Archive | November, 2012

I found this new ASIAn place…

28 Nov

Hello to all and to all hello- A holiday greeting for our holiday meeting.

As required by my Post-master general, I will begin this message as so many of my other have. “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time………”

Now as required by my heart and brains, I will begin the second part of this message with immense and delightful thanks to everyone in my life. In the previous and superiorly written post, Audra covered much of what she was thankful for. So I feel no need to produce my list since redundancy is a fallacy. ***but secretly, thanks to my mom and dad for all of they have sacrificed***

When thinking about the structure of this post, I didn’t know whether I wanted a linear story, a roller coaster of emotion, or a 142 character description of my inner feelings. What my muse (Alex Falenczykowski (typist)) and I have decided is to rip this thing wide open with some kick ass news! As of August 30th 2012, my injury status was measured and defined as a C5 vertebrae complete injury with an ASIA (American Spinal Injury Association) score of A. Now I’m gonna get Bill Nye all up this. What we have here are two different measurements of my spinal cord status. 1. The vertical level of my injury, which determines what function and motor ability I have (shoulders, triceps, fingers, etc.), was originally C5 meaning that the 5th of 8 vertebrae in the cervical section of my spine was crushed. This in turn severed my spinal cord. Hoorah, this flawlessly segways us in my next point. 2. My ASIA score, based off a physician performed exam. ASIA scores help determine the completeness of the slice through the spinal cord by determining the full level of sensory ability over the entire body. Basically a doctor takes a safety pin, opens it, and pokes you with the sharp and dull side in key areas from head to toe. My responses to dull, sharp, and location are measured to determine an ASIA level. You’re every day Ernesto will have an E score meaning normal motor and sensory function. I started with an A score meaning a complete injury, no motor or sensory function below the injury site. *Any and all medical knowledge pompously stated in these posts can and will be either completely accurate or devastatingly inaccurate.

As of today, November 28th 2012, I have officially been moved up the ladder or down the spine…….. to a C6 ASIA C. This is cause to be happy and is significant for a few a few reasons. The first is in recovering both spinal cord cells and cervical health at all means that I can heal. The floodgates work. Now its just a matter of cranking them open super wide. The other cool thing about this is that I’ve jumped this far in only 4 months. The timeframe of recovery and healing for a young male is primarily in the first year with smaller pieces coming back in up to five years. Having gone this far in just 4 months is promising that I’ll continue to move farther in the coming months. When I say “is promising,” I mean that its definitally going to happen.

Thomas with a C5 ASIA A= 15-17% chance of walking
Thomas with a C6 ASIA C= 45-47% chance of walking
Thomas with a C6 ASIA C with the awesomeness and passion of his peeps and fam= 45-47% chance of walking…… but feels like 100%

Now to me, 45% isn’t enough, but the small victories build the castle……or something like that. What I’m doing to increase the likehood are things including: accupuncture, adaptive Yoga in and out of my wheelchair, a Locomat machine (which puts me on a treadmill and attaches my legs to robotic arms which walk my legs while being in a harness holding a certain amount of my body weight. This aligns my brain, spinal cord, and legs to encourage my nerves to relearn how to walk), a gluten free lifestyle, and many other things to come.

While all of these things are insanely exciting and progressing me towards walking, all of the increased activity in leg motion leaves me in pain by the end of the day. Its kind of a catch 22 that I’m doing this all so that I can walk and get around again. As of right now, after 5:00 I’m bedridden. But don’t feel to bad as this is definitely the good kind of pain.

Thank you to Alex Falenczykowski for helping me with this post.

Thanks to each and everyone of you for any thought, word, joke, or poetry you have produced for me because I will need them now more than ever as winter is coming, as is HBO’s runaway hit Game of Thrones.

Much Love. Hopefully talk to you sooner than later.

Happy Thanksgiving

25 Nov

This guest post comes from a resident east coaster.  I realize that most people reading this blog are from MN, but for the people who do not hail from this great state I need to clarify two things.  One, for anyone who rags on Minnesota (I empathize, I’m from NJ) – It’s not true, Minnesnowta is pretty cool, and it snowed on Thanksgiving. Second, people from the Midwest really are that nice. I’m about to expand with some evidence to back that up.

I’ve spent the last few days at the Cloyd residence celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday; something I was also lucky enough to do in 2004 and 2005. I don’t want to deny the fact that every day here is stressful. Every morning brings a new obstacle and a new unforeseen challenge. That being said Terri still remains one of the most beautiful and intelligent women I’ve ever met (second only to my mom). Cokely is still one of the wittiest and smartest people I know- I learn something new (actually many things) every day that I spend with him. Elizabeth still keeps the energy level high, bouncing in and out of every room. (Thank you Art Glickstein for the coining the term bouncing for Elizabeth, it’s perfect)… and despite everything, Thomas still has his amazing sense of humor and talks about all the things he would normally… chest hair, puffy vests, mustaches, and other pleasantries that will remain unmentioned. In the past, whenever I described the Cloyds to friends, I said they were the most brilliant, quick-witted, loving family I’ve ever met. (I’m running out of hyperbolic superlatives) They even come with an adorable snow covered home on Maple Rd with a tree swing in the front yard. (Albeit now replaced with a U of M flag).  I’m happy to report that none of that has changed.

On to the Midwest stereotype… it’s true. They really are as nice as people say and because we’re all celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m going to give a shout out (maybe inappropriately) to all the things I’ve seen that the Cloyds are thankful for. Cliché, but true, we are all so lucky to be surrounded by the most loving friends and family.

It was great to see the Glicksteins again. When I said earlier that Cokely was the smartest man I had ever met, that was until I was reintroduced to Jed and Scott… and Sophie, Lilly and Sidney.  Sorry Cokely, your reign is over. (The Glicksteins also win the award for best cheese spread.) Another great help for the Cloyds is the MealTrain program, organized by Sidney Glickstein. Friday night we had a traditional day-after-thanksgiving-leftover-dinner mixed with some amazing dishes provided by MealTrain. As a guest in the Cloyd house I can attest to the culinary delight of the MealTrain home chefs. There are so many things for Thomas, Terri, and Cokely to think about during the day. Not having to worry about what they’re having for dinner is something I know the Cloyds are thankful for. Through Elizabeth’s stories I have come to know the entire Cloyd and Bowman families. I was not disappointed when I met Uncle John and Aunt Sue- they lived up to the hype. Uncle John’s new infatuation with after dinner drinks is sure to lead to many more good family tales. Thomas is certainly enjoying his creative and thoughtful care packages- every letter and box received gives him a lift. The winner for the best care package goes to four girls whom I’ve never met. They made the most neon, collaged, stuffed care package I’ve witnessed. It even included socks… some that may have disappeared into Elizabeth’s suitcase- that’s how cool they are. Lastly, I just went through the box of leftovers from the McCoy’s event. Wow. The donations, friends, and pictures that were a result of the event are truly impressive. These are just some of the positive highlights from my visit. If I covered everything in this post, you all would stop reading (hopefully you haven’t already).

The outpouring of love I’ve witnessed in the past few days is overwhelming. At an incredibly challenging time for the Cloyds, every care package, meal, card and visit helps. Please keep the love coming.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to everyone.


To contribute to the MealTrain program please e-mail for more information.

You can send Thomas a care package at:
4820 Maple Rd
Edina, MN

PS- Please take a look at the latest post on the events page. For any NY friends of Thomas we have a fundraiser coming up on 12/12/12. Come get funky for a good friend and a good cause.