Saturday, October 1, 2011

A year has gone by as DJ continues his journey

A year has gone by since DJ underwent his surgery September 8th 2010. I remember like it was yesterday, the night before going to bed kissing my kids goodnight knowing that as a family we were going to face the toughest emotional day of our lives. As I held DJ I remember how hard it was to hold back my tears. I let him know that tomorrow Dr. Handler at the Denver Children's Hospital was going to make him all better. I remember after everyone was safe and sound asleep that I walked to the family room to have a moment to myself. In that moment I found myself praying to God. "Lord I know your here and that life has many ups and downs. I wanted to thank you for everything that you have done for our family and I am very grateful for all that you have provided us. Please take care of my son and watch over him as he goes through this surgery. AMEN"
It's now a year later and DJ is doing amazing. The doctors are amazed on what he has accomplished in 1 year. DJ started Kindergarten 6 weeks ago and is so excited to be in school of course gym and recess are his favorite! Kristen has been volunteering at the school which is wonderful to know she is close by if he needs her. She has also become a Board Member on the school PTO, so proud of my wife! DJ has continued to work very hard in therapy and has made great strides! This summer DJ went swimming with his sisters and friends for the first time since  before surgery. I know it was tough for Kristen to let go of DJ to see if he could swim again knowing that his right side of his body still has a long way to go. But then DJ who has always been a little super hero said "Mom, let me go I can do it." The most beautiful, uplifting, inspiring and at the same time heart pounding words a parent could here from their child! She let go but never left his side. That day, that hour, that defining moment DJ gave "Once you choose hope anything is possible" an even stronger meaning.
DJ is very excited to be in school. He recently ran over 1 mile in the Trot-a-Thon for his schools annual fundraiser! Tiana who is in the 4th grade now also ran her little heart out. She tied with two other girls for most laps ran in the 4th grade! So proud of these kids.
Tonight we will be attending a benefit hosted by The Sanger Foundation who helped  our Family and many others during their time of need. We are so thankful for everything they have done for DJ and our family. Please take the time to visit the site and see how this foundation came about and how they have helped many families!
We are all very excited for our first vacation since DJ's surgery.  Next week we are going home to visit family and friends in Arizona! It's been really tough being away from our family and friends for such a long period of time. Everyone's love and prayers have been such a blessing to our family and we hope to see as many people that we can during our visit. Kristen & I could never express just how much we are grateful to have you in our lives, but hope we can try by continuing to love and teach are children to help others in need and to appreciate life which has many ups and downs but will always be a beautiful journey with the love of family and friends.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

DJ 's Journey updated -Time Heals

It's been awhile since we have updated the blog and so much has transpired over the holiday's with DJ's progress!! DJ has been working so hard and after 5 months has shown great improvement. He continues to make great strides in his therapy and is getting stronger everyday. His speech is starting to come back as he is starting to put 2 and 3 words together. Everyday when Dino gets home from work, even though I know he is tired, he still works with DJ. They work on his motor skills and speech. I love watching them spend time together and DJ lights up when he sees his Daddy walk through the door. The girls have really helped DJ and have  been motivators for him too. They play everyday working on puzzles, coloring, & anything else that sparks their imagination. 
Yesterday we took the kids to a birthday party next door. It is so nice to see DJ playing with his friends. One of his best friends Riley really has been one of DJ's biggest motivator. The time they spend together playing Army or running around the house has really been good for DJ. Kids are really great aren't they.
The kids are excited because Grandma is coming back up to visit again in a couple of weeks. It will be really nice to see my mom again. The weather is starting to warm up and the snow is starting to melt so hopefully my sister will come back to visit soon too (she doesn't do the cold). 
Overall the reports from DJ's therapist are amazing! Miss Megan, DJ's Speech therapist, is still thrilled at the progress he's making week from week. When DJ first started seeing Megan she really had to try to get him talking and now he is offering up more words all the time. We all think that is fantastic! Miss Yvonne, DJ's Occupational therapist, has seen a huge improvement. DJ use to give her a hard time, (kind of surprising since DJ is my most cooperative child) in the beginning and now he likes to go to therapy and is very willing to work! Yvonne works a lot with his right arm and that has been the hardest thing to come back so far. Before surgery we were pretty much told that he would be very limited in his right arm and most likely have no fine motor skills in his hand anymore. I think not being able to use that arm has been very frustrating but he is working hard trying to get it back. Since sometime in December DJ's physical therapist changed and now he is seeing Miss Jamie. Since Jamie has started working with him he has always enjoyed playing with her and he is accomplishing more & more every visit. 
During these last 6 months our lives have been a roller coaster and we  apologize for not updating the blog as much as we'd like to. We will try to sit down and update at least once a month on how Dj is doing and appreciate the love and prayers.

Thank you all for your love and support!

The Rivera's

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
       - John Heywood, sixteenth-century English poet

"Once you chose hope, anything's possible." -Christopher Reeve