Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Update for the past few months...(Part 2)

A little bit of sleep, a little bit of rest and here we go again!

2-Legged Walking
On December 10, 2007, I was able to somewhat use the reflexors in both legs while supported by a harness to make both legs go forward in the walking motion at Precision Rehab. This was not the prettiest walking, but the important part is that both legs were responding and moving forward. There have been good therapy sessions since then, but I think this was my best time at Precision Rehab.

This is the treadmill/gait training that I do pretty much every time I go to Precision Rehabilitation on Mondays and Wednesdays.

After the treadmill, they have me walk over the ground supported by the harness. These two movies were my best session yet, right before Christmas.

Anointing of the Sick
On December 13, 2007, Ivette cooked a fabulous dinner for us and our special guest, the former pastor at St. Jude’s (where I went to grade school/junior high), Father Bill. I have maintained a good relationship with him, and he himself has overcome great medical problems and is doing great. On that night, I received another Catholic sacrament: the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Although he told me stories about people having a miraculous response to the sacrament, I was not one of those. I felt blessed to receive another sacrament in Catholic Church and feel that my faith, my prayers and the prayers of everyone else have really helped me cope with everything.

6-month Reevaluation at Craig Hospital
I was not sure what to expect at the reevaluation visit in December. My dad and Ivette came to support me. All it turned out to be was a simple check up to see what I had been up to and to see how I was doing. They ran a couple tests, but I feel like the reevaluation was more for them than for me. I have been going to lots of therapy and seeing many doctors, so the week there was somewhat moot. However, it was very weird being back in that environment. The first few days were ok and actually felt good to be at a place that helped me so much. Then the next few days I could not wait to leave because I did not like the hospital confinement feelings that were resurrected. Many memories flashed through my mind, and that is a part of my life that I wish did not have to happen. I lived in the hospital for 2 months. Ivette lived in the hospital for 2 months. My parents lived in the hospital for 1 month each. I loved seeing my former nurses and techs and therapists, but being back in that environment was strange.

Back doing the FES bike like old times with my dad...

Gino, a former police officer, was in the hospital the same time I was. He is doing unbelievable! He walks now using a walker for long periods of time. In this picture also are Ivette and Gino's wife, Tami. They are amazing people. I was able to finagle my way to standing as well!

My PT and friend, Alissa. She's awesome!

Some more favorites from Craig: Stephanie, Joaquin and Brea.

I was only in Colorado for about a week until Ivette and I headed to Washington State for Christmas. We had a very good time meeting with her family and relatives. Her aunt even re-did her whole front porch and added a ramp so that I could easily get into the house Unbelievable. Bella was with us the whole time and she was not the biggest fan of the cold snow to say the least. One thing that became very evident to me in the snow was that my hands and normal gloves would not suffice pushing the frozen metal wheels on the wheelchair. I needed thick, padded gloves to push my wheelchair because imagine constantly holding a piece of metal in your hand. Your hand would freeze!

Bella covered in snow!

She was so cold and such a baby about it!

The newly constructed porch with a ramp! It was beautiful.

Mama Flores, Papa Flores, Grandpa Gardner, Senorita Flores, Brother Flores

No Christmas Miracle
I know I have to be patient with this injury as it is a ridiculously slow healing process. Knowing this and because of this, I sort of implanted in my mind and the mind of others that I was waiting for a “Christmas Miracle” for myself. I lived in anticipation leading up to Christmas to see if I would be somewhat right. Christmas came and went and so did my spirits a little bit. I again realized that no matter how much I want to be better RIGHT NOW, God has His own plans. New Years Eve was similar in that I could not wait to put 2007 behind me and start a fresh, new, promising, hope-filled new year.

What better way to bring in the new year than with the woman I love (and dog)?

And some of my best friends...

Hand Cycle and LA Bike Marathon
Ivette’s family was so generous and gracious enough to buy me a hand-cycle for Christmas. This is the type of bike that I am sitting on on the website. I am so excited about it It arrived last week and I assembled it. Ivette and I have already gone on a couple rides. It is so much fun and so good for my cardio. It’s so cool because when we’re on the bike path, I fit in. Nobody know that I am a paraplegic; they just think I have a really cool bike. Anthony Lok proposed that we participate in the LA Bike Marathon, we looked into it, and Ivette and I are training for it along with other friends It is March 2, 2008 in LA. Navigate to ( here for more details.

Thank You for the Donations!
For those of you who have donated to help aid in my recovery efforts, thank you so so much May God shower you with blessings. My out of pocket expenses related to this injury is creeping up to $45,000. So far, with an appeal for donations, we have raised over $30,000!! However, with Project Walk at about $2000 to $3000 per month and other doctor visits, medicine, etc, the costs will continue to rise. Your support has been and is essential in helping me continue trying to get better.

Non-Profit Surfer’s Myelopathy Awareness Organization
Ivette and some of her friends from the USC Masters in Public Health program (Katie, Pegah and Tamar) have taken it upon themselves to battle surfer’s myelopathy and to encourage education of the injury and raise awareness of the risks involved with surfing. This is a truly amazing task and I will keep you posted on how it is going and how you can help

Here are some more videos from my training at Project Walk.

Here I am balancing on a rubber bouncy ball throwing a weighted ball, using the core strength that I have preserved.

Here I am riding a stationary bike again. I posted another video of me riding a stationary bike, but this one is more recent and if you compare the two, you can see definite improvement.

Here I am doing squats completely by myself on the "Power Plate" machine. It essentially vibrates like crazy which activates my muscles to fire. Although not all of the respective muscles are contracting and I am using some of my arms, this is still very good.

Here I am struggling crawling upright. This takes a lot of core strength and hip control/stability.

Here I am again walking with a walker. You can compare this to last time as well; this time seems to be a lot better :)

Also, in case you haven't figured it out, you can find all of these videos on YouTube (!


At January 24, 2008 at 7:40 PM , Blogger Anthony said...

ji.. well you know!

Keep at it, brother.

At February 3, 2008 at 1:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome job Joe !!! You are truly inspirational.
We love you.
Mom and Dad

At February 4, 2008 at 8:43 PM , Blogger Angelina said...

Hi, Joe

Don't give up, keep trying and someday, I know, it will just happen.
You are always in my prayers.
Let me know when you want to have that Mexican dinner.


Tita Lina and Uncle Ken

At February 12, 2008 at 8:35 PM , Blogger Ricki said...

I've been thinking about you, more so after receiving from Lisa the info on your upcoming bike athon in LA.
I was showing Tim tonight the video, and from there found your blog link, which we just checked out.
You are doing great, our thoughts and prayers are with you to recover. And it was just so wonderful to meet you, and Yvette and Kennet too. You are all beautiful people, inside and out.
Love to you all....we still have snow at our house, believe it or not. Your little doggie wouldn't like it.
BTW yes, I will be sending a donation.
Good luck in your therapy and training, and God bless!


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