Friday, August 13, 2010


"Progress of the best kind is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step."
- Samuel Smiles

It made me think a lot about my life in general, but mainly Samantha. I look back at as much as I can remember from the past 5 years. I feel like there has been such progress made. While living through it, it's so easy to feel like there isn't much happening or changing, but that's because sometimes I'm not so great at seeing the small steps. I want to rush with one big, huge leap instead.

Yesterday at PT, Sammy had her annual re-evaluation. She wasn't terribly cooperative, but Kathy said that she noticed lately Sammy hadn't been mouthing things as much. Now, this could because she's more familiar with the place, and with Kathy, but in general, when Kathy exposes Samantha to something new, she isn't compelled to stick it in her mouth like before. Wow. I love that! How nice would it be (and how much healthier would she be) if she didn't need to explore with her mouth anymore? What if she could actually use her hands?! The concept is amazing to me.

There were other improvements made -- she is crawling up stairs better, she isn't jumping as much (she has more control), she is standing flat footed without her DAFOs for about 4 seconds (though we know she can do it longer -- she just wouldn't). Lately, Samantha has discovered the stovetop. This is bothersome as it means I need to be more careful, but the fact that she is exploring places that she can't even see -- before it was out of sight out of mind. This shows cognitive improvement here.

Tonight we meet Donna Bateman. I don't know much about Donna personally, but I have talked with her twice on the phone for extended periods of time. She is an incredible wife and mother (first) and therapist (second). She has travelled the world helping "brain injured" children. She is doing a fireside tonight at our church, titled "Neurological Development and Spiritual Progression." Tomorrow we are attending the seminar. And then on Monday morning, we really begin. She is coming to our home, evaluating Samantha, creating a therapy plan tailored to her, and then teaching what we'll need to do. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be connected with her. She lives in Texas but happens to come to San Jose every 6 months. Her client base in California has grown quite a bit, so she comes up here to re-evaluate them regularly. I've heard so many stories regarding success with her program. There is a program like this only through Philadelphia. I considered going to the seminar out there...but with airfare and was so expensive. Donna is really quite reasonable. Not cheap, but far less expensive than I had figured it'd be.

What I like about Donna is that she is constantly reading, learning from other people, adjusting -- humble enough to know she doesn't have all the answers, but strong enough to stand up for these children of ours and scream at the top of her lungs "They are GREAT and SMART kids! And let's do something about it! Let's change their brains." And it happens. A little girl here was immobile. Laid on the floor. Could not move. After working with Donna (after learning from Donna and having the mother and father do some therapy at home), she is walking. Walking. I have story after story.

The other day my mom asked me what I expected from this therapy.
1) Hard work. It's going to be hard. It's not hard stuff to do -- just hard creating a schedule so we make sure it gets done.
2) A miracle. Plain and simple. I'm not sure what the miracle will be. I'm not expecting Sammy to all of a sudden say "I love you Mom." That would be awesome, but that's not my expectation. I'm expecting small progress, step by step...but that may one day help her be able to feed herself. That would be fantastic. It would be miraculous really. Or, maybe she just can stand still for 30 seconds without falling over. Or maybe she'll sleep better (wahoo!). That surely would be a miracle. Any of those things would change my life. And it would certainly change hers.

So, what will come of it? I can't give definites, but I'm pretty sure we'll see some progress. And that makes me all giddy!

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