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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

A Blessed Easter to All From Rob & The Stanton Clan

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter as we celebrated thehope and promise of our faith.  This is just such a great time of year and “no” I am not talking about March Madness. Iam talking about the Easter season and how we prepare for the celebration of the most sacrificial gift of humanity:  the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  How blessed we are to have a God who is willing to pour out himself for our gain.  I truly do not feel worthy.

We were able to rearrange our weekend schedule, attended mass on Easter morning followed by a wonder Easter brunch with Joe Man.  I must say he looked sharp sporting a plaid pastel Izod dress shirt, white linen pants and his Sperry topsiders.  It brought back memories of one of our last family pictures we took prior to Joseph’s accident at the same restaurant on the water in Kingwood.  It was such a blessing to have him with us and helped make up for the fact Madeleine nor Audrea came home for the holiday as they'll be coming in next weekend. We had so much fun with Joseph today that Gabrielle has decided we need to take him to brunch with us at least once a month. I wish it was that easy but I think we’ll try scouting out other places that can accommodate him. Chimichurri’s took very good care of us today making great accommodations for our big boy. I was wondering if we were going to be able to pull it off over the past few days.  His heart rates have been running up and he has been posturing a lot.  It has been a battle as we have been searching for reasons for his elevated heartrates for a while.  Terri has been working tirelessly with a registered dietitian, our amazing endocrinologist,and our wonderful Irish GI doctor to see if it could be Joseph’s feeding causing the colicky pain he appears to be having.  Strangely enough it seems to be brought on by feeding him the feeding that he has been on for nearly 5 years now.  We came to learn that this feeding was a hyper osmalic formula.  In any event, bothd octors and the dietitian decided it would be best to change him to a feeding which had a lower osmolality and was easier on the digestive system.  And praise be to God, it seems like it may be doing the trick.  Of course, since Joseph has SIADH (Syndrome of Inappropriate Anti-Diuretic Hormone), we now have to start all over to see what how much free water he needs. It is such a nightmare doing a complete urinalysis every 4 hours checking for specific gravity and 4other lab values. He is such a delicate balancing act for being a big, ol’ boy.Please pray that Joseph would fully adjust to the new feeding formula, that his stomach issues would cease to exist, and that he would get perfect nutrition and hydration from this product. Please also give thanks for the amazing team of doctors and dietitian who helped Terri review all the data, and potential issues to come up with a plan to trail a new feeding. Many of you have left guestbook messages and we’re sorry to confuse you about the ventilator. When we went through all the training for 2days, he was placed on the ventilator the very first day that we started the training on February 24th.  It has been a battle titrating it and trying to get everyone trained on it. It is helping with his obstruction and apneic events but it has done nothing to stop the autonomic dysreflexia (also known as “Brain Storming). We fear we’ll never know what causes Joseph to experience this suffering so much. He is still storming 3 or so days/week. It’s just unbelievable. We’ve not found another TBI survivor out there who has suffers with brain storming like Joseph does. We are very close to many survivor families.  We all help each other but we haven’t found any other TBI survivor nor a doctor who has seen a patient storm even months outside the initial injury let alone 5years.Joseph’s seizures are averaging a little more than 5/months now. In March he suffered 6. The only option is to put him on more anti-seizure medications that sedate him which let alone doesn’t allow him to progress but also takes away his breathing reflex so he suffers and we suffer with him as it’s tough to watch. By comparison though a lot of other TBI survivors have very long seizures and Joseph’s only last 2-3 minutes on average even though they typically affect both sides of his brain. Please help us pray that God would use the seizures to form new neuro pathways in the brain. Since our battle with osteoporosis began, we’ve not been able to stand Joseph but we’ve been able to get him onto the tilt table several times a week at full weight bearing of 80 degrees.  He has done remarkably well since we moved to the tilt table instead of the standing frame and dependent standing with volunteers to help get him up.  Because of the osteoporosis we’ve had to immobilize him to be sure we aren’t causing more fractures. Every thing is very tightly controlled with the tilt table. We move his full-sized, hospital style pulse oximieter into the PT room so we can monitor his blood pressure, oxygen saturation and heart rate all the while we are standing him. He tends to be more vocal he is vertical too.  I am quite sure that after 5 years of listening to everyone around him give him advice; he has a few things to say!!!Hopefully his bones are responding to the medications and he can get up even more as weight bearing itself helps bone remodel.  I must say for someone battling all of his issues he has on a daily basis over the past 5 years and sometimes being at the brink of death Joseph looks great when he’s not storming. It is almost like you expect him to shake his head, run his hands through his hair and tell us “now where did we leave off?”  And although like Martha I know it will happen on the last day, I would like to see the power of our God shown off a little earlier. On Good Friday, I watched “The Passion of Jesus Christ”.  Every time I watch that film it just brings home to me the sacrifice that Christ made for us.  I look up at the Cross on Easter with a whole new appreciation of just how great a sacrifice He made.  The look that you see in the actor’s eyes playing Christ, I have seen in Joseph’s eyes many times.  I know that through the pain and struggle, Joseph is doing this for us. Fighting the fight to finish the race.  At the crucifixion scene, I recalled reading aloud the same scripture Christ cried from the cross, “My God,my God, why have you forsaken me?” out loud when Joseph was at death’s door nearly 5 years ago.  At that time I thought it was a cry of discouragement and defeat. However I was unaware that Psalm22 ends with “They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!”  The verse, I thought was defeat was actually declaring Victor, a victory that was made for Joseph, for you, and for me.  For through God, comes all of the power, and the glory now and forever.  Amen!Gabrielle is keeping us busy at lightening speed right now with all of her senior events. She and Terri spent 8 hours doing her senior picture shoot and another 5 hours selecting the portraits they wanted. We celebrated the end of her high school basketball season at a banquet. She has another huge event coming up this weekend, it’s the National Charity League’s Senior Salute. She committed 6 years to a philanthropic organization and this is a huge banquet spotlighting the seniors and celebrating their accomplishments. Our girls along with Aunt Sheri and Uncle Jim will be flying in for it this coming weekend. The following weekend is her Senior Prom and graduation is around the corner with her first semester at Rice University a few weeks after graduation as they bring the team in for a summer session so they can train together. Almost 3 weeks ago she received a call that the Rice Head Basketball coach had resigned and there was a national search to hire a new coach so her basketball world has been rocked once again. As you might recall the same thing happened to her exactly 1-year ago when the University of Arkansas bought out the contract of the Head Women’s Basketball coach. The difference this time was that she’d signed a National Letter of Intent with the university not the coach so her scholarship is safe, praise be to God. She’s still having a little pain in the side of her knee. We spoke to the P.A. at her doctor’s office and she said to try the steroidal cream we got after the surgery to see if that would help it. Your continued prayers for her knee would be very appreciated too.Know that we thank God for you every day. He knows we could never travel this road without you there to hold us up in your constant prayers and for that we are so very grateful.All my best,Rob
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Comments

20 Comments

Barbara Whipple
By Praise God
Hope who ever they hire appreciates Gabrielle's gifts and uses them to help the school.
Glad you are doing some updates to give Terri a break.
Joseph looks great in the pictures.
Have you found someone to replace Hernan hope it's a male Joseph needs all the testosterone he can get with all those women around !
Hope you have some good months ahead and can enjoy the great weather!
Update is out our prayers continue
God Bless
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Malinn Saxe
By Malinn Saxe
Rob, how I loved reading an update from you! It's been quite awhile! You truly do open my eyes in a special way to the love of Christ and HIS love for me! Thank you so much for your testimony shared, even though I know it is and has been, such a painful journey! Such exciting times as I read about all the events for Gabrielle. I know Terri will tell you that I read every update, and never cease to be amazed at the incredible trials you all go through! Grateful for a time out with Joseph on Easter! You all remain in my prayers and thoughts! My love!
Malinn Saxe
By Malinn Saxe
Rob, how I loved reading an update from you! It's been quite awhile! You truly do open my eyes in a special way to the love of Christ and HIS love for me! Thank you so much for your testimony shared, even though I know it is and has been, such a painful journey! Such exciting times as I read about all the events for Gabrielle. I know Terri will tell you that I read every update, and never cease to be amazed at the incredible trials you all go through! Grateful for a time out with Joseph on Easter! You all remain in my prayers and thoughts! My love!
Ginger and Byron Bertrand
By Ginger Bertrand
So glad to read this update on the Stantons! Prayers for all of you!
Joy Roberts
By
Thanks, Rob, for the update. Glad to hear that you had a glorious Easter. I'm sure Gabrielle will be beautiful at her NCL event and Prom! Enjoy those moments. We continue to pray.
Bernie Tomasso
By Bernie Tomasso
I am amazed at how much you are able to do for TJ. My wife has MS and I feel at a loss with my limited medical knowledge. I pray daily for your entire family, particularly Rob who is a father as I am.
Phyllis Baker
By Phyllis Baker
Thanks for the update. I continue to pray for all of you. May God send His healing to Joseph to have relief from his so many sufferings. Praying for continued healing and success for Gabrielle and for special blessings for you and Terri as you travel this unimaginable struggle together. God Bless. ❤️
Tom Moore
By
Thanks for the update, Rob, & we're praying for good to come from the seizures, creating new neuro pathways for Joseph. I'm glad the team of doctors & dietitians are working so well with Terri for answers & may Joseph be blessed with relief.
What a wonderful time for Gabrielle, making her senior memories, & we'll continue prayers for her knee to stop hurting.
May you all continue to be sustained by the grace of God in your efforts to make life good for Joseph & Gabrielle.

Love & prayers,
Norine
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Peggy Angelino
By Peggy Angelino
Dearest family,
I continue to pray for Joseph and all of you. Thank you for the updates - I know they are time consuming but I appreciate the reminders of your constant battles.

I have been waiting for you to mention again that the brainstorming may indicate the formation of new neuropathways. I remember that you said this a long time ago, and each time I hear about the brainstorming I pray that something good will come because of them. I've wanted to mention this several times when Joseph has had really good days of communication following brainstorming episodes. I wait in hope for our Lord's great work to be known if full.

I also wanted to tell you that I I saw a young woman about 35 years old rollerblading without a helmet. I stopped and rolled down my window and asked her if she had a helmet. I told her she was beautiful and it would be so sad if something happened to her. I also asked if she knew of Joseph and she said she did. I don't know why it takes bravery to speak out. Perhaps we all need to be bolder and show more care for each other.

Many blessings and hope,
Melanie Bradshaw
By Melanie Bradshaw
You are always in our prayers Rob, Terri, Joseph and Family! I so glad that you had such a blessed Easter weekend. We watched The Passion as well, and the sacrifice Jesus made is overwhelming to me. Yours and Joe's sacrifices are surreal to me and my family, and you continue to be an inspiration to all who know you. We will continue to lift you all up in prayer.

Peace with you. <3