Thomas Joseph’s Story

Welcome to Joseph's Caring Bridge site.We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.


Thomas Joseph Stanton II was born and raised in Kingwood, Texas.  He is 20 years old and attended Foster Elementary, Riverwood Middle School and Kingwood Park High School.  He played almost every club sport in Kingwood but focused his high school career on football and swimming.  He played football at KPHS for 2 years and was looking forward to playing on varsity his junior year before his accident.  He began swimming year-round when he was only 4 years old and competed for Blue Tide Aquatics for 11 years and the last year before his accident for Eagle Swimming Association.  He helped lead KPHS to two consecutive state swimming championships. In 2010 he was the 2010 4A  100-yard Freestyle State Champion, state record-holder and anchor in 2 relays and earned All-American honors in numerous events.  Joseph also has 3 sisters, Madeleine (27), Audrea (23), and Gabrielle (18).

On June 3rd, 2010 the first day of summer break, Joseph suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after falling off his skateboard just a few short blocks from his home in Kingwood.   He simply fell from his 6’1” stature to the ground and sustained a massive head injury because he was not wearing a helmet.  He was taken by ambulance to Memorial Herman Hospital where the doctors said there was simply nothing they could do for him as his entire brain was swollen.  At 4 AM on June 4th his priest came to the hospital, prayed over him, anointed him and within the hour a new doctor appeared at his bedside saying he was going to operate.  It just so happened that the doctor’s name was Dr. Shepard and the family believes that the LORD brought His Good Shepherd to save Joseph’s life.  The next 2 people to appear at Joseph’s bedside to care for him in his room were Moses and Emanuel (his first AND last name were Emanuel which means ‘God is with you”!!!).  Without a doubt, the LORD made sure all knew HE was the One who brought the miracle!

Dr. Shepard removed a very large portion of Joseph’s skull and placed him on a ventilator but Joseph was in a coma and very unstable for about 3 weeks spiking very high intracranial pressures causing more brain damage.  One intracranial pressure reached 85 causing a huge brain bleed and Joseph almost lost his battle.  He endured subsequent horrific “brain storms” which is somewhat similar to seizures but much, much more severe causing very high heart rates, blood pressures and temperatures.  Eventually, the pressures in Joseph’s brain began to stabilize and he started to wean from the ventilator.  After 6 weeks in the Neuro-Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Herman Memorial Hospital, Joseph was transferred to a long term acute care facility that specializes in neuro-rehab in The Woodlands, Nexus Specialty Hospital, where he stayed for just over four months.  Just before Christmas Joseph was then transported to The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) in the Houston Medical Center. TIRR is known to be a place where God likes to show off…..to show man Who is sovereign……a place where the Great Physician is known to show His handiwork.  Joseph participated in the Minimally Responsive Program which only guarantees a 14 day stay unless progress is shown but Joseph being the incredibly competitive kid he is managed to qualify for almost 6 total months. He received expert physical, occupational and speech therapy tailored to a brain injured patient. They also taught his family how to care for him by themselves and he made the transition back home after being in 4 different hospitals for a solid year in June of 2011.  He has worked extremely hard for the past 3 years at home with the help of great physical, occupational and speech therapists in addition to his team of nurses, caregivers, and some amazing volunteer "therapy angels" trying to regain some independence. If you've followed Joseph's story from the beginning you've been privileged to witness many, many miracles of God. The Stanton family has great hope that one day the LORD will fully and completely restore Joseph and make him a mighty warrior for Christ for the rest of his life.  They give you many, many thanks for all your love, prayers and support over the past 4+ years.

Latest Journal Update

His Purpose in Pain

I am so very, very sorry you're just now getting to hear about OUR boy! I was aghast when I opened Caring Bridge for the first time in almost a month and it asked for my password. I've never had to do that. I guess when you open the site regularly it doesn't need your password but it's been so long that it made me identify myself. THAT's sad enough but then I clicked on the guestbook and there were all of these "Praying that everything is ok...", "There hasn't been an update in a couple of weeks and I'm concerned about you all...." I've gotten text messages, e-mails and Face Book messages from so many people worried. I've even gotten e-mails from my FAMILY because they haven't heard from us.  I feel just TERRIBLE!!!  I'm so sorry.

Life at the SHOR continues to be a roller coaster on many front mostly with Joseph's status. Our skin has toughened with our entire team and myself having become a lot more resilient and a little less terrified of the storms that we are called to battle. Even sweet Lindsey who I think is the most vulnerable of us all has toughened.  This is NOT the type of patient care that she studied in school (she has degrees in Kinesiology, and nutrition). Joseph continues to experience brain storming 2-4 days/week which is just outrageous in my book. I would much prefer they NEVER haunted Joseph nor us but it is the road we have been called to walk.  Never did I imagine Rob and I would be spend our latter years with such stress filling every minute of every day. There is NO break. It's a daily battle. Our lives are consumed with not only Joseph's critical state but our sanity with all that it takes to keep the boat afloat. Rob walks out the door every M-F to earn a living to keep the SHOR running and I put on my boxing gloves to go to battle on MANY fronts.  I have no idea why God has so much confidence in us. We are NOT this strong but we cling to His mercy and grace that is new every morning. There are many mornings that I just don't want to walk out the door of our bedroom to face the storm that our nurses have been waging all night long waiting to go home. I know Rob is leaving for work and it leaves me in charge. It's a little like stage fright.....you KNOW you  HAVE to do it as the people on the other side of the curtain are counting on you but none like your precious son who battles like the greatest warrior you've ever heard of. When Rob and I sit back and think of the battle he fights every single day just to stay alive it is truly indescribable. Who on earth would continue to take the torture he does day in and day out. It's not enough that he's stuck in a body and can't express himself to even tell us what is hurting him. He can't tell  us what he wants, doesn't want, desperately needs, or how he feels. We see many tears that fall from his cheeks and it tears us all up. We have a will to live and at some point people loose that will to live. I saw it recently with my sweet Aunt Lena. She just decided she was finished with this life and told her family so. It was only a  short while until her body just succumbed to her desire. She really wasn't ill, no life threatening disease. She just decided it was time to begin her next journey with her Father, Abba. Thomas Joseph Pio Stanton has a tremendous will to live. It is really miraculous and Rob nor I understand how he can do it. That's why we know the LORD's promise in Jeremiah 29:11 was written for him. I was digging up a story today for one of Joseph's caregivers called The Refiner's Silver, based upon Malachi 3:3. I cling to this story in times of question and it has reminded me of God's promise. The story closes with these words:  "God's purpose? His purpose in pain is the same as His purpose in joy; His purpose in tragedy is the same as His purpose in a colorful sunset; His purpose is that we are "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans8:29). His purpose is that we walk with Him, hand in hand, learning to trust Him and love Him through ALL things, both good and bad. His plan and purpose is a relationship! No, God is not the cause of this cancer. Tragedy is not part of His perfect plan. But our Heavenly Father is being a wonderful comfort to each member of our family, moment by moment! And we know that as we walk through this trial, with Him, learning to trust Him and drawing closer to His side, we will surely be accomplishing His purpose in pain."  I will put the entire story at the end of this update.

The other bit of news that plagues me every day is that Hernan gave me his notice of resignation a couple of weeks ago. I knew that one day we would loose him and even though it kills me I couldn't be more proud of him and excited for his future. He was delivered from heaven over 3-1/2 years ago as a innocent young 19 year-old who'd only volunteered with disabled nuns and had contemplated the priesthood. It wasn't an event that I questioned God over and over about. It was actually pretty comical looking back on it. I immediately thought "this kid has a heart, I can teach him skills!" It's hard to change the inner framework of a person but it's easy to teach them skills. It may take a while but I've always told Rob to hire people for WHO they are. You can always teach people how to do things but it's almost impossible to change a person. Hernan has been so many things to Joseph, Rob, I and our girls I can't even begin to tell you. He has completed course work in EMT I, EMT II and will be finishing up his training in Paramedics in January. Besides that he has become a Volunteer Fire Fighter all the while working 60 hours/week until the last 3 months but still working 36-40 hours/week. We are not going to tell Joseph until about the week before Hernan leaves because I know it will be VERY hard on Joseph. He's been not only Joseph's most trusted Caregiver but a true brother. Soooooooooo.....what I need from all of you is your HELP in finding another angel to take his spot. We are still blessed to have Lindsey and Katy holding down the SHOR by day but they only staff the 6:45 AM to 11 PM M-F shift and we need more help. For me to run a rehab hospital I need 2 people from 6:45 AM - 6:45 PM then we can float 6:45 PM to 6:45 AM with just 1 staff. We only receive 84 nursing hours so that gives us four 8-hour shifts M-Th then three 16-hour shifts  F-Sun. Please, please, please think of every single person you come into contact with weather it be a friend, family member, neighbor, friend of a friend, the hard working stock boy, car wash attendant, etc.... I don't look for what they've necessarily DONE but the heart that they have, the work ethic they display, the compassion you can see in their eyes and the selflessness they display.  Hernan is a tremendous example of what you can accomplish in 3 short years coming from nothing with a bleak future to becoming what I always tell him is "a doctor on wheels" as the paramedics command their unit on wheels until they reach the hospital where they loose their "doctor's" privileges.  He has always given Joseph 100% every day that he's here. He's been a brother to not only Joseph but our girls too. Everyone who's met him at the SHOR loves him tremendously. He's very famous in this part of the "woods" as everyone knows what an angel he has been to all of us. Please, please, please, keep your thoughts going for who you think might be a good fit. I'll tell you right off the top, this is not a job for the faint of heart, lazy, nor someone who only wants to give 95%. We only employee "one-hundred and ten-percenters" at the SHOR. They're ALL superstars! We run every minute of our day tending to every need of "our prince." I have hours and days for almost every shift so especially if you know someone who is interested in the health professions (occupational, physical, or speech therapy, respiratory therapy, physicians assistant, doctor, nurse, EMT, or paramedic) that may even be attending school right now please give them my e-mail address (dragonlady629@aol.com)  and ask them to send me their resume or letter of introduction. I prefer young people as this is very much a physical job and I need them to be flexible. Some of Joseph's friends have said he needs a little more testosterone around here since we will be a complete female staff after Hernan leaves so young men will definitely receive a little more preferential treatment too.  I ask all of our staff to commit at least a year to us as it takes a good 4-6 months to train someone and we've sadly invested in several people who have only stayed a very short while which eats up our time and resources in finding the right person. We have them come spend some time with us to make sure they know what they would be getting themselves into first. We would be forever indebted to you for your help in finding the perfect person to be our next "angel" at the SHOR.

I have a more news but am wiped out so will close for now. Hopefully it won't take me so long to bring you an update next time. Again I'm so sorry if I worried any of you. May Go continue to bless you in abundance for the blessing that you are to US!

Terri
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                                                                                                                   The Refiner of Silver

Malachi 3:3 says:"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offeredto find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver int he middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Romans 5:1-5
"Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith intothis grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

God's purpose? His purpose in pain is the same as His purpose in joy; His purpose in tragedy is the same as His purpose in a colorful sunset; His purpose is that we are "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). His purpose is that we walk with Him, hand in hand, learning to trust Him and love Him through ALL things, both good and bad. His plan and purpose is a relationship! No, God is not the cause of this cancer. Tragedy is not part of His perfect plan. But our Heavenly Father is being a wonderful comfort to each member of our family, moment by moment! And we know that as we walk through this trial, with Him, learning to trust Him and drawing closer to His side, we will surely be accomplishing His purpose in pain.






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Comments

14 Comments

Criss Daspit
By Criss Daspit
Praying that the Lord brings you a loving, caring, compassionate person to pick up where beloved Hernan leaves off. Our thoughts and prayers always for Jojo and all of you. A day never goes by without thoughts of you. Know that we are praying for your petitions. Love always.
mildred peterson
By marlene
i pray for him almost daily i also understand how busy you are and i know in my heart you will keep us posted when can GOD IS GOOD
Barbara Whipple
By Praise God
Wel we knew the day would come when we would loose him he better stay in touch so we know how he is doing, he will be greatly missed esp by Joseph I know but God will help us find another person with the right gifts I pray its a male so he has someone to help him keep all the women on their toes.
We will all be praying.
I'm too tired and up too late trying to cleanout my in box
God Bless
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Nancy Freese
By Nancy Freese, Illinois
Thank you for the update. I have been so worried about you all, but I knew that you would post when you could. I certainly wish the news was better. Continued prayers coming your way. Please give Joseph a hug from me.
Tom Moore
By Norine Moore
Terri, thank you for the update. You know we never stop praying for Joseph & all of you at the SHOR, but it's good to hear from you so we know more specifically how to pray, especially for the perfect replacement for your dear Hernan. May the Lord lead another angel like him to your door!

I've read that "Refiner of Silver" before but needed to read it again, so thank you for posting it, Terri.
You never cease to amaze me with your faith & inspiration & I'm sure your beloved prince instills that in you by his example of dealing with pain. May the Lord have mercy on Joseph & bring an end to his storming & restore him to the progress he had already made in his recovery.

Love & prayers,
Norine
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Lucy Richardson
By Lucy Richardson — last edited
So glad to hear from you but devastated that Hernan is leaving. But not as devastated as Joseph and all of you will be! What hard shoes to fill but. I have no doubt that The Lord will send the right person.

I am assuming Joseph is not on the ventilator yet. That I disappointing

Thank you for the story of refining silver. It was just what I needed to hear. I have been dealing with asthma for three months and couldn't understand why nothing would cure it. I will wait patiently and try to live my life so god sees His image in me!
Praying constantly or all of you.
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Julia Stern
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Dear Teri and family, You don't know me but I have been following your story and praying for all of you for over a year. What an example of how God's grace is enough. I am praying you find someone to replace Hernan and I pray for great strength and peace for all of you. I pray God will relieve your Prince's pain and that he will miraculously heal him for His Glory. Love, Julie
Robin Wagar
By Robin and Bob Wagar, Naples, Florida
We are happy for Hernon doing so well but sad for your loss of him. He has been an awesome help with Joseph and we know everything about his own life has changed because of the care he gave to Joseph. He would be the paramedic we all would want to respond to our emergencies for sure.
So sorry Joseph is still having storming. Any word on when the ventilator will come? We hope he will improve with that.
Praying for just the right addition for Joseph's care. I am an RN so I was wondering if contacting any of the nursing schools near your home would give you some leads since many are having to work to get through school now days. You might even be able to ask about any male candidates.
Take care and God Bless.
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Bonnie Nunn
By Bonnie Nunn
Thank you so much for the update. I continue to pray for all of you.
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Vicky Scott
By Vicky
So glad to get your update. Praying that the Lord will send just the right person not to fill Hernan's shoes, because that is impossible, but to place their own special shoes in your home with their own special personality and skills needed at this time. I pray they will fit into the team like a perfect puzzle piece.
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