Where Do We Go From Here?

Hello Readers!

Happy New Year! It will be one year since my very first blog posting, and wow, has a lot happened since then! When I started this blog I had no idea what was going to happen. I had not even begun physical therapy yet. Would we raise enough money to receive stem cell treatment? Would I make any progress? Was my body too far gone to recover? There were far more questions than there were answers. Now it's a new year with a lot of answers and a whole new set of questions, but this time... I have stem cells. I have strength. I have my Push to Walk family. I have deep excitement and hope for the future.

I want take a moment before I go further and personally thank some very specific people who helped make all that transpired in 2013 possible. It is going to read a bit like an Oscar acceptance speech, but I gotta do it! So in gratitude for your love and generosity (in no particular order)...

Valerie Barnes Meador
Bruce & Carol Barnes
Ken Kresge Jr.
Tim Gallin
Howie Lindeman
The entire Farrell family & all those who golfed and partied with us!
Catherine Brunetta, Jenny Luca & family
John Peragine
The staff at 89 North Music Venue
The Legendary Murphys crew
Shawn & Toni Hocking
Chris & Judi Ockler
Tommy, Tiffany & the Push to Walk crew
Karen Smith
Renee Felice Smith
Julia Farrell
Cheryl Bianchi
David Engel
David & Nancy Blake
Dr. Zannos Grekos & the Regenocyte staff

Good karma is headed your way.

2014 will continue our fundraising process for further physical therapy and a second stem cell treatment. To kick things off we will be hosting an awesome night of live music at the 89 North Music Venue on Thursday evening, April 10th from 7pm-11pm. The Legendary Murphys and Soul Patch will be performing and possibly more! Stay tuned for more details. We are also thrilled to announce that thanks to our good friends Frank Mediate and Cheryl Bianchi the Foo Fighters have signed a brand new Epiphone acoustic guitar for us to auction off. We will be kicking the bidding off very shortly. Finally, we are still accepting donations via the blog. Our immediate goal is to purchase an adaptive weight machine, an FES bike and a standing frame for me to use everyday at home.

The one big change that is coming is a brand new website hosting The Stem Cell blog as well information on our Permaculture projects, Biodynamics and Ethan's music. A kind of hub of the work Ethan and I are doing in different areas. Be sure to keep an eye out and watch for the new address. 

Well I am just over the three-month mark since receiving stem cell treatment and of course the question on everyone's mind is, "What is happening?" In short, a lot and a little. Huh? Take a chair, I shall elaborate.

First the little... when nerve injuries of any kind heal it's very much like the old TVs where you had to fool with the antennae to get a strong signal. It would flicker and fuzz as you narrowed down to the hot spot. They give hints, then come in clearer, for short periods, then longer, then permanent. Each nerve needs to undergo this process. Sometimes the changes are imperceptible at first then I notice a new feeling or a more accurate sensation or a stronger muscle contraction so that... little by little... progress.

The lot of it is mainly in my core. I am now no longer using a chest strap as a safety precaution to keep me in the chair because my core control and strength is much improved. Below is a recent video of my therapy session on January 2nd at Push to Walk. I am using my hip flexors with minimal help from the trainer. I figured it would be easier to show the progress than try to explain it. What you can't see is that as I activate the muscles to move my leg the muscle groups in my thighs and hips are tightening. This means complex nerve signals.

Below is a photo of Ethan and I standing side by side in 1992, and under it is us standing side by side in December of 2013. I am standing in a gait-training harness that allows me to bear weight while standing flat on the floor. It stretches the tendons in my knees back to normal and helps me focus on the nerves needed for standing. It feels good to stand and feel the weight on my legs and the stretch of tendons and ligaments.

November 1992
December 2013
The family member who took that old photo sent it to me after seeing me post the new on Facebook. I had completely forgotten about it. As I sat and stared at it for some time a deeper revelation of change being the only true constant in life settled in. It was like looking at someone else. Strangely I did not feel the regret I thought it would drag up, but I did have a wish. I looked into the eyes of this young teenage... what I now realize was just a boy... so self-assured and strong on the outside, but insecure and self-conscious, looking for validation on the inside. I wanted to have a conversation with him. I wanted to tell him a few things, I thought about what I'd say. I'd tell him to slow down and relax. I'd tell him Jesus was not coming back before his 21st birthday. I'd tell him you may hate school now, but you'll long for these days to do over again. I would tell him to stop worrying what others think because they are just as worried about what you think of them. Besides in three years they'll be gone only to show up 20 years later on Facebook fat or bald or with grandkids. I'd say, "Get over yourself, what you think you want in this moment is fleeting, it will change. If you want to be a man be quiet, listen, sit still, work hard, observe and give 100%." But above all, I would look that young man in the eye and I would smile, I'd tell him everything is going to be ok. It may get hard, real hard, but no matter what, be true to yourself. Stop trying to please others in what you do, say, wear and believe and follow your heart, your true will. You will make mistakes, but get up, do it again. When the dust settles you'll be the last man standing and standing on your own two feet.

I'll never get to have that conversation with the young man in that photo. He had to learn a lot of it the hard way and is still learning, but he's got muscle movement, he's got progress, he's surrounded by the coolest friends in the world and the stem cells are working.

So where do we go from here? Up. Forward and up.

Thanks for reading.


  1. marcy welter bairdJanuary 14, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Love. Sending lots of it your way!!!

  2. I am so incredibly moved, Caleb. This is BEAUTIFUL. This is BEYOND!


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