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Matt

Please look for updates regularly…I will do my best to make regular updates.

I decided to start this website as a way for me to keep friends and family updated on Matt’s progress. I have been so scattered and so stressed these past few days…I know that I am forgetting things and am having a hard time finding the time or the energy to make the phone calls I should be making. I apologize for not keeping in better touch with everyone…but please know how grateful I am for all the thoughts and prayers. They, and you all, mean so very much to Matt and I. We have been blessed with so many wonderful people in our lives. I cannot stress enough how fortunate I feel to be so showered with your love.

The Beginning:
On Wednesday, September 14th Matt was admitted to the Critical Care Unit at Iowa Methodist Hospital. He had collapsed at home, was unresponsive, and was not exhibiting any intentional movements of his arms or legs. After a few hours in the ER, (during which time the doctors couldn’t seem to believe me when I told him this was NOT a drug overdose) he wasn’t moving his right side. The doctors finally decided to call in a neurologist to look him over. Dr. Struck (the VERY GOOD neurologist) ordered a CT scan to be done immediately. It showed that he had an Intra-Cranial Hemorrhage. The neurologist and neurosurgeon determined that the hemorrhage was inoperable due to its location very deep in the middle part of his brain (the top of his brain stem). They informed us that there was nothing that could be done to treat the hemorrhage. There was no surgery to perform, no medicine to prescribe to fix it…nothing to do but wait.

The Diagnosis:
The hemorrhage was likely caused by a malformed blood vessel. This blood vessel was probably something that he was born with…and just now decided to rupture for whatever reason. There was nothing he did to bring it on, no prior trauma, nothing that could have warned us of this condition. The hemorrhage is located on the left side of his mid-brain. This area of the brain controls various things, such as: speech, swallowing, heartbeat, and eyes. We have also learned that spinal fluid is produced in the ventricles, located at the top of your brain. This fluid drains down through the brain stem into the spinal cord. Matt’s hemorrhage is blocking the natural flow of this spinal fluid, causing the ventricles to swell and pressure to build in his brain. Over the weekend, the doctors watched to be sure that this swelling did not increase. If the swelling continued to increase, a shunt would need to be inserted in his brain to allow the fluid to drain out. Another CT, on Monday, showed that the swelling had gone down and they didn’t need to put the shunt in. Although the improvement was marginal, it was a step in the right direction…which was HUGE to us. We all breathed a sigh of relief that day.

The Bruise Analogy:
They doctors liken his injury to a bruise. In effect, Matt has ‘bruised’ his brain. As with any bruise, they don’t usually show up until a few days after you injure yourself….and then they go away over a period of a few more days. Matt’s bruise is on it’s way back down now, and the hemorrhage should resolve itself over the coming weeks/months. We know that the bruise is not going to get worse at this point, but the progression back to normal will be lengthy.

The Prognosis:
Matt is showing signs of improvement already. We know that the swelling has gone down from Friday…which is a huge victory in itself. He spends most of the day sleeping, which is normal for someone with this type of injury. When he is awake, he’s been opening his eyes, waving, giving a-thumbs up sign, kissing me (YEAH!), holding hands, etc. He is moving both arms and legs and is making intentional movements (responding to itches, pinches, etc) with both sides. He still favors his left arm/hand, but is making progress on the right side with his fingers and waving. We hope that once the hemorrhage has resolved itself that he will have better control over both hands/arms. He’s been responsive most of the time the nurses come in to ask their neurology questions etc. He’s showed signs of recognizing people, places, and remembers that his birthday was just last week. (He also remembers the big cookie I made him and is looking forward to having another one soon.) He says he wants a big party when he’s better where he’ll enjoy another big cookie, homemade ice cream, and (of course) some Jack and Coke! J We are ALL looking forward to that celebration!
Today, the doctors have agreed that he is STABLE (a word I have grown to LOVE) and they are going to be moving him out of CCU and over to the Neurology floor soon. There, he will receive specialized care geared towards patients with these types of injuries. We are all excited that he has been given the ok to leave the unit, but are still looking ahead with uncertainty. We are ready to begin Phase II of this experience, that’s for sure, but it’s always difficult marching in to the great unknown.
Matt is ‘expected’ to make a full recovery. However, we are told it will likely be months before he is 100% back to normal. I am just looking forward to having longer conversations with him and hugging him all the time.

Of course, these past few days have been an emotional roller coaster for us all. We have all been forced into this horrible situation and are trying to deal with it the best way we can. We are all trying to put our faith and hope in the love of God. There are so many things about this situation that show us He is near. 1) Matt was at home when this happened. He could have been on the road, in a hotel room alone, anywhere. 2) I came home 30-45 mins after he did, so he couldn’t have been alone for very long before I got there. 3) We have more financial security now than we ever had and will be able to make it through this time ok. 4) We have loving and unselfish family and friends who are supporting me and helping me through this time. And the list goes on. I am blessed in so many ways…I try to always remember that. I have my moments of frustration, grief, and fear. But I cling to the promises of God and pray that Matt and I will only be stronger for having gone through this experience. If we can weather this storm…we can handle anything.

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