After today, I feel like shouting for joy from the rooftops. My husband is so completely inspiring that I am left essentially speechless (a rarity for me). This morning TC was all chatter. It was the first day he initiated speech on his own and despite the difficulties of vocalizing through a trach, he talked nonstop. As of now, TC is only using the left side of his mouth to speak. This is likely due to the fact that the right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain, his injured side. This also explains why TC can’t seem to move his right arm yet. Again, we can’t yet say how much of this is permanent, although I am starting to doubt the notion of permanency altogether.

Of all that he told me this morning, the only thing I clearly understood was after I asked TC if he would like to see Jack. TC rolled his eyes, implying this was among the stupidest questions he had ever been asked, and responded with a shout, “Of course! He’s my son!” Good enough for me.

When I returned later this evening TC was already far more coherent. Upon seeing my mother and I enter his room he became very emotional. He pulled me close to his side and said, “I love you so much, honey.” He went on to tell me he was scared and that I didn’t know what this experience was like for him. He threw in a few choice expletives here and there to get the point across, but given the circumstances, who can blame him?

A few nurses popped in during our conversation. They told me that TC had been asking to call me earlier. He was telling everyone about Jack and how much he loves being a dad. My jaw was on the floor. How is this possible? In just a few hours my husband went from a state of muteness to being able to communicate a great deal.

At the end of our visit I promised T that I would bring him a cell phone so he could call me if he wanted to. To prove he was ready for this milestone, I asked him to take my iPhone and pretend to call himself. I doubted he would be able to remember the steps involved and wondered if he would be able to locate his own name among the many on my contacts list. Within a minute, TC pulled up his own name and pressed send. For the second time in an hour, my jaw was on the floor again.

I have a feeling this process will mimic the two steps forward, one step back routine, but today felt like a thousand steps forward. TC has always been interested in the plasticity of the brain. In fact, he has told me on multiple occasions that he would like to study neurology later in his life (can you say “overachiever”?) Now he is living proof that the brain is not only malleable, it is incredibly resilient.

My family and I have been doing a ton of reading on brain injury and would like to recommend a few resources for those of you who would like to know more. The story of journalist Bob Woodruff has been especially inspiring given the similarities between the two sets of injuries. You can learn more about his story by watching the documentary below. 

Great reading:

Mindstorms: Living with Traumatic Brain Injury
In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing
Where is the Mango Princess? A Journey Back from Brain Injury

9 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. So excited to hear this amazing news! My husband and I – fellow Hill residents – have been following your story and thinking of your family often. Hoping to read 1000 more posts as happy as this one!


  2. Hi Abby,
    I am so happy to read that TC is making progress.I am outraged by how vicious people can be. I'm glad to see you are focused on his healing and he will heal. TC appears to be a fighter and determined to make a recovery for himself, you and your sweet son. I put your bog link and donation on my blog page because your story needs to be read to give others encouragement who are facing hardships and tragedies. Thank you for taking time out to write and may God continue to give you the strength you need and may he work a miracle in TC. Nothing is impossible.

    Here is the link:

    My prayers are with you!
    Chere Williams


  3. Abby,
    This is a wonderful update! I just recently became friends with a fellow mom in my new neighborhood who suffered a TBI in a similar way (senseless attack). She is very functional and has mostly the same lingering symptoms Bob Woodruff has (I just watched that documentary- amazing). I told her a little bit about TC and she feels hopeful, as you do. She said she felt TC's frustration with not getting back to “normal” fast enough and being sad/angry/etc that she missed her husband and kids, just as TC seems to feel about missing you and Jack. Just thought a little 'happy ending' story may shine a little light for you today. I can't imagine what this has been like for you, but I think of your family often and am sending healing vibes for TC. xo


  4. Abby,
    I went to the Nic School with TC and I'm sure we met once or twice, but I'm now in Seattle and following TC closely. The Nic school brought me some of my closest friends, who I would do anything for and I'm glad to see you have the same with Ryan, Pat and the crew. The rest of us are pulling for you too and this post brought tears to my eyes. Celebrate each and every milestone, to gain strength for the lows. And know we are sending love from all sides. Thanks for the updates and the posts. You are an amazing person.
    With love,


  5. I am just one of the many Hill moms keeping your family in my thoughts. This post is amazing and so encouraging! What an amazing leap it must be for TC to communicate with you again. Stay strong.


  6. Hooray!!! This is such wonderful news! I have been thinking of you guys all week. I know you still need to be cautious, but I'm so glad you've had some beautiful breakthroughs to celebrate this week 🙂

    – Caitlin


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