Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thank You ~ from Marv & Lou

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in, I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
This passage from Matthew 25:34-40 has really been exemplified by all of you who have responded in so many beautiful ways to Andre, Mandi, and Gabe’s recent life-changing accident. We as a family couldn’t begin to thank each individual for each kind deed, but our Heavenly Father knows all and sees all, and keeps perfect records (unlike us) in His Book of Life, and when it really counts, at the Judgement seat of Christ, you will be rewarded. I cry as I write this-the outpouring of love shown to our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson has been over-whelming. Marv and I are eternally grateful-especially for all the prayers bomb-barding the Throne on their behalf. We love you all! ~~ Marv and Lou

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Get that hose outta his nose!!!!

Gabriel is tubeless! Thank You Jesus! Mandi and I's day had a precious start. Over the past few weeks at Dean & Nelda's we have spoiled our little boy...Hey..can you blame us?!! Anyway, part of that involves letting Gabe come into bed with us about every night between 2 & 3 am. This morning he woke up at about 4 o'clock and began to shower us with slobbery open-mouth kisses. He would roll over towards me, place his arm on my shoulder, and smooch on me, while saying "oooohhh". Then he would roll over towards Mams and repeat the process. Although I was really enjoying it all, I was also thinking "Gabe, I really need at least one more hour of sleep!" ....he eventually did go back to sleep..not to wake again until 7:45 when we had to leave for Indy. His appointment today was with a speech pathologist who subjected him to a "swallow study". They have him sit beside an x-ray machine while they feed him foods of different consistencies. I'll make this short....their opinion was that the tube should stay in, even though it didn't really matter what they thought. (not meaning to sound mean...just speaking truth) They told us they would call Gabe's pediatrician (Dr.Ruff) and share with him the results of the study, and then it would be up to him concerning the status of the NG tube. Dr. Ruff called me on the way home from Indy. He said a lot of things, but the part that sounded like music to my ears was, "We've got to get that hose out of his nose!". He said that Gabe should be healthy and strong enough to prevent any significant aspirations, but that we would just monitor him day-to-day watching for any signs of not doing well. (ex. fevers, congestion, weight loss) Dr. Ruff felt pretty sure that Gabriel would do just fine.
Removing the tube was quick. Dr. Ruff gave us the okay to remove it. I hung up the phone, walked over to Gabriel, gently removed the tape, and then smoothly and deliberately pulled the tube out.
Thank you for praying for our big day today! Please continue to pray for strength and healing for my bride and son. Bless you.
~andre`

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Video Blog: Mandi & Gabe - The Reunion

It has been amazing to see the progress of Mandi and Gabe since the accident....here are a few clips to help sum up where they are today.
enjoy,
Tyler

video

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ella Nyah Marie

Soon after Mandi and I were married on June 29th, 2002, she began to talk about wanting to have a little girl one day and name her Ella. Like most newly married 21 year old guys, I used to get nauseous everytime my beautiful bride would talk about having kids......an old friend once told me that "seasons change and things change...and perhaps..people change". Gabriel Thomas is here and mams is pregnant with our second child and I still get nauseous from time to time, but now only because Gabe loves to be spun around in circles while riding on my shoulders! :) For those who do not know Gabe's story when he was just a "bun in the oven"....it's worth the telling....I'll just say that the oven got too hot over the course of 4 days. Mandi was 30 weeks pregnant and she got a kidney stone. This wasn't uncommon as Mams had already given birth to several illegitimate "kid" stones in her young adult life. This stone, however, didn't play by the rules. It caused an infection to set into Mandi's kidney. I'll make this short....Mandi was in the hospital for 4 days. Her fever pushed 104 several times. The doctors would pile bags of ice all over her as she lay in her bed. They had to give her medicine to stop contractions. Gabriel's heartrate stayed up over 210 beats/min. for extended periods of time on several different occasions....Our Lord protected both him and his mother through this time....
When we got pregnant again, I remember thinking to myself that this one would seem easy....well...you know the rest....and it definitely hasn't been easy. But I will say that I have never felt more blessed in my life. God is sustaining my family and showing us grace, mercy, & love through it all. One of the miracles we have seen is the protection of our little unborn Ella Nyah Marie. Let me tell you about her name.....I already mentioned Mandi's love for the name "Ella". She also has always wanted to pass on the name "Marie". It is her Grandma Zetta's middle name as well as her own.....and now for "Nyah"....Since the accident, Mams and I have talked about wanting to give Ella a name that would be significant to the protection that God has shown her. "Nyah" is a variant form of an African Swahili name meaning "purpose". We believe in that purpose for Ella, and we want it to be a part of her name so that everyone will always remember it. If the Lord ever leads you to pray for our family, open your Bible and read these two Psalms as prayers over Gabriel Thomas and Ella Nyah Marie. Psalms chapter 86 for Gabriel and Psalms chapter 40 for Ella, and Ephesians chapter 6 verses 10-20 for Mams and I.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gabriel @ Riley Hospital

These pics were taken of Gabriel sometime during his last couple of days at Riley Children's Hospital. As you can see, he was showing signs of getting back to his ole self.




That is his Aunt Jolene (Gramma Jolene), who btw had just pulled an all-nighter with the crazy man featured in this pic!















I'm telling you, he will do anything to get a reaction from anybody who might be paying attention. I don't know where he gets that.....










Ultrasound Pictures....
















This is a picture of the girly parts....
crazy obvious! She put on a show for us!















Back shot! She looks cramped...















Body shot... she is floating upside down and LOOK at THAT HAND by HER FACE!
















Face profile....I think she has
some chubby cheeks like Gabe!

We are having a GIRL.... ELLA NYAH MARIE!

Yes I am only 15 weeks! And yes it is crazy that we were able to find out! Usually you don't get to find out until about 18-20 weeks. And yes it was very evident, she was in perfect position. Andre and I both prayed that she would be laying in a good position so maybe we could get a peak and sure enough she was!!!!!! I just can't believe it! She must be a stinker because it seems as though she was performing for us. And man does she move, such a squirmy little thing. Oh and guess what else... she constantly has a hand beside her face...just like Gabe did! And Gabe was even delivered with his hand next to his face, which caused me a little extra pain. So Ella and I are going to have to have a talk about that hand before delivery!

I am going to have Andre work on figuring out how to download the ultrasound pics... so later on I will post them. He and Gabe are snoozing right now!

As for the visit....
It went really well. Dr. Frances is so wonderful! He really reassured things are going to be ok... which is nice for me after the news from yesterday. He told me there are so many options for pain and we could talk about what would be best. We are going to meet with the anesthesiologist (spell?) at about 28 weeks to go over options. So needless to say Dr.Frances did a wonderful job in comforting me. The ultrasound also went very well, as you can see from above! She looks good and all of her measurements are right on. Like I said, she is moving like crazy.

After the visit, Andre and I made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy something for her. We purchased some pink and brown outfits for her... Andre had fun helping me pick them out! Oh, and I actually rode the motorized wheelchair! ..he he... It was fun actually, but a little scary having to drive around other people. (so the reason I rode this was because all I had was my cane and I was afraid I wouldn't make it the whole way....so the lady up front convinced me I should just take the motorized one over the regular one!)

As For GABE....
He is WALKING! He is so amazing... he is already doing laps! He has taken charge and is off again! He is also bending over to pick up things and is not afraid of anything. We are so proud of him. He is still eating well and he is also talking all of the time. Da, Mama, Broof, More, ball, and now "doss" (which is Josh).... and he is still faking coughs! What a stinker...Andre and I are afraid we might have a stinker on our hands when this is all said and done:) He is getting attention 24/7 right now and noone tells him no. So you all can just imagine! He is already starting to go to the kitchen cabinets for "more", which is what he says when he wants food. He is just so CUTE!

So long for now.... I will post ultrasound pics later on....
love
mandi

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Really Pleasing News...and a little bad.....

Ok so the Good news first! I saw my neurosurgeon today in Indy and he was about blown off of his chair when he saw how well I was doing. I asked his permission to graduate to a quad-cane and he said sure. So then he asked me to walk for him.... I said "What?" so he grabbed my one hand and lead me to the hall where he let go and said walk. Yikes I said! But sure enough I did it! I WALKED ALL BY MYSELF! He couldn't believe it! So as we reentered the room he proceeded to tell me this: Did you know that there are many people who have the same injury as you and some of them never walk again and some of them walk, however it takes them two years to progress as quickly as you. God is so GOOD! Look at what your prayers have done. The Lord has heard you on my behalf, granted your requests, and thank God I am being healed! I know there is no way I could ever repay you all...... however, I can pray for you. So if you ever need something prayed about please let me know and I will return the favor! My x-ray looked wonderful and he was very pleased with everything staying in place. He released me to swim-for therapy, lift up to 15 pounds, take my brace off when I am supported by a chair and there is no chance of me getting hurt, stop taking my neurotin(spell) which is the med I have been wanting to stop, and graduate to my cane!

So it was all such a good visit until.... I asked him about delivery. He basically told me my two options because I can NO LONGER have an EPIDURAL! (I have to much scar tissue and it would be to risky because of my surgery) I was shocked! Didn't know what to say... so he went on to tell me my choices: 1. I could have a natural delivery with iv meds. only. Which are not near the strength of the epidural. or 2. I could have a c-section with general anesthesia, which is putting me asleep. Neither one sounds like fun to me but I don't have much of a choice... so pray that God leads me in the right decision.

Overall, Andre and I enjoyed each others company and we had mostly good news. What more can we ask for.... thanks for praying for our trip!

Tomorrow is my appointment with the ob doctor! I get an ultrasound so I will update afterwards...

Thanks,
Mandi

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Graduated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had therapy today and we tried the walking cane with a small base on the bottom. My therapist said to get rid of the walker and let it collect some dust! Yahoo! Its so crazy to be moving on already... of course I was a little nervous at first but then I tried it and it was good.

So here I am asking for help again. I was wondering if anyone might have a walking cane with a small base sitting around! If you would I would really appreciate it if I could borrow it for a bit. Just let us know by calling Andre's phone at 486-7559. Thanks again for all of your help!

Ok...so tomorrow Andre and I are traveling to Indy for me to see my neuro. surgeon. I am excited to show him what I can do and to see what he will release me to do...hopefully I can lift gabe up! So please be praying for our trip.... it will be a long day however, I am really excited to spend some good quality time with my husband! I will definitely update the progress tomorrow.

Little Gabe is doing AWESOME! He is such a trooper... He and I are learning to walk again and well he is passing me up with flying colors! He is pushing his walking toy around like a pro and cruising along the couch. He has attempted numerous times to take steps by himself. He is eating really well also. We have been giving him applesauce, bannana puffs, bananas and grapes in a mesh bag (for babies) so he can suck on them. He is Loving being able to eat! He is talking now.... saying ball, "Da", and he fakes coughing, because my dad jumps around and acts crazy when he does it....and he loves to get a rise out of anyone.... the OLD Gabe is back! Thank you Jesus!
As for the feeding tube...we were going to take Gabe with us tomorrow to see if they would listen to his swallowing again. However, we were unsure to put him through such a long trip if they would not take out the tube....so between us, Gabe's Doctor, and the speech path. we decided to make the date for July 24. (Gabe's Doc. said that Gabe really needs the extra calories right now to get stronger and heal so therefore we pushed the date back a week.) This is a week from tomorrow and we are asking and believing that this is the day of celebration for his tube coming out! Please join in with us and pray that he keeps improving over the next week so we can remove the feeding tube on this day.

Keep lifting us up because all of your prayers are working!!!!!!
Thanks again
mandi

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Oh my God, do not delay"

Tomorrow will be one month since the accident. I try not to remember much about it, but I do know that I cried out to God in a way I had never done before in my life.... Mandi, Gabriel, and I had spent the entire Saturday in Indianapolis visiting with my brother Adam. Ironically, we learned our way around a city to which we would very soon be returning. It was approximately 11:00pm and we were coming in to the north side of Washington on Hwy. 57. We were about 1 minute from our house when I saw headlights coming over into my lane. My reaction was to swerve to my right, off of the highway. Not able to control the vehicle, we came back up on the pavement, already skidding sideways. After one more half-spin we went off the left side of the road and struck a telephone pole, snapping it off. When our vehicle came to a stop, it was resting on its side facing the opposite direction. Mandi and our 14 month old, Gabriel, were ejected from the vehicle. That was June 14th. On July 8th, Mandi and Gabe were discharged and came home on the same day. Mandi had one surgery to repair her back. She now has two rods and eight screws. All titanium. I always said she was hardcore! As for Gabriel....He suffered a major skull fracture and major trauma to his trachia. But now...after several cat-scans, MRI's, x-rays, two blood transfusions, and two throat operations, he now is back home, and the only remnant of the accident is a feeding tube. Praise you Father! .....both Gabe and Mandi are learning to walk again and are daily showing progress. Thank you for all your prayers..God has heard them, and has shown great mercy and grace! Mandi's neurosurgeon told Mandi that he didn't know if she would ever walk again. Only 10 days after her surgery, she was walking with a walker!!! Our Father has us safely in the palms of His hands, and has taken what could have been a tragedy, and has given Gabe strength beyond measure, Mandi, a new perspective on life and family, and me, a whole new passion for Him and love for family and others. We praise Him for how He has seen us through and blessed us immensly through the love and provision of family and countless friends. Again, thank you for your prayers and encouragement, and I ask for your continued committment to prayer. Gabriel goes back to Riley Hospital on Thursday, July 17th. If they believe enough healing has taken place in his throat, they will take out his feeding tube! Mandi also goes to Indy on Thursday to see her neurologist. They will x-ray to make sure the titanium in her back looks stable and in-place. ...oh ya, and she will also be seeing the guy who made her brace. He will be cutting out a hole in the front of it so that as her belly grows (she's prego in case you didn't know) it will have room to stick out the front of her brace. (that should look pretty cute!)one more thing....if you were wondering about the title of this blog..."oh my God, Do not delay"......read Psalm chapter 40 (niv) (this is the scripture we pray over our new baby that is due in Jan.)

A Word From Dean and Nelda....

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything...."
As we search for words to put on paper it seems there are none that can express all that is flowing from our hearts. To all of Mandi, Andre, Gabe, and baby Knepp's family and friends..... THANK YOU! Thank you for your prayers, cards, words of encouragement, acts of kindness, food, the list is endless... we will NEVER be able to repay you!
We can honestly say this has been the hardest thing we have had to walk through, in our life together. Watching our little girl lay in her bed unable to move....our baby boy plugged into machines from head to toe, and our son-in-law (whom we call our son) emotionally torn between where to be...caring for his wife and caring for his son. In all of it we can honestly say we have felt your prayers! There were times when everything within us wanted to fall apart, but the strength we received through your prayers kept us strong.... we know our strength came from the Lord.
One of Gabe's Doctors ( precious believing lady)... one day told us her perscription for Gabe was to call our prayer warriors and get them praying....she explained that you who were praying were like the men who held up Moses' hands in the Bible. Thank you for holding up our arms.
We are all home now... God is so good... he allowed Mandi and Gabe to reunite on the same day at HOME! He is an Awesome God. As for Mandi and Andre living with us...we are taking it one day at a time....when its time to go home we will all know! Just pray for us as we live together and serve each other...our united hearts' desire is to honor and glorify our Father in the midst of all this.
Thanks,
Dean and Nelda

Saturday, July 12, 2008

HOW YOU CAN HELP

On the top right corner of this blog site you will see a web address for a site called Helping Hands. If you have wanted to help in any way, but you were unsure what would be the best way to do so, this is a "help" community that has been set up in order to better facilitate that purpose. I couldn't get the link to actually be a "link", so you will just have to copy and paste the address in your browser address bar. Once you get to this site, to join our community, you will have to enter your email address. This will take you to another page on which you will have to enter your full name and phone number, then click on "send email". This will send an email to the "community coordinator", who will receive it and then get back with you via email or otherwise to further explain how you can use the "Helping Hands" website to help. If you have any questions about what I've just explained or if you have difficulty getting the site to work, you should call Rosi Truex....home (812)295-2426....or cell (812)844-1559.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Together Again....

What an awesome God we serve! Gabe and I are together again...... We are a family once again. Wow! We are together way sooner than expected thanks to all of the prayers! On Tuesday night at about 8pm Gabe and I were able to see eachother for the first time in almost a month. It was very emotional, I cried and cried! Gabe didn't have a very good trip home from Indy because he didn't want to be in his carseat so he wasn't in the best of moods but he did let me kiss all over him. On wednesday he was giving me kisses and smiling so he does remmember his mommy and he loves her.... it made my heart dance and skip a few beats. The reunion was excellent.

As of now, I am an emtional wreck. My hormones are raging, I am trying to stop taking my pain meds, and being with gabe again is an overwhelming feeling. Due to these reasons I have to have a good cry sometimes It is a hard thing to be with your child but not be able to take care of him. I am his mommy and it just doesn't feel right not to be able to change his dip. or give him a bath. But one day I will do it all again. So as for me.... pray that I keep getting stronger and I can deal with less pain meds.

As for the Gabester.... he is doing so well! He has been sleeping through the night (however lastnight was rough) and getting stronger by the second. We have been able to feed him small amounts of applesauce and we are now letting him suck on grapes and bannanas through a mesh sack. He LOVES it! He gives us smiles that we can see his teeth! He was made to eat! So please pray for him to get really good at swallowing so next week (july 17) when they listen to him they say "He sounds really good and we are going to take the feeding tube out"! I am asking you to pray fervantly that God will heal his swallowing to be able to remove the tube because I truly belive Gabe will be a different little boy whenever he is able to eat again. This is our biggest concern as of now.

During the days...... Our main focus is to entertain Gabe. We play with toys, we take golf cart rides, we take fourwheeler rides, he jumps in his jumperoo, throw balls, dance to music, watch cartoons, take walks outside, play with puppets, and whatever else keeps gabe happy! If you have any fun ideas let us know!

I will try to update more often now.....WE are doing well but we are still taking things day by day.... so we still need your prayers to keep us going in the same direction..Once again we apprecialte all of the help and prayers.

talk with you soon....
mandi

Monday, July 7, 2008

More Good News....

Gabe is coming home tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!! The Lord is so GOOD. How awesome it is to know that we will be home only a day apart and when I arrived at DCH I thought I wouldn't be going home for 2 more weeks! What an answer to prayer!

Guess what else.... All three pieces of equipment have been provided!!!!!!! By 1:00pm I had all three! Can you believe it... God is so awesome! What amazing friends who have provided me with the things I needed. I am just amazed at how God works and how awesome it is to see him work through friends!

So... On Tuesday (Tomorrow) Gabe and I will be reunited and my heart will be overjoyed. And on Wednesday our family will all be in one house again! I can't belive it is really happening. I never thought this day would come... Thanks again for all of your prayers! And don't forget we still have a long of recovery (especially me) so don't stop praying because your prayers are working!

Love you all so much that i can't even express how much except through a tear as i write this!

love mandi

Good News!

I go home on Wednesday!!!!!! I need your help! In order to go home I need a few adaptive pieces of equipment. I would love to just borrow them from someone since I won't be needing them for very long. The things I need are: 1. tub transfer bench 2. walker with wheels 3. 3 in 1 commode If you know of anyone that I could borrow these things off of I would greatly appreciate it! Please let me know by tonight so we can arrange otherwise! Just call my brother Josh's phone at 444-9381. Thanks so much! I will update you on Gabe as soon as the doctors see him today because they are going to let us know what they are thinking as far as when he gets to come home!

Thanks Again
Love ya all
Mandi

Saturday, July 5, 2008

God is So AWESOME!

Gabe has been moved to a regular floor! He is now doing everything for himself except for eating. He had to have a feeding tube put in through his nose to keep his belly full because his swallowing is not up to par yet. But praise God he had a wonderful night and he was up throwing the ball to his grandma jolene (my aunt but she wants to be grandma jolene to gabe)! Just amazing! He did finally smile and laugh for the first time. We even got to see his little teeth! He laughing at his daddy because his daddy is so silly! What a cute little boy.... like andre said he is the cutest one I have ever seen. I am so proud of him! So as of him moving to a new floor last night we have made just one step closer to coming home! That makes his mommy really overjoyed! My heart just skips some beats to know the day is coming soon that I get to see him!

So last night Andre surprised me and came home to watch the fireworks with me! We had a perfect spot in the hospital parking lot. Sounds crazy but it was nice to watch them and not have to mess with all of the people at the park. Tyler, Josh, Andre, and i all sat in wheelchairs and enjoyed ourselfs! What a sight to see :) Oh I forgot that Bruce and Gabby (bruce-our dog & Gabby is Josh's) sat right in our laps too. However, they weren't to fond of the loud booming but they got over it!

Yesterday I walked the farthest yet! I walked 250 feet with the walker! I was proud of my accomplishment! I did take some breaks but I did it. And today I am asking to make a home visit, which is just a pass out for a few hours so hopefully they will grant my request so I can see the world once again!

Thanks so much for all of the comments from my last post. It really inspires me to hear from all of you. It is such a great feeling to know that there are so many people praying for us. I want you to know that your prayers are truely what gets us through each day. It means so much for me.... if you ever feel like you want to do something for us just PRAY! That is all I ask from you..... that is what we need the most!

We are on the road to going home, however I ask that you pray for our meeting on Monday (for me) because it is a meeting about how long I have to be here in the hospital and all of those good things. So pray that I meet my goals and I can stick to the plan of only being here about two more weeks! I am so ready to go home and it is getting harder for me to be patient with myself.

Thanks for everything and all of the prayers you all are so great!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Whatever It Takes.........

Since the removal of Gabriel's breathing tube on Tuesday night, I've been doing whatever it takes to get a smile out of my sweet little boy. Don't get me wrong. He's already the cutest boy I've ever seen, even when not smiling. But his smile could make you squint in an Amish basement. Okay, anyway, I did get a full-toothed smile out of him several times today with the help of his duck and cow puppets, toy baseballs, books, stuffed animals, and other props I found in his room. The puppets test my ventriliquism (spell?) skills, the baseballs my reflexes, the stuffed animals my multiple accents, and the other props my creativity. I enjoy watching his G-dad try to get a smile only to fail miserably. Finally, I can beat him at something! OH..gotta run...Gabriel is going down to X-Ray to see his throat while he is swallowing. Hopefully things will look great and he will be able to eat something. btw this is Mandi's husband...I don't normally write on this thing.....and I'm not good at it. sorry. . . .keep praying for my sweeties!