Today is the one-year anniversary of the HKIA bombing, and Kelsee’s horrific injuries, A Year! It’s no doubt going to be an extremely emotional day for her, and all of us, but a day of remembrance for the 13 warriors we lost that day.
Please take the time today to give them a moment of silence, and throw up a prayer for their families, as they’re needing it today. Also pray for all those that were injured that day, and that things will continue to improve for them and their loved ones with each passing day. “US13”
A year! A year ago today, our lives forever changed! I often think back to that morning, and when Stacey and I were first notified of Kelsee’s injuries, and how my heart sunk to stomach as I cried out.
There’s nothing in this world that can ever prepare you for something like that. Since that day, our family has grown closer together, but apart to an extent, if that makes sense.
It’s been taxing on all of us to say the least. Frustrating while searching for answers, searching for solutions, educating ourselves, and preparing and planning for what’s to come next. It’s maddening!
It seems like a lifetime ago now, as we continue to pray for a complete recovery for Kelsee.
Each day and week brings something new, whether it be another milestone in her abilities, or a set back with her health, with a SCI you just never know.
We are so blessed to still have her with us, and I remind myself of that every day.
It could have been a very different outcome if she’d just been an inch more to the left or right.
There’s been so much unnecessary suffering from that day, not just in our family, but with the 13 lost that day, and the countless others that were injured.
The one positive I’m reminded of, - is the love and support that our family has been shown has been absolutely amazing. There’s been so many people and organizations that have helped, and that are willing to go above and beyond to help, it’s been amazing.
Thank you all for coming along side us, and helping to lessen our burden, we appreciate every one of you. Please know, that Kelsee appreciates all your cards, letters, gifts, and especially your prayers. Hopefully one day she’ll be able to thank you all.
For those of you that write often, she’s still receiving daily and weekly letters, so keep them coming. Kelsee’s come so far in the past year, learning each day how to coup with the obstacles in front of her. It’s been hard enough for her to find some sense of normalcy, but to throw in all sorts of obstacles, such as uneven pavement, walkway, divots/crack and uneven sidewalk, poorly designed handicap ramp (curb cuts), heavy manual doors, that are impossible to open from a seated position at times, especially one with wheels on it.
I could go on and on about my frustrations with ADA issues around cities, building, etc...
We’re so extremely proud of you girl, and we love you so very much!
Tomorrow is August 27th, it’s A Year + 1, and Kelsee will be participating in the Chicago Paratriathlon, which consist of a swim (in Lake Michigan), a wheelchair race, and a hand cycle portion “so excited”!.
Kelsee’s been training in the pool at Shirley Ryan as part of her physical therapy for months, and recently within the past couple months, she’s incorporated the racing wheelchair and hand cycle, which both have their own set of challenges, especially for a newbie.
Kelsee, you’re awesome girl! Dig deep, and you’re going to crush it. Can’t forget - we can’t thank Kelsee’s therapist enough, for their endless support, motivation, and friendship, they’ve been beyond awesome.
We’ll be sure to update everyone in the next few days, with race results and hopefully several new pics of the days activities.
It should be an awesome event!
Oh, one other thing! I can’t quite finish my post, without spotlighting the love of my life, “Stacey”. Stacey has been amazing throughout this entire ordeal, and she can be a force to reckon with if Kelsee’s not receiving what she needs.
She’s kept everyone informed through CaringBridge and social media and has countless new relationships (friends) with Gold and Silver Star Families. She’s been so given of herself, and so caring, you just have to love her. Stacey’s been our ROCK through all of this, I know she’s struggled as I have, but she’s kept it together, and keeps us together.
I love you babe! You’re amazing! In July we were notified that Stacey was nominated for Caregiver of the Year by the Marine Corps Association. Which was a nice surprise and couldn’t have been given to a more deserving person. So please congratulate her.
God bless you all, and thanks for all the continued prayers!
U.S. Purple Heart Day is the kind of day created to give back. It's a day for Americans to remember and honor the men and women who bravely represented their country and were wounded or killed whilst serving.
This is a perfect day to give an update since it’s been awhile. Kelsee was awarded the Purple Heart on August 30, 2021 while still in ICU and still under sedation, so she doesn’t remember receiving it.
I wish she could have been coherent to know that she was receiving it.
There were 13 KIA that day and many, many others wounded. Please pray for their families.
I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since that awful day. It’s been a long road, but Kelsee continues to get stronger and stronger. She is still doing Physical Therapy and Occupation Therapy every day along with participating in Spinal Cord Injury clinical trials. She is still in Chicago and we intend to keep her there as long as possible to give her every possible chance of recovery.
Her therapist said that Kelsee has crushed every goal she has set for Kelsee and that they continue to see improvement every day. She now has KAFO (leg braces that allow her to stand and swing her legs through to walk). When she first started using them, she had to use a walker. She is now trying to use them with arm crutches. She even stood up in them today and cooked breakfast.
She continues to push hard and continues to amaze me every day. Please continue to pray for complete healing for Kelsee. Chicago summers are much better than winter, but the streets are much busier. We are all getting tired of the city, so Kelsee has come home on the weekends for the past couple of weeks. It gives her a sense of home and she can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and Oli has lots of room to run and get lots of exercise.
This gives our family the opportunity to all be together on the weekends and allows Kelsee to spend time with friends too. Our house isn’t quite set up from an accessibility standpoint, but we are working on getting some modifications done so it’s easier for her to access all areas of our house and be able to get up and down the stairs vs having to go outside and around.
Kelsee is training to do her first paratriathlon in Chicago as a way to honor and commemorate the 1 year anniversary and how far she has come one the last year. Her therapist had convinced her to sign up for the Chicago Triathlon.
This will be her first one doing all legs of the race so she signed up for the SuperSprint. I think it’s a .25 miles swim in Lake Michigan, 6 mile bike, and 1.5 mile run (racing wheelchair ). Her therapist told us a couple weeks ago that she now has to travel and will not be there to do the race with her….she bamboozled us…lol!!
But Kelsee’a boyfriend has planned to do the Triathlon along with her. He has been a great addition to Kelsee’s life and we all absolutely love him. I’ve never seen anyone take such good care of someone like he does.
We are beyond thrilled he has become a part of her life. He has been a huge part of finding ways to let her do things she wants to do. Kelsee is also looking to get a tattoo after the triathlon to commemorate the Anniversary.
We didn’t realize how busy tattoo artist are in the Chicago area, so if you know a great tattoo artist in Chicago, let us know!
Tomorrow she has her very first driving lesson. We are excited for her to get through all the sessions and be ready to drive ones she gets her car.
So if you are on the streets of Chicago tomorrow, you might want to stay home😀. This will give her a ton of independency back which I know she is going to love and is looking forward to it.
Something her Dad and I never really thought about, but she told us that she hasn’t had any alone time in almost a year.
Something that we didn’t really think about the impact of that statement, so when she is home we TRY to give her alone time to sit by herself, have some peace and quiet, and read or do what we she wants to.
I think I’d go crazy too if I never had some alone time just to myself.
I want to continue to thank everyone out there that has supported Kelsee and continues to support her todays.
The cards, gifts, donations, and prayers have been so touching to her. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Please continue to pray for the 13 families that lost their loved ones in 8/26/21. And continue to pray for Kelsee and all the others injured and their families.
The upcoming anniversary is going To be hard for all of us.
This year more than every, I truly understand the meaning of Memorial Day! 9 months ago, many lives were changed forever.
Today and every day, I thank our Service Men and Service Women for sacrificing their safety and lives for the Freedom of our Country.
I hope that each and every one of you that are reading this post today took the time to remember the meaning of this holiday.
Please pray for the families that lost their sons and daughters that awful day on August 26, 2021.
Remember their names:
Sgt. Nicole L. Gee,
Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo,
Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover,
Cpl. Hunter Lopez,
Cpl. Daegan W. Page,
Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez,
Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza,
Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz,
Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum,
Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola,
Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui,
Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak,
Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss.
Kelsee was able to come home for the Holiday Weekend. It's been nice having her home again for a few days, other than our 7 1/2 hour drive home from Chicago due to severe storms.
The weather has been nice at home and we've been able to be outside and enjoy some time with family.
She went to Church with us on Sunday and it went well and it wasn't too overwhelming.
She had been a little nervous about going the past couple of times she was home.
So I'm super happy that she got that part out of the way.
We went car shopping over the weekend as Kelsee is ready to start learning to drive again.
She is ready to get some independency back. It'll take her a while to be able to do it on her own, but eventually she'll get there.
She has to take driving school and learn how to use adaptive hand controls and we are praying she doesn't have to take the written test again (she probably wouldn't pass it...haha...just kidding).
So, we are working to get her in driving school, purchasing a vehicle, and then getting the car adapted. It'll take her awhile before we are able to get everything in line, so everyone can continue to feel safe on the road for several more months at least.
And if anyone was wondering how the government takes care of their wounded veterans....Kelsee gets a 1-time vehicle grant for $22,000.
And if anyone has been out shopping for vehicles lately, you know that you can't buy very many, if any vehicles for $22,000 let alone a vehicle big enough to get her wheelchair in and out of easily.
She isn't looking for an adaptive van or anything like that as she wants a car, but to know that the government only helps 1-time in her life and for so little makes me sad.
Truly, if it weren't for wonderful organizations out there, like SemperFi Fund or Wounded Warriors,
I'm not sure where we'd be today. I'm thankful these organizations exist, but I also don't feel like they should exist.
Our government should step up and support our military and their families.
So if you ever have time to lobby for our military, please take the time to do so.
Last week, Kelsee didn't feel the greatest, however, she pushed and made it to all her therapy sessions. She is getting stronger and stronger every day.
She is working hard on getting things to start activating again and pushing hard to get her body to move. We still love her therapist and she pushes Kelsee hard....which is great!!
Weather is finally getting nice in Chicago so we are going to start getting outside more and get her moving on a hand bike and a racing wheelchair.
She is going to a camp this coming weekend for Injured Military to train them on how to train for a triathlon.....as you may or may not hear of her doing one in the near future.
And Oli is doing great....he is the best service dog and Kelsee is in love.
He has been an awesome addition to her family.
He truly has the cutest, best personality!!
Journal Entry by Stacey Lainhart — May 10, 2022
I'm trying to keep up with posting updated information, but it's difficult to find time. Also, Kelsee's schedule is so routine that I sometimes feel like I'm just writing the same thing over and over. I think I'm going to just make a post on the 26th of every month as an anniversary post for each month since that awful day. Mother's Day was wonderful.....having all my kids together on Mother's Day.
Not that we haven't all been together over the last 8 months, but it's been far and few between except for the holidays. I am so thankful that God decided that horrible day to save Kelsee and allow her to be here with me for Mother's Day.
I am heartbroken for the Gold Star Moms that had to have their first Mother's Day without their child. I pray they were able to find some peace and comfort.
I've met and spoken to a few of the parents and know that their pain is unbearable, so please pray for them.
Kelsee continues to push through therapy and continues to get stronger every day. Her schedule is pretty routine, yet very busy at the same time. The best news to share since the last post is that she finally received her Service Dog, Oli. I think I posted about Oli on FB, but hadn't posted about him on this platform yet. Oli has to be the coolest dog I've ever met. He has the cutest, funniest personality and Kelsee absolutely loves him. He is perfect for her. I've told her that she needs to start some sort of social media page all about Oli....because....well.....everyone would fall in love with him.
John Devine and Jesus from Rescue 22 brought Oli all the way from California on April 14th and spent almost a week with Kelsee and us to ensure that Kelsee was comfortable with Oli and that he would be able to listen to her commands. They quickly became the best of friends and Oli has done great. If Kelsee goes in her room and shuts the door,
Oli literally sits outside the door waits for her.....it's just so cute. He loves to snuggle and loves to be right up in her lap all the time. He has been trained to pick up things for Kelsee if she drops something, pull her up ramps if she can't push herself, push the handicap door button to open the door, open the fridge and grab a bottle of water, and several other things.
He really is super smart. You can learn more about Rescue 22 here Rescue 22 Foundation Veterans Charity Non-Profit Organization. I cannot thank them enough for finding the most perfect dog for Kelsee.
Kelsee was able to come home a few weeks ago to see her younger sister, Kaci, in her school play. It was nice to have her home for a few days, so she could visit with family and friends.
I'll be happy when she is able to come home for good, IF she decides to come home. I know we want to keep her in Chicago at Shirley Ryan as long as possible as the more therapy she can get, the better the outcome.
She is continuing to make progress and get stronger every day. You truly never realize what people in her situation go through every day, unless you live it. Everything is harder than it was before. I know for me, everywhere I go, I'm looking to see if they are wheelchair accessible that way I know if we can go there with Kelsee.
It's been a huge eye opener and I hope this make you think twice when you see someone in a wheelchair. Kelsee is slowing trying to wean herself off any medications that she doesn't feel is benefiting her, so pray she is able to successfully get off all medications at some point.
As I end, I want you to please continue to pray for Kelsee's full recover.
And please pray for the families of the 13 and continue to remember that FREEDOM does not come FREE.
Never forget their names:
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover
Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo
Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee
Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez
Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page
Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui
Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss
I'm not sure how it's been a little over 7 months since the suicide blast at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed 11 Marines, 1 Navy Corpsman, 1 Army Soldier and wounded so many others, including Kelsee. These have been the toughest and worst 7 months of our lives. At least several times a day, I still wonder how we are where we are today. How and why this had to happen. Not in a million years would I have ever expected Kelsee to be there in the mix of all of the chaos.
In my mind, she was an intelligence specialist that should have been behind the scenes somewhere on a computer. That's what I wish she would have been doing that awful day. I'm still heartbroken for the families that lost their loved ones. I'm not sure how they make it through each and every day. I know people ask me how we are making it...and all I can say is that you we just have to do it.....we can't give up and we won't give up. We do what we have to do. Kelsee continues to get stronger and stronger every day. She is going to have some serious guns on those arms eventually. She continues to have 2.5 hours of "research", 2 hours of PT, and 1 hour of OT almost every day.
I've had a lot of people ask me what research means. Basically, she is participating in clinical trials and/or new research available to find a cure and/or help for spinal cord injuries. Currently, she gets electrical stimulation....similar to a TENS unit, but at a much higher intensity...and immediately following the stimulation, they work with her from a physical standpoint. I hope she can continue this stimulation as long as possible. She continues to have pool therapy and I pray this continues as long as possible.
Sometimes, it's hard to try to think of things to write about considering her days are pretty much the same every day. I try to only post the positive things just so we can always continue to keep that positive mindset. I continue to be impressed by Kelsee's positive attitude and her willingness to think of her recovery as her current job. I see what she goes through and it's tough....and it makes me sad. But God kept her here on this earth for a reason....and we aren't going to let her give up easily. There is so much more to life than what she is going through right now.
She WILL get through this!! We finally got 1 nice day in Chicago that Glen and I were able to get Kelsee out by the lake and try out her wheelchair's smart drive. It's a device that hooks to the back of her wheelchair and it can go 5 mph. You don't think 5 mph is very fast until it takes off on you. Kelsee had tested it out a little bit at Shirley Ryan and down the hall of the apartment building, but she really hadn't had the opportunity to get outside with it. As we were walking to get to Lakeshore drive to take the trails along the lake, she decided to try it out on the sidewalk....well....needless to say she hadn't quite figured out how to stop it, so Glen and I literally had to run and hold on to it to keep her from being tipped out into the middle of the street.
That was a little scary...ok...a lot scary!!! So she decided to wait to use it to we were in a much safer place to test it out. The weather was perfect that day, the lake was beautiful, and by the end of the day, she had it figured out. NOW....we just need more nice days in Chicago so she can get get use of that "smart drive":). Although the winter has been rough in Chicago, it's going to be beautiful this spring and summer.
Kelsee's best friend, Ava, was finally able to come for a visit. These 2 were inseparable before Kelsee went into the Marines and it's been tough for Ava to get to Chicago because she is currently in nursing school. So, I was so happy when Ava was able to finally come and hang out for a few days. I know it was good for both of them to be together. We had a lot of fun....they had a lot of fun! We ate way too much food that weekend, went to a dinner show, and had a few laughs. OH.....AND....thank God Ava was there that weekend....as I threw Kelsee out of her wheelchair in the middle of the street as we were walking to breakfast one morning.
I hit a little pothole and literally stop her chair and she went flying out. Thankfully, she was ok....however, I felt AWFUL. Definitely, a BAD MOM moment!! I was worried that I hurt her wrist when she went to catch herself and/or hurt her knees or legs. I think the 3 of us were in shock that it happened....almost in slow motion. So thankfully Ava was there to help me get her back up. So we learned a good lesson that day.....she needs to wear her seatbelt. I'm certain, we'll laugh about it one day.
We've definitely become hyper aware and super sensitive to where we can go and what we can do because of wheelchair accessibility. If you are reading this and own a business, please make sure your establishment is ADA accessible. We went to a restaurant yesterday that had handicap parking, yet the ramp was blocked by a parking block, which made no sense at all, so we had to roll her to the other side of the building just to get up the curb. Just stupid!!!
She went through her Neuropsychological testing last week to start the Med Board process. They say it could take up to a year for Kelsee to be medically discharged from the Marines. She'll get the result of that test within the next couple of weeks.
I was even shocked that the Federal Health Care facility that we had to take Kelsee to for this appointment wasn't even very accessible. They had about 30 handicap parking spots in the front row near the building which was great IF they were truly handicap accessible parking. They were not....they were just normal parking spots with a handicap sign.
So we had to pull into a non-parking spot to get her out of the car and then go park. AND, they didn't even have a handicap accessible bathroom that I could locate. It's sad and to be quite honest, unacceptable!! Thank you to everyone that continues to pray for Kelsee and send her cards and words of encouragement. We truly appreciate it!! Please continue to pray for her complete healing!!
And please continue to pray for those that lost their loved ones. Do not forget their names!! Also, check out @nealparrowart on Instagram to see some wonderful paintings he created for Kelsee and of the 13 KIA. He is truly an amazing artist and has a huge heart.
I've been getting lots of people reaching out for an update on Kelsee, so here it goes.
Kelsee has had a very busy February. As noted before, her Physical Therapist requested for double PT sessions for Kelsee, so her days are super full.
Usually 2 1/2 hours of research each day, lunch break, PT session, pool, and occupational therapy.
She really pushes hard and is usually completely exhausted by the end of each day.
We quickly learned that wheelchairs don't move too easily in the snow. Chicago got a good snowfall a couple of weeks ago. I told Kelsee to call her research person and physical therapist to see if they'd make it in to work due to snow so we didn't have to venture out if her sessions would be cancelled. Research got cancelled...BUT...that wonderful physical therapist that I've mentioned several times...well...she doesn't cancel...HAHA.
So, we had to venture out in the cold, snowy weather and see how well her tank of a loaner wheelchair could go in the snow.
Thank goodness, my niece, Allison had come to Chicago to visit and help with Kelsee that week as I literally got Kelsee stuck in the middle of the road in downtown Chicago.
That was SUPER fun!! Allison literally picked up the front bottom of the wheelchair for me while I pushed.
Until the snow cleared that week, we continued to both make the trek in the snow to get Kelsee to her appointments. I also must say that it's very frustrating when the the sidewalks are cleared in Chicago, however the ramps to cross the roads don't get plowed...well...not all of them.
So you have to be strategic in which way you cross the street. Glen quickly got on that and figured out who we had to call to make sure someone shoveled or plowed the ramps. I truly don't know how people in wheelchairs are expected to get around in the snow if they don't have someone to push them. I'm praying that we are almost through the winter months and the snow will soon be behind us.
The much awaiting "wheelchair" finally arrived this past week after almost 3 months. The loaner wheelchair Kelsee has been using is not in the greatest shape, is too big for her arms, the arm rests consistently fall off and it's hard for her to push. So she was a happy camper last week when her personal wheelchair arrived. It's matte black, sleek, lightweight and is so much easier to push. She also got a smart drive that can attach to it so she can use it to go fast...5mph.
So that will be super helpful this summer. It took us a couple of hours to get her new ride set up and practice speeding around the floor. She'll have some other adjustments made once she tried it out a few days. Pictures of her new ride are attached. (Before and after)
Kelsee's friend and fellow Marine, Molly, came to visit over the past weekend. Molly was the amazing Marine that traveled along Kelsee's side back to the US from Afghanistan. She kept us up to date on everything to do with Kelsee while she was traveling back stateside and we couldn't be more thankful for Molly. I'm not sure why Kelsee decides to not feel well every time she gets a visitor but unfortunately it happens.
She got water in her ear from pool last week and ended up with a painful ear infection the night before Molly arrived. We were able to get her antibiotic ear drops to get her started and she pushed through the pain while Molly was there. It was nice for Molly to be there as it got Kelsee in the mood to get out of the apartment a few times.
The weather was sunny, although cold, so the sun made it nice to get out. We visited the "Bean" in Chicago and took pictures, went out to eat for breakfast and dinner, and we went to a Comedy Show, which was a first for both Kelsee and Molly. It was really fun and nice to see Kelsee laugh. Chicago really has some amazing places to eat food. I always see Kelsee perk up when she is with her Marine buddies!!! I'm so glad Molly able to visit. It was a great, fun weekend!
Yesterday, Glen and I went to the Indiana State house in which a resolution was voted on to honor Kelsee by the Indiana State Senate.
It was a nice experience and an honor to represent Kelsee. I wish Kelsee could have been there, but her focus and priority right now is research and rehab.
Thanks to an old friend, Brad Dwenger, for helping make this happen with Senator Raatz. As always, continue to Pray for the families that lost their loved ones and continue to Pray for complete healing for Kelsee.
She is working so hard to meet her goals...we need those prayers to keep coming!!!
I cannot even fathom that it is already February 1st. It's been a little over 5 months since the attack in Kabul, but it seems like yesterday to me. Time is a strange thing...sometimes it feels like eternity and then all of a sudden it flies by so fast.
Something to ponder on in our free time:) Anyhow, I personally feel like Kelsee has had the best couple of weeks that she has had since her injury. I'm not sure she'd say the same thing, but I feel like she has finally felt better to be able to focus on PT, OT, and research. The medicine that she went back on has controlled the profuse sweating, so that in of itself, makes her feel better.
As I mentioned in a previous post, her Physical Therapist is absolutely amazing!!! She feels that it is crucial for Kelsee to get double therapy for the next 12+ weeks, so she worked to get double therapy approved. She is a true advocate and is going to kick Kelsee's butt in PT. Kelsee's days typically consist of 2 1/2 hours of research studies, 2 hours of PT and 1 hour of OT. So needless to say her days are pretty full and tiring. She has been able to continue pool therapy twice a week and it's going really well.
She by far is a better swimmer than I could ever be. The pool is great therapy for her body. The only negative is getting water in her ear even when she has earplugs and swim cap on (I really want to post a picture, but I have been threatened with my life if I post it...haha). So, she called and scheduled her ear surgery to get that out of the way in March. Kelsee has been really pushing herself hard in therapy and I'm super proud of her.
Kelsee has had a few visitors over the last couple of weeks which has been really nice:
She got a visit from our church's pastor and his wife. Greg and Amey Edens from Bright Christian Church in Bright, IN drove all the way to Chicago to meet Kelsee for the first time and visit with her.
Greg took over as pastor for our church after Kelsee went into the Marines, so they had never officially met one another in person.
They brought us Starbucks coffee and spent a few hours getting to know Kelsee and pray for her.
It was a nice visit and we'll take all the prayers we can get.
Kelsee had a few of her friends (Lauren and Josie) come to Chicago last week to spend a few days with her.
I love that she has such close friends that are willing to be there for her and take care of her so we can have some time to do other things that we need to take care of.
This allowed me to be home for our younger daughter, Kaci's, 12th birthday.
I know Kelsee enjoyed being with her friends and I'm sure it was super helpful for her to be away from Mom and Dad for a few days.
Her friends even brought her back home for the weekend so she could be there for Kaci's birthday too.
It was great!!
Thank you, Lauren and Josie!!!
She also had a visitor from War Horses for Veterans that stopped by to visit and bring her some goodies, including an amazing belt buckle and lasso.
This organization hosted some of Kelsee's team mates for a deployment decompression session and they wanted to make sure Kelsee was included since she couldn't be there.
They've also offered to get her to their ranch in the future when she is able to come.
AND they believe they have a solution to be able to get her on a horse.
It was nice to learn about the organization.
I want to continue to thank everyone that has continued to send cards and gifts to Kelsee and continues to show her support. It still amazes me at the kindness and generosity of so many people all across the world. I wish we could thank everyone individually, but it's just so hard.
If you are reading this and have sent a card or gift to Kelsee, please know how much we appreciate it!! Wounded Warrior Project and Semper Fi Fund have provided a great deal of support for Kelsee and us. They have been there every step of the way to make sure we have everything we need.
We appreciate every organization that has helped us in so many ways as there have been so many. We appreciate it more than they'll every know. As I do in every post.
PLEASE continue to PRAY! PRAY for the families that lost their son or daughter. I still cannot fathom what they are going through.
PLEASE continue to PRAY for the other's that were wounded and PRAY that they continue to heal both physically and mentally.
AND PLEASE continue to pray for complete healing for Kelsee.
Kelsee enjoyed being home for Christmas and New Years although she had days that she didn't feel good. We loved having her home, but hate the times that she struggles or just doesn't feel good. We didn't do much other than hang out at home, but that's pretty typical for our household during Christmas Break.
It was nice to have a little bit of normalcy even if it was for a short period of time. She had a fellow Marine stop by to visit her with his family as they were moving cross-country to a new military base in Arizona.
I'm not going to say his rank because I know 100% that I will mess it up and Kelsee will give me that look again of how stupid I am and how I have yet to remember the different ranks of the Marines.
She is currently asleep so I'm not going to wake her to ask:)
Anyhow, he was on deployment with Kelsee and was in Afghanistan when everything happened. He wanted to make a special trip to present her with a paddle that her brothers from A. Co 2nd Recon Battalion made for her. It's a really cool paddle and you can tell they all put a lot of thought into making it.
I wish the paddle was here with us so I could put some of the quotes they added to the paddle on here for everyone to read. He had a lot of great things to say about Kelsee and said what a true "badass" she is. Although she was in Intel she was assigned to 2nd Recon Battalion and they had adopted her in as their little sister.
I can remember the first time she told us that she got assigned to 2nd Recon after completing her schooling because she was so excited. She was like I'm going to be part of a kick ass battalion and I hope I get to do some really cool and badass stuff with them.....and I guess that wish came true.
It made me proud to hear him say that all the guys viewed her as their little sister and they would never allow anyone to mess with her.
They were her protectors. I got to meet a few of them while she was at Walter Reed and they are all great guys. I believe Recon's motto is "Never Above You, Never Below You, Always by Your Side" and they hold true to that statement.
The Marine Reconnaissance Foundation and the Recon and Sniper Foundation have been absolutely amazing to Kelsee and all of us. I can't say enough about them all and how thankful we are to all of them. Kelsee and I drove back to Chicago on Monday and it was back to instant reality for both of us. Just like anything, taking a couple of weeks off makes things harder to get back into full routine again.
It's Saturday now, so we survived another week:) Over the Christmas break, she started with a new symptom of sweating profusely, although she was cold. She'd be sitting and shivering, but sweating profusely.
So much sweat that her clothes would be drenched with it. It makes her miserable because she is cold and wants to be wrapped up in blankets, but the sweating is awful.
One day this week, she called me into her room in the middle of the night to help her with something and I asked her how she was feeling. She gave me this funny, sarcastic look and said my palms are literally shriveled up from sweating so much.
We laughed about it in the moment, but it's so miserable for her and I hate she is going through this. She had a follow-up doctor's appointment this week and unfortunately this is just another symptom of spinal cord injury. Her body doesn't know how to self-regulate temperature.
She had been on a medication for bladder spasms that had a side affect of reduced sweating, therefore, this symptom didn't really rear it's ugly head until she went off the medication.
She had quit taking that particular medication before Christmas as her urologist stated that they now know that particular medication causes Alzheimer's and dementia with long term use, so she suggested that Kelsee stop taking it.
Her doctor suggested that she go back on the medication to help with the sweating, so she did get a little bit of relief after she started taking the medicine again. She is nervous about taking it because of the long term effects, but I told her it'd be ok to take it for a few days until they can find another medication that will work that won't have the long term effects, so she is taking it til we can get back in touch with the doctor for another medication.
Kelsee had a very full schedule this week that consisted of research, physical therapy, occupational therapy, follow-up doctor appointment, and ear doctor appointment to check into surgery for the hole in her ear that was from the impact of the blast.
There have been several days this week that she just didn't feel good, but she pushed through it and made every session this week. I had not met Kelsee's new physical therapist until this week and I cannot tell you how "badass" this therapist is. She is 100% AMAZING!!!!!
She is exactly what Kelsee needed and I pray that Kelsee gets to keep her throughout her recovery rehab time. She knows Kelsee's goals and she is going to push Kelsee hard. She'll tell Kelsee, "I know what your goals are and I want to help you with those goals, but it's not going to be easy".
She'll say "Kelsee, I REALLY want to try "this" and what do you think." "It's going to be hard, but I know you can do it." She truly is amazing. She even got Kelsee into pool therapy this week and Kelsee did awesome.
By the end of their hour session, she was able to swim on her own without the help of a life preserver. I wish Caring Bridge would allow videos to be posted, but unfortunately I can only post pictures. The ear doctor appointment this week went well. He said although she has the hole in her right ear, her hearing loss isn't too bad.
The main reason for surgery would be to close the hole to protect the middle ear from infections. So nothing is urgent and she can wait to have the surgery if she chooses later once she gets a little further down the road in rehab. So that's good news. All in all, it's been a fairly good week. As always, she has good days and bad days, but if we can get more good days than bad....then we know things are headed in the right direction.
So praying we start getting more good than bad. One last comment before I close......Chicago is colder than shit in the winter. Holy cow!!!
Kelsee told her occupation therapists this week that she had no idea why anyone in the world would want to live in Chicago in the wintertime...haha!!
AND my guess is that we haven't even started to know what cold feels like yet in Chicago.
... and healing strong following the terrorist attack at HKIA Afghanistan in August.
Brothers from A. Co 2nd Recon Battalion visited her recently to present her with a paddle and to check up on her.
We are with you sister…
Never above you
Never below you
Always by your side
#HKIA #combatwounded #purpleheart @2d_recon_bn @marinereconfoundation @2nd_marine_div #reconfoundation #marinereconfoundation #maritimeraidforce @24meu @bullandbeargym @wildernessapparelinc
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.
5 days back in a hospital after having a few weeks of freedom was NOT fun. Although the doctors and nurses were all great and amazing.
Kelsee didn’t like 1 minute back in the hospital and I didn’t either. Kelsee ended up with sepsis from a UTI and it was a strain of bacteria that is resistant to oral antibiotics, so she had to be on a strong IV antibiotic for 5 days.
I’d say she felt better after the first day of antibiotics, so she was dying to get out.
The waiting game of the urine culture was driving her crazy and anytime the doctors or nurses asked how she was doing…she just said fine, just waiting to get out of here.
It was a long 5 days, but she was officially released yesterday and she couldn’t be happier. Now we just need to keep her healthy to stay out of the hospital. Thanks for everyone’s prayers!
We are super excited to have her coming home for Christmas!! Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
It seems like such a long time since I’ve given an update. I start to realize it when I get lots of people reaching out to check on Kelsee. Our lives continue to be a constant juggle, so it’s hard to find time to give an update.
Probably the best news I can share is that Kelsee finally graduated from Inpatient to Outpatient right around Thanksgiving. She got to come home for a few days and it was so nice to have her home. It was an eye opener how much harder her life is right now. Our home is not set up for wheelchair access, but we made it work and figured it out. It was a good trial run to know what we will need to modify in our home for when she comes home again. We had 2 different Thanksgiving dinners with both of our families. It was the first time some of the family had seen her in quite a while.
After her few days at home, we moved her in an apartment in Chicago near Shirley Ryan. It’s not fully accessible for her needs right now, but we’ve made it work. She now has the ability to sleep all night long without being woken up by a nurse, Woohoo! Granted, it’s a lot more time planning on her part and ours, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.
She goes to her research sessions, occupational therapy, and physical therapy every day as she had in the last, but has the freedom to live at “home”…her new apartment. The rent for apartments in Chicago are outrageous so this is just in a temporary apartment until we can find a short term rental that’s more affordable. Pray we are able to find one. She is enjoying her new found freedom. She has been able to get out and do some Christmas shopping, lunches and dinner at restaurants, and even got her toes professionally manicured.
I was really excited about posting an awesome update, but Kelsee hasn’t been feeling well the past two days so right in the middle of making this post, the doctor called and asked us to go to the ER. As she has a UTI that they are worried about. Her blood pressure was so low when we got to the packed ER that we are able to get in fairly quickly. She is hooked to fluids now and waiting on doctors. Pray she feels better soon. AND….she is being admitted…ugh!!! She is tired, grumpy, and doesn’t want to be here.
Adding some pictures of her new found freedom.
Please continue to pray for complete recovery! Continue to pray for those that lost their loved ones. A0md continue to pray for those that continue to fight for our freedom.
SUPPORT AFGHANISTAN WOUNDED MARINE "HELLCAT" CORPORAL KELSEE LAINHART
This young MARINE was severely wounded at the age of just 19 during the August 26, 2021 suicide bombing by the TALIBAN.
Shrapnel penetrated all parts of her body leaving her in a critical condition and paralyzed.
This young MARINE was severely wounded at the age of just 19 during the August 26, 2021 suicide bombing by the TALIBAN. Shrapnel penetrated all parts of her body leaving her in a critical condition and paralyzed.
The photographs reveal the extent of the damage done to her young body caused by a TALIBAN suicide bomb and the support her family and indeed the entire world have provided to her long recovery. The damage was horrific and she faces years of pain medications, rehabilitation, physical...
The last several days have been major highs and lows. I expect that most of our days are going to be like this for awhile. After my last post in which we were taking some time to sleep a little late, do laundry, etc. before going to the hospital, Kelsee quickly scolded us for not being there early. So we agreed, what ever time she wanted us there the next day is what we would do. And Glen and I have decided to split up our time so one can be with her at all times while the other gets some time away to take a walk, do laundry, nap, etc. I think we'll need that to survive.
Thursday (9/2) she fevered most of the day. She seemed to feel a little better in the morning hours even though the fever persisted. She had a big group of Marines from her shop visit her that afternoon. She really perked up when they were there and I think it was good for her spirits. We really appreciate them stopping by and it was nice to get to know them. They seemed to all really care deeply for Kelsee and are all rooting for her to get better. After they left, she really struggled feeling good so they have decided to restrict visitors for now. She had a really rough night but had some high profile visitors stop by that she allowed to step in for a few mins max just so they can say hi.
Friday (9/3) We arrived by 6:30am per her request and she had a rough night. She didn't get much sleep and she had thrown up a couple times during the night. Her feeding tube seems to be troubling her so anytime the meds/food get pushed through too quickly it makes her nauseous. Mind you....she cannot really move on her own right now, so throwing up is not good for her. The last thing we want is to have her aspirate again and the breathing tube go back in. She is still struggling to breath and cough hard enough to get the mucus out of her chest and lungs. She tries really hard, so I'm certain, she'll kick this soon.
She has now passed the Speech therapists test in order to drink through a straw but is only allowed to have a couple sips every hour. She also got to try a few spoonful of applesauce and pudding. She really does not care about the food at all, however, she is dying to get a full bottle of water. It'll take some time, but she'll get there. General Donavan, the Commanding General, 2D Marine division stopped by to visit her and this is when I truly saw the amazing daughter we have. I already knew how amazing and smart she was, but I was beyond floored watching her talk to him.
She was so knowledgeable and wise beyond her years in her Intel role. He has a daughter that is going through the same training that Kelsee went through and he asked for advice to take back to his daughter. She literally talked to him for 45 mins straight giving him advice to take back. This is the most she has talked since she got her breathing tube out. He was extremely compassionate and let her talk...I literally think he would have sat there all day listening to her if she would have kept talking. It was an extremely nice visit.
Again, after the visit, she was having a rough time. She couldn't get comfortable, her throat was hurting, and just in pain. The found a block clot in one of her arterial veins in her neck so they were going to start her on medicine to help clear the clot. Glen and I stayed with her to around 11:30pm. Although she is still in a lot of pain, I left the hospital with a true sense of what type of daughter we raised. She said to us before we left that she truly believes that ever circumstance can have a positive outcome. She said she has always believed and felt this way. So, I'm confident she is going to fight hard to turn this horrible situation into a better situation in the future. I can see her being a motivational speaker one day.
Sat (9/5) - Kelsee decided Glen and I could sleep in a "little" later today and we were allowed to be at the hospital at 7:45am. So that we did. She had a good night and seemed to be in less pain this morning. The Wounded Warriors Project donated an I-Pad to Kelsee so she could try to get to some sort of connection to the outside world. We got it set up and the first thing she saw was that her friend, and fellow Marine, Sgt, Nicole Gee had lost her life. I personally thought she already knew based on some comments that she had stated earlier on in the week, however, she did not know.
This was very hard for her to hear. Nicole and her were friends and were together when the blast went off. I cannot imagine how Nichole's husband, parents, and family are feeling.
My heart continues to break for them. Kelsee cried and was angry and feels guilty. I know this is going to be very difficult for her to get through emotionally.
We will continue to be here to lift her up. She is supposed to get her drain tube out of her spine today and they are actually going to try to get her in a chair today since she will be a little less restricted. I took a quick walk to the store to get a few items and wanted to give a quick up date to all.
She has received lots of pretty flowers that are starting to fill up the waiting room and nurses station. They have all been so beautiful. Unfortunately they cannot come into the ICU room, but once she is moved to the next room, she will be able to have them in her room.
We have taken pictures and will post once I can get the pictures on my computer.
We appreciate everyone's continued prayers and appreciate those that have sent her flowers and balloons.
Good Morning! This is probably going to be a long post as I have some time this morning while our laundry is being washed because we are now out of clean clothes to wear plus there are a lot of things that have happened over the last several days. Honestly the days have run into each other and I'm constantly trying to remember what day it is.
Tuesday (8/31) was a really long day for Glen and I as we had gotten to the hospital at 5:45am to catch the Neurosurgeons as they were making their morning rounds. They said everything was looking good from her spinal surgery and that the spinal cord was floating in spinal fluid as it should have been. I'm not sure that I've fully said this out loud or posted on this yet, but when Kelsee arrived to Walter Reed Hospital she had no feelings below her belly button. The doctors did not give us much hope that she would walk again, but the good news was that she still had full function of her arms. They graded her with the severest level of spinal cord injury.
After their assessment on Tuesday, they have moved her down a level, which is promising. She is starting to have some sort of sensation, however, the Doctors are telling us that this sometimes happens after surgery. We had not told anyone, mainly because we didn't want to jinx ourselves. We are going to remain positive that this IS a good sign and she will continue to have some sensation, feeling, and even better some movement. She was able to get her breathing tube out and could talk to us very faintly, but her goal that day was to get the breathing tube out. They told her what amazing things she did and how proud they were of her. It was a log day for all of us. I was really nervous about leaving her that night because it was the first night without her breathing tube and she was still having a hard time coughing up all the gunk out of her lungs. Plus she had a new nurse for the night that was very nice, but I wasn't so confident in. Glen and I left the hospital around 10:30pm to get some rest.
Wednesday (9/1) Glen and I decided to not set an alarm and just get some rest as everyone keeps telling us that if we are not taking care of ourselves, we cannot take care of Kelsee. We arrived at the hospital around 9:30am and immediately we could tell that her voice was much stronger. First thing she said was that is was a horrible night, a nightmare, and her nurse was awful. Her Marine mouth was back and unfortunately had some choice words she was using. She was able to get her nurses switched in the middle of the night, thank goodness.
She has an amazing nurse named, Rebecca, that is simply AMAZING. I cannot even describe to you how I feel about this particular nurse. I'm so thankful she was the charge nurse that night and was able to switch with the nurse to take over. Kelsee did not get any sleep as she is experiencing hallucinations when she closes her eyes. Her fever had spiked again over night, so the Infectious Disease doctors were there trying to figure out next steps to see what type of infection she is battling. Obviously, being treated in a foreign country where the conditions are not the most sanitary plus having pieces of shrapnel throughout her body, doctors say she's is a moving target for some nasty infections.
She was really uncomfortable pretty much most of the day. It's amazing to watch the number of doctors that are treating her. It's not just a team of general practice MDs, but multiple teams of specialist. She is being seen by teams that specialize in neurosurgery, orthopedics, respiratory, infectious disease, Ophthalmology, speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and then a team of SICU (Intensive Care) doctors. Its amazing to sit back and listen to them as each team makes their rounds to discuss her. I feel like I'm watching an episode of "House."
They truly are an absolutely amazing team of doctors that are giving her the utmost amount of care. They said they have so many people across the world that are invested in Kelsee's recovery. I think word got back to Kuwait on her leg sensation before we even heard. We owe a lot to these doctors and we need to continue to pray for them. We are praying that the infectious disease doctors are able to figure out the right antibiotics to treat her to get rid of her fever so she can start feeling better.
We are praying that her hallucinations are due to the extensive amount of drugs they are pumping through her body right now. I wish I could take those away from her. She says when she closes her eyes, she sees people of different nationalities that she hasn't seen before along with doctors and then she opens her eyes and only sees the doctors, so she is having a hard time with what is reality vs. not.
The doctors have decided to only send a few doctors in at one time because she had a panic attack after having so many in her room at one time today. She says she hears babies crying when she closes her eyes too. I'm sure it's a mix of medication plus the awful memories she has of the time she spent in Afghanistan. All she wanted to do was help these people get a better life. She wants out of ICU desperately and has the drive to do whatever the doctors tell her, even though she is in pain. She was still struggling throughout the day to cough, but she pushed through the pain each and ever time to push to get mucus out of her lungs.
The Commandant of the Marine Corp (highest position of the Marine Corp) and the Sargent Major of the Marine Corps visited Kelsee twice this week. I forgot to mention that they presented her with the Purple Heart Medal on Tuesday. They told her what an amazing job she did and told her the impact of her service and that they had gotten everyone out of Afghanistan. They said that she has Marines and military all over the world praying for her. She did not remember them coming to present her the Purple Heart, but I'm sure she'll remember them coming yesterday.
We will try to give an update as much as we can. And I'll post pictures once she says it's ok. We are beyond honored for all the people that have come together to pray for Kelsee. I'm shocked of the impact that she has had in our community and across the country. We just can't thank everyone enough for the Prayers. Keep them coming.
Kelsee got her breathing tube out yesterday.
She was able to say a few words but is still very weak and tired.
She is trying to do what the doctor orders so they do not have to put the tube back in.
She has been running a fever so they are trying to keep that under control.
She had a rough night as well as today:(
Please keep praying.
Here is an update as of August 31st
It’s been a couple very long and stressful days. Kelsee arrived at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda Maryland at approximately 7:40 p.m. on Saturday August 28th. After the medical teams were assessing her for her wounds, we were able to talk with the Neurosurgeon. Kelsee’s surgeries started Sunday around 8:00 a.m. and finished around 4:00 p.m. The first and most important surgery was decompression of her spine by the Neurosurgeons. They removed the shrapnel and bone fragments from around her spine and added in some plates and screws to stabilize her neck, spinal cord, and vertebrae.
This surgery was performed to allow room for her spinal cord to swell without constriction. The second surgery was performed by the Orthopedic Surgeons, which was to address her soft tissues wounds. She had a fairly significant sized hole in her right bicep from the explosion and they needed to clean it out to avoid infection. According to the Surgeon’s, both surgeries were successful. She’s still heavily sedated due to the discomfort she’s had with the breathing tube, which they attempted to remove Sunday night, but had to reinsert due to complications breathing on her own.
While we’ve experienced the lowest of low’s the past couple days, we’ve also experienced some wins. We’re hopeful, and know that her recovery is GOD’s hands. We know Kelsee’s gonna have a long road to recovery, but Kelsee’s a strong determined young Marine. Her secondary wounds will heal with time, but her spine injury is of sorts that only time, prayer and therapy will heal.
This morning, she was able to write for us and she asked for water. Her mind is all there, so she just has to have the power to get her body repaired. She is one tough cookie.
Please continue to pray for Kelsee daily, as she will need everyone continuing support and prayer if she is to recover. We truly appreciate the outpour of support and prayer from our community, friends a family.
Thanks so much to family, church family, friends, and those we don’t even know, that have been lifting her up with prayer and support. We can't thank all of you enough!!
I truly feel like she’s getting the very best possible medical care we could ever hope for, as the doctors, nurses and medical staff have been incredible, and attending to her 24/7.
This young MARINE was severely wounded at the age of just 19 during the August 26, 2021 suicide bombing by the TALIBAN. Shrapnel penetrated all parts of her body leaving her in a critical condition and paralyzed.
Read the updates by herself, her Mother and Father and others and view the photos below of the young MARINE "HELL CAT" KELSEE LAINHART.
It is now completed and will be updated continuously going backwards in time.
The photos and her Mom and Dad's comments as well as hers will tell you what it means to be in combat and DAMNED near get KILLED by the TALIBAN.
The present political climate in our country and those in the current administration are directly responsible for her wounds and 17 other members of our military and the senseless deaths of 13 other service members on that day.
We all have to stand up and fight this asinine administration to set military policies right.