Good news-Bad news…
Good News; Corey’s been making tremendous gains with her cognitive specialist. She has been increasing her response speed and length of concentration time working on the computer playing her ‘brain games’. The brain game exercises have carried over and are reflected in longer and more frequent spurts of ‘clarity’. She is becoming more ‘aware’.
Bad News…Corey’s becoming more ‘aware’.
Corey has been on an emotional roller coaster primarily because of the intermittent moments of clarity. Her perception of her current world challenges both her short term and long term memory. Those of you following Corey’s story for 4 1/2 years know what happens when this occurs…the return of Corey’s evil twin – Corrine. Corrine brought Anxious Annie with her and Annie is an insomniac! It’s been very, very difficult living with the return of Corey’s imaginary multiple personalities but I must say, when she calms down her reasoning skills during her moments of clarity reveal an advanced level of cognitive and emotional thinking.
I know it’s been two weeks since our last post and that worries many of you. (Honestly, this recent “regression” has caused me to be a little worried, too).
As you all read our update, please don’t be discouraged. Although the term Bad News often refers to regression, it is in fact all relative…perspective helps to change its definition on our rested days. Corey’s insight, executive reasoning and emotional intellect is developing. She is more and more self aware. On the days we are all sleep deprived, Bad News reminds us we still live, breath, eat and don’t sleep with Brain Injury.
In therapy, Corey is walking further, standing straighter, increasing her balance and is walking with a traditional cane 90% of the time she is up and about. Last week she received Botox in her left arm only. Her left leg is stronger and she has maintained a functioning range of motion in her toes and foot and for the first time in 2 1/2 years, she didn’t need it in her left foot. Her left arm gains range of motion and her fingers are much more flexible after botox. We have been learning scales on the piano which has been helping her control over her left hand and strengthens the individual mobility of finger.
In the kitchen, Corey and I collaborated on a new gravy for meat and/or chicken. A Horseradish Mustard Mushroom gravy. I have to tell you, it’s even better the day after!!
Corey is also researching other recipes as we work on her cookbook. Last night, she thought of an apron and stationary she wants to design as well. Her apron would say; “Cooking up an Appetite” and her note cards for her personal stationary would say “Cooking up a conversation with Chef Corey”…I think she’s onto something as she brands her company.
Corey continues to evolve, which is a miracle (and we don’t use that term loosely). She has made great gains but as you all know, the goal is full recovery. We understand with the level of her initial injury she will never ‘fully’ recover. That being said, we will continue to find every resource possible to help her regain the maximum functional recovery for her to realize her dream of becoming a Chef.
Our next resource; The Carrick Brain Center in Dallas, Texas.
I went to Dallas, TX in mid July to meet the owners of the Carrick Brain Center.
They specialize and treat diseases and disorders of the brain and central nervous system. (their website will best describe their practices and unique therapies)
Dr. Cagan Randall and Dr. Brendan Brock sat with me for more than an hour. We discussed Corey’s initial injury, time in the ICU, her inpatient stay at Bryn Mawr, progress during her first year at home, her second inpatient stay, and her progress over the last 3 years of out-patient therapy. I added in January, we’ve not only changed her medications, we’ve also added Neuro-behavioral and cognitive therapy to her regimen.
Dr. Brock first stated that if we came to him 1.5 or 2 years ago, they would not consider working with Corey. In light of the progress she’s made (physically and cognitively) especially since January, they are very excited to work with her. They don’t typically see a survivor (with her initial level of injury) improve with consistent and significant gains 5yrs post injury.
They explained further:
Initially, Corey had a global injury – in addition to her physical fractures, every part of her brain and spinal cord was injured.
For the last 5 years, she has been receiving global rehab. That means, we have been treating every part of her body at the same time with PT/OT/ST.
Many parts of her brain and body have healed.
Their belief is, as the brain heals and the person progresses, the therapy must become more focused and more specific.
An evaluation and individualized therapy program will target the parts of the brain that have not yet responded and/or healed as quickly as the other parts that have been reactivated.
We listed goals (set by Corey and our family) for initial targets.
-speaking more clearly, finding words
-stability with anxiety and behavior
-use of her left arm
-fatigue w/concentration, focus to task
-sleeping through the night
Specifically their thoughts with a home program + skype sessions post initial eval using a 3 month course of therapy over a years time…
-walking unassisted – PROBABLE
-speaking more clearly, finding words – PROBABLE
-stability with anxiety and behavior – WILL TAKE TIME
-use of her left arm – WILL EVALUATE (not sure it will come back to full function)
-fatigue w/concentration, focus to task – WILL HARMONIZE EASILY
-sleeping through the night – WILL TAKE TIME, MAYBE A YEAR
-improved memory and processing – WILL IMPROVE A LOT and QUICKLY
They feel their program will help her improve 20% within 3 months.
Dr. Brock added, nothing is guaranteed with the brain, but depending on the most important part of this puzzle – Corey’s Brain Tissue – with a customized therapy program, she could get back 70% of what she had before the accident.
Their team evaluated her chart, MRI and CT films, all her current doctor reports and accepted her into the program.
Caitlin, Corey and I will be heading to Dallas on August 30th. Her evaluation begins August 31st – September 4th. The days will be 3 sessions per/day, each session is 1.5hrs long (if she can handle it). We will head home on the 5th.
THIS CENTER IS NOT COVERED BY INSURANCE.
Corey’s cousins have dedicated their run in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon every year since Corey’s accident as a fundraising opportunity for the therapies, supplies and support services that are not covered by insurance.
The first year TEAM COREY consisted of 7 runners…This year, Team Corey has close to 50 runners. Corey’s cousins, Christy, Katie and Kerri have updated her fundraising page (link attached below). 100% of the funds raised will be dedicated to Corey’s expenses for the Carrick Brain Center over the next year.
This opportunity would not be possible without all of you! Our family of origin, community, and the friends we have met via carepages gives us the encouragement we need to keep moving forward. We can’t thank you enough for your friendship, love and the tireless efforts of so many to fundraise on Corey’s behalf.
Corey, “Someday is coming”. You will walk independently. You will become a Chef and yes, You will run across your finish line! xoxo