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Monday Update: 02/06/06

Well, back to how MATT is doing, huh!? He is doing great….really great. He keeps improving in every way, slowly, but surely. One of his occupational therapist retested his grip and pinch strength, as well as how quickly he can put small pegs in and out of a special board. Well, he improved in every way since they last tested him, 4 weeks earlier. The strength, accuracy, and mobility have increased the most in his right hand, which made him very happy! It is good for him to see measurable improvement. It’s sometimes hard for him to really see the progress he’s making, but when something is measured like this, it’s hard to argue with it!

His speech therapist has also suggested we tape certain places on Matt’s face to help with his speech and facial muscles. So, we’ve been putting tape on his right cheek, pulling his upper lip up slightly and tape over his jaw muscles on the left side. Apparently, this combination is supposed to help keep his jaw and lip from pulling too much to the left side, and instead help pull it up on the right side and keep it more symmetrical. So far, it does seem to help him speak a bit more normally and keep his lips lined up more symmetrically. Overall, his speech is improving as well as his facial muscles…when he smiles naturally he is getting more and more movement on that right side. When he tries, he can get both sides up normally, just not as much when he naturally smiles. Not YET…anyway! But, he’s making strides with that as well all the time.

We are going to get a wheeled walker today, to keep here at home. We’ve been using the one from therapy on the weekends…and it just helps SO much. Matt walks so much better with it, and is able to control it a lot better than he could have a few months ago. It is just a tiny bit bigger than the doorway to our bedroom, but if you finagle it just right you can get it through. I didn’t think he’d be able to maneuver it himself, but he sure can! I just walk behind him and help support his upper body if he leans back too far…but I’m really not helping much at all most of the time. Yesterday, I noticed for the first time that his walking was much more fluid. He was walking and pushing the walker at the same time, rather than talking a step and then moving the walker. He walked across the living room in no time! I think he can finally see the benefits of using it as well. At least for now…it’s a tool to get him walking more and walking BETTER! Matt says that once his balance gets better, he’s just going to take off…and I don’t doubt it!!

We met with the Neurosurgeon who will coordinate with the Radiation Oncologist on Matt’s Cyberknife treatment last week. He just wanted to meet us and discuss the treatment a little more. We didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know, but he just reiterated that Matt’s AVM is the ideal candidate for this treatment due to its small size and location. He was optimistic that this treatment will do the trick for Matt, over time. So, we’re just waiting for them to schedule Matt’s brain scan and then the treatment itself. I think it’ll probably be in the next week or two. The doctors have to plan out Matt’s treatment based on the brain scans and put all the data into their computer to map out the treatment. This planning phase can take a week or so, they tell us. We’ll let everyone know as soon as we do.

We also saw Matt’s Physiatrist last week for a check up. He has been receiving weekly reports from Matt’s therapists on his progress and thought things looked good. He was very encouraging that Matt should continue to improve as he continues to work hard and the brain heals itself.

We are meeting with the Neurologist today to check in with her since leaving Younker. Matt’s right hand is getting a little stiffer these days, so we’re going to see what she thinks about another possible Botox injection and fill her in on all the developments since we last saw her (ie the AVM).

It is good to have so many good doctors following Matt’s progress, but on the flip side, it will be nice when we don’t have so many appointments to schedule!

In the meantime, we are looking forward to warmer weather, and enjoying time together doing the things we like as Matt begins to feel better and better.


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