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  • vickienight


We had a great two weeks in Asheville, NC at the APEX Brain Center. Dr. Trayford and crew were awesome. We learned a lot, worked hard and even fit in a little fun. A change of scenery, some fresh mountain air and 10 days of intensive brain work was so good for all of us - especially John Michael. A trip would not be the same if a couple of my bonus kids did not show up. Jake flew up with Ben and Connor flew in as well for the weekend. As always, the boys had a great time. One of Connor's good friends owns a winery, so we spent our Saturday at Stone Ash winery. I highly recommend it if you are in the area. The wine is delicious, the view is amazing and the owners are awesome. We might have brought a few cases home!

So what exactly is the APEX Brain Center and why did we chose to go all the way to North Carolina? During these last 5 years we have been presented with so many doctors, therapies, devices, etc. It's been quite overwhelming. Some of the things we have tried have been beneficial, some have not - sometimes because he just isn't ready yet. God has His timing and I have learned to trust and be patient waiting for the right time - this is not easy. With that being said, we felt this was the right time to try APEX. We learned a lot and were taught several new things to do at home and incorporate into his therapies. I was most intrigued with the brain mapping and the neurofeedback. The brain mapping is a QEEG - a tool used to evaluate brainwaves and identify opportunities to improve communication between various regions of the brain. It showed that John Michael's brain is firing, which we already knew, but the way he described it is that John Michael's brain is working as if he were driving with one foot on the gas and one on the brake. So while it is definitely firing, there is something putting the brakes on keeping the signals from consistently getting through. It also measured cognitive waves - his of course were off the charts! So those two weeks were focused on brain therapy - getting the brain and body connection stronger. John Michael was wiped every day. There was no physical therapy, all brain therapy and he was definitely more tired than on any of his long days of physical therapy. In the pictures I have shared, you will see the cold laser therapy that we have been using at home. Dr. Trayford taught us many new ways to use the laser for most every body part. The light from the laser affects the cells in the body. The change that occur in cells as a reaction to the light can help with circulation, inflammation and accelerate healing. It's a pretty awesome device that I even use on myself. So while this therapy is another tool to use in John Michael's recovery, it is just another piece to this crazy puzzle. We will not stop until we finish this puzzle - until the last piece fits just perfectly!

A couple of other tools we used there are the Rezzimax (seen on his legs and being used on his vocal chords). It is a handheld device that uses vibration to fine tune your nervous system and retrain your brain. The Ministim Periphial Nerve Simulator in the video is also a small handheld device that delivers a current to the nervous system to wake it up and help to move the muscle - it is very different from a tens unit used in most traditional therapy. John Michael also got in 10 good hyperbaric dives in. We now have these tools at home and are actually awaiting the arrival of a hyperbaric chamber that we have leased for a month! John Michael really felt the chamber helped with his spasticity.

Today marks 5 years that we came home from the Shepherd Center. Seems like a life time ago. So much has changed in such a short period of time. I am grateful for the changes John Michael has made. He has come so far and made so many improvements. People ask me how my faith is doing - sometimes I think that is just a stupid question. But it's not at all. It's easy to lose faith when what we want so desperately and ask God for every day doesn't happen when we'd like. But I hope my faith is a testament to what faith really is - digging dip, believing in the impossible, living every day finding gratitude and appreciating every piece of the puzzle - even the ones that we can't find and maybe even the ones we think we may have lost. God's hand is all over this puzzle and when He is finished it's going to be an amazing masterpiece for all to see!

Prayer Requests:

- that one of these new devices, techniques will make things click for him

- strong, sustainable, consistent, functional movements

- increased breath support for a louder voice for all to hear

- peace and patience

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea", and it will be done. If you believe you will receive whatever you ask in prayer.

Matt 21:21-22

Love to all,


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