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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…..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

Update From the SHOR

Dearest Prayer Warriors for Joseph,

A blessed Sunday to each of you. I saw it was a gorgeous 70 something degrees here in Houston, Texas today. From the window I saw a lot of blue sky but we weren't able to get out to enjoy it unfortunately. Rob, Joseph and I have been surviving the staffing crises at the SHOR though. I must admit I've never been so thankful for rest in my entire life whether it's 10 minutes or 4 hours. We supposedly have both of our night nursing positions filled but we've been burnt so many times we can't breathe a sigh of relief yet. Both of the young women are recent Associate Degree Registered Nurses. One of them is a very old family friend. We've known her family for 20 years. She and Audrea, our #2 daughter, were very good friends growing up. They car pooled to high school and cheered together. We'd lost touch with their family over the years but when I saw on Facebook that she'd just become an R.N. I messaged her right away.  It just so happened that her husband works nights and she was excited about the prospect of having hours that mirrored his. Long story short, she gave her notice at her current place of work and will begin taking care of Joseph beginning on Valentine's Day. We really wish she would have been available to begin immediately but she's definitely worth waiting for as she's a very bright nurse, very enthusiastic for the opportunity to perfect some high level skills and I hope very loyal to the cause. She came for a couple of hours 3 times last week to begin learning the most important skills needed to take care of Joseph through the night so it won't be as painful for us staying up with her through the night when she can finally start. It's been a lot of fun to catch up with her too.

By the grace of God an old nurse filled in for us twice last week and sweet Gloria, one of our newer caregivers, worked Saturday night. That left Friday and Sunday nights for Rob and I to tag-team training throughout the night the other new nurse. They are both 16 hour shifts so it is exhausting being on your feet non-stop, talking, demonstrating, correcting and trying to explain all of Joseph's complicating conditions and how to respond to each of them. The other nurse is a very close friend of the first one I told you about. They went all through nursing school together. She is also a very bright nurse, eager to learn and very ambitious. My fear is that she had just accepted another position before I found out about her. It's a week day position and she can make her own schedule but it has some pretty nice perks that I pray don't out weigh the blessings of taking care of Joe Man. She is also working on her BS RN, has 5 kids AND lives on the other side of Houston. She assured us this is normal pace for her. Regardless, please pray for our "Super Woman Nurse" that she can somehow get all the rest she needs in her busy life to be able to pull two 16-hour shifts on the weekends and still take care of her family. Please, please, please pray that all 3 of our nurses find great reward in learning all the skills necessary to take good care of Joseph and the angelic work they're blessing us with and DON'T LEAVE US.

We're in a holding position on the caregiver I hired 2 weeks ago. We're supposed to find out tomorrow how much time he'll be able to commit to us. Pray that it will all work out because one of our caregivers is going on vacation at the end of February and it's possible that I'll have no help 1 of the days she's gone. It's a very scary thought.

We met with the epileptologist last Monday and we discussed the options. He said it is best to try to titrate up on the Lyrica since we believe it was working rather than abandoning it and starting an entire new anti-seizure medication. So we are trying to increase the dose but very slowly so we don't knock out Joseph's breathing response due to sedation. However, we're battling with the insurance company over a liquid version of Lyrica so we can titrate it slowly. The smallest dose available is in 25 mg. capsules. 25 mg is not enough but 50 mg knocks out Joseph's breathing reflex because of it's sedative affects so we have to find a perfect dose between those 2 units. When you break open the capsule and mix it with water you see all the medication floating around in particle form. It's impossible to get an accurate dose like that. We were denied twice last week even though the epileptologist spoke to the insurance company directly. He's now requested a "Peer to Peer Review." Please pray that the epileptologist is given the wisdom to know how to convince the insurance company that the liquid form of Lyrica is completely and totally necessary.

I updated you recently on Gabrielle. Please continue to pray for her.  A little news from the rest of the family.......Audrea officially resigned her position at William Morris a couple of weeks ago as she's decided to go to nursing school even though she's not even been accepted yet. Right now she's finishing up some prerequisites and hoping to be accepted in the fall to Belmont's nursing school. She received her BBA in Music Business at Belmont in 2012 and ironically we toured the nursing school when I went with her for her official visit in 2009. Who would have ever dreamed she'd be returning to go to nursing school? The essay she wrote for the application is very touching. As you can imagine Joseph's journey is her complete motivation for pursing a new career. It's a 16 month Bachelor's of Science program and will be eligible to take the NCLEX to be come registered immediately upon completion of the program. She should find out if she's been accepted in the next couple of weeks. With Houston having the world's larges medical center I'm praying she'll bring her skills and love to Houston one day....SOON!

Living in the nightmare we've been living for months now, the LORD brought the most incredible ray of sunshine to our home recently. I've been afraid to say it out loud for fear something would happen but it's now official so I'm going to dare to share our good news. Over Thanksgiving the girls and I were in the car driving home when Madeleine received a phone call from a gentleman she'd worked with briefly in bidding on medical equipment with hospitals in Minneapolis. He's with a surgical robotics company and asked her if she'd like to interview for a position that was becoming available in Minneapolis.  She was very intrigued with the product so agreed to check it out. Long story short as she studied the company and products she became more interested and progressed through a series of interviews including a day of scrubbing in for a day full of surgeries at several hospitals here in Houston while she was home over Christmas. In the end they offered her a position and she accepted it with the hope that one day she'd be able to transfer to Houston. It was certainly not an easy decision as she absolutely loves her job, her boss and her company but there wasn't much hope of her returning to Houston any time soon.  She dreaded telling her boss because she felt such an indebtedness to them for giving her a start in the medical device industry. In the end the V.P. of Sales from her current company called her and told her that they are a family, that she's a "rock star" and they didn't want to loose her. The VP proceeded to offer her a position in a different division of the company IN HOUSTON, buyout her 15 month apartment lease that she had just renewed, pay for entire relocation, hire a Realtor to help her find a home, and pay all closing costs and expenses associated with the move!!!! I truly couldn't believe my ears. I received the information in a text and thought it was a terrible hoax when I couldn't get a hold of her. When I was able to confirm the tears didn't stop. I could NOT believe it! Soooooo Madeleine should be back in Houston by mid April and we couldn't be more excited. I'm thankful for the words of Job in verse 17:12 "They make night into day, saying, 'The light is near,' in the presence of darkness."

Thank you for all the birthday wishes for Joseph. The cutest thing happened. I had just showed the new nurse his vocalization log and taught her how to document his intentional vocalizations. Not an hour later she came to the kitchen with great big eyes and a smile on her face and said "Joseph and I just had a 'conversation' about his birthday!" When she asked him how it was he vocalized several times! He has been talking up a storm for the last 3 weeks. On Friday alone he vocalized 87 times! In the past 12 days he's vocalized 373 times! The really cool thing is that he's modulating his voice in different tones a lot showing great expression in what he's trying to communicate. He was fussing at us last Thursday a lot while we were dressing him. When we got him transferred to his wheelchair he let out another loud vocalization so the new caregiver said "Joseph are you just mad at us?" He immediately vocalized with a very angry sound! On Friday he was running high heartrates and posturing so Kristen, his OT, was working her magic getting the knots out of his muscles with these really cool therapy balls. Toward the end after she did an amazing job all over his upper body he vocalized twice in the sweetest voice I've ever heard from him. We are sure he said "thank you." Thank you Jesus for these rays of "sonshine" you send us in our darkest of hours."

In closing I'd like to ask you to pray for another one of Joseph's mighty prayer warriors. She has done spiritual walks for Joseph asking for the prayerful intercessions of Blessed Father Emil Kapaun in Wichita, Kansas. She has held Joseph in her most fervent prayers since almost the day of his accident.  Her name is Julie and she's Aunt Debby's best friend for the past 50+ years. She recently suffered a stroke and has some great limitations. We want to return those prayers for Julie and her family as they traverse these uncertain waters. She's always been the spiritual backbone of her family and this has certainly rocked the foundation of their lives.

Many, many thanks for all you do to cover us in your continued prayers. We are forever indebted....

Blessings to you and all you love,
Terri
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Comments

19 Comments

Dan and Nancy Zotti
By Dan & Nancy Zotti
Rob & Terri,
We never wanted to share this with the both of you, but when Nancy's Mom contracted cancer and her Daddy had a stroke, we went through a merry-go-round of hiring nurses and losing them and all the struggles that go along with that journey. We didn't want to discourage you by sharing something like this because you guys, and your family, have had your hands filled in taking care of your young prince. Be assured that all this suffering will come to pass. It is something that our Good Lord is giving to you to endure and your suffering will bear great fruit, peace and joy in your life. And know this, we are behind you two on this journey - you don't walk it alone. And also know, you have hundred other families and friends standing behind you along the way!
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Kathy Lipscombe
By Kathy Lipscombe
So happy to hear your good news. I will continue to pray for all the nursing and caregiving needs, that all works out for your girls, and for Julie. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Lucy Richardson
By Lucy Richardson — last edited
Praising God for Madeleine wonderful news! How great to feel so appreciated!
So excited about Audrea's career change! A blessing that came from Joseph's accident!
Praying for Julie and complete recovery.
Praying for staffing!
That should keep me on my knees for a while!
Love in Christ,
Sandi Brock
By Sandi Brock
Father God, now I know why You have had me praying for Joseph to talk. You are amazing and I a so happy to hear he is vocalizing. Thank you, dear Lord. I pray for Julie to recover after a stroke. Father, be beside her and Debbie at this time. I know what it is like being with a long time friend when they are suffering. You always know what is best and I lean on you for Joseph's healing, recovering. AMEN!
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Gail Doyle
By Gail Doyle
Dear Terri Hoping and praying all works out and these nurses are what you've been looking for.Prayers for Julie And Gabrielle. May God bless you all
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Jim Power
By J. Power Family
Thank you for your amazing post! There is joy in the morning and we are praying for your journey through this desert time. Praying specifically for your girls, for your beloved son and for your relief. Praying for a fully staffed SHOR with a loving and dedicated team. Praying for clarity and control to breakthrough in Joesph's communication. Giving thanks for God's mercy.
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Ellna Jean Standley
By Ellna Jean Standley
Jesus loves Joseph and all his family; you can trust Him to take care of Joseph and all of you. I pray that the new nurses will work out for you, also the dosage of the medication. Thank you Jesus that Madeline is moving back to Houston to be near family. God's blessings on all of you.
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Glen Langford
By Cody Langford's parents Glen and Blanca
Apologies, for not losing touch over the past several years from Joseph's accident. We have been through issues not nearly as devastating as yours, Job loss at 50 with no degree living in Kingwood with a mortgage and 4 Kids was a small hill compared to the Mt. Everest you and Rob are still climbing. All we can offer is our continued prayers, and connect with your faith that our Savior is still THE GREAT HEALER!!! Joseph and your family has touched countless lives through your strength, and passion for servival in the mist of pain. May God continue to bring rays of sunshine in the mist of the storm. We will continue to pray for Joseph "THE MAN" Stanton,
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Connie Comstock
By Connie Comstock
We are continuing to pray for your nursing needs to stabilize---encouraging news. Very excited for Madeleine too. I was hoping that our son was going to be able to meet through the new job opportunity, but trust that God knows the plans He has for her. It sounds like she's a keeper and her company knows it! Congrats on her return to Houston.
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Liz Rising
By Liz Rising
Joseph and your family have been on our church's prayer list and I shall be sending you a note from them all soon. SO...I am thrilled to hear how God is working to bring hope and light into your lives. What a miracle that would be to have your girls back in Texas. Our Lord certainly does move in mysterious ways! praying for you all, as always.
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