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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… 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

Hello Fall

Dearest of all Prayer Warriors,

Look at this smile on my prince's face. That's his brother (and caregiver), Matt, who is banging on his chest trying to get him to participate in speech therapy. There's actually an awesome video of the progression of a smile that is the biggest smile we've seen in 5 years. I wish I could post in on here easily but I'm not able to.  I honestly thought Joseph was going to start giggling. It was like the 2 of them probably clowned around in the football locker room before his accident. It was adorable!!!

Y'all are absolutely incredible to still be walking this journey with us over 5 years! I hadn't signed on to Caring Bridge in a while so when I just signed in I caught up on the "love notes" that some of you have left in the guestbook and I was immediately brought to tears by an entry from a brand new "Team Joseph member" who just learned about Joseph on our greenbelts through the forests of Kingwood. This person was bicycling with their daughter when she was stopped by a couple who thanked her for wearing her helmet and presented her with a little card about Joseph's story and a gold dollar taped to the card as a reward. I am so grateful to whoever this is that continues to help our family spread the message and importance of helmet safety. Thank you for letting us know about this awesome encounter and THANK YOU to whom ever the Team Joseph Helmet Angels are!

Not a lot has changed with Joe Man. He continues to battle like a great warrior every single day. His will to live is incredible. The LORD could have taken him so many, many times and Joseph just continues to fight so hard.  We've had to wage war on 2 bad brain storming events in recent weeks but Rob has gained control over them faster than some of the others that still haunt our memories today. The hard part for me aside from watching my prince suffer is trying to find a balance between which sedation drugs to use in what amounts that give us the best chance of salvaging his therapies the next day. Rob gets mad at me for fussing at him not to give him so much medicine but I'm left with the charge of having to fight to keep his therapies when he can't show progress because his poor body is still trying to rid itself of the sedation drugs. Valium has a 90 hour "half-life" meaning it hangs around in the body for almost 4 days before it is gone and we certainly see the effects during his therapies. Speech therapy takes the greatest hit because sedation drugs inhibit his cognitive function tremendously. The speech therapist asks him to do various things including making lots of choices that he has to activate a big button with his head to communicate. When his already damaged brain is in a fog from the injury and you add sedation drugs, it makes it impossible to participate and show ANY progress. Joseph is blessed with an awesome speech therapist that asks me a battery of questions about what PRN medications he has taken, if he's had a seizure or seen a doctor at each visit to include in her report for each visit. We have been very blessed that United Health Care has continued to approve his therapies with no threat of discontinuing them. Praise God for this provision that is the light of our hope.

Our latest effort at trying to figure out what might be setting off the brain storms is investigating the irritable bowel syndrome that Joseph was diagnosed with back in June. We tried to gain control over it utilizing OTC's  (over the counter meds) but that quickly proved futile. I took Joseph to see his G.I. doctor about 5 weeks ago and asked if we could try a prescription medication as I had been hearing commercials about new medications. Unfortunately for 1 reason or another Joseph couldn't take most of them but he did let us trial an antispasmodic. We knew we would have a big job titrating to the perfect amount to give Joseph but it always gets complicated because the new drug has effects on other medications and has the potential to cause new problems so we are now 5 weeks into the titration process on adding 1 new drug. Thank God for Rob and his knowledge of how medications work because we always go through a huge "perhaps it's the new medicine that's causing this new thing we're seeing" and maybe if we reduce this one medication and raise the new one we'll get better results. Without his insight and living this nightmare with me, poor Joseph would suffer even more from my lack of knowledge. There are just a million questions that go through our minds every day. We have seen better results where Joseph isn't guarding his tummy when we feed him or give him medications so that's a blessing but we're far from finding the "sweet spot" for this medicine in the mix of all of his others. Please pray that we can find that PERFECT level very soon.

We've had a lot of changes here at the SHOR. Lindsey said "goodbye" 2 weeks ago as she went on a medical mission to Haiti and will start physical therapy assistant school in the spring. Meanwhile the LORD brought us 2 new team members who are awesome. Gloria is in nursing school and will finish in 2017 so we're hoping she'll be with us for at least 2 years. She is very loving, caring and eager to learn. I told her she'd be teaching the other students to do the skills that she's already mastered at the SHOR and sure enough today they were taught how to put on sterile gloves in her 3rd day of class. Well she's already master tracheal suctioning and urinary catheterizations both of which require proper sterile gloving. I told her she'd be teaching the class in a couple of months! Christina is our newest team member. She just started her freshman year at our local community college and is very ambitious as she pursues a nursing degree too. The 2 young ladies work beautifully together as I think Gloria is fulfilling a "big sister" role for Christina as she patiently helps us instruct her with the various skills she's mastered.  Other changes at the SHOR include saying "goodbye" to 2 of our 3 nurses. One is finishing his BS RN in December and wants to travel a bit before taking a hospital position. Sadly the other nurse we're loosing is our sweet Susanna who's been with us for almost 4 years. She has some very debilitating health issues and really needs our prayers so please keep her at the top of your prayer list. Meanwhile I've been scouring Houston trying to find nurses. Epic Health Services, our current nursing agency, has not done a single thing they promised us when I signed a contract with them almost a year ago. They've never found a single nurse for us, they've never provided a single substitute, nor trained anyone to be a sub for us when the need arises as they promised. So I think it's time to bid them a farewell. I think I need to investigate adult home health agencies as Joe Man is competing against tiny babies who don't have the high level acuities that he does. So I'm hoping some of you have experience or information on adult home health agencies in Houston....who we should interview, who to avoid (you can send me a personal e-mail at and if you know anyone who has direct experience with such an agency. However if you know of a LVN or RN who would like to work nights I have all shifts open except Tues. and Thursday PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell them to contact me at It's a great job for a graduate nurse as they continue their education as they can study while they're monitoring Joseph throughout the night. They can work full or part-time too. We will fully train the nurses so there's no need to be intimidated and our room is about 5 steps from Joseph's bed so we're always available. Above all please help me pray for the LORD to bring the perfect nurses to our team. I've been contacting nursing schools and am beginning a novena tonight asking our Blessed Mother to intercede in prayer for us asking her Son to deliver the perfect nurses to Joseph's side.

Thank you so much for asking about precious Therese, our young friend who suffers from cystic fibrosis.  Sadly at the end of September her mom sent the following update:
"The past week has been difficult.  Therese has struggled to breathe, having continual coughing fits -- at times even gasping for air.  It seems the inhaled antibiotic colistimethate triggered a terrible asthmatic response.  We moved to Cipro and introduced steroids.  She improved by the weekend but then caught a cold and it became bad all over again.  The steroids have reeked havoc with blood sugars, which feed the bacteria that have colonized her lungs, and she's been feeling awful. The worst of it is that she has been disqualified from the drug study.  Even though she has not used the antibiotic TOBI, the very fact that she has been sick and in need of intervention is enough to be ruled out of the program.  We are all quite upset, to use English understatement. We currently hope and pray that she will recover without another hospitalization. Please join us in those prayers." Therese has gotten better over the past several weeks and has even gotten to go to school for short periods of time then she caught a stomach virus which caused
tremendous vomiting which in turn caused aspirations and thus more lung issues. This poor baby just needs a REAL break from trying to battle non-stop!! Please keep her at the very top of your prayer list too.

Our girls are doing well. Audrea is trying to stay warm in Nashville and taking some on-line courses. Madeleine had business in San Francisco last week so invited me to join her for an extended weekend. I haven't had one-on-one time with her since she was in high school 10+ years ago so it was awesome!!! We got to take the son of dear friends, fondly known as "Uncle Milt and Aunt Connie", to a Dim Sum lunch in San Fran then escaped to Napa for a day. It's always stressful for me to try to leave the SHOR especially with Rob working but trying to work ahead so many days when I don't have the extra time in my schedule to do anything let alone do all of the work I do over a weekend before I leave. Then while away I had to try to figure out what on earth we were going to do when one of our nurses called in sick twice and a caregiver was stranded in bad weather trying to get home from Virginia. First of all it is impossible to get a nurse substitute and so difficult to try to rework the caregiver's schedule when I am already working around 4 of their school schedules. It's impossible for Rob and I to work 40+ hour shifts while trying to safely care for Joseph so it presented a tremendous amount of stress while I was away trying to figure it all out 2,000 miles from home but Madeleine and I tried to make the best of it. I'm just grateful for her understanding that we weren't able to do a lot of the things we had planned because I was on the phone and computer trying to figure out what on earth we were going to do. Praise God in the end we figured out some "band-aids" not without upsetting a few team members in the process but at least we survived. Please help us pray for the LORD to bring us greatly needed nurses that Joseph needs and deserves.

Who knows what Gabrielle is doing. You would think that she's estranged from her parents due to her complete lack of communication with us. She claims that she doesn't have time to call or text us. One of her sweet teammates who feels sorry for me will text me every blue moon to let me know my daughter is still alive. From as much as I know Gabrielle has realized that Rice University is not ranked #18 top university in the country because it's easy and she's not sure that the new coaches realize how tough the academics are at Rice either because they would like to see the girls in the gym even more than they already are. We can hardly wait for basketball season to start so we can at least see her from a bleacher seat. Their season opener is against Kentucky but Rice won't play at home until November 21st against #9 University of Texas so we have a while to wait to get to watch our Lady Rice Owls on the court. Rob is hosting Torchy's Taco Tailgates before home games so stay tuned.

Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for your continued hands that have held ours and offered millions and millions of prayers for Joseph and our family.

May the power of the Holy Spirit keep our hearts on fire for Him,
33 people hearted this



Nancy Freese
By Nancy Freese
Hi Terri, I have been thinking a lot about Joseph lately. I pray that everything is going well for you all. Thanksgiving will be here tomorrow. May your day be filled with Joseph verbalizing and being awake to enjoy his family. Still praying every day for your prince. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Keri Dezell
By Keri Dezell
May Therese and her family feel the outpouring of love and prayer that surrounds them.... may this help to lift them up and carry them through these very difficult days.

When it comes to our children's suffering, the torturous pain that lives within our hearts is maddening. May GOD please fill Therese's parent's anxious hearts, with peace and surety that no matter what, HE will be sure to each of them through.
With love and in prayer,
Keri, MY FRANKIE and Family
Keri Dezell
By Keri Dezell
May GOD continue to provide you with insight and surround you with compassionate loving people to care for your prince. May GOD's patience and strength be yours... Prayers always for Joseph's progress and safekeeping.
With love and in prayer,
Keri, MY FRANKIE and Family
Cathy Zahner
By Cathy Zahner
What a handsome smile! Thank you so much for sharing. You and your wonderful family remain in our prayers. Can't believe it has been 5 years.

Robert and Cathy Zahner
Tom Moore
By Norine Moore
Terri, I'm so grateful for the update, as I'm always praying for Joseph & your whole family, as well as Therese. Now, I know some more specifics to pray for & I add my Amen to all the other prayers being lifted up, too. Gabrielle's story is quite typical of so many college frosh, & though I'm sure it hurts, she's a Stanton & will return to the flock.
God bless you all and the new, up-coming members of SHOR!

Love & prayers,
2 people hearted this
Cyndi Gallagher
By Coach Cyndi
So happy to get your updates on the whole family! Miss Madeleine and seeing your bubbly face at swim meets too. Hoping the coaches at Rice are watching over Gabrielle - but I know she will figure it out. She is a Stanton! You are always in my prayers.
1 person hearted this
Diane Mullhausen
By Diane Mullhausen
Keeping Joseph and family in my daily prayers!
1 person hearted this
Robin Darcy
By Robin Darcy
So happy to read your update this morning. Keeping all of you in my daily prayers. XOXO
1 person hearted this
Donna Barnard
By Donna Barnard
Hi Terri so happy to get an update on Joseph - we still and always will be praying for Joseph and all of you! We will be praying for your special intentions for Joseph's nurses and caregivers-- he is such a fighter I think he gets it from his Mom & Dad!! It was great to see pics of you enjoying yourself--- I have thought of Joseph also as this Jubilee Year of Mercy is beginning on Dec 8 my retreat group is renewing Marian Consecration to prepare for it---so all of you will be in special prayers during this time--Jesus we trust in You!! In our hearts and in our prayers Donna & James
2 people hearted this
Lucy Richardson
By Lucy Richardson
So glad to hear what is happening. Been prayin but didn't know what to pray for, but God does!
Will continue to keep Therese in our prayers. With chronic asthma and coughing, I know that feeling of not being able to breathe so I have a great deal of compassion for this precious child.
So glad you got a visit, although short with Madeleine. How special.
Sounds like Gabby is very busy and trying to find her way through all the responsibilities. At least you will get to see her I home games.
I feel so close to your family. Although he is still here, you lost a large part of Joseph. My only child and son decided he wanted nothing to do with his family anymore. We haven't seen, talked, texted or anything in over three years. So I know what it's like to lose something very special to you. I envy you being able to see, touch and hug Joseph but I sure am glad I don't have to watch my son suffer so terribly.
I pray that both are sons will return to us completely.
Love in Christ
2 people hearted this