As we approach the end of this year, I can’t tell you how excited I am for 2007. I look back on where we started 2006 and am so thankful for how far Danny has come in his recovery. Yes, I want more and I look with joyful anticipation for 2007 to exceed all that I ask or can even imagine. This year was very difficult, but we pressed on and have overcome several obstacles, learned several lessons, and have counted many blessed memories.

Since my last update, way too long ago, we learned that Danny’s cholesterol is exceedingly elevated. So, diet and exercise are necessary in addition to medication to try to bring it down to a safe level. Considering Danny is out of control of so many areas of his life already, initially it was a battle at each meal. Now, he has gotten used to it and seems to be a little more understanding. And then, exercise is a tough one considering his limitations, but we’re attempting to get him more active. We go back to Dr. Dunlevie tomorrow to have Danny’s cholesterol checked again to see how the medication is helping. Please pray that it has decreased!

In addition to our visit with Danny’s general practitioner, we saw Dr. Kaelin the neurologist. He was pleased with Danny’s continued recovery and is interested in getting Danny back into an outpatient therapy program. Well, as of today, we’re still not going anywhere and I’m hoping to get Danny somewhere soon. He is not motivated at home or with us as his therapists and I think he will progress much faster outside the home. I really want to get Danny into the Beyond Therapy Program at Shepherd. This program does not assist patients with learning to live with their limitations, but pushes them beyond. Danny has the ability; he is now lifting his left arm from the shoulder off his arm rest, but only when asked. He will kick up his right leg, but is not able to all the time. He has better trunk support and can pull himself forward in his chair with minimal assistance. So, the ability is there, but the strength is not and the connections from the brain to the body need to become stronger too. I am not interested in teaching Danny to live as he is now, but push him to better than he was before the accident.

Not only are we looking to get Danny into an outpatient program, but we have also been able to wean him off another medication, Effexor XR. This medication is primarily used as an anti-depressant, but it also has stimulant properties. Danny started this medication when returned to Shepherd as an inpatient. Since he stopped taking the Effexor, Danny has been more sensitive and tends to cry easily. After some research on withdrawal symptoms from Effexor, I learned that it is a difficult drug to withdraw from and some people have so much difficulty that they actually wind up going back on it. I am so thankful that that does not seem to be the case with Danny. Although it is hard to see Danny struggle with the reality of the circumstances, it is so much easier to deal with him crying than to have to suffer through him yelling and being angry all the time.

Corbin is doing fantastic; although, he could sleep better at night and I wouldn’t complain. I’m not sure what is going on with him, but he does not sleep through the night any more and if he does, it is very rare. This isn’t such a big deal when I’m not staying with Danny, but when I pull double-duty it is hard on everyone. Most of the time when he wakes up, he is not unhappy, but wants to socialize. So, lately, I just take him in bed with me and then he will go back to sleep. I know this is a bad idea under normal circumstances, but we haven’t been normal in a long time. I figure sleep for everyone is more important than making him sleep in his own bed. Besides, he won’t go to college wanting to sleep in his parent’s bed.

We took Corbin to see Santa on Monday night. It was not a very happy experience for him. Now that Corbin is so mobile, he doesn’t want to sit in his stroller. I let him wander until we were next in line. He was not interested in me holding him much less Santa. He screamed his head off and bucked like a crazy horse. I did wind up buying the screaming picture and the family picture. One day, we’ll really laugh at how funny it was. Oh, and if you don’t get the effect just by seeing the picture, I do have it on video. Priceless!

Loida has had two chemo treatments since I updated last and is still doing very well. We’re very thankful for that blessing and continue to thank the Lord for her health. She and Hector have taken a couple of short, yet much deserved trips lately and are headed out again next month. Hopefully, in the upcoming months, we’ll all be able to travel together again. Amen!

Well, I know it’s early, but my birthday is in May. Danny told me that he wanted to be out of his chair by then. Please pray that he will stay motivated and focused on this goal. I can’t think of a better 30th birthday gift than to be able to dance with my husband.

As I close, I want to thank you all for a wonderful year of support. I could not do it without your encouraging notes and prayers. It is the constant knowledge that someone is thinking of us or praying for us that is so comforting. I can only pray that we have in some way blessed you a fraction of what you all have blessed us. I can’t wait to share the good news that 2007 is going to hold. May you all have a safe and blessed Christmas and New Years!

Allison “all wrapped up” Diaz

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