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January 18th, 2022 - 6 Month Update Message

It has now been six months since my near-death injury. This past November and December I had follow-up appointments with my Physiatrist Dr. Charbonneau and my Spine Surgeon Dr. Evaniew. They were both pleased with my progress, reminded me that I still have a year to go in which I may see additional improvements and that I must be careful and patient. I was reminded that I am a high functioning quadriplegic, and I am “one of kind at 56” so I must be careful I do not break as they and my wife Denise will not be happy after all their hard work to put me back together again. So how did I get better when initially we were looking at a life in a wheelchair with limited use of my arms. When it comes to spinal injuries no-one is 100% certain. However, according to Dr. Evaniew early intervention that included surgery to relieve pressure on my swollen spine followed by 60 days of intense physiotherapy (my wife Denise started in the ICU) contributed to my recovery. The result was, I was supposed to get out of the hospital in a wheelchair; I walked out a month early.

When most of us read “quadriplegic” you won’t think of me as I can walk, have functional use of my hands and can generally manage on my own with most tasks in life while not being a burden to my family. Technically I am an “ASI D Incomplete Spinal Tetraplegic” – I agree that’s a mouthful! Translates to Quadriplegic. Basically, when four or more parts of your body are impacted by a spinal injury you are a quadriplegic. My legs, arms, hands and abdomen impacted by my spinal injury. Simply put, I am like that Lego robot my son built. Generally, the robot works okay but tends to fall, drops things and can appear quirky as its neurocircuits misfire. I am improving, but my improvement and quality of life is directly attributed to my physiotherapy and rehabilitation program.

-Dimitri



August 22nd, 2021 Update Message

Dimitri and I want to sincerely thank you for your kind wishes, prayers and thoughts over this summer. The notes, cards, texts, food, watering of flowers, weeding, family meals, vegetables and small thoughtful gifts have meant a great deal to us both.

Dimitri has made remarkable progress, and where he is at none of the specialists thought was very unlikely. He has returned his wheel chair and walker. He is now barely walking with the use of a cane. He is getting some good use of his hands. It’s really quite a remarkable journey, that I feel grateful to be a part of.

Dimitri’s age/injury is entered into an algorithm and out pops his expected discharge date of Sept 20. However, he is being released a month and a half early as he is doing so well! This is saving the system of approximately $124,080, based on Canadian hospital rates, ward bed, David Cummings Aung 2019. It does beg the bigger question, ( as he has a .75 % chance of attaining these results ), how much daily intense early intervention of Physio and acupuncture has played a part in his recovery. One will never know unless research is done. I have reached out to volunteer my time / expertise from ICU through to and including rehab if I can convince the higher ups that a research project would be beneficial. It almost seems this is much bigger then Dimitri or I and it’s our duty to be of service to help others. Some may say cost is a factor, but increased mobility, early discharge, return to gainful employment, and mental health should all be weighed in.

My step sons played with many Humbolt hockey players and they did not fair as well. I do not know there specific medical files, but if it was my son or brother, I would want the same early intervention. (The male sex has a much higher percentage of spinal cord injuries ; diving, biking, mororcycle crashes ).

Given Dimitri’s incredible process, there is no longer this madness finding a large suitable wheelchair bungalow for our family, thank gosh. Given he is mobile and walking, the long term risks have been mitigated.

I plan on continuing Dimitri’s extensive rehab program after his discharge from the hospital. We have a local state of the art gym and warm water therapy pool that we are in most days of the week.

I am returning to treating in-person at Sunshine September 6th and to begin my physio yoga core back classes the week of September 13th, virtually Monday’s 2-3:20 pm and Tuesday 6-7:20 pm. Please see the website for more information if you’re interested.

Celia will be starting the GLAD classes for Osteoarthritis of the knees and hips early fall as well.

I want to thank my amazing Team Sunshine, my family, my dear friends, the community of Cochrane and Calgary rallying around my family in this challenging time. It has helped us all tremendously and we have much gratitude.

May I kindly request, that these pictures are viewed, not distributed as it’s a very personal part of our lives. (unless written consent for education purposes is given)

-Denise Brochu

July 10th, 2021 Update Message

I would like to thank you ALL for your kind thoughts, prayers, support and well wishes. It helps out my family tremendously, and I know it helped increase the healing in Dimitri. For that, I have the utmost gratitude and appreciation. Please continue to send messages as I read them all and share them with Dimitri.

I continue to reach out to my colleges for advice on how I can best help Dimitri, and this is a TEAM effort. I am most grateful for my U of S education, professors and mentors who have drilled into my head, so it’s automatic on what to do. I reached back 25 years and remembered my time in the practical classroom in neuro. I was fortunate to have placements in ICU, spinal cord and brain injury wards as a student in Saskatchewan and Alberta. This, and my post-graduate training, have all rolled together and become autopilot, which has been a blessing as I can be of service.

Between Dimitri’s work and personal phone and mine, I can spend 1-3 hours a day copying and pasting messages. I also still run my clinic that has "must do’s" that I cannot delegate. We are still just getting settled into our new clinic as we moved at the end of April. I no longer have the time or energy for daily texting/emails as Dimitri and our family are my priority. I am dealing with numerous tradespeople for repairs, modifications and looking for more suitable housing options for our family. I am maxed out on these tasks, thus thought this way of sharing progress may simplify my life. It may be a bit impersonal, but it still shares the miracles happening every day, which we are profoundly grateful for.

May I kindly request, that these pictures are viewed, not shared, or distributed as it’s a very personal part of our lives.