Posted on March 18, 2017
Thank you all for your love and support. It’s been just over a year since Otto’s accident. We apologize for not updating more often, but as you can imagine life is a bit hectic. As you can also imagine the need for financial assistance continues. Spinal cord injuries can cost anywhere between 1 to 5 million dollars over a lifetime. Otto will be on the lower end of that since he is a paraplegic versus a quadriplegic, and because he is making incredible progress. Much of his progress is due to his will and determination, but the important part of the formula is your help has allowed him to take an aggressive approach. While in the Intensive Care Unit he was told he would never walk again, he told the doctor, “I will walk again, and it will be by my 20th birthday.” This is his goal, and supporters are making it possible.
In April of 2016 he returned home from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. His living area was completed in time for his return. Your donations helped cover materials not donated. The great majority of the labor was provided at no charge by a local construction company, Rozell Industries, but others contributed where they could. With the donations Otto was able to get a select comfort bed that raises and lowers. Air mattress beds are preferred for paraplegics to avoid bed sores from pressure points. We obtained a chair lift to allow him to go to basement living area. He can work out on the weight set down there, and we hope as he becomes more and more independent he can do his own laundry. He is 19 so… we’ll see.
After Otto returned home we arranged for rehabilitation visits at the Glens Falls Hospital Rehabilitation Center. They have a pool, which provided a healthy way to start working muscles without injury.
In July Otto and his girlfriend, Jenny Bee, took a trip to Maine for a week. This was a huge undertaking on their part. Mom and Dad were nervous, but it was a big confidence booster and learning experience for Otto and Jenny.
In August, the Miller family was visited by a dear friend, Nicole Giorgi-Costello. She came up from Florida for a week to help Otto with a holistic healing approach. They practiced: Various Yoga Techniques such as: Breath Work Exercises known as Pranayama, Deep Healing Relaxation known as Yoga Nidra, Various Meditation Techniques, Vibrational Sound Technique known as Japa Yoga, Reiki & Self Study as relates to various Sacred Texts known as svadhyaya. This was a blessing because it showed him ways to deal with anxiety, some possible PTSD, and issues related to falling asleep. Mom and dad learned some Yoga Nidra. We all wish she could be in NY to do this with us every week. 😊
In September, Otto finally got his chance to go to Tampa to see Ken Bryant. Otto had been waiting all summer. Ken is a reflexologist that specializes in helping those with Spinal Cord Injuries. Ken has a gift from God, the universe, or whatever one wants to call it. It is truly amazing. Ken tries to share it with as many people as his schedule will allow. Otto spent a week with him. Remember, Otto has a completely severed spinal cord. He is not supposed to be able to control anything below his chest. Ken applies his energy to certain areas. All SCI patients have different levels of response, but for Otto, Ken was able to restore Otto’s control of his hip flexors, core stomach muscles, and back muscles on the very first day. Ken tried for bladder control too, but that did not work. By the third day Otto stood up with help holding knees together and mostly using his arms. He was putting about 40 pounds of pressure using his legs while pushing up.
This was a huge milestone. This allows Otto to get more from his current work outs and therapy.
In October, Otto was approached by Fit City Owner, Tara Siltzer. She did a fundraiser to help pay for a year membership and 2 to 3 weekly personal training sessions. Since then, Otto has gained control of his adductors and abductors, and works on a machine with 40 pounds.
In November, Otto started going to the Sunnyview Rehabilitaion Center in Schenectady New York. They have a exoskeleton called the EksoGT built by Ekso Bionics. This device that him walk. This amazing devices senses Otto’s initiation or each step. This is why it was so amazing and critical for Otto to get control over his hip flexors. Thank you Ken Bryant! Otto has made so much progress he is now using braces once a week and learning to walk using parallel bars to support himself. The goal will eventually be to walk with leg braces and use arm crutches for support.
If you want to help Otto reach his goal by July to walk again, please help him out in 2017. If you can't help at this moment, please share Otto's story with family and friends that might be able to.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Go TeamOtto!
Peace and Love, Otto, Ian, Sarah & Eddie