Feb 12, 2012 Update on Peter's Progress
It has been 9 months since Peter was injured. For many of us, it is hard to remember what we were doing 9 months ago and what we have accomplished since April 16th, 2011. For Peter, each day, each week, and each month since his injury in April, have brought continued progress and improvements through his unwavering focus, hard physical and mental work, and dedication to his therapy and other critical supporting treatments.
Today Peter is able to drive himself to his therapy by using hand controls attached to his car. He is able to maneuver through his home, moving from the lower level to the upper level with the aid of a wheel chair lift. Most importantly, he is now able to stand and walk with the help of leg braces and support from parallel bars.
What Peter’s journey will be and how long it will take is truly unknown, but with his dedicated focus on reconnecting his brain to his body, we all know he will continue to improve each day and retrain his body to return his mobility.
Because so much has happened, I will give you some background on his injury, some of the truly amazing accomplishments and key actions Peter has taken so far.
Peter has a T10-11 incomplete spinal cord injury. This means his spinal cord was not completely severed and the cord that is intact can continue to carry critical neural connections from his brain to the rest of his body. His injury interrupted this critical neural highway, but through aggressive therapy the brain to spinal cord to limb connections continue to rebuild.
Peter completes daily physical therapy sessions at two centers that focus on spinal cord injury. He uses the Lokomat® System and TheraStride system for gait training which reinforces the brains connections by simulating walking.
In addition, Peter uses parallel bars and A Knee, Ankle, Foot Orthotic (which is a leg long orthosis that spans the knee, the ankle, and the foot) to stabilize the joints and assist the muscles. This allows him to walk with the help of parallel bar supports. With the help of a standing machine, Peter is able to stand for up to one hour to maintain muscle and bone strength in his legs.
Peter is also using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), which is applied to his back and legs to help restore and improve their function. This tool applies small electrical pulses to paralyzed muscles to restore or improve their function.
Another critical therapy has been his use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. HBO therapy (HBOT) forces oxygen into oxygen-deprived central nervous tissue. Peter has taken over 100 HBOT sessions, which have contributed to the rapid reduction of swelling in his spinal cord and improved healing of his tissue. This therapy has been essential to his continued improvements.
The most critical element to Peter ‘s progress has been his faith and resolute focus on his therapy. While it has been 9 months since Peter’s accident, which may not seem long to some, for Peter, every day is a challenge mentally and physically. Please remember Peter and his family in your prayers. His wife Rita tirelessly supports Peter in his daily needs along with caring for their 3 children, Katherine, Henry and Andrew. With Peter’s deep faith and your prayers he will continue to heal and make new progress every day.