Journal

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

An update from Ali:

During this quarantine, Kevin and I have tried to keep his therapies going at home.  With lots of help from everyone- we’ve done our best to stretch, move, and exercise him as well as we can- but he still felt like something was missing.  He’s used to so much more activity...... maybe it was all of that pre-accident marathoning 🏃. So, with money fundraised by all of you, Kevin’s Army, we purchased a “motomed”- an arm and leg cycle that not only gives his arms and legs the constant motion (for extended periods of time) that they need, but also stretches out muscles that have been spasming a lot lately.  We’re confident that these movements will truly help strengthen him, but also provide much needed relief from these spasms.  By now, you know, and have seen, we couldn’t do it without you.  We are so thankful. ❤️
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Journal entry by Carrie Conway

A post from Kevin:

Yesterday, we had to return the kids skis to Zimmerman's in Nashua. We decided to take a family trip as it was the first time in weeks we have been out of the house. Being that it was such a nice day, we not only dropped off the skis, but we also took the opportunity to drive throughout the town to see the damage the storm caused. As we were driving around, with no specific route in mind, the car made its way to Robinson school. It has been months since I have been back to Robinson and inside of the building or on the grounds. It was a clear reminder of how much I miss my staff, students, and parents. Being quarantined has been surreal. Like my injury, I keep thinking it's a dream and that I'll wake up and things will be back to normal. While I may not be able to control how much progress, if any, I will make with my injury, I am trying to remain positive about returning to a somewhat normal lifestyle, with regards to covid 19. I miss seeing people...friends, family, teachers, students and parents, and hope that we will figure out how to combat this virus as soon as possible.

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

A note from Ali:

Last year on this day, Kevin crossed the finish line of his second consecutive Boston Marathon.  He had been pretty much miserable to live with for a few weeks leading up to it, with the pressure of fundraising, training, and doing all of his husbandly, fatherly, and principal duties on top of it.  So when he, shortly after finishing, mentioned wanting to run his third in 2020, I was a little peeved.  But, I also knew how much joy he took from it- and I was so proud of his accomplishments.  

Now, a year later, It feels like a whole different world at this point- in more ways than one.  It was hard talking about the marathon today and seeing all of the posts of what people did in support of the thousands of people who didn’t get to run.  There were a few tears when Kevin’s chair stood him in the upright position because his body can’t do it on its own.  But Kevin wasn’t going to let the sadness win today.  He gritted his teeth and took control of what movement he does have.  He did 26 shoulder lifts.  26 ab crunches.  26 assisted bicep curls and 26 assisted tricep contractions.  He did what he could do. 

The messages poured in.  We have so much loving support- there’s no doubt that we could ask our friends and family to carry us 26 miles and they would.  

I’m not sure what the next year will bring- or if Kevin will be strong enough to get to the sidelines to cheer on the runners in Boston on September 14, but I do know that the challenges he has in front of him are a lot harder than any 26.2 mile marathon.  And I’ll support him in whatever he chooses to take on next, because I know it will be something that will make me equally, if not more proud.  

#LaCosteStrong

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

An Ali Update:

My mind swirls when I think about the past 8 months.   Life’s events are so unpredictable.  But tonight, I have to recognize what has proven to be predictable for us.  We have an INCREDIBLE support system.  There hasn’t been a day in the last two weeks that we haven’t had someone offer to help us- run to the grocery store, CVS, Costco, or wherever we need.  Friends are constantly checking in on our wellbeing and mental health.  I feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with responding to everyone.  And to be honest- today sucked.  It was a really bad day with lots of sadness and tears.  Social distancing is taking its toll.  All of Kevin’s therapies and appointments have been canceled,  so we’ve gone from very busy- to stagnant.  Not to mention he’s not getting what he needs to progress.  And when there’s not too much to occupy your mind- we keep busy by spending a bit more time on social media.  We love seeing what everyone is doing to keep busy- but our hearts break at the same time.  We LOVED hiking and taking walks in the woods.  We LOVED taking cold day trips to the beach to hunt for sea glass.  We are outdoorsy people.  But when Kevin tries to go outside now, the cold weather sparks such spasms, he ends up in a ton of pain (and by cold, I mean less than 65 degrees).  Today, on this beautifully sunny day, we felt it the most.  And this came after Kevin’s morning started with a blood pressure of 190/115 and dropped to 60/40 less than 30 minutes later.  I struggle with how to help him manage that. (And don’t worry- of course we’ve talked to his doctor about it).  We ordered dinner from a local restaurant- and took a drive out to get it,  just to get out of the house, and they forgot one of our meals.  Ugh.  It was like Alexander’s terrible horrible no good very bad day! BUT, we find the best in each day.  We ended the night with our kids.  We all gathered in the living room and started a new-to-us tv series.  Colin talked through the whole thing- asking questions and just being completely normal.  It was my silver lining.  My “good” in today.  
And we’re still moving forward. ❤️
#LaCosteStrong #stayhealthy

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

An update from Ali. 


Since the accident, I’ve become a member of many online support groups.  There is a large community of wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, parents, siblings, caretakers  and victims themselves of spinal cord injuries (SCI).  Their daily posts leave me with so many thoughts and emotions.  I’m filled with these thoughts tonight, which are making it hard for me to sleep.  I haven’t shared for a long time- so thought it was apropos (thanks Tony Feole for the word choice) to reach out to you- the  foundation of Kevin’s recovery- those who lift us up.  What I’ve learned from these posts is vast, but, I know I still have so much to learn.  A few take-always are:
         1.  Kevin’s injury is severe.  It’s such a high cervical spine injury.  His paralysis level is much greater than most people experience.
         2. No matter the injury or level, spinal cord injuries are devastating.  
         3.  I don’t have a tolerance for endless complaint with no solution.  
         4.  I’ll always insist that we stay positive.  There will be tears and bad days, but we WILL persevere and be the BEST we can be.  
         5.  Our support system is FAR better than any I’ve seen. So many families deal with this on their own, and we continue to feel the love from so many.  We still receive cards, meals, donations, and favors from family, friends, acquaintances, and even community members we don’t even know.  
         6.  We would not be here without all of you.  
         7.  We’ll never give up hope.  (In fact, This week, Kevin gained controlled movement in his left middle finger.  I’m not sure if this is a positive thing- but know he’ll feel better being able to gesture inappropriately in the near future. 🖕)
      
Some parts our our days are still sad.  Kevin misses the simple things, like wrapping his arms around us or holding hands.  He misses the bigger things, like running for the JMBHF and doing the physical work around our house.  But one thing is for sure.  We have a tremendous amount of love.  And that gets us through each and every day.

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

A note from Kevin:

Last week I visited classes at Robinson school. As always, it lifted my spirits and reassured me that I am ready to return as soon as possible. One class in particular, had many questions for me. While I did answer some of them, I was pressed for time and couldn't answer all of them. The class was so interested, that they decided to use this opportunity for an authentic writing assignment. Late last week I received questions from students in the mail. They were priceless! In addition to a few of them pictured below, I have listed some of the other questions. I plan to answer them in person during my next visit.
1. How do you sit on the sofa?
2. Why can't you move anything under your neck?
3. How are you going to be a principal?
4. Why can you not move your arm?
5. How are you feeling?
6. How do you write?
7. How do you change your clothes?

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

A note from Kevin:

Feeling grateful for a wife, Ali Carnie LaCoste, who continues to support me in so many ways including pushing me outside of my comfort zone by encouraging us to attend and in some cases organizing fun events. For friends like Kristen O'Donnell Trull and husband Tim, who researched hotel rooms @encore to be sure they were accessible. Friends likeJessica Martineau and Mark, who helped me get ready for our big night out. For the continued support ofBrenda Taylor LaCoste, andGail Buccini for helping to ease my anxiety by caring for my children whenever needed. ToLori LaCoste O'Donnell andCraig O'Donnell for always being there for us no matter what. I'm grateful for people like Ryan Schmitt, Julie Abare-Schmitt, Todd McDonough, Jocelin Worthington McDonough who have taken our kids skiing, something they have loved so much, and I am no longer able to do at this time.

I continue to feel so grateful for our community that has embraced us and supports us in so many ways. Seeing complete strangers wearing #LaCostestrong apparel is so comforting, especially when going out in public is still such a challenge. I'm thankful to Scott Cassa @wellbeingfitness who continues to challenge me in so many ways. He has been such a great support in helping me to regain strength and give me a great outlet for reducing stress.

I'm thankful to my Robinson school family for sending me messages, visiting, keeping me in their thoughts, and continuously making me laugh. You, as well as the students, are my motivation for returning to work in July.

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

A note from Kevin and Ali:

Ok! It’s time for round 2 of our “breweries with Kevin” tour!  If you’ve been paying attention- you’ll know that once a month, I’m planning a trip to a local or semi-local brewery so that Kevin and I (and this time our kids are being dragged along) can get out and feel normal! It’s also a great opportunity for friends to come by and say hello! So, if you’re in the Woburn area, tomorrow (February 15), we’re heading to Lord Hobo.  We hope to be there between 12-4 or 5.  We have no agenda- just know we’re going to see some good people and try some good beer! 🍻

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

This guy just stood in his chair for an hour! Regulating blood pressure has been a major issue for him, but it *seems* to be leveling out a bit.  Now- we just need to level out his spasms!!!! (My thought is that his once very active muscles are just pissed 😡 at him).  Happy Friday everyone.  Lucky for me, I’m spending it with this brave guy who I’m so proud of. ❤️

-Ali

Journal entry by Carrie Conway

One year ago today, Kevin and I got the keys to our new “dream house”.  It had taken us far too long to get to that point.  We lived life a little too well, and didn’t sacrifice vacations or nights out- so bought our “forever” home much later than we had planned.  We were so proud that day- as two educators- buying a nice home in a great neighborhood- in a town known as a wonderful place to raise a family.... and best of all, top-rated schools.  It had the room we so desperately desired, the privacy we craved, and the potential to become our actual dream house. 

We now live in the dream house we envisioned We’re just not living the life we envisioned.  

It’s been bittersweet.  Sometimes I dive into the “what-ifs”.  What if we had bought a house earlier? What if we had bought a different house? What if we had waited just a little bit longer.  Would we be fighting this unbelievable battle? And then I push those thoughts far from my mind.  We made the choice to buy THIS house because we knew it was the right place for our family.  And it is.  We love it.... right down to the beautiful tree in our front yard.❤️

#LaCosteStrong

-Ali

Journal entry by Scott Middlemiss

As many of you already know, Kevin was in a freak accident yesterday- and fell from a tree in our yard. The fall caused severe spinal cord trauma. He was med-flighted to the best hospital- MGH, where we’ve been receiving excellent care. That said, his situation is critical. He is not breathing on his own, and the doctors have decided to do an extensive stabilization surgery on his neck to accelerate the process of getting him to rehab. He has not regained feeling in his body below his shoulders. After the surgery, they’ll perform a tracheotomy so that he can talk, eat, and most importantly- be sent to rehab. The surgery is tonight- but the rest of the process is unknown. I wish I could tell you more. It’s going to be a long and difficult road ahead for us. I know that we’re going to rely on many of you for additional support. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and every one of you who have reached out to support in any way. This support is what is driving me forward for not only Natalie, Colin, and myself, but most importantly for the rock of our family, Kevin. I will do my best to keep you updated. Love, prayers, and good vibes are welcome.

~ Ali
Kevin’s Story

Site created on July 23, 2019

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