December 2006   Update.

David’s comment, “SO THERE!” tells it all. He will not give up. He will battle this. His persistence is doing him well. It’s slowly doing him well, but at least we are recording improvement. David went back to work full-time in September . . . on a trial basis - his neurologist agreed. Going to lab each day is proving to be the best therapy of all for David. Remember, I said that although David’s cognitive brain is unaltered, his physical disabilities continue to challenge him. He is still not able to move around in the outside world unassisted.

Each day after David returns from Columbia, he spends time on his computer working on lab-related jobs while practicing his keyboarding skills, and another two hours are spent doing therapy exercises. We hope that all of these activities coupled with time will eventually make David better. It takes months to realize even the smallest changes and we measure the change by looking backwards.

David’s posture has become more erect and his shoulders have evened out. He’s not quite so lopsided - well, except for his crooked little grin – that still is, but there is improvement there, too. His continues to make progress with his balance and walking. There has been some improvement in his vision since his eye surgery in May, but unfortunately, the miracle I/we had hoped for did not happen. So we must wait longer for his eyes to repair themselves and hope that they will. David’s neuro-ophthalmologist was so excited on our last visit when David quickly passed the depth perception test, which he was unable to do only three months prior and that gave us our carrot of   hope. The ataxia in his right hand is becoming more controlled as David forces that hand to work. He still isn’t ready to pick up a glass with that hand, but he is getting pretty good at opening doors.

So, all in all, there is progress, though it is progressing at a snail’s pace. And, so we celebrate every step along the way, no matter how small. Since September, David and his students have written an NIH grant and have published two papers in the Journal of Bacteriology. No easy feat! But on December 1st there was a milestone to celebrate. David graduated his seventeenth student from his lab. Brenda Perez, who has been a graduate student in David’s lab for about six years, completed her thesis work. She defended her thesis and received her Ph.D. Brenda continued her work while David was in the hospital. She and David’s other graduate students and postdocs visited him in the hospital to discuss their work with him. After he was released, these lab meetings took place at our home with David trapped on the couch. This makes Brenda’s Ph.D. accomplishment so much sweeter. 


 The BEFORE poster!
Still a wee bit nervous.
The AFTER poster.
Conquering the World. 

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