lives and the strength you give us to keep plodding along on our journey. And we are especially grateful for the joy and happiness you bring into Shannon's life through your thoughtfulness and your concern.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tender Mercies

We have had such a great day that I had to take time to write in the blog tonight. My heart is filled with such gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven. We may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Yesterday, Sunday, Shannon attended Tonya's Sunday School class where one of her favorite people was teaching. He used Shannon as an example and told her things she needs to be doing--I guess anyway. I wasn't in the room but reports are that with great love, he helped Shannon understand how important it was to have a good attitude. I am sure there was much more said, but that seemed to be the essence. Later that evening that same wonderful man gave her another priesthood blessing assisted by her Dad. The blessing was filled with great love for Shannon and also spoke of the help that surrounds her from both sides of the veil. It was a beautiful blessing.

The effects of that teacher and the blessing....well, Shannon woke this morning at 5 am unable to sleep. She finally came in to our room about 5:30 am to snuggle. We ended up talking about important eternal things and the love that we share. It was very tender. At 6, she wanted breakfast, came downstairs and got her own breakfast! After Udell had asked her a couple of times if she wanted to go for a walk to get some physical therapy in, she finally agreed! She wanted us both to go so this morning at 7 am we were out walking the neighborhood. After about 17 minutes, we stopped in at her grandmother's and got her out of bed just to say good morning. We rested there about 20-25 minutes. Then we started walking again. We probably walked another 30-35 minutes. And that wasn't enough for her. She headed to the basement and got on the treadmill, did some balance exercises, and did a few free weights!!! Two hours of a physical workout!
We assumed that it was because she was proving to us that she was at a level 9 in the TBI scale that we use. At that level, she should be able to sustain 2 hours of activity without getting tired. Well, she was tired today, but she did it.
But not only that, Shannon did incredible in both her speech and OT therapies today. She worked hard and just kept herself going even though she was tired.
And the icing on the cake....she was pretty much pleasant the entire day!! At our extended family activity tonight she told her aunt that she had learned things at church that had helped her change her attitude. It was obvious today that something had changed.
It has been an amazing day and I know that it was because Father in Heaven heard all of our prayers and just made things work out. I am sure He knows our limits, He allows us to be stretched beyond what we think are our limits maybe to show us we can do more than we think we can.
I also have to add tonight once again that there are so many people around us that listen to the Spirit and heed what they are prompted to do. Over and over and over, someone will call right at the right moment and will make all the difference in the world to Shannon's moods. We are so grateful for the love of so many. It is so hard to imagine! And we are forever grateful to all of you who continue to make a difference in our lives. Thank you. Let's pray that we will have another day like today and that they will just continue to improve more and more.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Doc appt

Today brought a doctor appointment that at least Udell and I were anxiously waiting for. Today we saw the Pediatric Psychiatrist. She is the one that deals with the anxiety and depression meds. We NEEDED a change. The anxieties that Shannon has dealt with, have really diminished to next to nothing. But the depression has increased being manifested in many ways but especially through anger and frustration. Shannon's moods can change on a dime! She is able to stay focused enough when with friends or most company, she is able to be happy and in control. She will make it well known that she hates her hair and Primary Childrens Hospital and most of the doctors and nurses. Her anger is evident when she tells anyone about what she can't do, such as rollerblading and driving. When we went to see the doctor today, she was upset about most any subject that was talked about. I am always impressed at how professionals that work with these kinds of situations can stay so "unruffled" even after multiple verbal attacks. To Shannon, she is still the Shannon she remembers--everything that she can remember doing before, she believes she still can do. However, the things that are really hard, she just won't do saying she can, but won't prove it either. I think we would all feel the same way...the last time you remember, you were doing all these things just fine and now people are telling you that you can't do them. It just doesn't make sense. No wonder that she is so angry. And since it is her parents, therapists, doctors and nurses trying to get her to do the things she thinks she can still do, and won't let her do the things she loves like rollerblading, the anger is directed at all of us. It is very typical of TBI patients, to not accept/recognize their deficits for quite a while. So the changes to the meds were made but as with all mental health types of medications, it will take a while before we see the best results.

Because having her phone and computer was so important to Shannon and because she was willing to use them appropriately, we decided that would be a good thing, even if she did face natural consequences from saying things in a way that might be offensive. She has restrictions on them and so she has lost the privilege of using the phone for a couple of days. She also has seen some of the natural consequences although I am not sure the significance of those consequences is evident to her at this time. But she has been down right mean to a couple of people on the phone and they weren't very happy about it. But one good thing is that she doesn't get mad about her phone and her computer anymore because she has them at her discretion.

It is really a struggle as Shannon's parents. We are definitely caught in the middle. We have doctors and therapists telling us how cautious we must be and the things we shouldn't allow Shannon to do yet. And then we have some friends that see her who think because she looks fine and seems to do fine, that she shouldn't have the limitations. And we witness both sides...a good example of that is Shannon's balance. It definitely does better some days than others. Some days we can see it change from bad to good just depending on what's going on. There are some things that although Shannon could possible do them, there is a risk being taken not knowing if she has the ability to really catch herself if she started to fall. Today I was with Shannon walking through Gateway, waiting for Udell to have my phone fixed. She was walking so unbalanced that I told her that if a cop stopped her because he thought she might have been drinking, I was just going to keep on walking! She didn't think that was too funny--especially since she thought she was walking straight as an arrow!

The doctors are so concerned for many reasons. First, once you have had a TBI, you are 3 times more likely to get another one and the recovery results are significantly less than the first time. Once you have had a 2nd TBI, you are 10 times more likely to have another brain injury. Those aren't very good odds. The brain is still healing and will be for a very long time. The fluids around the brain have not totally settled, leaving the brain more mobile and easier to injure. The doctors have reason to be concerned. Yet, we need Shannon to work towards independence as much as possible. We have given her a lot more freedom around the house but are still very cautious when we go out.

Yesterday, I got an insight into some of the challenges yet ahead. The therapist asked Shannon to read from her ACT prep book and answer some of the questions. Her purpose in this was not to say that Shannon didn't know the material but rather to see what her attention level was and the amount of endurance she has in cognitive learning. Shannon started to read and read just 3 or 4 minutes and then slammed the book down, saying she already knew all that stuff so why should she have to be doing what they were doing. We talked and talked with her to no avail so we shifted gears and suggested we read a novel; again the purpose was to see about endurance and attention. With several stops and many cues to keep going, Shannon refused to go further after about 7-8 minutes. The therapist asked her questions about the story and Shannon could only answer a couple of them. She was angry and very upset. The therapist pointed out to me that every time they have done something that is very hard for Shannon, that she can't stick with it for very long. It is just too hard still. It will still come, but it looks like it is going to be slower than we had thought. It breaks our hearts because we know that Shannon knew all these things and that she used to be able to do them. The brain just takes a much longer time to heal than a broken arm or even a broken femur!

We have been told that the middle part of the recovery from a TBI was the worst. That was hard to imagine when we were sitting in the PICU watching the numbers and praying that they wouldn't go too high. That was certainly stressful, but I have to say that the middle part, is much more stressful.

On Friday last week, we got word from Regence Blue Cross that they were not going to cover any more therapies as inpatient. Basically they were saying that they felt that Shannon was capable of doing all her therapies on an outpatient basis. That would mean traveling to Salt Lake every day, doing therapies there and then traveling home. Shannon hasn't made the ride to Salt Lake yet without falling asleep in the car and being very tired when she gets there. She has such a long way to go and all the medical doctors are saying that the therapies are medically necessary. So we immediately started the appeals process as well as contacted the Utah Insurance Commission is hopes that they could help us. The critical issue here is that the window of best opportunity for recovery is now and it needs to be the intense therapy the doctors have prescribed. They have expediated the appeal and hence, it would probably be about 14 days where normally it takes 4-6 weeks. I can't understand Regence thinking...maybe it is just because they don't want to pay because they certainly aren't looking at the best interest of the patient. (Outpatient therapy is only covered up to $1500 a year.) It's just crazy....and very stressful to have to deal with all of that when we need to be focusing on Shannon and her recovery. Can I just say..."stupid insurance!"

Gratefully, we continue to have such great support from ward members, friends and family. True, there are not as many around as in the beginning, but those most dear to us have never left our side nor have they stopped praying for us. Those prayers are what sustain us the most. We know that one day we will be able to look back on this experience and recognize all that we have learned from it. We know that although Shannon can't imagine it now at this point, but she too, will one day look back and realize how much she gained from the experience. It's keeping that in mind and the eternal perspective that is difficult when the day to day challenges keep facing us. It helps us when we look back and remember all the miracles that have taken places and all the people that Shannon has influenced along the way. There's that most important word AGAIN...
remember!! Just got to do will keep us going!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shannon #2

Dear readers, this is Shannon. I am supposed to update the blog on my own every once in a while now. So, that’s what I’m doing right now. First of all, I have a mullet- kind of. And it freaking rocks! But anyway, I tried to blow dry my hair today to get rid of the itch from my gel, but that did not work. At all. I think my head will just always itch. But ya, I also went to church today. First time back in my own ward… but they just had to welcome me back at the pulpit, to the entire ward! Wow, that’s not embarrassing at all! Anyway, I think I’m progressing even slower than before so prayers are always greatly appreciated.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Good news and bad news

Yesterday was the first of a string of weekly doctor appointments. It started with the eye doctor. I don't know if we have posted how much Shannon repeatedly expressed her "hatred" of the hospital, most all the doctors and most all the nurses. It was a topic that there was lots of preserveration on. She swore she would never return to that hospital and if the doctors wanted to see her, they would have to come here. So we had quite a bit of concern how all these doctor appointments were going to go. We had told Shannon that the eye doctor was at the Moran Eye Clinic. But when we got 1/2 mile away from the hospital we clarified that it was the Moran Eye Clinic but it was on the 3rd floor of Primary Childrens Hospital. We explained that she was on the 2nd floor and we wouldn't go there. When we promised that to her, she was willing to go. We were smart enough however, to go in the south end of the hospital which is opposite of where she went in and out of. So we made it to the eye appointment.
The eye doctor was pleased with how her eyes were looking. The cornea in her right eye, he said looked fantastic! The left eye did not have any signs of abrasions left although it did show signs of dryness. So we are to continue with the drops and ointment 4 times a day and taping the left eye shut every night in order to keep it very moist for the time being. We are to return in a month....the week after we have completed the first round of doctor visits!
Afte the appointment Udell asked Shannon if she wanted to see if Dr. Maloney was in his office. His office is on the 3rd floor but towards the other end of the building. She actually said yes! He wasn't in his office so we left him and note and thought we were leaving. But Shannon said, let's see if Dr. Walker is in. His office is on the 1st floor. So we started in that direction and Udell casually said, "do you want to just check and see if Whitney is working today?" To our great surprise, she said yes so long as we promised not to put her in one of "those rooms" again! We gladly promised that--we don't want to go back there either! So we went to the second floor right across from her old room and she (fortunately) found that Whitney was working. She gave her a big hug and talked to her for a few minutes. Several other nurses and therapists that knew her said hi and told her how good she looked and were so glad she had stopped by. Then we checked on Dr. Walker and of course, he wasn't in his office either. So we headed for home.
The drive up to Salt Lake and back is exhausting for Shannon. She slept most of the way up there and most of the way back. We wondered how in the world the insurance company could ever think that she could commute and have effective therapies at this stage of the game! Yes, we still have to fight with them. Some say that it is going to always be a weekly deal. I wonder if they have a clue what kind of stress they are adding to the family because they won't follow the medical doctors instructions for therapy??
The next part of the day was part of the bad news. We had a case conference where all the therapists and clinic coordinator get together with us and review the past goals and set new goals. Because we had to talk about Shannon's deficits, she couldn't deal with it. It wasn't handled by the coordinator as well as it could have been for Shannon didn't really understand what the purpose was for. She got pretty upset and mad. She really has not yet come to the point where she can accept her deficits. She still thinks she should be able to go rollerblading and go for a drive in the car. The rollerblading is a real big challenge because she says she can rollerblade better than she can walk. It's hard to see her get so upset and yet, we see the wisdom in the doctor saying no rollerblading. We see it when she goes to get in the car and dives in head first instead of getting in as we all do. We see it when she is walking, bends over to pull up her sock and falls over. We see it when she gets so tired so easily and needs more sleep. We see it in her impulsivity when she jumps out of her chair so fast that it nearly tips her over. We see it demands that people come visit at a certain time on a certain day. We see it when she hugs people too much and for too long. We see it when she gets angry over someone not being here when she thinks they should be. We see it when she is continuously scratching everywhere, especially on her head. We see it when she makes inappropriate comments in mixed company. We see it as she tries to manipulate us and we see it when she lies to us. We see it when she refuses to eat. And it all comes for the TBI. These things are not Shannon. These are all part of the symptoms of a TBI that is in the recovery process. Not one doctor, nurse, therapist, not anyone that has worked with people with TBIs have ever given us a timeline. The answer is always, "I don't know, it is different for every person." So I think that this is all part of the lesson that we are to learn; patience. What did we say in the beginning?? Miraculous doesn't mean instanteously. We continue to see miracles along the way and they help to sustain us when we remember to rely on them. Now that Shan is at home, many of the readers of this blog have lost interest and that's ok because ultimately, the blog is for our own history. But for those that are still with us, as Shannon says, "don't stop praying for me cause I still need it!"
We are finding that just because you are in the middle of a trial doesn't make you exempt from more trials. We have had some interesting challenges while Shannon was in the hospital like the boiler going out, the AC not working and needing to buy a new unit, the siding on the house blowing off, etc. Today we had an added challenge that is much more difficult than any of those. We got a call around 3 pm today that Annika, our 28 year old daughter with Rett Syndrome had fallen and they were taken her to the emergency room. So far we have 4 stitches in her chin, 5 stitches on the outside of her lip and 5-6 stitches on the inside of her mouth, one tooth completely broken out and the other front top tooth is shot. Her jaw is broken although not displaced and she has a bunch of abrasions. They took a CT scan, xray of her elbow, chest and consulted with an oral surgeon. They had to sedate her for the stitches because it was impossible to numb her mouth because of her disabilities. They gave her antibiotics through an IV and have left the IV in because we are to go to the oral surgeon tomorrow at noon without her having eaten anything for 8 hours. So it sounds like the surgeon may very well do something about the jaw and/or the teeth tomorrow. So as if you haven't already prayed for our family enough, we are asking for more prayers again.
I think I will take an aspirin and go to bed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally -- A New Update

I have been gently reminded twice just today that I haven't updated the blog and people want to know how Shannon is really doing! I promise it has been at the top of my list for at least 4 days. When we get up in the mornings we think we are going to have so much time set aside to do the blog and then well.....I guess its easiest to say, "Life happens!" But that doesn't mean we don't want to keep the blog updated. This journey is far from over and we are learning some hard lessons and finding even more gratitude for friends and family.
People who come to see Shannon or haven't seen her in a while all marvel at how great she looks. I imagine there may be a number of you out there that have not seen her since her accident. So first, I thought I would try to give you an idea of what someone who came to visit would see. Shannon really likes her spot on the couch but in the last few days she has even been getting up some of the time to answer the door when someone comes. Regardless who comes, they are generally greeted with a smile, a hug and often quite a bit of excitement. She loves company! Shannon lost over 10% of her weight in the hospital and has only gained about 5 pounds back, weighing in yesterday at 94.4 I believe it was. So you would see a skinny little thing but she looks very healthy! Her hair has grown back a lot which really surprises most people and when they comment on it, Shannon scowls and whines that she doesn't like her short hair. Many people think she is quite adorable in short hair. When she had her second surgery, they shaved only 1 1/2" like a racing stripe following path of the first surgery. The hair, which was not shaved then, is now almost long enough to cover the scar and the area that was shaved is coming in fast. Her eyes, which have been unnaturally dilated have returned to nearly normal. She still can't see long distances and her reading vision still struggles but they continue to improve. We have a eye doctor's appointment this week so we will see what they think of the progress.
Shannon loves to visit with people and really enjoys having her friends around. They talk about everything from past experiences to what will be happening at the high school come this fall. She carries on a full conversation. On occasion, I get them to play a game with her to work on more therapy. She can give most of them a run for their money with Othello, Blink and Tutti Fruitti. Games that most people don't know so she gets to practice telling people how to play which engages great organization skills in speaking. For the most part though, if you were to come just to visit, if Shannon isn't tired, and you didn't know her real well, you wouldn't have a clue that she is still struggling through some tough challenges. It is amazing to us so we can totally understand when guests tell us that they are blown away by how good she looks. But if she is tired, she makes many more mistakes in her speech, and the ability to stay on topic worsens and it is more about her than anyone or anything. But then none of us perform as well when we are tired!
Shannon is getting out more and more. A very good friend has come back for a visit and her friends were all getting together to have a party for him. They hadn't told her about the party because they figured she wouldn't be able to handle it. Well, with all the miracles that continue in Shannon's life, you probably guessed that she went to the party with her dad as her date and did extremely well interacting with her friends. Dad, of course wouldn't let her stay as late as she would have wanted but she still had a great time being included and being there with so many of her very good friends. They are indeed, very good friends as they continue to support her and accept her with her limitations.
So I have talked about all that she can do....where is she at on the recovery scale? Well, her balance has improved immensely but we still stay close by. In the house, except for the stairs, we often are 10 feet away from her when she wants to go somewhere. When she gets tired however....all precautions are back in full force for we see how much more unstable she is on her feet. She continues to work on organization, planning, and executing every day decisions with the help of the therapists. Without them, she probably wouldn't do much! They work on challenges that make Shannon really concentrate to see how long she can stay on task. Last week we were lucky to get 10-15 minutes from her. Today she remained focus for nearly 40 minutes!! The PT has her walking and now she is working out with the weights for strength training. A good friend has offered her pool and Shannon has worked out there once and we need to go more often. These are all the somewhat tangible things that we see making great progress.
Another step in the progress is not so fun. One of the stages that those with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) go through is anger. As you think about it, that would be a pretty obvious stage to go through. Who wouldn't be angry if they woke up one morning and they had not only lost the last 8 weeks of their life but realized that the rest of their life is going to be affected by what they are dealing with! So it is a good stage to hit for, as the therapist said today, "she needs to get angry enough that she will really decide to do something about it on her own." So it is necessary but the tough part is that the anger is directed at Mom, Dad and sister Kate. We are the bad guys. I guess all parents get to be the bad guys a lot. But we have not had this kind of an attitude with Shannon ever before. We don't know if it is just part of the TBI or part of a personality change or just being an ornery teenager. But it certainly wasn't in her character before so we are hoping that it eventually will work its way through. It isn't very fun. Even in her conversation with friends and therapists, she is getting more anger in her voice over certain topics. The tough part is that she has lost most of the independence that she once had. Her anger to mom and dad is concerning her cell phone, computer, car keys, and an old boyfriend. Every doctor and therapist and every book we read tell us we are doing the right thing but it sure is hard. She is limited on the phone and computer because we want her to keep the friends she has! I think I mentioned that the doctor (and it is even in one of the books as well), said that Shannon will be lucky to have any of the same friends 6 months from now. That is because as she goes through these stages, most friends get offended and don't wait around, they move on. They don't recognize the changes that are happening in the individual as being from the TBI and so they take things personally. People with TBIs can be pretty blunt and even mean at times and not even think that they are. But Shannon does have some pretty amazing friends that as we teach them about brain injuries, most of them totally understand and continue to support her. So the phone and computer are limited so that we can monitor what she is writing, saying, texting, etc. And along with that, she doesn't have the time to spend texting and being on facebook like she once did. We try and find time every day for her to use her phone and check her facebook but many days go by without the time to even open the computer. If you understand the TBI, this all makes sense and it is truly what is best for the individual but it certainly does not seem that way in the person's mind. For example, Shannon thinks she should be able to just go jump in the car and drive! Part of the reasons that she can't do that: her impulsivity, her reaction time, her attention span, her vision, her perseveration, and to top that it's the law! If you have had a TBI, by law, you must take a special driving test (written and road) and pass it to make your drivers' license valid again. Even so, because things aren't necessarily rational to her right now, she thinks she should still be able to drive.
So right now Shannon is often mad at us and can turn on a dime with how she is feeling (another great TBI trait).
I should add that her sister Kate, is targeted too. She wants Kate to be here all the time when she isn't working. Kate does have a life! And so although she sees Shannon on the weekends and occasionally on a week day, it isn't enough for her. On this past Friday and Saturday, nearly every 15 minutes Shannon was asking for the phone to call Kate. Kate understands so we let her call. (But if you ask Shannon, we don't let her ever use the phone! :)) So Kate has a voicemail box full of Shannon telling her that she needs to get over here to our house right NOW! And it is not said very nicely. It is again, all part of the TBI. It certainly is easy to understand why, in so many cases, people with TBI's lose their friends.
Sometimes we hesitate to tell you the toughest parts of the recovery. That above doesn't paint a pretty picture of Shannon but I hope that you will all remember that that is not our Shannon....that is caused by the TBI and with our collective faith in the blessings given to Shannon, she will fully recover from these challenges too.
Last night we experienced another tender mercy from our Father in Heaven. Shannon's anger really comes out in the evenings. It had been a long day and we weren't too excited about dealing with mood swings or anger. It was getting late but not late enough for bed. The phone rang. It was a favorite adult friend of Shannon's and she wanted to come over with her family to see Shan. Shortly after they arrived, 2 other very good friends arrived. The evening was spent in good conversation and watching an Othello match between some of them and Shannon! Shannon, for the most part, was calm, nice and appropriate and we didn't have to deal with the long bedtime ordeal! After that, she was happy to just go to bed and go to sleep. It was so nice and so needed! :)
Shannon attended church for the first time yesterday as well. We all went to her Dad's BYU ward because he was being released as the Bishop of the ward. She did great and even bore a very short testimony. But the amazing thing is the number of people who came up to her in tears and told her how grateful they were to SEE HER! It was very touching and reminded us once again of this great miracle that we are still watching and are grateful for the Lord who is fortunately in charge!!