5/8/17 (Elijah)

From Brenna —

I’m just wanting to check in with everyone who supported us so amazingly the past two years! I wanted Elijah to write a bit but he takes his Biology final today. Think about that- May 8, 2015 ICU fighting for life to May 8, 2017 taking a Biology final – by God’s grace and mercy.

We remember today all that God has done through the prayers and actions of His saints. We remember Elijah as he was and celebrate who he is. In January 2017 it was particularly impressive for me to walk with Elijah to his first college class. As we walked past the LCCC theater where I waited for Elijah and Autumn the night of the accident and ultimately received the news, I felt a full mixture of emotions that I was not prepared for. I had been by that theater since the accident but not *with* Elijah. Here we were 20 months later and Elijah could walk by his own power on crushed feet with legs supported by titanium femurs to take Biology. Only God.

Since we left the hospital in Sept 2015, I have had the opportunity to visit with a few orthopedic surgeons and neurologists. They say that not only is fat embolism rare but that double femur fractures are rare and often not survivable. Recently, too, I have seen MRI pictures with far far far less damage than Elijah’s causing the patient much more trouble in real life than Elijah faces. These are all miracles.

Elijah’s belief is that he is a better person for having endured the past two years. He told me that he has learned to submit to God and to be patient. “I believe that God will heal me to exactly where He wants me to be.” and “I’m not afraid (of future health conditions that the Drs. predict) because I know that God is in control.”

Elijah has thoroughly enjoyed this semester and it has been a good step for him to begin creating a new life. One particular blessing has been meeting friends who didn’t know him before the accident. Why? They don’t have the comparison with the “old” Elijah and therefore accept him just as he is. He is ready to move past the accident and not be defined by it or his old self. He has told me. “Yes I did love speech and debate and making videos but that was a different life and I’m not going to sit around and grieve over it.” Is Elijah the same? No he isn’t. It is sometimes poignant to see him take so much more effort to find a word or formulate an argument. Do we miss the old Elijah? Yes we do. But at the same time how can we not stand in awe of who Elijah is and what God has done through him? We love this Elijah too.

Today is the two year anniversary of the day we changed our address to live in a hospital for 5 months. Last year on May 7, 2016 we had many kind people come to celebrate Elijah and Autumn in their recovery. A family who had their own brain injury story and a lawyer from Denver who followed the whole story, and the trauma surgeons who helped E and A just to name a few. In the past two years, we have had strangers and acquaintances become friends and friends become alienated – tragedy is it’s own kind of crucible of friendship. This is about one such stranger who reached out to help: (I only ever shared this on my own facebook page)

(written last year May 8, 2016) “We were leaving Cheyenne after the one year prayer celebration that some very kind friends arranged for Autumn and Elijah. Haley Anne told us about a post written by a good Samaritan, Alyson, who helped at the accident. May 8, 2016 I was driving I 25 south in the rain to take Autumn and her brothers home and it was overwhelmingly reminiscent of the year before. Elijah, who never cries, was a bit choked up when he read the prayer she prayed. Read her words for yourself here… ”

 

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5/8/17

From Autumn:

Hi everyone! I thought I would write an update for myself on this day that marks 2 years since the accident.

First off I am doing fantastic! 🙂 I am currently finishing up 2 online collage classes (finals this week) and I have been coaching for my high school debate program this last year. As far as physical healing goes: I am slowly improving. My left eye is still giving me double vision, but I am seeing an incredible doctor that believes surgery should be the last option. And every week my eye shows a little more movement.

Because of my optimistic personality it’s easy to think I don’t have any struggles, but this is far from the truth. Thinking about all the set backs that I have from this accident, can sometimes really put me down. But you know what keeps me going? Knowing that God has a plan and purpose for my trials. We tend to pray for things to go as we think is best and get sad or angry at God when it doesn’t happen that way. But we can’t see the big picture. I may never know exactly why I was in the accident but I do know that the Lord has a greater, master plan in store. Because I can’t see the big picture I have faith in my God and he gives me the strength to press through the trials.

He is the reason I’m optimistic. His love keeps a smile on my face.

7/2/16 (Scott & Autumn) 

From Cinnamon –
Hi All,

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! So sorry I haven’t posted anything in a very long time! Scott is doing well and slowly getting healthy. He ended up with a Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot) in his leg a couple of weeks ago as a side effect of some of the meds he’s on. He is now on anticoagulant therapy for that, so, as a result he’s growing a beard lol! His clinic visits have tapered off to just once a week, and his transplant team is very pleased with his progress and his labs from the new liver. From what we’ve been told, the toddler is doing well also. We haven’t met yet, but possibly sometime in the future as they want to meet Scott and thank him. I’ve been working anywhere from part time to full time right now because Scott hasn’t been working, hence, my difficulty to get an update posted here ;). Hunter has been a big help in taking over part of the business and working alongside our regular employee while Scott is out. We also had Scott’s dad here in May and my mom here in June to help out through his recovery. Autumn finished her first online college class this May and she earned an “A”, so she was very excited to see that she could do the work that was required. She’s not taking any classes this summer, but is registered for another two online classes this fall. We just went to the campus in Denver and set up her acccommodations that will help her with test taking, note-taking, etc. She will be starting a new vision therapy in the coming week. She still has very limited vision in the left eye…she can almost read the largest letter on the eye chart :/. Her double vision continues, so the main hope is that that can be corrected. Her processing, judgment, decision-making skills are still developing and some days are better than others. She works on critical thinking exercises daily to help regenerate those neural pathways that were damaged in the accident. It is definitely a slow journey back to healing. She just had a day the other day where she was discouraged about all the work that it will take to get back to her previous level of functioning. Those days don’t come often, but when they do they are so difficult! It’s also challenging to have two people in the family go through back to back “events”, so I’m definitely ready for a little breather in the months to come ;)! Thank you again for all that you have done for us! Because of the donations you gave to Autumn, I will be able to pay for other vision therapies that will not be covered by insurance. Her benefits were exhausted long ago, so it has been a huge blessing to still be able to pay for specialized care for her. Please know that your gifts are being used faithfully towards her recovery and that we cannot express how grateful we are to all you have done for us! We love you all!

5/9/16 (Scott) 

From Cinnamon –

I’m sorry I haven’t posted an update on Scott…I realized last night that something was up with the hospital wi-fi. Anyway, Scott has been struggling with pain and nausea these past few days. He’s tried a few different pain and nausea meds with varying success. Trying to get him up more to walk as the surgeon said this morning that the x-ray shows an ileus. His lung sounds are diminished and he had a bit of an elevated temp last night, so he needs to get his bowels moving, use his incentive spirometer, and get up and walk more. The last few nights have been rough, so not too much sleep for either of us. Looks like his drain may come out tomorrow, so that’s good. Just have to get him on oral pain meds, no nausea, able to tolerate food, bowels moving, and walking more! I’ve got kids who are throwing up and coughing, so I’m trying to get them healthy and disinfect the house before Scott gets home. Also just found out that my grandma is being placed on hospice today, so I’m hoping that the timing of everything will work out. A lot going on and very tired today for sure! I had wanted to post some thoughts on the year anniversary of Autumn and Elijah’s accident, but I haven’t been able to do that yet. So thankful for all the Lord has done this year and continues to do! I’m so thankful for each one of you and the prayers and support you continually offer in our behalf! I cannot adequately express my gratitude…thank you!

5/6/16 (Scott)

From Cinnamon –

Transplant team just came in and we talked to all of them. The surgeons said that Scott would be on track to break a record for the shortest hospital stay, but they have to leave a few lines and drains in until Monday at least to make sure his stomach does’t expand and stretch where they attached the bile ducts. His liver is working well. It’s making bile and clotting factors. His labs look great. I can hear his artery working with the Doppler that’s in place right now. I would wake up a few times at night to make sure it was still working and hadn’t clotted off 😉 . The baby liver is working well across the street at the other hospital, also.

Scott’s having some pain and nausea, but he’s awake and talking with me. He took his first dose of anti-rejection meds last night. The surgeon said his only job today is to get up and walk 🙂 .

5/5/16 (Scott, update 2) 

From Cinnamon – 

Talked with the surgeon a few minutes ago. The surgery went amazingly well! Scott didn’t need a blood transfusion, the liver is in and making bile, the artery is working well, and they were able to give the smaller lobe to the toddler…and that surgery is going well! He’s going to PACU soon and will be transferred to the transplant floor instead of ICU! So many miracles! Thank you all for praying!

5/5/16 (Scott)

From Cinnamon –

Tonight we found out that the donor liver has an interesting anatomy. There are actually two separate arteries that leave the aorta. One goes to the larger section of the liver while the other goes to the smaller section. We also found out that there is a 2 year old across the street at Children’s Hospital who is the same blood type as Scott and is waiting for a liver. Because of the anatomy of this particular liver, it will be relatively easy to split off the smaller piece with it’s own artery and transplant the toddler, while the larger piece can go into Scott with it’s own artery. Because the liver is Scott’s we had the choice of keeping the entire liver, or we could “donate” the smaller piece to the toddler. The piece Scott would get would be larger than the piece that he would be getting if we were going through with the live donor option. Clearly, it wasn’t even a decision! The surgeon told us that if he felt like Scott’s transplant was going to be compromised in the slightest, he wouldn’t split the liver…but we feel like God has opened this amazing door to share this liver. So, tomorrow, hopefully there’s a momma who’s going to get the best Mother’s Day present ever 🙂 !

I’m just emotionally exhausted… remembering back to Autumn’s accident as I think about the donor family. We were told then that had Autumn’s Glasgow Coma scale been one point lower they would have just talked to us about donating her organs. I can’t imagine the pain that they are dealing with right now. Then thinking about the toddler’s family and how much that momma’s heart has been hurting for her baby, but now there’s a liver coming…it’s a lot! Please pray that we will be able to split the liver and the surgeries will go smoothly for both teams at University and Children’s. Please pray for the toddler’s family that they will feel a peace and that the pieces of liver will begin to function smoothly after transplant. Also continue to pray for comfort and peace for the donor family. There are multiple organ donations that are happening as a result of this tragedy, so I’m praying that they can find some comfort in that! The team will be getting the liver around 5 am and bringing it back. Scott’s start time will be around 10am. The surgery is anywhere from 6-10 hours. I’ll keep you all updated as I have info. Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We are blessed to have you all as family and friends!