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Thursday, March 29, 2012

back on the ice...with the biggest smile!

I have so much to write! Oh man…it’s only been a few days, but in that few days, it’s been packed! Yikes! Get ready for a boat load of pictures and some good video! :o)

To start off, Tuesday I experienced every emotion in the book, at least it felt like it! The first 3 nights I didn’t sleep at all. Around 11pm on Monday night I fell asleep and was out! Around 2 am I woke up to Cale tapping me and when I opened my eyes I saw his finger. “I got a big booger” was what broke the silence. I have to say, at that moment I felt like I could kill a chicken with my bare hands. Once we were all situated and the booger issue was under control, all I could do was laugh! We were both up until the alarm went off at 6:15am. Cale was miserable all morning and I feared for a really hard day.

We loaded onto a bus and drove to a hockey rink and on the way Cale was teaching me all about the game of hockey. This cheered him up a bit!

The last time Cale played hockey was a week before the accident happened. He had been playing in the evenings with his buddies from work. It was a blast and Cale hated leaving after having so much fun with all of them!

On March 26, 2012 Cale got back on the ice. It wasn’t the way we thought it would look like, but it happened! He played hockey! He smiled from the moment we walked into the locker room and didn’t stop!

I cried. There was no holding back. As he was getting all geared up they started to fall and at the point they were still controllable, but once he was on the ice, the flood gates opened. He didn’t wait for instructions or anyone to explain anything. They pushed him out on the ice and off he went! It was so awesome!

It felt amazing to be back on the side lines cheering him on. There’s no way to explain it. Everything felt so right and Cale seemed so at home. It seemed like a whole different life. Cale’s team lost by one point and quickly our moment was back to reality. All the excitement and love for being back on the ice disappeared as he announced filled with defeat that he didn’t win and it was a dumb game.

The balloon that had filled and started my drift to another land popped and suddenly I was comforting my husband wishing that the game had gone a different way. It was never made into a huge deal which team won or lost, but he knew. It mattered to him.

The rest of the day was so hard. Cale couldn’t pull out of the funk that he fell into and I was heading in that same direction. All I wanted was to go back to the moment with him on the ice and his glowing smile. Thankfully I had witnessed it and had our moment of the week, so almost nothing could bring me down!

That evening was a support group for people with TBI and their families. Cale didn’t want to go at all, but I couldn’t leave him by himself so he came along. At first he did really well, but after about 20 minutes (which was a big deal already!) he was done. Done with it all! At one point I leaned over and told him that everyone in that room that was sharing had a brain injury like him. He replied with, “I don’t care. I’m freakin’ tired!” Hello brain injury! Haha!

That night was indescribable for me. Each person had 5 minutes to share their story. There were people of all different ages and they all had at least one thing in common; each of them had a brain that isn’t whole. There were times that someone would be having a hard time as they told their story or mentioned at all about how lonely the journey had been and around the room others would start cheering them on and reminding them that they aren’t alone, we’re all in it together. Simply amazing.

Wednesday didn’t start off too much better. Cale was tired and it was the day for sit ski. Trying the adaptive snowboarding still didn’t seem like the greatest idea because of his knee, but also because he had in his head to snowboard like he did before his injury. There was a lot of waiting around that made him grumpy but as soon as he was on the sit ski, he was all smiles! On Monday he did four runs, but this time he only did one before being done. When he finished he still had his big smile though!

If you look to the left on the video at one point, Cale passes our cheering squad we had set up! :o)

There wasn’t a long break before it was time for our team meeting. One of the team leaders asked Cale about doing the Macarena in the meeting so we had to practice a little. I wasn’t sure that he was actually going to do it, but he did!

We went to dinner with some friends and the rest of the night was pretty chill. I had an awesome opportunity to talk with a couple that had children after the wife suffered a TBI. I have wanted to have that chance for a while now. Her TBI isn’t as severe as Cale’s, but a brain injury is a brain injury and each stage and each level of severity comes with challenges. They were an awesome couple and very honest with all the struggles and blessings. I’m so thankful they even took the time to talk with me!

We were supposed to go snowmobiling today, but with no snow, we were able to switch and play hockey again. Cale was excited and after loading on the bus again he was ready to go. This time I was joining him on the ice! Eeeeeek! They start off with drills and practice shots. Cale wasn’t impressed today and for some reason struggled a lot more with it. At one point I honestly thought I had lost him because he had that look in his eyes when a meltdown is near. They started the game just in time and that changed everything! He was back in his element and ready to play! He scored two goals and lasted the entire time! On Tuesday he got off the ice before the full game. They play a short game with half ice and teams broken up and then the second part is full ice, for both games our team won!

Although…I can’t say I was ANY help! Every single time the puck would come at me, it would either fly right by me, under my sled, or I would tip over and miss the whole thing. If you know me, and you know how I am…please take a minute to picture me playing sled hockey…

And in case you were wondering, while tipped over on the ice while a game is going is NOT the time for a case of the giggles! If you’re laughing you can’t get up! When someone is gracious and helps you up the giggles cause you to fall right back over. Oh and more than once I was spread out and twisted on the ice like a squid thrown to the ground-not pretty. But oh so fun!

Right after getting back to the hotel, we unloaded and took on one more challenge…the rock wall. My arms and legs were tired so I knew Cale’s had to be, but he went for it! I didn’t know how it would go because of his depth perception problems mixed in with lack of strength and coordination, but he did it! He went all the way to the top and rang the bell!!!!!! He was shaky on the way up and a few times he was stuck and had to problem solve, but he did it! He did it! Oh my goodness I’m so proud of him!

Before I gave it a try the guy running the wall linked us together! Oh goodness…so much more laughter! To make the moment even more memorable, they started to swing us…Can you say Tarzan and Jane? Ha!

Then it was my turn. I was nervous, but made it to the top. The best part was hearing Cale cheer for me. He kept saying that I was doing a good job and to keep going. Is there anything better?!

Our afternoons have been filled with naps! Tuesday afternoon was the only day I took one out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, but Cale has had one just about every day except for yesterday. He’s been working hard!

Today he even got a free 30min massage to ease is muscles from all adventures this week! :o)


{around the mall area}

{having a snack and enjoying the sun}

{on a walk}

{on the gondola lift}

{on our way to the rink}

The week is coming to a close. Tomorrow is the last day of the clinic and then it’s time to get back on the plane and head home!

We're going to be leaving with new friends and I have a determination to find a way to get sled hockey in the Tri-Cities! I've already talked with a couple people about it...and well, it just needs to happen.


  1.'ve had a busy week!! Loved all the photos and videos! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!
    Blessings and prayers,
    Emily Jordan

  2. I WILL TRUST with you for the sled hockey. It would be good for many I am sure. I don't know if I am coordinated enough for Marcerena...or however you spell it. Anyway, it would take ALOT of practice for me to do it. I am totally impressed with the rock climbing. I get the willies when I am up high, let alone tied to a rock wall. I love you guys and am grateful for being a part of your life. Marion


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