PRAY FOR OUR SERVICE MEMBERS WHO WERE KILLLED & WOUNDED IN AFGHANISTAN
If you take your time and read from the bottom up you will understand what this young MARINE "HELLCAT" is going through to recover from her wounds when she was wounded along with the other 17 during the TALIBAN SUICIDE bombing at the Kabul, Afghanistan airport on August 26th of 2021. Please read the updates by her family and watch the videos to understand what this young MARINE "HELLCAT" is going through to recover.
It’s been a very busy week for Kelsee. Lots of PT, OT, and research. She is usually pretty exhausted by the end of each day. I found myself also being very stressed and exhausted this week….more so than normal.
Trying to work remotely, helping Kelsee, meeting with case managers to determine next steps, and getting some OT training really exhausted this ole Momma this week.
Although it was an exhausting week for both of us, we survived another week
Kelsee got a 2 day visit from Oli, Kelsee’s future service dog. Thank you so much to Rescue 22 Foundation and DevineK9s for making a service dog a possibility for Kelsee and bringing Oli to visit and learn about Kelsee’s needs.
John, Angela, and Alan took 2 days with Kelsee and they were all simply wonderful people. You could certainly tell how much they wanted to help.
They went to therapy sessions with Kelsee to see where Oli could be of most helpful for Kelsee. Adam took some really great pictures. We learned a lot about Oli’s current skills and discussed what Kelsee was looking for in a service dog.
I must say Oli is a pretty cool dog with the cutest personality.. You can tell he has a deep soul and is a “thinker”.
I think John is going to have a hard time passing off Oli when the time comes. Oli is now off to be further trained. I’m certain Kelsee will be anxious to get him full time…..just to snuggle with him.
Kelsee”s pressure sore started getting better each day, so the doctors allowed her to switch back to a normal bed. This was big for Kelsee because the other bed was not easy for her to move around in.
She still doesn’t sleep that great because we all know you can’t get a good nights sleep when a nurse wakes you up in the middle of the night. She is ready to move to an outpatient setting so she can live outside of the facility and just come to rehab each day.
Thank you to everyone that shared Kelsee”s GoFundMe page. I really, really appreciate it, Thank you for continued prayers. Please continue to pray for complete healing for Kelsee.
Continue to pray for the other wounded that need continued prayers.
And please pray for each and every military and service members safety because they put their life on the line every day to protect us.
First and foremost - HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY to all that have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for our freedom every day.
I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.
I just shared the below information on my Facebook page.
I know Kelsee has a large following on Caring Bridge, so I'm asking for your help as well on Veteran's Day.
For Veteran's Day, I'm asking all my friends to share Kelsee's story and GoFundMe Page
I was very hesitant in the beginning to ask for help and even allow a GoFundMe page be set up for Kelsee., but my friends and family convinced me it was a good idea as Kelsee is facing a long, long recovery.
After watching our daughter, our Marine, struggle for the last 77 days to fight to get better....she deserves for Americans to come together and help.
I know most of my friends on Facebook have either donated to GoFundMe or have donated and volunteered for a Fundraiser, so I'm asking your help now to share her GoFundMe to your friends and family, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, e-mail, and ask that they share.
This girl deserves the world for her sacrifice.
In my mind, if a million people donated $1, she'd have a million dollars to be able to look at experimental treatments to help with recovery, pay for non-standard rehab that isn't paid by the military, help her for future needs, make her life easier in the future.
I know there has been a lot of money raised for Kelsee already, but I'm quickly realizing how quickly that money will be gone.
I'm certain there will be negative people out there that feel I'm just being "greedy", but truly, I'm just trying to help my daughter who sacrificed and put herself in harms way to help save as many people as she could to have a better life in the future.
I still pray every day for peace and comfort for the families of those that didn't make it home. And I continue to pray for the others wounded and that are fighting as well.
I also will give an update later today or tomorrow as I have some cute photos to share.
It has been a couple of weeks for updates on Kelsee and I love getting updates on Kelsee, so thought I would share with everyone since I was lucky to go spend the weekend with Kelsee. Glen had been there the week and left Saturday morning. He told me how hard it is to leave her, which I totally understand.
When I walked into Kelsee's room Friday afternoon, she was hiding in her blanket like a cocoon. Laughing, I was like "What are you doing? She said she was decompressing from being upset with one of the nurses.
I do believe that boredom and frustration has finally kicked in. I don't blame her though as she has been in the hospital for over 70 days now and I would feel the same. I uncovered her from the blanket and was surprised by how much weight she had lost since my initial visit to see her at Walter Reed. As Stacey shared in the last update, she has not been eating the best.
She said that she just doesn't feel hungry since she is not as active as she used to be. She has hours of PT each day, but she said it really doesn't break a sweat, so she is not burning the calories to make her feel hungry. She ate ok over the weekend, but not much as we would like.
She has had a recent set back due to a sore that has developed on her tailbone, so she had to get a new bed, which she does not like, and she is not allowed to use the board to move back and forth from bed to chair. So... she is back to the hoist getting her in and out of the bed.
This of course is adding to her frustration as she is not a mobile as she would like to be and the new bed makes it harder for her to move around and get comfortable.
Saturday, she had 3 hours of PT which was more than usual for a Saturday. She learned how to cook pasta on the stove and got to play Bocce ball in group therapy.
Sunday, she did not have PT, so Dale and I got her in her wheelchair and spent a little time outside in the gardens and ate lunch in the cafeteria, just to get her out of her room.
She is limited to only a couple hours at a time sitting up due to her blood pressure and pressure on her spine.
Over the weekend we talked, laughed, and sometimes just sat in quiet.
She always had a big smile on her face when we asked her about someone "special" to her.
My encouragement to Kelsee was to continue to work as hard as she could in therapy so that eventually she can be released from inpatient to outpatient care.
Mentally she is ready and longing for more freedom, however, physically she is just not quite there.
She is fighting daily to get there.
Please continue to pray for Kelsee in her journey to recovery.
We know she can do it; it is just is going to take lots of time and patience.
Love you so much Kelsee!! So happy that Dale and I could spend the weekend with you!
P.S. Whomever sent her the water bottle in the picture...Kelsee loves it!!!
Kelsee also showed me an eyelash serum she is using to make her lashes so long.
Just returned home from my week in Chicago with Kelsee. The weekdays are really busy for her as she is in either OT/PT or research most of the days.
She is pretty exhausted by the end of her sessions each day. I’m really proud of how hard she works in her sessions even when she is sore and/or isn’t feeling well.
She got her hearing re-tested this week and looks like she will still need to have surgery on her right ear drum at some point in time. We found another little piece of shrapnel or ball bearing in her left hip this week.
We were a little confused how it got there considering most of her injuries were on the right side of her body.
The doctor checked it out and wasn’t too concerned unless it starts to bother her for some reason. She also started participating in a research program that is currently going on, so we are hoping there could be some good effects from participating.
This week has made me completely feel like we made the right decision in getting her to Shirley Ryan. They truly are top notch and have a lot of different research programs she can participate in.
She had some visitors this week…her Aunt Sherri and Uncle Jimmy, Grandpa Vernon and Grandma Valerie, and her Grandma Barb.
Unfortunately Kelsee had a few rough days throwing up and just not feeling well and it just happened to be on the days they were visiting.
We both felt really bummed that they weren’t able to have a great visit with her, but I don’t think they cared….they were just happy to see her.
Hopefully they’ll be able to visit again when she is feeling better. Her Mamaw Retta and Papaw Jeff came later in the week so they were able to get a little bit of time with her when she was feeling better.
They spent some time talking and watching a movie with her.
Jeff’s task during their stay was to write down the chords to a song that Kelsee requested and try to teach her how to play it on a Ukulele, which her friend, Ben, had given to her when she was at Walter Reed.
We will see how long it takes for her to learn it 😀
She isn’t eating the greatest, so we are trying to make sure she understands that it’s important to eat, even if she doesn’t feel like it. I’m hoping it’s just a lingering effect of her being sick this week.
Everyday she is getting stronger and is getting more independent. Please continue to pray for complete healing for Kelsee!
Pray, pray, pray!!
And please continue to pray for the other Marines that were wounded and their families and the families of those that lost their lives.
This is going to be a lifelong affect on all of us for the rest of our lives.
Sorry it’s been awhile since our last post. I know it’s time to post when multiple people start reaching out for an update.
Kelsee has been in Chicago for the last 2 1/2 weeks, so it’s just been a busy time for all of us getting into the new swing of life.
Glen, Gage, and I have decided to flip flop weeks with Kelsee so we can get back to some sort of normalcy in our lives…whatever that means for our family right now.
It’s hard to be away from her a week at a time, but we will make it work. Gage (Kelsee’s brother) and his girlfriend, Madison, spent this last week with her.
I’m sure it was helpful for Kelsee to be with people closer to her age vs. her old Mom and Dad.
Kelsee is getting stronger day by day. The majority of her therapy right now consists of ways to get her back to being independent so she doesn’t have to rely on everyone for everything she needs.
She has graduated from the hoist that gets her from bed to chair, so that’s been a big step.
She can now transfer from the bed to a chair using a slider board, which although looks harder for Kelsee, is a huge step.
They are working on teaching her to dress herself and putting on socks and shoes.
Let me tell you that I CANNOT wait til Kelsee can put on her Nike tennis shoes that she had bought herself before the injury as a homecoming gift that would be waiting for her when she got home from deployment.
They are very cute and stylish, however, these shoes will probably be the death of me. I was literally sweating the first time trying to get them on her and I swear I pulled my back out yesterday trying to get them on her.
Of course she has no sympathy at all for me….lol…and I don’t blame her. She loves the shoes and I’ll always do my best, but unfortunately I gave up today and she ended up with her slip on Hey Dudes. Thinking I just need to go get her the same shoe but in a couple sizes too big.
If anyone has a connection with Nike, send them our way😀Her physical therapists and occupational therapists are continuing to work on her core strength and arm strength. She has had several sessions where the therapists take her outside and have her wheelchair around the block and even down to Lake Michigan, which is several blocks away.
She is usually pretty tired and worn out after these sessions. She also had a session of transferring to a car. So they are working really hard on independency, but she still has a long way to go.
Once she is fully independent, they will start working on other therapies to get her back to normal as possible. So please, please continue to PRAY for complete healing for Kelsee…..for things to start waking up and she gets some movement and feelings back. She still has “tinglies” and she said they are becoming much more consistent, so we are praying and believing that this is sign that things are trying to wake up.
Kelsee is still receiving lots of mail, so we bring her a bag full of mail each week. We wish we could thank everyone personally, but it’s just too hard. So please know that if you’ve sent a card or gift to Kelsee, we THANK YOU. There have been lots of benefits happening near our hometown that have just been amazing.
THANK YOU to everyone that has organized these events and are continuing to support Kelsee. It truly means so much to all of us. I’m hesitant to name everyone because I’m afraid I’ll forget someone. You know who you are….so THANK YOU!
It’s been so overwhelming and heartwarming all at the same time. This has been such a horrible time in Kelsee and our lives, so the support we’ve been shown is just so helpful!
I’m in Chicago now!! Shirley Ryan is a super nice facility from everything I’ve seen. I have a really pretty view from my room and I get to watch the sunrise every morning. I started therapy on Thursday and it’s been… tough lol.
I’m super tight in my neck, traps, and shoulders and wasn’t taking anything for pain, so therapy was very difficult to get through without a lot of pain.
I quickly realized it’s better to be preventative rather than reactive or try to push through the pain because it’ll only hinder how much I’m able to do in therapy.
So far we’ve worked on transferring from a wheelchair to the mat, which just simulates a bed, sitting balance, putting on/taking off socks and shoes, and working out those super tight muscles.
I’ve also been fitted for a better wheelchair and they’ll eventually teach me how to do cool tricks and stuff, I’m pretty excited to start doing some wheelies. Kaci has been doing some and I may have managed to do one lol.
Thank you all for the continued love and support, and thank you to everyone who have thrown benefits and fundraisers, I really appreciate everything.
Thank you to all my Walter Reed nurses, I’ll miss you all!!
The pic is of my little sister Kaci, just to clarify!
We made it to Chicago! Woohooo!!!
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab doesn’t know what they are getting😀.
Time to kick PT in the butt!!
We were placed on a Civilian Medic Flight so very small plane.
Nice, smooth ride all the way to Chicago.
Kelsee slept most of the way.
I’m not allowed to join Kelsee there until she has a negative Covid test. They said it’s pretty quick so hopefully I’ll be able to join her tomorrow.
I did get to view a small portion of the facility and it looks amazing.
Can’t wait to see her room and the rest of the facilities.
I’ll post more once I am able to see it.
Thanks again to all the doctors, nurses, Marine Liaisons, the Fisher House, and all the staff at Walter Reed.
We will miss all of you.
We’ll, it’s been a month, and at times it seems like yesterday, but at times, it seems like a year. All the days and weeks just roll into one another, and at times it’s hard to know what day it is. The hardships are real, as we care for Kelsee and try to maintain a distance relationship with our son Gage and our youngest daughter Kaci. I’m not sure what we’d do without the support of our family and friends, and the new friends we made throughout this ordeal.
We’ve met so many great people, people willing to help in any way possible, and to cover our family in love and prayer. It’s simply overwhelming!
Kelsee continues to improve daily, and is currently doing about an hour of PT daily, which doesn’t seem like much, but I think that’s about all she can handle in one session due to the fact that she hasn’t regained her upper body strength yet. She’ll get there!!
She continues to have the very best of attitudes, and has the absolute best mindset to crush PT. We’re so proud of her, and so proud of her positive attitude in all of this. Please continue to pray for her full and total recovery. Thanks.
As you know, she’ll be moving any day now, and so many have been asking for her new address. Her mom and I thought it would be best if we set up a PO Box, and we’d shuttle mail to her each week.
Please address mail to:
PO Box 394
Harrison, Ohio 45030
Happy Sunday! It’s been a pretty uneventful week at Walter Reed. It still seems like we are stuck in the movie “Groundhog Day”.
Every day is pretty much the same. Kelsee gets about 1 hour of rehab a day. I’m posting some pictures that she’ll probably kill me for posting, however, we want to document every step of her rehab (both bad and good) so she can have for a scrapbook for her recovery.
Rehab sessions make her tired but she is ready to get to the full rehab facility so she can get started with a more rigorous rehab routine. Her therapists actually got her standing vertical this week…yay!!!
She was accepted to the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago. We are super excited for her to be closer to home and going to a facility that will allow visitors as we believe having a support system will go along way in recovery.
We were hoping that she would be leaving Walter Reed tomorrow, however, we found out today that tomorrow is not going to happen. Praying it is soon….hopefully Tuesday.
The rest of her days this week were spent by a few more distinguished visitor visits and visits from her friends that have made it back to the states from Afghanistan. I know she has enjoyed catching up with all of them.
My sister’s family was able to visit today, so she got to see her Aunt Kristin, Uncle Michael, and cousins, Kate and Joe.
The weather was super nice today so it was nice to be outside.
We decided that we were going to get her fully dressed for their visit, so today was the 1st day that she was fully dressed (including shoes) since the attack.
It’s been a great day!
She was also presented with a Quilt of Valor from the Quilt of Valor Foundation. The quilt was made in Batesville, IN (I hope I got that right), What an honor that was.
Please continue to pray for a complete recovery, for us to get transferred to rehab this week, and for continues strength for all of us! It takes a village.
And again, thanks for all the love and support from so many people. We are still amazed. And thanks to all the wonderful nurses and doctors that have been part of her care.
I know everyone loved Kelsee’s update better than mine, so I’ll make sure she posts more updates once she gets to rehab.
This post is honestly long overdue but I’m finally getting around to it. First and foremost, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has reached out with kind words over social media, sent cards, packages, flowers, and everything in between that I could possibly need.
Thank you to everyone that has visited me (I’ve had some pretty badass visitors) I really appreciate all of you.
I am blown away by the support that I have received not only from my community back home, but all across the country.
The amount of people that genuinely care about what happened and have shown love and support to me and the other marines that were injured as well as to the families of those who passed really warms my heart and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of you.
As for an update on my physical and mental health: all the tubes and wires and IVs have been out for a while now which has been so nice, I hated being hooked up to all those machines and not being able to move freely.
The stitches in my arm came out a few days ago so everything I’ve had in my body is out, which is a good thing. The incisions seem to be healing up nicely and I doubt they’ll be bad scars, not that I care, I have way bigger issues to worry about.
PT has been working my arms since they’re so stiff and that usually makes them pretty sore. Today they stretched my lats which were also super tight, and let me tell ya there was some strong language used. I wish I could just get a deep tissue massage to loosen everything up.
Mentally I’m staying very positive and optimistic. In my mind there is no other option than to be walking again, which I will so don’t any of you worry.
I know rehab will be tough and I’m gonna have to kick ass every single day but I am so more than ready to get there and get these legs workin and walking again. As positive as I’m trying to be, there’s been some tough days already.
It’s hard seeing videos of memorials, especially Nicole’s and not being able to be there. I pray for peace for all their families and that they know that people from all over the country are praying for them.
To Nicole’s family: I can’t even imagine the hurt and pain you’re experiencing, but please know that Nicole was a good ass person and a good ass marine and I am more than blessed to have gotten to know her and be her friend. If any of you have questions or ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.
To Wyatt: I don’t know if you’ll ever see this but you are my hero. I know you’ll probably roll your eyes at that word as we both know how weird it feels to be called that, but truly you are mine. I know we’ve talked and I’ve thanked you for what you’ve done for me but words will never be enough to express my gratitude to you.
I don’t know how you were able to save my life given your injuries but I thank God for you and your strength and that your are alive today for me to be able to thank you. You have a beautiful family, Justice was always so nice to me and your daughter Poppy is absolutely adorable, I’m so glad you’re gonna be there for her as she grows up. I pray that we keep in touch and are able to see each other heal and grow.
I have the best support system imaginable. My parents have been here every single day and they’ve definitely helped me find the strength that I need to get through this. My dad doesn’t let me feel sorry for myself or let me be negative about anything. My mom helps handle all the craziness and is the calming hand in all of this.
They make a pretty good duo. Together. there’s been a lot of laughs about things a lot of people probably wouldn’t laugh about, but I think that’s the beauty of being in the military, you laugh and find humor in the shitty things just because they’re so shitty.
Thank you to Ava and Lauren for flying out and for my grandparents and aunt, uncle, and cousin for driving out to surprise me for my birthday. You made the day better than I could’ve hoped for.
Thank you to all my friends, coworkers, instructors, and badass people that have also laid in these hospital beds for visiting and raising my spirits, your presence helps more than you know.
To sum everything up, I am so beyond grateful and thankful to everyone that has shown support to me, my family, the other injured marines, and families of the ones that passed.
I’ll never forget this kindness that I have been shown.
Please continue to pray for a full, complete recovery as I begin the process of getting into and starting rehab.
Kelsee had an eventful weekend to celebrate her birthday. We were able to get 2 of her best friends here along with all grandparents and an Aunt, Uncle, and cousin to celebrate.
The surprise was almost ruined but we were able to recover by Kelsee thinking her only surprise visitors were her friends. I’m not sure how others feel, but I think having important family, friends, and people in your life is a way to keep positive and a better road to recovery.
Kelsee is extremely blessed with a huge support system and is loved by so many.
The hospital allowed our family to gather in the healing gardens on the rooftop of the hospital and the Wounded Warrior Project took care of all the food, cake, and decorations.
It was hot and humid, but it was worth it for us to all be together to celebrate her birthday.
The Southeastern Indiana Veterans association was bringing a bus full of Veterans to visit DC and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and they invited Glen and I to participate in placing a wreath on the Tomb. It was an honor to do so…and it was very emotional.
The Veterans and their spouses were so welcoming and just so proud of our daughter. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m just so amazed at the support we have received for Kelsee. Everyone has just been so nice and genuine. I’m not sure how we will ever be able to thank them enough.
Another Wounded Warrior came in to visit Kelsee as he was getting released to head back to California. They did not know each other before as they were in different platoons or battalions (I can’t keep it all straight), but it was nice of him and his mother to stop by and let them meet and chat for awhile.
We pray he continues to heal and recover from his injuries. He had a scary couple weeks, so we are happy to know he was well enough to get on a flight back to the West Coast. The wounded and their families will forever be part of our family.
I can’t remember the info in my last post, however, we have decided not to send Kelsee to rehab in a VA rehab facility and are looking at some civilian facilities. As I mentioned earlier, a support system is necessary as part of recovery and we need a location that will allow us to be there to support her.
Covid has definitely put a damper on a lot of things, but we aren’t going to let it affect her recovery. So please pray that we are able to get her moved to a rehab facility soon in order to get her rehab started as soon as possible. Statistics show that the sooner a spinal cord injury patient can get started with rehab, the better the outcome.
She is ready to get moved to rehab even though it’s going to feel like Bootcamp all over again. Her arms are still pretty sore and weak.
The PT nurses attempted to get her to sit up on the side of the bed today and she almost slipped right out of them and on to the floor…..not the fault of the PT folks but mainly due to a mattress pad on top of her hospital bed that started to slide, so they had to improvise and just work with her sitting up in bed by utilizing her arms for support.
She knows it’s going to be hard and she is willing to put in the effort. She has told me a hundred times how sore her arms are…,..they are getting a workout. We laugh about it…..actually we laugh at a lot of stuff most people wouldn’t find funny, but that’s just who we are.
So I’m glad she is still able to laugh even though she has a long, long road ahead of her. We laughed a lot today as we tried to put on a T-shirt on her for the first time today. It was a process and didn’t go so well, but we laughed a lot during it. She would kill me if I posted pictures of it.
I’m certain we’ll learn some tips and tricks soon.
There is so much that I’m sure I miss throughout our days. And Caring Bridge will only let met post 5 pictures per journal entry, but there are so much more I’d like to post.
We’ve asked Kelsee to write on Caring Bridge soon, so she can give an update from her perspective.
Hoping she will be up to it soon.
Please continue to pray for full recovery, for feeling and movement in her legs to return, for arm strength to come back, for the rehab facility to accept her as a patient, and for her to keep up that positive attitude.
And please continue to pray for all of the families of those that lost their lives and for the others that are still healing from their wounds.
We need to pray for peace for all of them as we cannot feel the pain that each and everyone of them are going through.
Happy Birthday to our beautiful girl! We are going to do our best to make her birthday super special today.
I’ll send pictures and an update this weekend. However, I wanted to share the amount of love she has been getting across the US.
We went to pick up her mail yesterday and I was blown away by the number of packages she has received.
The mail person stated that she has worked here for many years and this is only the 2nd time that she has seen so many packages and mail come in for one person.
Thanks to everyone that has sent her a care package, gift, and cards to brighten her day. She will have a lot of birthday presents to open today.😀
I know it's been a few days since the last update, but it's hard to find time to provide an update as the days are really busy. I'll try to think about what has happened over the last 4 days. I might ramble on just trying to remember everything that has happened over the last several days. I keep telling everyone that it feels like we are stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day" as our days repeat each other day after day..
Glen and I get up in the morning, walk to the hospital, get to Kelsee's room between 8-9am, meet with all the doctors that come in and out of the room throughout the day, pick up mail, eat lunch, sit in waiting room, meet with "special" visitors, sit in waiting room, eat dinner, spend some alone time with Kelsee until her nightly meds, kiss her head goodnight, and then walk back to our room between 9:30 and 10pm each night. Of course, I'm leaving out a lot of times throughout the day, but for the most part, that's how our days tend to be. Then it all starts all over again the next day.
Per my last post, my sister had brought our other children to visit with Kelsee since she had made her way out of ICU. Gage's 18th birthday was Friday, so we were able to take him to a nice dinner to celebrate while my sister spend some one on one time with Kelsee. We missed having Kelsee with us and would give anything for her to have been there to celebrate with us. Gage said he had the best steak he had ever eaten, so it was nice to make him feel special. We were able to bring Kelsee back some Creme Brulee, so at least she was able to get a yummy desert even though she couldn't be with us. The weekends at the hospital are usually quiet, so most of the weekend was spend visiting with her brother, sister, and Aunt.
The hospital has a "healing garden" on the rooftop of the 7th floor of the hospital. The weather was nice on Saturday, so we tried to get her outside for some sunshine and to spend time with all of us together as she is only allowed to have 2 visitors in a room at a time. We were hoping that we could spend a couple hours outside, however, our time was cut down to about 30 mins as the wheelchair was just not comfortable enough for her. It took us longer than expected to get her outside as she was feeling light headed after being moved from her bed to the chair.
The main thing is that she is willing to try anything and knows when she needs to get back in bed or moved to a different chair.
She got a surprise visit from a Marine named Nicholas Jones that brought in his service dog to bring some happiness and joy to all of the Wounded Warriors that were in the hospital that day. Nick just happened to be scheduled to be honored and presented with the Navy Cross (the second-highest military decoration that a Marine can receive, second only to the Medal of Honor). on August 26th (the day of the attack) for his actions on March 8, 2020.
He said he was preparing for his speech when he heard about the attack in Kabul. He said that he didn't know how he was going to be able to give his speech knowing what had just happened. His best friend had died several years before in a military plane or helicopter crash and that friend's birthday happened to be August 26th. He felt there were a lot of signs that pointed him to travel to Walter Reed with his new service dog and visit those wounded that had not been discharged yet. His service dog was named Fletcher and was absolutely adorable. So of course....another sign for Kelsee about the service dog (thanks Nick). All our kids loved meeting Fletcher and though he was so cute and smart.
Nick brought Fletcher back on Sunday and spent several hours just talking with Kelsee and telling her about his experience and about a foundation that he started called Talons Reach. Check it out at www.talonsreachfoundation.org. Kelsee really enjoyed his visit and said it was so nice to spend some time talking with someone that understands what she is going through.
Almost every day, Kelsee has received some sort of "high profile" visitor that wants to visit, thank her for her service, remind her of the number of people that she help save. They remind her that those that were saved will now have a shot of a much better life. Their visits are short, but she appreciates them visiting.
Kelsee seems to be getting stronger and stronger each day. She is sitting up longer, feeling stronger in her core, and she continues to have a positive attitude. I think she is getting better quicker than most of her doctors had expected. She got all the staples out of her neck on Sunday. The stitches in her arms are expected to come out either Wednesday or Friday.
Her remaining IV (or pic line?) is expected to come out Wednesday. At that time, she'll be free from any IVs, which will be amazing and will make things easier to work around. We are now at the point that we need to select a Rehab facility to move her to.
We are currently doing some research on our options and plan to visit VA rehab facility that specializes in spinal cord injuries tomorrow. It's going to be a difficult decision, but the sooner we can get her to rehab the better.
She has had a couple of days of physical therapy in her room and will continue to have daily physical therapy until she is moved to a rehab facility. My guess is that she will be moved within the next week or two. She is now on a regular diet and can eat anything she wants, so she is excited about that. She continues to have a positive attitude and we are going to continue to push her and support her in any way possible.
We are still completely blown away by the amount of support and gratitude by so many people from our community and from so many people that we have never met. She has received so many great cards, letters, and gifts of support and encouragement. I know we will never be able to thank everyone personally, but please know that we are all so thankful for everyone's support.
Every day, I hear of a new benefit being put together to help support Kelsee for future needs. We are truly blessed and just so grateful. She still has the best decorated room in the hospital and everyone that comes in her room mentioned it. We even had a complete stranger named Stacy Ross from Nashville, TN reach out to me to see if she could send Kelsee and her nurses a cake as her husband was going to be working at Walter Reed this week.
I was able to quickly step out of the hospital and meet her sweet husband, Rusty, as he delivered the cake. The cake was absolutely delicious. Again, this just shows that there are still so many wonderful people in this world and it has been shining through and through for us during this tragic time. Again, I just want to THANK everyone for their continued support.
I know this is a long post and I'm certain there are things that I have missed, so will try to update more often.
I'm also tired and not going to proofread this, so I'm certain their are many typos and run on sentences....so for any English teachers...I'm sorry in advance.
OH....did forget one thing.....she got another shower yesterday and it was HOT......so she finally got a nice hot shower....woohoooooo!!!!
And Glen shaved her legs....so she has some clean shaven legs:)
One last comment....I apologize in advance for those that I may not respond too via text or FB.
I get so many messages daily that it's just hard to respond.
It's not that I don't want to respond, I just may not have time or forget.
Our focus right now is completely on Kelsee.
Friday (9/10), yesterday was a busy day so didn’t get a chance to do an update. Today has been busy too. She had her 1st shower today….which I would love to say went well and that it was amazing. However, it didn’t go so well.
Who wants a cold shower while in excruciating pain. For some reason, her arm was in severe pain once we got her in the shower chair so the nurse had to get her some morphine to calm her down. At that point, we had already done a lot of work just to get her in a chair, so she wanted to push through the pain and get the shower over with.
So even though it sucked with cold water, she finally got through the shower. I brushed her hair out and braided it back. So she is fresh for a few days.
On a more positive note, Kelsee’s room is the most decorated room. She has had some many flowers, balloons, teddy bears…..and an amazing banner from East Central High School. It’s amazing….so thank you EC. Every nurse and doctor that walks in talks about how great her room looks and what an amazing support group she has.
It’s Gage’s 18th birthday, so Aunt Sandi is going to sit with Kelsee tonight and let us take Gage out for a birthday dinner.
Yesterday (9/7) was a BIG day. She was able to pass her swallow test and get the feeding tube out.
This was the biggest priority for her as the feeding tube was very irritating to her and made her nausea when they fed her.
So she was a happy camper. She finally got to eat her first meal which consisted of ham and cheese sandwich, cottage cheese, pears, and ice cream.
The rehab team came in and got her up and moving in a motorized wheelchair, so she got to “drive” through the halls.
She is excited to get started on rehab. They also provided her a special chair that can be used in the shower, so we are hoping she gets a shower today.
We can’t smell her because we have to wear masks but she is tired of smelling herself. It’s been 2 weeks today that the attack happened so it’s been 2 weeks without a shower. I must say she looks pretty good for not having a shower in 2 weeks.
For those that don’t know her personally, her hair goes all the way down to her butt so she has a lot of hair that needs washed. We believe her shower will happen today. Which I’m sure will make her feel so much better.
She received lots and lots of cards and mail over the last 2 days. We’ve been trying to get through all of them. I have seen cards from all over the country…..Washington, Hawaii, Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Oregon, California, Massachusetts……just everywhere. We are still just amazed at the continued support of our daughter. The cards have been so nice and encouraging.
Her 20th birthday is next week and she said all that she wants is a service dog. Well….I can’t tell you how many cards have a cute puppy on them….so to her that’s a sign that we need to get her a service dog. Maybe down the road that will happen. Anyway, back to the cards. She has received so many cute cards from schools. So many of them say how much of a hero she is. In my mind, she is a true hero….but to her, she says she doesn’t feel like a hero….she was just doing her job and what she signed up to do.
Hopefully she realizes the impact of what she did in Afghanistan. So far, we have received cards from the below classes:
-Mrs. Lloyd’s 3rd grade school from Bright Elementary in Bright, In
-3rd grade class from North Pointe Elementary in Hebron, KY
-Mrs. Copeland’s 4th grade class from Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
-Received a nice care package from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
We have many more packages and cards to get too so I’ll post those when I can. She has received some packages from Amazon that unfortunately does not tell us who they are from.
So if you have sent anything from Amazon and you are reading this, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
I can’t really remember Tuesday (9/7) very well other than there were a couple of signs that I believe were meant for us to see and remind us that God is in control.
Her nurse's name that day was Hope and the lovely lady’s name that helped me at Verizon was Faith.
So those were my signs that we need to continue to have hope and faith during this process.
The 2D Recon Foundation donated a new phone to Kelsee.
This organization has been so wonderful to us.
Today, Kelsee will have some much awaited visitors. My sister, Sandi, has arrived with our other children, Gage and Kaci. They have anxiously been awaiting to see Kelsee and today is the day. We are hoping to get them in base around 10 today. So praying for a great time today.
Again, we are amazed at the outpouring of love and support for Kelsee. So many people and friends setting up benefits to support her. We just can’t thank everyone enough.
Please continue to pray for Kelsee. Pray for complete healing, pray that her spinal cord nerves start to “wake” back up and she starts to have some feelings and movement in her legs.
Monday (9/6) - Labor Day. Kelsee officially moved out of ICU to the Wounded Warrior Floor. Big progress, but also comes with a downside. She will not have the 1:1 nurse/patio ratio nor the “Cadillac” of nurses that she had in ICU.
We will miss those nurses terribly. But, this a one step in the right direction. We got her moved to the new room and she was able to sit upright in a chair for about 4 hours. She had a few visitors today from the Marine Corps.
One of those visitors is a True Hero and a true inspiration. She got a visit from Kyle Carpenter, which is the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient. If you do not know who he is, I highly suggest you google him and read his story.
He is truly inspirational and exactly the type of person she needs to surround herself with. After her visitors, we got her moved to her bed which at that point realized her bed did not work.
So the nurses had to locate a new bed which took awhile. Again, the task to move her right now is difficult, but eventually she made it to a working bed.
Again, every day is going to have its ups and down, so we’ll will take all the ups and wins that we can get.
Tuesday (9/7) - she didn’t sleep well so we are sitting here letting her rest until the doctors come in.
The neurosurgeons are going to do a full assessment at 11am. Let’s pray that the assessment brings some good news.
And hopefully the Speech Dr. will allow her to get feeding tube out.
We want to continue to thank everyone for your continued support. We are just amazed at the kindness of people we don’t even know. Friends from KY organized a Jeep Duck drive-by at our house and my sister will be bringing the ducks with written letters to us this week. We also received pictures where the Southeastern Honor Guard and the Indiana Patriot Guard placed the flags in our yard to honor her. It is just so touching. We amazed at the outpouring of love and support.
Also, please asking for people to share the link to the caring bridge vs. copy and pasting into social media as we are seeing additional information that I need not write. Appreciate the understanding.
Hi everyone, hope you’re all well! Stacey’s been sending out the updates, so this is my first post.
I honestly don’t know where to start, so I apologize if I ramble on from time to time.
It’s the 8th day of Kelsee’s treatment in the SICU at Walter Reed. When we were first notified that Kelsee was injured in Kubal, there were so many thoughts and unanswered questions regarding her condition. We could only imagine, and pray for her, and be thankful that our baby girl was alive. When we arrived at Walter Reed, we anxiously awaited for Kelsee’s arrival, and there’s nothing that can possibly prepare a parent to see their child rolled into the hospital as those service members were.
We knew that it would be important for Kelsee’s recovery to stay strong and positive, and Stacey and I are at that point. The first three days were the worst, as she had so many IV’s and tubes running in and out of her body. But as she got the breathing tube out last Tuesday, and her condition improved, from her skin tone, to the stress expressed on her beautiful face. Day by day she has improved, some days more so than others, but she continues to improve.
Stacey and I feel so blessed by the outpouring of love, support and prayer by our community and beyond, as we’re receiving well wishes and prayers from all over the United Stated. We’ve also been blessed by great doctors, nurses and medical staff here at Walter Reed.
Through 8 days, we’ve seen our daughter go from flat on her back and down and out, to sitting upright in recliner talking to us. Truly amazing!
Yesterday we were able to meet with Wyatt Wilson, which was also injured in Kabul, and help retrieve Kelsee and get here into a medivac vehicle for treatment. Both Kelsee and Wyatt are on the SICU floor, only rooms apart.
As you know, Kelsee’s spinal injury will take a long time to recover from, but Kelsee’s motivated and ready for the challenge. She’s already talking about starting therapy, and she’s not even out of SICU yet.
We are so proud of Kelsee and the young woman/Marine she has become.
We continue to be faithful in prayer, and know that GOD will do great things in her recovery.
GOD Bless You ALL!
Happy Sunday! The last 2 days have been really good. Her fever has subsided and she is starting to feel so much better. Slowly, she is getting more and more tubes and IVs removed.
Yesterday (9/4), she had another 2-Star General visit her along with his wife. They were extremely nice and gave Kelsee some encouraging words along with thanking her for her service and telling her how proud they are of her. She really enjoyed their visit. It was a big day for her as she was able to get out her spinal fluid drains which allowed her to get out of bed for the very first time since she had arrived here.
It was a big task. They literally put a harness underneath her body and use a hoist to raise her in the air to move her to the chair. But she did it and was able to sit upright. There are about 15 other injured Marines or Navy corpsman (please continue to pray for all of them) here and one of them happened to be one that pulled her to safety after the blast.
His name is Cpl Wyatt Wilson. He also sustained some serious injuries and has been recovering in the ICU. He had asked to see Kelsee once he was able to get out of bed as well. So they both made it to a chair for the first time.
His parents, wife, and nurses wheeled him down to Kelsee's room and he sat in his wheelchair outside her room as anyone entering her room needs to have protective capes and gloves. His jaws are currently wired shut so he brought a white board with him to write on so they could communicate with one another.
They communicated back and forth for about 15 mins. Before he left he asked if he could be wheeled in to touch her hand so we agreed and they put the gloves and cape on him so he could enter her room. It was very touching. They did not know one another before this, but I'm certain they will have a bond for life. After he left, she had a little bit of a meltdown because her neck was freezing and thought we were all stupid because we couldn't understand why she was so cold.
She kept saying that it feels like there is cold metal touching her in the upper to mid area of her back and we were not moving fast enough to get her a warm blanket. Mind you, we had not seen her incision from her spinal surgery yet. They had removed the dressing earlier that day and it was the first time she had been out of bed, so we had no idea that she had around 26 staples running from the middle of her deck down to the upper portion of her back. So she was right...there was metal in her back and it was COLD.
We laughed about it later, but she was quite a drama queen for a minute. Her favorite nurse, Rebecca, was back for the night. We absolutely love Rebecca and contribute Kelsee's improvement over the last several days to Rebecca.
We helped Rebecca and another favorite nurse, Sara, get Kelsee back in bed. Rebecca was so excited to see that Kelsee was sitting up in a chair when she came into work. Rebecca and Sara asked Kelsee if she would want to get outside in the morning and watch the sunrise. Of course, Kelsee said yes.
So Rebecca and Sara said they would get her ready around 6 and they would take her to the rooftop around 6:30am on to watch the sunrise. Glen and I left about 10:30 to get some rest to be back at 6:30am to see the sunrise with Kelsee.
Sunday (9/5). We got to the hospital about 6:20am and Rebecca and Sara were prepping Kelsee to move to a wheelchair. We helped hoist her over and all of us went to a rooftop garden.
First of all it was beautiful, but more beautiful was to see Kelsee up and looking good and outside. Rebecca and Sara have been a godsend.
She has a lot of GREAT nurses (Mary, Nicole, Jessica, Terry), but she has created a special bond with Rebecca and Sara....their personalities fit well.
I pray her rehab nurses are as amazing as these two. Kelsee loved getting outside and enjoying some fresh air.
We stayed outside for about 15 mins and then had to get back before all the doctors wondered where she was at.
The doctors that visited her today have been extremely impressed with her progress and think she'll be out of ICU by Tuesday. She has been able to drink more water and she was able to brush her teeth on her own.
She has a very positive attitude right now and says that she is ready to get rehab going.
I think she'll be much better once the splint is off her arm and she has the IVs out, so she can actually use her arms to help push herself up in her chair and/or move around. Hopefully that will be soon.
She knows it's going to be a long rehab time....they are telling us 18 to 24 months, but she says she is ready to get rehab started and that not walking is not an option for her. So I have faith that she is going to do everything in her power to walk again.
I know she can do it. So please continue to pray that her body is able to fully recover and that her spinal cord injury is temporary.
She has agreed to finally let me post some pictures. She didn't want pictures posted when she was at her worst, but to me, she looks beautiful in all of them.
On Thursday, August 26th, 2021 Kelsee was one of the Marines injured in the heinous suicide bombing attack at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. We are thankful she is alive and our hearts our broken for those that lost their lives. We are lucky that Kelsee's friend and fellow Marine, Molly, was by her side while she was quickly moved to a hospital in Germany to be stabilized in order to make the 10hr flight to Walter Reed Hospital in the US.