Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In The Homestretch

Well, I've gotten comments from lots of people that I've been slacking a bit in posting lately... And they are totally right. Zane and I just returned from a long weekend in Ohio seeing his family. We had a wonderful time seeing family and old friends and meeting a lot of you who read the blog but we'd never met before. We were so blessed to hear about and meet the many people praying for us. We had the opportunity to share our story in the church where Zane went in high school. We have been so blessed and if sharing what we've been through can bless others, than that's what we'll do. We're looking forward to more opportunities to share with people in the future.

Zane's therapy has been going amazingly well. He is making SUCH great progress. His range of motion in his armpits/shoulders has gotten so much better. A few weeks ago it was good if we could get him to a 100 degree angle in his left shoulder. Now, he is getting 140 regularly, sometimes 150. Normal is 170 to 180. We are getting so close!! His therapists commented that they thought he could get full range without surgery in that arm. This is awesome considering we were pretty sure he'd end up having to have another release done on both arms. We're still not sure about the right arm, but its showing real progress as well, stretching over 110 degrees. Each week, he's able to lift more and more weight. His upper arms were skinnier than my forearms for quite a while, but his arms have bulked up quite a bit and we're able to see much more muscle definition.

Zane has very minimal open areas left. Now, they're mostly due to his most recent surgery and blisters. Ohhh the blisters! We just can't escape the blisters! They happen all the time because of the skin stretching and the increased amount of fluid under his skin. The cycle goes: stretch the skin, skin fills with fluid and blisters, keep stretching, blisters pop, they become open areas and we have to dress them, and they eventually close in and heal. Then it starts all over again. Fun, fun! :)

The most exciting thing right now is that we are going home TOMORROW!! I have the apartment all packed up and our civic is stuffed to the roof with our belongings. In the morning we'll go to therapy and then drive back to Maine. For those of you who are local, don't forget that we'll be having our homecoming get-together on Saturday night. It's open house style from 5-9 at the Mars Hill Snowmobile Club. Come and go anytime you want- just bring yourselves and a smile!

{photo to come.. The iPad isn't cooperating :)}

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Scars

In the United States, approximately 2.4 million burn injuries are reported per year. Approximately 650,000 of the injuries are treated by medical professionals; 75,000 are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 20,000 have major burns involving at least 25% of their total body surface. Between 8,000 and 12,000 of patients with burns die, and approximately one million will sustain substantial or permanent disabilities resulting from their burn injury. (Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation, May/June 1992)

Zane and I went to a burn survivor support meeting tonight held at Shriners Hospital downtown. It was really good to see everyone. We had met most of the people there back in December at the Christmas party. This time we got to hear everyone's story. There were people there who were burned by electricity, by natural fire, gasoline fire, because of someone else's mistake, because of their own mistake, in a suicide attempt, and in accidents in their own home. So many different circumstances, but each living with very similar outcomes. They face the same struggles, and it's fascinating to hear how they all overcome.

Burn survivors are some of the most incredible people I know. The public is often brutal to these people, staring and gawking at the scars. But they are so gracious, and so determined to carry on an amazing life regardless of the setbacks. When you almost lose your life, you are so overcome by gratefulness for life that scars are not enough to set you back. It is definitely a struggle to accept the new body, but the bottom line is that they still have a body, and their spirit is even stronger than before. I tell Zane almost every day how beautiful his scars are to me. To me, they're a fulfilled promise; a miracle; a remarkable story. Each one tells of a fight like no other; a fight for life, for healing, and for recovery. The scars say that God is almighty and the devil did not win the battle. The scars are proof that faith has brought us through and time has lessened the wounds. The scars prove that my husband is a fighter and he is even stronger now than he was before he was burned. So.. the scars aren't what we had planned, but they sure are proof of a miracle.. and for that, we are SO thankful!

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On another note, I have some fantastic news! I can now say officially that we're coming home!! We'll be heading back at the end of the month. We would like to invite everyone who's able to join us in celebrating at the Mars Hill Snowmobile Club on January 29. It'll just be an open house style get-together so feel free to come any time from 5 - 9 pm. We would love to see any and everyone who has supported and prayed for us regardless of whether we've met you before or not. We would really like to thank you all face to face, and we hope you'll stop by.


Friday, January 7, 2011

A Great Start to the New Year

We had a wonderful new years eve with friends of ours from the area. We got some amazing Italian food and had quite the night of charades. Zane surprised us all with his charades antics, as you'll see in the pictures below. The next day we took a little walk around Boston Commons to look at the ice sculptures and eat some fried food. :) It was a surprisingly warm day and Zane did great with being up and around.

Spaudling has done a great job at getting Zane more therapy time. He often has 2 hours and 15 minutes of therapy per day plus what we do at home. They're combining scar massage, stretching, and strengthening. He's starting to make some pretty good improvements. He's doing better at opening containers and can even scribble his name with his left hand. This morning we were getting ready to go to therapy and I was in the bedroom putting on my makeup. All of a sudden Zane walked in with his coat on and said, "Look what I did!". This was the first time he'd ever gotten his coat on without my help! To say we were excited would be an understatement. AND to top it all off, he got the coat on even though he has a cast-like splint on his right arm. Gosh, I felt like a mom who just watched their kid walk for the first time. Praise God!!

Zane's appetite still isn't what it once was, but it's slowly getting better. I'm constantly trying to stuff him full of food. We've been able to back off on his pain meds quite significantly. He's taking less than half what he was taking when he left Spaulding. That's excellent since he was on ridiculous amounts of narcotics when in the hospital. We have planned a fast long-weekend trip to Ohio to see Zane's family. Although they've pretty much all seen him while he was in the hospital, he doesn't remember a lot of it so it will be great for him to see them.

We've pretty much nailed down that we will be able to return home at the end of the month. We are so happy to have a date to look forward to. It will be wonderful to get back home. Again, we cannot express how thankful we are for all of the support we've received. We're hoping to have an open house style party open to everyone once we get back. More details to come on that.

Just one last thing- I would SO appreciate it if you could include my uncle in your prayers. Doctors have found spots on his liver and pancreas and are quite suspicious of cancer. He goes for biopsies on Monday. He's only 50 years old, and has a wife and two beautiful daughters. My prayer is that our entire family will embrace true faith in Christ in this time where it is painfully obvious that life is fragile and out of our control. It is out of our weakness that we truly find faith and strength in God.