Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New You

We've all heard that cliche so I thought I would use that as a title since it kind of applies here. Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. They were both really good for us, although I have to admit, I could not stay awake to see the New Year in. This is Jon back with you, by the way.

On January 1st, we actually celebrated a pair of milestones. First of all, we welcomed in 2012 and said goodbye to one of the most interesting years we've ever experienced. Secondly, New Year's Day marked exactly six months since I left the rehab hospital. Still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I've been home six months. In many ways, that time in Waco seems like a lifetime ago.

So here is the update on therapy. In occupational therapy we continue to make slow, steady progress with my arm, hand and fingers. We will continue twice-a-week appointments through the end of the month and then re-evaluate the plan from there. More than likely, there will be more of an emphasis on home exercises and work. The best thing I can do is to just keep trying to use that arm, hand and fingers in day-to-day activities and force it to do more work. Today was a very good and encouraging day.

The news is not quite as encouraging in physical therapy. We have stopped our weekly appointments and already made the move to more home work. I will go back every two weeks until the end of the month to see if there is some progress, but after plateauing (is that even a word?), we've backed off a little and there is now more of a focus on me committing to work on my own. I'm wearing a pedometer now to measure just how much I actually walk in a day and will be spending some time on the elliptical machine in the fitness center at work.

It has been a bit of a discouraging time and I was a little down for a while over the break, but then I got to thinking. I have no reason to be upset or discouraged. In my first 41 years, I reached my career goal of doing sports on television (along with weather and news), played guitar in a rock band, acted in a major motion picture (Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch: it's only my back and the movie was Action USA), married the love of my life, had two incredible children that I am very proud of, hopefully made my parents and family proud of me, publicized a national championship team and worked with five national runners-up, met some amazing people and made many good friends, and now made a remarkable recovery from what could easily have been a fatal stroke. All in all, I'd say its been a pretty good and full life, with much more to come. And I'm certainly not ready to call the recovery over. The work will continue, whether I'm in therapy or not.

Thank you for letting me get some of those thoughts out and thanks again for continuing to follow the blog. We'll be back again soon with another update. Take care and God Bless.


  1. Hi Jon:

    Oh my! The accomplishments you have achieved in your short life have been "OUTSTANDING!" (as Coach Shipp would say). Mine, in comparison, pale in the shadow of yours. Of course, then we have to understand how completely different each person's God-given life story is laid out. In order for you to have accomplished the work God has given you to do on this earth, your talents have been honed in the direction of your career which put you in contact with the right people and places. I believe my work is more internal,laid back--kind of sneak in the back door,if you will--type of work. In fact, just the other day I, too, became discouraged about what I have done for my God-given work; have I followed the right path? What big accomplishment have I attained?

    I believe with my whole heart that the people put in our lives are important.....just for different reasons. Hard to explain! You might have met a person who will help you develop your skills for whatever your goal is. I might meet that same person and get something completely different from it. People cross our path and come into our lives for a definite reason. I know God put you in mine for a reason...even if it is just to (as I told you at my retirement party) love you like the son I never had. Talk about an accomplishment! That definitely is easy, God-given, work.

    Hang tough, Jon. You are amazing! I sure hope to be able to visit soon.


  2. As a contributing writer to this blog, it feels a bit different being on the other side and commenting on someone else's writing, but I just have to on this one.

    First off, I have to again say how proud I have been of Jon these last many months. He's shown the kind of courage, resiliency and patience I can only dream of having. The major breakthroughs, the minor ones, all of them, have been wonderful for us to celebrate, and most of all, just having him still around and in our lives is the best celebration of all.

    Having said that, I think this post is another example of how impressed I am with my husband. No one can truly understand the magnitude of any of this until you have been through it, me included. I've watched, I've encouraged, I've cried with him, but I have no idea what it's like because I'm still watching from a distance. So when Jon is discouraged, I try to give the "pep talk," which sometimes works and sometimes don't.

    It's hard to sit back and see him get discouraged and live life as what he calls his "new normal," and it has been a tough few weeks. But to see this post; his reflections, his accomplishments, and his joy in all of those, has just made my year (granted we're only 5 days in!)!

    It's easy for us on the outside to try to remind Jon of what he still has, what he's been able to get back. But he's the one dealing with what is slower to come back. Seeing this positive attitude and true sincere gratitude for what he has makes me proud and glad he's the same old Jon - bad jokes and all!

    We are all proud of you Jon! You have done so much in your life and trust me, there is more to come, we will see to that. It's only the beginning in a new chapter, and we will make more memories and have more accomplishments to talk about in your next 40 years!

    Hang in there, stay positive and keep working (as I know he will).

    And by the way, to start out the new year, I think you need a dog to help you with therapy, or a new boat, either one would be highly valuable in your recovery!

  3. Jon,

    I've been watching you "grow up" for more than 40 years now. You have accomplished so very much in that time...more than many accomplish in 80 years. But the thing you have always been able to do that impresses, touches, moves, inspires, and astounds me, is that you approach EVERY situation with determination, good humor, and faith.

    You have been through things in the past year that I cannot even imagine. And through it all, you have been able, not only to smile, but to make OTHERS smile.

    Physically, there are probably going to continue to be challenges. I know that will be disappointing and frustrating. But I also think you will continue to improve and learn and do more all the time. And through it all, you are providing incredible inspiration to those around you.

    I hope that some day I am able to do something to make you as proud of me as I have been of you.

    Much love,

  4. Mom asked me to post this for her:

    Surprise! I usually comment on your postings face-to-face or on the phone. However, I have to thank you for this beautiful message and wouldn’t be able to without getting a catch in my throat. I had been worried, because I could hear the discouragement in your voice this past week – a rarity in all you’ve been through these past seven+ months. But to read these positive comments has been a real gift.

    Your dad and I have tried to walk that fine line between encouraging and nagging. Remember how anxious we all were when you were leaving the security of the rehab hospital? And look at what marvelous strides (no pun intended!) you have made in your recovery since then!! We know too many prayers have been and continue to be offered up on your behalf for that recovery NOT to continue. We believe strongly that you will continue to improve.

    Let’s approach this new phase as a continuation of your rehab – actually scheduling it on the calendar just as you have your appointments if need be to be sure it gets done. You know that one of us would gladly come up to help with those home assignments or times on the elliptical, just as we have been delighted to be there for many of your rehab sessions. Just let us know.

    We couldn’t be more proud of how you have dealt with all the ups and downs of these past months. You have been an inspiration to all of us! We have been grateful and proud of how Brenda, Jacob, and Brooke have been right there with you through it all. Brenda’s beautiful comment on this posting certainly reinforces how blessed we are to have her as our daughter-in-law. And your sister Jen’s comment makes us very proud of her. How did your dad and I get so fortunate to have you all in our lives? We thank God for each of you – and for your friend Ellen’s loyal, uplifting comments. Wish I knew her personally!

    I know we don’t get a vote – nor do we think we should! – but just a “heads up.” Although I’d do almost anything I could for you, I’m not taking care of a dog!!

    Much love,