I finally heard from the dr in Iowa City who is treating Matt’s AVM/AVF (the jury is still out on the exact diagnosis)…we discussed some of our questions on the treatment plan and here is what he said:
· When they performed the initial embolization, they were unable to get these tiny ‘feeder’ vessels. These small vessels have since grown larger and he now feels ‘reasonably’ sure that he can successfully embolize these vessels. By reasonably, he thinks about 50% sure.
· There is no real sense of urgency to perform the embolization. The fact that these vessels have increased in size is not a bad thing…it doesn’t mean they are more likely to rupture or anything.
· He explained that there was a small aneurysm on one vessel, which he thinks is probably what caused the initial hemorrhage. When they did the embolization this summer, they successfully blocked the vessels with the aneurysm…which would be the spot most likely to re-hemorrhage. So…the risk of re-bleed is lower…how much lower? No one really knows.
· The dr said his goal is to cure the malformation…and it has not been cured yet, so he’d like to go back in and try to complete the job. That being said, he understands Matt has been through an awful lot this past year and he understands his hesitation to go through the procedure again.
· So…after much discussion, Matt and I have decided to postpone the embolization for now. We will likely follow up with the dr in 6-12 months with an MRI to check for changes, and discuss the plan with him at that time. Matt wants to give it some time and see what happens. Who knows? It’s possible that the remaining vessels will close themselves off, so we’ll see what happens. Matt will, more than likely, have to have the embolization at some point, but he’s ok with putting it off a while…and who can blame him? Certainly not me.
We also saw the Physiatrist last week. He said Matt is looking good and making progress and he just encouraged Matt to keep up the hard work with the therapists. Next we saw Matt’s Neurologist. She agreed he is doing well, but wants to try and get the tremor taken care of (as do we)! So, we are slowly going to increase the doses of both medications he is taking for the tremor in hopes that it starts to subside even more. She thought it definitely looked better than the last time she saw him, but agreed it could be better.
We had a wonderful, WONDERFUL Christmas weekend!! Friday I took the day off work and spent the day baking and baking…it was great! I made several different kinds of cookies, and Matt eagerly helped to test them for me, of course. I just love having time to spend like that, cozied up alone together just us…baking, talking, listening to Christmas music, etc…it was a great day. That night we had a couple from our church stop by with an enormous basket overflowing with fruit and snackies…and a most generous love gift. Their card spoke of sharing God’s bounty with their brothers and sisters in Christ…their thoughtfulness and generosity were truly humbling. Saying thank you just does not seem to be enough. I look forward to the day when we will have the opportunity to give back. We have been so incredibly blessed…by strangers, family, and friends. I am thankful for the chance to be a recipient of such beautiful acts of love and kindness, although we often feel so unworthy.
Saturday we traveled to Zearing to spend the day with my dad’s side of the family. We got there early and helped my grandparents get things ready. It was nice to have some time to visit with them before everyone else got there. Of course, it was great to visit with everyone else when they did get there too! We saw cousins we haven’t seen in a long, long time. My parents arrived from Texas as well and I was so happy to have them there! We missed this Christmas get together last year, so we were both really glad to see everyone this year.
Sunday we spent the day over at my sister’s house in Roland…just us and my parents. We played with the kids, opened presents, enjoyed a wonderful meal, and winded down with a Christmas movie…and a few rounds of Frogger!! (Chad recently found his Video Arcade II (the Sears version of Atari), and we had to play it, naturally! Boy has the technology changed!!! Nothing beats Frogger though…it was so fun!!! I didn’t want the evening to end, we had so much fun. I just miss time like that with my parents so much…I wish, wish, wish they could move back soon.
Monday we had Matt’s family over to our house. We had his parents, sister, grandparents, aunt, and cousin over! It was a full house, and my first attempt at cooking a turkey! It was so nice to have that wonderful turkey aroma drifting around our house on Christmas morning! And, thankfully, the turkey and all the food turned out wonderful! I was quite proud of myself!! We spent the afternoon around the table laughing and telling all sorts of family stories. We hadn’t all been together since last Christmas, and it was really good to see them all again. I hope it won’t be another year before we see Heather and Linda again…we missed them so much!
Tuesday I had the day off work as part of my Christmas holiday, so I thought it was only fair that Matt should get the day off therapy too. He thought that made perfect sense, naturally! My parents came over after lunch and we spent the afternoon alone with them…which is pretty rare these days! We ordered our favorite pizza and watched Talladega Nights (HILARIOUS!!!). It was so nice to just have time to talk with them and to enjoy something as mundane as watching a movie and eating pizza. I hope we get the chance to go visit them sometime soon!
Wednesday night we met up with some old friends for a quick meal. We hadn’t seen the one couple for over 2 years! It was so great to catch up and just hang out together!
While it was a busy weekend we had so much fun and feel so very, very blessed. We are so fortunate to have so many loving people in our lives! You are all blessings to us – I know that we’ll never fully be able to express our gratitude for your love, support, friendship, and generosity…We love you all so very deeply.