Yes, this post is seven years in the making… because it was just over seven years ago that our lives changed forever.
It was 2009. We were both 20 years old and so optimistic about the future. Vince’s Marine Corps career was going well and he was gearing up for another deployment. My photography had taken off and 2010 was set to be an amazingly profitable year. And then it all changed.
I won’t go in to all of the details (you can read more here) but Vince was in a motorcycle accident on December 1, 2009. He sustained a severe TBI and nerve damage to his C5 & C6 vertebra. By the grace of God and to the shock of many doctors, Vince walked away fairly unscathed. Other than being forgetful sometimes (but aren’t we all?) and the loss of use in his left arm, he was able to recover from his accident quite well. He has since gone on to become a CPA and is back in the gym trying very hard to not let the arm injury slow him down.
But it does.
For seven years, Vince has lived with limited use of his arm and constant nerve pain.
For seven years, Vince adapted and overcame so much.
For seven years, Vince, and I have searched and prayed for answers…. only to be told “no” more than we care to count.
Well, as of March 3rd, Vince no longer has to live with the limited use of his arm. He still has the nerve pain and that will likely never go away. And it will take some work to build back the muscles mass lost, but to see him regain his range of motion was like witnessing a Biblical miracle.
Because y’all, it was a miracle. For SEVEN years we researched, hoped, prayed, begged for answers and found nothing. We were told by multiple doctors that he shouldn’t even be alive after a brain injury like his and we should be “grateful it’s only his arm.” When he was in the hospital following the accident, waiting to be transferred to a trauma center, his ER nurse asked me if I understood what was going on. Obviously I didn’t. This nurse proceed to say, “well, ma’am, 95% of people who come in here with his kind of brain injury leave in a hearse.” Gee, thanks mister.
We were 20 years old.
Gah, if only my 27-year-old self could go back and hug that scared 20-year-old girl and tell her it would be ok. Tell her that yes, the life y’all planned is now laying shattered on the floor, but y’all will pick yourselves up and you will build an incredible life together. Yes, your husband will one day move his arm with (some) normalcy. Remind her God is working miracles that may take years to see, be patient. And to tell her that in February of 2017, Vince will find a doctor in Canada that thinks he can help.
When Vince told me about the procedure, I was in Vegas at WPPI. To be honest, I listened half-heartedly because I was a little distracted by the conference and we had gotten our hopes up several times in the past, why do it again? I got home and within the week we booked our tickets to Toronto.
The entire time I was cautiously optimistic, but y’all, I was truly terrified. The last thing I wanted was for this procedure to not work and Vince to be heartbroken. Plus, it seemed too good to be true. I didn’t know what to think and I was so lost in thought the three weeks leading up to the trip. I mostly kept my worries and concerns to myself, which completely and utterly irritated Vince since he is so use to me talking everything out with him. I have found many times in my life, that when I am speechless (which if you know me, doesn’t happen a lot), I hear God the loudest. The night before our trip, I knew it was going to work. I had complete and perfect peace about the whole situation.
When we arrived at the office and met with Dr. Austen, it didn’t go as I expected. Dr. Austen was shocked at Vince’s story and timeline and was clearly hesitant about the results Vince would get. I won’t bore you with all the small details of the procedure because you can read more about it here – but basically Dr. Austen is the only person in the world that does this procedure because he developed it. It is a treatment for frozen shoulder and it was such a simple, yet complicated procedure. Within a few minutes, my husband could lift his left arm over his head. Y’all, I cried ugly tears.
I cried because I was so happy for Vince, but I also cried because I was so mad that it had taken seven years. Orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurologists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, general practitioners, chiropractors – we saw them all and none of them offered any solutions for Vince’s range of motion.
But you know what? IT ONLY TAKES ONE YES.
Dr. Austen has worked on celebrities – he has autographed pictures of Ian Mckellen, Bernadette Peters, Simon Cowell, and countless others hanging in his office – but I doubt he has performed this procedure on someone as grateful as the Marine who lost his career because of a careless driver. And I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, Dr. Austen has never had a spouse as grateful as the one typing this post.
(And a HUGE thank you to my Aunt Donna, Uncle Mike, and Lisa for keeping Mila while we were away.)
I did want to include some fun photos from the trip because we had such a blast! I didn’t take a ton because it was so cold and I really wanted to just enjoy the site. We loved Niagara Falls and Toronto. Can’t wait to visit again!
I have never seen a black squirrel. I screamed.
Their definition of “Carolina Tangy” was WAYYYY off.