Part II: Road to Recovery

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

SAN ANTONIO- It's been one year since a roadside bomb in Iraq changed the life of Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris but doctors say he is making great strides. In addition to traditional physical therapy at Brooke Army Medical Center, Staff Sergeant Harris gets three treatments a week at the San Antonio Massage Company.

"We are giving Shilo a hydration treatment. Burned skin is no where near as strong and resilient as unburned skin," said Jann Henry, massage therapist and co-founder of the San Antonio Massage Company, "We are stretching both the skin and the scar tissue underneath the muscles in order to give him function back, where possible. "

In just a few months of treatment Staff Sergeant Harris is seeing results, he can now lift his arm higher than he initially could following the explosion. Henry says his skin is much stronger and isn't as tight.

"I guarantee that if you told me back in July that I was going to be doing this good, I would have told you you were crazy," said SSG Harris.

In the Harris house hold recovery has been a two person job, early on SSG Harris's wife Kathreyn did everything for him until he started to regain strength.

"The doctors have been amazed by his recovery when he was in the ICU he went into acute renal failure and which his kidneys quit, they were very surprised how quickly he came out of that, and as strong as he was when he came out of it," said Kathreyn.

Even after all of SSG Harris's injuries the good days still out weight the bad days.

"Don't get me wrong everybody has a bad day. I have had my share of bad days, but I try to stay happy because being mad at the world really isn't going to change anything. I try to focus more on the good. I still feel like I can do a lot of good even though I am burnt. Hey, I am still Shilo," SSG Harris said.

SSG Harris says the generosity of strangers and all the people he has met since the bombing, helps make things better for him. The hardest part has been saying good bye to the men who died in the explosion.

"I want to tell people they should appreciate they're freedom, not just soldiers now days but soldiers throughout time have fought and died to be free," he said, "I believe in the United States, I believe in what we are doing over there."