Feb 9, 2005

We returned from a 5-day vacation to Disney World last night. We went with Jenny’s brother (Steve) and his family and had one of the best times of our lives. Steve and Ellyn had planned it so Jenny was able to do all of the activities and basically feel that there were no barriers for her to truely have a good time. They had occomplished this task perfectly. Aside from the normal Disney excitement/activities, so many wonderful things occured while on our trip.

Despite Jenny’s previous worries, she was able to ride rides, find an accessible bathroom, and enjoy living life. She stated that this was the first time she had been truley happy all day since her stroke. I knew this because for 5 whole days she did not cry once (except happy cries), whereas she typically cries at least once daily due to pain, suffering, and general depression.

After our maiden voyage to Austin to figure out air travel, it seem like we were able to smoothly conquer our hurdles of the previous trip. Also, Jenny was able to actually utilize the accessible elliments in a hotel room. Not only that, Jenny was able to drink water for the first time without gagging or coughing at any degree. She typically coughs at least a little at first, but generally does fine when drinking the bulk of her liquids. We did an improvisation of standing since her tilt table was back in Indy. I supported Jenny against a wall and let her do weight bareing exercises that way. In the process of doing standing therapy, we learned that Jenny could stand against the wall without any support or assistance for short periods of time (I did not dare let go of her for more than 10 or so seconds), but she could have gone longer. This was the first time that Jenny has been able to sleep without the assistance of medication (and I think that it will continue). Sophia even surprised us by showing excellent toileting skills there- which have continued since coming home.

We loved spending this time with Steve’s family and our kids had a ball with their cousins. Jenny loved the weather and just seemed to do better physically and emotionally. Right now, she is on the tilt table-wishing that she was back in Florida. It will be nice once we move closer to more of her family and live in a warmer climent. It was nice to just leave our worries behind and enjoy being with the kids and not worrying about insurance, therapies, dr appointments etc…


  1. Your trip sounds wonderful!!! We are thrilled to hear about all of the progress. Congratulations on the sleeping, standing and drinking AND Sophia’s improved bathroom skills. We are just so happy to get to share in all of this good news. Thanks for writing as soon as you got home. We loved your letter. Keep up the good work. The future looks great – especially the warmer climate of Houston. Love, Uncle Dee and Aunt Lois Ann

  2. Welcome home! We have missed you. I am glad you had a great vacation – and we’re so glad you are back. We’re looking forward to seeing you on Sunday – hope you have some good sun tans to sport!!!

  3. Jenny and Mark — So very glad to learn you all had a great vacation at Disney World! We have been monitoring your progress, Jenny, and keeping you and your entire family in our prayers. One of these days we’ll have the pleasure of meeting you face to face. Jenny, Brian and Tasha introduced me to your mom and Mark last year when they were in Austin. Brian kindly shared your website address with me several months ago and I have been staying informed of your progress that way.

    We were introduced to your family through Vicki Harraghy of Corpus Christi, Texas. I met Bob Harraghy over 30 years ago, and met Vicki a couple years later, after they were married. Bob and Vicki introduced Brian and Tasha to us, via a real estate referral. And then Brian and Tasha referred us to the Cotton Family. You are certainly surrounded by a loving, extended family!

    Austin has been wetter than usual this winter, and that is a good indication we’ll enjoy colorful, abundant arrays of wildflowers in the Spring. Hope you all will be able to come to Austin then and tiptoe through our “Texas tulips”.

    Wishing you all well.

    Happy trails,
    Angie Pierce and Bernie Levine
    Austin, Texas

  4. Jenny and Mark,
    I was so touched by your Christmas letter! It sounds like you’ve had (and are still having!) an incredibly challenging experience, but every sentence in your letter and on this website is cheerful, hopeful, positive and loving. Each time I hear your name, Jenny, I remember singing with JJYV back at BYU–I think those are some of my favorite memories of college! Mark was our very best (our only??) cheerleader. My prayers are with you and your family, and I’ll look forward to following all your many successes on the website!
    I love you both!
    Jen Crabb

  5. Hello!!!!!!!!!!! It sounds like you all had such a wonderful time….Breaks are great! I am so glad that everything is continuing to go well. How exciting it is to see that Jenny is able to stand against the wall with out the tilt table. I think that is WONDERFUL!!!!!!!
    Sophia must be so excited to be doing such big girl things…how GREAT!!!!
    Keep up the good work everyone, it sounds like you all make such a grat team.
    In Love and Faith

  6. As I sit here this morning and read of your recent experiences as a family, I marvel at your perspective and strength. I am humbled by the knowledge that our Heavenly Father’s spirit is found everywhere and brings hope and peace to those who seek Him. Keep the faith. Our prayers are with you and your family.

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