Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday, July 27

A lot has changed!

Matt has all of his sutures removed and is healing remarkably well. His next step is to get a temporary arm prosthesis which will not have an elbow. With it he hopes to learn to propel his manual wheelchair which will be a big step toward independence because of the portability of the smaller, lighter chair.

Matt's sister, Jessica, was able to visit with him for a few days and was able to accompany him and Tessa on Matt's first outing away from the hospital. The outing was made possible by Virginia Hemp who is coordinating the targeted nerve reinnervation project in which Matt hopes to partake.

And, Matt was discharged from the hospital yesterday and he and Tessa are now in temporary lodging at the Fisher House until their post housing becomes available in mid August!

The Fisher House is located next to the Center For the Intrepid (CFI) which is where Matt will be spending his days doing therapy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday, July 20

Matt continues to heal and to make progress in his quest for independence. He is going to daily sessions of PT at the Center for the Intrepid where he is working on strengthening, stretching, and learning new skills.
Because of Matt's wife, Tessa's, hard work and persistence they will be getting accessible housing on post by mid August at which time the whole family will be able to be together again.
Matt has had some distinguished visitors as well as friends and family. Pictures will come later when available.
We all appreciate everyone's continued support. Matt enjoys each of the cards and well wishes.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday, July 16

Matt came through the surgical procedure yesterday in good shape. In fact he is off to PT already today! The news from the surgery yesterday was mixed. The doctors did not find any pocket of fluid or infection, however, they did find some dead tissue. Some of that tissue was removed but not all. At this time rather than risk the introduction of more infection by opening and surgically cleaning out the wound, they will wait and monitor his leg carefully. We are hoping that the wound will heal itself without further intervention. Your prayers will be greatly appreciated.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Prayer Request

Matt has developed a pocket of fluid in his right leg. The doctors have decided to take Matt to surgery tomorrow (Sunday, 7/15) to investigate and clean it out. Hopefully this will be done early in the day and if it is infected, it will heal quickly. Please keep him in your prayers.

Update 7/14/07

Matt has made lots of progress in the past week. He had his first physical therapy session at the Center for the Intrepid. With hard work and determination he mastered transferring himself into his power chair and even managed to transfer to a toilet with a little advice from his physical therapist! While at the rehabilitation center, Matt met with a fellow soldier, Chad, who showed Matt his prosthetic legs and demonstrated walking for him.

Matt also expects to have the sutures removed from his arm very soon.

PFC Gomez made it to visit Matt in his room! Among other things, they practiced target shooting with a Nerf gun. Matt shared his pictures of the Hum-Vee with Gomez and related what he could remember of the explosion. PFC Gomez recalled mostly only smoke and ringing ears. PFC Gomez is continuing to make progress and is expecting to be transferred to the 4th floor orthopedic wing soon.

Matt is hoping to be able to take part in a research project through the Chicago Rehabilitation Institute called the Targeted Reinnervation for Improved Myoelectric Prosthesis Function at Brooke Army Medical Center. He will undergo further evaluations at the end of August to determine his eligibility. If selected, he will undergo a surgical procedure that will transplant nerves in his arm and then be fitted with the newest of prosthetic arms which function in a more natural fashion. Good luck, Matt! For more information on this project, be sure to check out the link in the sidebar "Revolutionary limb development".

Last, but not least, Matt has earned a promotion! As of September 1st he will be Staff Sergeant Lammers.

Congratulations, SSG Lammers!


Sunday, July 8, 2007

American Heros

I originally published in “One Hero” (in the right sidebar) that we knew that there were other heroes in the story who saved Matt’s life. Recently Matt called me and gave me some more details about his rescue and the names of those involved. It is my privilege to get to share their names with you and to honor and thank them. (To the heros in this story and any others who personally know those involved: Although I tried to get the details as accurate as possible, please forgive any misspellings of names or innaccuracies of data, and please leave me a message if you are aware of any changes which need to be made.)

American Heroes

After the explosion which left the driver of the Hum-Vee unconscious, Sgt. Lammers’ vehicle slowed to a stop. He saw that his arm was split in half and was missing some fingers, but due to the smoke, he was not aware that he had also lost his legs. Sgt. Lammers tried to get out of the Hum-Vee, and looked down when he realized his legs were not moving. Seeing the full impact the explosion had on his body and knowing that he had to get himself out, he threw himself out of the truck to the ground with his one arm and began crawling to the medic, hero Sgt. Butts, who acted quickly putting on the three tourniquets which saved Sgt. Lammers’ life. Sgt. Butts then turned to help the other wounded heroes, PFC. Clees, PFC Gomez, and Sgt. Applegate. Unfortunately, within days of this incident, Sgt. Butts was himself injured by schrapnel and is being treated in Germany for his wounds.
Sgt. Lammers lay on the ground, facing the reality of the seriousness of his injuries. Thoughts of death filled his mind as hero PFC Freeman stayed by his side, holding his hand, giving him the courage to stay alive. Sgt. Lammers looked to the sky, feeling it was the last glimpse he would have from this side of heaven, and praying to God, he found the strength that he needed to endure.
Hero Sgt. Savant picked up Sgt. Lammers and carried him to a Bradley fighting vehicle belonging to a unit which turned around to come assist. He stayed by his side during the ride to the 28th CSH (Casualty Support Hospital), giving him encouragement, and helping to keep him conscious by talking with him about his wife and kids and some future plans for a BBQ.
Hero PFC Anderson and the heroes of the Alpha CO. 1-18 Infantry were also key in the rescue of the wounded, as they immediately turned to assist after the explosion. Hero SFC Nelson coordinated the vehicles which saved the lives of the wounded soldiers.
Certainly many others played a role in saving the lives of these men, encouraging them, quickly transporting them, and giving them life-saving medical care in the midst of a war zone. These are all heroes who left the comfort of their homes and families to serve and pay for our freedom and security.
Thank you, PFC Clees, PFC Gomez, SGT Applegate, SGT Butts, SGT Savant, PFC Freeman, SFC Nelson, PFC Anderson, and the entire D CO 1-28 and Alpha CO. 1-18 Infantry . We honor you and thank you for your courage and great sacrifices. You are all true heroes.


Matt's lower limbs

Matt has seen his lower limbs unwrapped now (which I assume means he is also learning to clean them himself!). When Mom sent me the pictures of his wounds on his lower limbs, the realities of the war became clearer to me. The wounds aren't clean like is arm, and it is very evident that it is extremely painful. The sight of them leaves me very sober. I have attached a link below for those who wish to view the photos.


Friday, July 6, 2007

A Time to Express Our Gratitude

Matt and all of his family would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. This Independence Day has taken on a new and deeper meaning for many of us as we have witnessed the kind of sacrifice that so many are making on our behalf. The community support with which we have been surrounded has sustained us and humbled us. We indeed are so lucky to live in such a very special place. While Matt is still not able to personally thank you, he wishes to express his gratitude for the donations made to his medical fund. Because of your generosity, his future is looking brighter.

Tessa was in the process of reading aloud the cards which Matt received for the 4th of July and had only gotten through about half of them by last night! He was given boxes full--we have not taken the time to count all of them! Thank you for each card sent. It was quite a dramatic and fun gesture of support. Your cards and messages continue to brightened Matt's days.

Barbara Lammers (Matt's Mom)

The Army has provided Matt with a customized power wheelchair and in it he won the challenge to go visit PFC Angel Gomez first. PFC Gomez was injured in the blast with Matt and had hoped to be the one to "get his wheels first" so he could go to Matt's room. The meeting was quite emotional but was very helpful to both. We look forward to hearing about PFC Gomez's first visit to Matt's room!

Barbara Lammers

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


On Monday, July 2, Matt was able (with the help of his occupational therapist and physical therapists) to transfer to a motorized wheelchair and leave his room on his own power for the first time since he was injured.

Small Miracles

Daddy got to celebrate Jaelen's first birthday with the family!
Because of the generosity of Tessa's sister, Nissa, Matt's two daughters were able to visit from late Thursday until Sunday evening. The whole family celebrated Jaelen's birthday together at the hospital. Matt's friends, Mike and Anna Eldred, provided a beautiful cake and some ice cream for Jaelen to sample! Big sister, Taena, helped to wrap gifts!